Compiled by Dawn Wolfe
NCTE to hold first annual Washington Lobby Day
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Center for Transgender Equality will hold its first Washington Lobby Day March 13 with a day-long training session on lobbying techniques and the major federal policy issues currently impacting transgender people taking place the day before.
NCTE urges transpeople and allies who can’t go to D.C. to participate in Congressional Education Week by visiting members of Congress at home during their recess from March 21-25.
For more information on either event call NCTE Field Director Caeden Dempsey at 202-639-6332, email email@example.com, or visit the organization’s web site at www.nctequality.org.
Stonewall Democrats host candidates for DNC Chair
Washington, DC – On Jan. 23, the National Stonewall Democrats hosted, via a national conference call, the candidates campaigning to be elected Chair of the Democratic National Committee.
Governor Howard Dean, Rep. Tim Roemer, Mayor Wellington Webb, David Leland and Simon Rosenberg addressed Stonewall chapters across the country. Representative Martin Frost and Donnie Fowler, also candidates for the position of Chair, have rescheduled opportunities to speak with Stonewall members due to travel changes caused by winter weather.
Each candidate stressed a desire to expand the DNC’s electoral outreach to LGBT Americans and also expressed the need for the Democratic Party to continue its strong public support for issues that impact LGBT families.
Log Cabin Republicans to hold national convention in March
NEW ORLEANS – The Log Cabin Republicans, a group which advocates for LGBT rights within the Republican party, will be holding its national convention and Liberty Education Forum National Symposium from March 31-April 3 in New Orleans. Speakers include Soulforce’s Executive Director Rev. Mel White, Justin Nelson from the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber, and Chris Matthews, the host of MSNBC’s “Hardball.” For more information or to register, visit www.logcabin.org.
High court won’t review Air Force lieutenant’s conviction following gay sex
WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court declined Jan. 18 to review Second Lt. Ryan W. Davis’ criminal conviction for having sex with a 15-year-old boy. Davis pleaded guilty to consensual sodomy and conduct unbecoming to an officer in military court following an 1997 meeting with a boy in Florida.
Davis had asked the Court to overturn his conviction following its 2003 decision in Lawrence v. Texas that struck down state statutes criminalizing gay sex as a violation of an individual’s constitutional right to sexual privacy.
Anti-gay activists permitted to demonstrate at gay events
PHILADELPHIA – Four members of a conservative Christian group may resume picketing gay-themed events in Philadelphia after a judge lifted a restriction that kept them away calling the restriction an unreasonable restraint on free speech.
The judge overturned a ruling by a Municipal Court judge against the demonstrators, who are affiliated with a local group called Repent America and who say their opposition to homosexuality is based on the Bible. The Municipal Court judge had ordered the group to stay at least 100 feet away from any “homosexual event.”
The extremists still face a variety of charges, including felonies, in connection with their protest last fall at Outfest, an LGBT street festival in Philadelphia.
Disabled gay veteran claims tax break is unfairly denied
NEWARK, N.J. – A gay disabled veteran of two wars claims he is being denied a property tax break afforded straight veterans because he owns his home with his longtime partner, not a wife.
The veteran, who is considered 100 percent disabled, and his partner contend they are being treated unfairly because they received half the tax break that a similarly disabled straight person would be granted.
New Jersey law allows disabled veterans to seek exemptions from local property taxes. The couple, who have been together almost thirty years, married in Canada in 2003.
Man with HIV sentenced to prison for having unprotected sex
ST. CHARLES, Mo. – A St. Louis man infected with HIV was sentenced Jan. 14 to 20 years on seven counts of recklessly risking another with HIV infection for having unprotected sex with his girlfriend, five counts, and another woman, two counts. Each of the women has tested negative for the virus.
Court puts child’s interests above foster mother’s orientation
Chicago – On Jan. 24, the Illinois State Supreme Court ruled unanimously to leave a child in the home of a lesbian foster mother and her partner, rather than having him placed in the home of grandparents who had been indicted for abuse against him.
The ruling overturned a lower-court decision that ordered the child be removed from the lesbian couple’s home and placed with the grandparents.
‘No Name-Calling Week’ begins in schools
NEW YORK – Middle schools nationwide will participate in a “No Name-Calling Week” initiative starting Jan. 24.
The initiative was developed by the New York-based Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, which seeks to ensure that schools safely accommodate students of all sexual orientations.
GLSEN is unsure how many schools will participate in this week’s event, but says 5,100 educators from 36 states have registered, up from 4,000 last year. Participation in a related writing-music-art contest rose from 100 students last year to 1,600 this year.
Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm has issued a proclamation recognizing the event, and more than 40 national organizations have enlisted as partners, including the Girl Scouts, the national associations of elementary and secondary school principals, and the National Education Association.
CDC: Drug treatment for all HIV exposure
ATLANTA – The government recommended Jan. 20 that people exposed to the AIDS virus be given potentially lifesaving medications that can keep them from becoming infected. In 1996 federal health officials had recommended emergency treatment only for health-care workers exposed on the job.
The CDC said the treatment should start no more than 72 hours after a person has been exposed to the virus, and the drugs should be used by patients for 28 days.
The regimen is not recommended for habitual drug users who share needles or people who frequently engage in risky sex as they would have to take the medication practically nonstop, which the health agency does not endorse.
New ED begins tenure at Metropolitan Community Churches
LOS ANGELES Dr. Cindi Love began her new duties as executive director for the international movement of Metropolitan Community Churches during the week of Jan. 17.
Love holds a Bachelor of Science in Education from Abilene Christian University, a Master of Arts from Louisiana Tech, and a Doctorate in Educational Administration from Texas Tech University. She is a licensed MCC clergy person and educational diagnostician.
“I’m pleased that Dr. Cindi Love has accepted the call to serve as Executive Director of Metropolitan Community Churches,” said the Rev. Dr. Troy D. Perry, founder of MCC. “Cindi’s organizational expertise, management background, and deep spiritual values will help lead MCC into a new chapter of mission and ministry.”
Founded in 1968, MCC is the world’s largest and oldest LGBT-affirming faith community. The MCC movement includes more than 43,000 members in 23 countries around the globe. For more information visit www.MCCchurch.org.