BREAKING: 11th Circuit refuses to extend stay on marriage equality in Florida

Posted on 03 Dec 2014 at 3:04pm

Screen shot 2014-12-03 at 3.02.46 PMEquality Florida has just announced that the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has denied the state of Florida’s request to extend the stay placed on a lower court’s ruling overturning the Sunshine State’s ban on marriage equality.

This clears the way for same-sex couples to begin applying for marriage licenses late on Jan. 5 when the current stay expires.

Nadine Smith, Equality Florida CEO, said, “We are thrilled … . Every day of delay is another day of harm experienced by thousands of loving and committed same-sex couples in Florida. Now it’s time to break out the wedding bells. Florida is ready for the freedom to marry.”

U.S. District Court Judge Robert Hinkle issued his ruling declaring Florida’s same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional on Aug. 21 in two federal marriage cases that had been consolidated — Brenner v. Scott  and Grimsley and Albu v. Scott. The state, represented by Gov. Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi, had asked the 11th Circuit Court to extend the stay until the appeals process is complete. Today, the 11th Circuit said no to that request.

POST A COMMENT »

Wednesday Wine Walk and holiday festivities on The Strip tonight

Posted on 03 Dec 2014 at 1:49pm
santa

Santa has made it to Cedar Springs in years past. Maybe he will be there tonight for the CSMA’s Wine Walk.

If you are looking for a good way to get in the holiday spirit — while at the same time imbibing a few spirits — head down to Cedar Springs tonight for the Holidays on Cedar Springs Wine and Cider Walk, brought to you by the Cedar Springs Merchants Association.

The event starts at 6 p.m., and the DWF Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence will help out with the Christmas tree lighting ceremony at 7 p.m. There will be live entertainment on the patio at TMC: The Mining Co., including the Oak Lawn Band. Purchase your wine glass or mug from the tent in front of Salon Aura to enjoy the wine or hot cider offered by participating merchants, and get some of your Christmas shopping done by taking advantage of the Wine Walk discounts.

POST A COMMENT »

Arizona pastor says cure for AIDS is gay genocide

Posted on 03 Dec 2014 at 1:13pm
Screen shot 2014-12-03 at 1.07.06 PM

So-called “pastor,” Steven Anderson

Faithful Word Baptist Church Pastor Steven Anderson celebrated World AIDS Day 2014 by sharing with his Tempe, Az. congregation the cure for AIDS: kill all the gays.

According to RawStory.com, in a sermon he titled “AIDS: The Judgement of God,” said that the we could have an “AIDS-free world by Christmas” simply by following Old Testament scripture.”Turn to Leviticus 20:13, because I actually discovered the cure for AIDS. ‘If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them.’

“And that, my friend, is the cure for AIDS. It was right there in the Bible all along. And they’re out spending billions of dollars in research and test. It’s curable — right there. Because if you executed the homos like God recommends, you wouldn’t have all this AIDS running rampant,” Anderson told his congregation Sunday, Nov. 30, the day before World AIDS Day,

In that same sermon, Anderson shouted out a furious denial of the idea that LGBT people can be Christian, declaring that “No homos will ever be allowed in this church as long as I am pastor here.”

But “the homos” aren’t the only folks Anderson hates. According to IfYouOnlyNews.com, he got in trouble with the Secret Service in 2009 after he posted a video online in which he openly prayed for President Obama to die (he did it again this year); he has preached that women have no purpose outside the kitchen and the bedroom and should certainly never speak in church; and he has preached that Jews are all vile liars.

If you have the stomach for it, here’s video of Anderson, first, calling for gay genocide, and second, declaring there will never be any homos in his church.
You can probably find more of his so-called sermons on YouTube; he seems to be quite proud of his ignorance, bigotry and hatefulness.

POST A COMMENT »

A snippet about circumcision

Posted on 03 Dec 2014 at 10:34am
banana-1

Is one of these images more a-peel-ing to you?

Probably more in the gay male community than anywhere other than mohel school, circumcision is a topic almost everyone has an opinion about. And with us being in the ‘hood, I figured we could have an uncut discussion about it right here.

Think of it as group therapy: Are you foreskin or anti-skin?

Totally upfront here: I’m one of the majority who was bris’d as a babe. Hey, I was born on an army base, and the guvmint docs did it pretty much without asking permission. Anyway, it was the ’60s (1960s, haters — I wasn’t born in the Confederacy … well, I was, but only in the minds of the rednecks in Georgia at the time). As a kid, I didn’t know any better. I didn’t “miss” it (if memory serves, my dad was circumcised as well, so I “looked” like him). It was only as I got older that the subject came up at all. I was probably in my mid-20s before I’d ever seen an uncut male in person. It was kind of exciting.

Which brings up a point: A lot of guys I know have a near-fascination with uncut men. Mostly, they themselves are cut. It’s like some kind of taboo. Here’s the thing, though: I’ve never had strong feelings about it one way or the other. I’d imagine roughly half the men I’ve been with in a state of arousal were uncircumcised (in general, many of the African-American and Latinos I’ve dated). The ages of intact vs. untact varies significantly, as well. It’s not like only older men are cut and younger not; there seems little pattern to it.

Do I enjoy a circumcised penis? Hey, I’m not one to criticize any penis that shows an interest in me. I’ve had good experiences with cut men … and no-so-good. The same with the uncut. I try to judge on a wiener-by-wiener basis, without painting all tools with the same brush.

But I also have a strong libertarian streak in me. And news breaking this week that the Centers for Disease Control weighed in this week, for the first time, about the benefits of circumcision “health-wise” made me pause. The argument I heard mounted by one author of the policy explained how there are “few risks” involved in circumcision (swelling, bleeding, etc.) and that the benefits included a substantial decrease in rates of HIV contraction.

This, to me, is muddle-headed. The cut/uncut debate has nothing (or little) to do with health. It is first and foremost an issue of personal autonomy and, to an extent, aesthetics. It is a decision made by parents (often brand-new to having a son) about a tiny infant that ultimately affects a huge psychological issue he may have in his later life. For Jews, it is a sacrament that precedes inclusion in a faith community, which I don’t have a problem with. But what about people like my folks, who were basically told, “We’re snipping your newborn — be right back”?

And if the health benefits only manifest themselves when the child becomes sexually active — at a time of presumed physical and emotional maturity — why not leave it up to him, as a teenager, to decide for himself? Or just teach proper hygiene? Speaking from experience, that’s a good thing for anyone who’s sexually active.

There’s even the possibility that telling men (and their parents) that circumcision decreases the transmission of STIs leads to a false sense that cut men can be less careful about having safe sex. That’s not true — cut or uncut, you shove your willy in enough places unprotected, you’re gonna risk a disease. (And what about guys who are total bottoms anyway? Who’s thinking of them?!?!?)

So, let’s talk about it. Are you cut or uncut? Prefer one or the other in your partner? Have any mental scars from your parents decision?

POST A COMMENT »

2014 Holiday Gift Guide online special: Waking up easy

Posted on 02 Dec 2014 at 6:30pm

JBL_horizon_hero_WHTAre you a morning person living with someone who isn’t so perky in the a.m.? Then you might want to consider the JBL Horizon alarm clock/music player as the perfect gift for the night owl in your life. The LED ambient light brightens gradually to wake them up gently and they can set two different alarms. The Horizon also offers dual USD ports for charging up your portables, plus FM radio and Bluetooth music streaming, al with that fabulous JBL sound.

$99.95. Availble online at JBL.com.

POST A COMMENT »

DC Council bans conversion therapy

Posted on 02 Dec 2014 at 3:57pm
Screen shot 2014-12-02 at 3.53.50 PM

Samantha Ames

The District of Columbia Council today (Tuesday, Dec. 2), unanimously approved a bill protecting LGBT youth from the practice of conversion therapy. When the statute is signed into law, Washington, D.C., will become the third jurisdiction, behind California and New Jersey, to ban conversion therapy, also called reparative therapy, a discredited practice intended to turn gay people straight.

Samantha Ames, staff attorney for National Center for Lesbian Rights and coordinator of NCLR’s Born Perfect campaign, praised the council’s vote.

“The DC Council sent a powerful message to LGBT youth and their families that they are accepted, supported, and loved,” Ames said. “The Council has used its authority to protect our most vulnerable youth from dangerous and discredited pseudoscience that tells them who they are is wrong, and reaffirmed the consensus of every major medical and mental health organization that all children are born perfect, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

The bill — the Youth Mental Health Protection Act — was authored by Councilmember Mary M. Cheh and supported by a broad coalition of organization that included NCLR, other LGBT organizations, mental health organizations, faith leaders, youth advocates, reproductive justice groups and civil rights organizations.

POST A COMMENT »

First Texas LGBT gaming convention to be held in Austin in April 2015

Posted on 02 Dec 2014 at 3:30pm

Haven Con, the first LGBT geek and gaming convention of Texas, announced it will hold its inaugural convention Saturday, April 4-Sunday, April 5, 2015 at the Holiday Inn Screen shot 2014-12-02 at 3.31.23 PMMidtown in Austin.

According to a statement, this is the first LGBT geek and gaming convention held in Texas.

Shane Brown, founder of Haven Con, has been working to bring sci-fi, fantasy, and gaming enthusiasts of the LGBTQA community together since 2012 when he started the social networking group Gay Austin Geeks. Brown said, “Even within the gay community, we often exist within our smaller segmented groups. But comic and gaming conventions are all about the melding of geeks, gamers and nerds of every size, race, age and gender identity.”

Brown continued, “With Haven Con, we’re creating a safe, entertaining and diversity-welcoming environment for people that enjoy comic books, video games, science fiction and more. We’ll have a cosplay contest, gaming tournaments, industry panelists, local artists and writers—all of it while celebrating what makes us both different and special.”

Current sponsors and vendors include Nakatomi Incorporated, Finji Games, Weird Girls, Austin Books & Comics, Monkeys Need Love Too, Kitchen Overload, Outrageous Outfits, Sew Geek Austin, and Gamers Beard. For information on becoming a sponsor, panelist or vendor, visit HavenConTx.com or email Shane(at)HavenConTx(dot)com.

Haven Con is currently running a fundraiser to assist with equipment, event and production costs. For more information or to donate, visit the Haven Con fundraiser on Indiegogo.

Proceeds of Haven Con will go to OutYouth, which is a non-profit organization providing services to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth ages 12 to 19 in Austin and central Texas.

Voice contributing writer Chaka Cumberbatch has written about LGBT geeks and gamers extensively, most recently for our Sept. 19 issue.

POST A COMMENT »

Mike Rawlings will run for re-election as mayor in 2015

Posted on 02 Dec 2014 at 3:28pm
Rawlings

Mayor Mike Rawlings

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings confirmed today (Tuesday, Dec. 2) that he will run for re-election next May, telling Dallas Morning News that he still has some “big bold goals” left to accomplish.

In the campaign leading up to his first election as Dallas mayor in 2011, Rawlings courted the LGBT vote. But he drew the community’s ire, beginning in early 2012, when he repeatedly refused to sign a pledge in support of marriage equality and in 2013 refused to support a council resolution supporting marriage equality. At the time, he called the resolution a misuse of the council’s time and blocked it from being placed on the council agenda.

But Rawlings reversed that stance this year, voting in May, along with 12 other council members, to pass a resolution that was “a comprehensive statement of support” that directs city staff to evaluate and fix the inequities for LGBT employees in city employment.

Rawlings, 60, is also the former CEO of Pizza Hut and a former chief executive of the Tracy-Locke ad agency, and a vocal supporter of efforts to end domestic violence.

POST A COMMENT »

Today’s the third annual Giving Tuesday. Where’s your money going?

Posted on 02 Dec 2014 at 1:52pm

282013_362013350544044_1638905795_nToday is Giving Tuesday, an international effort encouraging individuals and corporations to donate money to their favorites causes.

The premise is simple. According to the official website: “We have a day for giving thanks. We have two for getting deals. Now, we have #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back.”

Giving Tuesday began in 2012 in partnership between the United Nations Foundation and 92nd Street Y in New York City. Not only are people encouraged to give but organizations are encouraged to utilize the Internet, social media and other creative means to encourage donations.

In 2013, The Chronicle of Philanthropy reports, organizations raised somewhere between $21-32 million. Analysts anticipate, based on a sampling of current campaigns, organizations could raise “$40 million or more based on the goals of participants and promises of matching gifts.”

According to Funders for LGBTQ Issues, 70 percent of all LGBT nonprofits have a budget of $500,000 or less. Many rely on skeletal staff and volunteers to do their work. “As such, they don’t always have the resources to employ dedicated development staff.” Giving Tuesday also has an outsized impact for these groups:

By mobilizing social media to encourage people to give, efforts like #GivingTuesday can give an important platform to even the smallest of nonprofits to educate a wider audience, one they might not otherwise reach, about the critical work they are doing. So how can you get involved with #GivingTuesday?

I’ve reached to a handful of local LGBT organizations about their progress. While I wait, check out some of the creative partnerships. For instance, shop at the Amon Carter Museum’s store and receive a 20 percent discount when you mention you are with the AIDS Outreach Center. (By the way, the store and museum are open until 5 p.m.)

Not sure where you wanna give? If you’re on Twitter, follow #GivingTuesday to see who’s giving and where.

POST A COMMENT »

Mom ‘corrects’ birth announcement for trans son

Posted on 02 Dec 2014 at 12:23pm
Screen shot 2014-12-02 at 12.15.28 PM

Kai Bogert, center, with his mom, Yolanda Bogert, and Guy Kershaw

Some 19 years ago, Yolanda Bogert of Jimboomba in Australia had a birth announcement for her daughter, Elizabeth Anne, published in her local newspaper.

But when her “daughter” came out to her recently as transgender, Yolanda Bogert published a new birth announcement in Australia’s Courier-Mail for her son:Screen shot 2014-12-02 at 12.15.38 PM

“In 1995, we announced the arrival of our sprogget, Elizabeth Anne, as a daughter. He informs us that were were mistaken. Oops! Our bad. We would now like to present our wonderful son — Kai Bogert.”

Yolanda Bogert told the Courier-Mail that publishing the “birth” announcement was a “no-brainer” because “I needed to show my son I support him 100 per cent and wanted to let the world know that.”

We could stop right there and the story would be perfect. But as the parent of two teenage boys — ages 18 and 15 — I have to say it was the rest of the ad that really really made me smile. After the “present our wonderful son” line, Yolanda Bogert added: “Loving you is the easiest thing in the world. Tidy your room.”

 

POST A COMMENT »