Kicking A Lion

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Written by kickingalion

December 19, 2008 at 4:48 pm

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Obama Transition Team ‘Took Notes,’ ‘Listened’ During Meeting With Gay Rights Leaders

Oh how kind of the incoming Obama administration to listen to the concerns of the wee gay community. Having pandered to the gay community during his entire campaign, the president-elect appears ready to actually hear what we have to say. Over a week ago, “gay activists met with members of President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team last week in a two-hour session focused on policy issues and presidential appointments,” reports Southern Voice. Of course, this was before Obama selected Pastor Rick Warren to say a prayer at his inauguration.

“Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force, said transition team officials were attentive during the meeting and very appreciative of the clarity of recommended policy changes. ‘They were taking notes, they were listening, they were responding, they were asking questions, they were a very, very engaged transition team and that bodes well for our community moving forward,’ she said.

“About 60 people attended the Dec. 10 meeting, including transition leaders such as John Podesta, co-chair of Obama’s transition team; Jim Messina, who is in charge of Obama’s personnel decisions; Mike Strautmanis, director of public liaison and intergovernmental affairs; Melanie Barnes, whom Obama tapped to become the White House’s domestic policy director; and Parag Mehta, the transition team’s liaison for minority groups, according to activists.

“Carey said activists also told transition officials that the gay community is interested in being part of the major issues of the day, including the economic crisis or health care reform.

“Activists made it clear that the gay community wants to be “part of creating solutions to these problems” and asked transition officials to make sure that “LGBT people are not left behind when these discussions are taking place,” Carey said.

“Solmonese said his role at the meeting was to discuss non-legislative changes that Obama’s administration could make to improve the lives of gay and transgender Americans.

“He said he presented the transition team an 80-page document of proposed changes.”

Written by kickingalion

December 19, 2008 at 4:46 pm

Southern U.S. Needs To Do More To Address HIV/AIDS Among Hispanics

“Demographers have noted that the South is one of the regions that have seen the most rapid influx of Latino workers,” Marisa Trevio, who writes the blog “Latina Lista,” writes in a USA Today opinion piece. She adds, “So with a steady influx of Latinos, and a growing number of them contracting HIV/AIDS, why aren’t states making inroads via aggressive public awareness campaigns in attacking this preventable and treatable disease?”

According to Trevio, a recent study from the Latino Commission on AIDS “found that HIV/AIDS cases are rising at alarming rates among the two million Latinos in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.” She adds, “Prevention education isn’t keeping pace.” Trevio writes that public awareness efforts likely are not having much effect among Hispanics because the “targets of these messages — which include legal and undocumented workers — don’t trust the messenger.” A report from Progressive States Network found that “every state identified by the study, with the exception of Alabama, has passed policies criminalizing undocumented immigration,” according to Trevio. “These laws intimidate people from seeking any assistance,” she writes, adding, “For example, South Carolina passed a series of laws that include establishing a hotline to report suspected nonresidents and making it a crime to transport or harbor undocumented immigrants.” The report found that as a “result of this anti-immigrant climate and the high rate of people without health insurance,” many HIV-positive Hispanics do not “seek medical attention until they are in its late stages,” Trevio writes.

However, some “states are trying to confront this crisis,” according to Trevio, who adds that North Carolina in October “conducted a bilingual campaign to encourage people to get tested. Even so, the report found that these states didn’t have enough bilingual professionals to address the crisis.” Trevio writes that the study “made several recommendations, all rooted in communication. Whether it’s utilizing more Spanish-language media to market prevention programs, training more people to speak Spanish, partnering with Latino organizations to replicate their successful programs or connecting with Hispanic religious and community leaders, it all comes down to opening lines of communication to a population that has been forced to stay in the shadows of society.” She concludes, “For their health and for the health of the country, these Latinos must come forward — and the sooner the better”

Written by kickingalion

December 19, 2008 at 4:43 pm

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Gays and Guns: Pink Pistols

Written by kickingalion

December 19, 2008 at 4:40 pm

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Homeowners group allows only married couples to rent

A Central Florida homeowners association covenant prohibits owners from leasing their homes to couples who aren’t married, raising the ire of gay rights advocates and homeowners who can’t locate tenants, reports Local 6 News in Orlando

The development is near the University of Central Florida. The rules were created, in part, to prevent the homes from becoming similar to nearby college apartments.

But abandoned homes are forcing current residents to maintain the properties.

A man who owns a home in the development had to move to Texas for employment reasons is trying renting the house for $1,600 a month, including HOA fees.

“It’s ridiculous,” says Eric Marberg. “I might have to quit my job here and move down to Florida and try to get something going.”

“Whether intended or not, this HOA law discriminates against many types of people,” said Tom Dyer, publisher of The Watermark, an Orlando gay and lesbian magazine. “And what’s most offensive is they’re saying the only kinds of people who can form a cohesive responsible household unit are married heterosexuals. And that discriminates against lots and lots of people.”

Fair or not?

You decide.

Written by kickingalion

December 19, 2008 at 4:34 pm

In a first, gay rights are pressed at the UN

UNITED NATIONS: An unprecedented declaration seeking to decriminalize homosexuality won the support of 66 countries in the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday, but opponents criticized it as an attempt to legitimize pedophilia and other “deplorable acts.”

The United States refused to support the nonbinding measure, as did Russia, China, the Roman Catholic Church and members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference. The Holy See’s observer mission issued a statement saying that the declaration “challenges existing human rights norms.”

The declaration, sponsored by France with broad support in Europe and Latin America, condemned human rights violations based on homophobia, saying such measures run counter to the universal declaration of human rights.

“How can we tolerate the fact that people are stoned, hanged, decapitated and tortured only because of their sexual orientation?” said Rama Yade, the French state secretary for human rights, noting that homosexuality is banned in nearly 80 countries and subject to the death penalty in at least six.

France decided to use the format of a declaration because it did not have the support for an official resolution. Read out by Ambassador Jorge Argüello of Argentina, the declaration was the first on gay rights read in the 192-member General Assembly itself.

Although laws against homosexuality are concentrated in the Middle East, Asia and Africa, more than one speaker addressing a separate conference on the declaration noted that the laws stemmed as much from the British colonial past as from religion or tradition.

Navanethem Pillay, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights, speaking by video telephone, said that just like apartheid laws that criminalized sexual relations between different races, laws against homosexuality “are increasingly becoming recognized as anachronistic and as inconsistent both with international law and with traditional values of dignity, inclusion and respect for all.”

The opposing statement read in the General Assembly, supported by nearly 60 nations, rejected the idea that sexual orientation was a matter of genetic coding. The statement, led by the Organization of the Islamic Conference, said the effort threatened to undermine the international framework of human rights by trying to normalize pedophilia, among other acts.

The Organization of the Islamic Conference also failed in a last-minute attempt to alter a formal resolution that Sweden sponsored condemning summary executions. It sought to have the words “sexual orientation” deleted as one of the central reasons for such killings.

Yade and the Dutch foreign minister, Maxime Verhagen, said at a news conference that they were “disappointed” that the United States failed to support the declaration. Human rights activists went further. “The Bush administration is trying to come up with Christmas presents for the religious right so it will be remembered,” said Scott Long, a director at Human Rights Watch.

The official American position was based on highly technical legal grounds. The text, by using terminology like “without distinction of any kind,” was too broad because it might be interpreted as an attempt by the federal government to override states’ rights on issues like gay marriage, American diplomats and legal experts said.

“We are opposed to any discrimination, legally or politically, but the nature of our federal system prevents us from undertaking commitments and engagements where federal authorities don’t have jurisdiction,” said Alejandro Wolff, the deputy permanent representative.

Gay-rights advocates brought to the conference from around the world by France said just having the taboo broken on discussing the topic at the United Nations would aid their battles at home. “People in Africa can have hope that someone is speaking for them,” said the Rev. Jide Macaulay of Nigeria.

Published: December 19, 2008

Written by kickingalion

December 19, 2008 at 4:31 pm

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Contact President Elect Obama

Voice your opinion of his choice to lead the Inauguration prayer, Rick Warren:

Rick Warren is the hate-mongor from Saddleback Church which twists the Bible to fit his format.  He uses faith to drive fear and is openly hostile to the GLBT community.

Written by kickingalion

December 18, 2008 at 4:47 pm