19th March 2003 (# 4) News Clippings Digest
- 19th March 2003 (# 4) News Clippings Digest
1. HOUSTON CHRONICLE Advocate for gay club is thrust into spotlight
2. THE COLUMBIAN (Washington) Letter supports Boy Scouts' bigotry
3. SOUTH FLORIDA SUN-SENTINEL Homosexuals in Cuba: Invisible no
4. THE TENNESSEAN Gay employee protections pass in Metro Council;
17-16 vote could indicate obstacles for becoming law
5. CITY PULSE (Lansing, Michigan) Benavides softens view on gay
rights; In a referendum,mayor could be key
6. GAY.COM U.K. Los Angeles prepares Gay Games bid
Houston Chronicle, March 19, 2003
801 Texas Avenue, Houston, TX, 77002
(Fax: 713-220-6575 ) (E-Mail: viewpoints@... )
( http://www.chron.com/ )
Advocate for gay club thrust into spotlight
By Lucas Wall, Houston Chronicle
Forming a Gay-Straight Alliance club at Klein High School
Marla Dukler's idea, but ultimately she became its strongest
That outspokenness thrust the 17-year-old junior into the
spotlight as she publicly accused the Klein Independent School
violating the free-speech rights of students who wanted to meet on
grounds to discuss gay rights and tolerance.
"I don't know how I emerged as the leader," Dukler said. "It
kind of happened. So I'm trying to do my best to fill that role."
Dukler and her classmates submitted in October an application
a club, but received no answer from district officials. In January,
American Civil Liberties Union filed a federal lawsuit on Dukler's
arguing the district's refusal to approve the GSA violated the First
Amendment and the Equal Access Act. It was the first time a Texas
went to court to form an alliance.
While the school district settled the suit two weeks ago and
to approve the GSA, district administrators have said they personally
disagree with allowing it.
The club expects to hold its first official meeting this
Dukler has appeared on local television and in national
received letters from students across the country offering their
The publicity, she believes, has cost her one of her part-
It's also led to more verbal harassment from classmates, she said.
But "I've learned to ignore it," she said.
Dukler estimates she's one of only 10 students who have come
Klein in a student body of about 3,600. Revealing her sexual
her some friends, but Dukler said her remaining friendships are
Dukler's parents, Malcolm and Holly, have stayed by her side,
appearing at her speeches and news conferences. "I'm lucky enough
parents who support me and also had a very strong belief in it,"
Her parents have said helping their daughter stick up for her
"Every individual decides who they are and it's not up to the
or anybody else or the school district to decide who they are,"
Dukler said. "It is wrong of the school district to impose its
Marla Dukler said she had realized by sixth grade she was not
most of her peers.
"When everyone starting going, 'Hey, that boy's cute; I like
no, it didn't hit me like that," she said. "I've always known I was
different in some way. Gradually I figured out, 'Hey, I'm gay.'"
She started coming out last year, telling a few close friends
interest in other girls. Last summer, she told her parents. Now
Dukler met her girlfriend, a junior at another area high
asked to remain anonymous, in June at Houston's gay pride parade.
"She's been really helpful and supportive," Dukler
counted on her a whole lot to be there for me."
While Dukler is now well known in the conservative suburbs of
northwest Harris County because of her sexual orientation, she
is just like most other teens.
She competes on the math and tennis teams, tutors other
enjoys watching movies and playing pool with her friends. She also
making improvements to her 1999 Honda Civic, works at a local pet
studies hard to secure admission to a top college. She aspires to
"It took me awhile to accept there would be people who didn't
just because of who I was, not because of my personality or how I
them, but who I was," Dukler said. "Who cares? They live their
The Columbian, March 18, 2003
P. O. Box 180, Vancouver, WA, 98666
(Fax: 360-699-6033 ) (E-Mail: letters@... )
( http://www.columbian.com )
Letter: Scouts' position justified
A March 3 article was headlined, "Boy Scouts' gays, atheism
targeted." Hasn't this world learned enough about gay Catholic
molesting hundreds of kids over the years? The Boy Scouts of
to allow gay leaders in the organization for a specific reason.
I don't think the organization is saying that all gay people
children. But the scouting organization has an obligation to
protect all of
its members from harm to the best of its ability.
If a gay scout leader does happen to be a child molester,
offers him a smorgasbord of young, impressionable children. In a
time he could abuse any number of children. No one wishes any part
children's lives messed over by child molestation.
Look at all the damage that was done by molesters in the
What could happen on a scout outing with only one or two adults
applaud the protection the Boy Scouts are giving our future.
- Harold J. Ray, Vancouver
South Florida Sun-Sentinel, March 16, 2003
200 E. Las Olas, Fort Lauderdale, FL, 33301
(Fax: 954-356-4624 ) (E-Mail: letters@... )
( http://www.sun-sentinel.com )
Homosexuals in Cuba: Invisible no more
HAVANA - Is Cuba ready for a safe-sex ad highlighting gays?
the question on AIDS activists' minds recently as a small crew
30-second public service announcement featuring a svelte brunette
transvestite and two men exchanging condoms.
The government has not yet approved the television ad to
air. But if
it finds its way into millions of Cuban households, it would be a
change in a society where gays say they were virtually invisible
"We are writing history, though we still don't know whether
will read it," said Nelson Joel Valdez, 30, a volunteer at Havana's
prevention center, who helped develop the ad. "Sometimes we don't
far to go, or whether we aren't going far enough."
Like most changes in Cuban society, acceptance of gays has
tentative. Ten years ago the breakthrough film Strawberry and
the first to hold a critical mirror to this macho society's
portray the friendship between a gay man and a young communist. Gay
are mostly taboo in the state-run media and homosexuals in Cuban
are largely depicted as flighty buffoons. Still, many gays feel
become more open-minded and tolerant.
"Before Strawberry and Chocolate there were no
Kiriam Gutiérrez, 28. Gutiérrez, the transvestite who appears in the
safe-sex commercial, began dressing as a woman in public in 1993,
the film debuted. Like many, he draws a direct line between its
a positive change in his personal life.
"People used to throw eggs, tomatoes, whatever," Gutiérrez
"Now things are different. People who were hidden before are not
There are still many barriers, however, say those who have
age in the past decade. Gay clubs, marches, magazines and
nonexistent. Hangouts adopted by gays are sometimes temporarily
their hours are limited to control attendance.
Clandestine parties held in parking lots, secluded fields or
homes are now the most common way for gays to get together. Many
police often break up the gatherings, ask partygoers to leave and in
cases issue fines for being in an inappropriate place at an
"I can't tell you whether the first justification is to combat
delinquency or to combat homosexuality," said Raúl Regueiro, 33, a
worker. "What we need is a place where we can get together
public, without fear."
A survey released last week of 300 Cubans across the island
that 71 percent of those questioned defined homosexuality as
toward people of the same sex" while 22 percent called it an illness
percent viewed it as a personality disorder. Conducted by a group
journalists and presented at the 16th annual World Congress of
conference in Havana, the survey found slightly more tolerance for
than lesbians. About 58 percent of those interviewed said they
a lesbian "like any other person" compared to 61 percent who said
treat gay men the same way.
"When people see a woman making an independent life with
woman, they fear it," said Malena Perez, 23, a student. "It's as
they think we might have the power to convince other women to be
During the 1960s, gays, priests, some artists and others
unfit for military service were put into labor camps, known by the
acronym UMAP, or Military Units to Aid Production. Homosexuality was
considered a capitalist import and gays were excluded from some
careers because they were considered untrustworthy. In the 1980s, a
against publicly flaunting homosexuality was removed from the penal
Today, many gays focus on societal rather than institutional
Gutiérrez, for example, says he endures daily confrontations,
and whispered name-calling because he dresses like a woman. But he
received free treatment for a hormone imbalance as well as
therapy sessions at Havana's National Center for Sex Education.
"It's a common misconception that gays are not
socialists," Gutiérrez says. "I believe in socialism. But as long
don't commit a crime no one has the right to rule my life."
. Vanessa Bauzá can be reached at vmbauza1@...
The Tennessean, March 19, 2003
1100 Broadway, Nashville, TN, 37203
(Fax: 615-726-8928 ) (E-Mail: letters@... )
( http://www.tennessean.com )
Gay employee protections pass in Metro Council
17-16 vote could indicate obstacles for becoming law
By Brad Schrade, Staff Writer
An anti-discrimination ordinance that would protect Metro's
lesbian employees barely passed a sharply divided Metro Council last
on an evening when slavery, prostitution and differing
the Bible entered the rhetoric of the council chamber.
The 17-16 vote on first reading means the bill now faces the
of three necessary votes to become law. The tight vote, however,
portend well for proponents of the bill who will have to find at
more votes for the bill if it makes it to third reading.
A bill must have at least 21 votes on third reading to become
Three council members abstained last night and four were absent when
vote was taken.
''A number of people have changed their position on this bill
number of times,'' said Councilman Chris Ferrell, the bill's co-
''I need four more and for those supporting it not to change their
The bill is a scaled-back version of an anti-discrimination
met fierce opposition before it was withdrawn it last month. The
chamber was packed with both opponents and proponents of the bill.
Opponents were already plotting last night to defeat it at
council meeting on April 1. Proponents appeared relieved by the
passage last night and vowed to lobby hard and educate the public and
council to get the bill passed.
Last night's vote came a day after Middle Tennessee State
released a poll that shows 78% of Tennesseans believe homosexuals
have equal employment rights. The poll also said that among those
attend weekly religious services, 72% believe in equal employment
Ferrell and the bill's co-sponsor, Councilwoman Eileen
spoke on behalf of the bill. They framed it as a small step to
equality and the ideals of the United States.
Beehan mentioned the nation's struggles with fighting the
of slavery in her speech to persuade people to vote for the bill.
a Baptist, said his reading of the Bible includes room for such an
about individual freedom.
''Unfortunately this issue has become a symbolic one that is
what this ordinance actually does,'' Ferrell said. ''We have a very
minority who are objecting to us doing what is right.''
The council's most outspoken opponent to the bill, Carolyn
Tucker, said there are enough reasons to oppose it that she didn't
cite her personal belief as a Christian that homosexuality is wrong
a case against the bill.
She said it would bring lawsuits against the city, as such
elsewhere. She said Metro shouldn't place its stamp of approval on a
lifestyle choice. She asked rhetorically whether the city should
other lifestyle choices such as prostitution, alcoholism and lying.
''This bill will codify a lifestyle choice,'' Tucker
Council should not be in the business of uplifting a particular
In other business . . .
City Pulse, March 19, 2003
(E-Mail: citypulse@... )
( http://www.city-pulse.org )
Benavides softens view on gay rights
In a referendum,mayor could be key
Gay rights activists who have already made up their minds to
Mike Murphy for mayor of Lansing might want to reconsider.
They have written off Tony Benavides because as a City
voted against the gay rights ordinance in 1996. But Benavides has
softened his view. And given that he stands a good chance of being
when a new gay rights ordinance could go before voters, activists
try to win him all the way over. With a moderate like Benavides on
side, advocates of an ordinance that bans discrimination on the
sexual orientation could prevail.
Benavides was promoted to mayor in January by virtue of being
president of City Council when David Hollister took a position in the
Granholm administration. He and Murphy, a state representative and
Councilman, are running to complete the two years remaining in
term. Voters will decide in November.
Murphy, who was not on City Council when it voted on the
1996, has supported gay rights on the questionnaire that LAHR-PAC -
political action committee of the Lansing Association for Human
submits to candidates. Benavides, on the other hand, voted against
ordinance. His position then was that if the state or federal
didn't require the city to protect gay rights, it did not need to do
It is obvious what LAHR-PAC meant in a letter it sent to
recently that said it will "support the candidates for mayor who
community" - that means it has already decided to back Murphy. LAHR-
endorsements carry considerable weight in the gay community, and in
off-year election such as this fall's, the vote of a gay community
to go to the polls will matter.
Therefore, Benavides has begun to campaign for the gay vote.
weeks ago, he paid a tribute to LAHR at its annual PRISM Awards
He would have been smarter - and braver - to show up personally to
tribute instead of sending his assistant, David Wiener, but it was a
Last week, in an interview, Benavides took another step when
out the way in which gay rights advocates could win his support.
said that if advocates ask his office to consider an ordinance, he
the ball rolling by assigning it to the city attorney and the Human
Relations Department to study. "Whatever comes to this office as a
recommendation is going on to City Council," he said.
How much better it would be if that recommendation went to
Council with the mayor's support - which I think is possible. The
got from talking to Benavides is "educate me" on the need for such an
ordinance. It's an education he badly needs. He wants proof that
discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation exists in Lansing
he will support an ordinance. "It might be true in other cities,
but I don'
t know if it's true in Lansing," he said.
The mayor is in the dark ages on this issue, but what is
his willingness to see the light. He knows he is behind the curve
issue - "I am about that far," he says, holding his thumb and
about two inches apart. He talked candidly about how his ethnic
has played a role in his attitude toward homosexuals. When health
came to him the 1980s to solicit his help as executive director of
Christo Rey Community Center in educating Hispanics about AIDS, he
first reaction was 'we don't have any gay people' because everyone
the closet. It's cultural. We do that with pregnant girls - we
them in the house, we send them to the uncle or the grandma in Texas
California. If you're handicapped, we put you in the closet when
come to visit."
Given the uphill effort gay activists would have to make to
Benavides, why should they bother when Murphy is already on their
The answer is that Benavides wants their vote this fall,
he is motivated to get an ordinance through City Council.
Moreover, Benavides' support will do the gay community more
when - which is far more likely than if - an ordinance ends up as a
referendum before the voters. Ordinance supporters lean toward a
in November 2004, a presidential election year. The timing
bigger turnout, making it tougher for the hardline anti-gay voters
the day. If Benavides wins this fall, he will be the mayor during
The support of a moderate such as Benavides in 2004 may mean
than that of a liberal such as Murphy in convincing the vast middle
for the ordinance. After all, the 1996 ordinance had the active
liberal Hollister and lost at the polls.
What needs to happen? Gay rights supporters need to call the
and begin educating him on the need for an ordinance. Should it be
necessary? No, but it is - and if they are successful, they will
the most important ally they could have in their fight for equal
. Berl Schwartz is editor and publisher of City Pulse. Hear
on "The Tim and Deb Show" on WMMQ at 94.9 FM at 8:20 a.m. Wednesdays
WDBM - The Impact - at 88.9 FM at 7 p.m. Wednesdays.
Gay.com U.K., 19 March 2003
Los Angeles prepares Gay Games bid
Christopher Lisotta, Gay.com/PlanetOut.com Network
A coalition of Los Angeles politicians, gay and lesbian sports
groups, businesses and tourism boards have come together to make a
host the eighth Gay Games in 2010.
"We're very excited about our prospects, and confident in our
to succeed, especially considering those who are already on board and
interested in joining this effort," said Shamey Cramer, executive
of Los Angeles 2006 Inc., the organisation that was one of four
bidding to host Gay Games VII.
Los Angeles has been a competitive also-ran in the bidding
for the Gay Games. Terrific weather, ample athletic facilities, an
sporting culture, good infrastructure and plenty of hotel rooms to
visitors have lured numerous national and international sporting
competitions to the city, including the Olympics in 1932 and 1984.
would be the fourth attempt to bring the Gay Games to Los Angeles,
another group attempted unsuccessfully to make nearby Long Beach a
for the event.
In 2001 Cramer's group was hamstrung by a rival LA bid
Although Cramer's bid was named a finalist for Gay Games VII, the
controversy over the two Los Angeles bid groups prevented
the LA Gay & Lesbian Centre from endorsing one plan over the other.
2006 bid ultimately went to Montreal, but Cramer, a member of the
Hollywood Aquatics Centre Water Polo Team and the co-chair of Team
the first Gay Games, was quick to reorganise for 2010.
"Los Angeles would be proud to host the Gay Games," said Los
Mayor Jim Hahn. "Because of our 2006 bid effort, we already have the
necessary structure in place for a host organisation to work in
our local government agencies to create a truly memorable and
"LA is the right choice for Gay Games VIII," said George D.
president of LA Inc.-The Convention and Visitors Bureau. "The city
rich history of international athletic competition are well equipped
broad range of sports venues to accommodate all of the Games'
The Gay Games, the brainchild of decathlon Olympiad Dr. Tom
was first held in San Francisco in 1982. The last time the games
in the United States was in New York City in 1994.
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