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Release of videos sought in same-sex marriage case

Sat, 29 Apr 2017 04:06:50 UT

While the case was covered extensively during the trial and later court proceedings, “there is no substitute for the insight and illumination that only the videotaped record of the trial can provide,” lawyers for KQED radio and television said in the U.S. District Court suit. The trial, the first ever in federal court on same-sex marriage, involved a suit by lesbian and gay couples challenging Proposition 8, the November 2008 initiative that limited marriages in California to opposite-sex couples. Walker had approved camera coverage of the 2010 trial, but Prop. 8’s backers persuaded the Supreme Court to prohibit televising the proceedings, saying their witnesses feared harassment and loss of privacy. Since the trial, “the public discussion of gay rights has shifted substantially,” KQED said in Friday’s suit. “While the public interest in seeing the open work of government remains compelling, any privacy interests of those involved in the trial have disappeared almost entirely” seven years later, attorney Thomas Burke said in the court filing.



No proof of persecution of gays, top Russian officials say

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 20:32:20 UT

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters Monday that Russian officials haven’t seen any information confirming the reports but added that Moscow is concerned about “any human rights violations.” Lavrov was speaking at a joint news conference with European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, who said she raised human rights at talks with Lavrov earlier in the day and met rights activists to discuss the reports of persecution. Rights activists and Chechnya experts say it is improbable that any gay person will ever come out publicly as a victim of abuse in Chechnya because of the deep-seated homophobia in the North Caucasus and fear of reprisal to their families.



News of the Day From Around the Globe

Fri, 14 Apr 2017 22:26:16 UT

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Exploring trauma through ‘queer mental health fashion show’

Wed, 12 Apr 2017 00:02:54 UT

Multimedia artist Julz Hale Mary is throwing a “queer mental health fashion show” that, based on an early teaser video and a short conversation with Hale Mary, sounds as if it will push up against heavy subject matter with a satiric levity. The piece, called “Trauma Is a Party (of One),” is the artist’s attempt to explore subjects like “systemic inequalities, individual and collective trauma, and mental health interventions” through the lens of a fashion show. Models will wear clothing that reflects Hale Mary’s interpretation of mental health descriptions.



SF LGBT Center marks 15th anniversary with major renovation

Mon, 10 Apr 2017 00:40:45 UT

At the ribbon cutting of the newly renovated San Francisco LGBT Center on Sunday, a throng of supporters crowded the sidewalk in front of the distinctive turquoise-and-purple building at Market Street and Octavia Boulevard as the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band’s rendition of “Turn the Beat Around” carried down the block. The center, which was also celebrating its 15th anniversary over the weekend, serves more than 8,000 people a year, offering medical and legal services, youth programs and hundreds of events a month, Rolfe said. On Monday, API Wellness, a health services and education organization founded in 1987 as a grassroots response to the AIDS crisis in the Asian community, will open the doors of a satellite health clinic with three exam rooms at the center. The center works to help young people in a broad range of circumstances, Rolfe said. The flag was everywhere — on ruffled leggings, bowling shirts, neckties, leis, a peace-sign necklace, the plumage of the marching band’s shako hats and a many-layered tutu donned by one of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, the self-described “leading-edge order of queer nuns.” After singing Puccini’s “O Mio Babbino Caro,” Breanna Sinclairé, the first openly transgender student to study at the San Francisco Conservatory, told the crowd her story of being shut out from the support system in her community when she came out as transgender. Rolfe said she wants the center’s young people to know that even after they age out of the youth programs, “they will still have a home here.”



LGBT couples in Hawaii seek fertility coverage

Sun, 9 Apr 2017 20:35:29 UT

[...] Smith and other members of Hawaii’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community are lobbying for equal access to the financial help that married heterosexual couples enjoy under state law. “Now that marriage equality is the law of the land and is accepted, now let’s turn to family building, and let’s figure out how we fix all these inequities that exist,” said Barbara Collura, president and CEO of Resolve, a national organization that advocates for access to fertility treatments. Hawaii is one of eight states that require insurance companies to cover in vitro fertilization, a costly procedure where a doctor retrieves eggs from a woman, combines them with sperm from a man and then implants an embryo into a woman’s uterus. [...] Hawaii’s mandate applies only to married heterosexual couples because it covers the medical intervention only if a woman uses sperm from her spouse, leaving the LGBT community and single women behind.



Symphony Pride concert brings joy to LGBTQ community and friends

Thu, 6 Apr 2017 20:47:51 UT

“There’s a camaraderie,” said Asia scholar and journalist Orville Schell, glancing at orchestra members taking their places as we in the audience took ours. In early winter, in response to the passage of HB2, the North Carolina law that removed protections for transgender people, the orchestra’s administration canceled two concerts scheduled to be performed Wednesday-Thursday, April 5-6, in Chapel Hill, N.C. And then, on a “dark, rainy day in December,” said the Symphony’s interim director, Derek Dean, at a reception following Tuesday night’s very uncommon concert, maestro Michael Tilson Thomas; his husband, Joshua Robison; and their longtime friend Mark Leno came up with the notion for Symphony Pride. Robison and Leno would chair a concert raising money for five nonprofits — Larkin Street Youth Services, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the San Francisco LGBT Center, the Transgender Law Center and the Trevor Project — that benefit the Bay Area LGBTQ community. The eclectic program included almost exclusively music written by gay composers, thumbnail sketches of whom were narrated by the maestro and displayed on monitors. Members of the orchestra — wearing rainbow ties and scarves — joined in at the chorus when McDonald sang “10,432 Sheep”; the Symphony Chorus stomped, clapped, sang and hooted through Meredith Monk’s “Panda Chant II.” Near its end, in a short video, keyboardist Robin Sutherland, violist Matthew Young and violinist Eliot Lev talked about coming out and the acceptance they’d found in the orchestra. Ending a performance that had been greeted with the excitement of a sports championship, the passion of a revival meeting and the spirit of a barn-building, Thomas embraced the intersecting communities of performers and listeners. [...] in an effort to break my addiction to late-night reruns of “Law & Order,” I am engaged in a long-term binge of watching “Oz,” HBO’s first series, which I somehow missed seeing. [...] considering the president’s environmental policies, he’s still doing that. When his girlfriend objects to it, he answers, Loopholes are an American tradition! [...] it’s not the law, it’s the tax code.



Singer in SF Gay Men’s Chorus dies onstage

Mon, 3 Apr 2017 23:06:05 UT

Ryan Nunez, 39, was in a production of “Paradise Found” at Herbst Theatre in San Francisco when he collapsed on one of the risers and suddenly died, Tim Seelig, the artist director and conductor of the chorus, said in a Facebook post. Filled with humor and huge hugs for all — he just took care of everyone, the group said in a post on Facebook. Chorus members, who included doctors and nurses, and paramedics performed CPR for an hour before Nunez was pronounced dead. While members of the chorus and paramedics attempted to revive Nunez, Seelig went out to the audience where he took questions and talked about his granddaughter, in hopes of keeping the crowd entertained. The chorus canceled the remainder of the show Friday, but continued its performances Saturday in honor of Nunez, Seelig said. The chorus gathered at Dolores Park, Nunez’s favorite place, on Sunday with balloons and blankets for a picnic in honor of Nunez, Seelig said. Together, they recalled some of the funniest comments that Nunez would often make in the office and during rehearsal. A Go Fund Me has been created to raise money cover Nunez’s funeral costs.



Chechnya arresting, killing gay men, newspaper says

Sat, 1 Apr 2017 22:16:06 UT

On Saturday, a leading Russian opposition newspaper confirmed a story circulating among human rights activists: While abuses by security services in the region, where Russia fought a two-decade war against Islamic insurgents, have long been a stain on President Vladimir Putin’s human rights record, gay people had not previously been targeted on a wide scale. The men were detained “in connection with their nontraditional sexual orientation, or suspicion of such,” the newspaper, Novaya Gazeta, reported, citing Russian federal law enforcement officials, who blamed local authorities. If such people existed in Chechnya, law enforcement would not have to worry about them, as their own relatives would have sent them to where they could never return. The group had been applying for permits for gay parades in provincial cities around Russia, and collecting the inevitable denials, to build a case about gay rights and freedom of assembly with the European Court of Human Rights, in Strasbourg, France. According to the report, the authorities set to finding and arresting closeted gay men, partly by posing as men looking for dates on social networking sites.




Gilbert Baker, designer of gay pride rainbow flag, dies

Sat, 1 Apr 2017 19:03:07 UT

Gilbert Baker, designer of gay pride rainbow flag, dies Gilbert Baker, the colorful gay artist and activist who created the iconic rainbow flag, has died. The rainbow flag has since become a symbol of the LGBT community recognized worldwide — celebrated at pride festivals, brandished at protests and forever raised over the corner of Castro and Market streets. Mr. Baker, a former soldier who taught himself to sew, proposed the rainbow flag at a time when San Francisco’s gay and lesbian community was struggling to find a symbol to unite under. [...] for every march, every protest, every celebration, every memorial, he was always sewing and sewing and sewing, said Cleve Jones, a longtime San Francisco gay activist and friend of Mr. Baker’s who helped him hand-dye the fabric for that first flag. Mr. Baker’s first flag was eight solid stripes; within a year, he had agreed to drop two colors — pink and turquoise — largely because fabrics and dyes in those shades weren’t always readily available. “I remember the most fabulous queen I’d ever seen in my life shows up in sequins with a sewing machine in his arms, and he insisted on creating that flag exactly the same way he’d created it then,” said Dustin Lance Black, who wrote “Milk” and wrote and directed “When We Rise,” which was based on Jones’ memoir of the same name. According to his online biography, Mr. Baker was born in Kansas in 1951 and joined the army in 1970. Mr. Baker was stationed in San Francisco just as the gay civil rights movement was taking off in the city, and so when he was honorably discharged in 1972, he stayed put. Just a few weeks ago, he met with Supervisor Jeff Sheehy in his City Hall office to talk over ideas for Sheehy’s float in this year’s Pride Parade. The flag design may seem simple, and obviously ubiquitous, now, but it came from a creative mind, and from a man deeply connected with his hippie, psychedelic roots, said Tom Taylor, who met Mr. Baker not long after he made the first flag and who is now the “keeper of the flag” in the Castro. Mr. Baker attached meanings to every color on the flag, and he personally campaigned for his design all around the city before the San Francisco LGBT community fully embraced it, Taylor said.



German Cabinet OKs plan to annul homosexuality convictions

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 20:32:38 UT

BERLIN — Germany’s Cabinet on Wednesday approved a bill that would annul the convictions of thousands of gay men under a law criminalizing homosexuality that was applied zealously in post-World War II West Germany. The decision also clears the way for compensation for those still alive who were convicted under the so-called Paragraph 175 outlawing sexual relations between men. The bill approved Wednesday by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Cabinet of conservatives and center-left Social Democrats still requires parliamentary approval. The Lesbian and Gay Federation in Germany “welcomes the fact that, after long decades of ignorance, legal consequences are being drawn from the serious mass human rights violations that were committed against homosexual people by the democratic state,” spokesman Helmut Metzner said.



Court rules discrimination against gay workers is not prohibited

Mon, 13 Mar 2017 22:27:45 UT

ATLANTA — In a setback for gay rights advocates hoping for an expansion of workplace discrimination protections, a federal appeals court in Atlanta has ruled that employers aren’t prohibited from discriminating against employees because of sexual orientation. A three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday ruled 2-1 that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits workplace discrimination based on a variety of factors, doesn’t protect against workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation. The case was one of two that Lambda Legal had pending before federal appeals courts — along with an Indiana case at the Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago — that the LGBT rights group had hoped would mark a significant step forward for gay rights. An 11th Circuit decision from 2011 said discrimination against a transgender employee because of gender nonconformity amounted to sex discrimination and was not allowed, and Evans’ attorneys argued it should also protect gays and lesbians who claimed discrimination based on their sexual orientation.



Boston St. Patrick’s parade welcomes gay vets

Sun, 12 Mar 2017 00:02:49 UT

BOSTON — Organizers of Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day parade reversed course and said they will allow a group of gay veterans to march in this year’s parade. The South Boston Allied War Veterans Council announced on the parade’s Twitter account late Friday that it had signed an “acceptance letter” that would clear the way for OutVets to participate. “We are honored and humbled by all the outpouring of support that has been displayed for our LGBTQ veterans — who are one of the most unrepresented demographics in our veterans community,” said lawyer said Dee Dee Edmondson. An earlier vote by the council to bar OutVets from marching drew immediate condemnation from high-profile politicians, some of whom said they would not march if the gay veterans were excluded. Bishop said the council offered to allow the group to march if its members did not display the rainbow flag, a symbol of gay pride, which is on their banner and their jackets.



Supreme Court drops major transgender case

Mon, 6 Mar 2017 21:15:07 UT

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court is returning a transgender teen’s case to a lower court without reaching a decision, leaving in limbo the issue of transgender rights in school settings. Monday’s action comes after the Trump administration pulled back federal guidance advising schools to let students use the bathroom of their chosen gender, not biological birth. The high court action follows the administration’s recent decision to withdraw a directive issued during Barack Obama’s presidency that said which bathroom to use should be based on students’ gender identity, not biological birth. The appeals court accepted the administration’s reading of the law without deciding for itself what the law and a related regulation on same-sex bathrooms and locker rooms mean. Similar cases are pending in other parts of the country so it is likely that other appeals courts also will weigh in about the reach of antidiscrimination protections for transgender students.