Son of a beach

A family vacation proves unexpectedly gay as Myrtle Beach, S.C., gets Pride

RAINBOW TOUR | Nearly 200 beachcombers — including the author (dark green, just right of center) — stepped away from the surf and gathered in a field to form a human rainbow flag.

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Life+Style Editor
jones@dallasvoice.com

The trip to Myrtle Beach, S.C., had more to do with a family reunion than finding a good destination for gay travelers. After all, Myrtle Beach is a pretty lazy, conservative town in the perennial Red State, one where teenaged spring breakers and families gather to enjoy the warm surf and the resort-town appeal of seafood and beachcombing and overpriced cocktails. Queer travelers can hit one of the three gay bars, all within blocks of each other — Club Traxx, Time Out! and the Rainbow House (a lesbian club).

But the weekend I arrived , just by coincidence, it turned out to be Gay Pride.

Keep in mind, the gay community in Myrtle Beach is small, so “Gay Days,” plural, felt more like Gay Day, singular: One major event and then life as usual in Coastal Carolina.

The major event, though, was an ambitious one: Gathering members of the LGBT community and their allies to form a “human rainbow flag:” People signed up to wear a pastel-colored T-shirt and arrange themselves in the traditional configuration. A few others wore black, forming the flagpole.

The entire event was threatened by showers late Friday and early Saturday, but despite a slightly muddy field, nearly 200 people turned out, huddled closely on a muggy afternoon, while a photographer flew above in a helicopter.

Numbers weren’t uniform; there were too many reds and too few purples; but the effect was one of a flag waving in the breeze.

In order to do the shoot, members faced each other before bending forward to allow the broad field of their shirts to form the colors. Directly across from me stood Elke Kennedy, a resident of Greenville in the Upstate. Elke and her husband established SeansLastWish.org, raising awareness of anti-gay violence, after their gay son was beaten to death and his killer spent less than a year in jail.

Elke spoke at a rally following the photoshoot, and dozens in attendance listened to her recount her  son’s harrowing attack and death before two drag queens performed and a DJ spun dance hits. People started to file out after a while, off to the beach, or the clubs, or even the boardwalk, where the Texas Star-like Skywheel gives great views of the beach … and sits next door to the campily named souvenir shop the Gay Dolphin.

The latter was always may favorite place when I was growing up; you’d think my parents would have caught on sooner.

Click here for additional photos.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 26, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Woman pleads guilty in case of videotaped beating of trans woman at McDonald’s

Teona Brown, 19, has pled guilty Thursday, Aug. 4, to first degree assault charges and a hate crime charge in connection with the beating of transgender woman Chrissy Polis last April in Towson,

Chrissy Polis

Md. The attack was captured on video by a McDonald’s employee — who filmed the assault rather than step in and try to stop it — last April. The video went viral online and was used, along with new footage from a surveillance camera, in court hearings this week. CBS Baltimore has this report on the plea.

Conviction on a first degree assault charge carries a maximum sentence of 25 years, and a hate crime conviction could add another 10 years. Because Brown pled guilty to the attack, prosecutors are recommending that the judge sentence her to five years in prison. A sentencing hearing has been set for next month.

Polis was present in court on Thursday, but told reporters she was nervous about being there and had no comment. “I just want to lay low and keep my life as normal as possible,” she said.

A second person charged in the attack was 14 at the time and has been charged with assault as a juvenile. Because she is a minor, her identity has not been released.

Below is a video of a news report aired on the Washington, D.C., Fox news program when the attack happened. It includes video of the attack and, as State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger said this week, “The severity of the beating is much easier to understand when you see a video. They say a picture’s worth a thousand words. Well, a video’s worth a million.”

—  admin

What’s Brewing: Maryland Senate kills gender identity bill; anti-gay hate crime at UNC

Quinn Matney was attacked and severely burned in an anti-gay hate crime at the University of North Carolina.

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. For a third straight week, LGBT advocates plan to speak during the Dallas County Commissioners Court’s meeting today and call on commissioners to add transgender employees to the county’s nondiscrimination policy. Last month, commissioners voted to add sexual orientation but not gender identity to the policy. The Commissioners Court meets at 9 a.m. in the County Administration Building, 411 Elm St.

2. The Maryland Senate on Monday voted to kill a measure that would have protected transgender people from discrimination in housing, employment and credit — but not public accommodations. The vote marks the second major disappointment this year for LGBT advocates in Maryland, where the House thwarted a marriage equality bill last month.

3. A University of North Carolina freshman says he was attacked and severely burned in an anti-gay hate crime on the school’s campus last week. The UNC administration, which failed to notify students until a week after the attack occurred, now says it plans to report the incident as an anti-gay hate crime to the federal government.

—  John Wright

Canadian Corporal Sentenced To 1 Year For Gay Club Attack That Left Man With Jaw Wired Shut

Michael Tscherkassow, a 25-year-old corporal in the Canadian Forces, will serve 12 months for beating Cody Garbutt in March 2009 as he was walking off the dancefloor at the since-shuttered gay club Play. Tscherkassow, who was convicted of aggravated assault during an October trial, bragged about the assault on Facebook, saying he "Superman-punched" someone. Rather than own up to the attack, Tscherkassow claimed Garbutt's friend Kyle Roley was the one who punched him; the judge didn't buy it. Garbutt, who suffered a broken jaw, nose, and damage to his right eye and mouth, required his jaw to be wired shut for five weeks while healing. He now has four steel plates in his face. A twelve-month punishment? Sounds like a vacation.


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Queerty

—  David Taffet

Man Stabbed in Homophobic Attack Leaving Gay Bar in London

A man was stabbed twice in a homophobic attack in North London after leaving a pub on Valentine's Day.

Blackcap The London Daily News reports:

At approximately 02:15hrs, a man, aged 36 years, was assaulted near Camden Lock Bridge, Camden NW1. The victim had spent the evening with friends in The Black Cap. Shortly after leaving the venue with two friends, he was approached by a group of four men. One of the suspects asked the victim 'Are you gay?', and after being ignored the suspect walked off. Minutes later the suspect returned and stabbed the victim in his chest and leg.

The victim was taken to a Central London hospital where his condition is described as stable.

Although police believe this assault was a homophobic attack, it is being treated as an isolated incident. Additional police patrols are being conducted within the area by Safer Neighbourhoods officers. Police LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) Liaison officers have visited local venues to reassure the LGBT community.

Four men in their early 20's are being sought by police.

Said Acting Sergeant Aaron Clarke, Camden Police LGBT Liaison Officer: "Attacks of this nature are, thankfully, rare but affect the whole community in which they take place. We are working alongside the investigation team and with our external partners to ensure that the concerns of the local and LGBT communities are addressed quickly. We are also providing constant support and advice to the victims."


Towleroad News #gay

—  David Taffet

AIDS Denialists: Science Under Attack

In the first half of this BBC Science Under Attack special aired Sunday night, Nobel Prize winner Sir Paul Nurse examines the mindsets of folks who deny the science behind global warming. Interesting stuff, but skip forward to 43:00 where Nurse takes on a New Yorker who blithely denies that HIV causes AIDS.

(Via -Atheist Media Blog)

Joe. My. God.

—  admin

Atlanta-Area Man Says He’s Target of Anti-Gay Arson Attack

Staples

An Atlanta-area man says he was targeted in an arson attack after he received a rock thrown through his window with a note containing anti-gay threats.

WSBTV reports: Chris_staples

"Chris Staples said someone threw a rock through his window with a piece of paper attached that was covered in anti-gay slurs. "I was watching TV and just finished smoking a cigarette and I heard this big thud. Boom!" Staples told Channel 2’s George Howell.  

The rock had a threatening note attached. "It said, ‘we know you're gay. And God hates gays. You won't be raping anybody in the county and God's going to make sure that you burn in hell.’ And something about my daddy… my daddy will make sure you burn in hell,"

Then hours later, he woke up to flames filling his bedroom. Channel 2 Action News reporter Amanda Cook spoke with Staples mother about the Sunday fire.

“We are just lost,” said Staples' mother, who did not want to be identified. His mother said she heard a commotion and saw fire coming from her son’s house next door. She said she ran out to find Staples lying in the yard. She said she thought he was dead. “The house was black. And all I could see was an orange glow behind my head," Staples said.

Here's a slideshow of the damage.

Here's a video news interview of Staples.


Towleroad News #gay

—  admin

NOM On Attack In Rhode Island

Here’s NOM’s first ad attacking Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee’s support of same-sex marriage.

Joe. My. God.

—  admin

Evening View – Lobster Attack

Father Tony and I stopped off on Islamorada on our way down to Key West. His ear lobe fell in the deep!

Joe. My. God.

—  admin

Washington Senate Republicans show how low you can go in a homophobic attack ad on Sen. Rodeny Tom

Talk about dirty low down.  The Washington Senate Republicans have no legitimate grounds to criticize Senator Rodney Tom (D-48, Bellevue), so they dropped a lie-infested mailer into the district too late for the traditional press to have time to react.  The ad equates Tom’s support of LGBT equality with being anti-woman.  This is laughable.  Sen. Tom has been a solid supporter of women’s rights and reproductive freedom.

Sen. Tom was a member of the republican party until about 4 years ago, but crossed the isle because of the GOP’s unrelenting gay bashing.  

Take a look as the tripe the Senate Republicans have spewed out.  I’m thinking it’s so over the top that it’ll backfire.  The voters of the 48th legislative district aren’t stupid.


End No-foult divorce.

Repeal Custody rights.

No more community property.

Rodney Tom has an agenda.

He recently revealed he wants to abolish women’s legal protections for child custody, community property and support.

You Can’t Count on RODNEY TOM


Rodney Tom, stop lashing out.

Your treatment of your women colleagues was shameful and now you’re cutting programs of vital concern to women, including breast and cervical cancer screening.  Your rhetoric shows a disregard for those less fortunate than you.

“He is obviously a very conflicted individual.”

– Sen. Margarita Prentice (D-Renton)

Tye Seattle Times, 3/13/2010

In the midst of the worst budgetary crisis our state has faced in 65 years, Rodney Tom is cutting women’s programs and speaking against women’s rights.

“The state should get out of the marriage business,” Tom said – leaving women without legal protections.

Before Nov. 2, vote “No” on Tom and his agenda.

I spoke with Senator Tom this morning and his response was strong and unequivocal:

It is a sad new low in Washington politics when you equate marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples with heterosexual couples losing the right to no-fault divorce and community property rights – it’s a complete lie.

It is despicable that [the Washington Senate Republicans] did this on the last day so that the press can’t take them to task.  I know in their hearts they knew that it was wrong.  If it were a legitimate hit they would have done it early in campaign.  Now there is no way that the Seattle Times can do a print piece about it.  This was surly intentional.

It is sad that politics has to get down to that level.  I think this does show the extreme nature of the Republican party.  No matter how they try to dress themselves up as moderate they still have extreme views on LGBT rights.  And this is coming from from someone who until 4 yrs ago was in the Republican Party.  The number one reason I left the party was because they’re so extreme on social issues.  Karl Rove has taken over and they no longer care about what’s right, decent or ethical, just about winning elections.

Update: Statement from Joshua Friedes, Executive Director of Equal Rights Washington is below. Other press releases will be added as they arrive.
According to Publicola, the mailer falsely quotes an interview they did with Sen. Tom.

In spooky bold font, the Republican ad blares: “End no-fault divorce. Repeal custody rights. No more community property. Rodney Tom has an agenda. He recently revealed he wants to abolish women’s legal protections for child custody, community property, and support.”

Their cite for the claim about Tom’s agenda? PubliCola.

And on the flip side of the mailer, the piece does quote a PubliCola interview with Sen. Tom:

“‘The state should get out of the marriage business,’ Tom said leaving women without legal protections.”

However, PubliCola never said anything about “leaving women without legal protections.” In fact, we’ve reported on Tom as a strong women’s advocate. He sponsored legislation that would make “Emergency Pregnancy Centers”-bait and switch anti-choice facilities-reveal what services they actually provide.

Here’s what we wrote:

Earlier this week, Republican state candidate Gregg Bennett told us he supports gay marriage. Bennett is an Eastside investor who’s running against incumbent Democratic state Sen. Rodney Tom (D-48, Medina).

Today, we asked Tom where he was on gay marriage. He told us, “the state should get out of the marriage business. A lot of countries in Europe do this. I have no issue with gay marriage. I think straight couples or gay and lesbian couples should all be treated equal and should get civil unions. Marriage should be between individuals and their church.”

Publicola goes on to relay this spot-on comment Chris Gregorich of the Senate Democratic Campaign Committee:

“This is the most nonsensical political ad of the entire election cycle and it’s very telling that the Republican leadership would release it a day before election day. If such a blatantly homophobic and embarrassing ad were sent out any earlier, there would be a media firestorm in response. They are so desperate for a majority, they are willing to use hate, intolerance, and misinformation to mislead Washington voters.”

Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice Washington have also strongly decried the ad, summarize his excellent legislative record and reiterate their solid support for Sen. Tom.

Planned Parenthood press release

November 2, 2010                                                                           Dana Laurent, Political Director

Planned Parenthood VOTES! Washington

cell (206) 913-8125

Elaine Rose, CEO

Planned Parenthood VOTES! Washington

(206) 328-7735 / cell (206) 794-9550

FALSE ATTACKS AGAINST RODNEY TOM DEGRADE IMPORTANT WOMEN’S ISSUES

“A recent mailer suggesting that Rodney Tom is unsupportive of women is preposterous, irresponsible and completely out-of-touch with reality,” said Elaine Rose, CEO, Planned Parenthood Votes! Washington.

Planned Parenthood Votes! Washington endorsed Rodney Tom for State Senator again this year because he has not only been a supporter of women’s access to reproductive health services and information, he’s been a champion.

Rodney Tom was the prime Senate sponsor of the Healthy Youth Act of 2007 which helps ensure that young people in our state get accurate, comprehensive health information including resources about how to prevent unintended pregnancies, stay safe in relationships, and recognize dating violence. Tom has also continually supported funding for family planning services which help women get vital health services like birth control, and breast and cervical cancer screenings.

Women deserve to know the truth. As an organization dedicated to protecting the health and rights of women in our state, we know that Rodney Tom has been there for women every step of the way. The accusations in the mailer are completely false and represent a disturbing low in political attacks. It’s time to stop using women’s rights as a political football.

Background: The mailer was funded by the Leadership Council, the soft-dollar PAC for the Senate Republican Campaign Committee.

###

Planned Parenthood Votes! Washington (PPVW) is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization educating Washingtonians and policy-makers about reproductive health issues.

VOTES! lobbies and educates to advance Planned Parenthood’s mission and also engages in limited electoral activities.

NARAL Pro-Choice Washington

Outrageous 11th Hour Attack Against Pro-Choice State Senator Rodney Tom

Posted: 11/02/2010

Senate Republicans Send Out a Homophobic Mailer that Lies About Senator Tom’s Support for Women’s Health and Rights

In a last-ditch attempt to win the 48th legislative district Senate seat, Senate Republicans sent a mail piece that hit mailboxes yesterday making the outrageous allegation equating Senator Rodney Tom’s support for marriage equality with a supposed lack of support for women’s rights and health.

Nothing could be further from the truth.  ”Senator Tom is a strong and vocal advocate for the right to choose and for access to reproductive health care,” said Lauren Simonds, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Washington.  ”In fact, at a voter forum last month, Senator Tom reiterated his support for maintaining critical funding for family planning care, even in a time of state budget cuts.”

“This mail piece is deceptive on all fronts,” Simonds added.  ”It completely misrepresents not only Senator Tom’s steadfast support for women’s health care and women’s rights, but it uses his support for marriage equality to make a baseless allegation.”

“This mail piece is simply irresponsible,” Simonds said.

Download the mail piece here and here.

As part of its statewide pro-choice voter mobilization program, NARAL Pro-Choice Washington volunteers have contacted thousands of pro-choice voters in the 48th legislative district through phone banking and canvassing in support of Senator Tom’s re-election.

NARAL Pro-Choice Washington is the leading grassroots pro-choice advocacy organization in Washington state.  NARAL Pro-Choice Washington’s mission is to protect the full range of reproductive health options, including preventing unintended pregnancy, bearing healthy children, and choosing legal abortion. NARAL Pro-Choice Washington is the state affiliate of NARAL Pro-Choice America.

Statement from Joshua Friedes, Executive Director of Equal Rights Washington

Rodney Tom has championed basic civil rights for Washington’s gay and lesbian families. Nothing should anger fair minded voters more than when people attack a legislator by telling voters that a legislators support for gay rights will hurt women. It’s the most absurd claim out there and it is a blatant lie. But this is exactly the attack being levied against State Senator Rodney Tom in the 48th district. And of course Tom’s opponents know that their mailer is false, that’s why they waited until the last minute so that the pro-choice community and gay rights community, which overlap considerably, would not have time to respond. But voters in the 48th can respond by reminding each other of the importance for voting for Rodney Tom.

The content of the mailer itself ironically demonstrates the support that exists in the 48th for LGBT civil rights. Years ago hatemongers could argue with some degree of success that one should not support a candidate because they support gay rights. Times have changed and today the majority of voters in Washington State support gay rights. As a result, the arguments used by the right are changing. The right today is trying to make ridiculous claims that supporting gay rights will hurt women or other historically discriminated against groups. What the right doesn’t want the people of the 48th district to know is that last year it was the prochoice community, and over 30 organizations representing communities of color who helped propel referendum 71 to victory. Referendum 71 upheld the states domestic partnership law. A law Rodney Tom supported, a law supported by the people of the 48th.



Joshua A. Friedes

Executive Director

Equal Rights Washington

Cross-posted at Washblog.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin