SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – A little boy in a bright red dress and his mom’s picture book about acceptance are front and center in a biting debate over a question well beyond his years: Are society’s gender roles so rigid that a male child can’t have fun in a tutu?
Cheryl Kilodavis self-published “My Princess Boy” over the summer about the sometimes cruel reaction 5-year-old Dyson faces when he wears sparkly frocks, twirly skirts and jewelry. She shared it with his school and hopes it will be used as a tool for teachers, day care centers, summer camps and afterschool programs to address bullying and promote tolerance.
What the Seattle mom hadn’t anticipated was that her family’s appearance on local TV – with a sullen Dyson in red dress and sparkly pink socks – would land on YouTube, light up Twitter and produce packs of snappish doubters along with loving support from around the world.
“It’s been, you know, the dialogue is happening, which is the goal,” Kilodavis said.
Much of the positive reaction has come from educators, parents of like-minded boys and members of the gay community. Much of the negative seems centered on the video of Dyson as he sits sullenly next to his mom on a talk show couch, flipping through the book and sniffing from a cold while he listens in on the grown-up conversation.
“I like to dress up in different kinds of clothes and jewelry,” the boy offers on KING5-TV’s “New Day Northwest.”
The host asks: “‘Cause it’s fun?”
“Mm h’mm,” Dyson responds.
Some wonder whether his parents’ indulgence has led them into dangerous territory, and whether putting him on TV to sell books, no matter how valuable to others, was a wise thing to do.
“The parents shouldn’t let the kid do it just because he wants to,” said Alajauan Adams, 27, a youth coordinator for a nonprofit organization in Washington, D.C. “I’m not here to judge if it’s right or wrong for him to be an outcast, but the reality is he’s going to be and you’re not protecting him from it.”
Online radio blogger Lashaun Turner, the 46-year-old mother of three grown children (including two boys) in Riverside, Calif., was taken aback by Kilodavis tracing Dyson’s fashion sense to age 2. “I mean it’s just crazy. Your 2-year-old is picking out pink colors and wanting to wear pink dresses and so therefore you start buying him dresses? I mean a 2-year-old has not a clue as to whether they’re boy, girl, fruit, vegetable or a rock.”
Kilodavis acknowledges her initial discomfort when her youngest son’s “unique eye for everything beautiful,” especially things pink and glam, surfaced at a tender age at home, and a few months later more publicly when he ran into her arms at day care pickup one afternoon dressed in a red sequin dress and pink high heels.
“He was so happy. He said ‘Look how pretty this dress is,’” she said. “I was worried about if the other parents were looking at him, and were they looking at me.”
The parents had Dyson evaluated by a medical team that included a psychologist because, Kilodavis said, “Everything out there is always about gender identity confusion, and I wanted to make sure my child was happy with who he was.”
The verdict? He is. He just enjoys tiaras and ballet leotards, but also basketball and climbing trees – all interests that tomboy girls delight in routinely without an eyelash batted.
Kilodavis did try diverting Dyson’s attention as a toddler by providing his day care with a little more flash for boys in the dress-up area. She brought in a red-and-gold karate outfit and a band uniform, but they were no-gos for Dyson. “The next day when I went to pick him up he was in a yellow dress,” she said.
Forward to age 4, when Dyson and his 8-year-old brother went shopping with mom for Halloween costumes. Older brother settled on a ninja turtle. Dyson begged for Cinderella. The worried mom made the purchase and made sure his private school was aware of his costume choice.
In solidarity, three “stereotypically macho men” who work at the school dressed up as ballerinas, but Dyson wasn’t there to enjoy a little dance they put on in his honor, or the annual holiday parade. His mother couldn’t bear to send him, afraid it would be too much.
Dyson did go trick-or-treating in his Cinderella gear. “Somebody laughed at him, a lady at a house. She said, ‘Oh my gosh I can’t believe you’re dressed up as a girl. You’re a gender bender.’ He asked, ‘Why did she laugh at me, mommy?’” Kilodavis said. “People would make comments at stores, like ‘Are you really going to get that Tinkerbell outfit?’”
That’s when she got busy on the book. Requests for it have skyrocketed since Dyson’s story hit the Web. The family is now in search of a publisher. “People are walking into stores looking for the book. They’re e-mailing me, saying I wish you were my mom when I was a princess boy growing up.”
Wendy Rosen in suburban London bought the book for her own princess boy, 8-year-old Cameron, and reached out to Kilodavis on the book’s Facebook page. By telephone, she said Cameron accessorizes his school uniform with ladies’ pins and a sparkly Hannah Montana bookbag.
“The book really hit a button for us,” said the legal secretary. “I think it’s the only time he’s seen a boy dressed as a girl.”
How does Cameron handle teasing? “I just ignore them,” he said. “It doesn’t bother me much. I really, really like to wear glittery stuff.”
The book doesn’t mention Dyson by name. It doesn’t even give the princess boy a face (the illustrations look more like an acorn in a dress), but Kilodavis used real life to tell the story and urge tolerance.
“I’m still going through the process, too. This is a journey,” she said. “I’m not professing to know all the answers. I have the heart of my little boy in my hands.”
from The Associated Press
Comics have been making gay jokes for years, but perhaps none of them has caused as much of a stir as the quip uttered by Vince Vaughn when he made fun of an electric car by saying, “It’s gay,” in the trailer for the upcoming Ron Howard comedy, “The Dilemma.” Coming just as the media was full of stories about taunts and attacks on gay teens that drove some to suicide, the joke hit a raw nerve. After CNN’s Anderson Cooper publicly took issue with the trailer’s joke, saying “we’ve got to do something to make those words unacceptable ’cause those words are hurting kids,” a full-blown controversy erupted. Universal Pictures pulled the trailer, substituting a new one scrubbed of any gay humor.
But that was three weeks ago, and this is now. Universal has confirmed to me that the joke is staying in the movie, which is slated for release in January. The decision is ultimately Howard’s call, since he is a final-cut director, although my sources tell me that Howard sought advice from a variety of sources, not only from talent involved with the film but also from people at Universal and in the larger comedy community.
I’ve already staked out my own opinion on the issue in a column I wrote several weeks ago. I concluded that “comedy is a lot like free speech–sometimes you have to hold your nose to support it.” In other words, I’m not sure that I’m all that comfortable with most of the gay jokes I’ve heard, but once you start trying to make value judgments about one joke over another, you’re on a slippery slope to the arid wasteland of political correctness.
Howard recently asked if he could respond to a series of questions I’d raised when the news first broke about the controversy. He’s provided answers to everything I initially wondered about, and even asked a few provocative questions of his own. He makes one particularly important point about an issue that was lost in all the hubbub, but applies to a lot of art that is viewed as offensive or controversial: Just because a character in a film says or does something wildly inappropriate doesn’t necessarily mean that the filmmaker agrees with it.
He explains why the joke stays in the film, as well as offers his take on the difference between sensitivity and censorship. Here’s what Howard has to say:
I’ve been reading your posts about THE DILEMMA with a lot of interest.
In the couple of weeks since you started covering the debate over our
joke, it seems a larger conversation made up of many questions about all
sorts of freedoms of expression has broken out: When’s it okay to walk
off of a talk show if you disagree with the guest? Who is appropriate to
cast in a movie and who gets to decide that? Should news people be held
to a different standard in what they say? How risqué can a photo shoot
be for a men’s magazine promoting an all-audience show? What role does
comedy play in both pointing out differences and unifying us through
They’re all good questions and I’m certainly not the person who has
definitive answers to all of them. The debate about what is appropriate
in films and advertising has been going on since well before I started
in the business — which is to say a very long time — and will never
have a conclusion. But I do have some answers to the five questions you put
forth in your post. I suppose you’re right that since our
movie about two friends trying to do right for each other has been caught up
in this larger debate, I’ll have to face these questions as we start to
promote THE DILEMMA. I figured I’d address your questions here and maybe
answer them once and not from, as you said, “every reporter with a
functioning brain.” So here we go.
So why was the joke in the movie? Our lead character of Ronny Valentine has
a mouth that sometimes gets him into trouble and he definitely flirts with
the line of what’s okay to say. He tries to do what’s right but sometimes
falls short. Who can’t relate to that? I am drawn to films that have a
variety of characters with different points of view who clash, conflict and
learn to live with each other. THE DILEMMA is a story full of flawed
characters whose lives are complicated by the things they say to and hide
from each other. Ronny is far from perfect and he does and says some
outrageous things along the way.
Was it in the script or was it a Vince Vaughn ad lib? Vince is a brilliant
improvisational actor, but in this case It was always in the script. THE
DILEMMA is a comedy for grown-ups, not kids. It’s true that the moment took
on extra significance in light of some events that surrounded the release of
the trailer and the studio made the decision to remove it from advertising,
which I think was appropriate. I believe in sensitivity but not censorship.
I feel that our film is taking additional heat as an emblem for many movies
and TV shows that preceded it that have even more provocative
characterizations and language. It is a slight moment in THE DILEMMA meant
to demonstrate an aspect of our lead character’s personality, and we never
expected it to represent our intentions or the point of view of the movie or
those of us who made it.
Did you think it wasn’t offensive? I don’t strip my films of everything
that I might personally find inappropriate. Comedy or drama, I’m always
trying to make choices that stir the audience in all kinds of ways. This
Ronny Valentine character can be offensive and inappropriate at times and
those traits are fundamental to his personality and the way our story works.
Will comedy be neutered if everyone gets to complain about every
potentially offensive joke in every comedy that’s made? Anybody can
complain about anything in our country. It’s what I love about this place.
I defend the right for some people to express offense at a joke as
strongly as I do the right for that joke to be in a film. But if
storytellers, comedians, actors and artists are strong armed into making
creative changes, it will endanger comedy as both entertainment and a
provoker of thought.
And what do you have against electric cars anyway? Nothing! We have a
couple of them in our family including the one I primarily and happily
drive. Guess what that makes me in the eyes of our lead character? But
then again, I don’t agree with everything Ronny Valentine says and does
in this comedy any more than Vince Vaughn, the screenwriter or any
member of the audience should for that matter.
from The Los Angeles Times / Patrick Goldstein
SANTA ANA, CALIFORNIA - – A black noose was hung this week from the door of a gay-rights organization here, and the worker who found it now plans to file a formal complaint about how police responded.
Mel Distel found the cloth noose on Thursday evening on the door to Equality California’s office in south Santa Ana. She called police and says one of the officers who responded dismissed the noose as a string on the door and told her: Sometimes, you just have to live with being a victim.
Santa Ana Police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna declined to comment on Distel’s account. But he said the department is treating the case as a possible terrorist threat to real property, a misdemeanor. It’s been assigned to investigators who handle crimes against persons.
The noose “was shocking,” Distel said Friday. “It struck me as something that could escalate, something that was definitely meant to be hurtful.”
Distel, a phone-bank trainer at Equality California, said she “absolutely” plans to file a complaint about the police response. The organization also said it intends to file a complaint and to demand that police discipline the officer involved.
“This is an outrageous, despicable attempt to intimidate the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community just a few days before the election, but we will not be silenced,” Equality California’s Executive Director, Geoff Kors, said in a prepared statement.
Equality California works out of an unmarked office in a strip mall on Grand Avenue, but Distel said it had a “big, gay rainbow flag” outside. The office has no surveillance cameras.
Distel found the noose when she arrived at the office shortly before 6 p.m. Thursday to unlock the doors for campaign workers. The office had nine volunteers working the phones Thursday on behalf of Assembly candidate Melissa Fox.
In a statement, Fox described the hanging of the noose as a “despicable and hateful act, clearly intended to threaten and intimidate Equality California and other supporters of marriage equality from exercising our Constitutional rights to free speech and free association.”
She pointed out that the noose is a historic symbol of lynching, and said it was no coincidence that it was left just days before Election Day on Tuesday.
from The Orange County Register
A majority of active-duty and reserve service members surveyed by the Defense Department would not object to serving and living alongside openly gay troops, according to multiple people familiar with the findings.
The survey’s results are expected to be included in a Pentagon report, due to President Obama on Dec. 1, regarding how the military would end enforcement of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” law that bans openly gay men and lesbians from serving in uniform.
Some troops surveyed – but not a majority – objected strongly to the idea of serving with gays and said they would quit the military if the policy changed, said the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly share details of the survey.
Defense Department officials did not respond to requests for comment.
NBC News first reported Thursday evening on the survey’s findings.
In July, the Pentagon sent a survey with dozens of questions to 400,000 active-duty and reserve troops. It asked whether they had ever shared a room or the showers with gay peers, and how they might act if a gay service member lived with a same-sex partner on base.
Military officials did not say how many troops completed the survey, but at least 103,000 had done so just days before it was due, according to the Pentagon. A similar survey was later sent to military spouses.
President Obama opposes “don’t ask, don’t tell” and met briefly on Tuesday with gay rights activists to convey his commitment to repealing the law this year through legislation.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit is expected to rule Friday on whether the military can continue enforcing the ban while it considers a legal challenge against it.
from The Washington Post
A school board district member in Arkansas who came under fire for an anti-gay post on a social networking site regrets the comments and will resign his seat, he told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Thursday.
“I’m sorry I’ve hurt people with my comments,” Clint McCance, vice-president of the Midland School District in Pleasant Plains, Arkansas said. “I’m sorry I made those ignorant comments and hurt people on a broad spectrum.”
McCance wrote on his personal Facebook page that he wanted gay people to commit suicide, according to The Advocate, a newspaper focusing on gay news.
McCance used the terms “queer” and “fag” repeatedly, promised to disown his own children if they are gay and stated that he enjoys “the fact that [gay people] give each other AIDS and die.”
On Thursday, he disowned the comments.
“I would never support suicide for any kids,” he said. “I don’t support bullying of any kids.”
“I’d like to extend apologies to those families that have lost children, for all those children who feel that suicide is the only way out, especially for the five families who have already lost children,” he said, referring to a rash of recent suicides by gay teens. “I brought more hurt on them… they didn’t deserve that and I do feel genuinely bad for them.”
Though he disapproves of homosexuality, McCance said that “I give everyone a chance and try to love everyone.”
McCance said that he has received an outpouring of criticism over his comments, including “thousands of phone calls, hate mails, people threatening to kill my family and me.”
He said he has sent his wife and two kids out of the state because of fears for their safety and that he is installing a security system at his home.
“I’m reaping what I’ve sown,” he told CNN. “I’ve had a lot of hate speech thrown at me and my family on every level.”
He said he would resign from the school board to spare the district the bad press and distractions of dealing with the fallout from his comments. “If they decide after five or ten years to vote me back in, then I’ll run again,” he said.
McCance’s comments had drawn criticism from education officials in his district and at the state level.
“I strongly condemn the statements that appeared on Mr. Clint McCance’s Facebook page,” Tom Kimbrell, Arkansas commissioner of education, said in a statement Wednesday. “… The statements attributed to Mr. McCance constitute a significant departure from statements we expect from our school leaders. The divisiveness and disruption of these comments cause me to seriously question the ability of Mr. McCance to remain as an effective member of the Midland School Board.”
McCance was re-elected for a four-year term in September. He was initially elected to the leadership of the school district in 2007 for a three-year term. The terms are now four years long.
The Midland School District had also denounced the posting. “The district strives to foster an environment that discourages all forms of bullying,” it said in a statement this week, “and an environment that encourages a safe and productive educational climate [for] all of our students. The district is very diligent in pursuing and addressing bullying of any variety on our campuses.”
The state Department of Education had said it was “dismayed to see that a school board official would post something of this insensitive nature on a public forum like Facebook.”
Because McCance’s Facebook page is not accessible publicly, the Advocate said it learned about the posts after being provided with a screen shot.
The posts were made, according to The Advocate, in response to a bullying awareness campaign sponsored by GLAAD, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. The “Spirit Day” campaign aimed to foster recognition of bullying directed at gays and the effects it can have on young people through a series of events held on October 20.
One aspect of the campaign encouraged people to wear purple to honor those who had committed suicide after experiencing anti-gay bullying, and to show solidarity with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered youth who face the same pressures.
According to the screen grab obtained by The Advocate, McCance wrote the following about the event: “Seriously they want me to wear purple because five queers committed suicide. The only way im wearin it for them is if they all commit suicide. I cant believe the people of this world have gotten this stupid. We are honoring the fact that they sinned and killed therselves because of their sin.” (sic)
The post spurred a Facebook page encouraging the Midland School District to fire McCance. More than 60,000 people had “liked” the page as of Thursday evening.
However, not everyone disagreed with McCance’s comments, which he had defended on his page by citing his religious beliefs.
Gays and lesbians are “thinking they’re all right, and [God is] going to let them think that and go to hell for believing what they’re doing is right,” pastor Harry Craig, of Pleasant Plains Full Gospel Church, told CNN Little Rock affiliate KARK.
On Tuesday, the federal government warned that bullying and harassment in schools often includes violations of federally protected civil rights. Officials warned that school administrators who fail to properly deal with harassment risk being cited for civil rights violations. In extreme cases, such violations could lead to cuts in federal funding.
A group of protesters had traveled Thursday to Pleasant Plains, where they held a demonstration to call for McCance’s resignation.
RUTGERS UNIVERSITY — Two Rutgers students charged with invasion of privacy for the alleged use of a webcam to broadcast an intimate encounter between fellow freshman Tyler Clementi and another man days before Clementi’s suicide have withdrawn from the university, an attorney for one of the students said.
Steven Altman of New Brunswick, the attorney for Dharun Ravi, Clementi’s roommate, said the withdrawals of Ravi of Plainsboro and his co-defendant Molly Wei of Princeton, both 18, mean neither face university disciplinary hearings.
“They were given the option of withdrawing and they can reapply,” Altman said. “Realistically, they couldn’t go back no matter what. He definitely plans to go somewhere else.”
Altman said both students withdrew earlier this month, but he did not have an exact date.
He was unable to comment on what Ravi has been doing since removing himself from school.
Withdrawal was raised as a possibility by university officials during phone conversations in early October, Altman said.
In the wake of Clementi’s suicide, people within and outside the university called for Ravi and Wei’s immediate expulsion. Neither student was suspended, Altman said.
E.J. Miranda, spokesman for the university, declined to discuss Ravi and Wei, citing federal privacy laws. Wei’s attorney, Rubin Sinins of Newark, did not return messages left Thursday. Sinins previously released a statement saying the first-year pharmacy student was innocent.
“Molly committed no crime. Her remarkable reputation is being unjustly tarnished by uninformed and incorrect assumptions,” that statement read.
After learning that the images were posted, Clementi jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge on Sept. 22. The Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office said it is investigating the possibility of bias crime charges against Ravi and Wei. The investigation is continuing, said Jim O’Neill, spokesman for the Prosecutor’s Office.
“If Rutgers asked Mr. Ravi and Ms. Wei to withdraw, that seems like an entirely appropriate request,” he said.
On Wednesday night, however, a group of about two dozen students community held a rally at Brower Commons on College Avenue criticizing what a spokesperson called “a rush to judgment” in the swift condemnation of Ravi and Wei.
“There were people calling for them to be expelled. There were people who wanted manslaughter charges,” said Lauren Felton, a senior from Warren. “A lot of the details are not known yet.”
“While we do not condone the actions that Ravi and Wei are alleged to have taken, neither can we stand aside and watch the Rutgers community lay the entire blame on two 18-year-olds,” according to a statement by the group “Queering the Air” that organized the rally.
The group also condemned comments made on several websites that mentioned the two students’ Asian background and posted messages that urged the two to “return to their countries,” according to Felton.
“We are against the crucifixion of two individuals for the sins of the larger society,” said Robert O’Brien, an anthropology instructor and one of the leaders of Queering the Air.
According to Felton, the group, and other organizations on campus that represent gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students, have “re-claimed” the word queer, once considered an offensive slur.
Among the chants led by O’Brien Wednesday night were, “Queer liberation. Human liberation. It’s all one struggle.”
In a press release, the group condemned Garden State Equality, an advocacy group that demanded Ravi and Wei be charged with hate crimes and receive “the maximum possible sentence.”
Goldstein, the director of Garden State Equality, the largest advocacy organization in the state for gays and lesbians, called Queering the Air a “radical fringe group.”
“They stand with (Ravi and Wei). We stand with Tyler Clementi,” said Goldstein
While the students chanted on one side of College Avenue, three self-described “street preachers” preached loudly to students waiting at the bus stop in front of the gymnasium.
“You say you were born homosexuals, you need to be born again,” said Robert Parker of Old Bridge. “Education without salvation is damnation.” Parker later went across the street and preached similar messages while members of Queering the Air continued to chant.
from The Courier Post Online
Students Outraged Over Tyler Clementi’s Sex Tape Broadcast Online
GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – The Roman Catholic Church in the Swiss city of Lucerne has distributed some 400 condoms to passers-by this week in an HIV/Aids awareness campaign, effectively defying a Vatican taboo.
Parish leader Alois Metz acknowledged that condoms were a controversial subject in the Catholic Church but said in a statement that their use helped to protect lives.
“Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself,” he added, quoting from the Bible.
The condoms were only handed out in front of the city’s main railway station to those who asked for them.
The remaining 2 600 set aside will be given to parishioners who want them, said Florian Flohr, a spokesperson for the Roman Catholic Church in Lucerne, on Wednesday.
“It doesn’t go against the Catholic Church,” he told AFP, underlining that the aim was not to “make propaganda for the condom”.
“In practice some people live according to the principles of the Church but others, especially men – those who need many women – live in another way and need protection,” Flohr remarked.
The Vatican staunchly opposes contraception and Pope Benedict XVI drew criticism during a visit to Africa last year for saying that condom use could be aggravating the Aids crisis.
The Swiss Bishops’ Conference declined to comment on the campaign.
“Catholic doctrine is clear on issues of sexuality. In this instance it’s a practical issue, a particular issue to do with Aids,” spokesperson Walter Mueller explained.
The diocese of Basel, which oversees Lucerne, was discussing the issue with its followers in the city. A spokesperson underlined that human sexuality had to be based on faithfulness.
“But if people don’t know how to live like that, then they might as well use a condom,” added Giuseppe Gracia.
from News 24
Eddie Mendez used to think of domestic abuse in its most common form: a man battering a woman. But last year, he was convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence against his male partner and ordered, as part of his probation, to enroll in a program at Chicago’s Center for Domestic Peace.
The center, which has been offering group counseling services to abusive heterosexual men since 1997, only last year began offering similar services to gay and bisexual men who batter their partners.
“I never saw myself in that situation,” said Mendez, 40. “But I look back and realize that I was angry. I was an alcoholic. I was a mess.”
This October, the center has engaged in a number of activities for Domestic Violence Awareness Month, including encouraging people to support the White Ribbon Campaign, which asks participants “to not commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women and girls.” The center tweaks the pledge to include domestic partners.
The center’s 26-week program helps men — relatively few women go through the program — convicted of domestic battery understand why they lash out when they feel disrespected and how their abusive behavior is rooted in the unreasonable need for power and control. The goal is to change the abuser’s behavior.
Michael Feinerman, the center’s co-executive director, said the men in the program, no matter their sexuality, often struggle with how they define “authentic” masculinity.
“A big part of our work is trying to challenge them not to buy into conventionally available definitions about what it means to be a man,” Feinerman said.
In the general population, the incidence of domestic violence is about 25 percent, and that’s about the same for men in gay relationships, according to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs.
While common threads exist among abusive men no matter their sexual preference, some aspects make domestic abuse among gay men unique.
“In some parts of the gay community, there’s a lot of bigotry, bias and violence,” Mendez said. “We’ll address each other as queens and homos and use all kinds of unbelievably derogatory words. And you begin to feel — as victim or abuser — that abuse is a part of the culture. And that’s absolutely not true.”
Feinerman said some abusers may rely on a victim’s unwillingness to report the abuse because he fears police won’t take them seriously.
from The Chicago Tribune
TEXAS – An east Texas NBC affiliate devoted a segment on its morning show Wednesday to ask viewers and listeners if acceptance of gays will bring the downfall of the country.
“The acceptance of homosexuality, pushed hard by the gay rights activists, will it be the fall of this country?” asked Garth Maier, host of KETK’s morning radio program. The segment was broadcast on KETK’s TV channel as well.
The channel’s TV hosts introduced the segment with a reference to an Associated Press report Tuesday that President Obama has appointed a record number of openly gay individuals to posts in the administration — more than 150 so far.
“And he’s only been in office for two years,” one of the morning hosts said, adding that the news has “not really gotten any coverage … but that’s what we’re talking about.”
The reporters are “clearly taking their cue from the Westboro Baptist Church,” quips the Joe.My.God blog.
“When … KETK says their slogan is ‘News You Won’t See Anywhere Else,’ they mean it,” says Mediaite’s Ray Rahman.
Many of the listeners and viewers who called in objected to Maier’s premise.
“Gays should have the same rights as anybody else,” said one caller. “Homophobnia is the new racism,” said another.
“I think the true downfall of this country will be because of the religious right,” another caller asserted.
But plenty took the opportunity to vent their dislike of the gay rights movement.
“Yes, the gay issue definitely will be a downfall of America,” a caller said. “Obama has to go.”
“Pretty soon we’re going to have a gay president, and that would be the worst,” another caller said.
Within hours of word of the discussion spreading online, a Facebook group appeared to “stop this station (KETK-NBC) from spreading and legitimizing homophobic hate.”
from The Raw Story
LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS – More than 23,000 people have joined an online campaign calling for the firing of an Arkansas school board member who is purported to have made anti-gay remarks on his Facebook page.
The effort seeking the dismissal of Midland School District board member Clint McCance centers on posts visible on a screenshot of a page that appears to be McCance’s online profile. The image is posted on a Facebook group calling for McCance’s firing that had 14,300 supporters as of 11:30 a.m.
The Advocate, a magazine that reports about gay issues, first reported about the posting on its website. The Facebook page has been disabled, but The Advocate posted a screen grab of the alleged postings that it says someone forwarded to it.
“Seriously they want me to wear purple because five queers committed suicide,” the posting reads in the screenshot. “The only way im wearin it for the is if they all commit suicide. I cant believe the people of this world have gotten this stupid. We are honoring the fact that they sinned and killed thereselves because of their sin.”
No profile bearing McCance’s name is publicly available on Facebook and a man who answered a phone associated with one of McCance’s businesses Wednesday would not verify that he wrote the postings.
“I can’t comment at this time, I’ve got to talk to my attorney,” said the man, who hung up when asked if he was McCance.
No one answered the same number Wednesday afternoon, but the message identified it as McCance’s.
Other postings shown in the same screenshot use an offensive term for homosexuals and state the writer enjoys “the fact that they often give each other aids and die” and would disown his children if they were gay.
A message left with Midland Superintendent Dean Stanley was not returned Wednesday morning. A school official said she believed he was out of the office until Friday.
In a statement, the Midland School District distanced itself from McCance’s comments and said the school does not “support or condone” what was written on the Facebook page.
“Mr. McCance was not acting as an agent of the school board, but as a private citizen when this comment was posted. This post does not reflect the thoughts of the board or administration of the Midland School District,” the statement said. “The district strives to foster an environment that discourages all forms of bullying and an environment that encourages a safe and productive educational climate of all of our students.”
The Arkansas Department of Education condemned the remarks in a post on its own Facebook page, saying it was “dismayed to see that a school board official would post something of this insensitive nature on a public forum like Facebook.”
“Because Mr. McCance is an elected official, the department has no means of dealing with him directly,” the statement read. “However, the department does have staff who investigate matters of bullying in schools and we will monitor and quickly respond to any bullying of students that may occur because of this, as we have with other civil rights issues in the past.”
Meanwhile, the Human Rights Campaign called on McCance to resign and said it had sent letters to the U.S. Department of Education, the Arkansas Department of Education and the Midland School District calling for an investigation into his conduct. The group calls itself the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization.
from Arkansas Online
NEW YORK – A gay detective is suing the NYPD, saying he has been targeted for complaining about relentless anti-homosexual hostility on the job.
The detective said cops at the 103rd Precinct in Queens – as well in the Internal Affairs Bureau in Manhattan – called him a “faggot,” a “rat” and a “meat gazer.”
“You’ve got to take a stand,” said the 33-year-old, who is filing the suit as a “John Doe.”
“You’ve got to punch back.”
The four-year member of the force said his grievances were ignored – and that he was later punished, slapped with departmental charges that he had his patrolman’s shield duplicated.
Disciplinary hearings are set for next week.
“I opened my mouth and reported corruption and misconduct, and this is what happens,” he said. “To not see anything done is absolutely disgusting.”
The city Law Department confirmed the officer is facing an Internal Affairs Bureau probe. The NYPD declined to comment.
The Manhattan Supreme Court suit details a series of vile antics that the detective says have haunted him since his academy days, when others learned he was gay.
His complaint says supervisors and cops at the 103rd Precinct in Jamaica taunted him and wrote “PO Snitch” on his locker when he first complained. In May 2007, he asked to be – and was – transferred to Internal Affairs.
Once there, the suit alleges, a sergeant taunted him as a “meat gazer” by placing two apples near his crotch and another time by pretending to pleasure a banana.
“[Internal Affairs] is supposed to be the last bastion of upholding the law,” said Derek Smith, the detective’s lawyer. “This just makes you lose faith in the system.”
In August 2008, the suit says, he was transferred to a “very undesirable” parking permits job, where he was hammered with an “overly burdensome work load” and drew stares from a supervisor.
Last year, he was charged with illegally duplicating his patrolman’s shield. The detective said his ex-cop dad wanted to use the shield on a plaque marking his son’s promotion.
The suit also says the NYPD last year revealed the names of cops attending a gay officers’ conference in a message sent to every precinct.
“You had a lot of pissed-off guys that day because they’re still in the closet,” he said.
From The New York Daily News
An ice cream company has been banned from using an ad showing two priests about to kiss just a month after being ordered to pull a campaign featuring a pregnant nun.
The latest Antonio Federici ad, which appeared in Look magazine, showed two priests in full robes eating from a tub of ice cream ‘in a seductive pose as if they were about to kiss passionately’, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said.
Accompanying text read: ‘We Believe in Salivation’.
Defending the ad, the company said it did not mock Catholicism but ‘reflected the grave troubles they considered affected the Catholic Church’.
Antonio Federici was a Catholic company, but would continue to produce advertising that challenged the Catholic Church while it believed it remained troubled, it added.
Upholding six complaints about the ad, the ASA noted the ad used the text ‘We Believe in Salivation’ in reference to the taste of the product and to the image of the priests.
The ASA said: ‘We considered the portrayal of the two priests in a sexualised manner was likely to be interpreted as mocking the beliefs of Roman Catholics and was therefore likely to cause serious offence to some readers.’
It ruled that the ad must not appear again and told Antonio Federici to ensure future ads were not likely to cause serious or widespread offence.
Last month, the ASA banned another of the company’s adverts showing a heavily pregnant nun standing in a church holding a tub of ice cream and a spoon, with text stating ‘Immaculately conceived’ and ‘Ice cream is our religion’.
The ASA said the ad, which appeared in The Lady and Grazia magazines, was ‘making a mockery’ of the beliefs of Roman Catholics.
from The Daily Mail
FLORIDA – Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum has announced that he won’t appeal a court decision to overturn the state’s three-decade ban on homosexual adoption, but the head of a conservative law firm says this is not the last word.
Late last month, Florida’s Third District Court of Appeals ruled unanimously to uphold a Miama-Dade judge’s 2008 ruling that “no rational basis” existed for the ban. But according to Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel, the case should have been appealed to the state Supreme Court.
“The fact of the matter is [McCollum has] listened to wrong advice by people who are trying to count heads at the Florida Supreme Court, wondering whether they have enough votes,” Staver suggests. “But the fact of the matter is if they don’t have enough votes then, they certainly have already abdicated the fight now by not appealing this.”
That means homosexual adoption is now legal in Florida, but the Liberty Counsel founder notes that the ruling is not the last word as he plans to ask the 2011 legislature to pass a similar law and protect Florida’s children.
“Children should not be placed in a homosexual household,” he contends. “Recent studies have indicated that children raised in a homosexual environment are more likely to engage in homosexual activity at an exponentially increased rate, and the Centers for Disease Control recently came out with a study that said one in five homosexual men are HIV positive.”
The attorney says that means the adopted children are being introduced and indoctrinated into an unhealthy and sometimes deadly lifestyle. Staver further points out that homosexual parenting permanently precludes children from having a mother and a father.
from One News Now
Related Post: Court Calls Ban on Gay Adoptions Unlawful
When will people learn that it’s probably not a good idea to sue Sacha Baron Cohen. More than 15 months after “Bruno” came and went from theaters, a gay cameraman sued the actor today claiming he was assaulted by Baron Cohen and crew at a Prop 8 rally in 2008.
Mike Skiff, who filed the suit for unspecified damages in Los Angeles Superior Court, claims he was injured when the “Bruno” filmmakers deliberately incited a riot at the Prop 8 rally by carrying “Yes on Proposition 8″ signs and egging on the participants “to enhance the dramatic effect of what they may capture for their film,” according to the complaint.
Skiff, who says he regularly films gay community events, claims he was confronted and prevented from filming the rally and, in the process, was injured. Defendants are Baron Cohen, director Larry Charles, Scott Berendez and production outfit Cold Stream Prods. Universal, which released the film, is not a defendant.
“Bruno” and, especially, Baron Cohen’s previous film “Borat,” have produced several lawsuits brought by unwilling participants (or willing participants who didn’t like the end product). But Baron Cohen has had a pretty strong litigation track record, in many cases getting cases tossed based on California’s free-speech anti-SLAPP law. Recently, a woman who sued claiming a “Bruno”-related stunt put her in a wheelchair ended up seeing her case dismissed after Universal produced footage of the alleged assault.
Will this new lawsuit be more successful? The complaint alleges causes of action for assault, violation of civil rights and inciting a riot.
from The Hollywood Reporter