Florida state senator introduces domestic partner registry bill

Florida Sen. Eleanor Sobel

Florida State Sen. Eleanor Sobel — a Democrat from Hollywood in Broward County near the southern end of the state — has introduced legislation that would create a statewide domestic partner registry and add “partnership” as a relationship status option to all state forms, according to an email today from Florida Together Federation.

Senate Bill 166 is slated to be heard in the Florida Legislature’s 2012 session, beginning in January.

In a written statement, Sobel — described by Florida Together officials as a longtime ally of the LGBT community — said that a “majority of Americans and Floridians support recognition for same-sex relationships,” and that it “no longer makes sense for the state to have just one category — married and everyone else.”

Michael Kenny, executive director of Florida Together, said that LGBT rights advocates are thrilled to see Sobel introduce the bill, but he acknowledged that there is still a long way to go.

Kenny said, “Having a bill filed is a long, long way from creating law. But as they say, even the longest journey begins with a first step and we are proud to have Senator Sobel start this journey with us and for us.”

Florida Together Federation is a statewide organization that brings together local LGBT groups in the state to share resources, skills and information in the battle for LGBT equality.

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The lost art of cruising

‘Electro-tricks’ may be quicker and easier, but half the fun of the hook-up was working at it

Hardy Haberman | Flagging Left

I don’t get out much — at least to the bars. First of all I don’t drink anymore, and second, I am not really looking to hook up with anyone since I am in a very nice relationship.

I do, however, occasionally meet friends out for the evening or for a special event.

When I do go out, it is most often to our local leather bar, the Dallas Eagle, and I often indulge in a little people watching. I like to watch the crowd, the way people interact with one another, the ebb and flow of what was once a favorite past time of gay men: cruising.

What surprised me was the lack of that particular gay art going on.

First, let me say this is not a reflection on the Eagle; it’s a fine, first-class leather bar. What I noticed is something I have seen in other cities as well, and it bothers me a bit.

Now for those who might not know, cruising is a delicate dance men used to perform when looking for a partner, playmate or just trick du jour. It usually began with some long, slow looks, occasional subtle signals like a nod, the touch of the brim of a cap, a purposeful second glance or even just a slight change in body language.

If two people read the signals, and actually respond, it might proceed to sending over a drink — or a more direct approach. Often before actually making contact, you would ask a few friends if they knew the man in question, and for the leather scene that would also entail asking if anyone knew more intimate details: Was he a safe player? What was he into?

Of course, we also had the hanky code. It was a more direct and cut to the chase way to let folks know what you were seeking.

I won’t go into the details here, but the basics were: Hanky in the left pocket meant you were a top, and hanky in the right pocket meant you were a bottom.

Still, even with outward signs, there was an art to the whole endeavor. If done correctly, it had an element of seduction in it and all the sexual energy that went with it.

Sadly, I don’t see much of that going on anymore.

What I do see is guys checking their smart phones. Looking a little closer, I see them using Grindr, checking Recon and texting.

That’s when I realized what happened to cruising: It has gone the way of the dodo.

What was once a face-to-face encounter that actually took some time and energy is now a fast, down-and-dirty, “check a few profiles and text enough contacts until you pull a winning number” routine.

The whole cruising experience has become an electronic booty call with no mystery, no romance and no effort.

Oh yes, it is much more efficient. You can select from the variety of “neck-down pictures” and body statistics, like you were choosing a download on Amazon.

Find Mr. Right or at least Mr. Right Enough for Now, text a few lines, set a time and bingo! Insta-trick!

All very high tech and painless. No face-to-face rejections, no appallingly awkward moments. Just on-line chat and, essentially, “booking.”

It would seem to me that applications like Grindr and sites like Recon and CraigsList have replaced the whole cruising experience, and though it might be much more efficient, it really changes to atmosphere in the bars.

The heady sexual tension that used to permeate gay bars has given way to guys and gals on their smart phones texting or cruising — the web. One bar in Florida even has a screen where patrons can text directly to the screen, sort of a visual “shout out” for all to see.

Inevitably, the whole electro-trick phenomenon has spawned something totally unexpected. My partner commented on the subject of this column and suggested there should be an Angie’s List for Grindr.

I was surprised this morning when, while researching this piece, I found something very much like that.

Douchebagsofgrindr.com may just be a parody, but if not it offers some insight into the whole process. Personally, I find it kind of crass, but then I find the whole “electro-trick-speed-dating-booty-call” app thing crass.

It makes me long for the days of actually having to spend a little time to pursue and attract and seduce someone you were interested in. Try that now and I suspect you’d just get accused of being a stalker.

Hardy Haberman is a longtime local LGBT activist and a board member of the Woodhull Freedom Alliance. His blog is at DungeonDiary.Blogspot.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 9, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Florida Finally Recognizes Martin Gill As The Legal Father To His Sons

Martin Gill, the Florida man who's been battling for years to adopt his two foster sons, and who conquered the state's ban on gays adopting back in October, has finally been granted his legal adoption. Best wishes, gents.


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Florida Man at Center of Adoption Ban Case Officially Adopts Sons

Martin Gill and his sons are finally a family in the eyes of the law:

Gill "After a successful fight to overturn Florida’s ban on gay people serving as adoptive parents, the two young brothers adopted by Martin Gill participated in an adoption ceremony in Judge Cindy Lederman's chambers in Miami-Dade County Juvenile Court today, marking the final step in their adoption process. Gill and his partner had served as foster parents to the two brothers for six years. Gill worked with the American Civil Liberties Union to fight for the right to adopt them by challenging Florida’s 33-year-old ban on gay people adopting. As a result of the ACLU lawsuit on behalf of Gill, the ban was ended last year."

Said Leslie Cooper, staff attorney with the ACLU Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Project: “Martin and his family were instrumental in ending one of the most discriminatory laws in the country. Hopefully now, thousands of children in Florida who are waiting to be adopted will be able to know the love and support of having a family.”

Congratulations!


Towleroad News #gay

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Florida Halts Change to AIDS Program

FLORIDA ADAP X390 (GRAB) | ADVOCATE.COMFlorida put on hold a potential change to the salary eligibility for its
AIDS Drug Assistance Program, which if enacted would have bumped
hundreds of people from the program.
Advocate.com: Daily News

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FLORIDA: Cops Capture Suspect In Murders Of Wilton Manors Gay Couple

Florida police have captured a man driving the stolen vehicle of the Wilton Manors gay couple they suspect he murdered on Christmas weekend.

Peter Serge Avsenew, 26, was captured near Dundee, Fl., miles away from where police said he murdered Kevin Mark Powell and Stephen Adams on Sunday. The couple was found dead in their home by police. Avsenew, who is from Hollywood, was spotted by cops in Powell’s black 2003 Saturn Vue.

Police have not yet revealed how the victims died and have not speculated publicly on what relationship the suspect may have had with them. The victims had been together for 29 years.

UPDATE: Avsenew has an extensive criminal history. At the time of his capture, he was already wanted on a probation violation in the Keys.

Across the state, Avsenew has been taken into custody more than a dozen times since 2003, state records show. He has been convicted of vehicle theft, robbery, grand theft and engaging in fraud through bounced checks. He also has pleaded no contest to marijuana possession, loitering, possession of drug paraphernalia, criminal mischief and resisting an officer without violence. Avsenew also relies on about eight different aliases, including the name Peter Avsenen, according to the state Department of Corrections.

According to Avsenew’s Facebook page, he has a newborn son. Below a recent posting of the boy’s photo, a woman with the same last name (probably the suspect’s mother) warns: “Peter, Look at these pictures does this baby deserve anything but the best? then think before you do anything stupid.”

(Tipped by JMG reader Greg)

Joe. My. God.

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FLORIDA: Gay Couple Found Murdered In Their Wilton Manors Home

South Florida Gay News reports that a gay couple was found murdered in their Wilton Manors home this weekend.

The two men whose bodies were found inside their rented home at 2513 NE 8th Avenue in Wilton Manors were domestic partners Kevin Mark Powell, 47, and Steve Adams, 52, former residents of Hollywood, Florida. Their bodies were discovered by the sister of one of the victims, who had called police when her brother had not arrived to her home for the holidays. Kevin Powell had been very ill with Diabetes and she was doing a wellness check. Powell, whose hobby was arts and crafts, had once been featured on the Home and Garden channel after creating a home for his dogs within his home, including pet sized lighting and furniture.

Wilton Manors police are seeking the couple’s missing car. JMG readers who may have information about the couple should call detectives at 954-390-2150.

Joe. My. God.

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More From Florida Bigot Pamela Grothaus

“Folks, it looks like political correctness has scored another victory at the expense of morality and religious freedom. In-your-face homosexuality will soon be given the green light in our armed forces. What’s next? A pedophile platoon? A bestiality battalion? A man-boy-love marching band? Let’s bring ‘em all out of their dark little closets and onto the battlefield—with special benefits and treatment to help them feel good about themselves, of course! [snip]

“So hold on tight, as America slides even further into the abyss of political correctness, while homosexual soldiers worldwide prepare for a colossal coming out party at taxpayer’s expense. Oh, yeah, there’ll be federal dollars wasted on this nonsense—can’t wait to see the price tag on that. and all of this hoopla so that soldiers who like to have sex with those of their same gender can display pictures of and coo over their same-sex lovers’ photos, as if that makes them “normal” to the rest of us. (Nah, we’ll just wait until you leave the room and gag.) – Naples Daily News blogger Pamela Grothaus.

Joe. My. God.

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News: Bea Arthur, Florida, Chris Hemsworth, Mice, Miley Cyrus

Road Counter-demonstration planned against WBC picket of Elizabeth Edward funeral.

RoadMichael Portantino, former publisher of SD Gay and Lesbian Times, takes his own life.

Arthur RoadBea Arthur was a truck-driving Marine.

RoadKeith Richards murdered an orchid.

RoadMixner on yesterday's DADT fail: "Why don't we add it as an amendment to the President's compromise keeping the Bush Tax Cuts and let us filibuster until it is added and passed! Let the Republicans explain to the CEO's why their hatred of the LGBT community is holding up their tax breaks. Let's give them hell. Let's fight back and not roll over one more time and take another blow to our dignity and honor."

RoadGlenn Beck: White people are pretty much toast.

RoadGiant prehistoric stork may have devoured Hobbit-like humans.

RoadEquality Florida report sees shift in favor of equality: “A great deal of work remains, but Floridians can be proud of the progress in our state over the past decade,” said Nadine Smith, executive director for Equality Florida. “This report demonstrates that while political winds may shift during an election cycle, the long-term trend in Florida is strongly in favor of fairness and equality for everyone, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.”

RoadThe first movie poster of Chris Hemsworth in Thor.

Camilla RoadPrince Charles and Camilla's car attacked by student protesters: "Camilla was prodded in the ribs with a stick through the open window of their Rolls-Royce as she and Charles were driven to the Royal Variety Performance at the London Palladium. One of the vintage car's windows was left open by mistake before the vehicle was surrounded by a snarling mob of rioting students and activists."

RoadIt's Showtime: Karl Lagerfeld's muse Baptiste Giabiconi releases a music video.

RoadLOGO gives the green light: "In addition to 'Be Good Johnny Weir,' the network has greenlit 'Pretty Hurts,' from Go Go Luckey Productions, a comedic reality series that follows the staff and clients of a high-end Beverly Hills medical office that specializes in 'liquid face lifts.' The other series is 'Setup Squad,' a workplace docu-soap from Leftfield Pictures ('Pawn Stars') focused on a Manhattan-based matchmaking service that pairs up professional "wing people" with those that are unlucky in love."

RoadJ Lo's album cover: do you 'love'?

Birth RoadMoment of birth captured for first time on MRI.

RoadHannah Montana enjoys a bong hit. The remix.

RoadU.S. poised to indict Julian Assange on spying charges? "Though he appears to have committed no crime in the States, the administration is under enormous pressure to find some way of punishing the Australian for unleashing a stream of diplomatic embarrassments on to the internet."

RoadScientists engineer mouse from two fathers: "This was done by engineering females with eggs containing only chromosomes from a father. Mating added genes from a second father."

RoadSpecial Counsel for Focus on the Family James Bopp Jr. files suit in Iowa to halt nomination process for Supreme Court judges: "Rob Hogg, a Democrat from Cedar Rapids who is a lawyer and vice chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee decried Republican judicial activism. 'This lawsuit clearly is part of a right wing ideological campaign through an out-of-state lawyer to screw up our courts,' Hogg told the Des Moines Register."


Towleroad News #gay

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Sorry Florida Family Association, But Kodak Isn’t Leaving DeGrassi Over a Trans Character

The Florida Family Association claims it got Kodak to drop sponsorship of Teen Nick's DeGrassi: The Next Generation after pressuring the film and tech giant to abandon the show because it features a transgender character. Kodak responds: Uh, no, that's not what happened at all, you dumbasses.


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