(888) 277-4253

This Just In: The live LGBT news blog for Friday, May 9, 2014

("This Just In" is GLBTNN's daily blog about news affecting the LGBT community. Check back often as the blog is updated when news breaks.)

California: Toyota ad with lesbian couple tests "shock value"

An Oakland Car dealership’s new ad campaign is turning some heads by featuring a lesbian couple, while prompting others to ask, “what’s the big deal?”

One Toyota Of Oakland has begun running and ad highlighting the transparency of their ad campaign which begins with a woman in the driveway bragging on the phone to her partner about what a great car she got at the dealership. She then urges the person on the phone to come outside. The ad ends when person is steps out and is revealed as another woman.

David Pippenger, whose Oregon-based Handcrafted Media created the ad, told the San Francisco Chronicle he believes the campaign to be a first and said he expected conservative backlash after the spot started airing, but has seen little more than a few jabs on the dealership’s YouTube channel.

Source: CBS San Francisco

Oregon: Homophobes lose ballot title challenge

Supporters of a proposed ballot measure that would allow businesses to opt out of serving gay weddings lost a ballot title challenge with the Oregon Supreme Court on Thursday.

The court without comment upheld a ballot title drafted by Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum's office that sponsors of the initiative had earlier complained used "politically charged" wording that would bias voters against the measure.

Opponents of the measure, Oregon United Against Discrimination, said they are pleased that the court didn't rewrite the ballot title, which says: "Religious belief" exceptions to anti-discrimination laws for refusing services, other, for same-sex ceremonies, "arrangements"

Source: oregonlive.com

Colorado: Udall challenges Senate opponent over gay rights

On the same day that Senator Mark Udall introduced the Social Security and Marriage Equality (SAME) Act of 2014, a bill that would entitle same-sex married couples to uniform Social Security benefits even in non-marriage states, his re-election campaign launched a social media blast targeting challenger Congressman Cory Gardner for a history of LGBTQ unfriendly votes.

The ads feature a black-and-white Gardner over a tattered rainbow flag and come with the twitter hashtag “TakingColoradoBackwards.” They refer to votes Gardner made between 2006 and 2009, back when gay marriage was a successful wedge issue for Republican candidates.

Udall himself did not officially come out in support of gay marriage until August 2011, though his campaign notes his open support for civil unions and opposition to gay marriage bans dates back to 2004. Udall himself later detailed his evolving views on the issue in a POLITICO op-ed.

Source: Colorado Independent

Colorado: Boulder 10K Race trips over LGBT protest

The LGBT rights group Out Boulder wants the Bolder Boulder 10K race to drop their slogan "sea level is for sissies."

According to KDVR, the group launched an online campaign saying the race's use of the word "sissies" in the slogan is an offensive term and should not be taken lightly.

A petition was posted on change.org asking Bolder Boulder to change their slogan. Several people have signed the petition in the past 24 hours, some even leaving comments saying “If the goal is to promote Boulder, this slogan does the opposite. It is terrible to associate our town with such a negative and degrading message.”

Source: KREX

Illinois: Gay swimmer talks to Northwestern students

More than 30 individuals gathered on Thursday to hear Michael Holtz, an openly gay swimmer and LGBT activist, talk about the “reinventions” in his life and LGBT issues in athletics.

Holtz, who was Rainbow Alliance’s Spring Speaker, began his talk by describing his life in high school in Naples, Florida. He said although he was very active and successful in high school, he didn’t feel happy with his life.

“People would accept me not because I was gay and successful, but rather they would overlook the fact that I was gay because I was successful,” Holtz said.
Holtz came out in college at Fordham University. After college he went into finance. However, he said he found that his real passions were philanthropy, sports, networking and the LGBT community. He founded his own company called MKH2O Productions, which raises money for LGBT organizations through sporting events.
Holtz was named as Compete magazine's 2010 Athlete of the Year, and he was also named as Mr. Gay USA in 2011.

Source: Daily Northwestern

Indiana: Notre Dame signals welcome to gay athletes

The University of Notre Dame, an icon of American Catholicism, increasingly has been going against that current when it comes to gay athletes. On Thursday (May 8), the school launched a new campaign to reinforce a message of inclusion wrapped in the wider message of the Catholic faith.

“Because the university values LGBTQ students in the Notre Dame community, as indeed it values all of its students, the university is committed to fostering an environment of welcome and mutual respect that is grounded in its Catholic mission,” Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick, says in a voice-over for the two-minute video that kicks off the campaign.

The video features athletes from every men’s and women’s team on campus, including tennis player Matt Dooley and rower Olivia Kacsits, both seniors who have publicly identified as gay and both of whom pushed for the video and campaign.

Source: Religion News Service

Indiana: State asks judge to stay gay marriage ruling

Indiana has asked a federal judge to stay his order requiring it to recognize the out-of-state marriage of a lesbian couple in which one woman is terminally ill, saying that the ruling could raise false hopes for other same-sex couples.

State attorneys also filed a formal notice of appeal following U.S. District Judge Richard Young's ruling. Indiana will ask the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to review Young's decision, which applies just to one couple — not to others who were legally wed elsewhere and are seeking to have Indiana recognize their marriages.

Young issued a preliminary injunction Thursday extending last month's temporary restraining order forcing the state to list Amy Sandler as the spouse of Niki Quasney on a death certificate after Quasney dies of cancer.

Young did not rule on whether Indiana's gay marriage ban is unconstitutional. That ruling is expected to come later.

Source: Associated Press

Kentucky: State says gay marriage would threaten birth rate

Gov. Steve Beshear's lawyers say Kentucky's ban on gay marriage should be retained because only "man-woman" couples can naturally procreate — and the state has an interest in ensuring that they do.

Appealing a federal judge's decision that the state's ban violates the constitutional guarantee of equal protection under the law, Beshear's hired counsel say Kentucky has a legitimate interest in encouraging procreation to support "long-term economic stability through stable birth rates."

U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II in February struck down Kentucky's law and constitutional amendment banning the recognition of same-sex marriages performed in other states, saying Kentucky had offered no rational basis for treating gay and lesbian couple's differently.

Source: Courier-Journal

New York: Trans residents want name changes simplified

Late last month, a bill was introduced in the New York Assembly that, if enacted, would make the process of legally changing one's name in court significantly easier for the state's transgender residents.

Assemblymember Harry Bronson introduced A09409 on April 29. The out lawmaker's website states that the bill's intention is "to limit the scope of information disclosed in a published change of name."

Last year, California passed a similar law, designed to reduce the financial and emotional burden faced by trans individuals seeking a name change.

Source: Advocate

U.S.: Two Metal Band Cynic members come out

Paul Masvidal and Sean Reinert have spoken about many things since they first cofounded the metal band Cynic in the early ‘90s, but the two men — half of the four-man group that's been influencing the genre for two decades — have remained silent about their sexuality until now.

In today's interview with the Los Angeles Times, the artists spoke candidly about their experience navigating music’s masculine metal scene. Though the two have been out in their personal lives for several years, they said they are now ready to challenge gay stereotypes by being out, proud, and as always, loud.

"I see all those old dudes out there just banging their heads to our records," drummer Reinert told the Times. "And I have to think — 'That stuff you're banging your head to? That is some gay, gay metal, man.'"

Source: Advocate

South Carolina: Push to block gay books at university draws writers' fire

Writers across America are uniting against what the Pulitzer prize-winning authors Richard Ford and Junot Díaz called the "bone-heads in the South Carolina legislature" and "flat-out hate masquerading as concern for 'public sensibility'" after politicians looked to strip funding from two colleges as punishment for teaching books with gay-friendly themes.

The College of Charleston ran into trouble after assigning Alison Bechdel's acclaimed "Fun Home" to students; the graphic novel details Bechdel's coming out as a lesbian as a teenager, and her relationship with her closeted father. The University of South Carolina Upstate, meanwhile, was teaching a collection of radio stories about being gay, "Out Loud: The Best of Rainbow Radio." Earlier this year, funding to the two schools of almost $70,000 (£40,000) was threatened because of the choices, described as pornographic and "forcing an agenda on teenagers" by their opponents; the issue has been under debate in the state senate this week, and authors have been coming together to stand up for LGBTQ rights.

The Pulitzer-winning novelist Junot Díaz, author of "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao," joined the campaign "because censorship is the primal enemy of the artist and of a democratic society. Because our so-called leaders should be funding our university system, not censoring it. Because without LGBTQ artists what hope do any of us have? And because the just nation we deserve is not the one the politicians are trying to twist into being in South Carolina."

Source: The Guardian

Alabama: Nurses urged to learn how to treat older LGBT adults

Nurses need to be aware of the special physical and mental health needs of the 2 million older adults who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT), according to a recent article in the Journal of Gerontological Nursing co-written by two researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).

The paper's lead author, Rita Jablonski -- an associate professor at the UAB School of Nursing -- called older LGBT adults an "often misunderstood group" in a recent university news release.

Unfortunately, there is little information in the nursing literature on the care needs of LGBT patients, according to the study. This is especially true of older LGBT adults, who face problems with housing, home-health care and long-term care. Obesity and mental health issues are also common among older LGBT adults, especially those who are transgender.

Source: al.com

DC: Transgender cop opens up about her transition

For D.C. Police Sergeant Jessica Hawkins, this is not an easy story to tell.

“Nothing else has scared me more than coming out to all of my friends and family," she says.

Engulfing fear forced her to live as a man for 40 years – but now that time is over: “Most people in this area are accepting, and even if they aren't, they at least have enough manners to keep their opinion to themselves."

Her transitioning impacts her marriage to Staci, but she says she has no regrets.

"I would love to keep my marriage intact. Me and my wife, we are best friends," adds Hawkins, who feels she is finally being true to herself -- as well as to others.
"I am not lying to anyone now, I can just be myself...true to myself and everyone else.

Source: WJLA

U.S.: Two metal band Cynic members come out

Paul Masvidal and Sean Reinert have spoken about many things since they first cofounded the metal band Cynic in the early ‘90s, but the two men — half of the four-man group that's been influencing the genre for two decades — have remained silent about their sexuality until now.

In today's interview with the Los Angeles Times, the artists spoke candidly about their experience navigating music’s masculine metal scene. Though the two have been out in their personal lives for several years, they said they are now ready to challenge gay stereotypes by being out, proud, and as always, loud.

"I see all those old dudes out there just banging their heads to our records," drummer Reinert told the Times. "And I have to think — 'That stuff you're banging your head to? That is some gay, gay metal, man.'"

Source: Advocate


Cyprus: Proposed law would punish homophobic behavior

Homophobic behavior is to be punished in Cyprus with a new bill setting up fines and jail terms.

The House Legal Affairs Committee introduced the bill in order to bring in protections for LGBTI people similar to those that protect victims of racism and xenophobia.

Jail terms will go up to three years, while fines will go up to €5000 ($7000).

It comes as the Mediterranean country is about to host its first ever Gay Pride at the end of May. Northern Cyprus also recently became the last European country to decriminalize gay sex.

Source: Gay Star News

UK: Gay couples allowed to unite their coat of arms

Britain's gay couples have taken a step forward — into the Middle Ages. Like blue-blooded families down the centuries, they can now have their own coats of arms.

The College of Arms, which has overseen noble titles and insignia since the 15th century, has ruled that same-sex married couples may join their heraldic symbols in the same way as heterosexual spouses.

The change follows the legalization of same-sex marriage, which took effect March 29.

The college's ruling says a man "may impale the arms of his husband with his own on a shield or banner." A woman "may bear arms on a shield or banner, impaling the arms of her wife with her own."

Source: Associated Press

UK: Oldest transsexual backs efforts to get new ID cards

A new global report aimed at giving transgender people the right to a new ID has been welcomed by Britain's oldest transsexual.

Ruth Rose, 81, is backing the report, License to Be Yourself, released today by the Open Society Foundations.

It outlines the issues decision-makers need to consider in giving trans people legal gender recognition which Rose claims is a "basic human right."

Source: IBTimes UK

UK: Croydon churches, LGBT groups to mark ADAHOT

To show "not all churches are homophobic," religious groups will be joining with the LGBT community to mark the international day against homophobia and transphobia.

On May 17 eight churches and eight LGBT groups will have stands in North End, Croydon, to promote their one love message.

And there will be face painting, bubble blowing and music from acts including Rainbows Across Borders singers, who are made up of LGBT asylum seekers from several countries.

Source: Croydon Guardian

Scotland: No to teachers on opting out of teaching equality lessons

Scotland’s largest health board has warned the Scottish Government against allowing teachers and students to opt out of lessons on equal marriage and same-sex relationships.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde is opposed to new draft guidance for sex education lessons that would allow teachers or pupils to opt out on the grounds of “conscience.”

In a submission to ministers, the board said: “It is extremely concerning that teaching staff would be provided an opportunity to refuse to participate in this particular aspect of the curriculum … There are other areas of the taught curriculum where ‘conscience’ may be a factor – e.g. modern studies or religious education – where no option to withdraw is provided.”

Source: Pink News

Canada: Drunken woman jailed for threatening gay Mountie

A woman who threatened an openly gay member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in Canada’s Northwest Territories has been sentenced to 60 days in prison.

The sentence came about after openly gay RCMP Sergeant Jeremie Landry found 34-year-old Diane Koyina passed out in the street in the First Nations community of Behchoko August in far-north Canada’s Arctic Circle.

Landry woke Koyina and was taking her to jail when she let out a torrent of abuse towards him focused on his sexuality, calling him a ‘faggot’ over 60 times and threatening him with violence.

Source: Gay Star News

India: Court reunites lesbian couple

A magisterial court on Thursday ordered the release of 21-year-old Sunidhi Gupta, who had been confined to a women's protection home in Odhav, to prevent her from seeing her lover, Krupa. The order came after her lesbian partner's mother sought her custody. Both girls are students.

The court ordered the release of the Amraiwadi resident, because she is an adult and free to move about she wishes. The court was, however, clear that it couldn't give the girl's custody to Krupa's mother who is not a natural guardian. The court released her with observation that Sunidhi was not involved in any offence and was kept in the protection home against her will.

According to case details, Krupa and Preeti have been friends for nine years. Sunidhi's parents were against her relationship with Krupa. They even arranged Sunidhi's marriage and stopped her from seeing Krupa. They had also approached the police, but Sunidhi was undeterred. The police had sent Sunidhi to the protection home.

This led Krupa's mother to request the court to issue a search warrant under Section 97 of CrPC, and seek Sunidhi's custody, on the grounds that she didn't want to live in the protection home.

Source: The Times of India

China: Gay arrests 'explicitly linked' to Tiananmen anniversary

It is not unusual for dissidents and activists to find themselves under increased scrutiny, even detention, ahead of the anniversary of the Tiananmen crackdown.

But with the 25-year milestone still almost a month away, it is a sign of just how sensitive things are that a group of gay rights activists should also find themselves caught up in the security sweep.

The seminar due to be held in a Beijing hotel was to discuss, among other things, legal procedures for establishing gay advocacy groups.

Gay relationships have been legal in China since 1997 but, shortly before the seminar was due to begin on Wednesday morning, nine of the participants were taken to police stations for questioning and told to send out a message to say the event had been cancelled.

Source: BBC

Malaysia: Transgender rights committee won't be formed

Tanjung Bungah state assemblyman Teh Yee Cheu has been forced to withdraw his motion for a transgender rights committee because of a lack of support.

“It’s all of them against me, alone, and since it’s a democracy, I have to withdraw my motion,” Teh said in a telephone interview with The Malay Mail Online after a debate with DAP state assemblymen and MPs this afternoon.

Teh said the debate clearly showed that political leaders in Malaysia are still “closed-minded”.

“They can keep saying they fight for human rights but their objection to my motion shows that they are not really all for human rights and that they are still closed-minded,” he said.

Source: The Malay Mail

World: The gay spring in Afghanistan, Iran and India

In Afghanistan, my pioneering coming out on Facebook last August has become engrained in the popular culture of a collectivist nation that still believes being gay is against Islam. Since I started my campaign, millions of Afghans have heard me talk on the airwaves or have read my words in print or on the web. While LGBT rights in Afghanistan are virulently resisted, they are no longer a foreign concept. Six months ago, I endorsed Dr. Ashraf Ghani for president of Afghanistan in this year’s election and since then LGBTIQ Afghans have mobilized a rainbow bloc to vote for the former academic. As Afghanistan heads for a runoff election, gay Afghans now have a voice and visibility when a year ago they were dormant and had nothing.

In neighboring Iran on Valentine’s Day, pop queen Googoosh released a queer music video on her website, infuriating the Islamic Republic’s theocratic rulers. Googoosh’s tribute to a lesbian couple couldn’t have been better timed as it coincided with the twenty-fifth year anniversary of Ayatollah Khomeini’s issued a fatwa on Salman Rushdie for publishing The Satanic Verses. Googoosh’s pro-LGBT publicity is a huge leap from a time in 2007 when former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, at a talk at Columbia University, denied the existence of gays in Iran.

And last week in India, the United Nations debuted a Bollywood music video to promote the acceptance of gay relationships in the world’s largest democracy. Bollywood’s solidarity with LGBT will serve as a potent force multiplier as its audience, estimated at three billion, overlaps with the roughly 80 countries, mostly in Africa and Asia, where homosexuals are still criminalized for their sexual orientation.

The pro-LGBT push in Afghanistan, Iran and India will only amplify as elite and commoner debate the value of human rights versus intolerance stemming from illiberal, religious and superstitious beliefs. How can a nation ever become civilized when it forces its own citizens — from cradle to grave — to live in constant fear and shame and be marginalized to the fringes of society?

Source: Nemat Sadat at The Diplomat

* * *

To visit GLBTNN, a content partner with SDGLN, click HERE.