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Posts Tagged ‘lesbian’

Gatlin zips by Gay in the 100 meters

Monday, June 25th, 2012

Diving - In Federal Way, Wash., Brittany Viola, in her third attempt to make the Olympics, won the women’s 10-meter platform.

Article source: http://www.boston.com/sports/other_sports/olympics/articles/2012/06/25/gatlin_zips_by_gay_in_the_100_meters/

Marchers fill streets as cities across US celebrate gay pride

Monday, June 25th, 2012

Timothy A. Clary / AFP – Getty Images

Marchers walk down 5th Avenue during the New York Gay Pride parade on Sunday.

From San Francisco to New York and cities and towns in-between, revelers crowded streets and sidewalks Sunday for annual gay pride parades.

The sidewalks of downtown San Francisco were filled with colorful participants and spectators as the city marked its 42nd year celebrating the lesbian, gay and transgender community.  Organizers said more than 200 floats, vehicles and marching bands are taking part. The city’s mayor, Ed Lee, was to address the crowd at the city’s Civic Center.


Organizers say San Francisco’s events are the largest LGBT gathering in the nation.

In New York, nearly 2 million marchers followed the lavender line painted on Fifth Avenue, marking the first anniversary of the state’s same-sex marriage law.

Throngs of spectators crowded along the sidewalks, waving rainbow-colored flags as participants, including Cyndi Lauper as grand marshal, went by. The parade was held one year to the day of same-sex marriage being legalized in New York state.

The city’s first married gay couple, Connie Kopelov and Phyllis Siegel, were also grand marshalls at the parade.

Among those participating were Mayor Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who was accompanied by her wife. Quinn and her longtime partner were married last month.

Bloomberg had a message to the rest of America: “The government should get out of your personal life.”

“New York is a place where you can do whatever you want to do,” he said, before stepping off onto the parade route.

Watch the most-viewed videos on msnbc.com

Each year since 1970, the parade has had a different theme. This time, it’s called “Share the Love.” Organizers say they want other states to pass legislation that allows same-sex marriage, which is already legal in six states and the District of Columbia.

More than 300 groups marched down Fifth Avenue to the Stonewall Inn, the site of the 1969 Stonewall riots, which is widely considered the start of the national gay rights movement.

In Chicago, organizers, working with the city, decided to extend the path of the march in the hopes of spreading out the huge crowds. More than 750,000 people were expected to descend on the area to take part in the revelry.

NY GOP lawmakers targeted for gay marriage supportGov. Pat Quinn led the march. Just before things got started, he talked to reporters about the importance of equality — particularly when it comes to marriage.

 

“I think marriage equality is something we’re going to get in Illinois,” Quinn said. “It’s going to maybe take a little while, but I think it’s important to move forward.”

Mayor Rahm Emanuel marched as well, shaking hands and calling it a “landmark year” for gay and lesbian rights, thanks to President Obama signing hate crimes legislation, repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and speaking out in favor of marriage equality.

For the first time, out, active-duty members of the military marched in the pride parade, with no fear of losing their jobs.

“It’s a great opportunity and a great event to come out here and actually show who we are, being in the military and gay and out,” said Richard Dumbrique, a member of Gay, Lesbian, and Supporting Sailors, or GLASS.

Hundreds of thousands of people were expected at Seattle’s Pride Parade. The event hosted by Seattle Out and Proud featured 180 groups. Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire was parade marshal.

Information from The Associated Press, NBCChicago.com, NBCNewYork.com and KING5.com is included in this story.

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Article source: http://usnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/06/24/12386054-marchers-fill-streets-as-cities-across-us-celebrate-gay-pride?lite

Gay Marriage Again on Ballot in Maine

Monday, June 25th, 2012

They point to a shift in public opinion, the personal support for same-sex marriage voiced last month by President Obama and what they believe is an effective door-to-door “persuasion” campaign throughout the state.

In addition, the vote will take place in a presidential election year, when more young people, who overwhelmingly support gay marriage, are likely to turn out than in an off year.

Maine is the only state where supporters of same-sex marriage have put such an initiative on the ballot. Whenever the matter has gone to voters before, including here in 2009, it has been driven by opponents; this time, it was proponents who put the issue on the ballot, and they have spent more than two years organizing.

“This is the first time people are having the opportunity to vote yes for equality, as opposed to no,” said Lee Swislow, executive director of Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, a legal rights organization. “We would not have gone forward in Maine and submitted the signatures if we didn’t feel we had a good shot at winning.”

But the weight of history is against them. The fight has never been won at the ballot box. In states where same-sex marriage is legal now — Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont, as well as in the District of Columbia — it has been made possible through court rulings or legislative action. In the 32 states, including California, in which voters have had a say, they have rejected it.

In November, voters in four states will weigh in on same-sex marriage. There is a chance that in three it could become law; besides the initiative in Maine, voters in Maryland and Washington State will decide whether to repeal same-sex marriage laws recently passed in those states. In the fourth, Minnesota, voters will consider whether to amend the state Constitution to ban it.

The loss in Maine in 2009 was a heartbreak for the movement. The Legislature had legalized it and the governor, John Baldacci, a Democrat, had signed it into law. But opponents forced it to a referendum, and the public voted to repeal it, 53 to 47 percent, a difference of about 30,000 votes.

That was a surprise because polls at the time indicated that a majority of voters would approve it. And therein lies the hope of the opposition here this year; while state and national polls suggest that a majority supports same-sex marriage, voters have not always told pollsters the truth.

“I’ll be surprised if we don’t win,” said Carroll Conley Jr., executive director of the Christian Civic League of Maine and a board member of Protect Marriage Maine, a group leading the opposition.

“When it’s framed as ‘Should people be able to marry regardless of sexual orientation?’ you see a significant change from five years ago,” he said. “But if you ask, ‘Should marriage be defined as one man, one women?’ we don’t see significant changes.”

The proposed wording of the ballot question here is, “Do you want to allow same-sex couples to marry?” But proponents want it to point out that neither clergy nor religious institutions would have to perform or host a marriage against their beliefs, a clause that could ease some fears. A decision on the wording is due from Maine’s secretary of state by the end of July.

Mr. Conley said he doubted voters would approve same-sex marriage, in part because people resist change. “From a purely political perspective, a ‘no’ is easier than a ‘yes’ on any referendum.” he said.

Some money for the opposition campaign is coming from collection plates passed at churches. But most is expected to come from the National Organization for Marriage, which funneled almost $2 million into Maine to help defeat the measure in 2009.

One complication for the opposition this year is that the Roman Catholic Church plans to be less active than it was in 2009, when church officials were criticized for being too involved.

Mr. Conley acknowledged that the campaign in support of same-sex marriage appeared highly organized and well financed. Advocates expect to raise about $5 million, while opponents expect less than half as much.

Matt McTighe, campaign manager for Mainers United for Marriage, a coalition of groups advocating gay marriage, said his side had more time to make its case this year and was playing offense, not defense.

“Normally, when marriage comes up on the ballot, it’s in response to a court case or legislative action and at most — as in 2009 here and in Maryland and Washington — you have six months to really go out and defend whatever that court or legislature did,” Mr. McTighe said. “Maine is the first state to proactively bring this initiative to voters, and that’s allowed us to control our own fate.”

The campaign’s centerpiece is a canvassing effort aimed at undecided voters. Mr. McTighe said a personal approach was the most effective way to convey the message. The coalition has conducted 100,000 “conversations” in two years, he said, with perhaps one in every five people open to changing his or her views.

Amelia Nugent, 23, who was canvassing last week on a warm, buggy night in Falmouth, said she usually told people that she wanted to have the same kind of loving and committed marriage that they had. “It’s just humanizing the issue,” she said as she walked door to door. “It’s about love and family.”

Sometimes people are rude, she said, asking her if she wants to marry their dog. Others will talk for 45 minutes, and leave her feeling she has made progress.

The other night, a few people turned Ms. Nugent away; most who talked to her said they already supported gay marriage.

“It’s such a nonissue,” said Judith Coye, 52, a banker, who spoke briefly with Ms. Nugent.

George Bloom, 57, an environmental engineer who was watering his garden, said he saw no problem with it. He said that he had had gay friends over the years and that allowing them to marry “just seems fair.”

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/25/us/politics/second-time-around-hope-for-gay-marriage-in-maine.html

Amar’e Stoudemire tweets gay slur at antagonist

Monday, June 25th, 2012

Amar’e Stoudemire allegedly tweeted gay slur at a Knicks fan during a heated exchange yesterday. The fan, known on Twitter as @BFerrelli, chided Stoudemire for his performance last season, demanding the forward step up so New York can advance further into the postseason.

Stoudemire appears to have responded to Ferrelli in a direct message, which the latter posted as a screen shot:

“[Expletive] you. I don’t have to do any thing [expletive],” Stoudemire said.

Immediately, Ferrelli’s claim was scrutinized as Twitter users thought his picture had been doctored.

However, Ferrelli followed up his initial screen shot with another, which includes an apology from Stoudemire:

“I apologize for what I said earlier.I just got off the plane and had time to think about it. Sorry bro!! No Excuses. Won’t happen again.”

Stoudemire has tweeted since Ferreli posted the photos and has yet to publicly acknowledge the interaction.

H/T Larry Brown Sports

Article source: http://content.usatoday.com/communities/gameon/post/2012/06/amare-stoudemire-allegedly-tweets-gay-slur-at-antagonist/1

Chicago Beams With Gay Pride

Monday, June 25th, 2012

Chicago’s annual Gay Pride parade got off to an uproarious start
Sunday, as it traveled for the 43rd year through Lake View — but
this time, it took a new route.

Organizers, working with the city, decided to extend the path in
the hopes of spreading out the huge crowds. More than 750,000
people were expected to descend on the area to take part in the
revelry.

Gov. Pat Quinn led the march. Just before things got started, he
talked to reporters about the importance of equality –
particularly when it comes to marriage.

“I think marriage equality is something we’re going to get in
Illinois,” Quinn said. “It’s going to maybe take a little while,
but I think it’s important to move forward.”

Mayor Rahm Emanuel marched as well, shaking hands and calling it
a “landmark year” for gay and lesbian rights, thanks to President
Obama signing hate crimes legislation, repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t
Tell, and speaking out in favor of marriage equality.

For the first time, out, active-duty members of the military
marched in the pride parade, with no fear of losing their jobs.

“It’s a great opportunity and a great event to come out here and
actually show who we are, being in the military and gay and out,”
said Richard Dumbrique, a member of Gay, Lesbian, and Supporting
Sailors, or GLASS.

GLASS is an organization comprised of out gay and lesbian sailors
and their allies at Great Lakes Naval Base. It was just founded
in February, and chapters are already spreading across the
country.

As for the logistics of the parade, Police Superintendent Garry
McCarthy was optimistic that stretching out the route would make
it easier to keep things safe for everyone involved.

“When you come up with a scenario that makes more sense than the
way you’ve been doing things, people say, ‘Oh yeah!’ And you
question, why did we do things the other way? Because that’s the
way we always did it,” McCarthy said.

McCarthy was on hand for Sunday’s celebration, and even rode in
the parade in a white convertable.

The parade’s grand marshal was Evan Wolfson, founder and
president of Freedom to Marry, the campaign to win marriage
equality nation-wide. He urged gays and lesbians in Illinois to
talk to their friends and families about why equality matters to
them. He said those kinds of conversations are what changed
President Obama’s mind about gay marriage.

“It was those conversations that opened his heart, and encouraged
him to change his mind, to embrace the values of fairness that he
and Michelle are trying to teach their daughters,” Wolfson said.
“It’s those conversations that we know build support for the
freedom to marry. And we need more of those conversations all
across Illinois.”

New Route Eases Congested Crowds

The festivities kicked off at noon at Broadway and Montrose, as
opposed to last year’s start at Belmont and Halsted. It proceeded
south on Broadway, then down Halsted to Belmont. It ran east on
Belmont, back to Broadway, then south to Diversey. Then parade
ended in the same spot it always has, where Diversey meets Cannon
Drive.

Click here to see the route on a map.

The new route, 22 blocks longer than last year’s march, was meant
to safely accommodate increased numbers of spectators and add
more accessible train stations for attendees to reach the parade,
according to a press release.

Selected intersections allowed parade watchers to cross streets
and balance crowds along the route.

Last year, nearly 800,000 spectators crowded Chicago streets and
that number is expected to grow at this year’s celebration.

To stave off the surge of heavy drinking associated with last
year’s parade, police can now issue costly tickets to those
consuming alcoholic beverages at the event.

The Chicago Transit Authority also provided longer trains on some
‘L’ lines and rerouted eight busses. Information regarding those
changes can be found on the CTA’s Web site.

A live stream of the parade will be offered online on
ChicagoPride.com and GayChicagoTV.com.

View Gay Pride Parade 2012 in a larger map

Article source: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/47838742

Seeing an Obama Army in Gay Pride Legions

Monday, June 25th, 2012

But to Aaron Levine, a 19-year-old, clipboard-toting volunteer sent there by the Obama campaign, everyone was a potential get. A group of twenty-somethings huddled in the shade under a Starbucks awning trying to stay cool: “They’re perfect,” he said. The long line outside the Duplex, a nightclub with views of the parade route: “They have nothing else to do now but sign up. It’s great.”

Mr. Levine was one of hundreds of Obama field staff members and volunteers who fanned out at a dozen gay pride celebrations across the country over the weekend with a meticulous set of marching orders from the Chicago campaign headquarters: Get names, cellphone numbers, and e-mail and home addresses. But most important, get commitments to volunteer.

At times, the parades could have been confused for Obama campaign rallies. In Chicago on Sunday, 300 of his campaign staff members and volunteers marched down Halsted Street through the heart of the gay district to chants of “Four more years! Four more years!” Along Fifth Avenue in New York, a group of about 200 Obama supporters who walked the parade route were cheered by crowds waving powder-blue “L.G.B.T. for Obama” placards, referring to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. “Obama! Obama!” the onlookers cried.

While gay men and lesbians have been one of the most reliable Democratic voting blocs, supporting Democrats over Republicans by a ratio of about three to one in recent elections, the Obama campaign is capitalizing on what its strategists say is a perfect election-year opportunity. Just over six weeks ago, Mr. Obama declared his support for the right of gay couples to marry, which strengthened his political potency among gay people. Before the marriage announcement, even many of Mr. Obama’s top gay donors had questioned his commitment to their issues.

Now, campaign officials and other top Democrats said this was their best chance yet to convert enthusiasm among gay men and lesbians for Mr. Obama into more than just votes.

“It’s like shooting fish in a barrel this year,” said Steve Elmendorf, a Democratic consultant who supervised the field operation for Senator John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign in several battleground states. “I think this year you’ll have not only people who say they will vote for him, but you will get a higher percentage of people who will actually be willing to do something for him. I think people are just tremendously grateful.”

Over the coming weeks, the campaign will begin contacting those who signed its commitment forms to try to recruit them for any number of jobs like making phone calls or getting on a bus for a day trip to swing states like Pennsylvania.

Gay pride marches are the Democratic Party’s equivalent of Tea Party rallies. There are few places this year where the Obama campaign is likely to find more motivated and supportive voters. “Pride is probably the best opportunity to engage the community in large, concentrated numbers,” said Jamie Citron, the national L.G.B.T. vote director for the Obama campaign.

The campaign’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender outreach is a vast undertaking that includes not just cities with large gay populations like New York but less obvious places like Council Bluffs, Iowa; Durango, Colo.; and Dayton, Ohio.

When gay and lesbian leaders in Columbus, Ohio, were planning their event for this month, the Obama campaign called them to ask if they could play a taped message from the president.

“They wanted to know if we had the ability to put it up on a big screen,” said Karla Rothan, executive director of Stonewall Columbus. Ms. Rothan did not have a big screen to offer, but she did have a booth in her festival and a spot in the parade for Obama volunteers, and the campaign jumped at the opportunity.

On the parade route in Cleveland on Saturday, Obama workers in a tent in Voinovich Park registered hundreds of people to vote.

Reporting was contributed by Ethan Bronner from New York, Dustin Franz from Cleveland, and Joshua Lott from Chicago.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/25/us/politics/obama-campaign-recruits-volunteers-during-gay-pride-weekend.html

Sprinter Tyson Gay Ready to Test Hip

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

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Nearly a year ago, Tyson Gay was undergoing surgery on his right hip, wondering if there was any way he would be ready for the London Olympics.


Three months ago, the sprinter could train only on grass because the pounding from the track aggravated his hip. Two weeks ago, he ran his first competitive race and felt a twinge of soreness the next day.


In the days leading to the Olympic trials, he climbed out of bed with only a little tightness.


To him, that’s as good as it’s going to get.


Now he heads into the 100 meters this weekend at the trials with this thought: He’s healthy enough to make it back to the Olympics.


“I’m feeling fast,” said Gay, who easily won his first-round heat on a cool and damp Saturday. “And physically, I’m OK. Everybody is feeling something. I think I’m just living with that right now.”


Four or five years ago, before Usain Bolt burst onto the scene, Gay was touted as the favorite for the Beijing Olympics, the man to beat in track and field. These days, he is the sport’s biggest question mark.


Gay said his performance at a “B” meet this month in New York gave him all the confidence he needed. In that race, Gay finished in 10.00 seconds while running into a headwind. It was basically the equivalent of the time that Jamaica’s Yohan Blake, one of the favorites heading into London, ran later that day in the marquee event.


“Everything went well,” Gay said.


Just as he expected.


Gay has been stepping up his training in practice, too. And while his hip hasn’t exactly felt miraculously better, he’s at least now to the point where he thinks he can handle the grind of a long meet.


“I’m still waiting for the moment when I wake up and don’t feel anything,” said Gay, who turns 30 in August. “A lot of people know I’m a fighter. It would be great if I make it. I’ve been through so much.”


His plan at trials is simple: Get through the first round Saturday expending as little energy as possible and then head straight to the trainer’s table. He’s going to rely on a team of trainers and a few ice baths to make sure he’s able to answer the bell for the semifinals Sunday and then — if everything goes according to the script — the final, which are 2 hours, 18 minutes after the semis.


“Then I’ll let it all hang out in the final,” Gay said.


Gay realizes there are lots of people counting him out. This is a deep field and includes Olympic bronze medal winner Walter Dix, ’04 Olympic gold medalist Justin Gatlin, ’09 national champion Mike Rodgers and savvy veteran Doc Patton.


“These guys are not going to sit down and let me come back after a year and give it to me easy,” Gay said.


No, they’re not.


But they also respect Gay, who’s the American record holder in the event. If he’s on the track, he has their attention.


“We all know he’s a good runner,” Gatlin said. “It’s just this: Will he be able to run through the rounds, especially as each one becomes more and more competitive?”


Gay’s wondering the same thing. He’s simulated running rounds in Dallas under the direction of one of his coaches, Jon Drummond. Gay sprinted 60 meters, closely followed by another 80-meter jaunt.


Then, he repeated the process over and over.


“When I was supposed to be done, when I was tired, tired of running, Drummond was like, ‘Give me one more 60. This is the final,’” Gay recounted. “We tried to replicate complete fatigue, how you’re going to feel in the final. I want to run fast. I’m going try to do it.”


There’s another mental hurdle to clear besides his hip — Hayward Field.


It was on this track four years ago when Gay crumbled in pain during the first 40 meters of his 200-meter qualifying race. He had to be carted off with a mild muscle strain in the back of his left leg.


Last summer, Gay pulled out of the 100 at Hayward Field because of his nagging hip, which eventually led to season-ending surgery.


“I have exciting memories at this track, because it’s fast,” said Gay, who isn’t planning on competing in the 200. “I don’t really think about 2008.”


Yet he does think about catching Bolt.


Maybe not a lot yet — he has to make the team first — but he may should he earn a spot. He’s one of the few able to keep up with the world-record holder in recent years — or as much as anyone can at least.


Gay feels he missed a great opportunity in Beijing — he wasn’t at his best as he struggled with the injury from the trials. He didn’t qualify for the final against Bolt when the Jamaican broke the world mark.


“It was amazing, watching that guy put on that kind of performance,” Gay said.


Asked how much competing in London would mean to him, given all he’s been through, Gay whispered, “Everything.”


“It means a lot more, when you have to struggle, breathing heavy in training, you’re sore and coming back from injury — it makes it so much better,” Gay said. “If you’re like some robot, and can do anything and everything, it’s not as sweet.”

Article source: http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/sports/Sprinter-Tyson-Gay-Ready-to-Test-Hip-160127045.html

Prominent gay marriage opponent changes stance

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

Like President Obama, David Blankenhorn has been changing his opinion about same-sex marriage. In his case, the change of mind looks more like a revolution than an evolution.

Blankenhorn was one of two witnesses for the defense in the federal suit against Proposition 8, California’s ban on gay marriage. But in an online opinion piece for the New York Times, Blankenhorn favors recognizing such unions as marriages.

The switch isn’t quite as dramatic as it might at first seem. Blankenhorn was a somewhat unusual witness in favor of Proposition 8. At the same time that he voiced belief that same-sex marriage would contribute to what he sees as the deterioration of the institution of marriage, he also said that such marriages would be good for the families of same-sex couples and that the country would be “more American” on the day that it recognized the right of gay and lesbian couples to wed.

Perhaps the opponents of same-sex marriage thought Blankenhorn would make a good witness because  he’s obviously not an anti-gay ideologue; he’s clearly a soul-searcher and an opponent of intolerance when he sees it. Overall, though, it didn’t appear that his testimony helped the case. The court found against Proposition 8; the initiative’s supporters now hope to get the U.S. Supreme Court to take up the matter.

But if he wasn’t a fiery opponent of gay marriage then, Blankenhorn isn’t a standard-bearer for the institution now. As someone who seems inclined to shape opinions relative to the realities of society, his arguments for it are more pragmatic than philosophical. One of them is that young people obviously favor equal marriage rights for same-sex couples, and by a wide margin’ it’s the way the country is headed. That’s true, though it might not be the strongest argument for supporting such rights. He also thinks that getting along is an important thing for society, and that the institution of marriage is doing badly, no matter what happens with same-sex marriage, and there’s not much evidence that gay unions are adding to the decline.

True and true. But from a philosophical perspective, same-sex marriage is about a right denied, not how many people are willing to vote for it. Bllankenhorn’s big concern is the family and what he sees as the ideal form for that family — the couple whose sexual union made the baby marry beforehand and stay together to raise the child. And in fact marriage has traditionally been largely about that particular model. Of course, that doesn’t mean infertile couples can’t marry, or elderly people, or folks who just aren’t interested in procreating. So why pick on same-sex couples as the only pairings deprived of the status of marriage? Children are one part of marriage — yes, a very important one — for many couples. That doesn’t make procreation the reason for marriage, or the definition of a good one.

Blankenhorn is on more solid footing when he writes about the “equal dignity of homosexual love” and his unwillingness to be part of the anti-gay animus that he sees as driving, at least in part, the fight against same-sex marriage. It was an animus that he did not detect when he testified, but we are all entitled to new perceptions and the resulting changes of mind and heart.

Article source: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/sns-la-la-ol-blankenhorn-proposition-8-20120622,0,7448032.story

Chicago Shows Gay Pride

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

Chicago’s annual Gay Pride parade got off to an uproarious start
Sunday, as it traveled for the 43rd year through Lake View — but
this time, it took a new route.

Organizers, working with the city, decided to extend the path in
the hopes of spreading out the huge crowds. More than 750,000
people were expected to descend on the area to take part in the
revelry.

Gov. Pat Quinn led the march. Just before things got started, he
talked to reporters about the importance of equality –
particularly when it comes to marriage.

“I think marriage equality is something we’re going to get in
Illinois,” Quinn said. “It’s going to maybe take a little while,
but I think it’s important to move forward.”

Mayor Rahm Emanuel marched as well, shaking hands and calling it
a “landmark year” for gay and lesbian rights, thanks to President
Obama signing hate crimes legislation, repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t
Tell, and speaking out in favor of marriage equality.

For the first time, out, active-duty members of the military
marched in the pride parade, with no fear of losing their jobs.

“It’s a great opportunity and a great event to come out here and
actually show who we are, being in the military and gay and out,”
said Richard Dumbrique, a member of Gay, Lesbian, and Supporting
Sailors, or GLASS.

GLASS is an organization comprised of out gay and lesbian sailors
and their allies at Great Lakes Naval Base. It was just founded
in February, and chapters are already spreading across the
country.

As for the logistics of the parade, Police Superintendent Garry
McCarthy was optimistic that stretching out the route would make
it easier to keep things safe for everyone involved.

“When you come up with a scenario that makes more sense than the
way you’ve been doing things, people say, ‘Oh yeah!’ And you
question, why did we do things the other way? Because that’s the
way we always did it,” McCarthy said.

McCarthy was on hand for Sunday’s celebration, and even rode in
the parade in a white convertable.

The parade’s grand marshal was Evan Wolfson, founder and
president of Freedom to Marry, the campaign to win marriage
equality nation-wide. He urged gays and lesbians in Illinois to
talk to their friends and families about why equality matters to
them. He said conversations just like this is what changed
President Obama’s mind about gay marriage.

“It was those conversations that opened his heart, and encouraged
him to change his mind, to embrace the values of fairness that he
and Michelle are trying to teach their daughters,” Wolfson said.
“It’s those conversations that we know build support for the
freedom to marry. And we need more of those conversations all
across Illinois.”

New Route Eases Congested Crowds

The festivities kicked off at noon at Broadway and Montrose, as
opposed to last year’s start at Belmont and Halsted. It then
proceeded south down Broadway, then down Halsted to Belmont. It
ran east on Belmont, back to Broadway, then south to Diversey.
Then parade ended in the same spot it always has, where Diversey
meets Cannon Drive.

Click here to see the route on a map.

The new route, 22 blocks longer than last year’s march, was meant
to safely accommodate increased numbers of spectators and add
more accessible train stations for attendees to reach the parade,
according to a press release.

Selected intersections allowed parade watchers to cross streets
and balance crowds along the route.

Last year, nearly 800,000 spectators crowded Chicago streets and
that number is expected to grow at this year’s celebration.

To stave off the surge of heavy drinking associated with last
year’s parade, police can now issue costly tickets to those
consuming alcoholic beverages at the event.

The Chicago Transit Authority also provided longer trains on some
‘L’ lines and rerouted eight busses. Information regarding those
changes can be found on the CTA’s Web site.

A live stream of the parade will be offered online on
ChicagoPride.com and GayChicagoTV.com.

View Gay Pride Parade 2012 in a larger map

Article source: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/47838742

San Francisco celebrating gay pride parade

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO—The sidewalks of downtown San Francisco are crowded with people as the city’s lesbian, gay and transgender community celebrates the 42nd annual Pride Celebration.

After a series of weekend events, including what organizers call the “Dyke March” in the city’s Dolores Park and the so-called “Pink Saturday” street party, the biggest event of the weekend takes place Sunday with the annual gay pride parade.

Organizers say more than 200 floats, vehicles and marching bands are taking part in the parade, which will make its way along Market St., one of San Francisco’s main streets.

Events are also planned at the city’s Civic Center, where San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee will address the crowd.

Organizers say the San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration and Parade is the largest LGBT gathering in the nation.

Article source: http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_20929258/san-francisco-celebrating-gay-pride-parade

Movies: Where are the New Gay Classics?

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

Wherearethegaymovies
GAYBY (2012) is one of too few new gay releases

BY NATHANIEL ROGERS

HAPPY GAY PRIDE EVERYONE! Hollywood isn’t really celebrating, but we should.

This weekend’s new cinema choices aren’t so gay. Not to get all labelly but you can choose between an apocalyptic hetero romance (SEEKING A FRIEND AT THE END OF THE WORLD) or a new Woody Allen hetero romantic comedy (TO ROME WITH LOVE). Regarding the latter, it’s worth noting that the Mayans were wrong and we’ll live to see 2013. The only sure sign of the apocalypse would be a year without a new Woody Allen movie. A truth: He hasn’t missed a single film year since 1981! Your other big multiplex choice this weekend is between an axe wielding US president (ABRAHAM LINCOLN, VAMPIRE HUNTER) and a new Disney/Pixar Princess with a bow and arrow (BRAVE).

The latter two films sound gay at least. Secret Abraham Lincoln diaries unearthed? Yes! Finally the truth about his relationship with “personal friend” Joshua Fry Sp– oh. It’s about vampire hunting? Really? (Sigh). And it’s not even funny but deadly earnest about it? Damn. Brave‘s heroine is Princess Merida, a tomboy who doesn’t want to marry. That’s closer. In more closeted olden times that would have qualified her as a latent lesbian icon (think Peppermint Patty’s Marcie or Calamity “Secret Love” Jane) but given our rapid strides in the past two decades with actual lesbian icons, it’s a stretch. Merida just isn’t “ready” for marriage yet – give her a few years. Or a sequel.

 When will we see the next Great Gay Film? MORE AFTER THE JUMP

Brave-blue

It might sound old school in a “post gay” world to ask for films which so neatly fit the LGBT labels but given the newish cultural flexibility, shouldn’t the movies be reflecting it? TV is trying harder but we need more gay or gayish films. On the Kinsey Scale Hollywood’s movie studios are still pretending to be a “0″. 

Gayby-posterAre there new gay films on the horizon? It seems like every time you hear of one it’s indefinitely delayed. Remember when Ellen Page was going to star in the feature version of that Oscar winning lesbian documentary Freeheld? It still hasn’t gone before cameras. Remember when actresses as high profile as Gwyneth Paltrow, Charlize Theron, and Nicole Kidman were attached (at one point or another) to the transgendered period piece The Danish Girl

There’s is at least one brand new gay ticket. Jonathan Lisecki’s buzzy and reportedly very funny GAYBY (2012), which I haven’t yet had time to see, is hitting screens this weekend in New York for Pride and will hopefully emerge in more venues as the summer progresses. But otherwise if you want gay cinema right now, your best bet is to reach back into the classic vaults over at Focus Features. 

Brokeback Mountain (2005), the crown jewel of modern gay cinema, is obviously the headliner in Focus Feature’s current “10 YEARS OF CELEBRATING PRIDE” feature. Among Hollywood’s mini-major studios, Focus has a great deserved reputation for supporting high quality LGBT movies and the careers of gay directors (Todd Haynes, Lisa Cholodenko) or gay-friendly directors like Brokeback Mountain‘s Ang Lee. Lee’s US breakthrough, a full decade before Brokeback, was the gay-themed Oscar nominee The Wedding Banquet. There’s only one week left in Gay Pride month but you can screen several Focus films on On Demand for another week and the Focus Features gay classics are also available at iTunes.

The film they’re pushing most heavily is the newish Loose Cannons (2010) from the prolific Turkish/Italian director Ferzan Ozpetek who has made a number of gay themed features recently. This one is about the closeted gay son and heir to a conservative Pasta empire. He really just wants to be a writer. I won’t spoil the flim’s early twist that prevents him from coming out as he’s planned but it took me by surprise. Elsewhere the film is far more predictable though still enjoyable. It’s indisputably “light” but it has a good heart which is too rare in movies — even the homophobic characters are viewed with compassion despite the laughs the movie has at their ignorant histrionics. It also has good fun with the clichéd tropes it clings to like a Birdcage like setpiece where the lead’s visiting gay BFFs try to pass as straight. 

Loosecannons

Among Focus’ more familiar titles are Best Picture Oscar nominees like Brokeback Mountain (2005), Milk (2008) and The Kids Are All Right (2010), magnificent art pieces like Far From Heaven (2002) and smaller lesser seen lesbian titles like My Summer of Love (2004) – one of Emily Blunt’s first and best screen roles – and last year’s excellent indie Pariah (2011) which I’ve raved about right here on Towleroad

Here’s a peek at Focus Features’ decade-long gift-giving to LGBT moviegoers. 

If you’ve seen all of Focus Features gay treasures, Netflix has a number of terrific still underseen or underdiscussed gay films on their Instant Watch service: The touching Swedish romance Show Me Love (2000) about two high school girls; the erotic and thrilling Argentine crime film Burnt Money (2001); The intimate peek at drag ball culture in Paris is Burning (1991) which is only one of the best gay documentaries of all time; Yossi Jagger (2002) a wonderfully brief but impactful Israeli feature about two soldiers in love (that’s just spawned a sequel, in fact); the religious ethical angst of Priest (1995) starring a great Linus Roache is still powerful; (André Téchiné’s The Witnesses (2007) about the first days of the AIDS crisis in France; and even Ang Lee’s aforementioned breakthrough The Wedding Banquet (1993) about a closeted gay man’s struggle with his visiting family’s marital expectations for him. That’s but a small sampling.

Just think how far we’ve come. If a gay movie were released in 2012 called The Wedding Banquet everyone would assume it was a comedy about gay marriage. Now if only Hollywood would propose to us on bended knee with a slew of great new big-ticket LGBT films.

Nathaniel Rogers would live in the movie theater but for the poor internet reception. He blogs daily at the Film Experience. Follow him on Twitter @nathanielr.

Article source: http://www.towleroad.com/2012/06/gaypridemovies.html

Conservatives target Republicans who back gay marriage: ‘You could lose your career’

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

David Handschuh / Pool / Getty Images file

Couple Ray Durand (L) and his partner Dale Shields kiss while having their picture taken after their wedding ceremony at the Manhattan City Clerk’s office on the first day that New York State’s Marriage Equality Act went into effect on July 24, 2011 in New York City.

One year after New York lawmakers voted to make same-sex marriage legal in the state, opponents of gay marriage are pledging to unseat the Republicans whose support was key to the law’s passage, saying they want to send a message to other legislators that there are “consequences” to their votes.

The National Organization for Marriage, which opposes gay marriage, says it is funneling $2 million into the state to oust three state senators who voted to support the legislation. All three, Sens. Roy McDonald, Stephen Saland and Mark Grisanti, are facing primary challenges. A fourth GOP senator, Jim Alesi, already has said he won’t seek a ninth term due to local opposition over his pro-gay marriage stance.


Alesi, 64, and his three fellow GOP senators joined 29 Democrats on June 24, 2011, to give the bill a 33-29 victory. Though Alesi told msnbc.com he was sad to leave office, he said the vote on gay marriage was “irrevocable” and decried the actions of NOM as “purely revenge” and “blind hatred.”

“The focal point of running against good candidates (his three fellow GOP senators) … is nothing more than a bag of rocks that they’re carrying around and they’ll have to carry them for a long, long time because marriage isn’t going anywhere, it’s here,” he said.

Brian Brown, executive director of NOM, doesn’t shy away from the fact his group is hoping to intimidate wavering lawmakers into opposing gay marriage.

“The message is clear, that supporting same-sex marriage is a losing issue, not a winning issue,” Brown told msnbc.com. “You could lose your career over supporting same-sex marriage.”

He also doesn’t buy the argument that gay marriage is a settled issue in New York, even though a May 2012 poll by Quinnipac University found the state’s voters support same-sex marriage 54 to 37 percent.

“If we don’t get a vote this year, we’re going to work to get one next year. We’re not going away,” Brown said. “I think it’s just wishful thinking to say that once you have same-sex marriage the fight’s over. It’s not.”

Toward that end, NOM has spent $400,000 on issue ads, billboards, automated calls and direct mail as well as made direct donations through its New York PAC. It is planning to spend another $1.6 million to try to unseat McDonald, Saland and Grisanti as a result of their gay marriage votes.

Both McDonald and Saland face opponents strongly opposed to gay marriage, and their contests could turn on the issue. Grisanti also has faced criticism for his marriage vote, but his Republican opponent, Kevin Stocker, won’t say where he stands on the issue. Instead, Stocker argues the issue should have been put before voters, not enacted by the legislature, according to capitoltonight.com’s “State of Politics” blog.

“NOM is trying to use the choke point of a Republican primary to punish people who voted … the other way,” said Bruce Gyory, a political consultant in New York who supports gay marriage but did not work on the issue for either side. “NOM’s strategy is to try to take advantage of the more conservative factor …  that exists in Republican primaries and use that as an example to say to legislators in other states, ‘Don’t you dare vote for this because you’ll lose.’”

But Gyory, an adjunct professor of political science at Albany-SUNY, believes that if the New York lawmakers can escape their primaries, their support for gay marriage could work to their advantage.

Mike Groll / AP

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, center, hands pens to legislators after signing into law a bill legalizing same-sex marriage, at the Capitol in Albany, N.Y., on Friday, June 24, 2011. Behind Cuomo, from left, are Assemblyman Matthew Titone, Assemblyman Daniel O’Donnell, Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy, Sen. Thomas Duane and Sen. Jim Alesi.

“If you put it up to a general election test in these areas it would probably play to the benefit of these legislators rather than to their political detriment.”

Alesi said NOM and the money it is pouring into the state was not a factor in his decision not to seek re-election. He said they were “nowhere on the radar” in Rochester except for a billboard they put up in a remote part of his district. He also denied that a controversial local lawsuit over a personal injury factored into his decision. What it came down to, Alesi said, is that he had a strong Republican challenger, and had determined a bloody primary wouldn’t be worth ultimately losing a Republican-held seat to a Democrat.

“As much as I could easily have won in the general election, I thought it would be very difficult to get through a primary … where I’d have to challenge my own party,” Alesi said.

He said some of his supporters encouraged him to leave the Republican Party so his marriage vote wouldn’t be such a factor, but he didn’t want to do it.

Hans Pennink / AP file

Sen. Roy J. McDonald, R- Stillwater, left, talks with his Chief of Staff Patrick E. Poleto during a session of the New York State Senate at the Capitol in Albany, N.Y., Tuesday, June 14, 2011.

“I thought also that it was very important if I were going to run for re-election that I would do it as a Republican because I was a Republican when I voted for marriage equality, and at the time, I said that I think it’s important for other legislatures and other states to know that Republicans can vote for things like marriage equality,” he said, noting that he had said from early on, “Republicans can vote for this and go on with their political lives.”

To that end, The New York Times reported that billionaire hedge fund manager Paul Singer will give $1 million to begin a “super PAC” called American Unity PAC with several other Republicans. It will provide support to Republican candidates who favor same-sex marriage. Singer helped amass some $250,000 for each of the Republican New York state senators after NOM announced its efforts.

The New York primaries are in June and in September, and it remains to be seen how the three lawmakers will fare. But Alesi said he is fine with how everything turned out after his marriage vote, even though it is largely responsible for the end of his senate career

“I took the greatest vote I could have taken … I firmly and truly believe in equality,” he said, remembering that at the time of the vote he told himself, “If this is what the price is, it’s fine with me, because I can’t imagine having the opportunity to do anything this historic and this personally fulfilling again ever in my career … I am leaving very peacefully.”

Article source: http://usnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/06/24/12362770-conservatives-target-republicans-who-back-gay-marriage-you-could-lose-your-career?lite

Gay Marriage Opponent Recants Opposition for Fairness’ Sake

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

TORONTO (Reuters) – The roof of a busy shopping mall in northern Ontario partially collapsed on Saturday, creating a gaping hole that left shop fronts open to the sky, officials said. The collapse at the Algo Centre Mall in Elliot Lake, about 335 miles northwest of Toronto, occurred at about 2 p.m. EDT, a peak time for …

Article source: http://news.yahoo.com/gay-marriage-opponent-recants-opposition-fairness-sake-220500680.html

Gay Pride 2012: Celebrations Around The World (PHOTOS)

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

To say the first six months of 2012 have been epic for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights in the U.S. would be an understatement. It might be just our imagination, but the Rainbow flag seems to be standing a little bit taller this year than ever before — lifted, perhaps, by state-wide marriage equality victories in Maryland and (hopefully) Washington state, as well as President Obama’s historic endorsement of same-sex marriage.

In honor of Pride 2012, HuffPost Gay Voices asked its readers to submit personal photos of themselves celebrating — and truthfully, we couldn’t have predicted the amazing response we got!

The following slideshow represents the best photos we received over the course of the month. Of course, many known LGBT meccas are represented, from New York to Washington D.C. to Los Angeles. But we were thrilled to receive photos from cities with lesser-known LGBT communities, such as Columbus, Ohio and Indianapolis, Indiana, as well as shots from Pride festivities around the world, including Zurich, Switzerland and Sao Paulo, Brazil.


Take a look at the best reader-submitted photos from LGBT Pride celebrations below.

Loading Slideshow

  • New York

    From Scott G. Brown aka Gene Brown, a member and participant of the 1969 Stonewall Inn raid and riots:

    “My ailing health has prevented me from making this 1,200 mile trip by Bus for next week’s Pride Parade, but I can, truthfully, say that I was there in June 2011.”

  • Washington, D.C.

    From Ashley Bartolome: “I took these photos at the Pride Parade in Washington, DC on June 9, 2012.”

    What I love about pride is not only seeing but feeling the acceptance of everyone there. Gays, lesbians, heterosexuals and families attend every year supporting with cheers and smiles. I make it a point to attend pride every year not just for myself, but to give a voice and be a face for all LGBT people who can’t speak up due to their closets or fears. I want to show them that it’s ok to be who they are and there are countless Americans who accept them. I also like to be there out of respect for the LGBT who have been killed by others – or by their own hands – because of their sexuality.

  • Sao Paulo, Brazil

    From Welton Trindade, journalist and a gay activist: “I took part of Sao Paulo LGBT Parade. The march was realized on Sunday, June 10. That was the 16th edition of the event. Well, I wanted to show my body but a parade, in my opinion, is not just fun!

    So I’ve decided to show my muscles and, in the same time, to send a good message. The solution: to write ‘Poder gay’ (or ‘Gay power’) on my chest! It was a great experience!”

  • Zurich, Switzerland

    Vorstand, the organization team from the Zurich Pride Festival is meeting Federal Councillor Simonetta Sommaruga, from left: Chriss, Patrik, Nathalie, Simonetta Sommaruga and David.

  • West Hollywood, California

    From married couple Andi Carissa: “Our pup Simon enjoyed his first Pride Parade in West Hollywood on June 10!”

  • Tel Aviv, Israel

    From The Israel Project

  • Philadelphia

    From Daniel Douglass, founder/director of Flaggots: “Here’s a photo of FLAGGOTS performing to Whitney Houston’s ‘I Wanna Dance with Somebody’ at Philly Pride, June 10.

    FLAGGOTS are a group of friends from the color guard and drum corps community that come together to celebrate Pride in a most fabulous way. Founded in 1991, they have performed in at least one pride event a year for 23 consecutive years.’

  • Los Angeles

    Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Sergeant Don Mueller and LAX Airport Police Officer David Ayala celebrate pride as they prepare to march with over 60 other openly gay officers in the 2012 West Hollywood CSW Pride Parade.

  • Waikiki, Hawaii

    From Bob Brennan: “Also there was a party at Allah Moana Beach Park. Everybody was gay that day.”

  • Columbus, Ohio

    From Keli Stooksberry: The picture on the right is my friend Courtney talking to protesters. The picture on the left is of my partner DeAnna and I kissing in front of the protesters.

    This was my second pride and the first interaction with protesters. I was not surprised but still overwhelmed by their presence in such a wonderful and uplifting celebration. My friend Courtney had one of them speechless by the end of their conversation not by throwing obscenities his way but rather using her knowledge of scripture. Again, I was not surprised that the man she spoke with had no more knowledge of the bible than the words written on his sign but it was priceless to see him have nothing left to say because Courtney was right!

  • Queens, New York

    From Michael Cruz: “I am the Secretary of the Queens Pride Lions Club. We are the first LGBT Lions Club in NYC.

    Here is a photo of us marching in the Queens Pride 2012 parade on June 3.”

  • Indianapolis, Indiana

    From William George: “This is me at Indianapolis Pride 2012.

    I consider myself a Pride aficionado. I love all the togetherness and the fun times. This year’s Indianapolis Pride was the largest the city had ever hosted, with the festival expanding to twice the size it was previously. The headliners were Deborah Cox and Cazwell. While I didn’t get to see him in person, I snapped this picture next to a promotional poster of him.”

  • Madison, Wisconsin

    Jenny Lee tells us: “I am the girl wearing the rainbow sarong, under the banner that says ‘Coming out, coming together.’ It was taken in August 22, 2011 during a Wisconsin Pride parade. None of my friends was in the event. I had just finished my run that day when I noticed that something was going on.

    When I realized it was a LGBTQ Pride event, I went home home, grabbed my sarong that I got in Thailand and jumped right into the parade to show my support and that’s why the picture. I had only been in Madison, WI for about 3 months. I moved to the city for grad school. What I noticed about the community is that it’s liberal, tolerant and I felt belong…I’m straight and I stand for equality.”

  • Los Angeles

    Los Angeles County Sheriff Leroy Baca and LAPD Chief Charlie Beck march in the 2012 West Hollywood CSW Pride Parade with over 60 openly gay peace officers from the LASD, LAPD, FBI and other police departments throughout southern California.

  • Toronto, Canada

    From Melissa: “This is me and my partner Jean. The first picture was taken at Toronto Pride in 2010 — we are just up on Church Street. Our first pride and we are still very happily together 3 years later!”

  • Brooklyn, New York

    From Bob: “Five-year-old corgi Carter (recently rescued from a shelter in Alabama) steps out Brooklyn to celebrate his first LGBT Pride in New York City.”

  • Philadelphia

    From right to left: Stephanie (far right) with girlfriend Jackie (left of me) along with best friends Erika and Katie at Philadelphia Pride in front of the Ben Franklin Bridge at Penns Landing.

  • New York City

    Sharon Needles performs at the Barefoot Wine Pride Kick Off Celebration in NYC on June 20.

  • Boston

    From T.J.

  • Boston

    From T.J.

  • Charleston, West Virginia

    From Janet.

  • Amarillo, Texas

    Happy Gay Pride 2012 from Amarillo, TX — Route 66 Cadillac Ranch!

  • Amarillo, Texas

    Happy Gay Pride 2012 from Amarillo, Texas — Cadilliac Ranch!

  • Denver, Colorado

    I’m the one with the rainbow mohawk (Adam Barnhardt) the one with the Pink hair and football gear is Emilio Cordova, and the one in white with the body paint is Loa Brannigan.

    We were featured in Metro State’s student newspaper for our bizarre homemade outfits and all around theatrical method of showing pride in our true colors.

  • Waikiki, Hawaii

    From Bob Brennan: “It was a gay (happy) sunny day on O’ahu. First there was a parade from Allah Moana Beach park to Kapiolani Park where there was a celebration. Also there was a party at Allah Moana Beach Park.”

  • Detroit, Michigan

    From Gary.

  • Huntington, New York

    From Maosung Yao: “I went to [Long Island Pride] with my partner Walter last weekend and we had a good time with our friends as well.

    The pride was great even thought it was small.

  • Los Angeles

    From Angela Huerta, rider: “First time [Kristin Holloway and I] participated in Dykes on Bikes!”

  • New York City

    Sharon Needles performs at the Barefoot Wine Pride Kick Off Celebration in NYC on June 20.

  • Sacramento, California

  • Washington, D.C.

    From Ashley Bartolome: “I want to show them that it’s ok to be who they are and there are countless Americans who accept them. I also like to be there out of respect for the LGBT who have been killed by others — or by their own hands — because of their sexuality.”

  • Washington, D.C.

    The Latin American Youth Center (LAYC) is a multicultural youth agency for youth of all backgrounds with the mission to support youth and their families to live, work, and study with dignity, hope and joy.

    LAYC staff and youth participants walked in the parade with hand-made tie-dye t-shirts handing out candy and information about LAYC’s LGBT support services. We had a fantastic time feeling the love and support of the community.

  • New York City

    Sharon Needles fans root her on at the Barefoot Wine Pride Kick Off Celebration on June 20.

  • Boston

    Miss Trans New England

  • Boston

    From T.J.

  • Washington, D.C.

    Jeff, Sal and Michael enjoy beverages in the scorching heat.

  • Cedar Rapids, Iowa

    From Kelly Gassman: “This is just one of the better photos I captured at our Cedar Rapids Pride Festival on June 2.”

  • New York City

    Ladyfag appears at the Barefoot Wine Pride Kick Off Celebration in NYC on June 20.

  • Los Angeles

    California Attorney General Kamala Harris speaking at the Getty House during the Mayor’s Garden Party kicking off Pride in Los Angeles: “I am a daughter of parents who met when they fought for civil rights in the ’60s.

    I would not be standing here if people did not live and die in a courageous fight to defend everyone’s civil rights.”

  • Los Angeles

    L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa at the Getty House for the Mayor’s Garden Party celebrating Pride 2012.

  • New York City

    Gerald McCullouch and Benjamin Soloman enjoy the Barefoot Wine Pride Kick Off Celebration on June 20.

  • Long Beach, California

    From Albert D’Orazio: “I attended my first ever Gay Pride event at Long Beach, CA on May 20. It was fun. Pretty damn tame compared to what I hear what goes on at Mardi Gras.

    It was awesome to celebrate diversity and to commemorate our struggle as a minority and to celebrate the rights we achieved.”

  • Zurich, Switzerland

    Federal Councillor Simonetta Sommaruga gives a speech at Zurich’s pride celebration.

  • Providence, Rhode Island

    This is a picture of my girlfriend Bethany and me, Chelsea. Our shirts read “She’s The Other Half Of My Rainbow.”

    We went to our state’s, Rhode Island, pride on Saturday, June 16. It was amazing. Everyone there kept telling us they loved our shirts, other LGBT couples told us their love stories, and even single ones saying they wish they had a love like ours.

    It made me so proud and happy to be out and happily in a gay relationship.

  • Key West, Florida

    From Marc: “Our first trip to Key West was for 2012 Pride. We were struck not only by the heat of the sun, but the hotness of the go-go boys, the warmth of the residents and the unique, laid back aura of the Conch
    Republic.

    The celebration was impressive for a small town. It reminded us of a miniature version of Chicago’s Pride, which we enjoyed last year. This pic was taken during the Pride parade.”

  • New York City

    A guest parties at the Barefoot Wine Pride Kick Off Celebration in NYC on June 20.

  • Tel Aviv, Israel

    From The Israel Project.

And we’re still taking contributions, too! Please end us a photo of you, along with your significant other, family and friends, celebrating LGBT Pride in your city, along with some details.

ALL ENTRIES MUST include your first name and that of your friends (if applicable), along with the date and location of the Pride event you’re attending.

A short (6 lines or less) anecdote telling us about the experience would be great, too!

Send your submissions to GayVoices@huffingtonpost.com and have your Pride photo featured on the HuffPost Gay Voices page!

DISCLAIMER: By sending us your photo and anecdote, you are giving us permission to consider publishing them on our page, as well as distributed via our Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and Instagram accounts.

Earlier on HuffPost:

Article source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/23/gay-pride-celebrations-around-the-world_n_1621815.html?utm_hp_ref=mostpopular

Gay Activists Flipping Bird at White House Flips Off Americans

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

Yesterday Philadelphia magazine published photos of three Pennsylvania gay activists making hand gestures in front of presidential portraits after being invited by President Barack Obama to the White House’s recent LGBT pride reception. While Philadelphia Gay News publisher Mark Segal did a sarcastic thumbs-up pose in front of the portrait of George W. Bush and remained above most of the media criticism, his colleagues Matthew Hart, National Director for Public Engagement at Solutions for Progress, and photographer  Zoe Strauss (pictured here) gave former President Ronald Reagan’s portrait the middle finger. According to Philadelphia, Hart posted his photo on Facebook with the caption, “Fuck Reagan” and later told reporters,“Yeah, fuck Reagan. Ronald Reagan has blood on his hands. The man was in the White House as AIDS exploded, and he was happy to see plenty of gay men and queer people die. He was a murderous fool, and I have no problem saying so. Don’t invite me back. I don’t care.”

That’s just what happened. After the Drudge Report picked up the story yesterday, it made its way to D.C. and the White House issued a statement, telling Fox News that the two bird flippers won’t be invited back.

“While the White House does not control the conduct of guests at receptions, we certainly expect that all attendees conduct themselves in a respectful manner. Most all do,” said White House spokesperson Shin Inouye.  “These individuals clearly did not. Behavior like this doesn’t belong anywhere, least of all in the White House.”

 

Even some gay activists came out against the bird flippers.

Christian A. Berle, Deputy Executive Director of the gay organization Log Cabin Republicans says, “It is unfortunate that the image conservative America is seeing today of LGBT people is of gay leftists misbehaving at the White House, rather than
the millions of patriotic, decent LGBT citizens, many of whom, like Log Cabin Republicans, hold President Ronald Reagan in high esteem. Log Cabin Republicans are particularly offended by these images, given that our organization’s founders sought and received the aid of then former-Governor Reagan in support of gay rights in California in the 1970s. These photographs have hurt our community and make advocating for inclusion and equality more difficult. The participants should be ashamed.”

 

Article source: http://www.advocate.com/politics/washington-dc/2012/06/23/gay-activists-flipping-bird-white-house-flips-americans

Gay WWII Hero Death Not Suicide

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

The 100th birthday of the late Alan Turing, the gay British mathematician and computer theorist whose work decoding the infamous German Enigma machine is often credited with winning WWII, may have been overshadowed by Pride celebrations in the U.S. today but both Google and researchers in his native country didn’t forget.

Today Google honored Turing, who died in 1954 and is often called the father of artificial intelligence, with an animated “Turning machine” Google doodle. A Turing machine, according to PC magazine’s Damon Poeter, was not an actual computer but rather “a hypothetical one that still serves as a fundamental tool for understanding how algorithms, computer programming, and computing itself works.” (Poeter included clips of Turing’s 1948 essay ”Intelligent Machinery” which explains this conceptual computer, a fascinating read for math geeks and gay history buffs for sure.)

Meanwhile, at a conference today in Oxford, England, professor Jack Copeland, an expert on Alan Turing, told surprised visitors that Turing’s 1954 death was not a suicide, as has widely been assumed. According to a fascinating account in BBC News, Copeland questioned the evidence that was presented at the 1954 inquest into Turing’s death, calling it insufficient to rule the death a suicide. 

Turing died of cyanide poisoning and a half eaten apple was found near his bed. Legend goes that Turing was fascinated with the fairy tale of Snow White and poisoned himself with an apple to end the persecution he was getting for being gay. But Copeland argues that Turing ate an apple every night before bed (something others knew as well), the apple was never tested for cyanide, and there were no indications anywhere that Turing was anything less than upbeat and forward thinking. He even wrote a to-do list for the next week.

Knowing Turing’s history might make it easy to understand suicide, wrote BBC’s Roland Pease. After all, in 1952, after he had reported a burglary, the war hero was investigated for “acts of gross indecency” because he had had a male lover in his house. Instead of prison, Turing accepted what was called “chemical castration,” essentially hormone treatment to suppress his sexual desire.”

But, according to BBC News, Copeland argues that regardless of how horrendous that treatment was, by all accounts Turing took it in stride, often joking about his situation. 

Still at the inquest, the coroner who claimed Turing’s death a suicide, JAK Ferns,  told participants, “In a man of his type, one never knows what his mental processes are going to do next.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Article source: http://www.advocate.com/politics/military/2012/06/23/gay-wwii-hero-death-not-suicide

Tyson Gay finishes in 10 seconds flat, Gatlin records a 9.9 and Eaton stays on record pace

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

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Article source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/a-breeze-in-the-rain-richards-ross-merritt-move-on-easily-at-olympic-trials/2012/06/22/gJQAy4jHwV_story.html

Gay makes it through in 10 seconds flat

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

EUGENE, Ore. — Ashton Eaton likes to compare decathlons to life – the ups and downs, the good and bad, the setbacks and comebacks.

Over two dreary days at the Olympic trials that finally ended with a bright ray of sunshine Saturday evening, Eaton found out just how good life can be.

He’s the world-record holder in the decathlon, the cream of the crop in the hallowed and history-filled event that has long identified the world’s greatest athlete.

Needing a personal best in the grueling finale, the 1,500 meters, to get the record, Eaton came through, running the last event in 4 minutes, 14.48 seconds to finish with 9,039 points and beat Roman Sebrle’s 11-year-old mark by 13 points.

“It’s like living an entire lifetime in two days,” Eaton said. “It doesn’t mean that much to the rest of the world, but to me, it’s my whole world. To do the best that I possibly could in my world makes me pretty happy.”

Eaton joined the likes of Bruce Jenner, Dan O’Brien, Bob Mathias and Rafer Johnson among the Americans who have held the world record. He did it on the 100th anniversary of the first Olympic decathlon – and many of the American greats who have made history in the event were on hand to watch Eaton.

“I thought he showed some real courage,” Johnson said. “He hung in there and figured out a way to win. He was brilliant in everything he did.”

He did it in terrible weather – drizzle, rain, cold and then, finally, sunshine as he got ready for the final 1,500-meter push.

“It’s like the 11th event,” runner-up Trey Hardee, the defending world champion, said about the weather. “I hope when they put his name in the record books, they’ll put every parenthesis, asterisk and every other mark you can put down. Every athlete out there tries to act like that stuff doesn’t bother them, but it does.”

Eaton, the 24-year-old and a former NCAA champion for University of Oregon, needed to beat his personal-best time of 4:18.94 in the 1,500 by at least 2.57 seconds to break the mark. He did that, and then some.

When it was over, he bent down and put his hands on his knees, then brought them up to cover his mouth. Tears were falling – elation and shock at the same time.

A few minutes later, he took the mini American flag he’d been handed as a newly minted member of the U.S. Olympic team and stabbed it into the turf near the scoreboard that displayed his accomplishment: “World Record Decathlon. Ashton Eaton. 9,039 points.” Photographers lined up for the historic shoot. Certainly, Eaton will own a copy or two by the time this night is over.

“The kid is phenomenal,” said Bryan Clay, the defending Olympic champion, who fell in the hurdles and finished 12th. “There’s no other way to describe him.”

What to do for an encore?

We’ll see in six weeks in London, where he’ll go in as the favorite, along with Hardee, who finished 656 points back and was every bit the fan when the last race was over.

“I don’t think it changes anything for the Olympics,” Hardee said. “It was his before we started yesterday and it still is now. It hasn’t sunk in for Ashton. For me, it’s something down the road that I’ll tell my kids, my friends, my nephews about. I’ll say, `See, I saw it. I’ve got the pictures to prove it.’”

While Eaton earned his place in history, the women’s 100 final provided a much less-concrete result.

After a long review, race officials determined Allyson Felix and Jeneba Tarmoh finished in a dead-heat for third place, each at 11.068 seconds. Only three spots are available at the Olympics and USA Track and Field officials were huddling, trying to solve a problem for which there is no written solution. Carmelita Jeter won the race in 10.92.

Elsewhere, Lolo Jones’ leaned at the finish line to earn the third and final Olympic spot in the 100 hurdles by 0.04 seconds. Dawn Harper won in 12.73. Tyson Gay made it through his first 100 heat cleanly, while LaShawn Merritt, Jeremy Wariner and Sanya Richards-Ross all advanced in the 400.

Nobody, however, covered more ground, or did it better, than Eaton.

He opened his pursuit Friday by setting world-best marks for the decathlon in his first two events, the 100 (10.21 seconds) and long jump (27 feet). He had a mark of 46 feet, 7 1/4 inches in shot put, cleared 6-8 3/4 in the high jump and ran the 400 in a driving rainstorm in 46.70 seconds to finish the first day in the mix for the world record.

He returned Saturday to equally dreary weather, but didn’t slip. The results: 13.70 seconds in the 110 hurdles, 140-5 inches in the discus, and 17-4 1/2 in the pole vault. His javelin throw of 193-1 meant he would need to top his personal best to set the world record.

The sun finally peaked out shortly before Eaton made it to the starting line, illuminating his green and black shirt and orange shoes. He stayed on pace the entire time and crossed the line with nearly 2 seconds to spare.

Eaton also overtook O’Brien’s American record of 8,891 points, which he set in 1992 – nine years before Sebrle became the first man to break 9,000 points.

“He didn’t have any letdowns,” O’Brien said. “It’s real easy when you’re way ahead to have that letdown. That’s what separates him from even myself. I don’t know if I would’ve run my guts out in the 1,500.”

Eaton’s record adds another chapter to a rich history of decathlon success in the United States.

Back in 1976, Jenner put the event squarely in the spotlight, winning the Montreal Olympics and becoming a celebrity when he returned home. He was on the front of the Wheaties box back then, and the fact that he’s on the front of it now – as part of a retro marketing campaign – is as good an argument as any to show how the event has fallen in stature over the last few decades.

But that hardly diminishes this accomplishment.

It was, he said, more than he expected. He came here simply hoping to make the Olympic team. He’ll leave with a spot in the history books.

“It’s not just numbers,” he said. “It’s all the little stuff that you guys don’t get to see that kind of makes this thing possible. There’s really very few words to describe it, so unfortunately, I’m brief in that respect.”

Article source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/huff-wires/20120623/oly-ath-track-trials/

Trials of Tyson Gay: Sprinter ready to test hip

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Nearly a year ago, Tyson Gay was undergoing surgery on his right hip, wondering if there was any way he would be ready for the London Olympics.

Three months ago, the sprinter could train only on grass because the pounding from the track aggravated his hip. Two weeks ago, he ran his first competitive race and felt a twinge of soreness the next day.

In the days leading to the Olympic trials, he climbed out of bed with only a little tightness.

To him, that’s as good as it’s going to get.

Now he heads into the 100 meters this weekend at the trials with this thought: He’s healthy enough to make it back to the Olympics.

“I’m feeling fast,” said Gay, who easily won his first-round heat on a cool and damp Saturday. “And physically, I’m OK. Everybody is feeling something. I think I’m just living with that right now.”

Four or five years ago, before Usain Bolt burst onto the scene, Gay was touted as the favorite for the Beijing Olympics, the man to beat in track and field. These days, he is the sport’s biggest question mark.

Gay said his performance at a “B” meet this month in New York gave him all the confidence he needed. In that race, Gay finished in 10.00 seconds while running into a headwind. It was basically the equivalent of the time that Jamaica’s Yohan Blake, one of the favorites heading into London, ran later that day in the marquee event.

“Everything went well,” Gay said.

Just as he expected.

Gay has been stepping up his training in practice, too. And while his hip hasn’t exactly felt miraculously better, he’s at least now to the point where he thinks he can handle the grind of a long meet.

“I’m still waiting for the moment when I wake up and don’t feel anything,” said Gay, who turns 30 in August. “A lot of people know I’m a fighter. It would be great if I make it. I’ve been through so much.”

His plan at trials is simple: Get through the first round Saturday expending as little energy as possible and then head straight to the trainer’s table. He’s going to rely on a team of trainers and a few ice baths to make sure he’s able to answer the bell for the semifinals Sunday and then — if everything goes according to the script — the final, which are 2 hours, 18 minutes after the semis.

“Then I’ll let it all hang out in the final,” Gay said.

Gay realizes there are lots of people counting him out. This is a deep field and includes Olympic bronze medal winner Walter Dix, ’04 Olympic gold medalist Justin Gatlin, ’09 national champion Mike Rodgers and savvy veteran Doc Patton.

“These guys are not going to sit down and let me come back after a year and give it to me easy,” Gay said.

No, they’re not.

But they also respect Gay, who’s the American record holder in the event. If he’s on the track, he has their attention.

“We all know he’s a good runner,” Gatlin said. “It’s just this: Will he be able to run through the rounds, especially as each one becomes more and more competitive?”

Gay’s wondering the same thing. He’s simulated running rounds in Dallas under the direction of one of his coaches, Jon Drummond. Gay sprinted 60 meters, closely followed by another 80-meter jaunt.

Then, he repeated the process over and over.

“When I was supposed to be done, when I was tired, tired of running, Drummond was like, ‘Give me one more 60. This is the final,’” Gay recounted. “We tried to replicate complete fatigue, how you’re going to feel in the final. I want to run fast. I’m going try to do it.”

There’s another mental hurdle to clear besides his hip — Hayward Field.

It was on this track four years ago when Gay crumbled in pain during the first 40 meters of his 200-meter qualifying race. He had to be carted off with a mild muscle strain in the back of his left leg.

Last summer, Gay pulled out of the 100 at Hayward Field because of his nagging hip, which eventually led to season-ending surgery.

“I have exciting memories at this track, because it’s fast,” said Gay, who isn’t planning on competing in the 200. “I don’t really think about 2008.”

Yet he does think about catching Bolt.

Maybe not a lot yet — he has to make the team first — but he may should he earn a spot. He’s one of the few able to keep up with the world-record holder in recent years — or as much as anyone can at least.

Gay feels he missed a great opportunity in Beijing — he wasn’t at his best as he struggled with the injury from the trials. He didn’t qualify for the final against Bolt when the Jamaican broke the world mark.

“It was amazing, watching that guy put on that kind of performance,” Gay said.

Asked how much competing in London would mean to him, given all he’s been through, Gay whispered, “Everything.”

“It means a lot more, when you have to struggle, breathing heavy in training, you’re sore and coming back from injury — it makes it so much better,” Gay said. “If you’re like some robot, and can do anything and everything, it’s not as sweet.”

Article source: http://www.mlive.com/newsflash/index.ssf/story/trials-of-tyson-gay-sprinter-ready-to/5540c07905544db191d606187899b480

Berlin gay pride parade draws 700,000

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

Camp costumes and colourful drag flooded the streets of Berlin on Saturday as hundreds of thousands took part in the city’s annual Christopher Street Day gay pride parade.

Marching and dancing to thumping techno music, the crowds made their way from the cosmopolitan Kreuzberg district to the Brandenburg Gate, where DJs and musicians were scheduled to keep the party going until midnight.

The German capital’s gay mayor, Klaus Wowereit, kicked off the event. Organisers said 700,000 people had taken part in the parade, which celebrated its 34th anniversary this year.

The treatment of homosexuals in Russia was a hot topic at the parade, with some participants bearing giant portraits of President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev retouched in the flamboyant style of gay French artists Pierre and Gilles.

Gay pride parades are banned in Moscow and since 2006 have been systematically dispersed when organisers try to start them.

Homosexuality was a crime in Russia until 1993 and was classified as a mental illness until 1999.

Christopher Street Day parades commemorate the Stonewall uprising of June 28, 1969, when police harassment at a New York gay bar sparked five days of rioting that launched the US gay rights movement.

Article source: http://news.yahoo.com/berlin-gay-pride-parade-draws-700-000-190241204.html

Poll: Americans’ Views on Gay Marriage Remain the Same After Obama’s Endorsement

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

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A new poll has found that President Barack Obama’s recent endorsement of same-sex marriage has not really swayed the opinion on gay marriage in the country, though it has solidified both sides of the debate in their stance.

The Associated Press-GfK survey found that Americans remain divided on gay marriage – 42 percent support the traditional definition of marriage as between one man and one woman, 40 percent are in favor of same-sex marriage, while 15 percent are neutral.

Americans were similarly divided last year, before Obama made his endorsement (45 percent opposed and 42 percent favored). The only difference this time is that Democrats and liberals support the president even more in the way he has handled issues on homosexuality.

Republicans largely remain opposed to changing the definition of marriage, however.

“Marriage is a marriage, and it’s between a man and a woman,” said John Von Sneidern, a 76-year-old Republican from Fairfield, Conn., who responded to the AP poll. “But on the other side of that, there are a lot of gay couples who are responsible and dedicated to each other and deserve a lot of the benefits of marriage,” he added, sharing that he plans to vote for GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney in the general election this November.

“It’s not marriage,” said 65-year-old social conservative Bethel Hissom of Knoxville, Tenn. “It will probably help his chances at being re-elected. It will get the gay population in favor of that and that could swing votes to his favor. But it is not marriage,” she remarked on Obama’s endorsement.

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Some Democrats, however, see opposition to same-sex marriage as playing politics over respecting people’s rights.

“They fight him every step of the way and talk about things that don’t matter, like gay marriage,” offered Katherine Galdarisi, a 67-year-old Democrat from Sacramento, Calif.

“It’s none of anybody’s business,” she added. “It doesn’t affect me in the least.”

Democrats and liberals still want more from the president when it comes to affirming same-sex marriage in the country, however. A year before Obama’s gay marriage endorsement in May, only 26 percent of Democrats and 28 percent of liberals were satisfied with his handling of gay marriage in the country. Those numbers are up to 41 and 48 percent, respectively, though as the statistics show, most respondents still want Obama to do more for gay rights.

The reverse figures are true for Republicans – 53 percent of Republicans disapprove of the way Obama has handled same-sex marriage as opposed to 45 percent last year, and 52 percent of conservatives disagree now, up from 43 percent before his endorsement.

The Associated Press-GfK Poll surveyed by phone 1,007 adults nationwide, including 878 registered voters, June 14-18, 2012.

Article source: http://global.christianpost.com/news/poll-americans-views-on-gay-marriage-remain-the-same-after-obamas-endorsement-77099/

Gay runs 100m qualifying in 10 seconds

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

EUGENE, Ore. (AP)

Tyson Gay eased through his first 100-meter qualifying heat in the U.S. Olympic trials Saturday, winning in 10 seconds flat.

LeBron James

OLYMPICS NEWS

Gay, mending from a hip injury that kept him out of action for most of the past year, matched the time he ran in his return in New York earlier this month. That race was into a headwind. This time, on a rainy day in Eugene, he had a slight tailwind.

Justin Gatlin, the 2004 Olympic champion, won his heat in 9.90 seconds, keeping alive his bid to return to the Olympics after missing 2008 because of a doping ban.

In the decathlon, Ashton Eaton was on pace through nine events to break Dan O’Brien’s 20-year-old American record and still had a chance at the world record, as well.

Article source: http://msn.foxsports.com/olympics/story/Tyson-Gay-makes-100-meter-Olympic-qualifying-in-10-seconds-062312

Gay eager to put surgically repaired hip to test

Saturday, June 23rd, 2012

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Article source: http://sports.yahoo.com/news/gay-eager-put-surgically-repaired-170800494--oly.html

Should Gay Mormons Marry Women? Some Say It’s An Option

Saturday, June 23rd, 2012

SALT LAKE CITY (RNS) In the summer of 2008, Sarah Irish Nicholson’s well-ordered Mormon life was unraveling, and she needed someone to talk to.

Nicholson’s husband of 13 years, whom she had loved since they were madrigal partners in high school, told her he was gay. Latter-day Saints in her suburban neighborhood west of Salt Lake City kept saying gay-rights advocacy was Satan’s work, she said.

Though the couple remained together at first, several local Mormon leaders were not only unsympathetic, they also were openly hostile to the news.

Nicholson, who still was clinging to her LDS faith, wanted a place to share stories, cry, laugh and encourage. She turned to straightspouse.org, an umbrella organization for some 55 similar groups.

But she felt many of those posting there were bitter and just wanted to vent. So she launched straightspouses.org, which invites people to join a private Facebook support group.

Last fall, there were 14 members. Today there are 45, mostly Utah Mormons, but some in other states and other faiths.

Now the rest of the world is taking note of Mormon “mixed-orientation marriages,” as they have become known, thanks to a recent blog post in which Josh Weed and his wife, Lolly, told the story of their relationship.

Weed, a marriage and family therapist in the Northwest, has known he was gay since his teens, and Lolly was the first person he told. They’ve been married 10 years and have three daughters.

Weed’s post went viral, generating more than 3,000 comments, and he was inundated with media requests.

Yet if Josh and Lolly Weed have become the LDS’ best-known “mixed-orientation marriage,” the stories of other couples in similar circumstances show there is no single answer for every situation.

Just a few weeks before Weed’s revelation, a similar story was making the rounds in LDS circles when Ty Mansfield, a gay Mormon married to a woman, was featured on the May/June cover of LDS Living magazine.

In 2004, Mansfield wrote a section of the book “In Quiet Desperation: Understanding the Challenge of Same-Gender Attraction.” As a single man with same-sex attractions, he didn’t believe he would ever marry. Six years later, he met the woman who would become his wife.

“Sexuality is more fluid than we think,” Mansfield, a therapist in Texas, said in an interview. “Everything fell into place, and we took that step. It continues to feel like it’s the right move for me.”

Some Mormons are also becoming more open about their decisions.

When The Salt Lake Tribune profiled three mixed-orientation marriages in 2006, for example, the article included the Weeds. At the time, Josh Weed insisted on using a pseudonym.

“For 10 years, I felt strongly we needed to keep things quiet,” Weed said in an interview from his home in Auburn, Wash. “Then that changed. My wife voiced it first. We needed to be more authentic. It was time to tell our story.”

On the other hand, another gay man in The Tribune piece, who lives in the Midwest and used the pseudonym “Landon,” still guards his privacy.

“Our relationship continues to be like any marriage,” he said in a recent interview. “Our commitment is not influenced by that [orientation] issue.”

The most open couple in the article was Ben and Jessie Christensen, of Orem, Utah.

Jessie knew Ben was gay before they married but believed they could make it work. They had two kids in 2006 and were upbeat about the future. Now they have one more child and divorced last year.

“I still think that getting married to Ben was a good decision and that it was the right one at the time,” Jessie writes in an email.

Ultimately, it may have been Ben’s loss of faith that doomed the marriage.

“Neither of us realized at the time how much his homosexuality affected his membership in the church and his feelings about the gospel,” she writes.

Jessie is a “wonderful, wonderful person. I love her as much as I ever did,” Ben said. But he said he felt dead inside, conflicted and without peace. Now Ben hopes to find a man to marry as he continues to love and support his children.

Jessica Rodgers Trueman and her husband, who came out to her right before their 10th wedding anniversary, also eventually divorced. The pair met in the theater department at college. She had known LDS gays her whole life and saw no reason why anyone would be closeted.

So it “rocked her world” when, her husband, an active Mormon, told Trueman he was gay. He also wanted to keep his orientation a secret. “I didn’t know who to talk to, didn’t know who I could trust,” she said. “I felt ashamed.”

Friends in her Idaho ward have been “incredibly loving and kind,” Trueman said. But she saw her husband slip into depression, disengagement and unemployment.

Finally, her husband got a spiritual confirmation that God loved him as he was. She knew then that they should get divorced, and both would get through it.

Trueman has recently found solace in Nicholson’s support group. After all, the organization’s founder shares her story.

When Nicholson’s husband came out, the couple, who had four kids, stayed together. Then they had a fifth child — a pregnancy that was tough on her body and on her mind.

She had lost her Mormon community and worried that her marriage was over. One night, she recalls, she cried out to God, “Just let me die in childbirth. I don’t want to do this anymore.”

Now, she is divorced and finds purpose in reaching out to other Mormon women facing a similar challenge.

She feels she has an important role to play — sort of like a church calling.

(Peggy Fletcher Stack writes for The Salt Lake Tribune.)

Also on HuffPost:

Article source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/23/gay-mormons-marry-women_n_1620142.html

Gay pride rally in Greece is attacked

Saturday, June 23rd, 2012

By Associated Press

ATHENS, Greece (AP) – Police say about 50 people threw eggs and plastic bottles of water at about 400 people holding a gay pride parade in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki.

Police moved in to restrict the attackers on Saturday, but no injuries were reported.

In recent days, Anthimos, the senior Greek Orthodox cleric in Thessaloniki, had publicly criticized the planned gay pride parade. Anthimos, who only uses one name, is known for outspoken speeches on social and political issues.

An annual gay pride rally is annually held in Athens, the Greek capital, and normally occurs without incident.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Article source: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/47930395

Bryan Fischer Slams Gay Rights, Abortion And Environmentalism As ‘The Work Of Satan Himself’

Saturday, June 23rd, 2012

Bryan Fischer’s latest anti-gay rant just might be his most scathing yet.

As Right Wing Watch is reporting, the American Family Association-based, uber-conservative pundit took to the airwaves again this week, slamming gay rights, abortion and even environmentalism as “the work of Satan himself.”

“Any time you see some kind of agenda that is anti-human being, it’s anti-baby, it’s anti-humanity, it’s anti-population growth, you’re looking at something that ultimately comes from Satan himself,” he begins. “We remind Satan of the God that he hates and so he wants to stir up in human beings the same kind of hatred for humanity that he has.”

Fischer then declares, “He will use the pro-gay movement to do it, because you can’t get human beings out of the homosexual lifestyle; it’s not possible so that’s one way to slow population growth. …So anywhere you see that anti-human agenda, you are looking at the work of Satan himself.”

Fischer’s anti-gay proclamations are being a near-weekly occurrence. Last week, he condemned adoption by same-sex couples as “a form of child abuse.” Earlier in June, he urged conservatives to “reclaim discrimination” against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, whom he had previously compared to those who “eat the faces off homeless people,” in a nod to the recent spate of disturbing cannibalism cases.

Take a look at some of Fischer’s earlier rants, along with those of other anti-LGBT pundits, below:

Loading Slideshow

  • Bryan Fischer: Gay Adoption Is ‘A Form Of Child Abuse’

    The American Family Association evangelist sounded off on a controversial study about gay parenting, which claimed to find disadvantages for children raised by same-sex parents. Fischer spoke about the study on his “Focal Point” talk show, labeling adoption by same-sex couples as “a form of child abuse.”

    Of course, Fischer didn’t stop there, making a point to condemn gay sex, too. “The sex that’s involved in homosexual behavior — it’s unnatural, it is immoral and it is unhealthy,” he proclaimed.

  • Bryan Fischer Compares Gays To Cannibals

    “It is altogether right for a rational culture to discriminate against homosexual behavior,” Fischer said. “I am saying, yes, that’s exactly what DOMA does and it should…because [homosexuality] is not a benign alternative to heterosexuality…we ought to discriminate.”

    Right Wing Watch also noted that Fischer’s declarations echoed those made in a blog piece he wrote last week, in which he compared LGBT people to the disturbing spate of cannibalism cases currently making headlines.

  • Pastor Worley: Gays And Lesbians Should Be Put In An Electrified Pen And Ultimately Killed Off

    The pastor, identified on YouTube as Charles L. Worley of Providence Road Baptist Church in Maiden, N.C., condemns President Obama’s much-publicized endorsement of same-sex marriage while calling for gays and lesbians to be put in an electrified pen and ultimately killed off.

    “Build a great, big, large fence — 150 or 100 mile long — put all the lesbians in there,” Worley suggests in the clip, reportedly filmed on May 13. “Do the same thing for the queers and the homosexuals and have that fence electrified so they can’t get out…and you know what, in a few years, they’ll die out…do you know why? They can’t reproduce!”

  • Pastor Suggests Gays Should Be Prosecuted Like They Were Historically

    Ron Baity, founding pastor of Winston-Salem’s Berean Baptist Church and head of the anti-marriage equality organization Return America, referred to homosexuality as “a perverted lifestyle” in a Sunday sermon before telling his congregation that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people should be prosecuted, Good as You is reporting.

    “For 300 years, we had laws that would prosecute that lifestyle,” he is quoted as saying. “We’ve gone down the wrong path. We’ve become so dumb that we have accepted a lie for the truth, and we’ve…discarded the truth on the shoals of shipwreck!”

  • Pastor Sean Harris: Parents Should ‘Punch’ Their Effeminate Children

    “So your little son starts to act a little girlish when he is four years old and instead of squashing that like a cockroach and saying, ‘Man up, son, get that dress off you and get outside and dig a ditch, because that is what boys do,’ you get out the camera and you start taking pictures of Johnny acting like a female and then you upload it to YouTube and everybody laughs about it and the next thing you know, this dude, this kid is acting out childhood fantasies that should have been squashed.”

  • Pastor Slams Gay Marriage, Suggests Unions Between ‘Person And A Beast’ Could Be Next

    Tim Rabon, pastor at Raleigh’s Beacon Baptist Church, condemned states such as Massachusetts, Connecticut and Maryland which have already “re-defined” marriage to include lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) couples.

    As heard in this recording, Rabon asked his congregation, “What is stopping them from refining marriage from a person and a beast? We’re not far from that.”

  • Tamara Scott: Gay Marriage Leads To Eiffel Tower Marriage

  • Bryan Fischer On Why Gays Are Responsible For The Nazi Party

  • Pastor Wooden Says Gay Sex Causes Gay Men To Need Diapers

  • Linda Harvey: Don’t Let Gay Doctors Attend To Your Children

  • Robertson Compares Polygamy, Bestiality And Pedophilia To Gay Marriage

  • Scott Lively: Gay-Straight Alliances Are Designed To Recruit Kids

  • Tony Perkins: ‘If You Want A Military That Just Does Parades,’ Allow Gays To Openly Serve

  • James Robison: ‘The Enemy’ Is Using ‘Glee’ To Destroy America

  • Newt Gingrich: Gay Marriage A ‘Perfect Example Of What I Mean By The Rise Of Paganism’

  • Daniel Lapin: Gays Should’ve Been Quarantined To fight AIDS

  • Pat Robertson Advises Father To Seek Ex-Gay Conversion For Gay Son

  • Bryan Fischer On How ‘Poppers’ And Promiscuity Causes AIDS

  • Liberty Counsel Warns That Macy’s LGBT Policy Could Lead To Rape, Sexual Assault

Article source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/22/bryan-fischer-gay-rights-abortion-environmentalism_n_1619128.html

Frenchie Davis confirms she is gay

Saturday, June 23rd, 2012

Valerie Macon/Getty Images

Reality TV star Frenchie Davis has come out as a lesbian.

The singer, who has competed on both “American Idol” and “The Voice,” has been dating a woman for the last year.

She tells Missouri newspaper the St. Louis Post Dispatch, “I wasn’t out (as a gay woman) before the relationship, but I wasn’t in. I dated men and women, though lesbians weren’t feeling the bisexual thing. Now I’m in love with a woman I think I can be with forever.”

Davis, who also starred in the Broadway musical “Rent,” went on to voice her support for gay men ahead of her performance at the Chicago Pride Fest in Illinois this weekend.

She adds, “I love the gay boys. They have that awesome, masculine energy, but there’s also something else going on as well.”

Davis shot to fame on “American Idol” in 2003, but was sensationally disqualified as a semi-finalist after it emerged she had posed topless for an adult website.

Christina Aguilera mentored her on the first season of TV talent show “The Voice” last year.

Article source: http://blog.sfgate.com/dailydish/2012/06/22/frenchie-davis-confirms-she-is-gay/

Editorial: Pride parade can celebrate big gains for gay rights – Chicago Sun

Saturday, June 23rd, 2012

Editorials

June 22, 2012 7:36PM

Onlookers celebrate at a recent Pride Parade in Chicago. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times


Updated: June 22, 2012 8:23PM

This is no ordinary year for Chicago’s Pride Parade.

Sunday’s 43rd annual parade kicks off on the North Side during a year marked by remarkable advances for gay rights in America.

The biggest moment came in May with President Barack Obama’s unequivocal endorsement of gay marriage.

The president of the United States stood up for what’s right, risking whatever political fallout may come. He stood up for the most basic of American concepts: that all citizens deserve equal treatment.

Obama’s endorsement came in a year when three more states legalized gay marriage, though two face possible voter reversal, and gay-rights supporters scored a major victory against the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which denies gay couples federal benefits such as Social Security survivor payments. For the first time, a federal appellate court, in June, ruled against the 1996 law.

Those victories will take center stage on Sunday, along with a newfound freedom for U.S. soldiers. After last year’s repeal of the military’s pernicious “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, they will be free to march openly without risk of discharge.

There are also advances to note locally this year. Gov. Pat Quinn came out for gay marriage, and three top officials — Attorney General Lisa Madigan, Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez and Cook County Clerk David Orr — all said they were unwilling to defend in court the state’s ban on same-sex marriages.

The notion of gay marriage, once unthinkable, is gaining traction at a pace few could have envisioned just a few years ago.

America, of course, remains far from the finish line.

Gay marriage remains illegal in the vast majority of states and the Defense of Marriage Act still stands.

But there is much to celebrate Sunday. In a year like few others, Sunday is a day to savor the victories.

Article source: http://www.suntimes.com/opinions/13343892-474/editorial-pride-parade-can-celebrate-big-gains-for-gay-rights.html

Gay activists make obscene gesture at Reagan White House portrait

Saturday, June 23rd, 2012

  • (FILE PHOTO) Former U.S. President Ronald Reagan on February 8, 1982. (Photo by Michael Evans/The White House/Getty Images)

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    (FILE PHOTO) Former U.S. President Ronald Reagan on February 8, 1982. (Photo … more 

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The White House expressed disapproval Friday of photographs showing gay-rights activists, guests of President Obama, making obscene gestures at the portrait of President Reagan during a gay-pride reception at the White House last week.

“While the White House does not control the conduct of guests at receptions, we certainly expect that all attendees conduct themselves in a respectful manner,” said White House spokesman Shin Inouye. “Most all do. These individuals clearly did not. Behavior like this doesn’t belong anywhere, least of all in the White House.”

Matthew “Matty” Hart and Zoe Strauss, both from the Philadelphia area, posted photographs of themselves on Facebook giving the middle finger to Mr. Reagan’s official portrait hanging in the White House as they attended the party.

At the reception, Mr. Obama told the attendees that the day is approaching when gay citizens will enjoy full equality in America.

“We’ll get there because of every man and woman and activist and ally who is moving us forward by the force of their moral arguments, but more importantly, by the force of their example,” Mr. Obama said.

Mr. Hart didn’t return a call seeking comment, but he told Philadelphia magazine that he despises Mr. Reagan’s legacy.

“Yeah, f– Reagan,” Mr. Hart said. “Ronald Reagan has blood on his hands. The man was in the White House as AIDS exploded, and he was happy to see plenty of gay men and queer people die. He was a murderous fool, and I have no problem saying so. Don’t invite me back. I don’t care.”

Mr. Hart is national director of public engagement at Solutions for Progress, which receives public and private funds to help “individuals and families working to overcome poverty and to build long-term financial stability,” according to its web site. Ms. Strauss is a photographer.

Former Rep. John LeBoutillier, an author, wrote in 2003 that Mr. Reagan was a “tolerant and kind man” and denied accounts that Mr. Reagan was intolerant of gays.

“Ronald Reagan was never anti-gay,” Mr. LeBoutillier wrote in a column. “He and Nancy, as longtime Hollywood insiders, knew many gays and never did or said anything that could be construed as even mildly anti-gay. As governor of California, Ronald Reagan was ‘progressive’ toward the gay movement.”

Also during the White House party where some people flipped the bird at Mr. Reagan’s portrait, a transgender man dropped down on one knee and proposed to his partner. The festivities occurred about two months after Mr. Obama announced his support for same-sex marriage.

© Copyright 2012 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Article source: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/jun/22/gay-activists-make-obscene-gesture-reagan-white-ho/

Gay Activists Flip Middle Fingers At Reagan Painting At White House Gay Pride Reception [PHOTOS]

Saturday, June 23rd, 2012

“It’s not a gesture that I would use in the White House when representing our city and our community,” Philadelphia Gay News publisher Mark Segal, above center, who can be seen giving a sarcastic thumbs-up pose in front of the portrait of George W. Bush, told The Weekly Standard.

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“I have friends who work in that building,” Segal said. “I’m not going to do something that could embarrass them or that could somehow damage a campaign that is so important. ‘Be on your best behavior,’ my staff told me. I think they know me too well.”

Just as upset toward the former president was gay activist Zoe Strauss. Strauss can be seen in a separate picture where she also gives Reagan the middle finger, times two.

Zoe Strauss Giving president Reagan the middle finger (Facebook)

The Standard goes on to report that this wasn’t Segal’s first trip to the White House — he stopped by once during the administration of gay-friendly President Bill Clinton.

“One of the things on my bucket list was to dance with my boyfriend at the White House,” Segal said. “And this is the second time I got to do it.”

As Segal made it a point to explain himself and attempt to justify his actions, Hart on the other hand seemed pretty adamant about the message the pictures send.

The photo of Hart was posted on Facebook along with a caption that reads, “F— Reagan.”

“Yeah, f— Reagan,” Hart told the Standard one week after the reception. “Ronald Reagan has blood on his hands. The man was in the White House as AIDS exploded, and he was happy to see plenty of gay men and queer people die. He was a murderous fool, and I have no problem saying so. Don’t invite me back. I don’t care.”

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Article source: http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/355511/20120622/gay-activists-white-house-photos-middle-finger.htm

New Volleys in the Gay Parenting Wars

Saturday, June 23rd, 2012

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Is the discussion over gay parenting becoming the abortion debate of the new era?

In the days since the release of a controversial study finding that children of gay parents fare worse than those of straight, married parents, the discussion over the results has reached ear-piercing levels. Intemperate words have been spoken. Accusations have been flung. And — in the roundhouse of academic fisticuffs — a competing study has been released.

The initial New Families Structure Study (NFSS), conducted by University of Texas sociologist Mark Regnerus, found that the adult children of parents who have had same-sex relationships did worse socially, economically and psychologically than children raised in intact biological families. Based on the results, Regnerus concluded that the widely held notion that gay parenting is no different from straight parenting when it comes to children’s well-being was wrong.

It wasn’t long, however, before the NFSS, which was conducted very differently than the research that came before, was savaged like an old steak in a wolf pit. It’s “junk science” that “inflicts harm on loving families,” said GLAAD President Herndon Graddick. The “so-called study doesn’t match 30 years of scientific research,” noted Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin. Jennifer Chrisler of the Family Equality Council warned of “flawed methodology and misleading conclusions all driven by a right-wing ideology.” Even the New Yorker called it “breathtakingly sloppy.” Ooh, snap.

(MORE: My Two Moms’ Zach Wahls: Teen Advocate for Gay Marriage Goes from YouTube Sensation to Author)

What made Regnerus’ study different and stronger than the ones that came before was that it was nationally representative; it looked at a whole group of people, among whom some were gay and some were straight. So, as far as the recruitment of the study group went, it compared like with like. Previous studies were “snowball studies”; for example, they relied on a small number (fewer than 80) of lesbian mothers who were recruited through lesbian networks and bookstores and were therefore likely to be more activist and educated, and then compared them with heterosexual families recruited in a different way.

What made Regnerus’ study different and weaker than the ones that came before was that the nationally representative sample yielded so few stable gay couples. Only two children of gay parents in the survey were raised by the same couple their whole lives. Only eight were raised by a couple who had been together longer than 10 years. These children were compared with those who grew up in stable homes with still-married straight parents. Regnerus also scrounged together a sample size of 160-odd by widening the definition of “gay parents” to parents who had ever had a gay relationship. So, in this ways, it was not comparing like with like.

Regnerus noted this at a press lunch for the study and in his report. However, some of the nuance was lost in the subsequent headlines, outbursts, polemical screeds and even in those summaries provided by his funders, which are socially conservative organizations. (For a nice even tempered discussion of the issues, go here.)

Then, on June 20, new research was released that suggested that the children of lesbians who do not have a male role model in their lives seem to suffer no ill consequences. Whether male or female, they seem to have traits characteristic of their gender and a normal level of psychological adjustment. “No differences were found in the well-being of those with and without male role models, or between girls and boys,” said lead author Henny Bos of the University of Amsterdam. “There was no empirical evidence suggesting that boys require a same-sex parent, or male role model, to develop a healthy psychological well-being.”

And in a blow that seemed to be aimed squarely at Regnerus, the study’s co-author Dr Nanette Gartrell, a visiting scholar at the Williams Institute, noted crisply that, “This study is part of a growing body of research that evinces the positive psychological well-being of children reared in planned lesbian families.”

(MORE: Frozen Assets: Why American Sperm Is a Hot Commodity)

Bu the new study, which appeared in Gender Society, used the same two-mom households that had been used in previous snowball studies. These are children raised in what’s known as “planned lesbian families” — that is, the children were wanted and their mothers took deliberate steps to have them. This point makes the whole brouhaha over the study samples feel unseemly, as if it were a contest to see who could find the most “normal” lesbians.

In the latest volley, some academics have stepped up to Regnerus’ defense, noting that there are other studies that support his findings and that he seemed to be asked to meet a higher standard than some of the studies than came before him. “We think that the Regnerus study…has helped to inform the ongoing scholarly and public conversation about same-sex families in America,” wrote Byron Johnson, a sociologist at Baylor University’s Institute For Studies of Religion, and 20-plus co-signees, not all of whom are social conservatives.

The vituperativeness of the debate, while entertaining, does seem to obscure the one glaringly obvious fact emerging from the NFSS: that many American families are unstable, for reasons to do much more with poverty, health and education than sexuality. And that instability clouds American children’s future. Could we maybe get back to that?

Article source: http://healthland.time.com/2012/06/22/new-volleys-in-the-gay-parenting-wars/

General Motors’ Gay-Friendly Move Causes Some Chafing

Saturday, June 23rd, 2012



Getty Images
A rainbow flag (not the General Motors version) flies with Old Glory over San Diego in 2008.

A rainbow-colored piece of cloth flapping atop a Fort Wayne, Ind. truck factory is drawing attention to General Motors Co.

A GM plant there raised the flag on Sunday in honor of gay pride month. The plant’s manager rolled out the banner at the request of an employee group representing gay workers, the company said.

It’s GM’s latest gay-friendly display. Earlier this month it transformed the LED-display atop its Detroit headquarters into a rainbow in honor of the city’s annual gay pride celebration. GM also published a gay-themed ad for its Chevy Volt battery powered car, featuring the car “coming out” to its more traditional parents. “So, whatever revs your engine, we support you 100%” said the ad, which ran in a Michigan newspaper aimed at the gay community.

In Fort Wayne, not everyone is thrilled with the display.

Some employees have complained. A columnist for the local newspaper, The News Sentinel, criticized GM’s decision in a column headlined: “Is GM ‘Gay Motors’ now?”

“Whether that represents a gesture of tolerance and respect or a slap in the face to traditionally minded employees is a matter of considerable debate,” columnist Kevin Leininger wrote.

It was a big enough flap to get the attention of the United Auto Workers union, which represents the factory. “The UAW opposes all discrimination and believes there is a definite connection between civil, human and workers’ rights,” the union said in a statement supporting the display of the flag.

On Friday, GM said it is keeping the flag up until Saturday evening, when it will come down on schedule. The flag went up as part of a plan by the factory to fly flags representing different company groups for a week each.

“GM is a really diverse company and we’ve always been supportive of all our employees,” company spokeswoman Stephanie Jentgen said. She said the plant has received supportive feedback as well as criticism. “We have this stereotype of being backwards here. But the dialog has been very constructive. It’s been very heartening, even talking to the folks who don’t agree.”

Article source: http://blogs.wsj.com/drivers-seat/2012/06/22/general-motors-gay-friendly-move-causes-some-chafing/

Gay Marriage and Religion: What Marriage Means To Me

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

Recently married in the state of Connecticut, my partner and I spent hours with family, friends, clergy, and liturgical experts crafting a service that would express out commitment to one another and also be a holyspace of joy and celebration. We combined our cultures — Black and White — in a service of welcome to those gathered to the world we are committed to cherishing and growing as a space of Spirit and justice wrapped in love and passion. Our service, without our thinking about it consciously, did not look like a traditional wedding service. Yes, we had some of the traditional elements, but we wanted to invite those gathered into our understanding of the sacred, our values, our hopes, our sense of how justice can and must have loving and celebratory leaning. And although both of us were surprised, to varying extents, to find that the relationship we seek to acknowledge we are building is that of marriage, we could find no other name for it so we have set out to live into our vows and vision for ourselves. We are both clear that we do not to conform to the standard text of marriage, but we want to find ways to breath new air and life into what it means to be married not only by the state, but even more so in the eyes of the Holy Spirit; to be committed for a life time; and to grow old and be those kind of old ladies that we so admired when we were children — truth tellers, wise, independent, but fiercely engaged in the communities they were a part of.

Folks approach gay marriage from a variety of perspectives — moral, theological, social, political. As a Christian social ethicist with womanist leanings, I am clear that the Bible says precious little about same sex relationships, though it appears to have a bit more to say about acts but even that is muddled. I am also clear that although God judges our acts, God does so out of love and mercy and would much rather spend holy time applauding our attempts at humanity than smiting our behavior. The acceptance of gay marriage (even gays who do not believe in marriage) was evident at our ceremony — both of our families, a variety of racial ethnic groups and nationalities, differing sexualities, same sex couples who are married — some with children, others not, children, traditional nuclear families, the list went on and on. The sanctuary and the dinner and dancing that followed was one of joy and celebration — not so much for us as a same-sex couple, but because of our love for one another and trying to share that with others. Politically, it is disheartening to see out love, care, compassion and commitment to one another be made into a political football by the right and the left. The bottom line for me is not “gay marriage” but “marriage.” When folks, whoever they may be, find that the only word that expresses the commitment they make to one another is marriage — we should celebrate this and give them all the support we can for it is no small thing to live out vows that are marked by “forever.”

Yes, there is so much more to it when two people make a life long commitment to love each other and stand by one another. It takes attention, care, respect, and a willingness to make mistakes and atone for them. As we have, many times now, remembered parts of our wedding ceremony and the days before it as family gathered around us and the days after it as family and friends began to leave; one of the many emotions I carry with me about my marriage ceremony and the marriage we arebuilding as two people who are also lesbians in a mixed race couple is joy. Joy filled the sanctuary, the space of dinner and dancing, our home we are building together, and it now fills the dailyness of our lives.

Article source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/emilie-townes/gay-marriage-and-religion_b_1609491.html

Sprinters Tyson Gay and Allyson Felix fight for tickets to London

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

Tyson Gay will be running the 100-meter against Michael Rodgers, Walter Dix, Justin Gatlin, and Darvis Patton. Allyson Felix has opted to run the  100-200 double.

By

Eddie Pells, Associated Press /
June 22, 2012

Sprinter Tyson Gay reacts after winning the men’s 100-meter race at the Diamond League New York Grand Prix athletics meet June 9, 2012.

REUTERS/Brendan McDermid



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Eugene, Ore.

 Now that everyone knows which two races Allyson Felix will run, it’s time to find out if Tyson Gay is fit enough to win even one.

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Over the next 10 days in Eugene, two of the best-known American sprinters will try to qualify for a trip to the London Games. But while Felix heads into Olympic trials in good form, Gay has been struggling with injuries for months.

“Thirty,” said Gay, who turns 30 in August, when asked how he’s feeling.

IN PICTURES: Team USA hopefuls for London Olympics

He has spent most of the past year dealing with a hip injury. His first race back was in New York earlier this month, where he ran 10.00 seconds into a headwind and said he felt good. The men’s 100-meter race, however, might be the most competitive event at Olympic trials, where three spots are available in each event and there are no concessions made for injuries, false starts or anything else.

Among those Gay will have to beat are 2009 national champion Michael Rodgers, Olympic bronze medalist Walter Dix, 2004 Olympic gold medalist Justin Gatlin and two-time Olympian Darvis Patton. And if Gay somehow gets through that gauntlet, Jamaicans Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake should be waiting in London.

“If I make the team, it would be good,” Gay said. “Part of me just says, ‘These guys are not going to sit down and let me come back after a year and give it to me easy.’”

Gay’s first race is Saturday, while Felix takes to the track Friday.

Felix, a three-time world champion at 200 meters, is still trying to win her first Olympic gold at that distance. She tried the 200-400 last year at the world championships at Daegu, South Korea, but finished second in the 400, then followed with a fatigued third-place finish in the 200.

“Daegu helped me see for myself how doing the 400 first, then coming back trying to sprint, how that worked,” Felix said.

Not well, as it turned out. So this time, she opted for the 100-200 double.

“I said from the beginning that what’s most important for me is what’s going to help me run my best 200,” Felix said. “Bobby (Kersee, Felix’s coach) felt running the 100 helps my 200, and for me, that’s what it’s all about.”

But while she was making her decision, Sanya Richards-Ross was quietly going about setting up her own chance at the double that Felix opted not to try. Richards-Ross, whose specialty is in the 400, holds the world’s fastest time in both the 200 and 400 this year and will try to qualify for both. Like Felix, Richards-Ross has unfinished business: She was a favorite in the 400 in Beijing but slowed at the end. She finished third, a result that left her crying under the stands at the Bird’s Nest stadium.

The reason she’s trying for the 200-400 while Felix chose not to is that Richards-Ross’ key event is the 400 — the one that comes first on the schedule at both the Olympics and at trials.

“Whatever happens in the 200 will be extra, a lot of fun,” she said. “If it were flipped, I’m almost sure Coach (Clyde) Hart wouldn’t want me to” attempt the double.


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Article source: http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Olympics/Latest-News-Wires/2012/0622/Sprinters-Tyson-Gay-and-Allyson-Felix-fight-for-tickets-to-London

Gay Activists Flip Off Ronald Reagan Portrait At White House

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

If several raised fingers are any indication, some LGBT activists who visited the White House last week are fully evolved on what they think of President Ronald Reagan.

In a photo, removed from her Facebook page Friday afternoon (but posted here by the Philly Post), Philadelphia photographer Zoe Strauss is pictured waving two middle fingers at Reagan’s presidential portrait. She did, at least, have the courtesy to tag Reagan in the photo.

Strauss joined Matty Hart, national director of public engagement at Solutions for Progress, in using the White House’s 2012 LGBT pride reception to express his distaste for the late Republican president. On Friday, Hart posted a similar photo on Facebook, accompanied by a certain four-letter word and the ex-commander in chief’s last name.

Strauss did not return a request for comment.

Hart, who said he takes issue with Reagan’s handling of the AIDS epidemic, was unapologetic a week later.

“[Reagan] was a murderous fool, and I have no problem saying so,” Hart told the Philly Post. “Don’t invite me back. I don’t care.”

Philadelphia Gay News publisher Mark Segal avoided the explicit gesture in his photo op, settling on a not-so-sincere thumbs-up in front of President George W. Bush’s portrait.

“I have friends who work in that building,” Segal told the Philly Post. “I’m not going to do something that could embarrass them or that could somehow damage a campaign that is so important. ‘Be on your best behavior,’ my staff told me. I think they know me too well.”

In a statement Friday, Christian Berle, deputy executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans, criticized Hart and Strauss for insulting Reagan, whom Berle said gave aid to the pro-gay GOP group’s founders as California governor in the 1970s.

“It is unfortunate that the image conservative America is seeing today of LGBT people is of gay leftists misbehaving at the White House, rather than the millions of patriotic, decent LGBT citizens, many of whom, like Log Cabin Republicans, hold President Ronald Reagan in high esteem,” Berle said. “These photographs have hurt our community and make advocating for inclusion and equality more difficult. The participants should be ashamed.”

The three Philadelphia-based activists were part of an East Room reception on June 16 marking LGBT Pride Month. President Barack Obama told attendees that he would be their “fellow advocate,” saying he and first lady Michele Obama “have made up our minds” on marriage equality.

Lila Shapiro contributed reporting.

Article source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/22/gay-activists-ronald-reagan-white-house_n_1619392.html

Poll: Views shift little after Obama backs gay marriage

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

Overall, his announcement last month that he supported gay marriage did little to shift the nation’s views on the subject, with the country remaining evenly divided on it, the Associated Press-GfK survey found. And people still seem to favor him over Republican presidential rival Mitt Romney when it comes to handling social issues.

Even so, the poll, out Friday, found stronger approval from Democrats and liberals for the way he’s handled gay marriage over the last year and deeper discontent over that performance from the other side.

In the poll, 42% of respondents oppose gay marriage, 40% support it and 15% are neutral. Last August, the country was similarly divided over whether same-sex couples should be allowed to be legally married in their state, with 45% opposing, 42% favoring and 10% neutral.

The country’s divisions — and conflictions — are clear in the voices of Americans.

“Marriage is a marriage, and it’s between a man and a woman,” said John Von Sneidern, a 76-year-old Republican from Fairfield, Conn., before pausing. “But on the other side of that, there are a lot of gay couples who are responsible and dedicated to each other and deserve a lot of the benefits of marriage.”

The issue, however, won’t shape his vote. He plans to vote on the economy and support Romney because of his private-sector experience.

Katherine Galdarisi, a 67-year-old Democrat from Sacramento, Calif., backed Republican John McCain four years ago but plans to vote for Obama this time. That’s partly because she faults Republicans for not working with the president on issues voters care about, saying: “They fight him every step of the way and talk about things that don’t matter, like gay marriage.”

“It’s none of anybody’s business,” Galdarisi said. “It doesn’t affect me in the least.”

For years, Obama faced pressure from the left to announce his support for gay marriage, and he spent a chunk of his presidency signaling that he would do just that by saying that he was “evolving” on the issue.

While the economy continues to dominate the presidential race, Obama’s team was mindful that anything — including social issues like gay marriage — could shift the balance in a contest that appears close five months from the election. Even so, Obama announced his reversal and risked turning off some conservative, moderate and independent voters across the nation and in states like Virginia and North Carolina that hadn’t voted for a Democratic presidential candidate in decades until Obama won them four years ago.

But the AP-GfK poll suggests that voters, at least nationally, didn’t flee the president.

When asked which candidate Americans trust to do a better job of handling social issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage, there was little change from a poll taken about a week before Obama’s May 9 announcement; 52% now side with Obama, compared with 36% for Romney.

And more Democrats and liberals said they strongly approved of the president’s handling of gay marriage than they did in August; 41% of Democrats now say that, compared with 26% then, and 48% of liberals have that view, up from 28% almost a year ago.

But his announcement may have fired up the right against him. More Republicans and conservatives said they strongly disapproved of his handling of the issue now than before; 53% of Republicans said that, compared with 45% in August, and 52% of conservatives say as much now, up from 43% back then.

The issue could compel more conservatives to turn out to vote against Obama.

Self-described social conservative Bethel Hissom of Knoxville, Tenn., is among those who plan to back Romney and don’t support allowing gays to wed.

“It’s not marriage,” the 65-year-old retired speech therapist said. Of Obama’s position, she said: “It will probably help his chances at being re-elected. It will get the gay population in favor of that and that could swing votes to his favor. But it is not marriage.”

Obama’s announcement clearly affected some — and in personal ways.

Trevor Rzucidlo, a 22-year-old who graduated last month from the University of Connecticut, had a roommate who is gay, and said that hearing the president speak out in support of someone he cared about “was huge.”

“My peers are just way more chilled out than older people are,” said Rzucidlo, who considers himself an independent and plans to vote for Obama. “They’re less concerned with how other people live their lives.”

Indeed, support for gay marriage remains a more popular position with younger voters: 50% of people under age 35 said they would favor allowing same-sex couples to be legally married in their state, compared with 36% of those ages 35 and up.

Among those under 35, overall approval of the president’s handling of same-sex marriage has held steady, but those who back him do so more strongly now. His “strong” approval numbers have doubled, jumping from 17% last August to 34% in the AP-GfK survey.

The Associated Press-GfK Poll was conducted June 14-18, 2012, by GfK Roper Public Affairs and Corporate Communications. It involved landline and cellphone interviews with 1,007 adults nationwide, including 878 registered voters. Results for the full sample have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4.0 percentage points and for registered voters it is 4.2 points.

Article source: http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/story/2012-06-22/poll-obama-gay-marriage/55761706/1

How My View on Gay Marriage Changed

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

I opposed gay marriage believing that children have the right, insofar as society makes it possible, to know and to be cared for by the two parents who brought them into this world. I didn’t just dream up this notion: the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which came into force in 1990, guarantees children this right.

Marriage is how society recognizes and protects this right. Marriage is the planet’s only institution whose core purpose is to unite the biological, social and legal components of parenthood into one lasting bond. Marriage says to a child: The man and the woman whose sexual union made you will also be there to love and raise you. In this sense, marriage is a gift that society bestows on its children.

At the level of first principles, gay marriage effaces that gift. No same-sex couple, married or not, can ever under any circumstances combine biological, social and legal parenthood into one bond. For this and other reasons, gay marriage has become a significant contributor to marriage’s continuing deinstitutionalization, by which I mean marriage’s steady transformation in both law and custom from a structured institution with clear public purposes to the state’s licensing of private relationships that are privately defined.

I have written these things in my book and said them in my testimony, and I believe them today. I am not recanting any of it.

But there are more good things under heaven than these beliefs. For me, the most important is the equal dignity of homosexual love. I don’t believe that opposite-sex and same-sex relationships are the same, but I do believe, with growing numbers of Americans, that the time for denigrating or stigmatizing same-sex relationships is over. Whatever one’s definition of marriage, legally recognizing gay and lesbian couples and their children is a victory for basic fairness.

Another good thing is comity. Surely we must live together with some degree of mutual acceptance, even if doing so involves compromise. Sticking to one’s position no matter what can be a virtue. But bending the knee a bit, in the name of comity, is not always the same as weakness. As I look at what our society needs most today, I have no stomach for what we often too glibly call “culture wars.” Especially on this issue, I’m more interested in conciliation than in further fighting.

A third good thing is respect for an emerging consensus. The population as a whole remains deeply divided, but most of our national elites, as well as most younger Americans, favor gay marriage. This emerging consensus may be wrong on the merits. But surely it matters.

I had hoped that the gay marriage debate would be mostly about marriage’s relationship to parenthood. But it hasn’t been. Or perhaps it’s fairer to say that I and others have made that argument, and that we have largely failed to persuade. In the mind of today’s public, gay marriage is almost entirely about accepting lesbians and gay men as equal citizens. And to my deep regret, much of the opposition to gay marriage seems to stem, at least in part, from an underlying anti-gay animus. To me, a Southerner by birth whose formative moral experience was the civil rights movement, this fact is profoundly disturbing.

I had also hoped that debating gay marriage might help to lead heterosexual America to a broader and more positive recommitment to marriage as an institution. But it hasn’t happened. With each passing year, we see higher and higher levels of unwed childbearing, nonmarital cohabitation and family fragmentation among heterosexuals. Perhaps some of this can be attributed to the reconceptualization of marriage as a private ordering that is so central to the idea of gay marriage. But either way, if fighting gay marriage was going to help marriage overall, I think we’d have seen some signs of it by now.

So my intention is to try something new. Instead of fighting gay marriage, I’d like to help build new coalitions bringing together gays who want to strengthen marriage with straight people who want to do the same. For example, once we accept gay marriage, might we also agree that getting married before having children is a vital cultural value that all of us should do more to embrace? Can we agree that, for all lovers who want their love to last, marriage is preferable to cohabitation? Can we discuss whether both gays and straight people should think twice before denying children born through artificial reproductive technology the right to know and be known by their biological parents?

Will this strategy work? I don’t know. But I hope to find out.

David Blankenhorn is the founder of the Institute for American Values.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/23/opinion/how-my-view-on-gay-marriage-changed.html?smid=tw-share

Marriage in Gay and Lesbian Fiction

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

But the question confused me. Why would a valuable piece of social progress close a literary door? Nobody thought women would no longer be a good subject for fiction once they got the vote. Nobody argues that African-American literature ended when Obama was elected. I soon developed a handy response: “Oh, no — gay marriage is going to give us a whole new subject to write about.” But since then I’ve been thinking it over more closely, wondering just how same-sex marriage might affect literature, about what could change and what may have been there all along.

Marriage, of course, was the great subject for fiction in the 19th century. From Jane Austen to Anthony Trollope, novelists constantly wrote about the business of marriage. And it really was a business, full of tactics and strategies. Later, for authors like Leo Tolstoy, Thomas Hardy and Edith Wharton, the great subject became adultery. And more recently, since the 1960s, the exciting topic has been divorce, especially in the United States. Where would Saul Bellow, John Updike and Philip Roth be without the bitter drama of a poisonous breakup?

In the matter of beginnings, middles and ends, novels are generally very good at beginnings (falling in love, getting married) and wonderful at endings (suicide, murder and divorce) but not so good at middles. Of course, marriage is all about that long continuity, the middle. There are world-class novels featuring bad marriages — “The Man Who Loved Children,” by Christina Stead, has a doozy — but not many about good marriages. The few that appear do so primarily as subplots, like Levin and Kitty’s in “Anna Karenina.” Marital happiness is difficult to make dramatically interesting.

Where do gay people fit in all this? Until 20 or so years ago, the chief subject for gay and lesbian fiction was doomed love. And why not? It’s a great subject for straight fiction, too. Not only does Anna Karenina herself end badly, but so do the lovers in “Ethan Frome,” “The Great Gatsby,” “Lolita” and “The English Patient,” to name just a few less than fortunate pairings. But in the late 1980s, writers began to explore plausible happy endings for their gay characters. This usually meant marriage, but what exactly was marriage for gay people? The writers looked at their own lives and the lives of their friends. Since we couldn’t legally marry, most of us invented our own couplings with their own rules, often more flexible and unconventional than traditional marriage. This ad hoc reality showed up in the fiction of Robert Ferro, David Leavitt, Stephen McCauley, Sarah Schulman and others. In a 1989 interview, Leavitt described “a new interest, particularly among writers, in the domestic gay experience.”

Of course, that domestic life had its differences. Gay men frequently had open marriages in which each partner was free to see other men, so long as it was just for sex. It’s not always as painless as it might seem. There’s a fine example of this in “Michael Tolliver Lives,” by Armistead Maupin, part of his “Tales of the City” series. Michael Tolliver, now 55, has not only survived the AIDS epidemic but has a new partner, a much younger man, Ben. Recognizing they have different sexual needs, Michael stays home once a week while Ben goes to the baths. They seem quite worldly and practical about it. But in an inspired twist, Michael can’t help fretting about Ben, imagining what his lover is and isn’t doing while he tries to distract himself with chores around the house. “It’s a tricky little dance sometimes,” Michael grumbles to himself before he cleans out the gutters, “but it’s preferable to the perils of endless monogamy or constant whoring.”

There may be women couples in open marriages, but it’s less common. The lesbian specialty in fictional married life is to remain best friends with exes. “The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For,” by Alison Bechdel, explores this territory nicely. A grand novel in comic-strip form, the book follows Mo and her friends as they find lovers, break up, recombine (one even marries a man) and raise children over more than two decades. Their marriage bonds are surprisingly flexible; what remains constant is the extended family of friends.

Children are less inevitable in same-sex families, but they do happen, whether from previous marriages, adoption or assisted reproduction. But even couples who don’t have children often find equivalents. In James Merrill’s book-length poem, “The Changing Light at Sandover,” Merrill and his partner, David Jackson, communicate with spirits through a Ouija board. In the first and best section, “The Book of Ephraim,” they discuss this with their psychiatrist, who rather than chastise them for creating a fantasy suggests their conversations with the dead are a kind of “folie à deux,” the gay couple’s substitute for children. (Unfortunately the spirits take over the book, just as children can sometimes take over a family.)

The novelist Carol Anshaw writes frequently about long-term same-sex couples, always finding a new slant. In “Seven Moves,” a woman disappears and her lover searches for her. In “Lucky in the Corner,” a straight daughter bonds with her lesbian mother over their disparate lives. But Anshaw’s most interesting take on gay marriage might be in her brilliant first novel, “Aquamarine,” which begins with a teenage swimmer, Jesse, competing in the Olympics in 1968. The night before the big race, she goes to bed with one of the other swimmers. Anshaw then imagines three different futures for Jesse 22 years later. In the first, she is unhappily married in Missouri. In the second, she is a college professor in New York living with a lover, an actress named Kit. In the third, she’s a happily divorced woman with her own teenage daughter in Florida. What remains the same from future to future is often as startling as what’s different. Lesbian Jesse is slightly happier than the other two Jesses, but not as radically as one might expect. And her “marriage” to Kit is important, but it doesn’t answer all her self-doubts, fears and concerns.

So marriage is already an important part of gay and lesbian fiction. Yet it is a provisional, homemade kind of marriage. Legal marriage will surely bring wedding planners and lawyers into the equation, but I don’t think it will change our stories as much as one might expect. Maybe we will finally see a couple of good, powerful, ugly gay divorce novels.

When people ask if gay marriage means the end of gay fiction, what they really want to know is whether gay people will now see themselves more easily in straight books and not need their own books anymore. But we’ve always been able to read straight books and see ourselves reflected there, even if from a slightly skewed angle. We are more like straight people than we are different, and we’ve known this all along. Yet we still want our own stories too.

Christopher Bram is the author of nine novels, including “Father of Frankenstein,” which was the basis of the movie “Gods and Monsters.” His most recent book is “Eminent Outlaws: The Gay Writers Who Changed America.”

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/24/books/review/marriage-in-gay-and-lesbian-fiction.html?pagewanted=all

Sprinter Gay ready to overcome pain-filled year

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

Tyson Gay is sleeping well these days, and that is a good sign.

The pain of a year in which America’s best sprinter did not make it to the track until a couple months ago because of hip surgery is slowly subsiding and Gay can turn his attention to making the U.S. team for the London Olympics in the 100 meters.

“I am feeling fast,” he told a small gathering of reporters on the eve of the U.S. Olympic trials at the University of Oregon’s Hayward Field.

Fast but not totally pain free.

“I am still waiting for that moment when I don’t feel nothing,” the 2009 world silver medalist said. “But a lot of people know I am a fighter. …

“To me, if I make the team, that would be great.”

The American record holder underwent hip surgery last July and the recovery dragged on and on.

The quiet, almost shy Kentucky native did not run a race until June 9 when he clocked a confidence-building 10.00 seconds to win the “B” race at the New York Diamond League meeting.

Now, beginning on Saturday, the former world double sprint champion faces three rounds over two days of the fastest show at the trials.

“This is it,” he said succinctly.

His never-yielding determination alone would probably carry him to a fast time for one race, but what about three in what mostly likely will be cold, rainy conditions?

“I just have to manage it the right way,” he said. “The plan is to get through the first round as easy as possible, the second round and then let it hang out in the final.”

Making the team, he said, would mean “everything.”

NOT CHASING BOLT

Even with the injury and surgery, Gay believes he is stronger and certainly more mature.

He won the 100 meters at the 2008 trials but suffered a hamstring injury in the 200 that took its time to heal. He was then eliminated in the semi-finals of the 100 at the 2008 Games.

“In (Beijing) 2008 I was younger,” said Gay, who is still seeking his first Olympic medal of any color. “Usain Bolt was the world record holder and I wanted the world record. My body wasn’t able to handle it.”

The motivation now is not about Bolt or Jamaican training partner Yohan Blake, the reigning world 100 champion.

“I think it’s more to see the what I can do,” Gay said.

Gay and technical coach Jon Drummond have attempted to replicate the trials setting with hard, repetitive sessions of 60 to 80m even when Gay was tired.

But the Olympic trials are a totally different show.

They feature competitors like 2004 Olympic champion Justin Gatlin, who is on the comeback trail and undefeated this season, 2008 Olympic bronze medalist Walter Dix and a host of other speedsters.

Even fine-tuned, healthy sprinters have their work cut out to finish in the top three, the cut-off for making the U.S. team. Fail, and there is no trip to London.

“Part of me says: ‘These guys are not going to sit down and let me come back after a year and give it to me easy,’” Gay said.

As he prepares for a cold, rainy two days in Oregon, he is reminded of similar conditions in 2010 when he ran a sizzling 9.78 seconds in London a week after defeating Bolt in Stockholm.

“It does give me confidence,” Gay said.

Both for Eugene and London.

(Editing by Peter Rutherford)

Article source: http://www.foxnews.com/sports/2012/06/21/sprinter-gay-ready-to-overcome-pain-filled-year/

Celebrating Gay Pride — And America

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

One year ago, one my favorite couples decided to tie the knot. And you know why? Because, at last, they could. Just the day before, Christine and Julia were not permitted to marry in the State of New York. But then on June 24, Governor Andrew Cuomo opened the door to compassion, and signed a historic law legalizing marriage for same-sex couples in New York.

For most of us who live here, it was a day of celebration. Although ours was not the first state to legalize gay marriage (we’re the sixth of seven states to do so), we had come a long way. It was here at the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village on a warm summer night in 1969 that gay men and women first fought back against the discrimination that had marginalized their lives for so many years. Following a police raid at the Stonewall, riots broke out, and the message from the gay community was loud and clear: Enough.

As we continue to celebrate Gay Pride month, it’s important to step back and remember milestones like Stonewall, if only because it’s difficult to see history as we live it. Even with same-sex marriage laws on the books in seven American states — and similar legislation brewing in many others — we need to be mindful that this landmark moment in our time is not the final destination, but a momentary clearing in the brush as we continue our ongoing journey to a greater democracy.

Unfathomable as it may seem now, it wasn’t so long ago that interracial marriage was a criminal offense in this country; anti-miscegenation laws even made sex between consenting members of different races illegal in some places. Those laws were not changed until 1967. And when we look back at those who opposed the change, we wonder what must have been in their hearts. Often the answer is fear.

Will future generations look back at us and wonder what was in our hearts when we denied gays the right to marry for so long? Yes, I’m afraid they will. Thankfully, in our lifetime, we’re able to witness one more barrier to freedom being torn down.

When I wrote a letter to President Obama last month, I thanked him for his support of gay marriage, and for helping to fulfill the dream of our Founding Fathers: the right to “the pursuit of happiness.” And that dream is not debatable. We can debate business regulations, health care reform, immigration laws. But gay rights are a fundamental human right: the right to live and love.

Here in New York, we have billboards that read, “If you don’t like gay marriage, don’t get gay married.” I love that slogan — it’s clever and it’s funny. But it’s also pretty clear: There is no threat to traditional marriage here or anywhere, any more than there was from interracial marriage a generation ago. It’s simply a question of civil rights. And when the dust finally settles — and it will — I hope to see a country where all families are respected and embraced, and all are free to love whom they choose.

We’ve put together a slide show that recalls some of the more memorable moments from the gay rights movement around the world. When I look at these images, I feel proud of the progress we’ve made as a country, and look forward to even greater victories. I hope you do, too.

Loading Slideshow

  • 1969 – The Stonewall Riots

    After enduring ongoing harassment and repeated arrests, the patrons of the Stonewall Inn in New York’s Greenwich Village rise up in protest after yet another police raid. The riots that followed garnered national attention and are considered to be one of the primary catalysts that set the gay rights movement in motion.

  • 1970 – The First Gay Pride Parade

    Just one year after the Stonewall riots, the first gay pride parade takes place in New York City. It is deemed Christopher Street Liberation Day, and it is actually more of a protest than a parade with marchers walking from Washington Place in Greenwich Village, up Sixth Avenue to a “Be-In” in Central Park. It is a major social milestone and political statement for its day.

  • 1977 – Harvey Milk Elected

    When openly gay politician Harvey Milk is elected to the San Francisco board of supervisors, he shows what can be achieved by mobilizing the gay community. Tragically, within a year, he and San Francisco mayor George Mosconi are killed by fellow city supervisor Dan White.

  • 1989 – Denmark Enacts Registered Partnerships

    The Scandinavian country of Denmark becomes the first in the world to enact registered partnerships for same-sex couples in 1989. The partnerships grant most of the same rights as marriage.

  • 1993 – Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

    On December 21, 1993, Bill Clinton institutes the policy of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” to prohibit discrimination against or harassment of gay or bisexual service members. However, the policy prohibits any homosexual or bisexual person from disclosing or speaking about their sexual orientation. The policy further states that people who “demonstrate a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts” are prohibited from serving in the armed forces of the United States.

  • 1996 – The Defense of Marriage Act is Passed

    At a time when it appears Hawaii may be going to legalize same-sex marriage, Congress passes the controversial Defense of Marriage Act which defines marriage as the legal union of one man and one woman. It is signed into law by President Bill Clinton on September 21, 1996.

  • 2001 – Netherlands, Germany and Finland

    The Netherlands becomes the first country in the world to permit same-sex marriage and same-sex adoption rights in 2001. That same year, Germany and Finland allow civil unions for gay couples.

  • 2003 – Belgium Takes Second

    Belgium becomes the second nation in the world to legalize and recognize same-sex marriage in 2003.

  • 2004 – Same-Sex Certificates in San Francisco

    In San Francisco, newly-elected mayor Gavin Newsom issues the first same-sex marriage certificates ever in the United States. The California Supreme Court later nullifies the certificates.

  • 2005 – Spain Legalizes Gay Marriage

    On July 3, 2005, Spain passes legislation legalizing same-sex marriage.

  • 2005 – Canada Follows Suit

    On July 20, 2005, Canada becomes the first country in the Americas to legalize same-sex marriage.

  • 2006 – South Africa Makes History

    In 2006, South Africa becomes the first African nation to legalize same-sex marriages

  • 2008 – California and Connecticut

    In 2008, the Supreme Courts of California and Connecticut both legalize same-sex marriage. However, the following year, the California Supreme Court upholds Proposition 8 defining marriage between a man and a woman, but also rules that previously officiated gay marriages remain valid.

  • 2009 – Iceland Elects an Out Prime Minister

    Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir is elected to the office of Prime Minister of Iceland on February 1, 2009, becoming the world’s first openly gay Prime Minister. In June, 2010, Iceland legalizes gay marriage, and Sigurðardóttir marries her longtime partner.

  • 2009 – Norway and Sweden

    In 2009, the neighboring countries of Norway and Sweden both legalize gay marriage.

  • 2010 – Portugal, Iceland and Argentina

    In a single year, the nations of Portugal, Iceland and Argentina all legalize same-sex marriage.

  • 2011 – Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is Repealed

    On July 6, 2011 a federal appeals court rules against any further enforcement of the U.S. military’s ban on openly gay people serving in the armed forces. President Obama sends the certification to Congress on July 22, and on September 20, DADT is officially repealed.

  • 2012 – Obama Expresses Support For Same-Sex Marriage

    Patrons at the historic Stonewall Inn watch a news report on May 9, 2012, as President Barack Obama says in a televised interview that he believes same sex couples should be able to get married. President Obama becomes the first American president to come out in favor of gay marriage.

  • 2012 – USA Today

    As of June, 2012, same-sex marriage is legal in Connecticut, Washington DC, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont. The states of Washington and Maryland have passed laws to begin granting same-sex marriage licenses, and Rhode Island recognizes all same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions. In California, same-sex marriages that took place between June16, 2008 and November 4, 2008 (when Proposition 8 passed) are still recognized.

  • 2012 – DOMA is Ruled Unconstitutional

    On May 31st, the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston rules that the Defense of Marriage Act discriminates against married same-sex couples because it denies them federal benefits given to heterosexual married couples. The court agrees with a lower court judge who ruled in 2010 that the law is unconstitutional because it interferes with the right of a state to define marriage.



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Article source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marlo-thomas/celebrating-gay-pride-and_b_1587078.html?utm_hp_ref=style

S. Baptists: Gay marriage no civil right

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, June 21 (UPI) — The Southern Baptist Convention, meeting in New Orleans, has approved a resolution that declares same-sex marriage is not a civil right.

The resolution also denounces “any form of gay-bashing.” But its emphasis is on the declaration that marriage is reserved for heterosexuals and that any sexual relationship outside marriage is sinful, The Christian Post reported.

The resolution was titled “‘Same-Sex Marriage’ and Civil Rights Rhetoric.” It passed Wednesday, the final day of the annual meeting.

“This was a specific statement regarding the use of rhetoric that we find to be a misappropriation, certainly with people who read a lot of history that talks about the godly Christian influences of the Civil Rights Movement,” Kevin Smith, pastor of Watson Memorial Baptist Church in Louisville, Ky., and an instructor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said at a news conference.

Richard Land, president of the ethics and religious liberty commission and executive editor of the Christian Post, said the resolution was inspired by President Obama‘s recent public change of heart on gay marriage.

Article source: http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2012/06/21/S-Baptists-Gay-marriage-no-civil-right/UPI-37921340303176/

Despite Obama’s endorsement of gay marriage, public opinion shifts little on issue

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

The poll found that 42 percent of Americans oppose gay marriage, 40 percent support it and 15 percent are neutral. Last August, the country was similarly divided over whether same-sex couples should be allowed to be legally married in their state, with 45 percent opposing, 42 percent favoring and 10 percent neutral.

The country’s divisions — and conflictions — are clear in the voices of Americans.

“Marriage is a marriage, and it’s between a man and a woman,” said John Von Sneidern, a 76-year-old Republican from Fairfield, Conn., before pausing. “But on the other side of that, there are a lot of gay couples who are responsible and dedicated to each other and deserve a lot of the benefits of marriage.”

The issue, however, won’t shape his vote; he plans to vote on the economy and support Mitt Romney because of his private-sector experience.

Katherine Galdarisi, a 67-year-old Democrat from Sacramento, Calif., backed Republican John McCain four years ago but plans to back Obama this time. That’s partly because she faults Republicans for not working with the president on issues voters care about, saying: “They fight him every step of the way and talk about things that don’t matter like gay marriage.”

“It’s none of anybody’s business,” Galdarisi said. “I don’t care if someone marries a monkey. It doesn’t affect me in the least.”

For years, Obama faced pressure from the left to announce his support for gay marriage, and he spent a chunk of his presidency signaling that he would do just that by saying that he was “evolving” on the issue.

While the economy continues to dominate the presidential race, Obama’s team was mindful that anything — including social issues like gay marriage — could shift the balance if the contest, which surveys show is close less than five months before the election. Even so, Obama announced his reversal and risked turning off some conservative, moderate and independent voters across the nation and in states like Virginia and North Carolina that hadn’t voted for a Democratic presidential candidate in decades until Obama won them four years ago.

The gamble may have paid off.

The AP-GfK poll showed that voters, at least nationally, didn’t flee the president.

When asked which candidate Americans trust to do a better job of handling social issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage, there was little change from a poll taken about a week before Obama’s May 9 announcement; 52 percent now side with Obama, compared with 36 percent for Romney.

Article source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/despite-obamas-endorsement-of-gay-marriage-public-opinion-shifts-little-on-issue/2012/06/22/gJQAcJRVuV_story.html

Views shift little after Obama backs gay marriage

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

By DENNIS JUNIUS and PHILIP ELLIOTT

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Barack Obama’s endorsement of gay marriage did little to shift the nation’s views on the subject, with a new poll finding that the public remains evenly split on the issue.

Even so, an Associated Press-GfK survey released Friday found that the president fired up his core supporters – at least for now – with his support of gay marriage. More young people, liberals and Democrats say they strongly approve of Obama’s handling of same-sex marriage than said they did before he disclosed his new position last month.

The poll found that 42 percent of Americans oppose gay marriage, 40 percent support it and 15 percent are neutral. Last August, the country was similarly divided over whether same-sex couples should be allowed to be legally married in their state, with 45 percent opposing, 42 percent favoring and 10 percent neutral.

The country’s divisions – and conflictions – are clear in the voices of Americans.

“Marriage is a marriage, and it’s between a man and a woman,” said John Von Sneidern, a 76-year-old Republican from Fairfield, Conn., before pausing. “But on the other side of that, there are a lot of gay couples who are responsible and dedicated to each other and deserve a lot of the benefits of marriage.”

The issue, however, won’t shape his vote; he plans to vote on the economy and support Mitt Romney because of his private-sector experience.

Katherine Galdarisi, a 67-year-old Democrat from Sacramento, Calif., backed Republican John McCain four years ago but plans to back Obama this time. That’s partly because she faults Republicans for not working with the president on issues voters care about, saying: “They fight him every step of the way and talk about things that don’t matter like gay marriage.”

“It’s none of anybody’s business,” Galdarisi said. “I don’t care if someone marries a monkey. It doesn’t affect me in the least.”

For years, Obama faced pressure from the left to announce his support for gay marriage, and he spent a chunk of his presidency signaling that he would do just that by saying that he was “evolving” on the issue.

While the economy continues to dominate the presidential race, Obama’s team was mindful that anything – including social issues like gay marriage – could shift the balance if the contest, which surveys show is close less than five months before the election. Even so, Obama announced his reversal and risked turning off some conservative, moderate and independent voters across the nation and in states like Virginia and North Carolina that hadn’t voted for a Democratic presidential candidate in decades until Obama won them four years ago.

The gamble may have paid off.

The AP-GfK poll showed that voters, at least nationally, didn’t flee the president.

When asked which candidate Americans trust to do a better job of handling social issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage, there was little change from a poll taken about a week before Obama’s May 9 announcement; 52 percent now side with Obama, compared with 36 percent for Romney.

And more Democrats and liberals said they strongly approved of the president’s handling of gay marriage than did last August; 41 percent of Democrats now say that, compared with 26 percent back then, and 48 percent of liberals have that view, up from 28 percent almost a year ago.

But posing a potential problem for the president, his announcement also fired up the right – against him. More Republicans and conservatives said they strongly disapproved of his handling of the issue now than before; 53 percent of Republicans said that, compared with 45 percent in August, and 52 percent of conservatives say as much now, up from 43 percent back then.

The issue could compel them to turn out in droves to vote against Obama.

Self-described social conservatives like Bethel Hissom of Knoxville, Tenn., is among those who plan to back Romney and who don’t support allowing gays to wed.

“It’s not marriage,” the 65-year-old retired speech therapist said. Of Obama’s position, she said: “It will probably help his chances at being re-elected. It will get the gay population in favor of that and that could swing votes to his favor. But it is not marriage.”

Obama’s announcement clearly affected some – and in personal ways.

Trevor Rzucidlo, a 22-year-old who graduated last month from the University of Connecticut, had a roommate who is gay, and he said that hearing the president speak out in support of someone he cared about “was huge.”

“My peers are just way more chilled out than older people are,” said Rzucidlo, who considers himself an independent and plans to vote for Obama. “They’re less concerned with how other people live their lives.”

Indeed, support for gay marriage remains a popular position with younger voters; 50 percent of people under age 35 said they would favor allowing same-sex couples to be legally married in their state, compared with 36 percent of those ages 35 and up.

Among those under 35, overall approval of the president’s handling of same-sex marriage has held steady, but those who back him do so more strongly now. His “strong” approval numbers have just about doubled, jumping from 17 percent last August to 34 percent in the AP-GfK survey.

The Associated Press-GfK Poll was conducted June 14-18, 2012, by GfK Roper Public Affairs and Corporate Communications. It involved landline and cellphone interviews with 1,007 adults nationwide, including 878 registered voters. Results for the full sample have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4.0 percentage points and for registered voters it is 4.2 points.

Article source: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/47916142

Gay Conservatives Group Endorses Romney

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

Despite his recently-announced support for gay marriage, not all gay rights groups are showing their love for President Obama.

GOProud, a group for gay Republicans that supports conservative principles, announced yesterday that it was “enthusiastically” endorsing the presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

“We think that jobs, the economy, healthcare, retirement security and taxes are all ‘gay issues,’ and on every single one of those issues, Mitt Romney is light years better than President Obama,” GOProud’s executive director Jimmy LaSalvia said in a statement.

LaSalvia said the election is “bigger than just one issue,” such as gay rights, and when it comes to the “biggest issues facing our country” like jobs and the debt, he said Obama has “failed.”

“I happen to believe that just because you were born gay doesn’t mean you were born liberal,” LaSalvia told ABC News. “And while I don’t agree with Gov. Romney on everything, in general we share a view that a limited government is better than a big bloated federal government.”

But the group’s decision to endorse Romney was not without hiccups. LaSalvia noted in the statement that GOProud “strongly” disagrees with Romney’s support of a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman.

Two GOProud board members voted against the Romney endorsement, with co-founder Christopher Barron saying he will continue to support Gov. Gary Johnson, who is running for president as a Libertarian.

Want more off-the-cuff politics? Check out OTUS on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @OTUSNews.

The gay rights group’s endorsement sparked outrage from outspoken LGBT activist Dan Savage, who dubbed the endorsement “pathetic.”

“The GOP’s house faggots grab their ankles, right on cue… Pathetic,” Savage tweeted with a link to story about the endorsement.

Savage said it was “ridiculous” and “insulting to the intelligence of gay people everywhere” for a group that advocates for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities to support Romney, who wants re-instate “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and the Defense of Marriage Act, which bans gay marriage.

According to Savage, LGBT equality is an issue that affects every aspect of politics, from social issues to the economy.

“Gay people like to have jobs too,” Savage told ABC News. “But Romney’s policies will make sure that if you are gay you can get fired from the job that you have.”

GOProud pledged to “commit significant resources” to help Romney beat Obama.

Get more pure politics at ABC News.com/Politics and a lighter take on the news at OTUSNews.com

Article source: http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2012/06/gay-rights-group-endorses-romney/

Tyson Gay: Olympic Gold Medal Is More Than Just a Dream for Star US Sprinter

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

Let’s dream a little.

The USA team selection in the men’s 100-meter race will be finalized on Sunday afternoon at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in Eugene, Oregon.

The American 100-meter dash record-holder Tyson Gay, has run only one competitive race in almost a year’s time—a 10-seconds flat effort. Gay has already stated that his sole focus in this Olympics year will be the 100-meters.

For a guy who threw down his season debut just days ago, that’s not much time to prepare.

It also means if he makes the U.S. team, there will be no “plan B” in the 200-meter race.

Gay’s chief American rivals, based on time, are Justin Gatlin and Walter Dix, who have already produced a 9.87 and 9.85 (wind-aided) respectively.

With only three spots available and other hungry sprinters like Mike Rodgers, Ryan Bailey and Jeff Demps ready to pounce—and if Gay survives the qualifying rounds—he would likely be sitting on the proverbial bubble in the 100 finals.

Are you still dreaming with me?

Let’s say Gay makes the U.S. 100-meter sprint team. Given the overall talent of the American sprint corps and the fast, tail-wind homestretch at Eugene’s Hayward Field, this will have meant Gay probably produced a time somewhere between 9.80 and 9.90.

That wouldn’t be too shabby for a guy coming off two surgical procedures within the year and precious little world-class competition under his belt in 2012.

Is this seeming less like a dream and more within the realm of possibility—maybe even reality?

Remember we’re talking about Tyson Gay, who ran a wind-aided 9.68 on this same track in the 2008 trials, and who set his American record (9.69) in 2010 while nursing a painful groin injury.

If Gay finishes in the top three in Sunday’s 100 finals, he’ll have almost five weeks to continue to heal and prepare for his qualifying heats in London. He’ll also be running on the freshest legs, and have the most singular focus of all the other top contenders.

Again, this is the second-fastest man ever. By early August, Gay may even be injury free. and let’s not forget that he is the only runner to have beaten world record-holder Usain Bolt in a shoulder-to-shoulder race since before Beijing.

At 30 years of age, and with every piece of hardware imaginable already in his trophy case (except an Olympic medal), no one works harder or is more motivated than Tyson Gay.

And as long as we’re still dreaming, what would a Tyson Gay Olympic gold mean for track and field in America, where the sport’s relevance is often in question?

It would be a huge positive—and a huge chink in the armor of the Usain Bolt era, where predictability has somewhat tarnished the sprints.

Granted, there are a lot of “if”s for any of this to happen. But then, that’s something every contender must deal with.

In that sense, it’s a level playing field. And for Tyson Gay, who has seemingly been running uphill (with injuries) since the 2008 trials, a gold medal for the American seems less and less far-fetched.

Or do you think I’m still dreaming?

In a very short time, we’ll know.

Rojofact: In Gay’s recent debut, his 10.0 time run into a 1.5 meters-per-second headwind translates to a 9.91 in 0.0 wind. In the same meet, in another race, Jamaica’s Yohan Blake ran a 9.90 with a slight tailwind. In a 0.0 wind, his time would have been 9.94.  (source: the Big Gold Book)

Article source: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1225876-tyson-gay-olympic-gold-medal-is-more-than-just-a-dream-for-star-us-sprinter

Can People Stop Being Gay?

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

To polarize a crowd, bring up sexual reorientation. Religious
fundamentalists who believe homosexuality is a matter of choice
consider it obvious that gay people can reverse their decisions.
The opposite camp argues that gays are “born that way,” and thus
that sexual reorientation therapy is ineffective, as well as
cruel and demoralizing.

While the latter perspective hits closer to the mark, the science
of sexuality supports a more measured stance. There are no
verified cases of formerly gay people completely ridding
themselves of same-sex attraction, but it does appear possible
for some people who are predisposed to same-sex attraction to
expand their sexual repertoire — develop attractions for
opposite-sex partners as well, and even opt for the opposite sex
exclusively.

“I think highly motivated people can change their behavior, and
they can clearly change their label,” said Heather Hoffmann, a
professor of psychology who chairs the neuroscience program at
Knox College in Galesburg, Ill.

Hoffmann’s research focuses on the way that experiences and
learning influence people’s arousal patterns. She has
demonstrated that sexual arousal is subject to Pavlovian
conditioning, the method of repeatedly pairing one stimulus with
another until, eventually, the first triggers an expectation of
the second. Hoffmann’s work shows that both men and women can be
conditioned to become sexually aroused by exposure to a cue, such
as an odor or object. Along the same lines, people can be
conditioned by their life experiences, learning to become aroused
by something or someone “only after having a sexual experience
with them,” Hoffmann wrote in a February review paper in the
Archives of Sexual Behavior. [ The
Sex Quiz: Myths, Taboos and Bizarre Facts
]

Sexual experiences affect our arousal patterns by altering what
activities or features of sexual partners arouse us, Hoffmann
said. But can people ever be conditioned to become aroused by
members of their non-preferred sex? “There’s not a whole lot of
data on this for humans,” Hoffmann told Life’s Little
Mysteries
, “but there are a few animal studies that have
shown, both in males and females, that you can condition a
preference for the non-preferred partner.”

In one experiment, male quails were hormonally altered so as to
allow other “sexually naïve” (virgin) male quails to have sex
with them. After this learning experience, the latter group of
quails maintained a sexual preference for males, suggesting that
they were being sexually oriented through learning. However,
their presumed natural predilection for females was not lost:
Another experiment showed it was much easier to reorient those
male quails toward females through “reverse learning” than it was
to try and reorient males who had already had sex with females
toward other males. Other experiments suggest similar effects can
occur in rats.

By conditioning the animals to prefer mates of their
non-preferred sex, and then conditioning them to revert back, the
researchers showed that the animals’ sexual preferences were
somewhat fluid. Humans might not be so malleable — other
experiments show conditioning typically works better and faster
for animals than it does for people — but according to Hoffmann,
some of us might be. There’s reason to think women’s sexual
preferences, in particular, can change in response to an
experience with a member of their non-preferred sex.

Unlike men, who are  usually  sexually
oriented solely toward men or women, and whose sexuality is
essentially fixed from puberty on, a decade of research by
University of Utah psychologist Lisa Diamond and others
demonstrates women
have greater “erotic plasticity.”
Their sexual orientation
can be shaped by cultural influences, altered by positive or
negative experiences and intensified by feelings of love or
attachment. As Diamond noted in January in the Archives of Sexual
Behavior, females’ sexual fluidity may emerge from the finding
that, across the board, they are sexually aroused by images of
both men and women (whereas men are typically aroused only by
members of their preferred sex).

Their erotic plasticity may explain why women with same-sex
predispositions report better success adjusting to heterosexual
lifestyles than gay men do. But switching to a “straight”
identity doesn’t rid them of their former attractions. “Lisa
found that sexual fluidity is more of a broadening of your
attraction pattern rather than an erasing of your original
pattern,” Hoffmann said of Diamond’s research. “I think men may
have this capacity, too, but I think it may be more prominent in
women.”

Lastly, gay people aren’t really “born that way” in the sense of
having same-sex attractions from the moment of birth. Sexual
orientation cements around puberty, and according to Gerulf
Rieger, a sexual orientation researcher at Cornell University,
“it is quite possible that there are several influences on
forming a homosexual orientation.” Genes do appear to contribute,
but so do other factors, including a fetus’ level of exposure to
certain sex hormones in the womb, and possibly early life
experiences. [ Why Are
There Gay Men?
]

The influence of genes can’t be altered, but what about the other
factors? “More information is needed to determine if preferences
and limits that were established prenatally or during critical
developmental periods can be extinguished or changed,” Utah-based
sexual orientation therapist Lee Beckstead wrote in a February
review paper in the Archives of Sexual Behavior.

It is currently unknown whether some combination of Pavlovian
conditioning, learning processes and even hormone therapies could
enable truly motivated individuals with a same-sex predisposition
to adapt to heterosexual lifestyles, whether for religious,
cultural or personal reasons. But considering that very few
scientists view homosexuality as a problem needing fixing, will
these clinical reorientation therapies ever be developed? As
Beckstead noted, “Our best efforts may not be in trying to change
possibly immutable aspects of sexuality but in trying to reduce
the misunderstanding, discrimination, and hostility that exist
within non-heterosexuals and their social situations.”

Follow Natalie Wolchover on Twitter @ nattyover. Follow Life’s
Little Mysteries on Twitter @ llmysteries. We’re also
on  Facebook    Google+.

© 2012 LifesLittleMysteries.com. All rights reserved. More from LifesLittleMysteries.com.

Article source: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/47903961

Felix, Gay 1-2 punch go for spots on track team

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

EUGENE, Ore. — Now that everyone knows which two races Allyson Felix will run, it’s time to find out if Tyson Gay is fit enough to win even one.

Over the next 10 days in Eugene, two of America’s best-known sprinters will try to qualify for a trip to the London Games, but while Felix heads into Olympic trials at the top of her game, Gay remains a question mark after months of struggling with injuries.

“Thirty,” said Gay, who turns 30 in August, when asked how he’s feeling.

He has spent most of the past year on the shelf with a hip injury. His first race back was in New York earlier this month, where he ran 10.00 seconds into a headwind and said he felt good. The men’s 100, however, might be the most competitive event at Olympic trials, where three spots are available in each event and there are no concessions made for injuries, false starts or anything else.

Among those Gay will have to beat are 2009 national champion Michael Rodgers, Olympic bronze medalist Walter Dix, 2004 Olympic gold medalist Justin Gatlin and two-time Olympian Darvis Patton. And if Gay somehow gets through that gauntlet, Jamaicans Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake will be waiting in London.

“If I make the team, it would be good,” Gay said. “Part of me just says, ‘These guys are not going to sit down and let me come back after a year and give it to me easy.”‘

Gay’s first race is Saturday, while Felix takes to the track Friday.

Felix, a three-time world champion at 200 meters, is still trying to win her first Olympic gold at that distance. She tried the 200-400 last year at world championships in Daegu, South Korea, but finished second in the 400, then followed with a fatigued third-place finish in the 200.

“Daegu helped me see for myself how doing the 400 first, then coming back trying to sprint, how that worked,” Felix said.

Not well, as it turned out. So this time, she opted for the 100-200 double.

“I said from the beginning that what’s most important for me is what’s going to help me run my best 200,” Felix said. “Bobby [Kersee, Felix's coach] felt running the 100 helps my 200, and for me, that’s what it’s all about.”

But while she was making her decision, another American star, Sanya Richards-Ross, was quietly going about setting up her own chance at the double that Felix opted not to try. Richards-Ross, whose specialty is in the 400, holds the world’s fastest time in both the 200 and 400 this year and will try to qualify for both. Like Felix, Richards-Ross has unfinished business: She was a favorite in the 400 in Beijing but slowed at the end. She finished third, a result that left her crying under the stands at the Bird’s Nest.

The reason she’s trying for the 200-400 while Felix chose not to is that Richards-Ross’ key event is the 400 — the one that comes first on the schedule at both the Olympics and at trials.

“Whatever happens in the 200 will be extra, a lot of fun,” she said. “If it were flipped, I’m almost sure Coach [Clyde] Hart wouldn’t want me to do it.”

In the men’s 400, LaShawn Merritt, running well after serving a 21-month ban for using a banned male-enhancement product that also has been identified as a steroid precursor, is the defending Olympic champion and trying to stay ahead of 2004 Olympic gold medalist Jeremy Wariner. Merritt calls the episode that led to his punishment an embarrassment.

“It happened. I had to deal with it, with the poor judgment call on my end, and it’s over,” he said.

It’s track and field, so of course there’s more than one doping story to tell.

Gatlin was the 2004 Olympic champion but later served a four-year doping ban, a ban he claims is the result of a masseuse using a testosterone cream on him without his knowledge.

“Everyone has coined the phrase as `redemption,”‘ Gatlin said when asked how it feels to return to Olympic trials after missing 2008. “For me, it’s almost like a welcome-home party. I don’t think anybody had the expectation of me coming this far. But just to come back and be able to compete was a victory within itself.”

Up to 120 spots on the Olympic team will be handed out by the end of competition on July 1. The first three went to Amber Campbell, Amanda Bingson and Jessica Cosby in hammer throw, held Thursday at a specially constructed hammer cage up near Portland.

Among the other key events to watch:

-Women’s 100 meters, where world champion Carmelita Jeter has this year’s best time and the best chance of breaking up Jamaica’s dominance in the women’s sprints.

-Women’s 100 hurdles, where the most recognizable athlete, Lolo Jones, is anything but a shoo-in to make the top three and earn a chance to compete for the gold she lost when she fell on the ninth hurdle in Beijing. Dawn Harper won the race that day and remains America’s top hurdler.

-Decathlon, where the Americans have a realistic chance of going 1-2-3 in London, if defending champion Bryan Clay stays healthy, two-time world champion Trey Hardee’s elbow holds up after major surgery and last year’s world runner-up Ashton Eaton lives up to his potential.

-The long-distance races will be headlined by Bernard Lagat and Galen Rupp in the 5,000, Matt Centrowitz and Jenny Simpson, both surprise medalists in the 1,500 last year in South Korea, and, of course, Lopez Lomong, whose inspirational journey from a “Lost Boy” of Sudan to American Olympian helped earn him the role of U.S. flag bearer at the 2008 Games.

The weather forecast for the first weekend in Eugene calls for highs in the low 60s and a good chance of rain. In other words, it could feel very much like London, which doesn’t bother too many people at this stage.

“For me, I don’t care if it’s raining, snowing,” Richards-Ross said. “I’ve been waiting for this for four years.”

Copyright 2012 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or
distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The
Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

Article source: http://www.cbssports.com/olympics/story/19398740/felix-gay-12-punch-go-for-spots-on-track-team

Perez Hilton On Gay Pride Month: ‘What’s Important Is For Gay Latinos To Be Out And Visible’ (VIDEO)

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

In honor of Gay Pride Month, we asked openly gay Cuban blogger Perez Hilton a series of questions.

In this exclusive video interview, The Queen of All Media talks candidly about series of LGBT topics. He talks about how President Obama’s policy towards gay Americans has changed drastically over the course of his presidency, explains why he thinks religion not only condemns (“but also conditions”) homophobia, notes the difference between same-sex marriage and gay marriage, and explains why he believes equality is inevitable.

And because Hilton is a proud Cuban-American who is connected to his culture and, one of the few openly gay Latino celebs in Hollywood (aside from Ricky Martin, Wilson Cruz, and “Project Runway” winner Mondo Guerra), we also asked him if he thinks attitudes towards the LGBT community are changing in the Latino community. Here’s what he had to say:

“I don’t know. I’m sure they are…But the Latino community is still…I don’t know. That’s a good question. I know from experience that my family is receptive. It wasn’t easy at first, but my mom is my best friend now and she’s a big Cuban mom and I love her. So, if my mom’s attitudes have been able to grow and evolve, then I think that others in the Latino community can,” Hilton said.

“What’s important though is for Gay Latinos to be out and visible and to share our stories. Because when you know somebody that is gay, it is harder for people to hate and harder to discriminate, and harder to say, ‘you shouldnt have the same rights as me.’”

Click play on the video above for the full interview.

LGBT Latino Activists Breaking Barriers:

READ WHOLE POST


Mary Edna González was elected last month in El Paso as the representative for House District 75 making history as she became the only openly gay state lawmaker in Texas and the first woman to represent El Paso’s eastern Lower Valley in the state House. She will head to Austin in January and with no Republican contendor she may become the second openly LGBT legislator in Texas’ history.

González said that while she is excited to be part of this historical moment, she wants the elections to be about her qualifications and her proposals. Not about her sexual identity.

González has a masters degree in social justice from St. Edward’s University and bachelor’s degree in history and Mexican-American studies from the University of Austin. She is currently working towards her Ph.D. at the University of Texas at Austin. González was a visiting professor at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas teaching social justice.





Article source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/21/perez-hilton-gay-pride-month_n_1613217.html

Can People Stop Being Gay?

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

To polarize a crowd, bring up sexual reorientation. Religious fundamentalists who believe homosexuality is a matter of choice consider it obvious that gay people can reverse their decisions. The opposite camp argues that gays are “born that way,” and thus that sexual reorientation therapy is ineffective, as well as cruel and demoralizing.

While the latter perspective hits closer to the mark, the science of sexuality supports a more measured stance. There are no verified cases of formerly gay people completely ridding themselves of same-sex attraction, but it does appear possible for some people who are predisposed to same-sex attraction to expand their sexual repertoire — develop attractions for opposite-sex partners as well, and even opt for the opposite sex exclusively.

“I think highly motivated people can change their behavior, and they can clearly change their label,” said Heather Hoffmann, a professor of psychology who chairs the neuroscience program at Knox College in Galesburg, Ill.

Hoffmann‘s research focuses on the way that experiences and learning influence people’s arousal patterns. She has demonstrated that sexual arousal is subject to Pavlovian conditioning, the method of repeatedly pairing one stimulus with another until, eventually, the first triggers an expectation of the second. Hoffmann’s work shows that both men and women can be conditioned to become sexually aroused by exposure to a cue, such as an odor or object. Along the same lines, people can be conditioned by their life experiences, learning to become aroused by something or someone “only after having a sexual experience with them,” Hoffmann wrote in a February review paper in the Archives of Sexual Behavior. [The Sex Quiz: Myths, Taboos and Bizarre Facts]

Sexual experiences affect our arousal patterns by altering what activities or features of sexual partners arouse us, Hoffmann said. But can people ever be conditioned to become aroused by members of their non-preferred sex? “There’s not a whole lot of data on this for humans,” Hoffmann told Life’s Little Mysteries, “but there are a few animal studies that have shown, both in males and females, that you can condition a preference for the non-preferred partner.”

In one experiment, male quails were hormonally altered so as to allow other “sexually naïve” (virgin) male quails to have sex with them. After this learning experience, the latter group of quails maintained a sexual preference for males, suggesting that they were being sexually oriented through learning. However, their presumed natural predilection for females was not lost: Another experiment showed it was much easier to reorient those male quails toward females through “reverse learning” than it was to try and reorient males who had already had sex with females toward other males. Other experiments suggest similar effects can occur in rats.

By conditioning the animals to prefer mates of their non-preferred sex, and then conditioning them to revert back, the researchers showed that the animals’ sexual preferences were somewhat fluid. Humans might not be so malleable — other experiments show conditioning typically works better and faster for animals than it does for people — but according to Hoffmann, some of us might be. There’s reason to think women’s sexual preferences, in particular, can change in response to an experience with a member of their non-preferred sex.

Unlike men, who are usually sexually oriented solely toward men or women, and whose sexuality is essentially fixed from puberty on, a decade of research by University of Utah psychologist Lisa Diamond and others demonstrates women have greater “erotic plasticity.” Their sexual orientation can be shaped by cultural influences, altered by positive or negative experiences and intensified by feelings of love or attachment. As Diamond noted in January in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, females’ sexual fluidity may emerge from the finding that, across the board, they are sexually aroused by images of both men and women (whereas men are typically aroused only by members of their preferred sex).

Their erotic plasticity may explain why women with same-sex predispositions report better success adjusting to heterosexual lifestyles than gay men do. But switching to a “straight” identity doesn’t rid them of their former attractions. “Lisa found that sexual fluidity is more of a broadening of your attraction pattern rather than an erasing of your original pattern,” Hoffmann said of Diamond’s research. “I think men may have this capacity, too, but I think it may be more prominent in women.”

Lastly, gay people aren’t really “born that way” in the sense of having same-sex attractions from the moment of birth. Sexual orientation cements around puberty, and according to Gerulf Rieger, a sexual orientation researcher at Cornell University, “it is quite possible that there are several influences on forming a homosexual orientation.” Genes do appear to contribute, but so do other factors, including a fetus’ level of exposure to certain sex hormones in the womb, and possibly early life experiences. [Why Are There Gay Men?]

The influence of genes can’t be altered, but what about the other factors? “More information is needed to determine if preferences and limits that were established prenatally or during critical developmental periods can be extinguished or changed,” Utah-based sexual orientation therapist Lee Beckstead wrote in a February review paper in the Archives of Sexual Behavior.

It is currently unknown whether some combination of Pavlovian conditioning, learning processes and even hormone therapies could enable truly motivated individuals with a same-sex predisposition to adapt to heterosexual lifestyles, whether for religious, cultural or personal reasons. But considering that very few scientists view homosexuality as a problem needing fixing, will these clinical reorientation therapies ever be developed? As Beckstead noted, “Our best efforts may not be in trying to change possibly immutable aspects of sexuality but in trying to reduce the misunderstanding, discrimination, and hostility that exist within non-heterosexuals and their social situations.”

Follow Natalie Wolchover on Twitter @nattyover. Follow Life’s Little Mysteries on Twitter @llmysteries. We’re also on Facebook  Google+.

Copyright 2012 Lifes Little Mysteries, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Article source: http://news.yahoo.com/people-stop-being-gay-135019403.html

Uganda bans 38 agencies it says are promoting gay rights

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

Nairobi, Kenya (CNN) — The Ugandan government said Wednesday it will ban at least 38 nongovernmental agencies it says are promoting gay rights and recruiting children into homosexuality.

“We have investigated them thoroughly and we have found their sponsors,” said Ethics Minister Simon Lokodo. “We will ask them to step aside and stop pretending to work in human rights.”

“Some NGOs, under the pretext of providing social services, are receiving funds to promote homosexuality,” he said.

The organizations — both international and local — will lose their registrations and no longer be able to operate in Uganda. He did not name the groups on the list.


Why is Uganda attacking homosexuality?


Uganda gay rights

“The sooner they are phased out, the better,” he said.

Homosexuality is illegal in Uganda, as it is in many African countries, and legislation is pending in parliament that could bring even harsher penalties for gays.

At one point the bill included life imprisonment and even the death penalty. That provision was dropped, under intense pressure from donor countries, but several Ugandan politicians still plan to push it through parliament.

“We are resolutely opposed to the bill,” said U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland on Tuesday. “We think it’s inconsistent with Uganda’s international human rights obligations, and this just sets a bad, bad precedent in the neighborhood.”

The announcement of the ban comes in the wake of a police raid Monday that disrupted a gay rights activists’ workshop in the Ugandan capital, Kampala.

Amnesty International and participating groups called the raid “illegal.”

The police detained the participants for several hours, Amnesty said, cordoning off the hotel and questioning more than a dozen people. All were later released without charge.

“This continued harassment and intimidation of human rights activists must stop and the police need to start adhering to the laws they are supposed to protect and enforce,” said Michelle Kagari, Amnesty’s deputy director for Africa.

A police spokesperson would not comment on the matter.






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Article source: http://www.cnn.com/2012/06/20/world/africa/uganda-agencies-ban/index.html