What’s Brewing: HIV/AIDS progam not a priority for Texas Senate panel; Target sues gay group

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. Things aren’t looking good for the Texas program that provides life-sustaining drugs to 14,000 low-income people with HIV/AIDS. The Texas HIV Medication Program, which needs an additional $19.2 million from the Legislature over the next two years, was not among the top priorities listed by a Senate budget panel that made its recommendations Thursday. If the Legislature doesn’t provide the money, the program will have to cut off enrollment or otherwise restrict access. “We’re basically making a decision regarding who lives and who dies,” said Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Houston, who voted against the panel’s recommendations.

2. Servicemembers United reports that 261 people service members were discharged under “don’t ask, don’t tell” in 2010. “While this latest official discharge number represents an all-time annual low, it is still unusually high considering that the Secretary of Defense issued a directive half-way through the fiscal year to make it much harder for military units to discharge troops under ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’” said Alexander Nicholson, executive director of Servicemembers United. “Despite this law clearly being on its deathbed at the time, 261 more careers were terminated and 261 more lives were abruptly turned upside down because this policy.”

3. Target is suing an LGBT group in San Diego to stop it from gathering petitions in support of marriage equality outside eight of the retailer’s stores. Target says the group, Canvass for a Cause, is bothering customers, but the group says the company has anti-gay motives. Arguments in the case are set to begin today.

—  John Wright

What’s (also) Brewing: Lady Gaga nixes Target deal

Metro Weekly has reported that Lady Gaga has ended her new relationship with Target. Gaga was in talks with the retailer to release an exclusive edition of her upcoming album as well as negotiating their stance on donations to anti-gay politicians, but apparently that has dissolved. The report says no further details were available.

—  Rich Lopez

Anti-gay Walmart to add 12 stores in Dallas

Walmart plans to open 12 new stores in Dallas, according to a celebratory press release sent out by Mayor Tom Leppert’s office earlier today.

Unfortunately, the LGBT community doesn’t have much reason to celebrate.

Walmart scores a dismal 40 out of 100 on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index, based on the company’s treatment of LGBT workers.

The world’s largest retailer was docked 15 points on the CEI for resisting shareholder efforts to add gender identity to it employment nondiscrimination policy. According to HRC, Walmart and ExxonMobil Corp. are the only two top 10 companies that have yet to add gender identity to their nondiscrimination policies.

Also, unlike the majority of Fortune 500 companies, Wal-Mart doesn’t offer domestic partner benefits to its employees except where required by law.

Walmart withdrew its support for LGBT organizations in 2007 after conservative Christian groups threatened a boycott. And in 2008, CEO Mike Duke signed a petition in support of banning gay adoption in Arkansas.

In other words, we’d rather shop at Target.

The city’s full press release is after the jump.

—  John Wright

Let’s Hear A Homosexual Executive At Target Defend The Company’s Reputation With The Gays

Daniel Duty is the Director of Enterprise Strategy at Target. In 1992, Duty was appointed by Target's CEO as a co-sponsor of the company's LGBT business council. Duty provides an insider's perspective on being gay at Target and how the company overcame public and media backlash for supporting a candidate that opposed gay rights. Here, he discusses the clusterfuck that is Target's relationship with the LGBT community after it donated money in a failed attempt to elect proud bigot Tom Emmer governor of Minnesota.

What is it like to be gay at Target? What is the general attitude towards LGBT people?

Duty: It's funny that you ask that question. I couldn't imagine working anywhere else as a gay person. I've had a fantastic career here for the last 10 years. I started many, many pay grades below where I am today. Target has been nothing but supportive of me and my career. As an out gay man who has been advocating very intentionally both inside and outside the company for inclusiveness, the only things that I've gotten back from Target are praise, reward, and support. And you could hear that story from people across this company, because I talk to them all the time.

CONTINUED »


Permalink | 1 comment | Add to del.icio.us


Tagged: , , , ,

Queerty

—  David Taffet

What’s Brewing: Cop resigns over anti-gay posts; gay spider monkeys to get Valentine’s Day treat

Elton and David, gay spider monkeys

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. A sheriff’s lieutenant in Colorado has resigned after he was caught posting racist and anti-gay comments on news websites using his work computer. For example, here’s what Lt. Jeff Engor of the Douglas County sheriff’s department wrote below a story about the repeal of “don’t ask don’t tell” in December: “New miltary [sic] slogans: The few, the queer, the Marines! Butt Rangers lead the way! Be as gay as you can be! Aim for a high hard one, Air Force! Join the Navy, see naked men!” There’s no word on whether Engor was simultaneously crusing Manhunt on the same computer.

2. A zoo in the UK is preparing a special Valentine’s Day treat for two gay spider monkeys. The monkeys, who share an enclosure, have been a couple since last March and have since been renamed Elton and David, after Elton John and his partner. For their first Valentine’s Day together, the zoo has announced that it will be giving the monkeys a romantic meal of fruit and nuts. Wow, talk about a brilliant marketing scheme. No one had even heard of these monkeys before!

3. As we noted below, our new so-called anthem, Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way,” was released this morning. But seriously, and we don’t mean to sound like haters here, but if it’s really a gay anthem, why is Gaga partnering for the release with Target?

—  John Wright

Useless headline of the day: Do teachers sometimes help target gay students?

Like there is a “no” option for this question?! (Montgomery Advertiser):

The 13-year-old Montgomery stu?dent expected to be bullied for being gay, but didn’t expect his teacher to encourage it.

He said that when a teacher ridi?culed him in class, telling him to “quit acting like a girl and start act?ing like a boy,” he was too stunned to react. When the local junior high school student talked to his mother about it, she hired an attorney who wrote a letter of complaint to the Montgomery school district.

The district’s staff attorney re?sponded in a letter that the teacher’s comment had been misrepresented and taking out of context and was not meant to be offensive.

“We wanted a written apology to my son and myself and we never got it,” said La’Daytra Walker, mother of the boy. “We received the state?ment from the staff attorney at the school, but they didn’t apologize.

And this is why headlines like the above are ridiculous. There are studies bearing out the fact that those in the best position to help bullied teens in many cases only jump in on the bullying.

After the publicity that fol?lowed several well-publi?cized cases of gays who com?mitted suicide after being bullied, research has been re?leased showing that authori?ty figures often either take part in the bullying or allow it:


* A Yale University study published this week found that gay teens are more like?ly than their straight peers to be punished for the same bad behavior. The study reports that gay and lesbian teens suffer at the hands of teach?ers, police and the courts.

* In Minnesota, an Anoka-Hennepin School District teacher who was accused of harassing a student he thought was gay is suing the state because the Depart?ment of Human Rights dis?closed his name in a report about the investigation. Walter Filson filed suit against the state of Minneso?ta in late December. Filson was one of two teachers ac?cused of harassing Alex Mer?ritt, who is not gay. Merritt got a ,000 settlement from the school district in 2009.

* A teenage activist noti?fied officials at every school in Arizona that they need to put a stop to the bullying of gay and lesbian students or face a lawsuit, according to the Arizona Republic. Caleb Laieski, 15, e-mailed the let?ter to more than 5,000 school administrators, city-council members and state lawmak?ers demanding improved measures to fight discrimi?nation.

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

Marring me without a why: ‘Protect marriage’ talking points target people. Period.

There are many places where the conservative Christian arguments against civil marriage equality fall short. Here’s one, courtesy of a Rhode Island Catholic editorial:

Screen Shot 2011-01-24 At 3.02.46 PmThe redefinition of marriage does not merely allow different understandings of matrimony, but forces everyone else to accept this dramatically altered conception of marriage and family in schools, law and in our public language. This recently occurred when the federal government reissued passport applications for children, removing the words “Father” and “Mother” and replacing them with “Parent 1” and “Parent 2.”

A time to protect and preserve marriage [RI Catholic]

To see where this falls short, one need not even support marriage equality. For a second, forget all of the merits of marital fairness and recognizing all families equally. Pretend you are a social conservative who wants to stop gay marriage. Pretend you feel a religious commitment to stopping “different understandings of matrimony.” Pretend you wrote the above editorial.

You there? Okay, good. But even in that role play, your argument will still fall short. Because the passport application change didn’t happen because we have legalized same-sex marriage in all fifty states and on a federal level. We obviously don’t. We only have legal marriage in a handful of locales (either performed at home or via out-of-state recognition) and we have no matrimonial equality on the federal platform. So the vast majority of Americans who benefit from this passport change aren’t going to benefit because they are legally married/have legally married parents. No, no — they will benefit because they have an American family structure that is something other than a limited, heteronormative construction! For this particular conversation, marriage is completely ancillary. Yet for the Rhode Island Catholic‘s editorial team, it’s a key “protect marriage” bullet point.

We see this same sort of thing in marriage campaigns. Professional fear-mongers love to cite examples of “child indoctrination,” but often from places and times where marriage equality did not exist. Even so, you’ll still hear them claim that simple non-discrimination or anti-bullying measures (for just two examples) are direct products of wither realized or proposed marriage equality. BUT NO! No, no, no, no, no! Just like with the current passport change, the vast majority of our federal, state, and local LGBT protections/benefits/ordinances/proclamations have happened in a marriage-equality-less world. The benefits and protections and progress come, first and foremost, because of people. Human beings. Citizens and taxpayers. Not any one political movement.

It’s all just another reason why, if you pull the thread in the way we “culture war” watchers do, you simply cannot disconnect the anti-LGBT political fight from the human beings that are targeted within. You dig one hole, you find a group trying to “change” gay folk. You dig in another place, you find someone accusing gays of being “enemies of the body.” You dig somewhere else, you see how the distaste for gay family recognition runs well beyond marriage licensing and right onto passport applications as well.

You dig most anywhere, you find many a personal dig.




Good As You

—  admin

Atlanta-Area Man Says He’s Target of Anti-Gay Arson Attack

Staples

An Atlanta-area man says he was targeted in an arson attack after he received a rock thrown through his window with a note containing anti-gay threats.

WSBTV reports: Chris_staples

"Chris Staples said someone threw a rock through his window with a piece of paper attached that was covered in anti-gay slurs. "I was watching TV and just finished smoking a cigarette and I heard this big thud. Boom!" Staples told Channel 2’s George Howell.  

The rock had a threatening note attached. "It said, ‘we know you're gay. And God hates gays. You won't be raping anybody in the county and God's going to make sure that you burn in hell.’ And something about my daddy… my daddy will make sure you burn in hell,"

Then hours later, he woke up to flames filling his bedroom. Channel 2 Action News reporter Amanda Cook spoke with Staples mother about the Sunday fire.

“We are just lost,” said Staples' mother, who did not want to be identified. His mother said she heard a commotion and saw fire coming from her son’s house next door. She said she ran out to find Staples lying in the yard. She said she thought he was dead. “The house was black. And all I could see was an orange glow behind my head," Staples said.

Here's a slideshow of the damage.

Here's a video news interview of Staples.


Towleroad News #gay

—  admin

HRC releases list of best places to work

The Human Rights Campaign released a new list this week of the Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality.

The Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality distinction is awarded to businesses that scored 100 percent on HRC Foundation’s 2011 Corporate Equality Index. The list is larger this year than ever, although companies like Target and Best Buy that were on the list last year were removed because of political donations to anti-LGBT organizations.

The list includes a several DFW-based companies including American Airlines, Brinker International, JC Penney and Texas Instruments.

The list includes more obvious categories in service sectors like airlines, retail and hospitality but also includes several industries not seen as being in the forefront of equal rights. Waste Management Inc. of Houston is among those rated as a best place to work, as is mining and metals company Alcoa.

A new project was launched to get more Houston-based Fortune 500 companies to participate in the CEI Index. Only nine of 29 Houston-based Fortune 500 companies participate.

—  David Taffet

Vandals Target Gay Newspaper Xtra in Vancouver

The Canadian gay newspaper Xtra, which publishes in Toronto, Ottawa, and Vancouver, says more than a dozen of its newspaper boxes have been destroyed by homophobic vandals in Vancouver:

Xtra This is "far and above what we've experienced in the past," he says. "This we find quite alarming."

"The energy that's required, the persistence to rip out a part that is very deliberately anchored in, suggests that this person has some significant issues," Kirkby says. "Somebody walking the streets out there has a real hate-on for the gay and lesbian community."

"I understand that people are not targeting Xtra with this; they're targeting the gay community. We're just a stand-in for the community," he says.

Among the stand-alone street boxes, only Xtra was attacked, Kirkby notes. But in at least one multiple publication box on Hornby St the only other gay publication, LOV magazine, was also targeted, its clip ripped out in the same way. No other publication was touched.

To systematically rip out the clips on 14 gay publication boxes from Gastown to English Bay suggests an obsession, Kirkby says, concerned the fury may escalate.

The Globe and Mail adds:

Ken Coolen, president of the Vancouver Pride Society, called the actions “cowardly.”

“It’s frustrating and it’s disappointing. We’re going into 2011,” he said. “It sounds like one or a group of people who are homophobic and looking at a way to lash out against the gay community. I guess this is a way of them doing it without thinking they’re going to be in as much trouble.”

Constable Jana McGuinness, a spokeswoman for the Vancouver Police Department, said while it’s too early to call the vandalism a hate crime, “it certainly does look targeted.”

The Vancouver Police Department and Crime Stoppers are taking tips at 1-800-222-8477.


Towleroad News #gay

—  admin