“I know as actors our job is usually to shed our skins, but I think as people our job is to become who we really are and so I would like to salute the men and women who brave ostracism, alienation and a life lived on the margins to become who they really are.”
– Felicity Huffman, accepting her best actress Golden Globe for her role in “Transamerica”
“It’s wrong, and so many of my friends do that. We gay-bash. We feel like it’s OK to call a gay person a fag. We fought so hard to make it so white people couldn’t say the word ‘nigger’ to our face. But it’s not far-fetched to picture a black person calling a gay person a fag to their face. So that shows you the climate, where we’re at right now. And it’s not about racism, it’s about discrimination.”
– Kanye West in Rolling Stone
Long-time couple and active LGBT community members Jan Pierce and Marcia Patrick were killed in a car accident over New Year’s weekend on 275 S near 9 Mile in Novi.
Kristie Centilli gave birth to a healthy baby boy, Gavin Alexander, at 2:55 a.m. on New Year’s Day in Ann Arbor. Gavin was the first birth of the new year at St.
Joseph’s Hospital in Ypsilanti.
Penny Gardner retires from the staff of Michigan Equality. Asked if she might pursue lighter activities like hobbies,”Hell, no. Activism, public speaking and organizing are my ‘hobbies.’ Those are the things I enjoy doing a lot.” In fact shortly after this retirement party the Coalition for Adoption Rights Equality hired Gardner to mobilize constituents in the west and central regions of the state to help pass Representative Paul Condino’s Second Parent Adoption Bill, House Bill 5399.
Coretta Scott King dies January 31 at the age of 78. “Black or non-black, gay or straight, Mrs. King dedicated her life to love, justice, equality, and global human rights and for that we are truly grateful,” said Jasmyne Cannick, co-chair of the Stonewall Democrats Black Caucus.
Trans film lost in gay-mess of movies
“Not many people can take the tale of Patrick Braden,” says “Kitten” in the opening moments of “Breakfast on Pluto.”
And sadly, that’s probably true – thanks partly to the story itself and the style in which it’s told, but also because of incredibly bad timing.
Released locally only weeks after “Brokeback Mountain” and – due to last minute schedule changes – just prior to “Transamerica,” “Breakfast on Pluto” is yet another in a seemingly endless series of LGBT-themed movies that opened this winter on the silver screen.
True story inspires ‘Transamerica’
Inspiration, we’re told, can come at any time from anywhere and from any source. Just ask writer/director Duncan Tucker whose much-anticipated movie, “Transamerica,” opened locally this month.
“A woman who I knew a little bit in L.A. told me one evening what she had under her dress,” recalled Tucker, who was in town to talk about his new film. “I had no idea she was transgendered at all. And when she told me some of the stories about her life, a light bulb went off.”
Gay ‘brain drain’
BTL started out the year evaluating the ‘brain drain’ phenomenon in the state.
Young LGBT people are fleeing the state, said James, 34, a Madison Heights resident.
“I think it’s a combination of factors,” he said. “Detroit is a city that’s primarily run by the auto industry and related supplier companies. Gay people who want a career in fields like the entertainment business or computer-related fields – they have to go elsewhere.”
Affirmations exceeds capital campaign goal
With less than two years of public fundraising, Affirmations Lesbian and Gay Community Center in Ferndale successfully reached and surpassed its $5.3 million capital and endowment goal to build a new community center in Ferndale. The new center will be a three-level, nearly 16,000 square foot facility in the heart of downtown Ferndale. It is on target to open in early 2007.
ACLU appeals custody order to protect straight, gay parents
DETROIT – The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan appeals to the Michigan Supreme Court on behalf of a divorced man whose overnight visitation with his children has been restricted by the Michigan Court of Appeals. The court order, based on an antiquated law that criminalizes “lewd and lascivious cohabitation,” prohibits Christian Muller’s girlfriend from sleeping at their shared home on the nights when the children are present.
At year’s end Jay Kaplan, ACLU staff attorney confirmed there had been no change on this archaic law.
Trans candidate files suit over ballot name rule
On Jan. 13, Melissa Sue Robinson, a candidate for the special election in Lansing to fill Virg Bernero’s 23rd district state Senate seat, filed suit to challenge a law that requires her to list the name she had as a man on the ballot along with her current legal name.
Gay couple not a ‘family’ in Warren
Mark Jeason and his partner, Martin Murdick, have been together for nearly 18 years and lived in Warren for 14 of those years. They recently tried to join the Warren Community Center so Murdick’s disabled mother who lives with them could use the facilities. They were turned down because the definition of the term “family” for purposes of membership is a married man and woman and their children.
Safe School Law aims to protect all children
On Jan. 25, state Representative Glenn Anderson introduced a bill that, if adopted, would make Michigan schools safer for all of the children who attend them. “Matt’s Safe School Law,” a ban on bullying and harassment in public schools, is named after Matt Epling, a fourteen-year-old East Lansing student who killed himself in 2003 after a bullying incident involving several older students. The bill remained stuck in committee with the Republican majority in control of the House. Supporters are now hopeful that 2007 will allow the bill to emerge out of committee and be voted on. Glenn Anderson went on to win a seat in the state senate in Nov.
(Graphic available for this story)
Gay groups listed in government terrorism database
According to news reports that began surfacing during the week of Dec. 12, 2005 pro-LGBT student groups and the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network are among the organizations that have been snared in a secret government database designed to detect potential terrorist activity.
The Pentagon database, known as the Threat and Local Observation Notice, or TALON, reporting system, is similar to Operation TIPS, a Department of Justice system that was intended to enlist civilian workers nationwide to report possible terrorist activity, according to a June, 2003 report by Wired News. Operation TIPS was shelved after protests by civil liberties and privacy groups, according to the Wired News report.
Alitio on the Supreme Court
On Jan. 9, the ACLU, for only the second time in its 86 year history, issued a formal public statement in opposition to the appointment of Judge Alito after thoroughly reviewing his federal appeals court record on race, religion, and reproductive rights cases. Several prominent LGBT organizations, including the Human Rights Campaign, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, P-FLAG and Lambda Legal are opposing Alito’s nomination for fear that he may scale back or reverse the legal gains that gays and lesbians have made towards equality.”
Jay Kaplan – writing in BTL prior to Alito’s confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court
NGLTF to receive $3 million from Arcus Foundation
A combined gift of $3 million over three years from the Arcus Foundation and its founder and president, Jon Stryker of Kalamazoo made history as the largest single LGBT advocacy award to date.
Black gays ask clergy for tolerance
Churches have an obligation to help end the “poisoned atmosphere” surrounding the acceptance of gay men and lesbians, the Rev. Al Sharpton said at a weekend summit in Atlanta, Georgia, organized by the National Black Gay Justice Coalition.
Judge strikes down Maryland anti-gay marriage ban
A Baltimore judge struck down a 33-year-old state law against marriage for gays and lesbians Jan. 20, declaring it violates the Maryland Constitution’s guarantee of equal rights.
‘Brokeback Mountain’ leads Golden Globes with four prizes
‘Capote’ and ‘Transamerica’ also winners
University expels gay student
A former John Brown University student said he was expelled from the school after the administration raised questions about his homosexuality and imposed restrictions on his campus life.
Michael Guinn said the private Christian liberal-arts school dismissed him Jan. 13 for violating campus lifestyle guidelines.