National Briefs

Posted on 13 Jul 2006 at 8:03pm
By Staff and Wire Reports

Attackers blame Aviance for incident that left gay singer hospialized with broken jaw

Four youths indicted in the attack on gay singer Kevin Aviance said the well-known performer, who often appears in drag, provoked them by calling one a “sweetie.” The suspects said they were talking among themselves in the early morning hours of June 10 when Aviance bumped into one of them and responded to the youth’s complaint by saying, “Calm down, sweetie,” according to the New York Daily News.

But Aviance, 38, called the youths’ account “a lie” and said the attack that left him with a broken jaw was unprovoked, the Daily News reported.

The four youths were indicted July 7 by a Manhattan grand jury on two counts of first-degree assault. One count described the incident as a gang assault and the other a hate crime.

The wiring holding Aviance’s broken jaw in place was removed July 7 and he was removed from a liquid diet.

Lambda Legal announces new directors for Midwest and Southern regional offices

Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund announced this week that Jim Bennett has been named regional director at the Midwest Regional Office in Chicago, and Judi O’Kelley has been named regional director at the Southern Regional Office in Atlanta.

Bennett most recentlty led Chicago’s Katrina Relief Project. He has also worked at the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, the Howard Brown Health Center and the American Red Cross. He has a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Illinois, and a bachelor’s degree from Illinois State University.

O’Kelley is a member of the bar in Georgia, Alaska and the District of Columbia. She has worked with the GLBT advocacy group Just Equal in Athens, Ga., and is an executive board member with the Jeannette Rankin Foundation, an Athens-based organization providing educational scholarships to women 35 and older.

O’Kelley has also served on the political action committee of Georgia Equality and is a co-founder of Athens Pride.

GLSEN, UFMCC to present educator training workshops in 6 U.S. cities

Officials with the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network and the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches announced this week that the two organizations are working together to present GLSEN’s “Teacher and Educator Training Workshops” in six cities around the country between Aug. 25 and Nov. 3.

The workshops are designed to give educators a more in-depth understanding of how to address anti-GLBT bias in their schools and how to make schools safer for all students regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Texas workshops are planned for Sept. 22-26 in Austin and Nov. 3 in Houston.

For information about scheduling a workshop, e-mail TOT@glsen.org. To register for an already-scheduled workshop, go online to www.mccchurch.org/glsen-mcctraining.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, July 14, 2006.

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