Category:  News

Paper says ‘No way’ to ‘So gay’ Broadway

When Michael Bailey set out to place small classified-type advertising for his company’s new production and its casting calls, he hardly thought he’d soon find himself embroiled in a controversy over “community concerns.”

The production, “Naked Boys Singing,” has been well-received internationally and at home, after being performed on and off Broadway for a decade. “Naked Boys” has also caused controversy due to the production’s nudity and gay content.

On Aug. 15, Bailey’s company, MBF Productions, paid for online list advertising for “Naked Boys Singing” casting calls in the general announcements section of The State newspaper’s website. On Aug. 19, MBF received notice their ad had been canceled.

“We have canceled both your ads and issued you a full refund,” wrote The State’s Michael Dudash in a support email to MBF. “Because of the nature of the content, we cannot run these ads. Thank you!”

The ad read, “Auditions for Naked Boys Singing will be at the Ramada Limited, Monday & Tuesday, August 25 & 26, 2008 7 PM - 10 PM. Ramada Limited, 1315 Garner Lane. This is Broad River Road at I-20, Exit 65. South side of Interstate. Auditions will be clothed as will be most of the rehearsals. CAST: Roles are available for 10 males ages 18 to 32 in good physical condition. Looking for average-Joe types that can physically sing and dance. visit our website www.mbfproductions.org for full info.”

Read the full story from Q Notes.    READ MORE »

Voters in three states face marriage vote

With same-sex marriage bans on the ballot in three high-profile states in November, presidential hopefuls John McCain and Barack Obama could find themselves stuck in a fight they'd rather avoid.

California, Arizona and Florida will ask voters to approve constitutional amendments limiting marriage to a man and woman, and the high-priced election clash over the issue could help decide who becomes the nation's next president.

Polls show Obama and McCain running neck and neck in much of the nation, which means that any issue that could bring out voters in a swing state such as Florida has to be taken seriously by both parties.

But with the economy, the war in Iraq and health care drawing the most attention in the race for president, same-sex marriage isn't a battleground either candidate would choose, said Jack Pitney, a political science professor at Claremont McKenna College.

"Both men need to appeal to moderates," he said. "And neither candidate seems comfortable talking about this."

Read the full story from the San Francisco Chronicle.    READ MORE »

Fla. judge rules against adoption ban

A Monroe Circuit Court judge has ruled Florida's 31-year-old gay adoption ban unconstitutional in an order that allows an openly gay Key West foster parent to adopt a teenage boy he has raised since 2001.

Declaring the adoption to be in the boy's "best interest", circuit judge David J Audlin Jr, said the Florida law forbidding gays and lesbians from adopting children is contrary to the state constitution because it singles out a group for punishment.

Florida is one of only two states - including Mississippi - that forbid gay people from adopting children.

Read the full story from the Guardian.    READ MORE »

Black govs leaders in marriage equality

Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick and New York governor David Paterson have more than a few things in common. Of course, there’s the obvious: Both men are handsome, charismatic, and in their 50s. Both are the first black governors of their states—and only the second and third nationwide since Reconstruction. But less obvious -- at least to the average voter -- is their similar dedication to pro-gay politics.

Unlike his antigay Republican predecessor, Mitt Romney, Patrick has continually flexed his political muscle to ensure all of his constituents are treated equally. “In Massachusetts equal means equal,” he said in late July when he signed legislation that allows out-of-state gay couples to wed in Massachusetts. This repealed an obscure, 95-year-old law Romney had enforced to ensure that Massachusetts, as he explained, would not become the “Las Vegas of same-sex marriage.”

Paterson is just as impressive. A soft-spoken, legally blind politico, who represented Harlem in the state senate for two decades before becoming New York’s lieutenant governor in 2006, he’s been a staunch ally and ahead of the curve on gay issues. One of Paterson’s first major acts, after becoming governor in March, was ordering all state agencies to recognize same-sex marriages legally performed in other jurisdictions. The New York Times remarked that Paterson has become “something of a celebrity” since making that decision, noting he received “a hero’s welcome” while marching in New York City’s gay pride parade this June.

Think about it. Of the 50 men and women who occupy governor’s mansions in the United States, only two are black. And these two black men are arguably the most gay-friendly to ever be governor -- including New Jersey’s Jim McGreevey, who came around to gay rights only after coming out and leaving office.

Read the full story from the Advocate.    READ MORE »

Hope dims for Pride’s return to Piedmont Park

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As if the Atlanta Pride Festival needed any more bad news.

Mired in six-figure losses from the event last July, festival organizers were doused this week with more bad news: Piedmont Park's efforts to find an underground source of water fell flat -- again.
   READ MORE »

Piedmont Park comes up dry—again

Piedmont Park's efforts to find an underground water source failed -- again.

That doesn't bode well for the crown jewel of Atlanta's park system or the large-scale events like the Atlanta Pride Festival that suffered when they were forced out.    READ MORE »

N.C. man pleads guilty to HIV exposure

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A gay, 23-year-old man received a suspended 45-day jail sentence, 30 months of probation and a $300 fine, plus court costs, after pleading guilty Aug. 22 to charges stemming from violations of North Carolina’s public health laws relating to the spread of HIV.

Joshua Waldon Weaver, a DJ at clubs in Raleigh and Wilmington, was accused of failing to use a condom and failure to notify sexual partners of his HIV-positive status. According to filing documents, the offenses occurred from Aug. 1, 2006 to the time of the charges. The victim in the case was not named and the defendant’s boyfriend at the time of the proceeding made no statement to the press.

In April, Weaver was arrested and charged with the crimes, which are regulated under North Carolina Administrative Code 10-41 and North Carolina General Statute 130A-144(f). The laws address control measures regarding the spread of HIV and require those with communicable diseases — including other sexually transmitted diseases, hepatitis and tuberculosis — to comply with measures intended to curb their proliferation.

Read the full story from Q Notes. There's also video from WRAL in Raleigh.

   READ MORE »

HIV-positive man fired by McDonald’s

An Iowa gay man says he was fired by a McDonald’s franchise in Dyersville after it was learned he was HIV-positive.

Daniel Carver, 46, has filed a complaint with the Iowa Civil Rights Commission and has served notice to the franchise that he intends to sue for wrongful dismissal.

Federal law makes it illegal to discriminate on the basis of physical disability, which includes HIV. Under Iowa state law it is illegal to discriminate against an employee because of race, religion, perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.

Carver worked for the franchise for about four months, but was fired in February.

Read the full story from 365gay.com.    READ MORE »

Survey: Judge on job performance only

Your co-worker might just be a little more tolerant than you think.

Results from the Out & Equal Workplace Survey show that seven in 10 heterosexual adults agree that how an employee performs at their job should be the standard for judging an employee, not whether or not they are transgender. Nearly eight in 10 heterosexual adults strongly or somewhat agree that how an employee does his or her job should be the standard for judging an employee, not their sexual orientation. The survey also revealed that a majority of heterosexual adults are supportive of marriage-like workplace benefits for same sex couples virtually across-the-board.

There's more after the jump.    READ MORE »

Atlanta Pride loses total $160,000

The Atlanta Pride Committee’s board of directors and festival committee are working on ways to rebound from a 2008 event that saw a $164,736 deficit after the festival was forced to change both venue and date just six months out.

Due to the state’s severe drought, city officials booted large festivals from all city parks. Traditionally held in Piedmont Park on the last weekend of June, the 2008 Atlanta Pride festival took place over July Fourth weekend at the Civic Center.

While Atlanta Pride had a nest egg stashed away from profits made from the 2007, 2005, and 2004 festivals among others, the Pride Committee currently has a six to eight month supply of operating funds.

“If we look at our current financial standing right now, for what we have in the bank, if we look at the exact expenses, rent, one salary, storage unit, the nitty-gritty stuff, if we didn’t do anything we would be around for about six months. But obviously we are going to do things,” said Pride board chairperson Deirdre Heffernan. “That actually is a better picture than we first thought, so that gives us breathing room to move forward and make our plans.”

For the full story from Southern Voice, go here.    READ MORE »

Festivals push for return to Piedmont Park

The Dogwood Festival called off plans for a public protest in hopes of striking a deal with members of the Atlanta City Council to allow large festivals, including Atlanta Pride, back into Piedmont Park.

The Dogwood Festival Board of Directors initially urged supporters to attend the Aug. 18 Atlanta City Council meeting, but called it off at the last moment. Executive Director Brian Hill said Dogwood supporters would have been competing with more than 30 speakers who addressed the city on other pressing issues, including the closing of Fire House No. 7 in West Atlanta and the firing of a city arborist.

“It might not have gone our way,” Hill said.

Instead, Dogwood organizers met with a city councilmember they said is sympathetic to the festival’s plight. He did not respond to interview requests to verify his position.

Hill said his board is working with the councilmember to draft legislation allowing all Class A events, including Pride, Dogwood, the Peachtree Road Race and the city’s Jazz Festival, back into Piedmont Park next year.

Councilmember Anne Fauver, whose district encompasses Piedmont Park, said the decision will be made in October, following a report that considers drought conditions and the state of Piedmont Park’s hybrid Bermuda grass turf.

For the full article from Southern Voice, go here.    READ MORE »

Lesbians get their own neighborhood

One day in July, Gail Davis, 58, and her partner, Janyce Bender, 64, sat down at their computer to find an email from Olivia companies. They were already anticipating their upcoming Olivia cruise – but when they clicked to open the message, their excitement was overwhelming.

“Oh my gosh,” Davis said as she read the message in disbelief. Olivia, the lesbian-owned women’s travel company and record label, had finally come through with a decade-long promise: to open what may be the first large-scale lesbian housing development in the country.

Bender turned to her partner and said, “I absolutely want to do this.” Less than a week later they sent a $10,000 deposit and their registration was secured.

“Nobody really knew this was coming,” said Davis, “but then they send us this email that said ‘Hi, we’re ready to start taking reservations.’”

Olivia Communities will be a 334-unit resort-style living community in Tuscon, Ariz. Although anyone can purchase a home, the company is targeting lesbians.

“My whole vision of this has always been about creating community and creating a place where we can not only be free… but also the kind of community where you’re really connected with the people there and feel comfortable and happy in your environment,” said Judy Dlugacz, president and founder of Olivia Companies.

For the full story from 365gay.com, go here.    READ MORE »

Cobb courts a steamy place

A former Superior Court administrator in Cobb County so enjoyed his job that he didn't want to leave -- at least for sex. That's the result of a report issued Tuesday concerning allegations leveled at Howard Chesshire, who left his job in February after the allegations began surfacing.

Sex in a judge's chambers, trysts at local hotels during business hours, obscene phone calls to female workers and a desire to see lesbian sex are among the many accounts of what was going on with the top Superior Court official in Cobb County for the past two decades.


The report says Chessire denied all of the allegations.    READ MORE »

Democratic platform doesn’t say ‘gay’

The party platform that will be presented to delegates at the Democratic National Convention carefully never mentions the words gay, lesbian or transgendered, yet it’s the most positive LGBT platform in memory.

It calls for passage of expanded hate crime legislation and a comprehensive employment discrimination bill, while not specifically saying both pieces of legislation would directly affect LGBT people. It does, however, use the term gender identity.
The platform also calls for the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the ban on LGBT people serving openly in the military, and for the first time it calls for the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act used to bar gay and lesbian couples from receiving federal benefits.

The platform additionally calls for the full inclusion of same-sex couples and their families and for a national strategy to combat HIV/AIDS.

Meanwhile, a record number of LGBT delegates are expected to the Democratic National Convention in Denver. Over 350 LGBT participants are being sent to the convention.

For the full story from 365gay.com, go here.    READ MORE »

Trans employee calls it quits in N.Y.

imageThe person who made history six years ago by becoming the first city employee to openly transition from male to female in the workplace has never found a burning cross outside her home.

The acts of bigotry and intolerance have been more subtle — but every bit as disheartening, said Camille Stephanie Hopkins.

Crude notes have been slipped under her office door. She hears giggles — sometimes sarcastic whistles — as she walks the halls. When elevator doors open, friendly chatter often turns into an icy hush.

“It hurts, because in some people’s eyes, I’m a freak,” she said.

Compounding her pain is Hopkins’ belief that the city has contributed to what she calls a climate of intolerance. City leaders have failed to provide enough sensitivity training and taken a dismissive attitude when she has raised concerns, Hopkins claimed. She was

even brought up on departmental charges for wearing a T-shirt that sported the phrase “fagbug,” a word the gay community considers a statement against hate crimes and homophobia.

“The city has allowed people to embrace their fears,” she said.

That’s why Hopkins has decided to call it quits. At the end of the month, she will end a City Hall career that began 21 years ago when Gregory Hopkins became a human resource planner.

For the full story from the Buffalo News, go here.    READ MORE »

 
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