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Posts for June, 2011

Obama Issues Pride Month Proclamation

Jim Burroway

June 1st, 2011

President Barack Obama issued a proclamation last night declaring the month of June the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month:

The story of America’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community is the story of our fathers and sons, our mothers and daughters, and our friends and neighbors who continue the task of making our country a more perfect Union. It is a story about the struggle to realize the great American promise that all people can live with dignity and fairness under the law. Each June, we commemorate the courageous individuals who have fought to achieve this promise for LGBT Americans, and we rededicate ourselves to the pursuit of equal rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

…Every generation of Americans has brought our Nation closer to fulfilling its promise of equality. While progress has taken time, our achievements in advancing the rights of LGBT Americans remind us that history is on our side, and that the American people will never stop striving toward liberty and justice for all.

President Obama’s declaration also notes that this June marks the 30th anniversary of the known AIDS epidemic (we now know that AIDS had already been killing people for many decades before it was reported by the CDC in 1981), and urges a recommitment to AIDS awareness. “This landmark anniversary is an opportunity for the LGBT community and allies to recommit to raising awareness about HIV/AIDS and continuing the fight against this deadly pandemic.”

New inductees into the community: add an X to the alphabet

Timothy Kincaid

April 6th, 2011

Considering that BTB’s comments section has had recent discussion about who is, or isn’t, or should be, part of our community and what nomenclature should be considered, it is a fittingly timely announcement that the LGBTQQIA community has a new letter: X, as in Malcolm X.

According to a new biography, Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Columbia University historian Manning Marable, X had during his life been involved in a number of not-strictly-heterosexual encounters including hustling the streets and a relationship with a white businessman.

Of course, engaging in same-sex relations for money does not make one gay. Or even bisexual. Lord knows that there are more than a few gay-for-pay porn actors who regularly – and convincingly – utilize their assets in pursuit of a few bucks before going home to the wife. And every major city has a population of young men who will happily engage in whatever sexual act you desire if it will pay for their next meal, next room, next fix.

As Rev. Irene Monroe puts it,

I am not heterosexist apologist, but if we, as LGBTQ, use this era of Malcolm’s life to claim him as gay, we misunderstand the art and survival of street hustling culture.

Similarly, if we, as African-Americans, use this era of Malcolm’s life to dismiss that he engaged in same-sex relationships, many will miss the opportunity to purge ourselves of homophobic attitudes.

But, as Monroe’s comments acknowledge, for the young Malcolms out there today, those who dance on the line of sexuality, their orientation (should it be heterosexual) does not excuse their sexual transgression. They are not “the same as” those in their family, church, community, society who have not had such relations. Heroes simply can’t have done homo things, and vice versa.

So, as the greater community of The Respectable may often reject the membership of these not-gay-but-doing-it-anyway folk, let us open our community to include them. Of course I’m kidding about adding an X. I don’t even use the letters after T, and most of the time just go with “gay community.”

But the invitation is real. The gay community – that community of gay, lesbian, bisexual, two-spirited, same-gender loving, transgender, questioning, queer, intersex, asexual, friendly heterosexual, political ally, and elderly Russian Jewish women who wander down to Santa Monica Boulevard to watch Gay Pride every year – certainly has room for any who want to belong.

Trading in our sparkle and our freak

A commentary

Timothy Kincaid

December 29th, 2010

Conservative columnist and National Review Online editor Jonah Goldberg has an article in which he notes that the gay community has become increasingly bourgeois. We’ve traded in our outsider status – our anti-establishment, turn over the tables, radical revolutionary rhetoric – for an agenda that is conventional and middle-class. (NRO)

Two decades ago, the gay left wanted to smash the bourgeois prisons of monogamy, capitalistic enterprise and patriotic values and bask in the warm sun of bohemian “free love.” And avant-garde values. In this, they were simply picking up the torch from the straight left of the 1960s and 1970s, who had sought to throw off the sexual hang-ups of their parents’ generation along with their gray flannel suits.

The gay experiment with open bohemianism was arguably shorter. Of course, AIDS played an obvious and tragic role in focusing attention on the downside of promiscuity. But even so, the sweeping embrace of bourgeois lifestyles by the gay community has been stunning.

Nowhere is this more evident — and perhaps exaggerated — than in popular culture. Watch ABC’s Modern Family. The sitcom is supposed to be “subversive” in part because it features a gay couple with an adopted daughter from Asia. And you can see why both liberal proponents and conservative opponents of gay marriage see it that way. But imagine you hate the institution of marriage and then watch Modern Family’s hardworking bourgeois gay couple through those eyes. What’s being subverted? Traditional marriage, or some bohemian identity-politics fantasy of homosexuality?

Even the most casual glance at the goals and aspirations of our community activists – both Gay, Inc. and street protesters – give a picture of a modern gay community seeking conventionality: we value marriage and family, participation in national defense, religious inclusion, assimilated employment and housing, and societal respect for our lives and our unions. Looking at our legislative goals, you’d think we were all Republicans (and, indeed, at least a quarter of us are).

And this is certainly troubling to some in of our community. Those who have been out long enough to remember the transgressive cultural ideology of our youth often do so fondly. Yes, life is certainly easier when the store clerk helps you pick out a gift for your husband, but there was a sense of purpose and a heady rush of righteousness to screaming “fascist pigs” while storming out of a store that made it clear that they didn’t serve people like you.

Outsider status has its appeal. There’s very little intimacy in “belonging to” a citizenry of 300 million, but subcultures provide encouragement and support and care for those who share in the burden. The more that the greater society rejects you, the more intense is your sense of belonging to your community. And, ironically, the more one takes on attitudes and attributes that further separate you from the oppressors.

And for some in our community, the struggle is what defines their identity; it’s what gives purpose to their rage. And on the day that we finally accomplish civil, social, and religious equality, they will find themselves sadly pointless and obsolete.

But most of those who fear gay assimilation aren’t just angry or sentimental for the days of rejection. They also are legitimately concerned about a loss of culture, the diminishing of the unique perspective that our community created and which gives us color and life, our peculiarity and individuality. The more we embrace assimilation, the more we lose a bit of who we are.

They are right, of course.

The more that younger gay people assimilate into the greater community, the less our segregation will cause us to coalesce around shared culture points of music, expression, language, politics, and social thought. Gay institutions such as leather, drag, pop icons, feminist music, biker women, and sexual abandon will suffer and diminish as a result – to some extent they already have.

But “our culture” is another term for “what makes us different” and sometimes that which we claim as our own is really just a response to the rejection of others. Art and beauty are often born out of pain, and comfort seldom inspires originality. And as rejection recedes, so too will reaction.

But I believe that there will always be a gay community that is set apart to some extent from society. We will always have a place to go to be around people who share our unique perspective driven by the very real difference of our sexual attraction. And it will have to go through the process of finding what is of lasting unique value and what can and should be given up in trade for the comfort and security that comes from acceptance.

I can’t predict what will survive our continued assimilation, but I know that you can’t truly stand apart without disregarding the opinions of others. And as we gain equalities, the risks for many gay people will become too great. It is all but certain that some of our culture points will either go extinct or become stylized homages to an earlier time, like lederhosen or Saint Patrick’s Day parades.

Yes, it is true that we will be a more equal people, a more secure, accepted, and included people. But it is also certainly true that we will have less sparkle and freak.

Serbian Police Clash With Anti-Gay Rioters at Belgrade Pride

Jim Burroway

October 10th, 2010

Anti-gay extremists and neo-nazis clash with Serbian riot police.The first major Gay Pride parade in Serbia since 2002 triggered massive riots as anti-gay extremists clashed with thousands of Serbian riot police who were deployed to protect the marchers in downtown Belgrade today.

Rioters chanted “The hunt has begun!” and “death to homosexuals!” as they set fire to parked cars, smashed store windows and overturned garbage dumpsters in several of the repeated clashes with thousands of police officers, who had sealed off the streets around the march.

According to the Associated Press, rioters also fired shots and threw Molotov cocktails at the headquarters of the ruling Democratic Party. Rioters also attacked other political party headquarters and the state television station, as well as other unrelated targets in other parts of the city. Gangs of skinheads also reportedly hijacked a bus, ordered the passengers and drivers out, and pushed the bus down a steep street where it crashed into a pole at a main square. Looting also broke out in several shops downtown. Most of the violence took place after the Pride march had ended.

Dragan Djilas, the mayor of the Serbian capital, put the estimated damage at more than one million euros.

According to police, 78 police officers and 17 civilians were injured, 101 were detained and 53 remain in custody. Police say that at least one gay rights activist had been beaten unconscious. According to UK Gay News’ Andy Harley, who was in Belgrade to attend the march, a participant from Switzerland has been taken to a hospital with injuries after being attacked in the street two hours after the Pride march ended.

Pride participants march behind a banner reading, "Together we can!"

Pride participants march behind a banner reading, "Together we can!"

Pride organizer Lazar Pavlovic called the Pride march a “historic event,” and noted that the violence and immense security measures illustrated the dangers that gay people in Serbia face every day.

“It is a shame for me to march, to stand for what I am, and to have thousands of cops protect me from hysterical nationalists,” said Milena, 36, a lesbian activist.

Susanne Simon-Paunovic, a German married to a Serb who attended the rally said: “It was more like death march. The atmosphere was terrible.”

According to AFP, about a thousand people took part in the Pride march. The parade participants included several international observers as well as a well-known Serb actress, Mirjana Karanovic. Speakers at the event included the European Union’s delegation chief in Serbia Vincent Degert and Human Rights Minister Svetozar Čiplić.

One participant identified only as Nikola, said, “After the beatings, after living in fear, this is what we needed, to become visible.” That visibility continues to be a source of danger for LGBT people. Serbian ultra-nationalist groups threatened to photograph those taking part in the march and post them on a website for retribution.

Belgrade’s B92 radio and television reports that after the Pride march ended, police escorted participants safely out of the area. UK Gay News’ Andy Harley said that the area cordoned off by police was peaceful, “with most of the Pride participants unaware of the battles going on.”

Serbian Riot Police follow as the Gay Pride Parade moves along a street in Belgrade

Serbian Riot Police follow as the Gay Pride Parade moves along a street in Belgrade

The Serbian Orthodox Church condemned the parade in a statement on Friday, warning that such a move would “provoke others to act violently“:

“Behind this verbal triumphalism and boastful public appearance and the gay marchers, is actually internal anguish, despair and grief of the marchers, a clown cry for lost moral and spiritual balance and existential insecurity,” [Metropolitan] Amfilohije told weekly Pečat.

“One should never lose sight of eternal symbolism of Sodom and Gomorrah: all towns and people in them were destroyed, burned in sulfur and fire precisely because they turned natural use of male and female into perverted and unnatural,” he pointed out.

Orthodox priest speaking to anti-gay rioters.

Orthodox priest speaking to anti-gay rioters.

Amfilohije also condemned violence, saying that “”violence does not cure or triumph over evil, but instead multiplies it.” B92 has published a photo of an Orthodox priest speaking to rioters surrounded by police. B92 does not indicate whether the priest was trying to calm the situation or inflame it.

The parade, which was the first one held since 2002, was seen as a test of Serbia’s readiness to become a more modern and open society after years of warfare in the 1990s that was fueled by nationalism and ethnic hatred. The 2002 event, which drew 300 participants, was also marred by massive violence. Unknown attackers beat up Mario Kovač, the Croatian theater director who was to serve as Master of Ceremonies. Skinheads also attacked a club popular with the gay community, beating several of the patrons before police arrived to break up the fighting.

Smaller pride gatherings were held with little fanfare in 2003 through 2005. Last year’s attempt at a more prominent parade was canceled after the government said it could not guarantee the safety of participants.

Serbian president Boris Tadic condemned this year’s violence and vowed, “Serbia will guarantee human rights for all its citizens, regardless of the differences among them, and no attempts to revoke these freedoms with violence will be allowed.”

If there is an encouraging sign, it is that the police were vigorous in protecting the rights of LGBT people to hold a peaceful march in the capital. Serbia has aspirations for joining the European Union, and its observance of human rights and protection of minorities is a crucial element to its possible acceptance into the Union.

Update: One Pride marcher praised Belgrade police, saying, “The police were without question the heroes of the day. It makes me angry that some of them were injured, some of them seemingly seriously hurt.” Linda Freimane, a co-chair of International Gay and Lesbian Association (IGLA) Europe’s Executive Board, also praised Serb authorities: “Today, the Serbian authorities proved they are serious in their respect for everyone’s right to exercise their fundamental rights, and for European integration.”

Atlanta loses an asset

Timothy Kincaid

August 25th, 2010

From the Journal Constitution:

An organizer of Atlanta’s annual Black Gay Pride celebration was shot dead in southwest Atlanta early Wednesday morning, police said.

Durand Robinson, co-owner of the popular gay nightclub Traxx, was found dead in the middle of Hadlock Street around 1:30 a.m., Atlanta police said. Officers said he had been shot in the chest.

Robinson, 50, will be honored during a candlelight vigil on Sept. 1, according to In The Life Atlanta, the nonprofit group that organizes Atlanta Black Gay Pride.

Some Hallelujah testimony from Durango, CO

Timothy Kincaid

July 26th, 2010

This is a letter to the editor in the Durango Herald which just speaks for itself:

The 4 Corners Pride Festival held June 26 at Rotary Park was far more successful than anyone could imagine. God used the park and pride event for his silent pulpit to touch all who attended.

Unknown to the attendees, everyone received a blessing and permanently was touched by God’s Holy Spirit. This included straight and homosexual people.

While the pride fest participants were indulging in their prefest party at the Lost Dog Bar & Lounge on the evening of June 25, a group of dedicated Christians met at Rotary Park for prayer and physical anointing of the park with God’s holy oil. The oil has extreme spiritual power to overcome Satan’s grip on those who are not Christians. Because of this, the Holy Spirit will remain with each individual as long as believing Christians continue to keep it activated with prayer.

Escape from homosexuality is possible with God’s help. The Wednesday evening prayer chain for salvation is still alive and active. It was established to bring homosexuals to Jesus for eternal salvation and for deliverance from their lifestyle.

Any individual or community that continues to accept and condone homosexuality is going against God’s teachings and will suffer severe consequences. This is explained in the King James Bible, which accurately has predicted mankind’s future for more than 2,000 years.

Everyone is welcome to join the prayer chain by simply asking Jesus to include you in the many prayers going to God on Wednesday evenings.

Vi McCoy, Durango

Let’s just say that Vi doesn’t speak for all Christians. Or most Christians. Or anyone with even the vaguest knowledge of either history or the King James Version of the Bible. Or for King James. Or anyone with a high school education. Or anyone whose TV gets the History Channel. Or for the prayer-chain members in Durango. Well… maybe for the prayer-chain members in Durango.

Congrats to Detroit’s black gay pride

Timothy Kincaid

July 23rd, 2010

It is tougher as a minority. But it can be crazy difficult being a minority within a minority. And sometimes you just need a time and place where you look out and everyone you see knows exactly where you are coming from.

So congratulations to Detroit’s Black Pride for 15 years of giving a voice, presence, and closer sense of community to a part of our family.

The Kansas City Star Readers’ Representative plays devil’s advocate

Timothy Kincaid

June 29th, 2010

When the Kansas City Star ran a web article about NY gay pride accompanied by a photo of a nude man on a bike in San Francisco, I wrote to the Star to express my discontent. Derek Donovan, the Readers’ Representative responded to clarify how the picture came to be and to give me a little lesson about what is an appropriate illustration for gay pride.

I did not agree.

Here is my less-than-friendly original comment:

Really, KC Star?

The best possible picture to accompany a story about this year’s gay pride parade in New York City was a picture of a nude guy on a bike from last year’s pride in San Francisco? What kind of irresponsible hateful jerk decided to try and trash gay people universally by tying this picture to the entire community? I’m sure he’s really proud of his little homphobic effort

Here is Mr. Donovan’s much-more-polite response:

Dear Mr. Kincaid,

The letters editor shared your note with me, since it pertains to how The Star covers the news. That photo came directly from The Associated Press, where it was posted online automatically. When a Web editor at KansasCity.com noticed it, he removed it. Wire content rotates in and out of KansasCity.com automatically every day without an editor’s hand, as it does on many news sites.

However, I’m going to play devil’s advocate here. That man in the photo was indeed a participant in the pride parade, as were a number of others in skimpy and outlandish costumes. It’s the journalist’s job to document what goes on — and that includes images that some people don’t want to see. A column from the National Gay and Lesbian Journalists Association says:

“Some photojournalists may feel like ignoring the femme boys, the butch girls and all those drag queens on Rollerblades. That’s just as wrong as making them the entire focus of coverage.”

Full column:

http://www.nlgja.org/publications/articles/dotinga_pride.htm

Some gay people love pride events, and others disdain them. Some are ambivalent. The Society of Professional Journalists’ code of ethics says to “Tell the story of the diversity and magnitude of the human experience boldly, even when it is unpopular to do so.”

The bottom line (no pun intended) is that the man in the photo chose to appear nude in the parade. And again, an editor removed the image when he saw it. I don’t really think the word “homophobic” is applicable here, but I will include your comments in my weekly report to the publisher, vice presidents and the entire newsroom.

Best wishes,
Derek Donovan
Readers’ representative
The Kansas City Star

And this is my rebuttal

Derek,

Thank you for your response. And let me state up front that I am appreciative of the Star’s decision to remove the deceptive picture from accompanying and illustrating your article.

However, in playing devil’s advocate, I think you failed to closely read your own position or apply it to the situation.

Yes, the NGLJA does advise:

“Some photojournalists may feel like ignoring the femme boys, the butch girls and all those drag queens on Rollerblades. That’s just as wrong as making them the entire focus of coverage.”

In other words, don’t color the story to portray a false impression. The man on the bike, as the only picture provided, became the entire focus of coverage. He became the sole image of Gay Pride, regardless of the fact that the article was about the New York gay pride parade – and he was from an entirely different type of gay pride parade 3,000 miles away (New York and San Francisco have sharply different gay cultures and their parades have both different messages and different meaning).

And NGLJA follows that advice with this:

“Photos that only show stereotypical images of gays and lesbians without reflecting the diversity of our community have rightly caused anger for many years,” Poller said. “But at the same time, it’s good to remember what the day is about, what the event feels like. Pride is loud and boisterous and fun, and the published photos should reflect that.”

Was that picture loud, boisterous or fun? No. Only to the person who got a chuckle from tying this image to the gay community as a whole.

And was it honest, true or a fair representation of pride? Again, no.

Readers had no way to know that this man on his bike was extremely atypical for gay pride parades. Indeed, he would not have been allowed to ride nude in the vast overwhelming number of pride parades, including the subject of your article.

The Society of Professional Journalists’ code of ethics says to “Tell the story of the diversity and magnitude of the human experience boldly, even when it is unpopular to do so.”

This picture did not tell the story of diversity and magnitude. This was not an inclusive photograph showing several floats, a marching band or two, some drag queens, and a few go-go dancers. Rather this was a picture that focused on a single individual and, by default, portrayed him as representative.

Based on the criteria you stated, the AP – and the Star – failed miserably.

And I’m troubled by your failure to see the problem with the decision to use this photograph. This was not an accidental happenstance.

Yes, the man in the photo chose to appear nude in the parade. But someone else chose to photograph him, to put him on the wire, and to allow the picture to represent gay pride.

To understand my point, ask yourself this question: would you not feel shame for accompanying a story about the MLK march or Saint Patrick’s Day parade or the Lotus festival with a picture that sought to stereotype the participants in a negative way? Would you not be embarrassed if the coverage of a Tea Party rally deliberately pictured a person who, say, was missing teeth?

We would recognize these images as attempts to demean. And they would be.

So let’s not pretend that there was no intent on someone’s part to portray gay people and gay pride parades in as outlandish a way as possible. To do so discredits an otherwise credible response.

Again, thank you for your reply. I am taking the liberty of sharing it with my readers.

Timothy Kincaid

Gee thanks, Kansas City Star

Timothy Kincaid

June 27th, 2010


Is Peter LaBarbera working for the Kansas City Star?

Seems like it. For some reason, the KC Star decided that an article about today’s Gay Pride parade in New York City should be accompanied by this photo, from last year’s pride parade in San Francisco.

And, of course, this is the photo that pops up on Google News to illustrate the 973 news articles about Gay Pride events around the world. Stanley Cup? nope. Ernie Banks? not a chance. The elected officials or PFLAG or health services or even baton twirlers or drag queens? un-uh. This year’s image for Gay Pride is a year old picture of a nude man on a bike.

Oh goodie.

UPDATE: The picture appears to have disappeared from the KC Star website.

The importance of Ernie Banks

Timothy Kincaid

June 25th, 2010

Sports Illustrated writer, Jeff Pearlman, writes about the message that the Chicago Cubs are making by sending their most iconic symbol to Chicago Gay Pride.

The team could have enlisted any former player without a peep of complaint from the community. Here’s Dwight Smith waving to the crowd! Or Ray Burris! Or Mike Maksudian! It could have just sent the float along with Biff, the 19-year-old eager-to-please PR intern. Hell, the Cubs could probably get by merely contributing the float and a box of donuts. But by putting forth Banks, an iconic Hall of Famer and one of the classiest men to ever grace the diamond, the Cubs have made a bold and powerful statement that, even in the oft-closed-minded world of professional team sports, homophobia no longer has a place.

Judge: anti-gay activist can’t be kept out of pride event

Timothy Kincaid

June 25th, 2010

In a truly mind-boggling decision, a judge in Minneapolis has decided that an anti-gay activist must be allowed to distribute anti-gay literature within the park which the gay pride event has rented from the city.

A federal judge ruled Friday that a restraining order would violate Johnson’s First Amendment rights.

The city’s park system fought Pride Fest in court.

Since the Fest is held in a public park, attorneys for the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board argued on Johnson’s behalf, although they insisted they were merely trying to clarify the rules and were not advocating one viewpoint over another.

To recap, just so we know the law,

  • The Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which marches down public streets, has the right to exclude gay people from marching so as to protect its “message”
  • The Boy Scouts of America, who recruit in public schools, have the right to exclude gay people because they have a freedom of assembly right
  • The Boy Scouts have the right to insist that their discriminatory policies can’t be used to deny them taxpayer-funded free rent
  • BUT

  • The Twin Cities Pride Fest doesn’t have the right to deny entry into a park that they rented to someone who is there for the sole purpose of working against their message.

Yeah. And we’re the ones who they say want “special rights.”

UPDATE: WCCO provides additional information:

In a footnote, Tunheim proposed a compromise in which Twin Cities Pride could designate content-neutral “free speech zones” where anyone could distribute literature or display signs.

Pragmatically, they may be smart to allow such a zone. It would minimize disturbances and confrontations and would allow those who are there to seek a space where they can feel safe and free from hostility can avoid the area.

Johnson, of course, doesn’t want to be restricted in any way.

Zagreb Pride

Timothy Kincaid

June 23rd, 2010

The Pride Parade in Croatia seems to have gone off without much problem. Yes, the neo-Nazis protested (they seem not to have read Scott Lively’s Pink Swastika), but riot police were on hand to protect the marchers. Check out some great pictures and commentary here.

You can’t even buy a right

Timothy Kincaid

June 23rd, 2010

Two stories today reflect how issues of justice, rights, fairness, and civil responsibility are often presumed to disappear the minute that gay folk arrive. Far too often it is assumed, indignantly, that civil governments belong to heterosexuals.

Take, for example, the situation in Philadelphia.

In 2000, the US Supreme Court found that the Boy Scouts of America are a private organization and that their freedom of association allowed them to exclude gay and/or atheist boys and men from participating. And I agree with that decision; the Boy Scouts should be able to limit their membership in whatever manner that they choose.

However, if they choose to operate as a private organization, they are not entitled to preferential treatment from the taxpayers, who include a large number of gay people, atheists, and their family, friends, neighbors, and allies. In other words, discriminate however you like, but don’t do it on my dollar.

In Philadelphia the city counsel had passed protections that banned discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. But they found that they were in conflict with this policy when it came to the Boy Scouts. The Cradle of Liberty council has been leasing nearly 2,000 square feet of office space from the city at the cost of one dollar per year. So Philadelphia said that the local group either needed to renounce the discrimination policies of the national group or they were not going to get any more freebies.

But the leadership of the Boy Scouts believe that they are entitled to have it both ways. It’s discrimination, they cried, to not give us free rent. We can exclude who we want, and to insist that we open our city funded doors to all residents is a violation of our free speech rights.

So they went to court arguing that not only are they entitle to free assembly and free speech but that they are also entitled to free rent.

And a jury agreed. (WHYY)

A jury in Philadelphia has decided the city cannot evict a local Boy Scouts group from a city-owned building because of a national policy that bans gays.

Cradle of Liberty Council lawyer Jason Gosselin says the ruling means one simple fact: the Scouts can stay in their building in Center City rent free.

Meanwhile in Minneapolis, it seems like gay people don’t have a right to assembly, even if the city isn’t subsidizing them. (Tribune)

The gay pride organization paid the city more than $36,000 for the use of a park. And they are trying to keep an evangelist from coming into the festival and disrupting the event.

But the city thinks that the preacher has a right to free speech – something that is startlingly missing from gay folk.

But Pride Festival organizers say they have the right to keep Johnson off the grounds because they paid more than $36,000 for the use of the park. Festival manager Jim Kelley says Johnson is free to preach his message across the street.

The Minneapolis Park Board is backing the activist on free speech grounds, so the festival organziers are going to court Wednesday seeking an injuction to reverse that decision.

Stanley Cup coming to Chicago Pride

Timothy Kincaid

June 22nd, 2010

If you make it to the Gay Pride parade in Chicago on June 27, keep your eye out for the Chicago Gay Hockey Association; they’ll be the guys on roller blades “skating” down the street. And with them will be Brent Sopel, defenseman with the reigning Chicago Blackhawk, who will be marching with his family and with the Stanley Cup, the international ice hockey trophy entrusted into the keeping of the winning team each year. (Sun Times)

“I am honored to do it,” said Sopel, who will be accompanied by wife, Kelly, and his four kids, Jacob, 12, Lyla, 8, Jayla, 6, and Paul, 20, whom they adopted three years ago after Paul’s parents died within six months of each other.

“The power of the Cup is incomprehensible, and we recognize the importance of doing this,” said McDonough, who has arranged for the Stanley Cup to be flown back from the National Hockey League draft in Los Angeles 15 hours early. “It’s important for the city and important for the franchise.”

Sopel was motivated to participate by the story of Brandon Burke, a young hockey player and legacy who came out in a way that inspired acceptance within the hockey world and who died this year in a driving accident.

But the Stanley Cup will not be the only sports icon at Chicago Pride. Living legend Ernie Banks (“Mr. Cub”), a Baseball Hall of Famer who was the first black player for the Chicago Cubs in 1953 and who went on to play 18 years for the franchise, will be there to represent the club. The Chicago Cubs, will be, to the best of my knowledge, the first professional sports team to sponsor their own float in a gay pride parade.

GOP Gubernatorial candidate marches in Boston gay pride

Timothy Kincaid

June 20th, 2010

We are accustomed to Democratic candidates – often for high office – showing support and seeking voters among their gay constituents. But last weekend an event occurred that is telling about the future of our community. Charlie Baker, the Republican candidate for Governor, joined the Democratic candidate Deval Patrick, by marching in Boston’s gay pride parade.

Well, yes, it is Massachusetts. And Baker’s running mate is openly gay. But still, this is the GOP candidate.

And perhaps the most interesting aspect is that no one even seem to think that this is in any way interesting. No national party members are ranting. Local GOP officials are happy. Senators from Alabama and Oklahoma are not calling for his head. Rush isn’t frothing and Newt isn’t out looking for a write-in to support.

No one cares.

Oh, the MassResistance crowd is angry (especially because he marched with the guys who set up KnowThyNeighbor.org). But they can’t get anyone to return their calls these days.

And that is an encouraging sign.

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