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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Obama Includes Same Sex Couples in Family Day Proclamation


Our family provides one of the strongest influences on our lives. American families from every walk of life have taught us time and again that children raised in loving, caring homes have the ability to reject negative behaviors and reach their highest potential. Whether children are raised by two parents, a single parent, grandparents, a same-sex couple, or a guardian, families encourage us to do our best and enable us to accomplish great things. Today, our children are confronting issues of drug and alcohol use with astonishing regularity. On Family Day, we honor the dedication of parents, commend the achievements of their children, and celebrate the contributions our Nation's families have made to combat substance abuse among young people.

The 21st century presents families with unprecedented challenges. Millions of women and men are struggling to balance the demands of their jobs with the needs of their families. At the same time, our youngest generation faces countless distractions in their social environment. They are coming of age in a world where electronic devices have replaced the playground, televisions have preempted conversation, and pressure to use drug and alcohol is far too prevalent. Parents bear significant stress and burdens to protect their children from harmful influences.

It is our responsibility to talk with adolescents about the risks of abusing alcohol, tobacco, or prescription and illicit drugs, and other harmful behaviors. These substances can destroy the mind, body, and spirit of a child, jeopardizing their health and limiting their potential. Active parents, voicing their disapproval of drug use, have proven themselves to be the most effective preventative method for keeping our children drug-free. A strong and engaged family can make all the difference in helping young people make healthy decisions.

By coming together as a family and discussing the events of the day, parents can foster open communication, share joys and concerns, and help guide their children toward healthy decisionmaking. A strong nation is made up of strong families, and on this Family Day, we rededicate ourselves to ensuring that every American family has the chance to build a better, healthier future for themselves and their children.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim September 28, 2009, as Family Day. I call upon the people of the United States to join together in observing this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities to honor and strengthen our Nation's families.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-eighth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fourth.


Federal court dismisses lawsuit from lesbian banned from dying partner's bedside

Lambda Legal calls decision in favor of Fla. hospital 'tragic'

A federal court has dismissed a lawsuit by a lesbian who was banned by a Florida hospital from being with her life partner during her final hours.

Lisa Pond, Janice Langbehn and their three adopted children were on a gay “R Family” cruise in February 2007 when Pond, 39, suffered a brain aneurysm that led to her being hospitalized.

Despite the couple having the necessary legal forms, officials at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami allegedly prevented Langbehn and the couple’s children from seeing Pond during her final hours. Hospital officials allegedly informed Langbehn that she was in an anti-gay city and state, and that they would not recognize her power of attorney authority.

Read an interview with Langbehn as well as a survey of Atlanta hospital's and their LGBT policies here.

MYSINGLERING.COM Introduced the Single Ring for Singles and Now, During National Singles Week, Launches the Newest Single Ring for the Gay Community

The new and unique ring designs developed by MYSINGLERING.COM enable all single individuals the ability to express themselves the way that a wedding band signifies someone as being married. While the male and female interlocked symbols prominently displayed on the Single Rings signify that someone is a heterosexual, the new Gay Pride Single Rings, with interlocked male or female symbols show that the wearer is an intelligent, empowered and happy individual and available to meet the same.

Chicago, IL (PRWEB) September 29, 2009 -- Venus and Mars Single Rings ™ take a centuries old symbol for male and female and create a unique brand of quality and affordable rings for the international single community to identify themselves.

The trademarked symbols in the initial launch of the Venus and Mars Brand and the New Gay Single Rings were designed to be inclusive of all straight and gay individuals. To further this effort of equality for all, MYSINGLERING.COM will be donating a portion of each ring sales to several nonprofit organizations that advocate fairness to all singles.

These sterling silver rings can be worn on either hand and on any finger because the symbols are readily identifiable. They are recommended for everyday use and are fun conversation starters. One of our most recent customers wrote us back to let us know that he just met a great girl who was curious and asked him about his unusual ring while he was working on his laptop at the coffee shop.

The Venus and Mars Single and Gay Pride Rings also make great birthday, holiday and graduation gifts and are also a wonderful way to help a friend through a recent breakup or divorce.

For additional information on the Single Rings or Gay Pride Rings, please contact Tim Gould or visit The recently debuted Single Rings and New Gay Pride Rings are all available for purchase with special introductory pricing and limited time free shipping.


At MYSINGLERING.COM we take great pride in the quality and service of every Venus and Mars Single and Gay Ring we deliver. Our philosophy is not to promote singlehood as a way of life but in making the most out of your time while being single.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Settlement Reached in Case of Lambda Legal Lesbian Client Denied Infertility Treatment by Christian Fundamentalist Doctors

'Regardless of motive, antigay discrimination causes real harm to real
people, and it can be very expensive.'

(San Diego, September 29, 2009)— An Oceanside lesbian whose doctors denied
her infertility treatment based on her sexual orientation has reached a
settlement with her former physicians in her historic lawsuit against them.

In a joint statement ending eight years of litigation, Guadalupe 'Lupita'
Benítez and her former doctors at North Coast Women’s Care Medical Group
said 'the parties have reached a mutually satisfactory settlement of the
litigation for an undisclosed sum of money.  Guadalupe Benitez and her
spouse Joanne Clark initiated the lawsuit because they felt that the
defendants treated Ms. Benitez differently due to her sexual orientation.
The defendants are sincerely sorry that Ms. Benitez and Ms. Clark have felt
this way, and have never meant to treat Ms. Benitez with disrespect.
Defendants want all of their patients, including those who are lesbian and
gay, to feel welcome and accepted in their medical practice, and are
committed to treating all of their patients with equal dignity and respect
in the context of the highest quality of medical care

The case began in 1999, when Benítez was referred for infertility care to
North Coast Women’s Care Medical Group, which had an exclusive contract
with her insurance plan.  After eleven months of preparatory treatments,
including medication and unnecessary surgery, her doctors finally admitted
they would not perform donor insemination for her because she is a lesbian.
The doctors claimed a right to opt out of California’s civil rights law
because they hold fundamentalist Christian views and they object to
treating a lesbian patient as they treat others.  Benítez sued, and the
case made its way to the California Supreme Court, which ruled last year
that Benitez was entitled to be treated like other patients with her same
health problem, and that constitutional protections for religious liberty
do not excuse unlawful discrimination.

'I didn’t look for this fight; my doctors forced it on me,' said Benítez,
now a mother of three.  '¨We felt helpless, humiliated and trapped, and
it’s been a long, hard fight to get to this point.  But we know we've made
a difference in the law that will help people in California and, hopefully,
across the country.  We are very proud of that

Lambda Legal Marriage Project Director Jennifer C. Pizer argued the case
before the Supreme Court.

"The statement issued by North Coast is an extremely encouraging sign of
progress," said Pizer.  "It shows a journey that our whole society is
taking together, away from intolerance and towards inclusion.  Ten years
ago, Lupita’s doctors wouldn’t recognize her commitment to her life partner
Joanne – now, they acknowledge Joanne as Lupita's spouse.  We've seen
religion used time and time again to justify discrimination based on race,
gender, religious difference, and now sexual orientation.  But those who
would treat some people differently than others need to know that,
regardless of motive, antigay discrimination causes real harm to real
people, and it can be very expensive.  Lupita and Joanne's kids can be
proud of their moms, and thanks to this settlement, can all pursue whatever
education and opportunities they choose."

The case name is Benitez v. North Coast Women’s Care Medical Group.

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Gay Fringe – Anti-ENDA

 By Michael Lamb

This summer, we were deluded with visions of cracker box Americans causing a ruckus at congressional public hearings. They called Obama a Nazi, Satan, a Socialist and a Grandma killer. The most confusing aspect of these protests is that most of these couch excavations had no idea what they were protesting about and were misinformed by the various conservative fear monger groups who love to mentally taser their constituents’ minds with ridiculous projections, and “oh, and can you send us a check?

ENDA, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act recently re-debuted in a congressional hearing that seeks to enact federal legislation to prevent discrimination against the LGBT community in the workplace. Now breathe! It’s not the ENDA the world. ENDA has been kicked around in Congress for the past 30 years since previous Congressional Representatives Ed Koch and Bela Abzug originally proposed it. In a nutshell, this civil rights act will prevent American businesses from firing an LGBT person because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Yet, despite how obviously we need a law like this on the books, there are some within our own ranks who have assumed a pedestal to bark out slurpy anti-ENDA comments without leaving one eye open to review the facts.

B.Daniel Blatt writes on in his piece, “Would ENDA lead to forced “outing?

1-“Should this legislation pass, how would a liberal Administration enforce it, would the Holder Justice Department bring “disparate impact” lawsuits against corporations that don’t have the proper amount of homosexuals in their workforce.
2-Would a lower percentage of gay people in the workforce (than in the surrounding jurisdiction) be evidence of discrimination as some liberals believe a lower proportion of minorities (than in the population at large) is prima facie evidence of discrimination?
3-And how would an employer determine how many gays are in his employ (and a judge in his jurisdiction)?  Would people be required to identify their sexuality when they take a job?”


1.     No Danny, there are no quotas for companies to fulfill as part of the ENDA legislation.
2.     Don’t be a prima dipstick Dan, ENDA contains no provisions that geographically define an area according to their gay population.
3.     ENDA does not require LGBT jobseekers to disclose their sexual orientation, so you can still hide if you like.

I have much respect for Gay conservatives even though it is not aligned with my thinking. The Log Cabin Republicans have represented LGBT conservatives for many years, but they don’t tell people that they can see Russia from their house.

ENDA is the LGBT community’s chance to finally attain fairness in the workplace. Let’s look at the facts and read the legislation before we start misleading our own in order to create an insecure, disparate identity.

-- The right wingnuts have just taken advantage of Blatt's blog post....

Alan Turing, WWII Hero and Father of the Computer Petition the Queen to Bestow Knighthood

Alan Turing, a mathematical genius, led the WWII team that broke the German code.  Turing invented the Bombe, which deciphered secret messages encoded by the German Enigma machine. His invention turned the tide of WWII, shortened the war, saved countless lives and helped assure Allied victory.

Known as the father of the computer, the Turing machine is the basis for computer technology.

In 1952, Turing was arrested for gross indecency for consensual same-sex intimacy.  He was offered imprisonment or chemical castration. Turing chose chemical castration. Two years later, at age 41, Turing committed suicide.

In September 2009, as a result of a successful international petition, UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown issued a formal apology to Alan Turning for the treatment he received.  Brown recognized Turing’s contribution to humankind and “all those who live freely thanks to Alan’s work.”  Brown stated, “I am proud to say we’re sorry, you deserved so much better.”

Alan Turing is one of the most important figures of the 20th century,” stated Malcolm Lazin, Executive Director of Equality Forum.  “Despite his exceptional accomplishments, homophobia castrated him and led to his suicide. More than an apology is required. Alan Turing deserves to be posthumously knighted by the Queen.”

Turing’s portrait is currently on display in the National Portrait Gallery in London as part of the “Gay Icons” exhibition.

To nominate Alan Turing for Knighthood, please visit:

Alan Turing was a 2006 Icon for GLBT History Month.  There is a video, biography, bibliography and downloadable images of Turing. To learn more about Alan Turing, visit and click on Archives for 2006.

Equality Forum is a national and international GLBT civil rights organization with an educational focus.  Equality Forum coordinates GLBT History Month, produces documentary films, undertakes high impact initiatives and presents annually the largest national and international GLBT civil rights forum.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009



Washington – Congressman Barney Frank announced today that he will testify before the House Education and Labor Committee on Wednesday in favor of his bill to prohibit employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

The legislation, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (H.R. 3017), would extend existing federal employment laws which prohibit job discrimination on the basis of race, religion, gender, national origin, age, and disability.

Currently, it is legal to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation in 29 states, and it is legal to discriminate on the basis of gender identity in 38 states.

Despite strong support in the House – the bill has over 170 cosponsors – the hearing is likely to be a lively one.  Witnesses included Vandy Beth Glenn, a woman who was fired when she informed her employer that she was transitioning from male to female, and a representative of the National Religious Broadcasters Association, which opposes the legislation.

WHAT:                  Hearing on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act

WHERE:               House Education and Labor Hearing Room, 2175 Rayburn House Office Building

WHEN:                 Wednesday, September 23, 2009

  • U.S. Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA)
    U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)
  • Hon. Stuart J. Ishimaru, Acting Commissioner, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
  • William Eskridge, John A. Garver Professor of Jurisprudence, Yale Law School
  • Vandy Beth Glenn, fired from her Georgia state legislative job when she told her supervisor she was transitioning from male to female
  • Camille Olson, partner, Seyfarth Shaw LLP
  • Craig Parshall, senior vice president and general counsel, National Religious Broadcasters Association
  • Rabbi David Saperstein, director, the Religious Action Center
  • Brad Sears, executive director, Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law

                        Other witnesses TBA




  • Federal employment laws currently prevent job discrimination on the basis of race, religion, gender, national origin, age and disability.  ENDA would extend this to cover sexual orientation and gender identity, covering all LGBT Americans. 
  • Although some states have laws to prevent such discrimination, in 29 states it is legal to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and in 38 states it is legal to discriminate on the basis of gender identity.
  • The bill covers both the public and private sectors.
  • The bill has more than 170 cosponsors, including Democrats and Republicans.  The current list of original cosponsors will be available after the press conference.


  • The legislation does not afford “special rights” to any group.
  • The legislation specifically prohibits preferential treatment on the basis of quotas.
  • The legislation does not apply to members of the Armed Services, veterans’ service groups, and religious organizations.
  • The legislation does not require employers to provide benefits to domestic partners.
  • The legislation does not apply to organizations with less than 15 employees.
  • The legislation does not prevent businesses from enforcing dress codes

List of ENDA Witnesses In Tomorrow's Hearing

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act begins hearings tomorrow in Washington DC. We are finally on the road to receiving equality in the workplace for the LGBT community. Here is a list of tomorrow's witnesses at the House Education and Labor Committee.

  • U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)
  • U.S. Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA)
  • Hon. Stuart J. Ishimaru Acting Chairman U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
  • William Eskridge John A. Garver Professor of Jurisprudence Yale Law School
  • Vandy Beth Glenn fired from her Georgia state legislative job when she told her supervisor she was transitioning from male to female
  • Camille Olson Partner Seyfarth Shaw LLP
  • Craig Parshall Senior Vice President and General Counsel National Religious Broadcasters Association
  • Rabbi David Saperstein Director The Religious Action Center
  • Brad Sears Executive Director Williams Institute
    UCLA School of Law

Monday, September 21, 2009

NEW RESEARCH shows 51 percent of LGBT workers are closeted

(Full research to released 9/22/09)

To understand and bridge the gap between policy and real-life experience, the HRC Foundation embarked on an ambitious research plan to study how LGBT identity surfaces and unfolds in the workplace, how environment can affect the retention and productivity of all employees and how organizations can identify and address opportunities to improve climate.

Key Findings:

·         Significant numbers of LGBT employees continue to experience a negative workplace climate that appears unaffected by current policies, even in companies with inclusive non-discrimination policies.

1.     The majority of LGBT workers (a staggering 51 percent) hide their LGBT identity to most at work, the simplest indication that more work needs to be done to translate inclusive policies into an inclusive climate.

2.     Hiding one’s LGBT identity is even more pronounced among younger workers. Only 5 percent of LGBT employees ages 18 to 24 say they are totally open at work, compared to more than 20 percent in older age cohorts.
Employees who are not open at work experience more negative outcomes from their workplace environment that affect productivity, retention and professional relationships.

1.     For example, 54 percent of LGBT employees who are not open to anyone at work report lying about their personal lives, compared to 21 percent of employees open about their LGBT identity.

2.        An employee’s sexual orientation and gender identity are often unavoidable in casual, non-work-related conversations among co-workers. These frequent conversations are the most likely to make LGBT employees feel uncomfortable: fewer than half feel very comfortable talking about any of these topics.

1.     A total of 89 percent of LGBT employees say conversations about social lives come up at least once a week;
2.     80 percent confront conversations involving spouses, relationships and dating at least once per week;
3.     50 percent say the topic of sex arises at least once a week.
Derogatory comments and jokes still happen at work and are a major indicator that it is unsafe to be open about their sexual orientation and/or gender identity at work.

1.     A total of 58 percent of LGBT workers say someone at work makes a joke or derogatory comment about LGBT people at least once in a while.
2.     Similarly, jokes and derogatory comments about other minority groups are equally indicative of a negative climate. About two-thirds (62 percent) of LGBT employees say negative comments about minority groups are made at least once in a while at work.


In collaboration with Lake Research Partners, the HRC Foundation conducted 14 focus groups to examine current LGBT workplace experiences and identify key elements of workplace climate. Since there is no uniform LGBT experience, the diversity of the working LGBT community was accounted for by conducting focus groups around race, ethnicity and gender, among other subgroupings.  In addition, the HRC Foundation commissioned the largest national survey of LGBT workplace experiences to date, administered to 761 LGBT workers from across the country. Finally, in-depth interviews supplemented the research.

Additional findings:

Many LGBT workers also view their employer’s use of the words “spouse” or “partner” as an indication of whether or not a climate is open and accepting. Half of LGBT employees (51 percent) say their employer rarely (13 percent) or never (38 percent) uses terms such as “partner” or “significant other” instead of or alongside “spouse” in communications.

While non-discrimination policies that include sexual orientation and gender identity are fundamental to establishing a productive workplace climate, their presence alone is not an indicator of employee experience. Even with inclusive employment policies, significant numbers of employees report negative consequences of an unwelcoming environment for LGBT employees. Moreover, the vast majority of LGBT workers do not report instances when they hear an anti-LGBT remark to HR or management. On average, 67 percent ignore it or let it go, 9 percent raise the issue with a supervisor and only 5 percent go to HR.

While these issues can have a costly impact on LGBT employees, most workplaces can improve with targeted assessments and teachings around everyday opportunities to signal an inclusive workplace. Providing an anonymous and confidential method for employees to identify as LGBT, along with other demographic information, allows businesses to gauge success and target areas for improvement. Seven in ten (72 percent) LGBT employees say they would self-disclose their sexual orientation and/or gender identity along with other demographic information in an anonymous HR survey.

The HRC Foundation has devised and piloted the first-ever LGBT workplace climate assessment tool to assist organizations in identifying LGBT employees and improving their work environments. Additionally, the qualitative and quantitative phases of the research found that by engaging more deliberately with the three core tiers of influence in an organization — senior leadership, human resources, diversity and inclusion professionals; middle managers and supervisors; and individual employees — workplace climate for LGBT employees can be effectively improved.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The National LGBT Bar Association Career Fair

The National LGBT Bar Association held it's annual Career Fair and Conference at the New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge September 10-12, 2009. Camera and editing by

Lambda Legal Condemns Stripping of Domestic Partner Benefits by Arizona Lawmakers

"A cruel and cynical ploy by the far right to target and hurt the families of gay and lesbian state employees under the guise of cost-cutting"

(Phoenix) — Lambda Legal is profoundly concerned and disturbed by a move by Arizona lawmakers on Friday to strip health benefits from the domestic partners of state employees.

State legislators for months had taken aim at the equal benefits plan approved last year by former Governor Janet Napolitano, now Department of Homeland Security Secretary. On Friday, current Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed a budget bill with the provision revoking the health insurance coverage for domestic partners.

The elimination of vital benefits for a small, politically vulnerable group of public workers emerged from a protracted and bruising battle over the state budget. The new law strips gay and lesbian state employees of the ability to obtain health benefits for an unmarried life partner. Because health coverage for an employee’s committed life partner can be a critical lifeline for family stability and financial security, this budget denies 'equal pay for equal work' and inflicts severe hardship upon a targeted group of Arizona families.

"This is a cruel and cynical ploy by the far right to target and hurt the families of gay and lesbian state employees under the guise of cost-cutting," said Tara Borelli, staff attorney for Lambda Legal. "With families already facing pressure from job losses and a contracting economy, this couldn't happen at a worse time. The cutting of benefits pulls the rug out from underneath hardworking state employees and saves the state next to nothing."

Lambda Legal is already advising a number of affected state employees about their options and encourages others who may be affected to contact Borelli at (213) 382-7600, ext. 231, or via email at

GayFranchise Adds New Short Form

Echelon's franchise subsidiary, is constantly working on building traffic, generating more leads for clients and optimizing the site as much as possible.

We have already established that there is a need in the franchise industry for Gays and Lesbians to identify equality-minded or gay-friendly franchise concepts. just went through a major SEO transition which has increased traffic tremendously.

As a lead generator for franchise sales, it is of utmost importance to capture the visitor by enticing them to fill out a feedback form. Up to now, our feedback forms landed at the end of each listing. That longer form still exists today and has worked well, but many of our interested visitors may be interested but may not have the time to fill out the form.

Hence, the short feedback form was created and installed and seems to be working pretty well.

So if you are one of those looky-loos who want to make a change in your career by attaining autonomy, confidence and joy at work, take a look at our gay-friendly clients who are all ready, willing and able to launch your new franchise.

Rep Tammy Baldwin on LGBT inclusive healthcare

Thursday, September 17, 2009

GLAAD Commends FOX for Inclusion of Same-Sex Couple on “So You Think You Can Dance” Following Meeting with GLAAD

September 17, 2009, New York, NY – The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), the nation’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) media advocacy and anti-defamation organization, today commended FOX on the inclusion of same-sex dance couple Jacob Jason and Willem De Vries on the September 16, 2009 episode of “So You Think You Can Dance.” It was also announced today that openly gay director and choreographer Adam Shankman will become a permanent judge on the show beginning October 27.

This follows a GLAAD Call to Action issued on May 22 over comments made by judge Nigel Lythgoe in reaction to another same-sex pairing. GLAAD staff then met with FOX and Lythgoe to educate and advocate for fair, accurate and inclusive LGBT images. FOX officials said that the creative team behind the top ten rated show learned from this outreach and screened the new episode for GLAAD prior to its broadcast.

Joining concerned citizens across America, GLAAD spoke out critically against the hurtful and stereotyping remarks on “So You Think You Can Dance,” and are delighted to see that these education and advocacy efforts resonated with the show’s producers and judges,” said Jarrett Barrios, GLAAD President. “The treatment of Jacob and Willem this evening, along with the addition of Adam Shankman, gives America a bold example of how to treat gay people with the same respect and fairness as anyone else. That’s what America’s all about.”

During their segment, dancers Jacob and Willem discuss wanting to audition despite what previously happened with a same-sex dance pair to illustrate that there is "a world of same-sex dancers." Their routine nearly brought judges Mary Murphy and Mia Michaels to tears.

The judges had positive reviews following the routine:
Mary Murphy: “I can understand why you’re welling up. I have to say that I’m just really proud of you two. And that showed all the emotion and passion in a strong way. It had great lines, great technique. Well done. I’m really proud of the two of you.

Mia Michaels: “All I know is that I celebrate the courage that you guys have to just expose yourselves and your hearts and passion and who you are.
Nigel Lythgoe: “Thank you for showing me that same sex ballroom dancing can be very strong and very good.

It is so important that the millions of everyday Americans viewing the show now have the opportunity to see couples like Jacob and Willem,” said Barrios. “Images like this build understanding and acceptance of our community and will inspire young LGBT dancers everywhere.”

The May 22 Call to Action was issued when aspiring competitors Misha Belfer and Mitchel Kibel performed a samba for the judges. Though the judges did offer some praise to the men, Lythgoe -- in his on-air and online criticisms of their performance -- made snide, and ultimately homophobic, comments about the routine.

To view Lythgoe’s original comments please visit:

Following calls and e-mails from concerned viewers and the meeting with GLAAD, Lythgoe issued an apology for his poor word choices and comments.

We look forward to continuing to see words, images and representations of the LGBT community on “So You Think You Can Dance” and all FOX programs that are fair, accurate and LGBT inclusive,” said Barrios.

A question to "gays" who keep asking for some other celebrities to 'come out" so they can be "proud" of their sexuality

By Billy Glover

I just watched on Logo a show on Freddie Mercury and once again I hear the idea that "if he had come out" it would have been an inspiration to young people struggling with their homosexuality. Nonsense. What this means is that someone would only be happy to be "gay" if other cute, famous people are too. What about all the pioneers who risked their lives to change the world so that today it is possible for us to be happy and gay?

Why are they not an inspiration?

Since 1953 there has been at least one (ONE) publication available in all major cities discussing the subject. Since 1950 there have been a dozen or more pioneers who were speaking out, including in courtrooms/cases. Since 1958 there has been a victory in the U S Supreme Court won by ONE to gain our community/movement the right to even discuss homosexuality in publications.

Every major city has a LGBT newspaper. There has been national magazines covering our subject/lives given major publicity (Advocate and OUT) which have given coverage to dozens of cute and famous people who have "come out." There have been dozens of movies with gay-friendly themes, major TV shows with serious discussions on issues we face.

For years there have been organizations giving help in the legal, religious and political fields. There are LGBT centers in every major city. There have been marches on Washington, and one is planned for next month.

How many people coming out does it take for all these young people to be comfortable with themselves? Perhaps the reason our cause has still got a long way to go for equal/civil rights is because too many "gays' are unhappy being gay. That is what we have been trying to educate them about since 1950. if they haven't "heard" us, that is their problem.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Lambda Legal Calls for Swift Passage of Respect for Marriage Act

"It's long past time for DOMA to go."

(New York, September 15, 2009) — Today at a Capitol Hill press conference announcing the introduction of a bill to repeal the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), Lambda Legal's Executive Director Kevin Cathcart and a Lambda Legal plaintiff couple from the Iowa marriage equality victory lawsuit called for the bill's passage.

"It is long past time for DOMA to go," said Kevin Cathcart, Executive Director of Lambda Legal. "When DOMA passed in 1996 it was a gratuitous slap in the face. But now, 13 years later, there are thousands of married same-sex couples who are hurt by this law. We've come a long way in 13 years and the federal government shouldn't be in the business of deciding that some married couples are worthy of federal respect and others are not. Married same-sex couples pay federal taxes just like everyone else and have a right to the same respect, important benefits and protections as everyone else."

The Respect for Marriage Act is sponsored by Congressman Jerrold Nadler of New York, Chair of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers, Jr. of Michigan and two openly gay members of Congress, Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Congressman Jared Polis of Colorado.

"We applaud the bill's sponsors for their leadership and call on all fair-minded congressional members to support this bill," Cathcart added.

Jen and Dawn BarbouRoske, a married same-sex couple from Iowa City, Iowa, and their two daughters McKinley, 11 and Breanna, 7, were plaintiffs in Lambda Legal's lawsuit which resulted in the Iowa marriage victory this spring. The family spoke at the press conference about why federal respect of their marriage is important to them.

"We've been together for nearly 20 years and when we got married this summer, we got the same license and undertook the same responsibilities as every other married couple in our state," said Jen BarbouRoske. "Why is the federal government labeling our marriage as undeserving of the same federal respect and protections that our married neighbors have? When Dawn and I do our federal tax return next year, our own government will tell us to lie and say we’re not married. But we are, and the government that takes the same taxes and Social Security deductions from our paychecks as from everyone else’s, should give us the same legal rights, too."

NLGJA Convened Nearly 200 U.S. & Canadian Journalists & Allies to Promote Fair & Accurate Journalism

Washington, D.C. - The National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA), the leading group for LGTB journalists, media professionals, educators and students throughout North America, drew together nearly 200 journalists and allies at its recent National Convention and LBGT Media Summit. The convention ran Sept. 10-13 in Montreal, Canada. The event offered a broad range of workshops to develop and enhance participants' journalism skills, and also hosted thought-provoking discussions of LBGT issues and more.

"This important gathering of LGBT journalists was an unqualified success, attracting attendees from all corners of the Unites States and Canada," said Michael Tune, NLGJA's managing director. "Our convention offered a great chance for learning and networking, but it also served as an opportunity to those leading the organization to reconnect with and reenergize our membership. This meeting strengthened our work to foster fair coverage of LBGT issues and fair treatment of LBGT journalists."

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

"Greek" Comes Out

Here is a clip from the 9/21 episode of “Greek” (#3004 -“High and Dry”). In it you will find Calvin (Paul James) and Rebecca (Dilshad Vadsaria) discussing Calvin’s love life, specifically his boyfriend’s inability to come out to his “girlfriend.” While this is a humorous take on a serious moment, the clip addresses issues of coming out on one’s own time, as well as the importance of trusting others with this announcement.

It appears on ABC Family. Mmmm!

Emmy Award-winning entertainer joins Out and Equal Summit speaker lineup

Famed entertainer Leslie Jordan—known for his roles in "Sordid Lives" and "Will & Grace"—is the latest to join the lineup at the 2009 Out & Equal Workplace Summit, the world's premier conference on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender workplace equality.

Register to secure your opportunity to take part in more than 120 innovative workshops and inspirational discussions during the conference, which will be held Oct. 6-9 at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort in Florida.

TODAY is the last day of guaranteed Out & Equal negotiated hotel rates of $153 a night for the Summit. Book your rooms now to save money and to potentially win Disney's Dream Incentive, two nights at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort. Regular registration rates end on September 30, with higher rate packages available on-site each day.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Social Architect Cleo Manago Breaks Down "Fear of a Gay Planet" In Video Clip from Recent Panel Discussion

Atlanta - The Black community has often been held accountable for its lack of acknowledgement and resistance to its own same gender loving community. In what could be described as a 'fear of a gay planet,' issues addressing homosexuality are still considered taboo in large sectors of the black community, including the church.

An insightful video clip from a presentation given by social architect Cleo Manago has been circulating the Internet and stimulating increased dialogue within the Black as well as gay identified communities. Manago recently participated in a candid debate on homosexuality in Black communities, civil rights and attitudes behind Black resistance to homosexuals at Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Networks 2009 Summer Conference held in Atlanta, GA.

Manago was joined by author/activist Kevin Alexander Gray and National Action Networks Director of Health & Wellness, Tony Wafford. The recent legislation on gay marriage and domestic partnerships sparked the presentation which addressed the question." Are same gender relationships a civil rights issue?"

Manago, known for his outspoken and no holds barred opinions, eloquently expresses in the video presentation, "Often when I have these discussions in the Black community, someone gets up talking about reproduction. To reproduce or to not reproduce being the measure of who deserves the most rights or respect. This is not logical because most sex that people have, including heterosexual sex, is not to reproduce."

Manago further goes on to discuss that "While HIV is killing us, the Black community, its difficult getting heterosexual men involved in part based on myths, judgments and under-discussed issues around manhood in the Black community."

Recognized as one of the "Leading Men in 2008" and titled "The Uniter" by Instinct Magazine, Manago has been at the forefront of the movement to liberate the masses from stereotypes and ingrained cultural perceptions since 1989. His message and vision of love and acceptance is ensconced in the context of cultural affirmation and transformation.

Cleo Manago is the founder the AmASSI Health & Cultural Centers based in the Inglewood area of South Los Angeles, with additional projects in Harlem, Atlanta and the Baltimore/DC area. The acronym 'AmASSI' stands for the African American Advocacy, Support-Services & Survival Institute. Uniquely, AmASSI combines counseling, skills building and educational programs regarding the prevention of HIV disease, substance abuse and various health threats; with cultural affirmation, critical thinking and self-concept enrichment.

The approach confronts many of the psycho-social, mental health, contemporary and historical factors that impact Black well-being and constructive behavior, with technical assistance also provided to other organizations on how to improve their capacity to attract, affirm and serve diverse Black people.

This videotaped discussion between the panel and audience is a rare documented example of the topic of homosexuality publicly addressed among a diverse group of African Americans.

For more information on Cleo Manago and AmASSI Group go to


Thousands to Descend on Washington for the National Equality March on October 11

Hear the latest updates and details about the National Equality March in Washington D.C. on October 11th from prominent gay activist Cleve Jones. A Q&A opportunity will follow.

What: Conference Call Regarding the National Equality March

When: Monday, September 14th
11:00 a.m. Pacific / 1:00 p.m. Central / 2:00 p.m. Eastern

Who: Cleve Jones, National Co-Chair

Washington DC — Thousands of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender grassroots activists and straight allies will be in Washington D.C. on October 10th and 11th to demand full and equal protection for LGBT people in all matters governed by civil law in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

This March will be the first step toward a larger goal of bridging the gap between the national LGBT organizations and grassroots community organizers and creating a national movement in all 435 congressional districts to demand of our elected representatives full equality under the law,” said Cleve Jones, national co-chair of the March.

The National Equality March started with a call to action by David Mixner, who urged Jones and Torie Osborn to work with new and emerging leaders to plan this event and bring diverse communities together in support of equality.

We will come to Washington with new strategies and new messages to build our movement,” said Jones.

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Friday, September 11, 2009

California Senate stands up for equal rights

DeSaulnier non-discrimination resolution passes

SACRAMENTO – The California Senate this week stood up for equal rights by passing a resolution calling for Congress to pass and the president to sign the Federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2009.

Senate Resolution 27 by Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, supports a federal act that would prohibit workplace discrimination based on an employee’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

The Federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act is about fairness in the workplace,” DeSaulnier said after the resolution passed Thursday. “Sexual orientation and gender identity shouldn’t factor into a job evaluation any more than race or military service.”

Federal law already protects people from discrimination due to race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability, military service and genetic information.
While California law protects against discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation, 19 other states have no employment protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender employees.

SR 27 is sponsored by Equality California and co-authored by the Chair of the Legislative LGBT Caucus Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco.

Read the resolution:

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Thousands to Descend on Washington for the National Equality March on October 11

Hear the latest updates and details about the National Equality March in Washington D.C. on October 11th from prominent gay activist Cleve Jones. A Q&A opportunity will follow.

What: Conference Call Regarding the National Equality March

When: Monday, September 14th
11:00 a.m. Pacific / 1:00 p.m. Central / 2:00 p.m. Eastern

Who: Cleve Jones, National Co-Chair

Washington DC — Thousands of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender grassroots activists and straight allies will be in Washington D.C. on October 10th and 11th to demand full and equal protection for LGBT people in all matters governed by civil law in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

This March will be the first step toward a larger goal of bridging the gap between the national LGBT organizations and grassroots community organizers and creating a national movement in all 435 congressional districts to demand of our elected representatives full equality under the law,” said Cleve Jones, national co-chair of the March.

The National Equality March started with a call to action by David Mixner, who urged Jones and Torie Osborn to work with new and emerging leaders to plan this event and bring diverse communities together in support of equality.

We will come to Washington with new strategies and new messages to build our movement,” said Jones.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Fall into The Abbey: Nominated for BEST GAY BAR IN THE WORLD by LOGO-TV

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif.--As West Hollywood hotspot The Abbey Food & Bar celebrates its nomination for “Best Gay Bar in the World” by MTV’s LOGO, preparation also moves into high gear for “Christmas in September,” the Abbey’s annual Children’s Hospital L.A. toy drive, set for September 24, 2009.

The WeHo landmark is currently in the running to be named “BEST GAY BAR IN THE WORLD” as part of LOGO TV’s first ever Travel Awards, honoring the world’s favorite LGBT travel destinations. The Abbey is one of only two nominees located in all of North America. Online voting at happens now through September 28, with winners announced November 2, 2009.

According to Abbey President and Founder David Cooley, “The nomination of course is an honor, but giving back is so important to us and our yearly holiday themed event aiding Children’s Hospital L.A. taps into the generosity of the West Hollywood community.” Adding, “We look forward to everyone celebrating in our ‘Winter Wonderland Christmas in September’ on Thursday the 24th.”

The toys will be delivered the following day to the children at the hospital.

The Abbey Food & Bar, located at: 692 N Robertson Blvd. in West Hollywood, is part of the SBE Collection of Restaurants & Nightlife. For information or reservations, call: 310.289.8410. Or visit The Abbey online at:

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

American Legacy Foundation awards $100,000 for national tobacco working group targeting LGBTQI young adult

WASHINGTON – The National Youth Advocacy Coalition has received a one-year award of $100,000 from the American Legacy Foundation through its Legacy Innovative Grants program to create a national tobacco working group, the agency announced today. The working group will target young adults who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning or intersex (LGBTQI).

The National LGBTQI Young Adult Tobacco Working Group will develop a tobacco needs assessment that will be administered to young adults (ages 18-24) across the country this fall and winter. Results from the survey will be compiled in the spring of 2010 and will be released along with policy and programmatic recommendations that are based on the findings.

Tobacco use continues to be extraordinarily high among LGBTQI young adults and this is happening, in part, because tobacco companies continue to target them,” said Isaiah Webster III, director of communications and special projects for NYAC. “There are sufficient indications that tobacco use is a huge problem within the LGBTQI community, but organizations have always looked for better data. The working group will be able to help organizations tailor tobacco prevention and cessation programs to met the challenges in their communities.”

Organizations that are interested in participating in either the working group or in administering the survey to young adults, should contact Jennie Beeson, program associate for NAYC, at

The working group will also be bringing together tools, trends, and best practices related to tobacco prevention and cessation for LGBTQI young adults. According to Webster, links to those resources will be announced later through NYAC’s Web site at .

The National Youth Advocacy Coalition (NYAC), founded in 1993, is a social justice organization that advocates for and with young people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning (LGBTQ) in an effort to end discrimination against these youth and to ensure their physical and emotional well-being.

Thursday, September 3, 2009


Los Angeles, CA September 3, 2009 – Cape Town Tourism announces an exciting new sweepstakes for gay and lesbian families in the United States. From now through December 31, 2009 you can enter to win a family vacation of a lifetime to Cape Town, South Africa, voted one of the top gay-friendly cities in the world. Visit

The grand prize includes roundtrip flights for a family of three from New York or Washington DC to Cape Town on South African Airways, an award-winning airline for safety and service, 5 nights' hotel accommodation in a luxury suite at the Winchester Mansions Hotel, and hotel/airport transfers.

"Cape Town prides itself on being the perfect place for a family holiday – with so many activities and attractions, we promise to banish boredom!" said Mariette Du Toit-Helmbold, CEO, Cape Town Tourism. "There are plenty of nature-based activities, as well as exciting outings and kid-friendly restaurants available. We are thrilled to give away the first gay family vacation to our wonderful city."

To enter and for official sweepstakes rules, visit

Corporate Equality Index 2010: Key Findings

On September 14, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation will release a nationwide report – the Corporate Equality Index 2010 (CEI) – which rates the businesses on a scale from 0 to 100 percent on their treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees, consumers and investors. In the absence of federal protections, the CEI, in its seventh year, shows the private sector is leading the way in working to reduce discrimination.

Key findings:

• 305 businesses achieved the top rating of 100 percent this year, compared with 260 with top ratings in the previous year. Collectively, these businesses employ 9,328,085 full-time U.S. workers. When the Human Rights Campaign Foundation launched the Corporate Equality Index in 2002, only 13 companies received 100 percent.

• Eleven of the top 20 Fortune-ranked companies received 100 percent ratings. McKesson Corp. added gender identity this year to reach 83 percent.

• More than a decade after rescinding partner benefits in 1997, Perot Systems Corp. will reinstate partner benefits beginning in January of 2010. Meanwhile, Exxon Mobil Corp. still refuses to reinstate the policies and benefits that Mobil Corp. had implemented prior to its acquisition by Exxon Corp. in 1999.

• Nearly three-quarters of all rated businesses prohibit discrimination based on gender identity, compared to just 5 percent of rated businesses in 2002.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

GLAAD Receives Apology from Lil Mama Following Comments Regarding Transgender Contestant on “America’s Best Dance Crew”

September 2, 2009, New York, NY – The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), the nation’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) media advocacy and anti-defamation organization, received the following apology this morning from rapper and judge on MTV’s “Randy Jackson Presents: America's Best Dance Crew” Lil Mama.

Lil Mama: "
I would like to clarify anything that was misunderstood from Sunday's show. My remarks were never meant to be disrespectful regarding Leiomy's gender nor offensive to the LGBT community, which has been a community that has supported me in all my endeavors. However, in hindsight, I recognize that my words may have come across as hurtful. I spoke with her privately after the taping to express that it was not my intent to offend her or any member of the transgender community and that I still live for Vogue Evolution."

GLAAD reached out to Lil Mama and MTV after receiving numerous calls and e-mails from community members and allies regarding comments made to transgender contestant Leiomy Maldonado during a critique on the August 30, 2009 episode of “Randy Jackson Presents: America's Best Dance Crew.” GLAAD asked Lil Mama and MTV to publicly address the concerns raised after Lil Mama stated:

Leiomy, come on. Your behavior…it’s unacceptable. I just feel that you always have to remember your truth. You were born a man and you are becoming a woman. If you’re going to become a woman, act like a lady. Don’t be a bird, like ‘Oh my god, I’m not doing this!’ You know what I’m saying? It gets too crazy and it gets confusing. You’re doing this for America. Even though you’re the face for transgenders, you’re the face of America right now with this group and it’s not about anybody else. It’s about y’all. You know what I’m saying? So do it for the team. Do it for the team.”

"While we thank Lil Mama for her apology, this incident demonstrates the need for more education around the lives and experiences of transgender people. Lil Mama’s comments during her critique attempted to impose standards of conformity for gender identity and expression -- a mistake that many people make,” said Rashad Robinson, Senior Director of Media Programs at GLAAD.

Transgender people, particularly transgender women of color, become targets of discrimination and violence when inaccuracies and acts of insult like this are advanced. Contrary to what was said on the program, as an openly transgender woman and dance contestant, Leiomy is living her truth,” Robinson continued.

It was surprising that MTV, a network that has shown a strong commitment to fair and accurate inclusion of transgender and gay people, would choose to air a clip that includes such disrespectful comments,” said Robinson. MTV has not yet publicly addressed the comments made by Lil Mama in the episode.

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) is dedicated to promoting and ensuring fair, accurate and inclusive representation of people and events in the media as a means of eliminating homophobia and discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. For more information, please visit