LGBT news briefs

Idaho activists sentenced

A total of 23 LGBT activists arrested in February for protesting at the Idaho Statehouse were sentenced today on charges that included misdemeanor trespassing, and ordered to pay court costs based on the number of times they were arrested during ongoing protests calling for Idaho legislators to add protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity to the state’s Human Rights Act.

Idaho State Police made more than 190 arrests by the time the legislative session ended in March. Among those sentenced today were two women who both lost children to suicide because of anti-LGBT discrimination.

Read more here at Pink News.

 

Maryland offers trans employees improved health benefits

FreeState Legal Project announced today that the state of Maryland has removed language from its employee health benefits policy denied coverage to transgender state employees for transition-related health care.  The state made the change as part of settlement of a legal claim filed by FreeState Legal on behalf of Sailor Holobaugh.

Read details here at FreeState Legal Project.

 

Obama endangers religious freedom in America (not really)

Fox News commentator Todd Starnes barely let the ink dry on President Obama’s executive order banning discrimination against LGBT people by those contracting with the federal government before he posted this “sky is falling” rant warning that the president is endangering religious freedom.

Starnes offers this quote from Peter Sprigg, senior fellow for policy dtudies at the Family Research Council: “This level of coercion is nothing less than viewpoint blackmail that bullies into silence every contractor and subcontractor who has moral objections to homosexual behavior.”

 

Lesbian tossed from water park for wearing men’s  swimwear

And also from Pink News:

Jill Sweeney of Indiana believes she was kicked out of WildWater Adventure in Muskegon, Michigan on July 9 after spending only three hours at the park for her bachelorette party because she was wearing men’s swimming trunks, a tank top, and a sports bra, and because she is a lesbian.

WildWater Adventure General Manager Camille Mark said guests at the water park are required to wear swimsuits, no street clothes allowed, and that Sweeney’s sports bra was considered street clothes. She also said Sweeney’s sexual orientation had nothing to do with the situation.

Read more here.

—  Tammye Nash

Christian group calls to pray for George Michael’s death

I blogged Monday in Queer Music News that singer George Michael has been hospitalized in Austria due to pneumonia. In that post, I added that Fox News reported there is speculation that his illness is much more severe than being let on. This appears to have spawned the group Christians for a Moral America to action and have called for the singer’s demise.

Huffington Post’s Gay Voices posted tweets by Kyle (@GodsWordIsLaw) from Nov. 26 about their intentions. His profile cites @CFAMABlog as the group’s official feed. From HuffingtonPost.com:

After the Daily Mail reported that Michael’s family and long-time partner Fadi Fawaz had gathered at his bedside in Vienna, Christians For A Moral America took to Twitter, claiming the singer “has AIDS” and calling for followers to pray for the his demise in light of his “satanic lifestyle.”

Read their Twitter posts after the jump.

—  Rich Lopez

Queer Music News: Big Freedia’s new vid, George Michael hospitalized, new album by Lambert

Spinner posted this new video by rapper Big Freedia. He told the site, “I recorded the song in response to all the people getting mad at my success. You watch that video, feel that beat and see those dancers coming hard, and I’m like ‘Na Who Mad’?” I love seeing the fringe rapper grow his profile and the video is hella fun, even with the ladies dry humping the street. Yaka yaka yaka.

The song is from the his upcoming mixtape, God Save the Queen Diva. You can download this track for free though by clicking here.

Read more Queer Music News after the jump.

—  Rich Lopez

Fox News’ ‘coverage’ of the Occupy Wall Street protests, and the interview they chose not to air

Occupy Wall Street protestor Jesse LaGreca schools an interviewer with Fox News.

The New York Observer is taking Fox News to task this week for Fox’s not-so-fair-and-balanced coverage of the Occupy Wall Street protests going on in New York City.

The Observer article by Drew Grant points out that Fox News has failed to cover the protests at all, except for a couple of instances.

In what is apparently supposed to be a “prank” interview along the lines of something you’d see on The Colbert Report or the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Bill Schulz of Fox’s Red Eye with Greg Gutfield program goes “undercover” as a protester to interview other protesters and make fun of them (embedding has been disabled on this video, but you can watch it on YouTube here.). Maybe it’s just me, but I think Schulz is the one who comes off looking stupid in this footage.

And on The O’Reilly Factor, Fox News producers interview OWS protesters in a segment the Observer says was edited to make all the OWS protesters look like half-wit idiots (watch the first video below). It’s tempting to think perhaps that’s just sour grapes on the part of the liberals who don’t like looking stupid on TV — until, that is, you see the footage of the interview with a protester named Jesse LaGreca that Fox chose not to air (watch the second video posted below).

LaGreca thoroughly schools the Fox producer conducting the interview, as shown in footage shot by a third party as the interview was taking place. First of all, he starts by suggesting that the protesters won’t get a fair shake from Fox News, which is part of News Corporation that is under investigation, and when the producer suggests that the protestors couldn’t get their message out without Fox News, LaGreca points out what a good job Fox did of covering — and promoting — Glenn Beck’s Washington, D.C., rally that was, LaGreca says, a low point in American history.

—  admin

Poll shows Perry now trailing Romney

Thanks to his disastrous performance in last week’s debate, Texas Gov. Rick Perry has fallen behind Mitt Romney in the latest poll of likely voters in the GOP presidential primary. The Fox News poll released Wednesday shows Perry with 19 percent, behind Romney with 23 percent. Herman Cain is third with 17 percent. The poll’s margin of error is ± 3 percent. From The Houston Chronicle:

While one poll isn’t a trend and it will take additional polls to confirm the findings, the results seem to indicate that Perry’s poor debate performance may have done more damage to the Perry campaign than originally thought.

Perry has attempted to mitigate the damage from that debate by claiming that he is truer to conservative principles, even if Romney is the more avuncular debater.

As part of that damage control effort, CNN reported that Perry has also participated in telephone-townhalls with conservative activists in Iowa and South Carolina, where he again tried to explain his positions on immigration, border security and the controversial HPV vaccinations that he mandated.

To top it all off, Perry told a conservative blog earlier today that he may have been over the top in his description of critics of the Texas DREAM Act, walking back from his earlier comments at the debate where he said that critics of the program did not “have a heart.”

Read the full poll results here.

UPDATE: Perry is also now fourth in a poll of likely Iowa caucusgoers, behind Romney, Michele Bachmann and “undecided.”

—  John Wright

Fox continues to exclude Karger from debates

Fred Karger

Fred Karger, the first openly gay person to file with the Federal Election Commission to run for president, has spent more time campaigning in New Hampshire than any other candidate and is preparing to participate in the Iowa Straw Poll. And although Karger meets all criteria, Fox News is not allowing him to participate in the upcoming candidate’s debate in Iowa.

“I read in the press like everyone else on Friday that in spite of meeting all its debate criteria, Fox News still refuses to allow me a place on the stage in Ames, Iowa this Thursday evening,” Karger wrote. “By not including me, even though I have qualified for the debate, Fox News appears to be in violation of Federal Election Commission rules governing all Presidential Debates. Fox released its debate criteria two weeks ago, which I clearly have met.”

Attorneys for the Karger campaign are preparing a complaint to be filed with the FEC.

Among the Fox News criteria is that to qualify for the debate, a candidate must average 1 percent in five national polls. In a recent Harris Interactive poll, Karger received 2 percent. He also received 1 percent in a Zogby poll and others.

In its response to the Karger campaign, Fox News disqualified both polls, but the network regularly cites the Zogby poll in its coverage.

In a Synovate Study released this week, Karger polls at 1 percent. Fox debate participants Rick Santorum and Jon Huntsman were at just 2 percent in the same poll. Tim Pawlenty received 2 percent in the Harris poll and will also participate in the Fox debate.

The Los Angeles Times ran a story on Karger today discounting any chance of his winning. But they wrote that he has been haunted by the memory of his gay uncle who committed suicide and that he has a message to LGBT youth:

“I want to send the message to gay younger people and older people and everyone in between that you can do anything you want in life, and don’t feel bad about yourself and don’t feel you have to live your life the way I did,” Karger told the newspaper.

—  David Taffet

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

BREAKING: Pentagon to certify DADT repeal

Secretary Panetta

Reports are coming in from sources including the Wall Street Journal and Fox News that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen are going to announce Friday that they are ready to certify repeal of the military’s anti-gay “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

Once they have signed off on repeal, the measure goes to President BarackObama for his signature, and he will send it back to Congress. Then there is a 60-day waiting period before repeal is officially implemented.

Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, issued a statement shortly after 6 p.m. Central time today saying the Pentagon’s certification of repeal is “is welcomed by gay and lesbian service members who have had to serve their country in silence for far too long.”

Sarvis added: “The troops and their commanders are ready. Our nation’s top military leaders have testified that commanders see no significant challenges ahead. The official certification to Congress that the armed forces are prepared for the end of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’  should go to Capitol Hill tomorrow with the President’s signature.”

But Sarvis also warned closeted servicemembers that it’s not safe to come out yet. SLDN has posted a warning to lesbian and gay servicemembers here. He also advised LGBT servicemembers with questions to call the SLDN hotline at 202-328-3244, ext. 100, to speak to a staff attorney.

—  admin

Karger seeking to be included in CNN debate

Fred Karger

Fred Karger, the openly gay candidate seeking the 2012 Republican nomination for president, is trying to get invited to the June 13 CNN debate in Manchester, N.H.

The first debate was held in South Carolina and was sponsored by Fox, which chose not to invite Karger because the network claimed he didn’t meet its criteria. One requirement was that each participant poll at least 1 percent in five polls. But Karger does poll that high in polls by Zogby, Fox News, CNN, ABC/Washington Post and CNN.

Among Karger’s other claims to legitimacy are the fact that he has raised four times the minimum amount seen as the Federal Election Commission’s threshold to be considered a serious candidate.

Karger was the first to run statewide commercials in New Hampshire. He was the first to be interviewed on BBC’s HardTalk. He has strong student support. In a New Hampshire straw poll, he beat Mitt Romney by 2 percent.

Karger says he’s the only moderate running and claims to have more political experience than any of the other candidates. Karger worked for Ronald Reagan beginning with his first campaign.

Karger wrote a letter to CNN and co-sponsors WMUR-TV and the New Hampshire Union Leader.

“I have yet to receive an invitation,” he said.

Unlike Fox, which made its eligibility requirements public and still excluded Karger even though he met them, CNN isn’t disclosing them. If he’s not included, we’ll never officially know that CNN just doesn’t want to include the gay guy with moderate views who can embarrass the rest of the fine Republican field.

—  David Taffet

That ’70s musical

9to5Tour0001s
WE WILL SURVIVE | Doralee (Diana DeGarmo), Violet (Dee Hoty) and Judy (Mamie Parris) take on the boss in ‘9 to 5: The Musical.’

Office politics and country music combine for ‘9 to 5,’ a Dolly’d-up women’s lib throwback

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

The plot of 9 to 5: The Musical hews closely to the film: Three working girls (we called them “girls” back then) — experienced professional secretary Violet (Dee Hoty), typing pool bombshell Doralee (Diana DeGarmo) and a workforce newcomer, recent divorcee Judy (Mamie Parris) — endure the butt slaps, passed-by promotions and office gossip endemic to the “man’s world” of big business. They were stooped over from touching the glass ceiling before we had that term.

When lowlife CEO Mr. Hart (Joseph Mahowald) threatens to have them all fired, they kidnap him and stage a coup-d’etat, running the company via memo the way they want it run. Of course it is a smashing success, with employees and shareholders. Of course they keep their jobs and Mr. Hart gets his. Of course, of course, of course.

That’s actually kind of a good thing. Many stage adaptations of movies swing wildly away from the source material, so this is a comforting, surprisingly tight rendering of a well-worn plot, interspersed with a variety of Dolly Parton-penned songs, several with distinct country flair (but not all). Dolly even makes a video appearance as the narrator. 9 to 5 is a perfectly palatable, even enjoyable musical comedy, a lightweight feminist screed against big business that wouldn’t offend anyone who doesn’t have a talk show or Fox News or who is not named Trump.

What the show isn’t is a standout in any measurable way. It could be an office version of The Producers, but it lacks memorable hooks and enough punch to hit a home run.

DeGarmo flexed some acting muscle, affecting a Betty Boopish voice that sounds more like Butters from South Park than Dolly clone, and as American Idol loyalists know, she can sing. It’s Parris, though, who gets the 11-o’clock number, “Get Out and Stay Out,” an anthemic power ballad that rivals “I Will Survive” for sheer defiance.

But Hoty, a Broadway star, underwhelms in what is the de facto leading role. She’s all glum sarcasm and self-pitying, long-suffering smugness. She and the other leads have a ball on the Act 1 closer, “Shine Like the Sun,” but along with Mahowald as the overdrawn villain, she’s a disappointment.

So is the set. “It takes a lot of money to look this cheap,” Dolly Parton is fond of saying about her signature trailer-trash-won-the-Lotto look of boobs, bleach and bangles. On that basis, I can only imagine that the scenery — mostly comprised of rotating-paneled columns that look like port-a-potties on rollers — must have cost a fortune.

For Dolly fans, hearing an album’s worth of new songs (even sung by someone other than her) and the recorded cameo may be worth it alone, but, like the company dental plan, it leaved you wanting more for what you’re paying.

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This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition May 27, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas