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Almost 20 years after back-flipping onto kids’ TV sets as the nerdy Blue Ranger on Fox’s Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, David Yost opened up to No Pink Spandex about his stint on the show. And during the three-part interview, Yost revealed just what happened behind-the-scenes when his character was written off the show (and sent to live on another planet): Yost actually walked off set one day after being teased about being gay.
“The reason that I walked off is that I was called ‘faggot’ one too many times,” Yost says in the clip. “I had just heard that several times while working on the show from creators, producers, writers, directors… Basically I just felt like i was continually being told I was not worthy of being where I am because I’m a gay person. And I’m not supposed to be an actor. And I’m not a superhero.”
After leaving the show, Yost says he experienced a nervous breakdown. But he’s been doing just fine since then, working behind the camera as a producer for reality TV shows like Temptation Island. Still, the fact that such intolerance might have taken place on set of Power Rangers kind of kills the nostalgic buzz we all have for the show, no?
from Entertainment Weekly
Had a former chairman of the Republican National Committee announced in 2004 that he was gay, it would have been a bombshell. In that hard-fought election year, Republicans and Democrats were rushing to condemn a court for establishing the right to same-sex marriage in Massachusetts.
Six years later, in a midterm election cycle that is otherwise fierce, campaigns are largely silent on the issue of same-sex marriage — even as two federal courts have issued similar decisions in recent months upholding the rights of gay people to wed. And when Ken Mehlman, who ran President George W. Bush’s re-election campaign in 2004 and then became the party’s chairman, said in an interview in The Atlantic this week that he is gay and is working to support a campaign for same-sex marriage, it was met with little controversy.
Even the commentary accusing him of hypocrisy seemed outweighed by people who wished him well, or merely shrugged.
The muted reaction reflects not only changing values in the country generally, but also, more notably, among many Republicans and conservatives.
The center of gravity of the conservative movement in this election season is with fiscal conservatives. The Tea Party is infusing the Republican Party with new energy, and Tea Party leaders and supporters say they do not want to talk about social issues: even if they do not personally support same-sex marriage or abortion, they think the Republican Party spent too much time talking about them and not enough time trying to rein in spending.
As head of the Republican National Committee, Mr. Mehlman advocated the Bush administration’s push for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, which Republicans had hoped would galvanize the party’s conservative base in 2006.
Now he joins several other members of the Bush inner circle who have publicly stated their support for same-sex marriage. Former Vice President Dick Cheney, who has a daughter who is gay, has said he supports the right of gay people to marry, as has the former first lady Laura Bush.
“There are now more and more Republicans, and conservative Republicans, who have talked about this issue through the prism of being an equal rights issue, and being an issue that should not define the conservative movement and the party,” said Steve Schmidt, who was part of that inner circle as a spokesman and strategist for Mr. Bush’s 2004 campaign.
Mr. Schmidt spoke of his support for same-sex marriage in 2008 to the Log Cabin Republicans, a gay rights group, when he was chief strategist for John McCain’s presidential run. Like Mr. Cheney, he spoke in personal terms, telling the group that his sister is gay and that she and her partner are an important part of his and his children’s lives.
Matthew Dowd, another top strategist for Mr. Bush who broke with him after the re-election campaign, said that same-sex marriage had ceased to be a big issue for many voters — including conservatives and religious ones — even in 2004. In polling and focus groups before that election, he said, Republicans and conservatives cited terrorism, taxes and the war in Iraq as the issues that would move them to the polls.
And even as many commentators declared that ballot initiatives on same-sex marriage that year drove conservatives to the polls for Mr. Bush, Mr. Dowd said that analyses showed that the initiatives stirred no statistical increase in turnout among conservatives or religious voters.
Mr. Mehlman told The Atlantic, “It’s taken me 43 years to get comfortable with this part of my life.” His announcement — and the relatively passive reaction to it — reflects how the country has shifted.
“It’s just not politics, it’s Hollywood folks who struggle with this, people in the news media struggle with it, athletes struggle with it, this question of whether or not they should be open,” Mr. Dowd said. “What we’re seeing is more and more people deciding that staying quiet for the rest of their lives is no longer an option.”
Still, voters may not want to institute same-sex marriage — recent campaigns failed in Northeastern states like New York, New Jersey and Maine, which are usually considered the province of liberalism.
And not all conservatives are willing to concede the fight on social issues.
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, said Mr. Mehlman’s announcement helped explain “the scandalous failure” of the Republican establishment to fight same-sex marriage. “It is important for the conservative movement that the Republican Party remains committed to its longtime stance on core social issues,” he said.
But polls show acceptance of gays growing among Americans, on a variety of measures. In a Gallup poll in May, 52 percent of Americans said that gay and lesbian relations were “morally acceptable” — the first time that support had crossed what the polling group called the “symbolic threshold” of 50 percent.
Among conservatives, 33 percent agreed, up five percentage points since May 2006. Another Gallup poll in May found that 70 percent of Americans — and 53 percent of conservatives — favored allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military.
The shift is being driven largely by demographics, as a younger generation grows up with more discussion and acceptance of gay rights.
In a New York Times/CBS News poll conducted in March 2004, a plurality of Americans under 45 — 35 percent — said there should be no legal recognition of gay and lesbian relationships. Forty-five percent of Americans 45 and older said the same. By April 2010, just 24 percent of Americans ages 18 to 44 surveyed said that there should be no legal recognition, and 35 percent of Americans 45 and older said the same.
“People want to make sure that government is not intrusive in our lives,” Mr. Dowd said. “Whether it’s the economy or our social lives.”
from The New York Times
In the fall of 1912, as his campaign for president entered its final stage, Woodrow Wilson was speaking in Brooklyn when he was asked for his opinion on women’s suffrage. The issue was very much in the political ether, but Wilson had declined to take a stand on it. According to John Milton Cooper’s excellent biography of the twenty-eighth president, he responded by insisting that it was “not a question that is dealt with by the national government at all.” The woman who had asked the question was apparently displeased by this blatant dodge. “I am speaking to you as an American, Mr. Wilson,” she retorted.
I am speaking to you as an American: It was a wonderful rebuke, one that anticipated the rhetoric of Martin Luther King and other civil rights leaders who would not rail against America but instead demand to be fully part of it. Wilson, however, was unmoved. And his slippery treatment of women’s suffrage—like his slippery approach on matters of race—did not end once he was in the White House. Running for reelection four years later, he was still playing the same exasperating game. That year, the Democrats did not endorse a constitutional amendment providing for women’s suffrage but, instead, called on the states to extend voting rights to women. Such a half-measure looks cowardly in retrospect, of course; but it also looked cowardly at the time. In November 1916, The New Republic excoriated Wilson for his weak stand on the issue. During his reelection campaign, TNR wrote, Wilson had told a group of suffragists that “[h]e was with them,” even as “he confessed to a ‘little impatience’ as to their anxiety about method.” From this, the magazine concluded that the president had “at best a vague, benign feeling about [the issue], and no conviction whatever that woman suffrage was creating a national situation which called for thorough sincerity, nerve and will.”
An evasive stance on a controversial civil rights issue from a liberal president; an insistence that the issue is primarily local, rather than national, in character; a complete failure of sincerity, nerve, and will: If these things sound familiar in 2010, it is because Barack Obama is taking exactly the same approach on gay marriage.
My colleague James Downie has assembled a fascinating timeline of Obama’s statements on gay marriage over the past 14 years, stretching from 1996 to earlier this month, when the White House responded to a judge’s ruling on Prop 8 by reiterating that it opposes same-sex marriage. What the timeline shows is a pattern that can only be described as illogical and cynical. Obama argues that he is against gay marriage while also opposing efforts like Prop 8 that would ban it. He justifies this by saying that state constitutions should not be used to reduce rights. (His exact words: “I am not in favor of gay marriage, but when you’re playing around with constitutions, just to prohibit somebody who cares about another person, it just seems to me that that is not what America is about.”) Obama appears to be saying that it is fine to prohibit gay people from getting married, as long as the vehicle for doing so is not a constitution. Presumably, then, he supports the numerous states that have banned same-sex marriage through other means, without resorting to a constitutional amendment? If so, he might be the only person in the country to occupy this narrow, and frankly absurd, slice of intellectual terrain. Obama has also said he favors civil unions rather than gay marriage because the question of where and how to apply the label “marriage” is a religious one. This argument makes even less sense than his stance on state constitutions, since marriage, for better or for worse, is very much a government matter.
Obama and those around him seem unaware that all of this is a problem; a look at some of the lessons from Wilson’s experience might help to clarify why they ought to reconsider. The first lesson is that history does not look kindly on this type of presidential conduct. Wilson is today remembered as a near-great president, but his indifference on questions of gender and race is more than a bit unflattering in retrospect. Second, like Wilson, Obama is running out of time to stay ahead of history. In 1912, women’s suffrage was hardly an outlandish cause; one of the three major presidential contenders that year, Teddy Roosevelt, came out in favor of it, even as Wilson remained mum. Similarly, on gay marriage, Obama is now to the right of Laura Bush, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and, according to a new CNN poll, 52 percent of the American people.
Third, there is the problem of the example Obama is setting for the rest of the world. According to Cooper, when Wilson eventually did endorse the women’s suffrage amendment, on January 9, 1918, it was at least partly because of foreign policy. “As one of the Democrats [who had spoken to Wilson that day] recalled two weeks later, the president told them that passing the amendment would send the right message to the world and would acknowledge women’s service to the nation,” Cooper explains. Months later, addressing the Senate on the issue, Wilson cited the “unusual circumstances of a world war in which we stand and are judged in the view of our own people and our own consciences but also in the view of all the nations and peoples.” The point, it seemed, was that you could not wage war in the name of democratic ideals while barring half your population from voting. Obviously, the lesson here does not map perfectly onto contemporary politics—Obama would not exactly increase his popularity in the Muslim world by endorsing gay marriage—but neither does it make sense to think of gay marriage as completely disconnected from international affairs. Obama has said that he wants to restore American moral leadership in the world. But how can he claim the mantle of moral leadership when we are being outpaced by so many countries and so many foreign leaders on one of the central civil rights issues of our time?
The final lesson from Wilson is that what a president says and does matters. The day after Wilson’s January 9 statement, the House endorsed women’s suffrage by two votes. Wilson, albeit years late to the cause, would go on to lobby senators and, eventually, the governor of Tennessee, which became the final state to ratify the nineteenth amendment. Obama, meanwhile, seems to have convinced himself that he can’t make a difference on gay marriage, so why wade into the issue? But, while he may not realize it, Obama is already leading on gay marriage; he is just leading in the wrong direction. Every time Obama or a surrogate reiterates his position, it reinforces the idea that gay marriage is a bit too scary for the political mainstream. Worse, Obama’s stance seems to be a way of conveying to the country that he knows a lot of people still aren’t completely comfortable admitting gays and lesbians as full participants in American life, and that this is OK because he isn’t either. It is about the most cynical gesture you can imagine from an allegedly liberal leader—and we deserve better. I am speaking to you as an American, Mr. Obama.
from The New Republic / Richard Just
Studio stands up against Swiss manufacturer of ‘Harry Popper’ condoms for copyright infringement.
It’s the boy wizard as you’ve never seen him before. He has the trademark round spectacles and the regulation magic wand. But his tongue is extended in a lascivious manner and his thoughts are purely carnal. For good measure, he is in the guise of a pink, pimpled prophylactic.
Unsurprisingly, not everyone is amused. Warner Bros this week sued the Swiss manufacturer of the “Harry Popper” condoms for copyright infringement. “The image of my client is in danger,” a studio lawyer complained to the Swiss newspaper Bote. “This is clearly a reference to the film and fictional character of Harry Potter. Everyone who sees the condoms automatically thinks of Harry Potter.” The Harry Popper condoms have reportedly been on sale since 2006.
The Harry Potter brand is worth an estimated £15bn and lawyers for both Warner Bros and author JK Rowling have earned a reputation for protecting their product. In 2008, the studio launched a similar lawsuit against a Hindi-language Bollywood production, Hari Puttar: A Comedy of Terrors. The suit was eventually thrown out by an Indian court.
For the time being, condom manufacturers Magic X are standing firm. “Our product has nothing to do with Harry Potter,” claimed a spokesperson for the company.
from The Guardian
Right now in America there are over 2 million couples secretly struggling with homosexuality in their marriages. Are you one of them? Are you having intimacy issues? Are you suspicious about your husband’s late night activities? Or are you oblivious to a problem that could be putting your health and the livelihood of your family at risk? Don’t tell yourself that you’re simply being paranoid without taking a closer look!
Homosexuality can pop up at any time during a long-term relationship. Your spouse may have been experimenting with the “gay” lifestyle even before you met. Maybe he’s just using you as unwitting cover as he seeks playmates in the heterosexual world. For these types, the shame of being “outed” is so great that they will go to extremes to hide their lustful activities, even tricking a woman to marry them to appear normal in society. Sometimes it’s the nervous family who has rushed a young man into marriage out of a fear that his secret will be exposed. For others, homosexuality can appear later in life when men crave some escape from the monotony of careers and home life. Same-sex experimentation is also connected to drug or alcohol abuse. Crystal meth and other narcotics are proven to lower inhibitions and to drive people to take incredible risks to feed their habits.
For the wife unsure about her husband’s proclivities, the most important thing is to first confirm your suspicions. Drawing on the expertise of spiritual and medical professionals, Christwire has put together a list of 15 commonly-accepted characteristics of men struggling with homosexuality within a marriage:
1) Secretive late night use of cellphones and computers
Porn addiction is closely associated with homosexuality and a secretive nature implies he’s trying to hide something from you. Be on the lookout for a man who doesn’t want to web surf or answer phone calls in your presence. Texting is another favorite trick used by adulterers. For the sake of trust, a married couple should share everything, including phone logs, email accounts, chat friends and website histories.
2) Looks at other men in a flirtatious way
When you’re out in public, does he spend too much time looking at other men? Is he fond of winking at people? Does he get visibly upset when someone does not return a compliment about his physical appearance?
3) Feigning attention in church and prayer groups
Have you noticed a lack of interest in spiritual issues? Does it ever seem as if he’s just using church as an excuse to spend time around young men? Does he volunteer to mentor in all-male groups?
4) Overly fastidious about his appearance and the home
Natural men have a certain amount of grit about them. They sweat and they smell. Homosexuals often abhor this sort of thing and will also be incredibly particular about the cleanliness of the home. Does your man tweeze his eyebrows, trim his pubic hairs or use face moisturizers? Is he picky about brand name shampoos? Does he spend more time getting ready for a night out than you do?
5) Gym membership but no interest in sports
Gay men use the gym as a place to socialize and to have secret liaisons in the bathrooms. They like to work out their bodies without the competition of sports play. Afterward, they use the showers and steam rooms to engage in sexual activity beyond the prying eyes of women. If your man returns from the gym too exhausted to talk or have sex, that is a worrisome sign.
6) Clothes that are too tight and too “trendy”
Gay men don’t need words to communicate their availability for sex “hook ups.” They silently broadcast the news by showing off their lean, hard bodies in designer clothing labels. If your husband owns skinny jeans and looks at his buttocks in the mirror or if he wears an inordinate number of small-sized t-shirts, it is probably worthwhile to pay more attention to his private activities.
7) Strange sexual demands
Fetishism is a sign that a man is seeking a harder thrill beyond the normal intimacy of heterosexual relations. The woman may not appeal to the deep desires that are coming to the surface as the marriage drags on. If there is a sudden interest in sodomy, sadomasochism, lubricants, role-play, sex toys or other non-traditional intercourse methods, this is clearly an indication of deep emotional abnormalities.
8 More interested in the men than the women in pornographic films
Pornography is a dangerous element in any marriage but there are many Christians who feel watching it does add something to their sexual lives. If you have gone down this road and find that your man perks up at the sight of the men in these sorts of videos, you should be concerned. If he selects films because of specific male actors, this is an obvious sign that he is suffering from a crisis of ego and desire.
9) Travels frequently to big cities or Asia
Some husbands will spend a great deal of money traveling far from home to hide their deplorable same-sex actions. Big cities offer indulgence of every kind. From gay bars and clubs to prostitutes and sex bathhouses, a man seeking encounters can find them easily if he’s so inclined. Is there ever really a good excuse for a husband to visit Thailand or San Francisco without his wife?
10) Too many friendly young male friends
Someone who makes an extra effort to surround themselves with younger men should raise concerns in any community. If this is the case with your husband, ask yourself if he prefers their company to that of women. Do they touch each other or embrace in long hugs? Do they exchange expensive, personal gifts like scarves or cologne?
11) Sassy, sarcastic and ironic around his friends
A man who is secretly engaged in homosexual activity with others may exhibit feminine qualities when they get together in a group. In a sense, he has “let his hair down” and this will be seen in excessive back talk and speaking with one’s hands.
12) Love of pop culture
It’s quite common for young men to enjoy the science fiction end of popular culture, but when your husband becomes overly obsessed with romantic and feminine shows, that is cause for alarm. Gossip websites, Glee and The Golden Girls are three well-documented icons of the gay movement that genuine heterosexual men avoid.
13) Extroverted about his bare chest in public
Does he go shirtless in the back yard or at picnics when other men are around? Does he wear a speedo at the beach? Does it seem like he’s purposely standing right in the middle of a crowd to show off his chest and arm muscles, peppering people with questions about how strong he looks? He may be craving physical affirmation from other men and desperately looking for hints of shared desires in those around him.
14) Sudden heavy drinking
Sometimes people dealing with an unbearable emotional issue like homosexuality will turn to alcohol to hide their distress. Does your man disappear on drinking binges for long hours without answering his cellphone? Is there a strange odor about him when he returns, some strange mix of cigarettes and gel? Does he cry frequently?
15) Ladies, have you dated men in the past who turned out to be gay?
This is an important question to ask yourself when your marriage starts to have problems. Statistics have shown that women who have encountered gay men romantically in the past are the most likely to repeat this mistake in future relationships. If you answered yes, you should ask yourself whether you’re honestly looking for a man or just a shopping companion. Is sharing gossip more important to you than raising children? Ultimately, it’s a question of getting your priorities straight!
GERMANY -A German pop star broke down in tears Monday as she admitted keeping her HIV positive status a secret from three lovers at the start of her trial for causing grievous bodily harm.
“I am so sorry,” the 28-year-old Nadja Benaissa told the court in Darmstadt near Frankfurt, dressed in a purple shirt, jeans and with her hair tied back. She denied however intending to infect anyone with the virus that causes AIDS.
Benaissa, a member of the all-female pop group No Angels, was arrested last April just as she was about to perform at a Frankfurt nightclub and spent 10 days in custody before being released.
In February this year she was charged with causing bodily harm and attempting to cause bodily harm. If convicted Benaissa faces between six months and 10 years in prison. A verdict is due on on August 26.
According to the charge sheet, she had sex on five occasions between 2000 and 2004 with three people and did not tell them she was infected, even though she had known since 1999.
“It looks as though she infected one of them. That is what we believe,” prosecutor Gerd Neuber said. This man, who has not been named, was due to appear as a plaintiff in the trial.
No Angels shot to fame in 2000 thanks to a television talent show and had a string of hits in central Europe before splitting up in 2003. They reformed in 2007 and competed in the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest.
Before her arrest the fact that Benaissa, who is half Moroccan, was HIV positive was not publicly known.
When she was charged the news was leaked to the press, sparking a debate about trial by media in a country that partly for historical reasons is highly sensitive about privacy and the presumption of innocence.
The other three members of No Angels were among around 20 witnesses due to testify in the trial, which was being held in a youth court because the first alleged incident took place in 2000 when Benaissa was 17.
In a television interview in July 2009 the singer, who admitted being addicted to crack cocaine when she was 14, talked about living with being HIV positive.
“I can’t just go anywhere I like and be free and be a normal person. I now have this stamp. I will do my best to make the most of it,” she said.
“I am actually completely healthy, not sick. I am HIV positive. Being HIV positive doesn’t mean being ill. If the disease breaks out it is called AIDS. I have a completely normal life expectancy.”
In October an authorised biography of the the singer, who is rumoured to be considering leaving No Angels, is due to be released with the title, “Nadja Benaissa — Everything is going to be alright.”
HOLLYWOOD, FLORIDA – Ex-Hollywood officer Michael Verdugo has filed a lawsuit to keep his police certification after losing his job over a porn film.
Former Hollywood cop Mike Verdugo, fired after word spread on the Internet that he was in a gay porn film, is now fighting to keep his Florida police certification.
On Tuesday, Verdugo’s lawyers held a news conference and rally in Wilton Manor seeking support for him.
Hollywood Police Department fired him for not disclosing previous employment — the porn film — on his job application, Verdugo’s lawyers said.
Verdugo, who also was a former Design Star contestant on HGTV, has sued to get his job back. The suit is scheduled to be heard in November in Broward Circuit Court.
Hollywood police spokesman Lt. Manny Marino said Tuesday his department would not comment on the Verdugo case.
Verdugo, 36, is appealing to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to allow him to remain a certified officer.
The FDLE tentatively agreed, but the city of Hollywood is fighting his request and wants him stripped of his certification, his lawyers said.
An FDLE hearing is scheduled Thursday in Tampa.
Hollywood has offered to drop its case against Verdugo if he “drops his case against them,” said Norm Kent, an attorney and longtime gay civil-rights activist.
Verdugo says he won’t: “I want my case to be an example of what happens in Florida.”
“I still want to be a cop,” he said. “My goal — not a practical one — is to go back to Hollywood.”
Regardless of how the FDLE hearing turns out, Verdugo says, he will continue to lobby for passage of a federal gay rights measure — the Employment Nondiscrimination Act — that would prevent gay and transgender people from being fired on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Hollywood police fired Verdugo after a 1996 video turned up online showing the future cop in a 15-minute bondage scene from a gay porn flick called Rope Rituals. HGTV’s Design Star also dumped Verdugo, who was known as Mikey V.
Verdugo, who grew up in Hialeah, says he made the film for $700 at age 22 as a way of exploring his sexuality. He performed nude in a bondage scene, but didn’t engage in hard-core sex, he said.
Three years later, he decided to become a police officer.
Verdugo said it never occurred to him to put the movie on his résumé when he first became a Lauderhill cop in 1999, or when he applied to the Hollywood department two years later.
Wilton Manors attorney George Castrataro said he and Kent are representing Verdugo for free and that if any money is won in the case it will be donated to a gay charity.
“The power of the masses is in front of me,” Castrataro told the crowd of about 100 people Tuesday. “We have to rely on you.”
from The Miami Herald
From nightclubs to publishing, the decriminalization of gay sex in India is facilitating a new, multimillion dollar niche market.
As India’s gay community emerges from the closet following a court order lifting a ban on homosexual sex last year, a small group of pioneers is staking claim to the so-called pink economy that in the United States alone is worth $640 billion a year.
There are no estimates of the size of India’s gay economy, but a lucrative market for gay-focused ventures is not far from reach, given that global tourist hotspot India has 70 million homosexuals.
In New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore, trailblazing entrepreneurs are chasing the gay business.
Since July over 15 bars across New Delhi have hosted gay events, up from just one event at one bar a week two years ago.
India’s first gay-products store, Azaad Bazaar in Mumbai, has seen a year of growth, penetrating mainstream stores across the country with its merchandise.
Queer-Ink.com, India’s first gay online bookshop, is exploring publishing titles in the next 6 to 8 months.
Manish Sharma, a gay events promoter from New Delhi, hosts regular parties attended by over 200, while Sanjay Malhotra runs India’s first gays-only travel agency, IndjaPink.
“In terms of business as well as inquiries, things have really gone up since the ruling,” said Malhotra, who spent six months interviewing the hotel managers and tour guides that his company uses to ensure all his holidays are “gay-friendly.”
But for those pioneers, a largely conservative society and ingrained social stigma presents a bigger barrier than legislation to luring gay business.
“We might be legal by law, but we’re not yet legal in the mindset,” Sharma admitted.
Aditya Bondyopadhay, a gay rights activist and lawyer who was integral to the decriminalization, is realistic about the public perception of homosexuality in India.
“Police harassment, though it has gone down drastically, is still prevalent, we have instances of male rape that still go unchallenged,” he said, adding families still pressurize gays.
For Abhijit Parua, manager of Kuki, a south Delhi bar that hosts one of Sharma’s weekly ‘BoyZone’ events, this means the current target audience is too small.
“For a week the attendance was very good. Now there is lots of competition, and people are heading elsewhere,” he said.
But gay businesses in India operate not only on the strength of the local economy but also on the goodwill and solidarity of global consumption by homosexuals.
“Every traveler that goes with IndjaPink, we want them to be able to be who they are,” said Malhotra, adding acceptance was a long way off.
“It’s in its infancy.”
What’s in a name? Quite a bit.
Or so believes Portia de Rossi, who last Friday filed a petition with the Los Angeles County Superior Court to legally change her name to Portia DeGeneres.
We’re guessing it’s no coincidence that the actress chose to adopt wife Ellen DeGeneres’ surname just two days after a California federal judge came to his senses overturned Proposition 8.
Ms. and the soon-to-be Mrs. DeGeneres tied the knot back in August of 2008.
Along with the paperwork requesting the name swap, Portia also filed a hefty number of documents seeking to redact the couple’s home address on the supporting paperwork, citing concerns that the duo’s personal safety would be at risk. In other words: keep those crazies at bay.
A hearing on the name swap, which will no doubt be just minutes-long as moniker amendments are routinely granted, has been set for Sept. 23.
from E! Online
SANTA ANA, CALIFORNIA – A Mission Viejo man who claims he chewed on a condom while eating soup at an Orange County Claim Jumper restaurant will have his case heard in court.
Philip Hodousek, 51, is seeking unspecified damages and a public apology from the Irvine-based restaurant chain and any vendor associated with making the soup, the Orange County Register reported.
Hodousek was offered a $30,000 settlement by the company, according to his attorney, Eric Traut. Hodousek reportedly wants to repair his tarnished reputation.
According to court documents, Hodousek and his wife, Sherry, along with their then 18-year-old daughter went to the Claim Jumper restaurant in Mission Viejo to enjoy an Easter Brunch on Sunday, April 12, 2009.
Hodousek said he ordered several items, including a bowl of french onion soup.
As he ate the soup, he felt what he believed was a tough piece of cheese on the side of his mouth. When he couldn’t chew it into pieces, he told his family that it felt like rubber, according to the court filing.
Hodousek says he spit it out into his napkin, at which time his wife said, “Oh my God, it’s a condom.” Hodousek says he then vomited in the men’s bathroom.
After speaking with the server, the restaurant’s general manager, Marc Hadley, came over to the table and explained that the item was a rubber glove used by employees to prepare food and apologized, the documents state. Hodousek insists upon further investigation it was determined the item was not a rubber glove, but clearly a condom.
Hodousek snapped a picture of the item with his cell phone, wrapped it in a napkin and took it with him.
Hodousek had the condom tested by Lab Corp in North Carolina, and preliminary tests revealed female DNA.
According to Traut, Claim Jumper Enterprises, Inc. conducted its own tests but has not provided all the results.
Last July, Hodousek admitted to owing the state and federal governments nearly $300,000 in back taxes and penalties, but said his debt and the restaurant incident are unrelated, the O.C. Register reported.
Traut says the Hodousek family wants their name cleared of any wrongdoing.
CHICAGO – Nine college and university presidents gathered in Chicago over the weekend and decided to form a new organization that will promote the professional development of gay academics as well as work on education and advocacy issues.
The meeting was the first attempt to gather the growing number of out college presidents (25 were invited) — and participants said in interviews after the event that they wanted to encourage more gay academics to aspire to leadership positions and wanted to push higher education to include issues of sexual orientation when talking about diversity. The partners of some of the presidents also attended and held their own discussions, and the new group plans to be a place to talk about issues related to the partners and other family members of gay presidents.
“I think it was great that we met. We all kind of felt we were making history, and we had a really good time talking about issues that were relevant to us as presidents and as LGBT people,” said Theodora J. Kalikow, president of the University of Maine at Farmington.
The new organization has been named the LGBTQ Presidents in Higher Education, said Charles Middleton, president of Roosevelt University and co-host of the meeting. The group plans to reconvene first in a few months, and then perhaps at next year’s meeting of the American Council on Education.
“As university presidents, we talked first and foremost about what is our presidential responsibility as leaders in higher education,” Middleton said. To that end, the group will focus on leadership development for those who are gay presidents or who aspire to be, professional development for gay people at all levels of academe, and on education and advocacy to promote equity and diversity.
“As the world evolves, we are going to have things to say on specific issues,” he said.
Middleton said that it’s time for an organization like this to exist. College leaders nationally are talking about the need for new leaders in all kinds of educational fields, and the country cannot afford to write off any one group, he said. Gay academics “need to be taken off the exclusion list,” he said.
Several of the presidents noted that they came together at a time when issues of gay rights are very much in the news — both for society as a whole and higher education in particular. The presidents met the same week that a federal judge rejected California’s ban on gay marriage and the same year that the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the right of public colleges to require all recognized student groups to abide by anti-bias policies — including policies that some religious groups object to because they cover sexual orientation.
Raymond Crossman, president of the Adler School of Professional Psychology and the meeting’s other co-host, said that “I think it’s no accident that there’s an appetite to do this right now. It’s a particular moment in the culture right now, and I think we have something to offer about educating the academy.”
Crossman said he views such advocacy as a traditional role of a college president, even if the issues being raised may not be same ones on which other presidents have focused. “I think that as presidents of colleges and universities there’s always been a role to take positions, to be part of a continuing dialogue in our culture,” he said.
Kalikow said that she hoped the group would send a clear message to gay academics that, if they aspire to leadership positions at their institutions, “it is doable.” As president at Farmington since 1994, when it was much more unusual to name an out president, Kalikow said she was well aware that attitudes have changed and also that there are still institutions where a gay or lesbian leader might not be welcome. It’s important, she said, for an aspiring gay academic “to listen to the little voice in your head that says, ‘Don’t do that,’ ” about going to a particular institution that might be hostile.
But she said that gay academics need to know they can aim high. “My advice is to be out since you are a baby or as soon as possible. But then, the reason we get these positions is by being really excellent at what we do. That’s the most important thing. You have to believe in yourself, not set lower expectations, and find the place that’s the right match.”
One of the topics of discussion at the meeting was how to view the extent of progress in presidencies being open to gay candidates. While the numbers today would have been shocking a generation ago, most of the presidents said that there are many colleges that because of their location, religious ties or other factors are highly unlikely to be open to gay presidential candidates, at least in the near future. Many of the colleges that have named gay presidents are places with “strong social justice missions,” Crossman said.
“There are sectors in higher education where this is a very difficult issue,” said Ralph Hexter, who is the president of Hampshire College (and who celebrated with his campus when, in 2007, after gay marriage became recognized in Massachusetts, he married his partner).
“We talked about the fact that there are certain regions” where it would be more difficult to be an out president, said Hexter, who recently announced that he would be leaving his presidency. “One of the hallmarks of our group is that we are out LGBT, and we all know there are many, many others who for whatever reasons — their regions, their personal situations, their institutions — are not out. This is not an organization that will push anyone out of the closet, but maybe more people will look at us and say, ‘Hey, these people are OK.’ ” Likewise, he said that search committees may look at the organization and realize that they can consider the candidacies of gay people to be president.
He said that the current gay presidents “are pioneers in a way” and “I think you are going to see a lot more in the next five years.”
“It’s important for gay and lesbian leaders in higher education see a path,” he said. Hexter added that he didn’t know of any such group in any other country and he also hoped it would send a message abroad — including in countries where people might not think it possible to be a gay university president.
from Inside Higher Ed
UNITED KINGDOM – A former vicar and his wife have been barred from becoming foster parents after saying they did not want gay couples who are considering adopting to meet them in their own home.
John and Colette Yallop told the local council that, if approved as foster parents, they would be ready to help same-sex couples adopt children and would be happy for a gay person to visit on their own.
But they said they would rather meet such couples at a children’s centre than in their family home to avoid awkward questions from their own young son and daughter.
However, Lancashire County Council said it could not make exceptions to its equality and diversity policies.
Mr Yallop, 62, said: ‘We are not homophobic and have worked alongside gay people, but we believe inviting gay couples into our home for the handover process might be detrimental to our family life and our young children.
‘We don’t want to have to explain to our five-year-old daughter or seven-year-old son why a youngster we’ve been caring for has two mummies or daddies.
‘We accept council policies on equality and diversity. Even if we disagree with the rights of gay couples to adopt because it goes against our Christian beliefs, it doesn’t make us bad foster parents.
‘I suspect we’re not alone in believing children thrive where there is a mummy and a daddy, rather than two parents of the same sex. Nevertheless, this is a personal belief that doesn’t affect our ability to care for and love a foster child.’
Mrs Yallop, 43, said they told a social worker assessing them that they would happily have a single gay person or one partner of a gay couple as prospective parents in their home, or hand over a foster child at a centre.
‘This was something our social worker suggested we put in writing to the council. Then she said our application was being refused because of our views. We were shocked and upset.’
The couple, who have been married for nine years, said they had been told in an initial assessment they would be ideal.
Same sex wedding
A council spokesman said: ‘People who wish to foster must be open to working alongside all approved adopters’ – including gay and lesbian couples
But the council’s Fostering Recruitment and Assessment Team wrote to the Yallops last month to say their assessment was to end because of the couple’s views about their ‘ability to work with particular groups of people (in particular gay and lesbian people)’.
The letter said the request to meet gay couples outside home would ‘greatly affect the child’s experience of the introduction to adopters or carers and would potentially affect the success of their placement’.
‘We started the process of applying to foster newborn-to-four-year-old children in March,’ said Mrs Yallop.
‘We had interviews and completed a three-week course. It means a lot to us to give a child a start in life and seems unfair we are now being discriminated against because of our honesty.’
Mr Yallop, the manager of St Barnabas Church and Community Centre in Blackburn, said they felt it was the right time to foster because of the age of their own children.
‘We knew the assessment process would be intrusive,’ he said. ‘I’m no saint, having had to resign as a Church of England minister after committing adultery while married to my first wife.
‘And I was a bit of a tearaway when I was younger. I knew the details of my going to jail for stealing would come out.
‘But after 20 years as a vicar and then a support worker for people with mental health problems, I feel I’d have a lot to offer as a foster carer.’
County Councillor Susie Charles, Cabinet Member for Children and Schools, said: ‘We must operate within relevant legislation and the council’s equality and diversity policy, which both rule out discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation.
‘People who wish to foster must be open to working alongside all approved adopters to give the transition the best chance of success.’
But Andrea Williams, director of the Christian Legal Centre which is supporting the couple, said: ‘The Yallops have a loving family home to offer vulnerable children. It is not the homosexual community being discriminated against but the Christian community.’
The couple are expected to appeal against the council’s decision.
from The Daily Mail