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

Snap shots: ‘Bill Cunningham New York’ turns the camera on fashion’s most influential paparazzo

LENS ME A SHOE | The Times photographer documents foot fashion in ‘Bill Cunningham New York.’

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Life+Style Editor

Maybe Project Runway’s to blame, maybe The Devil Wears Prada, but for the past few years there has been a surplus of documentaries about the fashion industry, with profiles of designers like Valentino (Valentino: The Last Emperor), Yves Saint-Laurent (several in fact), even young designers (Seamless) and Vogue magazine’s editor (The September Issue). (By contrast, I can only recall one fashion doc from the 1990s: Unzipped, about a young designer named Isaac Mizrahi.) Is there really that much to say about dressmaking?

Maybe not, but while Bill Cunningham New York fits broadly within the category of fashion documentaries, its subject is unusual because he eschews the trappings of haute couture even as he’s inextricably a part of it — a huge part, really.

If you don’t read the New York Times, you might not recognize Cunningham’s name, and even if you do read it, it may not have registered with you. For about, well, maybe 1,000 years, Cunningham has chronicled New York society with his candid photos of the glitterati on the Evening Hours page. At the same time, however, he has documented real fashion — how New Yorkers dress in their daily lives — with his page On the Street, where he teases out trends (from hats to men in skirts to hip-hoppers allowing their jeans to dangle around their knees). Anna Wintour may tell us what we should wear; Cunningham shows us what we do.

“We all get dressed for Bill,” Wintour observes.

What makes Cunningham such an interesting character is how impervious he seems to the responsibility he effortlessly wields. He loves fashion, yes, but he’s not a slave to it himself. He scurries around Manhattan (even in his 80s) on his bicycle (he’s had dozens; they are frequently stolen), sometimes in a nondescript tux but mostly in jeans, a ratty blue smock and duck shoes, looking more like a homeless shoeshiner than the arbiter of great fashion. He flits through the city like a pixie with his 35mm camera (film-loaded, not digital), a vacant, toothy smile peaking out behind the lens, snapping the denizens of Babylon whether they want it or not.

One of the funniest moments is when strangers shoo him away as some lunatic paparazzo, unaware how all the well-heeled doyens on the Upper East would trade a nut to have Cunningham photograph them for inclusion in the Times. Patrick McDonald, the weirdly superficial modern dandy (he competed as a wannabe designer on the flop reality series Launch My Line a few seasons back), seems to exist with the hope that Cunningham will shoot him. And shoot him he does.

Many artists are idiosyncratic, even eccentric, but Cunningham is supremely odd by any standards. He lives in a tiny studio near Carnegie Hall filled with filing cabinets cluttered with decades of film negatives on the same floor as a crazy old woman, a kind of urban variation on Grey Gardens. He knows tons of people but most of them seem to know very little about him. By the time near the end when the filmmaker, director Richard Press, finally comes out and ask him outright whether he’s gay, Cunningham arches in that prickly New England way, never really answering outright, though he says he’s never — never — had a romantic relationship. Things like that were simply not discussed by men of his generation.

In some ways, we never really know any more about Cunningham at the end than any of his friends do, and perhaps even him. Cunningham comes across as defiantly non-self-reflective. He lets his work do all the talking for him. And that work has a lot to say on its own.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 8, 2011.

—  John Wright

Equal Marriage Bill Passes Maryland Senate Committee

This post is from HRC Regional Field Director Sultan Shakir:

Moments ago, the Maryland State Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee passed the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act, SB 116. This victory puts marriage equality one step closer to final passage. On behalf of HRC’s thousands of members and supporters in Maryland, we’d like to thank the seven members of the committee who voted yes, who are listed below.  The bill now heads to the full Senate where we’re working hard with our allies at Equality Maryland to secure the votes for passage. If you live in Maryland and would like to get involved in the effort to pass marriage equality, please email Sultan.Shakir@hrc.org.  

Maryland State Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee Members who voted yes on the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act:

Sen. Brian E. Frosh (D-Montgomery County), Chair
Sen. Lisa A. Gladden (D-Baltimore City) Vice-Chair
Sen. James Brochin (D-Baltimore County)
Sen. Jennie M. Forehand (D-Montgomery County)
Sen. Victor R. Ramirez (D-Prince George’s County)
Sen. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Montgomery County)
Sen. Robert A. Zirkin (D-Baltimore County)

Left to right, Sens. Frosh, Gladden and Brochin

Left to right, Sens. Forehand, Ramirez, Raskin and Zirkin

Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  David Taffet

UDPATE: MD Senate committee to vote on passed marriage bill today

UPDATED and bumped by Joe @ 5:57 PM: The Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee just passed the marriage bill. Via Equality Maryland:

The Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee voted 7-4 to favorably report the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act (SB 116) today. This legislation would end the exclusion of committed gay and lesbian couples from marriage. This is the first time the legislation has passed committee and is scheduled to be voted on by the Senate next week.

Marriage Equality news continues to rapidly develop in states across our nation.

The Maryland Senate Judicial Proceedings committee is scheduled to vote on the marriage equality bill Thursday, which would advance the measure to a vote by the full senate.

The bill has support from seven of the committee’s 11 members, according to the Associated Press.

“A vote by the full Senate is expected to be close: 23 senators have pledged their support, 24 are needed to advance the bill to the House. Gov. Martin O’Malley, a Democrat, has said he would sign the measure into law if it reaches his desk,” the AP reports.

The article also reports that among the Senators who have decided to support the bill is one that was “galvanized by what he called the ‘appalling’ testimony of antigay witnesses.” That would be our beloved Maggie Gallagher. Thanks Maggie!


—  David Taffet

Md. Senate Committee to Vote on Marriage Bill

MARYLAND SENATE CHAMBERS X390 (.GOV) | ADVOCATE.COMThe Maryland senate judicial proceedings committee is expected to approve the marriage equality bill Thursday and send the measure for a vote by the full senate.
Advocate.com: Daily News

—  David Taffet

This Summer Paul Rudd + Bill Hader Are: Expectant Dads

Move over Thomas Beatie: Paul Rudd and Bill Hader are America's newest famous pregnant men. Except this isn't the trailer for some new rom-com called Expectant Dads. It's the music video for The New Pornographers' "Moves." Guess which one I'd prefer to watch again. But hey, props for coming up with a complete film synopsis:


Permalink | Post a comment | Add to , , , ,


—  David Taffet

HAWAII: Civil Unions Bill Passes Final Hurdle, Passes To Desk Of Governor

Just in from Equality Hawaii!

Equality Hawaii, the state’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, and the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights organization, today applauded the Hawaii legislature for approving civil unions for the second time in ten months. The bill, which was passed in its amended form today by the Hawaii Senate on an 18-5 vote, now heads to Gov. Neil Abercrombie for his signature. “We honor and thank the legislature today for their commitment to equality for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in Hawaii, said Alan Spector, co-chair of Equality Hawaii. “For the second time in less than a year, legislators have dedicated themselves to providing dignity and respect to all families in the Aloha State.”

Congratulations Hawaii! Linda Lingle can SUCK IT.

Joe. My. God.

—  David Taffet

NC: Sen. Jim Forrester plans to file marriage amendment bill

From Equality NC:

NC Sen. Jim Forrester is planning to file a bill (he’s done it 8 years in a row) to amend our state constitution to discriminate against LGBT North Carolinians soon. As he works to get other senators to sign on as co-sponsors, Equality NC calls on supporters of fairness to contact their senators in opposition to this bill.

The bill, as proposed in previous sessions, would deny same-sex couples access to marriage and any other form of relationship recognition, including partner benefits from private employers. Equality NC has already been working to stop this amendment from passing. Nearly 200 supporters from across the state met with legislators at yesterday’s Day of Action at the General Assembly.

“This hurtful bill would do real damage in North Carolina,” said Ian Palmquist, Executive Director. “It harms couples who seek the most basic protections of their families. It hurts LGBT young people who are told they are unworthy of being treated equally with their peers. And it harms our North Carolina businesses who want to operate in a state that attracts and supports a diverse and inclusive workforce.”

“It’s telling that Sen. Forrester has gone back on his word,” said Palmquist. “Just a few weeks ago, he told his hometown paper that he would not file the anti-gay amendment this year to focus on jobs, but instead he’s busy trying to put bigotry and discrimination into our constitution.”

In order to become part of the constitution, the bill must pass both the House and Senate with a 3/5ths super-majority, and would then go to the ballot for approval by a simple majority of voters. The Governor cannot veto a constitutional amendment.

North Carolinians can email their state Senator here.

I attended the Day of Action yesterday, and we not only face an amendment with the GOP now in control, we have to deal with the fact that North Carolina doesn’t have any non-discrimination laws on the books that protect people based on sexual orientation and gender identity/expression. Ian Palmquist:

Here are some photos of the event. I’ll have more on the conference later; in the meantime, read Jake Geller-Goad’s fine diary. QNotes coverage is here.  
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  David Taffet

Final passage of Hawaii civil unions bill delayed, expected today

Out of “an abundance of caution,” the Hawaii Senate is delaying the final vote for civil unions until Wednesday.

The Senate was poised Tuesday to pass civil unions legislation and send the bill to the governor for his signature, but Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Clayton Hee proposed the delay to make sure there was adequate public notice after the bill reached the Senate.

The measure had passed the House on Friday.

Hee called for the delay out of “an abundance of caution,” although he said he believed the two-day notice period had already passed.

If the bill is signed into law, as expected, then Hawaii will become the seventh state to grant same sex couples essentially the same rights of marriage without authorizing marriage itself.

Sure, I would rather it be gay marriage, but I’m going to celebrate passage of this bill into state law with the understanding that every time we move a step closer we are that much nearer to realizing “The Big Kahuna,” or full marriage equality. Our enemies know this, as well, and it is why they gnash their teeth, and howl, every time another state approves gay civil unions.


—  David Taffet

Virginia Republican Introduces Bill Attacking LGBT Families

On Thursday, Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA) introduced H.R. 635, the “Parental Title Protection Act,” which would require all federal agencies and contractors to use the words “mother” and “father” when describing parents on all official documents and forms. This bill is a direct attack on actions by the State Department, which we told you about last month, to make passport forms inclusive of all families by adding “parent 1” and “parent 2” alongside “mother” and “father.” In a press release, Forbes argues that “symbolism is important” and that his legislation is necessary to prevent even “subtle” changes that “undermine the traditional American family relationships that have served as the bedrock of our nation since its inception.”   

Forbes’ bill ignores the reality of millions of children being raised by same-sex couples in this country.  Those children deserve the same recognition and protection from the federal government that other American families enjoy.  Rep. Forbes is right that symbolism is important – his bill is emblematic of a brand of Republicans callously willing, time after time, to attack LGBT people and their children in order to score cheap political points.

Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  David Taffet