Malaysia Airlines crash claims 100-plus AIDS researchers, activists

Joep Lange

Joep Lange

The Sydney Morning Herald is among the news agencies reporting that more than 100 AIDS researchers, activists and medical workers on their way to the International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, Australia were among the 298 people killed in the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in Ukraine early Thursday morning.

Officials have said the plane, a Boeing 777, was shot down by Russian-led separatists using an anti-aircraft missile.

Former International AIDS Society president Joep Lange is said to be among those killed in the crash. New York Daily News is reporting that friends have confirmed that World Health Organization spokesman Glenn Raymond Thomas is also among the victims.

NY Daily News reports that the Boeing 777 departed from Amsterdam and was en route to Kuala Luampur when it was shot down in Ukraine about 25 miles from the Russian border. Among the 298 people killed were 154 from the Netherlands; 43 people, including 15 crew and two infants, from Malaysia; 27 from Australia; 12 people, including one infant, from Indonesia; 9 from the United Kingdom; 4 from Germany; 4 from Belgium; 3 from the Philippines; 1 from Canada; and 41 people “unverified.” Some Americans are believed to have been aboard.

 

—  Tammye Nash

Same-sex marriage begins in Australia but may end by this weekend

Canberra mapSame-sex couples began to marry in Australia on Saturday, but those marriages may not last more than a week.

The Australian Capital Territory that includes the capital city Canberra legalized same-sex marriage. The federal government is challenging the law.

The High Court is scheduled to rule on the legality of the law on Dec. 12. Even if the court allows the marriages to stand, the Parliament could then pass legislation making the marriages illegal. The current prime minister was elected on an anti-marriage platform.

Despite that, couples traveled from around the country to the capital to marry.

One of the arguments against same-sex marriage is one that hasn’t been used by opponents in the U.S. and is one of the most logical. They argue that making marriage legal in one state and not others is confusing.

Opponents in Parliament argue that same-sex marriage will mean same-sex parenting that will involve taking a child from its biological parents to give to same-sex couples.

“Same-sex marriage means same-sex parenting,” said Australian Christian Lobby spokesman Lyle Shelton. “That means necessarily taking a child from its biological mother or father and giving it to someone else.”

They don’t explain why those perfect heterosexual parents will be losing or giving up their children just so same-sex couples can be parents.

A marriage equality bill came up twice in Parliament last year but didn’t pass.

—  David Taffet

Watch: 2011 Rolls into Sydney, Australia – Happy New Year!

Sydney

Sydney rang in 2011 with a massive fireworks display.

Check it out, AFTER THE JUMP

Happy New Year to all our readers. Thank you for making it a great year for us. We wish you health and happiness, peace, prosperity and equal rights in the coming year.



Towleroad News #gay

—  admin

Churches Win Right to Bar Gays as Foster Parents in Australia

Priest

Neither Australia's NSW government nor its opposition will oppose a court ruling allowing religious organizations to bar gays as foster parents, The Australian reports:

Uca In a decision that will open the way for other religious charities to refuse gay couples access to their services, the NSW Administrative Decisions Tribunal ruled that Wesley Mission's foster care arm, Wesley Dalmar Services, had proved an exemption under the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act allowing it to discriminate against homosexual couples, reported The Australian.

Wesley Mission, part of the Uniting Church assembly, argued that providing foster care services to gay couples would put at risk its financial and volunteer assistance from members of the mission who adhered to the doctrine that a monogamous heterosexual partnership was "the norm and ideal of the family".

Though the court said the ruling could deserve the government's attention, it isn't budging:

The Administrative Decisions Tribunal described the ability of a religious group to prove an exemption to the act as "singularly undemanding" and noted that "this may be a matter which calls for the attention of parliament".

However, a spokesman for NSW Attorney-General John Hatzistergos said yesterday that the legislation struck the right balance between protection from discrimination and the right to religious freedom.

"It is not envisaged that there will be changes to the current exemptions in relation to religious institutions," the spokesman said.

NSW Opposition Leader Barry O'Farrell also ruled out yesterday any move to push for legislative change on the issue if the Liberals win government next March.

Churches are celebrating: "The ruling, made in the NSW Administrative Decisions Tribunal, has been hailed by the Catholic Church but has outraged civil libertarians, who are demanding religions no longer be exempt from anti-discrimination laws if they receive public money."


Towleroad News #gay

—  admin

While U.S. Fumbles On DADT, Australia & Canada Accommodate Trans Servicemembers

One day Henny Penny was scratching in the farmyard looking for something good to eat when, suddenly, something hit her on the head. “My goodness me!” she said. “The sky must be falling down. I must go and tell the king.”

Henny Penny

Above is the opening paragraph to the traditional telling of the children’s story Henny Penny — Henny Penny being a hen who kept repeating the mistruth to all willing to listen that “The sky is falling!” Image: Australian FlagShe convinced her friends Cocky Locky, Ducky Lucky, Goosey Loosey, and Turkey Lurkey that the sky is falling along her way to the king — the king who never ended up hearing her message of doom — but the sky was never really falling.

As I watched the Family Research Council’s (FRC’s) November 30, 2010 Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) press conference, my mind kept wandering back to the signature line from Henny Penny: The sky is falling! As I’ve listened to the statements of Senator John McCain on DADT — as Senator McCain has rhetorically moved the goal posts on what it would take for him to vote for repeal of DADT — my mind keeps wandering back to the signature line from Henny Penny: The sky is falling!

We know, if only from the examples of other militaries in our allied countries who allow lesbian, gay, and bisexual servicemembers to serve openly, that the sky won’t fall if DADT is repealed. The military will still be able to accomplish its missions if DADT should be repealed.

In fact, other allied countries are now figuring out how to accomplish the accommodation of transgender servicemembers. Image: Canadian FlagIn the Sydney Morning Herald‘s Sex-Change Soldier Forces Army To Scrap Transgender Policy, we learn that Australia is revamping their policy on transsexuals to clearly allow them to transition on active duty. And Pink News reported in their piece Canada’s Military Updates Uniform For Transgender Soldiers that Canada’s military has put together a new policy on how trans service members should be accommodated.

From the Pink News piece:

While debate continues in the US about openly gay troops, the Canadian military has been putting together a new policy on how trans soldiers should be treated, the National Post reports.

The policy says they should wear the uniform of their “target” gender but must be given privacy and respect. For example, no reason must be given when a person’s name is changed on military records.

The new policy does not allow military honours to be reassigned to new names, saying “there is no legal authority for rewriting history”.

Canada’s military first paid for gender treatment for a member in 1998 and deals with one or two trans troops every year.

So while the United States can’t seem to get past the stage of discussing whether or not lesbian, gay, and bisexual servicemembers should be allowed to serve openly, some of our allies have moved on to accommodating the transitions of transsexual servicemembers.

I believe what Australia and Canada are at with their policies towards lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) servicemembers is where the United States should be in its discussions of LGBT servicemembers, but instead we’re still discussing whether or not LGB servicemembers should even be allowed to serve openly in the military services, let alone be accommodated in serving their country while in military uniforms.

The sky isn’t falling. We in the United States can allow lesbian, gay, and bisexual servicemembers to serve openly in the military services, and still be extremely professional, and capable, of meeting mission requirements. The United States could go much further in accommodating lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender servicemembers than just a repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell that would accommodate LGB servicemembers, and still be able to capably and professionally meet the country’s military mission requirements.

That the United States still is functioning with antiquated policy regarding LGBT servicemembers says something about my country, and what it says isn’t particularly good.

Hat Tip to Monica Helms and Robin McGeehee. Emoticon: Hat tip
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

News: Australia, iPad, Cher, North Korea, The Vatican

 road Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart step out to do a Q&A for John Cameron Mitchell's Rabbit Hole.

 road The owner of The Abbey in West Hollywood on what makes his bar a success: "Anyone who walks through my gate is a VIP. Everyone is gonna be treated the same."

Aust  road New Nielson polls shows strong support for marriage equality in Australia: "The poll, published on Monday in Fairfax newspapers, found nearly 60 per cent of people support same-sex marriage, with 37 per cent against. The same poll also shows the federal coalition leads Labor by 51 points to 49 on a two-party preferred basis."

 road Disney decides it's done with movies based on classic fairy tales.

 road Gay and lesbians rally in the Bronx: “For so long the Bronx has been very quiet about LGBT issues. This particular event sparked the feeling to doing something and how do you do it—you do it in unity.”

 road Desperate Housewives will go on with one less housewife.

 road North Korea shows American scientist new secret nuclear facility: "He had been “stunned” by the sophistication of the new plant, where he saw “hundreds and hundreds” of centrifuges that had just been installed, and that were operated from what he called “an ultra-modern control room.”

Cher road Cher knows her limits: “Look, I have a very narrow range. I’ve never tried anything more than playing who I am. If you look at my characters, they’re all me.”

 road Steve Jobs and Rupert Murdoch to team on an iPad-only newspaper: "There will be no "print edition" or "web edition"; the central innovation, developed with assistance from Apple engineers, will be to dispatch the publication automatically to an iPad or any of the growing number of similar devices."

 road If you think adult pandas are cute, wait until you see a picture of a newborn panda.

 road One-time correspondent professor Pontifical Academy of St Thomas Aquinas in the Vatican tells German magazine: “It must be acknowledged that a large number of Catholic clerics and trainee priests in Europe and the United States are homosexually-inclined,”

 road Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I has a big box office weekend.

 road Paris Hilton fulfills part of her 200 hour community service.

 road Arrests made at a sit-in on Ottawa in to mark Transgendered Day of Remembrance.


Towleroad News #gay

—  admin

Adam Lambert announces acoustic album that would compete with Justin Bieber’s

Lambert at his Palladium show in Dallas.

Dylan Lewis of For Your Consideration out of Australia talked with Adam Lambert in this video below about all things music. In it, Lambert reveals a possible November/December release for an acoustic album which would put it head-to-head with Justin Bieber’s recent announcement. I wonder who would rein supreme acoustically as pop music’s current king.

Lambert also discusses his desire to work with Christina Aguilera and plans for his sophomore release sometime next spring or summer. Actually, he’s just theorizing it at this point. Clearly this acoustic thing is just a “project” and not his second album. He says this acoustic album will contain stripped-back renditions of previously released songs.

—  Rich Lopez

Joel Burns is YouTube Gold

Joel Burns

Joel Burns hit the top of the YouTube charts with his anti-bullying video and it’s having an impact, as we wrote in this week’s Dallas Voice.

On Thursday, the two-week-old “It Gets Better” video hit 2 million views. It continues to receive more than 2,000 views per hour.

For the month it is the most discussed video in News & Politics and received the most votes as favorite video this month as well.

And the video is popular around the world.

It’s the No.1 1 News & Politics video this month in Sweden.

In News & Politics, it’s No. 2 in Canada and the United Kingdom, and in Australia and Ireland, it’s No. 3.

It’s in the top 10 in India, Israel, New Zealand, South Africa and France. Although not as popular in Russia, it’s still ranks No. 105 there and it hasn’t been translated into Russian, as far as I know.

In all, the video gets 46 YouTube honors.

According to the YouTube map, it’s been seen in every country in the world except a couple in central Africa.

Through yesterday, the daily number of viewers has continued to steadily grow. The YouTube page has gotten more than 27,000 comments. Of the 2 million views, only 525 clicked dislike before leaving the page.

—  David Taffet

Fort Gay, rugby slurs and Tea Party hatefulness: Learning the lesson that words matter

Former Tea Party official Tim Ravndal, left, and Olympic champion swimmer Stephanie Rice, right, both learned lessons this week about the power of words.

I have two sons in middle school, so I know for a fact that children call each other names all the time. Some are silly. Like the time the younger son called his older brother a butthead, and the older brother responded with, “Well, you’re a butt-er head.” I don’t think that one came out the way he intended.

But one day, when the younger brother was calling the older one names, the older one responded, “Sticks and stones may break my bones. But words will never hurt me.” Then he hesitated, turned to me and said, “But that’s not really true, is it? Words can hurt a lot.”

Yep, I told him. Words matter very, very much. Below are three examples how they matter:

—  admin

AUSTRALIA: Sports Star Dumped By Sponsor After Homophobic Tweet

Australian three-time Olympic swimming gold medalist Stephanie Rice has been dumped by Jaguar after tweeting “Suck on that, faggots!” in reference to a Wallabies rugby match against South Africa.

Jaguar Australia’s marketing and public affairs manager Mark Eedle confirmed that the company’s sponsorship of the swimmer has been terminated. “We made a decision yesterday, and we’ve terminated the agreement with her,” Eedle said. It’s not known whether the Jaguar agreement involved any financial payment, but Rice will be without a car after the company confirmed it will be confiscating the A0,000-plus Jaguar XF that Rice had been in possession of since the sponsorship deal was penned in February. “We will be taking the car that she’s been using back,” said Eedle.

Rice has apologized for the tweet. Openly gay fellow Olympic gold medalist Matthew Mitcham say he forgives Rice, writing yesterday on his Facebook page: “I know a lot of ppl are upset by what Steph Rice said. I agree, it was offensive & very thoughtless, but being friends with her for 2yrs, I know she is not homophobic. She meant no malice, & she has apologized for her careless comment posted in the excitement of the moment. That’s enough for me to forgive a friend.”

Joe. My. God.

—  John Wright