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19th March 2003 (# 4) News Clippings Digest

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  • grahamu_1999
    19th March 2003 (# 4) News Clippings Digest 1. HOUSTON CHRONICLE Advocate for gay club is thrust into spotlight 2. THE COLUMBIAN (Washington) Letter
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 20, 2003
      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
      more
      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/ )
      http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/story.hts/metropolitan/1824781
      Advocate for gay club thrust into spotlight
      By Lucas Wall, Houston Chronicle
      Forming a Gay-Straight Alliance club at Klein High School
      wasn't
      Marla Dukler's idea, but ultimately she became its strongest
      advocate.
      That outspokenness thrust the 17-year-old junior into the
      national
      spotlight as she publicly accused the Klein Independent School
      District of
      violating the free-speech rights of students who wanted to meet on
      school
      grounds to discuss gay rights and tolerance.
      "I don't know how I emerged as the leader," Dukler said. "It
      just
      kind of happened. So I'm trying to do my best to fill that role."
      Dukler and her classmates submitted in October an application
      to form
      a club, but received no answer from district officials. In January,
      the
      American Civil Liberties Union filed a federal lawsuit on Dukler's
      behalf,
      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
      student
      went to court to form an alliance.
      While the school district settled the suit two weeks ago and
      agreed
      to approve the GSA, district administrators have said they personally
      disagree with allowing it.
      The club expects to hold its first official meeting this
      afternoon.
      Dukler has appeared on local television and in national
      media. She's
      received letters from students across the country offering their
      support and
      encouragement.
      The publicity, she believes, has cost her one of her part-
      time jobs.
      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
      out at
      Klein in a student body of about 3,600. Revealing her sexual
      identity cost
      her some friends, but Dukler said her remaining friendships are
      stronger.
      Dukler's parents, Malcolm and Holly, have stayed by her side,
      appearing at her speeches and news conferences. "I'm lucky enough
      to have
      parents who support me and also had a very strong belief in it,"
      Dukler
      said.
      Her parents have said helping their daughter stick up for her
      rights
      was important.
      "Every individual decides who they are and it's not up to the
      parents
      or anybody else or the school district to decide who they are,"
      Malcolm
      Dukler said. "It is wrong of the school district to impose its
      moral values
      on clubs."
      Marla Dukler said she had realized by sixth grade she was not
      like
      most of her peers.
      "When everyone starting going, 'Hey, that boy's cute; I like
      him;'
      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
      of her
      interest in other girls. Last summer, she told her parents. Now
      the whole
      country knows.
      Dukler met her girlfriend, a junior at another area high
      school who
      asked to remain anonymous, in June at Houston's gay pride parade.
      "She's been really helpful and supportive," Dukler
      said. "I've
      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
      stresses she
      is just like most other teens.
      She competes on the math and tennis teams, tutors other
      students,
      enjoys watching movies and playing pool with her friends. She also
      likes
      making improvements to her 1999 Honda Civic, works at a local pet
      store and
      studies hard to secure admission to a top college. She aspires to
      become a
      lawyer.
      "It took me awhile to accept there would be people who didn't
      like me
      just because of who I was, not because of my personality or how I
      treated
      them, but who I was," Dukler said. "Who cares? They live their
      life, I
      live mine."


      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
      policy
      targeted." Hasn't this world learned enough about gay Catholic
      priests
      molesting hundreds of kids over the years? The Boy Scouts of
      America refuse
      to allow gay leaders in the organization for a specific reason.
      I don't think the organization is saying that all gay people
      molest
      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,
      scouting
      offers him a smorgasbord of young, impressionable children. In a
      matter of
      time he could abuse any number of children. No one wishes any part
      of
      children's lives messed over by child molestation.
      Look at all the damage that was done by molesters in the
      church.
      What could happen on a scout outing with only one or two adults
      along? I
      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 )
      http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/local/caribbean/search/sfl-
      hbauza16mar16,0,
      4148617.column
      Homosexuals in Cuba: Invisible no more
      Vanessa Bauza
      HAVANA - Is Cuba ready for a safe-sex ad highlighting gays?
      That was
      the question on AIDS activists' minds recently as a small crew
      filmed a
      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
      sign of
      change in a society where gays say they were virtually invisible
      only a
      decade ago.
      "We are writing history, though we still don't know whether
      anyone
      will read it," said Nelson Joel Valdez, 30, a volunteer at Havana's
      AIDS
      prevention center, who helped develop the ad. "Sometimes we don't
      know how
      far to go, or whether we aren't going far enough."
      Like most changes in Cuban society, acceptance of gays has
      been
      tentative. Ten years ago the breakthrough film Strawberry and
      Chocolate was
      the first to hold a critical mirror to this macho society's
      homophobia and
      portray the friendship between a gay man and a young communist. Gay
      topics
      are mostly taboo in the state-run media and homosexuals in Cuban
      soap operas
      are largely depicted as flighty buffoons. Still, many gays feel
      society has
      become more open-minded and tolerant.
      "Before Strawberry and Chocolate there were no
      transvestites," says
      Kiriam Gutiérrez, 28. Gutiérrez, the transvestite who appears in the
      safe-sex commercial, began dressing as a woman in public in 1993,
      the year
      the film debuted. Like many, he draws a direct line between its
      release and
      a positive change in his personal life.
      "People used to throw eggs, tomatoes, whatever," Gutiérrez
      said.
      "Now things are different. People who were hidden before are not
      anymore."
      There are still many barriers, however, say those who have
      come of
      age in the past decade. Gay clubs, marches, magazines and
      organizations are
      nonexistent. Hangouts adopted by gays are sometimes temporarily
      closed or
      their hours are limited to control attendance.
      Clandestine parties held in parking lots, secluded fields or
      private
      homes are now the most common way for gays to get together. Many
      gays say
      police often break up the gatherings, ask partygoers to leave and in
      some
      cases issue fines for being in an inappropriate place at an
      inappropriate
      hour.
      "I can't tell you whether the first justification is to combat
      delinquency or to combat homosexuality," said Raúl Regueiro, 33, a
      bank
      worker. "What we need is a place where we can get together
      peacefully in
      public, without fear."
      A survey released last week of 300 Cubans across the island
      found
      that 71 percent of those questioned defined homosexuality as
      an "inclination
      toward people of the same sex" while 22 percent called it an illness
      and 7
      percent viewed it as a personality disorder. Conducted by a group
      of Cuban
      journalists and presented at the 16th annual World Congress of
      Sexology
      conference in Havana, the survey found slightly more tolerance for
      gay men
      than lesbians. About 58 percent of those interviewed said they
      would treat
      a lesbian "like any other person" compared to 61 percent who said
      they would
      treat gay men the same way.
      "When people see a woman making an independent life with
      another
      woman, they fear it," said Malena Perez, 23, a student. "It's as
      though
      they think we might have the power to convince other women to be
      lesbians."
      During the 1960s, gays, priests, some artists and others
      considered
      unfit for military service were put into labor camps, known by the
      Spanish
      acronym UMAP, or Military Units to Aid Production. Homosexuality was
      considered a capitalist import and gays were excluded from some
      university
      careers because they were considered untrustworthy. In the 1980s, a
      law
      against publicly flaunting homosexuality was removed from the penal
      code.
      Today, many gays focus on societal rather than institutional
      discrimination.
      Gutiérrez, for example, says he endures daily confrontations,
      insults
      and whispered name-calling because he dresses like a woman. But he
      has also
      received free treatment for a hormone imbalance as well as
      psychiatric
      therapy sessions at Havana's National Center for Sex Education.
      "It's a common misconception that gays are not
      revolutionaries or
      socialists," Gutiérrez says. "I believe in socialism. But as long
      as I
      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 )
      http://www.tennessean.com/government/archives/03/03/30417221.shtml?
      Element_I
      D=30417221
      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
      gay and
      lesbian employees barely passed a sharply divided Metro Council last
      night
      on an evening when slavery, prostitution and differing
      interpretations of
      the Bible entered the rhetoric of the council chamber.
      The 17-16 vote on first reading means the bill now faces the
      second
      of three necessary votes to become law. The tight vote, however,
      doesn't
      portend well for proponents of the bill who will have to find at
      least four
      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
      law.
      Three council members abstained last night and four were absent when
      the
      vote was taken.
      ''A number of people have changed their position on this bill
      a
      number of times,'' said Councilman Chris Ferrell, the bill's co-
      sponsor.
      ''I need four more and for those supporting it not to change their
      votes.''
      The bill is a scaled-back version of an anti-discrimination
      bill that
      met fierce opposition before it was withdrawn it last month. The
      council
      chamber was packed with both opponents and proponents of the bill.
      Opponents were already plotting last night to defeat it at
      the next
      council meeting on April 1. Proponents appeared relieved by the
      bill's
      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
      University
      released a poll that shows 78% of Tennesseans believe homosexuals
      should
      have equal employment rights. The poll also said that among those
      who
      attend weekly religious services, 72% believe in equal employment
      rights for
      homosexuals.
      Ferrell and the bill's co-sponsor, Councilwoman Eileen
      Beehan, both
      spoke on behalf of the bill. They framed it as a small step to
      achieving
      equality and the ideals of the United States.
      Beehan mentioned the nation's struggles with fighting the
      injustice
      of slavery in her speech to persuade people to vote for the bill.
      Ferrell,
      a Baptist, said his reading of the Bible includes room for such an
      ordinance
      about individual freedom.
      ''Unfortunately this issue has become a symbolic one that is
      beyond
      what this ordinance actually does,'' Ferrell said. ''We have a very
      vocal
      minority who are objecting to us doing what is right.''
      The council's most outspoken opponent to the bill, Carolyn
      Baldwin
      Tucker, said there are enough reasons to oppose it that she didn't
      have to
      cite her personal belief as a Christian that homosexuality is wrong
      to make
      a case against the bill.
      She said it would bring lawsuits against the city, as such
      laws have
      elsewhere. She said Metro shouldn't place its stamp of approval on a
      lifestyle choice. She asked rhetorically whether the city should
      protect
      other lifestyle choices such as prostitution, alcoholism and lying.
      ''This bill will codify a lifestyle choice,'' Tucker
      said. ''Metro
      Council should not be in the business of uplifting a particular
      lifestyle.''
      In other business . . .


      City Pulse, March 19, 2003
      Lansing, Michigan
      (E-Mail: citypulse@... )
      ( http://www.city-pulse.org )
      http://www.city-pulse.org/030319/radar/
      Benavides softens view on gay rights
      In a referendum,mayor could be key
      Berl Schwartz
      Gay rights activists who have already made up their minds to
      support
      Mike Murphy for mayor of Lansing might want to reconsider.
      They have written off Tony Benavides because as a City
      Councilman he
      voted against the gay rights ordinance in 1996. But Benavides has
      clearly
      softened his view. And given that he stands a good chance of being
      mayor
      when a new gay rights ordinance could go before voters, activists
      need to
      try to win him all the way over. With a moderate like Benavides on
      their
      side, advocates of an ordinance that bans discrimination on the
      basis of
      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
      former
      Councilman, are running to complete the two years remaining in
      Hollister's
      term. Voters will decide in November.
      Murphy, who was not on City Council when it voted on the
      ordinance in
      1996, has supported gay rights on the questionnaire that LAHR-PAC -
      the
      political action committee of the Lansing Association for Human
      Rights -
      submits to candidates. Benavides, on the other hand, voted against
      the
      ordinance. His position then was that if the state or federal
      government
      didn't require the city to protect gay rights, it did not need to do
      so on
      its own.
      It is obvious what LAHR-PAC meant in a letter it sent to
      members
      recently that said it will "support the candidates for mayor who
      support our
      community" - that means it has already decided to back Murphy. LAHR-
      PAC's
      endorsements carry considerable weight in the gay community, and in
      an
      off-year election such as this fall's, the vote of a gay community
      motivated
      to go to the polls will matter.
      Therefore, Benavides has begun to campaign for the gay vote.
      Two
      weeks ago, he paid a tribute to LAHR at its annual PRISM Awards
      ceremony.
      He would have been smarter - and braver - to show up personally to
      read the
      tribute instead of sending his assistant, David Wiener, but it was a
      start.
      Last week, in an interview, Benavides took another step when
      he laid
      out the way in which gay rights advocates could win his support.
      Benavides
      said that if advocates ask his office to consider an ordinance, he
      will get
      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
      City
      Council with the mayor's support - which I think is possible. The
      message I
      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
      before
      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
      important is
      his willingness to see the light. He knows he is behind the curve
      on this
      issue - "I am about that far," he says, holding his thumb and
      forefinger
      about two inches apart. He talked candidly about how his ethnic
      background
      has played a role in his attitude toward homosexuals. When health
      officials
      came to him the 1980s to solicit his help as executive director of
      the
      Christo Rey Community Center in educating Hispanics about AIDS, he
      said, "My
      first reaction was 'we don't have any gay people' because everyone
      was in
      the closet. It's cultural. We do that with pregnant girls - we
      don't keep
      them in the house, we send them to the uncle or the grandma in Texas
      or
      California. If you're handicapped, we put you in the closet when
      people
      come to visit."
      Given the uphill effort gay activists would have to make to
      win over
      Benavides, why should they bother when Murphy is already on their
      side?
      The answer is that Benavides wants their vote this fall,
      which means
      he is motivated to get an ordinance through City Council.
      Moreover, Benavides' support will do the gay community more
      good
      when - which is far more likely than if - an ordinance ends up as a
      referendum before the voters. Ordinance supporters lean toward a
      referendum
      in November 2004, a presidential election year. The timing
      guarantees a
      bigger turnout, making it tougher for the hardline anti-gay voters
      to carry
      the day. If Benavides wins this fall, he will be the mayor during
      that
      general election.
      The support of a moderate such as Benavides in 2004 may mean
      more
      than that of a liberal such as Murphy in convincing the vast middle
      to vote
      for the ordinance. After all, the 1996 ordinance had the active
      support of
      liberal Hollister and lost at the polls.
      What needs to happen? Gay rights supporters need to call the
      mayor
      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
      have won
      the most important ally they could have in their fight for equal
      rights in
      Lansing.
      . Berl Schwartz is editor and publisher of City Pulse. Hear
      Schwartz
      on "The Tim and Deb Show" on WMMQ at 94.9 FM at 8:20 a.m. Wednesdays
      and on
      WDBM - The Impact - at 88.9 FM at 7 p.m. Wednesdays.


      Gay.com U.K., 19 March 2003
      http://uk.gay.com/headlines/3984
      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
      bid to
      host the eighth Gay Games in 2010.
      "We're very excited about our prospects, and confident in our
      ability
      to succeed, especially considering those who are already on board and
      interested in joining this effort," said Shamey Cramer, executive
      director
      of Los Angeles 2006 Inc., the organisation that was one of four
      finalists
      bidding to host Gay Games VII.
      Los Angeles has been a competitive also-ran in the bidding
      process
      for the Gay Games. Terrific weather, ample athletic facilities, an
      active
      sporting culture, good infrastructure and plenty of hotel rooms to
      house
      visitors have lured numerous national and international sporting
      competitions to the city, including the Olympics in 1932 and 1984.
      This
      would be the fourth attempt to bring the Gay Games to Los Angeles,
      while
      another group attempted unsuccessfully to make nearby Long Beach a
      host city
      for the event.
      In 2001 Cramer's group was hamstrung by a rival LA bid
      committee.
      Although Cramer's bid was named a finalist for Gay Games VII, the
      controversy over the two Los Angeles bid groups prevented
      organisations like
      the LA Gay & Lesbian Centre from endorsing one plan over the other.
      The
      2006 bid ultimately went to Montreal, but Cramer, a member of the
      West
      Hollywood Aquatics Centre Water Polo Team and the co-chair of Team
      LA for
      the first Gay Games, was quick to reorganise for 2010.
      "Los Angeles would be proud to host the Gay Games," said Los
      Angeles
      Mayor Jim Hahn. "Because of our 2006 bid effort, we already have the
      necessary structure in place for a host organisation to work in
      tandem with
      our local government agencies to create a truly memorable and
      financially
      successful event."
      "LA is the right choice for Gay Games VIII," said George D.
      Kirkland,
      president of LA Inc.-The Convention and Visitors Bureau. "The city
      and its
      rich history of international athletic competition are well equipped
      with a
      broad range of sports venues to accommodate all of the Games'
      requirements."
      The Gay Games, the brainchild of decathlon Olympiad Dr. Tom
      Waddell,
      was first held in San Francisco in 1982. The last time the games
      were held
      in the United States was in New York City in 1994.
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