DC Council bans conversion therapy

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Samantha Ames

The District of Columbia Council today (Tuesday, Dec. 2), unanimously approved a bill protecting LGBT youth from the practice of conversion therapy. When the statute is signed into law, Washington, D.C., will become the third jurisdiction, behind California and New Jersey, to ban conversion therapy, also called reparative therapy, a discredited practice intended to turn gay people straight.

Samantha Ames, staff attorney for National Center for Lesbian Rights and coordinator of NCLR’s Born Perfect campaign, praised the council’s vote.

“The DC Council sent a powerful message to LGBT youth and their families that they are accepted, supported, and loved,” Ames said. “The Council has used its authority to protect our most vulnerable youth from dangerous and discredited pseudoscience that tells them who they are is wrong, and reaffirmed the consensus of every major medical and mental health organization that all children are born perfect, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

The bill — the Youth Mental Health Protection Act — was authored by Councilmember Mary M. Cheh and supported by a broad coalition of organization that included NCLR, other LGBT organizations, mental health organizations, faith leaders, youth advocates, reproductive justice groups and civil rights organizations.

—  Tammye Nash

If you like it build a museum to it, Houston may get Beyoncé monument

I'm sure the plans for the failed 555 ft "Spirit of Houston" statue are still in a drawer somewhere. Just make it more bootylicious and put a ring on it.

Hometown heroes have always been honored with monuments; from Hannibal, Missouri’s Mark Twain Museum to Cleveland’s memorial to President Garfield, from Atchison, Kansas’ Amelia Earhart museum, to Concord, Ohio’s John Glenn historic site. Pity Houston! Which scion of our fair burg will rise up from the shackles of obscurity to clasp the liberty of immortality that only a dedicated monument can bring?

Beyoncé Knowles, that’s who, at least according to two men who skyped with Fox 26 and are expecting the Mayor to endorse their plans any day now. Steve White and Marcus Mitchell of Armdeonce Ventures say they want to honor the newly minted musical mother with a “statue or museum.” According to Mitchell,

““Our biggest thing is a lot of people get honored when they die, so our goal is to why not honor people why they’re still here? We felt as though it’s her time to be honored. We wanted to construct, like, a massive hall so as the doors open, if you donated to the monument, you’ll have a separate nameplate.”

Armdeonce Ventures has offices in Baltimore, Washington D.C. and Houston according to it’s website. The Beyoncé Monument is the only project currently listed on the site.

Watch the Fox 26 interview with the visionary twosome after the break.

—  admin

Proposed divorce law could make D.C. the marriage destination of choice for gay Texans

Mrs. Barry Herridge

The straights have a new poster child for traditional marriage.

Sinead O’Connor ended her marriage to therapist Barry Herridge after 16 days. She said she knew the marriage was doomed just three hours after the ceremony.

But she still made it to 16 days. Maybe she needs to see a therapist. Oh wait … maybe she just needs to blame it on the gays.

But at least she will be able to end her marriage — no matter where she lives.

The Washington D.C. city council will take up a same-sex divorce ordinance in January, according to the Washington Post. The bill has the support of eight out of 13 city council members.

The problem, according to the city’s leaders, is that anyone can marry in D.C., but only residents can file for divorce there.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has done his part to deny marriage to same-sex couples by preventing them from getting divorced. One case in which he intervened involves a Dallas couple that was married in Massachusetts. Currently all 50 states and D.C. have a residency requirement for divorce.

With the attorney general’s intervention, the Dallas couple remains married, three years after beginning the process of divorce.

Should the D.C. law pass, couples married in that city will be able to divorce there, no matter where they live. Abbott will be unable to prevent Texas couples married there from divorcing there.

But O’Connor will be able to get divorced wherever she lives. And her 16-day marriage will be considered “traditional.”

—  David Taffet

3rd trans person shot in D.C. since July

Police in Washington, D.C. are investigating the shooting of a transgender person that occurred just after 2 a.m. this morning in the Southeast area of the city, according to The Washington Post.

The Post report indicates that the victim survived the shooting and was conscious when transported by ambulance to the hospital. The article does not say whether the victim was a woman or a man.

The shooting marks the third time since late July that a trans person has been shot on a D.C. street by unknown assailants. On July 20, Lashay Mclean was walking in the 6100 block of Dix Street, in the city’s northeast area, with a friend when the were approached by two men, one of who asked Mclean a question and then shot and killed Mclean before she could answer. Eleven days later, another trans woman was walking on Dix Street, about a block away from where Mclean was killed, when she was approached by a man who asked for money and then, without waiting for a response, pulled a gun and fired at the woman. The shot missed and the woman was uninjured.

Police are still investigating whether the three shootings are related.

In addition, an off-duty D.C. Metropolitan Police Department officer has been arrested for an Aug. 29 incident in which he got into an argument with a group that included two trans woman. He later stood on the hood of the group’s car and fired multiple times through the windshiled. One man in the car — said to be the brother of one of the trans women — was injured in the attack.

The officer, 20-year veteran Kenneth Furr, is alleged to have been drunk at the time of the attack, and trans advocates who spoke to the victims said the argument started when Furr propositioned one of the trans women and then got angry when she turned him down.

D.C. police are also investigating an incident in which a transgender woman was found dead with trauma to her face on Saturday.

—  admin

THE NOONER: Arlington pastor who believes Antichrist is gay endorses Perry’s day of prayer

Your lunchtime quickie from Instant Tea:

• Dwight McKissic, Arlington pastor who says the Antichrist will be gay, endorses Rick Perry’s day of prayer.

• Transgender woman fatally shot in Washington, D.C.

• Ghana minister orders arrest of all gays.

• Gay “barbarians” glitter-bomb Marcus Bachmann’s “ex-gay” clinic.

• Students sue Minnesota school district over policy requiring staff to remain neutral on sexual orientation.

—  John Wright

President Obama coming to Texas

President Barack Obama

According to an email I got today from the White House Press Secretary’s office, President Obama is headed to Texas next week.

The president will travel to El Paso next Tuesday, May 10, and then will stop in Austin before heading back to Washington, D.C.

Although the “official” email from the press secretary’s office said details on the visit would be released when they become available, an Associated Press report published today by the Houston Chronicle indicates that the president is visiting Chamizal National Memorial on the U.S.-Mexico border near El Paso, and Julie Hillrichs with the Texas Border Coalition said her group, which represents mayors, county judges and economic development commissions in the border area, hopes the president will address border security issues during the trip.

According to the National Parks Service’s website, “The Chamizal Convention of 1963 was a milestone in diplomatic relations between Mexico and the United States. Chamizal National Memorial was established to commemorate this treaty, which resulted in the peaceful settlement of a century-long boundary dispute. The Memorial provides visitors with an opportunity to better understand the culture of our borderland.”

The AP report also says President Obama will be stopping in Austin for a fundraiser while he is in the Lone Star State. He’s likely to get a relatively warm welcome in Austin, which is the most liberal city in Texas. But folks in other areas — and maybe even some Austinites — might not be too happy to see him, considering the Obama administration just turned down the state’s plea for a major disaster declaration in the wake of wildfires that have destroyed more than 400 homes and some 2.2 million acres since last November.

—  admin

What’s Brewing: Man confesses to murder of gay activist in Uganda; equality under attack in Utah

David Kato

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. A man has confessed to the murder of Ugandan gay-rights activist David Kato, who was beaten to death with a hammer in his home last week. If you’ll remember, Kato had been outed by an anti-gay newspaper that called for him to be killed, and had received death threats since then. But the government-sanctioned cover-up is well under way: An anonymous police source is telling the media that the suspect killed Kato because he failed to pay him for sex.

2. Speaking of Uganda, the U.S.-based group that’s been linked to “kill gays” legislation in that country, the Fellowship, was also the sponsor of this morning’s National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C., which was attended by President Barack Obama, among others. The LGBT direct action group GetEQUAL protested outside the event.

3. And sticking with this morning’s theme of religious-based bigotry and oppressive regimes, a Utah GOP lawmaker has filed legislation that LGBT advocates say would gut local nondiscrimination ordinances and nullify directives between same-sex partners.

—  John Wright

A week before the Super Bowl, gay candidate kicks off City Council bid in host city Arlington

Hightower in his fourth-grade Hill Highlander uniform.

A week before Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, openly gay Realtor Chris Hightower is set to kick off his campaign for the District 5 seat on the City Council.

According to the Washington, D.C.-based Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, which has endorsed Hightower, he would be the first openly gay city councilmember in Arlington’s history.

Chris Hightower

Hightower is an Arlington native who is the son of former Democratic State Rep. Paula Pierson. He lives with his partner in the historic “azalea house” at Park Row and Davis, according to his campaign website:

I am running for City Council because I love Arlington,” Hightower writes. “From the classrooms of my childhood to the elected offices of today, I have witnessed firsthand what good can come from the hard work of those who care about our hometown. They have made this city into the place that I love. Now, it is time for my generation to step forward and provide leadership for our city’s future just as the generations before us have. It is my hope that children living in Arlington today choose to stay here and raise their families — not because they see the great things I saw in our city while I was growing up, but because they saw something even better.”

Hightower is trying to unseat District 5 incumbent Lana Wolff, who is seeking a fifth term on the council. Other candidates expected to run in District 5 include attorney Terry Meza and UTA student Christopher McCain.

According to his Facebook page, Hightower will host a kickoff party at 7 p.m. this Saturday, Jan. 29 at 2316 Woodsong Trail in Arlington.

He becomes the second candidate from Texas endorsed by the Victory Fund this year, joining Fort Worth Councilman Joel Burns, who’s seeking re-election to his District 9 seat.

The other known openly gay candidate in North Texas is James Nowlin, who plans to run for the District 14 seat on the Dallas City Council if incumbent Angela Hunt steps down to run for mayor.

—  John Wright

What’s Brewing: Sarah Palin; Ron Natinsky; high court rejects challenge to D.C. gay marriage law

1. Sarah Palin is, not surprisingly, totally unapologetic (video above). In her first interview since the Tucson shooting (if you call an appearance on Fox News an interview), Palin says she’s been falsely accused of being an accessory to murder (her words, not ours). But Palin says she’s not going to let that lie live. No sir, she’s not going to sit down or shut up. In fact, the only reason the map with the rifle crosshairs was removed from her PAC’s website after the shooting is that some graphic artist decided on his own to take it down. But Palin’s not really even sure whether it’s been taken down or not. Besides, everyone uses those maps, just like everyone knows what “blood libel” means, you stupid media people. You probably think she should just say the two words that any decent human being would say after a tragedy like this — “I’m sorry.” Silly you.

2. District 12 Dallas City Councilman Ron Natinsky confirmed that he plans to run for mayor. Although he represents a conservative district in far North Dallas, Natinsky has been fairly supportive of the LGBT community, and he’s been endorsed in the past by the Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance.

3. BREAKING: The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected an appeal by a group seeking to overturn same-sex marriage in Washington, D.C.

—  John Wright

WATCH: Associated Press on gay Skype wedding

The Associated Press has posted this concise video wrap-up about a gay Dallas couple’s recent Skype wedding, which was subsequently declared invalid by the Superior Court in Washington, D.C. CNN also posted follow-up story about the wedding over the weekend. And to think it all started right here on Instant Tea.

—  John Wright