IGLHRC Issues Statement On Iran

The International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission has issued a statement on yesterday’s story about the possible execution by stoning of two young men in Iran for having gay sex. At IGLHRC’s request, I pulled my first post on the story while they investigated. Via email:

The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) has received reports of the imminent execution of two men in Piranshahr, Iran. By some media accounts, Ayub and Mosleh have been sentenced to death for raping a young man, filming their actions, and inserting images of President Ahmadinejad into the film. There have been reports that the men are scheduled to be killed by stoning on January 21. IGLHRC has been unable to confirm the allegations in this case.

This case is evidence, however, of much bigger problems in Iran: widespread abuse in the justice system and censorship of information. People, including those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender may be arbitrarily arrested, tortured, and convicted on baseless charges. It can be difficult, if not impossible, to know the facts that lie behind convictions.

IGLHRC condemns the use of capital punishment in all instances, including this one, regardless of the alleged acts with which the individuals have been accused or convicted. Likewise, IGLHRC condemns all forms of sexual violence and rape. We call on the Government of Iran to immediately annul any execution order related to this case, to end the practice of death by stoning, and to repeal the criminalization of same-sex activity.

“Iran has an impenetrable and opaque criminal justice system that makes knowing what is really happening inside the country impossible,” said Hossein Alizadeh, Regional Coordinator for IGLHRC’s Middle East and North Africa Program. “What we do know is that killing is wrong in all its forms, even when committed by the State.”

I will update you at once when further information is available.

Joe. My. God.

—  admin

Loughner’s parents may issue public statement shortly; plus the MSM and its ‘expert’ interviewees

Since the elder Loughners have not been accessible to the media since the tragedy, so this would be the first time the public would hear the family’s reaction to their son’s arrest. This WSJ article paints a strange portrait of the Arizona shooting suspect’s parents, perhaps unnecessarily negative since, as usual, the MSM has to hunt around for neighbors to talk to to fill space on a hot story.

Even in normal times, many on his block describe the elder Mr. Loughner as a reclusive man who had little time for neighborhood niceties…The parents told investigators they didn’t realize the severity of their son’s problems, say people familiar with the matter.

…Residents interviewed on the block said they barely knew the Loughners. Stephen Woods, who lives next door, had run-ins with Mr. Loughner over uncollected trash that he said were vituperative and hostile.

Once, Mr. Woods said, Mr. Loughner spotted him from a distance in a Wal-Mart parking lot and repeatedly shouted “Trash people!”

Speaking of filling space/air time, I saw a pathetic interview the other day on MSNBC. I don’t recall the anchor, but she was interviewing some young woman who “knew” Jared Lee Loughner.

It didn’t take long to figure out that the person didn’t know anything about the suspect that was worthwhile — she last saw/interacted with him in 2007! All she could convey is that he told her that he said he wanted to “change the world.” Of course that only led the anchor to try to ascertain what that meant, which led nowhere. The whole segment was a flush down the crapper. I know producers want to book “experts” but this was so pathetic I just had to turn the channel.

***

PLUS: Interview with Tucson’s mayor

There was an interview with Tucson’s Mayor Bob E. Walkup by Gwen Ifill of PBS Newshour about the attempted assassination of Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. She asked about the tragedy’s effect on Tucson, and his thoughts on the political discourse that may have fueled the rampage. The transcript is below the fold.

GWEN IFILL:  Now, for more on the tragedy in Arizona, we turn to Mayor Bob Walkup.  He joins us from Tucson.

Welcome, Mr. Mayor.

You are quoted at saying this weekend that this was a tragic lesson.

For whom?

ROBERT WALKUP, Mayor of Tucson, Arizona:  Well, it is a tragedy.  It’s a tragedy for the city of Tucson clearly.

But it’s also a tragedy for the state of Arizona, and I think it’s a national tragedy that something like this has occurred.  It is a time for learning and it’s a time for prayer.  And it’s a time for understanding how something like this could really happen.

GWEN IFILL:  As an elected official, as a lawmaker in Arizona, in Tucson, what is it that you think you could have, should have, should be done to avoid something like this?

ROBERT WALKUP:  Well, I can tell you that since I got word of this on Saturday morning, and I went directly to the hospital, and then late in the evening participated in the candlelight vigil outside the hospital, I think it’s becoming very clear that the citizens of the city of Tucson believe that it’s time for us to get back to civility.

It’s time for us to start caring about each other.  It’s time for us to be kind to each other.  And we really need to start the process, so that all of us don’t have to fear an event like this that takes the lives of six people and injures another 14 people.  That’s what I’m hearing from the citizens of Tucson.

GWEN IFILL:  Are they asking you to do anything in particular, rather than pray and hope that things get better?  Is there anything specific they’re asking of their elected leaders?

ROBERT WALKUP:  Oh, absolutely.

And I think that they’re — not only what they’re asking, but we really need to take a look at the issue of security and how did something like this happen.  And a lot of people are trying to figure that out.

But what I think that we need to do is, we really need to — as a society, we need to establish civility, a pledge that all of us are going to get back to how we treat each other and kindness.  That does not mean that we can’t debate issues.

But we don’t have to target people.  And we don’t have to deal with people in great anger.  I — this is a time for caring.  This is time for understanding.

GWEN IFILL:  Mr. Mayor, you’re making a link between people caring for each other and civil discourse and a person who allegedly is unstable, mentally unstable.

In fact, we hear tonight late reports that his family has built a barricade and won’t let people in the house, the FBI in the house.  How do you make that link between those two kinds of behavior?

ROBERT WALKUP:  Well, I think this is something that society has really got to work with, because mental illness is not just a local issue.  This is a national issue, where we really need to put more emphasis in really understanding mental disease and mental issues.

This individual had, apparently, a considerable history that we should have begun to understand.  And we really need to — we in the political jobs in support of the people that have elected us, we get that kind of e-mail all the time.  And I think that it is time for us to say, you know, these are serious threats that we get.

We just cannot dismiss them as being somebody that cannot effect damage within a community.  We need to take it seriously.

GWEN IFILL:  You have been to the hospital.  And you have met with Gabrielle Giffords’ husband and also relatives of other victims.  How are they holding up?

ROBERT WALKUP:  Well, we’re down to a total number of the — total number of 14 people that were injured that were treated.

We’re down to 10 people, and it looks as though another three have been released today.  So I think we’re going to be starting tomorrow with about five to six people that are still — maybe seven — still remaining in the hospital.  

They’re doing well.  Gabby is doing as well as we could expect.  Her husband and I had a chance yesterday to go to her bedside and just stand and kind of look at her and kind of talk to her, even though she couldn’t hear us, and just pray for her recovery, which we all believe is essential and a great possibility for her to come back and do the job that she was elected to do.

GWEN IFILL:  You obviously worked closely with the congresswoman in her years in Congress.  She’s been there for a few years.  You have been mayor for a while.

What kind of a colleague was she?  What kind of a congresswoman was she, is she?

ROBERT WALKUP:  Well, I — yes, is she.

And it goes back to the time before she was even elected to the state legislature, back in the late 1990s, when she was a businessperson in the city of Tucson.  I knew her then.  But, interestingly enough, in the 2000-2003, she was a legislator and we worked on what we can do in Tucson to ensure that the University Medical Center had a very high-tech, functional, world-class trauma center.

She was involved in that process back in 2003.  And we have one of the best.  And, as I looked down at her, I was reminded of how we worked together to provide the trauma center that is saving her life.  And it was — for me, it was a very moving event.

GWEN IFILL:  Are there any plans so far for a public memorial or observance?

ROBERT WALKUP:  Yes, there is.

As a matter of fact, we haven’t scheduled it yet, but we believe that we’re going to try to get everybody together, bring in all the people that would like to — in a public way to be able to say we’re praying for all of the victims, the people that have died.  Funerals are scheduled for this week and next for all those people that just want to come together.

I believe that it’s going to be some time this Friday that we will have a public memorial service in the city of Tucson.  For all of the people that want to come and say, boy, we’re sorry, and we’re praying for you, and we’re praying for gabby to recover and get back on the job.  We love her dearly.

GWEN IFILL:  Tucson Mayor Bob Walkup, thank you so much for joining us.

JIM LEHRER:  The aftermath of the Tucson massacre unfolded on two fronts today.  The accused gunman was in court, while Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords lay gravely wounded in a hospital.

“NewsHour” correspondent Tom Bearden begins our extended coverage.

TOM BEARDEN:  Mourners gathered again today at a makeshift memorial in front of the University Medical Center in Tucson for wounded Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and the other victims of the shootings.

Inside, her doctors continued to express guarded optimism.

DR. G. MICHAEL LEMOLE JR., Chief of Neurosurgery, University Medical Center:  With regard to Congresswoman Giffords’ recovery at this phase in the game, no change is good.  And we have no change.  That is to say, she is still following those basic commands.  On top of that, the CAT scans are showing that there is no progression of that swelling.  We’re not out of the woods yet.

TOM BEARDEN:  During the evening, a steady stream of well wishers came to add to the memorial, leaving flowers, lighting candles.

WOMAN:  I mean, it’s just an absolutely profane act.  It’s shocking.  It’s been surreal.  And, you know, it really has, you know, obviously taken a toll on everybody here in Tucson.  It’s very, very saddening, deeply saddening.

TOM BEARDEN:  Giffords remains sedated three days after being shot in the head at point-blank range.

She had been greeting constituents at a supermarket in her Tucson area district when a lone gunman shot her, then opened fire on the crowd.  The suspected shooter, 22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner, was apprehended at the scene.

Six were killed and 14 others were injured, including Giffords — among the dead, Gabe Zimmerman, Giffords’ director of community outreach, who had organized the day’s event, federal Judge John Roll.  He had just left church and stopped by to support Giffords, a good friend.  Phyllis Schneck, a retired librarian, Dorothy Morris — her husband is also among the wounded — Dorwin Stoddard, a retired construction worker, and 9-year-old Christina Taylor Green, recently elected to her school’s student council.  She was there because of her interest in government.

In Phoenix, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer pronounced her state grieving, but strong.  She appealed for unity in her annual state of the state address.  And she praised the young intern who applied pressure to Giffords’ head wound soon after the shooting.  The young man used his bare hands on a spot where a bullet entered her head and applied pressure to stem blood loss.

GOV. JAN BREWER (R), Arizona:  Daniel Hernandez, a University of Arizona junior, showed no fear in the face of gunfire.  His quick action in going to Gabby Giffords’ aid likely saved her life.

Daniel is here today.  And I’m going to ask him to stand and receive the thanks of a very grateful state.

Daniel.

(APPLAUSE)

Arizona is in pain, yes.  Our grief is profound.  We are yet in the first hours of our sorrow, but we have not been brought down.  We will never be brought down.

(APPLAUSE)

TOM BEARDEN:  In Washington, President Obama led the nation in a moment of silence to remember the victims.

Down Pennsylvania Avenue, members of Congress and staff filled the steps of the Capitol, and, at the Supreme Court, justices paused between arguments on two cases.  And in Earth orbit, Giffords’ brother-in-law, Commander Scott Kelly, led NASA ground control in a moment of silence from his position aboard the International Space Station.

SCOTT KELLY, NASA Commander:  As I look out the window, I see a very beautiful planet that seems very inviting and peaceful.  Unfortunately, it is not.

The crew of ISS Expedition 26 and the flight control centers around the world would like to observe a moment of silence in honor of all the victims, which include my sister-in-law Gabrielle Giffords, a caring and dedicated public servant.

TOM BEARDEN:  And, at the White House this afternoon, President Obama again expressed remorse.

BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States:  Obviously, all of us are still grieving and in shock from the tragedy that took place.  Gabby Giffords and others are still fighting to recover.  Families are still absorbing the enormity of their losses.

We have a criminal investigation that is ongoing, and charges that no doubt will be brought against the perpetrator of this heinous crime.

TOM BEARDEN:  The shopping center where the shootings took place partially reopened this morning, but the crime scene itself is still surrounded by yellow tape.

FBI agents used metal detectors to comb through the gravel in the parking lot median looking for more evidence.  The accused shooter is maintaining his silence, according to police.  He made his first appearance in federal court in Phoenix.

Loughner made no statement, but answered questions from the judge and said he understood the charges against him.  He was ordered held without bail.  Authorities filed five counts against Loughner yesterday, including attempted assassination of a member of Congress.  More charges are expected.

Meanwhile, more details emerged about Loughner’s life before the shooting, with friends and fellow students painting the picture of a disturbed and paranoid social outcast.  He had a history of drug use and was rejected by the Army for failing a drug test when he attempted to join after high school in 2008.

This fall, he spiraled deeper, dropping out of community college after being cited for multiple disruptions and receiving a suspension in September.  Loughner was told he would need a mental health review before returning.

In a June 14 e-mail, a classmate wrote: “We have a mentally unstable person in the class.  He is one of those whose picture you see on the news after he has come into class with an automatic weapon.”

Prosecutors also said a letter found in a safe at the home where Loughner lived with his parents indicated he planned the rampage ahead of time.  The note contained the words, “I planned ahead, my assassination and Giffords’.”  There was also a letter from the congresswoman thanking Loughner for attending an event at a Tucson mall in 2007, indicating they had had previous contact.

?MDNM?CAITLIN ANN PARKER, Friend of Jared Lee Loughner:  He asked her some question that made absolutely no sense to me.  But he said: “I can’t believe she doesn’t understand it.  Politicians just don’t get it.”

TOM BEARDEN:  Also providing clues, several YouTube videos posted by Loughner featuring rambling text against a dark background.  In one, he described inventing a new U.S. currency and complained about illiteracy in Giffords’ Arizona congressional district.  And versions of MySpace page since pulled from the Internet included a mysterious “Goodbye friends” message published hours before the attack.  He also added, “Please don’t be mad at me.”

Saturday’s deadly shooting spree was not a surprise to one of Loughner’s neighbors.

MAN:  I told my mother I thought he was a serial killer the first time I saw him.

TOM BEARDEN:  Back in Washington, congressional business was postponed, including a vote scheduled this week to repeal the president’s health care law.

Democratic Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy of New York said she planned to introduce legislation in the coming days to limit access to the type of gun Loughner legally purchased, a Glock .9-millimeter handgun.

Nine-one-one calls released from the scene describe that weapon.

CALLER:  Looks like the guy had a semi-automatic pistol.  He went in.  He just started firing.  And then he ran.

CALLER:  She’s hit.  I do believe she’s breathing.  There’s multiple people shot.

911 OPERATOR:  OK.  Oh, my God.

TOM BEARDEN:  There was beefed-up security at Giffords’ office today, and federal law enforcement officials are planning a security briefing for members of Congress on Wednesday.

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

HRC Statement on Shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords

Reacting to the tragic shooting involving U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.  HRC President Joe Solmonese today released the following statement:

“We are shocked and saddened by the events involving Congresswoman Giffords and our hearts go out to her and the other victims of this awful tragedy.  Gabby Giffords is a champion for LGBT equality and a principled leader for Arizona.  We wish her a speedy recovery as our thoughts and prayers are with her family as well as with the families of all of those touched by today’s horrific violence.”


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  admin

Statement by President Obama on DOD Report on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary

____________________________________________________________________________

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 30, 2010

Statement by President Obama on DOD Report on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

As Commander in Chief, I have pledged to repeal the “don’t ask, don’t tell” law because it weakens our national security, diminishes our military readiness, and violates fundamental American principles of fairness and equality by preventing patriotic Americans who are gay from serving openly in our armed forces.  At the same time, as Commander in Chief, I am committed to ensuring that we understand the implications of this transition, and maintain good order and discipline within our military ranks. That is why I directed the Department of Defense earlier this year to begin preparing for a transition to a new policy.

Today’s report confirms that a strong majority of our military men and women and their families-more than two thirds-are prepared to serve alongside Americans who are openly gay and lesbian.  This report also confirms that, by every measure-from unit cohesion to recruitment and retention to family readiness-we can transition to a new policy in a responsible manner that ensures our military strength and national security. And for the first time since this law was enacted 17 years ago today, both the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have publicly endorsed ending this policy.

With our nation at war and so many Americans serving on the front lines, our troops and their families deserve the certainty that can only come when an act of Congress ends this discriminatory policy once and for all.  The House of Representatives has already passed the necessary legislation.  Today I call on the Senate to act as soon as possible so I can sign this repeal into law this year and ensure that Americans who are willing to risk their lives for their country are treated fairly and equally.  Our troops represent the virtues of selfless sacrifice and love of country that have enabled our freedoms. I am absolutely confident that they will adapt to this change and remain the best led, best trained, best equipped fighting force the world has ever known.  

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

Pentagon Releases Angry Statement: No Information to Be Released on ‘DADT’ Report Until They’re Ready

Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell released the following statement late today regarding leaking of information related to its report on 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' which appeared in a report earlier this week, as well as demands from activist groups to release the study early.

Gates "Secretary Gates is very concerned and extremely disappointed that unnamed sources within the Department of Defense have selectively revealed aspects of the draft findings of the Comprehensive Review Working Group, presumably to shape perceptions of the report prior to its release. 

"The Secretary launched this review in March to objectively ascertain the impact of potential repeal of the ‘Don't Ask, Don't Tell’ law on military readiness, effectiveness, recruiting, retention, unit cohesion and families. He made it clear then and throughout this process that it was ‘critical that this effort be carried out in a professional, thorough and dispassionate manner.’ He has also stated clearly that ‘given the political dimension of this issue, it is equally critical that…every effort be made to shield our men and women in uniform and their families from those aspects of this debate.’ 

"For nearly nine months the Working Group has operated in strict accordance to that mandate.  Anonymous sources now risk undermining the integrity of this process.   

"The Secretary strongly condemns the unauthorized release of information related to this report and has directed an investigation to establish who communicated with the Washington Post or any other news organization without authorization and in violation of Department policy and his specific instruction. 

"The full report will be made public for all to review early next month. Until then, no one at the Pentagon will comment on its contents.”

They certainly wouldn't want it to have any impact on DADT repeal passing in the lame duck Senate.


Towleroad News #gay

—  admin

Keith Olbermann – My thanks, wonder, gratitude, apology: A Statement to the Viewers of Countdown

Keith will be back on the air tomorrow. He released this statement to viewers.

A STATEMENT TO THE VIEWERS OF COUNTDOWN

by Keith Olbermann

I want to sincerely thank you for the honor of your extraordinary and ground-rattling support. Your efforts have been integral to the remedying of these recent events, and the results should remind us of the power of individuals spontaneously acting together to correct injustices great or small. I would also like to acknowledge with respect the many commentators and reporters, including those with whom my politics do not overlap, for their support.

I also wish to apologize to you viewers for having precipitated such anxiety and unnecessary drama. You should know that I mistakenly violated an inconsistently applied rule – which I previously knew nothing about – that pertains to the process by which such political contributions are approved by NBC. Certainly this mistake merited a form of public acknowledgment and/or internal warning, and an on-air discussion about the merits of limitations on such campaign contributions by all employees of news organizations. Instead, after my representative was assured that no suspension was contemplated, I was suspended without a hearing, and learned of that suspension through the media.

You should also know that I did not attempt to keep any of these political contributions secret; I knew they would be known to you and the rest of the public. I did not make them through a relative, friend, corporation, PAC, or any other intermediary, and I did not blame them on some kind of convenient ‘mistake’ by their recipients. When a website contacted NBC about one of the donations, I immediately volunteered that there were in fact three of them; and contrary to much of the subsequent reporting, I immediately volunteered to explain all this, on-air and off, in the fashion MSNBC desired.

I genuinely look forward to rejoining you on Countdown on Tuesday, to begin the repayment of your latest display of support and loyalty – support and loyalty that is truly mutual.

–K.O.

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

HRC Releases Statement on New York City Hate Crimes

Today, Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, issued the following statement on the news that a group of nine men reportedly beat, sodomized, and robbed two men and attacked a third for being gay:

“It is tragic to see what hate can do. These three men were brutally attacked and sodomized simply for who they are. Authorities must vigorously prosecute the perpetrators of these hateful crimes. Unfortunately, these crimes come on the heels of several other recently reported hate crimes in New York City. These crimes only emphasize the need for strong federal and state hate crimes laws.”


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  John Wright

Sec. of Education issues statement on recent gay suicides

It’s a good strong statement. At first I was impressed. Then I read Geoff Kors’ response, and Geoff is right. You can’t be against intolerance “in all its forms” when your own administration supports intolerance.

And it’s not just marriage.  The Obama administration is opposing our civil rights in court case after court case.  And before anyone says “they have no choice,” remember last year when the Obama administration refused to even sit down with our community’s lawyers to talk through DOMA?

STATEMENT BY U.S. SECRETARY OF EDUCATION ARNE DUNCAN On the Recent Deaths of Two Young Men

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today released the following statement:

“This week, we sadly lost two young men who took their own lives for one unacceptable reason: they were being bullied and harassed because they were openly gay or believed to be gay. These unnecessary tragedies come on the heels of at least three other young people taking their own lives because the trauma of being bullied and harassed for their actual or perceived sexual orientation was too much to bear.

“This is a moment where every one of us – parents, teachers, students, elected officials, and all people of conscience – needs to stand up and speak out against intolerance in all its forms. Whether it’s students harassing other students because of ethnicity, disability or religion; or an adult, public official harassing the President of the University of Michigan student body because he is gay, it is time we as a country said enough. No more. This must stop.”

And here is Geoff Kors’ statement:

Equality California Executive Director Geoff Kors writes to this list:

“If the Administration truly wants harassment and bullying to stop our self proclaimed ‘fierce advocate’ needs to stop saying he opposes true equality as his opposition to marriage equality sends a message that our relationships and LGBT people are not deserving of the same protections as he and the majority enjoy. What kind of message does that send to LGBT youth or to those who might harass them?”

I’ve said it before. Had the Obama administration been our fierce advocate on our top issues, had they repealed DADT, signed ENDA into law, and repealed DOMA – hell, had they done even one of those things – I think people might look at this statement from the Secretary of Education as historic.

But it’s not historic, because it’s all we’re going to get as our young people keep killing themselves: Words.

Want to show you care? Do something.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  John Wright

Obama admin statement – via the Dept of Education – about two of the rash of suicides

As we have been mulling about the silence by the White House about the rash of suicides today, it’s interesting to receive this in a late Friday afternoon dead drop.

Statement by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on the Recent Deaths of Two Young Men

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today released the following statement:

“This week, we sadly lost two young men who took their own lives for one unacceptable reason: they were being bullied and harassed because they were openly gay or believed to be gay. These unnecessary tragedies come on the heels of at least three other young people taking their own lives because the trauma of being bullied and harassed for their actual or perceived sexual orientation was too much to bear.

“This is a moment where every one of us – parents, teachers, students, elected officials, and all people of conscience – needs to stand up and speak out against intolerance in all its forms. Whether it’s students harassing other students because of ethnicity, disability or religion; or an adult, public official harassing the President of the University of Michigan student body because he is gay, it is time we as a country said enough. No more. This must stop.”

Michael Petrelis has been asking for statements from the admin. One from Kevin Jennings materialized:

From the Desk of Kevin Jennings

As is the case for most of those reading this message, I have been horrified by the recent media coverage of student suicides prompted by bullying. I am fortunate to have a boss who is just as horrified and today made the below statement.

I hope each of you will consider ways you can help bring bullying to an end and urge you to check out www.bullyinginfo.org for useful resources in so doing.

Kevin

“His boss” being Arne Duncan. He’s put in a request to see if the LGBT liaison, Brian Bond in the Office of Public Engagement has any comment on the issue. I’ll keep you updated if a statement surfaces.

Then I received a press release entitled “ACF awards grants to reduce long-term foster care” from the WH Communications Office that seemed a weird one-off to stem the criticism that the Obama admin “doesn’t care.” This passage was highlighted in the email:

Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Community Services Center, which will create a county-wide system of care to address barriers to permanency and well-being for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning children and youth that are in or at-risk of placement in foster care, placement in the juvenile justice system, or homelessness.

You can read the full release about the LA award below the fold.

It’s really not about whether the administration cares; it’s about leadership and recognizing a crisis that concerns families across the country. When the rash of school shootings, including the tragedy at Columbine, it seemed every elected official had something to say, legislation to consider, and outreach to discuss the breakdown that caused them. Any WH, not just the Obama admin, has to consider that it has a role to play to reassure families that it is listening. Silence is not good for PR or for leadership.

Anyway, do you all have any thoughts about these statements from the administration departments?

HHS Awards Landmark .3 Million Grant to Fund L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center’s

Development of Model Program to Serve LGBTQ Foster Youth

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 1, 2010-Today the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center was awarded a landmark .3 million, five-year grant from the Federal Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) Administration on Children, Youth and Families to create a model program that will provide life-saving support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth in the foster care system.  Following a highly competitive review process, six grants were awarded-the Center’s grant is the only one specifically to support LGBTQ youth and the only grant that did not go to a government agency or academic institution.  It’s also the largest federal grant ever awarded to an LGBT organization.

The need for services for LGBT youth in foster care is dire.  According to a 2001 (Feinstein) study, 78% of LGBTQ foster youth were forced to leave their foster placements due to hostility related to their sexual orientation or gender identity.  In a 2001 study from the National Center for Lesbian Rights, 70% reported physical violence and 100% reported harassment in their group home.  Gay and Lesbian Adolescent Social Services (GLASS), the only group home for LGBTQ foster youth in Los Angeles, closed its doors in 2008 (with its displaced residents turning to the Center for much-needed support).

“LGBTQ youth who aren’t living on the streets because of a hostile home environment are often in the foster care system,” said Lorri L. Jean, chief executive officer of the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center.  ”Many are rejected by foster parents and move from home to home or are considered unadoptable and live in overburdened group homes.  In either case, they’re more likely to turn to turn to drugs and crime, engage in unprotected sex, or commit suicide-and when they age out of the system at 18, they’re coming to us homeless.  This landmark grant will fund the development of a much-needed, model program to protect the health and well-being of LGBTQ foster youth-a program that will save lives, save taxpayer dollars, and could be replicated in cities around the country.”

By developing and leading a 19 organization collaborative that will include foster care agencies, researchers and government departments, the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center will create a comprehensive system of  care to help LGBTQ youth stay in school, and in homes where they feel safe and welcomed, until adulthood.  The collaborative will include: foster care agencies, researchers, Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), the Los Angeles Unified School District and government agencies, including: Los Angeles County’s departments of Children and Family Services, Mental Health, Probation and Juvenile Court.

“The public systems across the country that are charged with the care and well-being of children and adolescents have largely been unresponsive or slow to acknowledge the needs of LGBTQ youth, and in some cases even hostile” said L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center Chief of Staff Darrel Cummings, who led the team that developed the grant proposal.  ”As a result, these systems deliver misguided, uninformed, and ultimately second-class care that harms LGBTQ youth in their custody.  All too often they’re housed in isolation ‘for their own safety,’ blamed for being harassed because they’re open about their sexual orientation or gender identity, or disciplined for engaging in age-appropriate conduct that would not be punishable were it between youth of different sexes.  It’s the system that’s harming them and we’ve got to change that.”

Key features of the program will include research, evaluation and documentation.   “We will be recording, studying, and analyzing the program carefully,” said Cummings.  ”We want to know what works for our youth and when we learn it, we will document the success so that our program can be duplicated around the country.”

The Center’s proposal to HHS was enthusiastically endorsed by: the Los Angeles Juvenile Court, the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, County of Los Angeles Probation Department, Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services, Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaraslovsky and Hathaway-Sycamore Child and Family Services.

The L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center is a national leader in serving and advocating for LGBTQ youth.  In addition to a 24-bed transitional living program, where homeless youth (ages 18-24) can live for up to 18 months while developing the skills and resources to live independently, the Center operates the Jeff Griffith Youth Center, which provides meals, emergency beds, clothing, counseling and support services to youth seven days a week.   And to support the healthy development of LGBTQ youth, the Center’s LifeWorks program offers: mentoring by specially trained adults, peer-support programs, college scholarships, social activities and much more.

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

Watch: Men Making Fashion Statement Attack Gay Marriage

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My, the "traditional marriage" supporters in Harrisburg, PA are colorful and coordinated.

NOM Tour Tracker photographed this group from the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property on NOM's penultimate stop in Pennsylvania.

They also interviewed the group's lead twink, who is adamant about his definition of a family.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP

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Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright