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Ambassador James Brewster

Anti-gay forces are circulating a White House petition to have President Barack Obama recall James Brewster as ambassador to the Dominican Republic. Their only objection to Brewster is that he is gay.

A petition has to get at least 100,000 signatures to get a response from the White House, and the anti-Brewster petition already has about 25,000.

But there’s a pro-Brewster petition that’s been started that only has 2,300 signatures as of this writing. Click here to sign the petition supporting Brewster. You must confirm your signature on the petition by clicking a link in a confirmation email.

Since coming into office, Obama has named a number of gay diplomats. The year the president appointed Brewster, State Department officials assigned four other gay diplomats to posts abroad, but they all went to gay-friendly countries in northern Europe.

The year Obama took office — 2009 — his Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, changed the rules for gay and lesbian diplomats assigned overseas. Previously, a same-sex partner could live at the embassy with his or her spouse. However, things like moving expenses were not covered for the spouse. The cost of moving furniture, for example, was split in half if they were moving as a couple. The diplomat’s dog was covered. But the diplomat’s spouse was not.

Since 2008, spouses have been treated equally, whether they are same sex or opposite sex.

—  David Taffet

Gay is OK on plenty of Caribbean islands, so why do gay cruises choose the homophobes?

Ships in Dominica dock at the end of a long pier

With the arrest of two men on an Atlantis cruise in the harbor in Dominica, the question isn’t whether they were having sex, as police claim, or just sunbathing nude, as the couple claims. The question is why a gay cruise is visiting islands where homosexuality is illegal, rewarding these places with tens of thousands of dollars of purchases on each visit when there are more places in the Caribbean where homosexuality is legal and places that even recognize same-sex marriage.

And whether or not they were engaging in sexual activity, the couple was told, “You are being arrested for being gay,” according to the Washington Post. As far as the police on Dominica were concerned, every person on that ship was guilty of crime. Why didn’t they arrest them all? Because they wanted them to come ashore and spend a lot of gay dollars.

While the Caribbean has an anti-gay reputation, the laws vary from island to island. Actually, homosexuality is perfectly legal in more places than not. The differences range from recognizing same-sex marriage to life in prison. Most perplexing, perhaps is that on some islands, lesbians are legal and gays get 10 years in prison.

French and Dutch territories have the longest history of nondiscrimination. Puerto Rico’s laws were struck down along with Texas’ sodomy law in the 2003 Lawrence v. Texas decision.

One other thing — in Dominica, the ship does not dock at the shore, but down a long pier. Someone on shore was looking for trouble with binoculars to catch this couple. See which islands welcome the LGBT community after the jump:

—  David Taffet

Drawing Dallas

Long-locked Luis Infante is a cut above the ordinary

MARK STOKES  | Illustrator

Luis InfanteDominican style

Name and age: Luis Infante, 18

Spotted at: Salon on Gaston Avenue

Occupation: Hair stylist

Hair apparent: A family affair, Luis’ interest in hair started early while watching his mother, a stylist who always owned her own salon as Luis was growing up. Luis hails from a household of women (he has two older twin sisters, Diana del Rosario and Leidy del Rosario, and a younger sister, Danilca Infante), and he has been cutting hair since he was 11, with a focus on men’s cuts. Born in La Vega, in the Dominican Republic, this sizzlin’ Gemini enjoys playing baseball (he plays third and short), studying and Facebook. His future career dream is to become an architect or a plastic surgeon.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 17, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens