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North Carolina governor trails in re-election bid

Sun, 13 Nov 2016 00:15:07 UT

RALEIGH, N.C. — The Trump train that carried Republicans to victory all over the South may have left one car behind in North Carolina — Gov. Pat McCrory, who trails by a few thousand votes in a still too-close-to-call race that played out amid anger over the state’s transgender bathroom law. The law limiting LGBT rights appeared to have a substantial role in the election day contest between McCrory, who signed the measure and vigorously defended it against boycotts and other protests, and Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper, who called for its repeal. In 2012, McCrory received 170,000 more votes than Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. The measure, known as House Bill 2, requires transgender people to use restrooms in schools and government buildings that correspond to the gender on their birth certificate.



Fate of defense bill tied to fight over gay rights

Fri, 11 Nov 2016 21:56:44 UT

WASHINGTON — Congressional Republicans and Democrats will have to bridge a vast cultural divide over an issue that has nothing to do with bullets and bombs to complete a must-pass defense policy bill. A key sticking point in the negotiations during the upcoming lame-duck session is a House-passed provision that Senate Democrats say would undercut protections against workplace discrimination based on sexual or gender orientation. Keep it in and Democrats could mobilize to block the defense bill, which authorizes spending for military programs that range from jet fighters to a pay raise for the troops. The provision requires any U.S. government office to provide protections and exemptions “to any religious corporation, religious association, religious educational institution, or religious society that is a recipient of or offeror” for a federal contract. Forty Senate Democrats plus two independents wrote in a letter last month that the provision would amount to government-sponsored discrimination by permitting religiously affiliated federal contractors to refuse to interview a job candidate whose faith differs from theirs and to fire employees who marry their same-sex partners or use birth control.



Taiwan set to legalize same-sex marriage, a 1st in Asia

Thu, 10 Nov 2016 21:07:13 UT

By contrast, either partner in a legally recognized marriage could make legal, medical and educational decisions, she says. About 80 percent of Taiwanese between ages 20 and 29 support same-sex marriage, said Tseng Yen-jung, spokeswoman for the group Taiwan LGBT Family Rights Advocacy, citing local university studies. The self-ruled island also lacks many openly gay and lesbian celebrities to lead the way; the writer and television talk show host Kevin Tsai is among the few exceptions. Taiwan would join Canada, Colombia, Ireland, the United States and 16 other countries that have legalized same-sex marriage over the past 15 years, according to the Human Rights Campaign, a Washington, D.C., group that advocates for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights.



Fear, secrecy and danger a way of life for Afghan gays

Mon, 7 Nov 2016 22:47:09 UT

Both men use fake names among gay friends and said none of their relatives or colleagues know the truth about their sexuality. Meeting other gay men is difficult as there are no regular gathering places, and the need to be discreet means developing relationships is almost impossible, they said. Naveed, 24, said he recently turned up at one of Kabul’s major hotels to get together with a man he’d met in a doctor’s waiting room who had asked for his phone number. In Afghanistan’s conservative, religious society, sex outside marriage and same-sex sexual activity are illegal. “Pederasty,” which is understood to refer to sodomy or sex between an adult man and a boy, is punishable by 5 to 20 years in prison, according to the Justice Ministry. Pressure to conform can cause profound distress, and “creates a lot of psychological problems for the person themselves and their families,” said Khalil Rahman Sarwary, a psychology lecturer at Kabul University. When the exact needs of a person are not being fulfilled, when a homosexual man is forced to marry and have children, it can lead to terrible unhappiness, divorce, even violence within the family. “Bacha bazi” is a culturally sanctioned form of pedophilia, in which preteen boys — many from poor families, often sold into the practice — are sponsored by powerful and wealthy men to dress as girls and dance for parties of mostly middle-aged men. Yet the “bacha baz,” as the sponsors are known, are rarely punished for the years of abuse they commit against the dancing boys, and it is not unusual to see older men in public with their young sex slaves. While the boys themselves can carry the stigma of their dancing days throughout their lives, their sponsors, most of them married with children, are not regarded as homosexual, and their actions are often justified with the saying “women are for children, boys are for fun.” Like the other gay men who spoke to the Associated Press, he said that as a young man he felt that he wanted to be “normal,” and concealed his sexuality, until it just became too difficult. Since the Taliban’s extremist regime was overthrown in the U.S. invasion of 2001, the flow of information into Afghanistan has helped boost awareness, but understanding and tolerance of homosexuality are still a long way off, even compared with regional neighbors. Young gay men in Afghanistan still largely grow up with identity crises, waiting for perplexing feelings to subside and make way for “normality.”



Australia’s parliament rejects public vote on same-sex marriage

Mon, 7 Nov 2016 22:05:51 UT

Australia’s parliament rejects public vote on same-sex marriage Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull asked lawmakers in September to support a bill for a nonbinding public vote to be held in February, in part to appease conservatives from his Liberal Party-led coalition. In a speech to the Senate on Monday before the parliamentary vote, Attorney General George Brandis implored the senators who spoke against the bill to “stop playing politics with gay people’s lives.” The plebiscite, which would have cost about $140 million, would have asked Australians if the Marriage Act should be revised to allow same-sex couples to marry.



Gay characters on network TV at record 4.8%

Fri, 4 Nov 2016 19:35:10 UT

LOS ANGELES — A record number of gay characters are featured on broadcast series, but small-screen shows overall can be deadly for the female ones, according to a study released Thursday. More than 25 lesbian and bisexual female characters died on scripted broadcast, cable and streaming series this year, the media advocacy group GLAAD found in its report on small-screen diversity. While TV remains far ahead of film in gay representations, the medium “failed queer women this year” by continuing the “harmful ‘bury your gays’ trope,” the report said. The study, which in 2005 began examining other aspects of diversity on TV, found record percentages of people of color and people with disabilities depicted on broadcast shows. Among nearly 900 series regular characters on ABC, CBS, CW, Fox and NBC, 43 characters are LGBTQ, up from 35 last season.



Britain to posthumously pardon thousands of gay, bisexual men

Thu, 20 Oct 2016 19:49:56 UT

The decision comes nearly three years after Queen Elizabeth II formally pardoned Alan Turing, the British mathematician regarded as one of the central figures in the development of the computer, who was convicted on charges of homosexuality in 1952. The government apologized in 2009 for its treatment of Turing, who made a major contribution to Britain in World War II by cracking Germany’s Enigma coding machine, and the head of Britain’s signals intelligence agency, GCHQ, apologized in April for past discrimination against gays. Under a proposal that some have called the Turing Law, deceased people convicted of sexual acts that are no longer criminalized will receive an automatic pardon.



Wayne Friday, major force in key era for SF’s gay community, dies

Sat, 15 Oct 2016 05:12:40 UT

Wayne Friday, major force in key era for SF’s gay community, dies Wayne Friday, a former city police commissioner, bartender, and a political columnist who chronicled the coming-of-age of San Francisco’s gay community, died Wednesday. Mr. Friday, who had been suffering from Parkinson’s disease, took his own life, said San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener, a longtime friend who was notified by the city’s emergency services department of his death. Mayor Ed Lee ordered flags flown at half-staff Friday at City Hall and police stations in honor of Mr. Friday, whom he called “a true representation of the free spirit of San Francisco.” A native of Michigan, Mr. Friday worked for a brokerage firm in New York, then come to San Francisco in 1970 and soon began tending bar at taverns that catered to gays and lesbians. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who became mayor after White killed Milk and Mayor George Moscone, recalled the increasing tension between police and the gay community. Mr. Friday also worked for many years as an investigator for the district attorney’s office, then spent about a decade as one of five members of the city Police Commission, appointed by Mayors Frank Jordan and Willie Brown.



Bishop’s firing of gay worker shows confusion over pope’s words

Wed, 12 Oct 2016 20:47:09 UT

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — An ideological tug-of-war over the firing of a Rhode Island church music director for marrying his same-sex partner illustrates the confusion that permeates some U.S. Roman Catholic parishes over Pope Francis’ words on homosexuality. The pope has upheld Catholic teaching on homosexuality, reiterating the church’s opposition to same-sex relationships. “Pope Francis has not said, ‘Here’s what you should do in a parish where you have a music director who has married his partner of the same sex,’” said the Rev. James T. Bretzke, a professor of moral theology at Boston College. The pastor, appointed in July, told him someone had sent him a 2015 article that included details about Templeton’s wedding. Tobin issued a statement to the Providence Journal saying church employees and volunteers are “expected to live in a way that is fully consistent” with church teachings.



Court says unmarried lesbian can seek full parental rights

Tue, 4 Oct 2016 22:21:35 UT

BOSTON — The same court that paved the way for same-sex marriage in the United States ruled Tuesday that an unmarried lesbian whose former girlfriend gave birth to two children through artificial insemination can seek the same parental rights as their biological mother. “The plain language of the provisions, then, may be construed to apply to children born to same-sex couples, even though at least one member of the couple may well lack biological ties to the children,” Justice Barbara Lenk wrote for the court in the unanimous decision. Mary Bonauto, civil rights project director of GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders, called the ruling “a major victory for contemporary families.”



Alabama judge’s defiance on gay marriage leads to removal

Fri, 30 Sep 2016 22:15:19 UT

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore was removed from the bench Friday for defying the U.S. Supreme Court on gay marriage, more than a decade after he got in trouble for refusing federal orders to move a Ten Commandments monument. The outspoken Christian conservative was ousted from office in 2013 for his stand in defense of the monument he had installed in the state judicial building, but voters later re-elected him. Hodges ruling when he told Alabama’s probate judges six months later that they were still bound by a 2015 state court order to deny marriage licenses to gays and lesbians. The Republican speaker of the state House of Representatives was removed from office this summer for criminal ethics violations. The president of the civil rights organization that filed the ethics complaint against Moore praised the decision as a victory for the state.



SF supes limit business with firms in states with anti-LGBT laws

Wed, 28 Sep 2016 01:11:30 UT

San Francisco would no longer enter into contracts with companies based in states that bar civil-rights protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, under legislation passed unanimously by the Board of Supervisors Tuesday. The legislation is an effort to increase pressure on three states with laws that limit transgender rights: When the legislation was proposed in April, it told The Chronicle, “We understand the concerns expressed by the city and county of San Francisco, and Bank of America has been very clear in calling for the repeal of North Carolina’s (law) based on concerns about the impact of the legislation on our employees and our customers.” A North Carolina law, HB 2, bans people from using restrooms in schools and other public buildings that don’t match their birth sex, even if it matches their gender identity. A Mississippi law, HB1523, allows private businesses and religious groups to deny services to LGBT people if doing so would violate their religious beliefs. The North Carolina law has generated the most backlash, including the announcement earlier this month that the National Collegiate Athletic Association and the Atlantic Coast Conference were moving championship games out of the state in opposition. [...] on Tuesday, Supervisor Jane Kim introduced a resolution urging the city to explore the possibility of annexing 684 acres in Brisbane scheduled for a massive commercial development because it includes no new housing. Kim said she believes the real reason behind the housing prohibition is that Brisbane doesn’t want new residents voting in the city. [...] on Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors approved a nearly $5 million settlement with a motorcyclist who was badly injured in 2013 when a fire truck driven by a city firefighter suspected of being drunk slammed into him. The $4.99 million settlement with Jack Frazier caps an embarrassing episode that ensnared the Fire Department and the Police Department that botched the investigation.



Folsom Street Fair lives up to its leather-clad reputation

Mon, 26 Sep 2016 02:08:57 UT

In the city to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary, the couple from Massachusetts, sporting T-shirts and shorts, stuck out like a big, straight thumb amidst the hundreds of thousands of nude or near-naked passersby who hung leather whips from spiky necklaces and yanked one another around by G-strings at this year’s Folsom Street Fair. A man with pointy devil horns, his shirtless chest glistening with sweat under a cloudless sky as temperatures eclipsed 90 degrees, rolled by on a motorized scooter. A group of naked middle-aged men, some modestly donning strategically placed beaded contraptions depicting a parrot or a dragon draped over a certain body part, followed close behind. “I want my old-lady friends at the garden club to still like me when I get back,” Bonin said, laughing. Organizers expected to raise more than $300,000 for nonprofit LGBT groups, including the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, said Edwin Morales, the president of the board of directors of the nonprofit that organizes the event. Morales, who kicked off the planning for this year’s fair back in January, said organizers worked with the San Francisco Police Department to beef up security this year after the massacre at the Orlando gay nightclub Pulse and the bomb threat at a Los Angeles pride parade in June. Two gay tourists in town from Manhattan for the Folsom Street Fair were pepper-sprayed Saturday night in the Western Addition in a possible hate crime, but Morales said such incidents are rare at Folsom, as it’s affectionately nicknamed by veterans. The event has gotten “more straight” over the years from its explicitly gay roots, Frank said, as he typed out a text to a straight female friend who planned to meet up, her boyfriend in tow. [...] the sex-charged freedom of it all hasn’t changed a bit, said a nearby man — who gave his name as Rocky Angel — with an orange-and-blue painted face, a chunky metal choker and absolutely nothing below the belt.




Ugandan police stop gay pride parade deemed illegal

Sat, 24 Sep 2016 20:49:05 UT

Ugandan police stop gay pride parade deemed illegal ENTEBBE, Uganda — Ugandan police prevented organizers from holding a gay pride parade Saturday on the orders of a government minister who said such an event is illegal. In August, Ugandan police briefly arrested about 20 people attending a gay pride event at a nightclub in Kampala. On Wednesday, Simon Lokodo, the Ugandan minister in charge of ethics and integrity, issued a strong statement condemning public activities of homosexuals and urged police to arrest them if they went ahead with the parade.



25th annual Leather Walk kicks off Leather Week in SF

Sun, 18 Sep 2016 21:59:51 UT

The smell of sunscreen filled the air as the 200 partially clad participants of the 25th annual Leather Walk gathered under cloudless skies in the Castro neighborhood Sunday to celebrate community and kinky fetishes. “This is an opportunity for the leather community to come together outside a bar setting,” said Demetri Moshoyannis, executive director of Folsom Street Events, which sponsors the Leather Walk, the fair and other events over the next week. The event celebrates the leather community, which includes a wide range of personal choices in attire and sexual activities, said Edwin Morales, 35. While leather — in the form of vests, pants, hats, harnesses, straps and G-strings — was the most popular choice, there was also neoprene, denim and fur. For Vicente Montoya, 37, who wore imitation leather shorts over a pleather wrestling singlet, the event offered a space “to let your freak flag fly, whatever that is.” A member of the Rubber Men of San Francisco club, he chose a full catsuit, with see-through sections on his chest, back and legs. While fun was the order of the day, the annual event is also a fundraiser for the AIDS Emergency Fund and Breast Cancer Emergency Fund. “The leather community is at the heart of the LGBT community,” a group of people deeply affected by the AIDS epidemic.