“Evangelical Christians seem sincere in their desire to help build healthy, lasting marriages. Well, if that’s their goal, encouraging gay men to enter into straight marriages is a peculiar strategy. Every straight marriage that includes a gay husband is one Web-browser-history check away from an ugly divorce. If anything, supporters of traditional marriage should want gay men out of the heterosexual marriage market entirely. And the best way to do that is to see that we’re safely married off — to each other, not to your daughters.”
â Dan Savage in an op-ed column in the New York Times
“I was once part of the inner circle – now I’m standing on the outside looking in.”
â Former NFL lineman Roy Simmons, who is gay and HIV positive, on being denied access to Super Bowl media center, as quoted by The Associated Press
Macomb County PFLAG form begins and holds its first meeting on Feb. 19
at First United Methodist Church in Mt. Clemens. The group is the result of “a couple of years” of discussion, according to Mike Emswhiler, the group’s co-founder and music director for the church.
Governor Jennifer Granholm’s office announced the appointment of Joette Lambert PhDc, RN, to a position on the state’s Marriage and Family Therapy Board, which sets the standards and for practicing and licensing of marriage and family therapists. Lambert, who is openly lesbian, is an associate professor with the University of Detroit Mercy’s school of nursing and a nurse with Children’s Hospital in Detroit.
After a year of “discussion,” Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, an internationally-known human rights activist and champion of reform within the Catholic Church, offered his resignation.
Gabriel Javier accepted the assistant director position in the University of Michigan/Ann Arbor’s Office of Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Affairs. Javier is replacing Julica Hermann, who left the office earlier this year.
Gay in the NFL
WIth the Super Bowl headed to Detroit, BTL interviewed Esear Tuaolo, a former NFL player who played in Super Bowl 33 for the Atlanta Falcons, and has sinced authored âAlone in the Trenches.â
Tuaolo announced he is gay in 2002, only after he retired as a player. His former Green Bay Packers teammate Sterling Sharpe, an all-Pro receiver, confirmed Tuaolo’s worst fears in an interview with HBO’s Real Sports. Bryant Gumbel asked him how he felt about Tuaolo being gay. Sharpe said, “If the guys found out another player was gay on Monday, he wouldn’t be able to play on Sunday,” essentially admitting that a gay player would be gay-bashed by his own teammates. “Question my heart, question my ability, but do not question my machoism,” said Sharpe.
Triangle welcomes LGBT fans on Super Sunday
Gay football fanatics and their friends are invited to gather at 1515 Broadway during the four days leading up to Super Bowl Sunday to talk sports with locals, the media, tourists and any stray athletes that walk through the door. The Welcome Center, created by the Triangle Foundation is the first of its kind since the inception of the Super Bowl, providing a safe haven for LGBT sports fans while visiting Detroit.
Mpowerment Detroit develops fine young men
Tucked away in a loft located in Detroit’s Greektown is a social service agency that empowers young gay and bisexual men to take control of their personal needs and concerns as it relates to HIV/AIDS, safer sex, prevention and awareness. Mpowerment Detroit offers a clean, safe place for youth ages 14-24 to hang out and meet new people while garnering support and resources to remain healthy.
Program Director Jonathon Davis has been on the Detroit scene for several years doing advocacy work to reduce the rise of HIV/AIDS in the black LGBT community.
“The program is funded by the Michigan Aids Fund and we’re in our third year,” Davis said. “We sponsor social groups and events, public forums, and provide up to date approaches to HIV/AIDS and other STD prevention.”
A Youth Community Advisory Board stemmed from Mpowerment Detroit in February 2004. Developed to outreach to the 16-24-year-old LGBT community, they are appropriately named ‘Young Brothers United.’ These young men are prime examples of positive self-esteem and youth leadership at work.
Judy Shepard gives ‘hate speech’ in Saginaw
The Malcolm Field Theatre for Performing Arts at Saginaw Valley State University was filled to capacity on Feb. 1 to hear Judy Shepard, mother of the late Matthew Shepard, speak against hate.
âThis year, every year, unitlâ
Despite the frequently successful attempts of religious extremists to deny basic protections to LGBT-headed families, on Feb. 14 Pastors Deborah Dysert and Mark Bidwell perform a blessing of relationships and lead demonstrators in a prayer vigil for marriage equality. “This Year, Every Year, Until,” is part of a nationwide series of planned marriage-related actions oordinated by the national Metropolitan Community Church.
LGBT community responds to affirmative action threat
Titled, “The Promise of Equality: Affirmative Action Delivers,” a town hall held Feb. 15 to discuss affirmative action’s impact on the community is organized by dozens of LGBT organizations. LGBT community leaders join civil rights activists to discuss the importance of affirmative action. Unfortunately ballot Proposal 2 passed in November 59% to 41%. Organizations including the ACLU of Michigan are looking at ways to keep the spirit of affirmative action alive going forward.
Windsor man shot outside Detroit gay bar
Windsor native Salvagio Vonatti was shot in the head outside of Gigi’s, a Detroit club, on Jan. 10, according to reports by the Windsor Star and the Triangle Foundation. A 17-year-old boy shot Vonatti. Detroit police said Vonatti was shot after the youth made comments about Vonatti’s sexual orientation.
Dolce Moda hosts a fund-raiser with a big heart
The biggest smile in the room was found on the face of Grace McClelland, executive director of the Ruth Ellis Center as sponsors, ticket-purchasers and donors raised nearly $20,000 for the center devoted to helping LGBTQ runaway, throwaway and other homeless youths. Everyone connected to the event, from host site Dolce Moda, to the models, make-up artist and hair stylist, donated their time and services to the show, ensuring that every penny raised will go to aid REC’s teens.
National & World headlines
Episcopal Church’s first openly gay bishop says he’s an alcoholic
New Hampshire Episcopalians knew three years ago that V. Gene Robinson would be a controversial choice for bishop because he is openly gay. But they were caught off guard by Robinson’s disclosure that he is being treated for alcoholism that began developing years earlier.
N.J. State high court grills lawyers on same-sex marriage issues
In the case, known as Lewis v. Harris, seven longtime gay couples sued New Jersey in 2002, arguing that preventing them from marrying violates the state Constitution.
Anti-gay hostilities escalate in Eastern Europe
Hostilities against gays in Eastern Europe became more menacing this month after the leader of a Muslim group in Russia said that gays should be “thrashed” if they try to hold a gay pride march there in May, and other religious leaders jumped on the bandwagon, promising to turn out a million counter-protesters to quash the event.
cut/ Eve Ensler’s “The Good Body” came to the Music Hall in February.
Eve Ensler dreams. She sees people of every sexual orientation, race, gender and culture on one planet understanding and accepting each other. If V-Day (a global movement to end violence against women) could turn a dream into a reality, and “The Good Body” is on its way, then, maybe one day, she won’t have to dream anymore.
With LGBT characters dominating the Academy Award nominees, it’s a step forward, she thinks. “We’re all really coming to understand that we are all gender fluid and we exist on one end of the continuum or another,” she said. “Some live on one end; it’s all a beautiful continuum.”
More online: Issue 1406, “Out of body,” by Chris Azzopardi