Monday, September 29, 2008

Ecuador: New constitution grants gays civil union rights, bans adoption rights

I am no fan of the nouveau-socialist movements sweeping Latin America (at least in the Hugo Chavez or Evo Morales guise) but if you have to give credit where credit is due, that means Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa gets props for defeating the massive anti-gay evangelical fringe in his efforts to push for a new constitution that recognizes some rights of same-sex couples (among other savory and unsavory things).

From the Associated Press (via
The new constitution guarantees civil rights for gays and lesbians, including civil unions affording all the rights of marriage... Preliminary results showed 65 percent support with 5 percent of the vote counted, mirroring earlier exit polls and quick counts that indicated overwhelming voter approval...
This despite virulently homophobic political opposition as we have reported in the past (see below). But, as someone comments on the board:

Hate to rain on the 'We love Ecuador' parade, but Spanish readers will note that next to the clause on civil unions is a line affirming that marriage is only between a man and a woman, as well as a ban on gay adoption (Article 67 and 68). So, it is more of a “one-step forward, two-steps backwards” sort of constitution. English language gay media tends to over-exaggerate the progress in other countries (while undermining the substantive gains that have achieved in the Anglophone world itself).

He is partly right! Correa says that the new Ecuadorean constitution would afford "all the rights of marriage" but, of course, the fact that it would bar adoption rights for same-sex couples means it does not.

It is still way more than the United States government has ever done. And, considering the concerted efforts by the religious right in Ecuador to sink any recognition of same-sex rights it is a tremendous victory. Let's wait and see how the mandate is implemented.


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Musica: Omar Lye-Fook

On a gray and rainy day, I finally got around to uploading the video footage I caught with my camera at the ultra rare August 14th NYC appearance by UK neo-soul / r'n'b singer Omar Lye-Fook (one of my all time favorite artists).

In part, it had taken me a while to upload the videos due to the unfortunate awful sound quality. I should have known that others had uploaded better clips on YouTube from some of the shows he did on the mini-tour. To wit:

"Ghana Emotion" from the show at SOB's (another take here):

A cover of one of my favorite songs. Roy Ayer's "Everybody Loves the Sunshine" from a February show in North Carolina:

From the same show, his recent international hit "It's So...":

Here's his take on Stevie Wonder's "Be Thankful" from a January show in France (another angle here):

If you'd like to know more about Omar or purchase some of his amazing records:

Farandula: Soap opera diva says she will not go lesbo for "Assassin Women"

I have to admit that when I first heard of it last week, I was a little disturbed and felt somewhat nauseous: Two of the all-time most popular television soap divas in Spanish language television - both way past their glory years and victims of several rounds of cosmetic surgery - had allegedly signed up to play a lesbian couple in the Mexican version of an Argentinian television series called "Assassin Women".

Don't get me wrong! It would be great to see Mexican television portray the lives of older lesbian couples but Lucia Mendez shaking up with her real-life showbiz nemesis Veronica Castro? OMfG!!! I feel queasy all over again just writing that sentence!

Anyway, I am getting ahead of myself: On Wednesday, the Mexican newspaper Milenio broke the story ("It is expected that Veronica Castro and Lucia Mendez will play a gay couple").

The two actresses had already appeared at a news conference (above) to announce that they would be part of "Assassin Women." Carlos Pascual, a writer for the show, revealed that they would be playing a lesbian couple: "The storyline is stupendous, it's about a gay couple made up of two women who dedicate themselves to the theater, one is a costume designer and the other an architect. A huge problem surfaces, a rape, but I cannot say anything else."

I can see Lucia Mendez (right) truly sink her teeth into such a role (full disclosure: I've always had a fond heart for La Mendez ever since I saw her in "Tu o Nadie" with Andres Garcia and the amazingly crap-tastic - in a good way - "The Strange Return of Diana Salazar" in the late 80's).

Her gay fans are legion - I dare say that she was probably more popular than even Madonna at the heights of her career - and it's no surprise that just a few months ago she was touring some of the Latino gay bars in the United States singing some of her hits (in Mexico you cannot be a soap opera star without having a recording career to go along with it and they gays always love you even if your career is on the downturn).

My queasiness, to be sincere, was all about the other side of the equation: The cougar-rific Veronica Castro (left) who used to be as big a star as Mendez (full disclosure: I never got her appeal but have to admit that her role in "Rosa Salvaje" - perhaps her biggest hit - was just hilarious and not in an intentional way - I dare you to YouTube it).

I mean, this is the woman who called someone a faggot back in July defending her son Cristian (long rumored himself to be gay despite a recent and scandalous divorce that has filled pages and pages of gossip magazines in Mexico).

Well, I do have to say, La Vero does not disappoint! Here's her reaction to the possibility of playing a lesbian character, according to yesterday's El Universal ("Veronica Castro rules out playing a lesbian"):

"[To be an actress today] you are asked to let go of your disgust for anything - sucking, sticking, pulling out - and then you have to allow your body to be shown without inhibitions, in other words, a type of prostitution, and if you end up acting, well, you are welcome. But how!"

OK, that was a bit tough to translate but even if El Universal says she said this in good humor, who exactly is asking La Vero to suck, stick or withdraw anything from Lucia Mendez, much less in the nude?

Probably feeling concious that she might come off a tad lesbophobic she then went on another tangent
saying she had always felt some sense of disgust when asked to kiss male actors in the past: "Other [actors] can tell you, like [Guillermo] Capetillo with whom we always tried to eat the same thing, or we'd say to each other 'look, I brought gum' or a new breath-mint, because I am disgusted [by it], anyway she is not my type."

Oops. Ended up coming off worse.

And now I've written way more about Mexican soap operas than I should be allowed - ever! And exposed how much useless information resides in my brain! But, I swear! There were other benefits of having watched soaps like "Tu o Nadie". Perfect example:

Hm, Andres Garcia is is the original McSteamy! Even if he's stuck selling male-enhancement treatments nowadays (and yes, that's the younger Lucia Mendez next to him).

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Mexico: School teacher protests children's use of the word 'gay' as an insult

A high-school English language professor from the city of Tampico, Mexico, decided to stage a one-man protest yesterday against anti-gay discrimination.

According to Hoy Tamaulipas, professor Rogelio Pérez Barragán said that he was tired of the way that children and adolescents used the word "gay" when insulting each other and said he wanted to raise awareness about the discrimination faced by individuals with different sexual orientations ("Gay professor from Tampico goes out to the street to protest") [Side note: The paper is clear that the word in question is 'gay' and not 'homosexual' which I believe is more commonly used in Spanish-speaking countries, which makes me wonder if it's usage is in any way related to a similar phenomenon among younger individuals in the United States in which the word 'gay' is used to describe something that is lame or tired - without, some would argue, having a specifically derogatory nature].

"Simply," he said," I believe that there is a lot of work to do and that we have to start with the children."

Mr. Barragán, wearing jeans and a white long-sleeved shirt, taped a piece of paper to his back which read "One part of me is being gay" and "I see life and love." He also attached a piece of lavender-colored cloth to the note.

He then walked down Tampico's Guadalajara Street as reporters followed.

The professor, whose face is not shown on the photos posted online, disclosed he'd previously been called names and ridiculed due to his sexual identity at his place of employment but did not give the name of the school.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

September Press

I don't think I've done anything like this in the years that I've written this blog but thought I might point out some articles and blogs in which I have been quoted as of late:

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Argentina: Gay 81 year old widow granted pension benefits

As my friend Rex Wockner reported in his syndicated international news column (posted here by PrideSource), on August 18th the government of Argentina decided to expand pension coverage to same-sex couples.

Today, as Los Andes reports, 81 year old Alfredo Pascale (above), became the first person in the country to gain access to his partner's pension benefits as celebrated today in an emotional public ceremony ("An 81 year old man is the first gay man to be pensioned").

Pascale, who was partnered with José Miguel Castro for 59 years and lived together with him for 47 years (before Castro died in 1996), had spent 11 years fighting the courts for recognition. He said that he felt extremely moved by the recognition and that it seemed "unreal to be able to express myself like this, as freely," adding "I would have loved to live like this during all that time with him."

Present at the ceremony was Cesar Cigliutti, president of the LGBT-rights organization Argentinean Homosexual Community (CHA) and his partner Marcelo Suntheim who also works for the CHA.

You might know their names from the fact that Marcelo and Cesar were the first couple in Argentina to be united under a historic civil union pact in Buenos Aires back in 2003 (the first such law in all of Latin America) or because the CHA was also instrumental in last week's recognition of a transgender person's right to change their name of birth even if they did not have gender reassignment surgery (that's Cesar on the left in this picture I featured in yesterday's post).

Monday, September 22, 2008

Argentina: Court allows transgender woman to legally change name w/out requiring gender reassignment surgery

Pictured above: Tania Luna, second from left, with her sister Verónica, legal team member Pedro Paradiso Sottile (left) and director Cesar Cigliutti, all members of the Argentinean Homosexual Community (CHA)

A judge in the Argentinian province of Mar de Plata has ruled in favor of a 25 year old transgender woman and allowed her to officially change her name to Tania without requiring gender-reassignment surgery.

"This ruling brings resolution to my life but I don't want it to be an isolated case" said Tania Luna to Clarin in an article posted online yesterday ("Born a man and will have a woman's name in his ID without having surgery").

Tania, who received legal assistance from members of the Argentinean Homosexual Community (CHA) including her sister Verónica Luna who is a lawyer, said that she always felt like a woman and had been using her chosen name since she was sixteen. She said that she would not mention her name of birth because it did not represent her but said that she had always counted with the full support of her parents, her three sister and a brother.

She began hormone treatments at fifteen and underwent silicone injections at eighteen. As a gift for her 21st birthday, her family pulled together enough money for her to be able to get breast implants but she has yet to undertake gender-reassignment surgery for which she says she is unprepared. "Before I felt ashamed of my body as if I was wearing a disguise, but these changes allow me to like the way I am," she said.

In the ruling, Judge Pedro Hooft specifically stated that gender-reassignment should not be a requirement for transgender individuals seeking to legally change their name and called it a "serious incongruence."

"It would be to once again remain in a reductionist vision which equalizes sex as gender with only one of its external characteristics, in this case the presence of male genital organs, giving less value to personal identity," said the judge [in a side note the paper notes that the judge is among those who have been accused by human rights organizations of collaborating with previous dictators].

To date, says Clarin, transgender women had been able to change their birth certificates and ID cards if they underwent gender-reassignment surgery in Argentina or in the exterior. Pedro Paradiso Sottile, from the CHA's legal department, explained that the desicion puts Tania and other women on equal ground. "For example," he said, "she can marry through the Civil Matrimony Law even if she does not seek gender reassignment surgery."

In other general terms Verónica, Luna's sister, says that it means that she will not be surrounded by members of police when she is at the airport because the name and photo on her ID does not match her appearance, it means she doesn't have to wonder whether she would cast a vote in a voting table designated for male voters or at another designated for female voters, it means that hospitals will not discriminate against her when she seeks treatment (as the Lunas claim happened once when hospital workers segregated her from other patients), and it means that she will probably not be turned away when seeking employment.

It's a tremendously progressive ruling. Laws allowing transgender individuals to officially change their names in birth certificates and personal identity documents vary all over the map but even in the United States when it's been allowed, one precondition has always been that the person demonstrate that he or she has had gender-reassignment surgery.

A 2006 proposal, which would have made New York City the only place in the United State to allow these changes without requiring proof of a gender reassignment surgery was scrapped at the last minute when issues of federal security were raised.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

In Dallas, a lesbian sheriff under siege

[NOTE: To help Sheriff Valdez stem back these attacks, please donate to her campaign here]

Lupe Valdez
(right) was sworn as Dallas County Sheriff on January 1st, 2005. Valdez, a Democrat, was long seen as an underdog in the race not only because it had been held by Republicans for decades but also because she became the first Latino person to hold the job as well as the first openly gay person as well (and the only female sheriff in the state).

Today, as she runs for re-election, some say that an increasing Democratic base in Dallas and the fact that the vote takes place on November 4th - the same date that voters elect the next president of the United States with Barack Obama on the ballot - will make it difficult for Republicans to regain the Dallas sheriff's office.

But, despite a 100% rating from the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, her performance has not drawn widespread support from certain circles in Dallas.

The Dallas Morning News reported in late August that as many as fourteen police associations - including one representing her own deputies and another representing local Latino policemen - had endorsed her opponent. None had endorsed Valdez.

Most of the opposition stems from allegations that Valdez has been unusually reluctant to meet up with police unions and address some issues (the Valdez camp says that it has been aggressive in fighting the corruption and cronyism that overran past sheriff administrations and that they are not surprised by the fact that the good ol' boy's network has been siding with her opponent).

It also stems from her offices failure, during her first term, to significantly improve living situations at the Dallas County Jail which had failed state and federal inspections before and after her election (the Valdez office claims that they inherited the problem and have made strides even if there are still failing grades).

As of late, though, attacks on Valdez have turned nasty and, yes, homophobic and sexist. An anonymous blog (ah! Is there any other hatchet job kind of blog than an anonymous one?) called Off with Her Badge has a cute 'Stoopid Loopy' icon on their homepage and, under a link titled 'Lupe's House of Horrors' which criticizes her record on jails, there is also an image that recalls the horrors of Abu Ghraib (these seem to be criticisms from the left but I bet ya they're just masking a right-wing anonymous attack on Valdez).

Most recently a 'controversy' has erupted over a questionnaire on gay issues that was distributed to department officers.

When I first heard about the questionnaire from the The Dallas Morning News (and when I took a look at it) it seemed pretty clear to me that these were standard questions on forms given out during tolerance trainings on LGBT issues requested not only by police departments around the United States but also other institutions.

Online critics called it a litmus test for employment but a WFAA report and video clearly indicates that it's part of a diversity training at the police department and that officers are not required to participate in the training or to sign their names if they do respond to the questionaire.

In a written statement released to press, Sheriff Valdez said: "It is a shame that a diversity program that is geared toward ensuring equality for all employees in an agency as large as the Sheriff's Department is being used to stir up controversy; Our goal is to make sure that employees of every race, color, and sex are treated fairly and have the same rights as others."

As for what some call a 'left-leaning' Latino Peace Officers Association (who failed to endorse Valdez when she first ran for the sheriff's office in 2004 and are doing so again), the 'controversy' certainly seems to have exposed the true reason they haven't backed Valdez: Homophobia.

According to the Dallas Morning News, Deputy Mike Ramirez, the Association's vice president, never took the test but 'took offense after reading it' and claimed that - even if it wasn't mandatory - some officers had complained that they felt pressure to attend the training and complete the questionnaire.

"They felt the department was trying to promote the gay lifestyle," he said.

Ah, yes, the good ol' lifestyle.

I haven't followed Valdez' performance as sheriff so I can't voucher for her performance during her first term but this all certainly smells of crapola. Elect a sheriff on his or her merits, not on your bias and outright discrimination.

UPDATE: As I thought, the questionnaire is not a litmus test given to officers in the sheriff's department but rather from a standard questionnaire distributed to officers who participate at diversity trainings. Here is an explanation posted at a Dallas Voice blog:

"The questionnaire is the same one that Resource Center of Dallas has used for its public safety training classes, including the Dallas Police Department, since the 1990s. It was administered anonymously and participants were explicitly told they were not to write their names on it. Furthermore, the questions were mixed up so that respondents could not be tied to specific questionnaires. Similar questionnaires have also been used in our monthly diversity training classes here at the Resource Center of Dallas and in educational, public safety and corporate settings. The questionnaire is used by Resource Center of Dallas to determine attitudes toward the GLBTA community and generate discussion in the classes. The completed questionnaires are not shared with anybody outside RCD and are destroyed after each class. The questionnaires are the sole property of Resource Center Of Dallas and were not developed by the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department. We are disappointed that our efforts at diversity and inclusiveness are being used in a political manner in advance of the Dallas Pride weekend, when the North Texas GLBTA community comes together to celebrate and share. It shows that our work is needed" - Cece Cox, associate executive director of Resource Center of Dallas
- Previously:Latina lesbian sheriff criticized (September 15, 2006)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Despicable: John McCain links Barack Obama to Hugo Chávez

One of those truly shameless John McCain attack ads has finally brought me out of blog post hibernation.

So far, most of the McCain smears on Barack Obama have been almost humorous in their obvious desperation but this one, supposedly meant only for Spanish-language media, really crosses the line (apparently an English-language version - above - has been posted on the McCain's YouTube page just for kicks).

Announcer: Have you seen who Obama wants to talk with?
Hugo Chávez:
Shitty Yankees! Go to hell, you shitty Yankees!
Obama says that he would meet Chávez without conditions.
Hugo Chávez: Shitty Yankees, go to hell a hundred times!
He said he would meet in the first year of his government.
Hugo Chávez: The United States which is behind all the conspiracies against our country.
He said it was a disgrace that we haven't done it.
Hugo Chávez: If any aggression were to come against Venezuela, then there will be no oil for people or the government of the Unites States!
Do you believe we should speak to Chávez?
Hugo Chávez: We, you shitty Yankees, know that we are resolute to be free, no matter what happens, and at any cost!
In November, you decide.
John McCain: I'm John McCain and I approved this message.
The McCain camp calls the ads "Obama Chávez" obviously relishing the naughty opportunity to link Obama with South America's biggest anti-US dictator clown (the fucker, pardon the French, threw out two Human Rights Watch monitors earlier today based on a newly released report criticizing the Chavez government for human rights violations).

If this is what it has come to, perhaps blogger Andrew Sullivan is right in predicting that the McCain-Palin camp is about to fall off a cliff. We should all hope for a rout but until election day there's no surrender!

Except this is pure
Chávez cat-nip! Watch him respond to the ad in ways that plays directly into McCain's hands!


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Musica: Clubhouse Jamboree forever!

I keep saying this is the best party of the year and people still do not believe me. Sunday saw me trekking to Prospect Park in Brooklyn for Li'l Ray's 15th annual Clubhouse Jamboree in Prospect Park, Brooklyn.

Chicago DJ Jamie 3:26 (above) performed and really got the crowd worked up (see video here, here, here and here).

Then came the legendary DJ Spinna (above) who had a truly inspired set (check it out here).

Seen: Former Jamboree headliner Brian Coxx from Soulgasm (above, in the cool sneakers). More of him here. And...

Supah'star Karizma who headlined in 2006 (more here).

Best thing? Li'l Ray! Who puts these things together year after year after year and promises to do it for 15 more years! For free! Which is amazing because he avoids and hates self-promotion. Still, the guy was great enough to keep my cell phone after I lost it (!) and returned it to me yesterday even though he had to drive from Long Island to Manhattan to do the deed. Talk about a great guy!

One of the many reasons I truly believe the Clubhouse Jamboree is my favorite event of the summer.


Monday, September 15, 2008

OMG! Double-headed Obama Obamarama!!!

Bestest Barack Obama presidential fundraiser ever!!!! EVER!!! Plus! It's sorta gay to boot! Hawt!!

The full monty:

OBAMARAMA: A Fundraiser

DJs Jeff Jackson and Disco Connie say "YES WE CAN!" It's a special edition of our monthly Double Headed Disco party to raise money to help make Barack Obama the next President of the United States.

Disco classics, underground treats, bumper car runway and the usual shenanigans. Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, Cindy McCain and Sarah Palin drags welcome. John McCain: stay home.

Saturday, September 27
10pm - 4am

Double Headed Disco
322 East 14th Street
between 1st/2nd Aves

$5 suggested donation at the door ($100 suggested by moi!)
All money raised will be donated to the Obama For America campaign

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Breaking News: McGhee guilty of 2nd degree murder in killing of Edgar Garzon

Ladies and gentlemen, meet Eddie Garzon. I'm not sure when the 35mm picture above was taken but it looks like the New York City harbor and it must have been close to the time at which the young Colombian man decided to move to the United States to seek new opportunities.

Of course, Eddie is no longer with us. On August 15th, 2001, as he walked home from spending a night at the gay bars of Roosevelt Avenue with friends, he was viciously attacked and left for dead in the dark of night on a peaceful tree-lined block lined with medium-sized apartment buildings. Eddie, who I knew as a friend, would never regain consciousness. He remained in a coma for two weeks and a half - and passed away on September 4th, 2001.

Originally, I was going to write about the memorial mass and vigil that his family organized on Sunday evening to observe the 7th anniversary of his passing (that's Leonor and Armando Garzon, right, during the vigil).

Amazingly, more than fifty people showed up - between friends of the family and those who knew Eddie, political leaders and those who had heard of his death but never met him.

It also turned out to be a cozier affair than the memorials of years past in part because Leonor let those present stand up and tell stories about her son which she said helped her to celebrate her son's life even if she was hearing some of these stories for the first time.

Movingly, at the end of the mass, Leonor turned to her husband and thanked him publicly, for being next to her for so many years, for giving her three such beautiful children and for giving her the joy of being a mother which had sustained her through tragic of circumstances.

In the most heartbreaking moment of the night, Armando stood up and, in a broken voice, thanked those of us who were present and said he had never been able to be as strong as his wife and that sometimes the thought of losing his son was too painful to even vocalize. They embraced each other to applause and tears before we all filed out and joined them in the candlelight vigil. I have more photos of the vigil here.

On 9/11 (2008), a guilty verdict: This morning I woke up to a live broadcast of some who lost loved ones at the World Trade Center reading the names of the lost. As with Eddie's murder, it has been seven years since the attacks and - while some have moved on - I couldn't help but to catch myself becoming emotional and, for lack of a better word, glad that the memorial was being broadcast live as a raw reminder of that awful September morning.

Following Eddie's murder and the 9/11 attacks one memory that remains indelible is that the weekly gay news publication Gay City News (then called LGNY) ran a special double-cover issue: News of Eddie's murder was on one side and a photo of openly gay NYFD chaplain Mychal Judge, who died in the 9/11 attacks, was on the other.

Among all publications, the team behind LGNY/GCN have assiduously, tenaciously followed the case of Eddie's murder over the years, so it was not a surprise that GCN reporter Duncan Osbourne was the first one to e-mail me today to tell me that a jury had just declared John L. McGhee guilty of murder in the 2nd degree earlier today (just as former GCN reporter Michael Meenan - then writing for The New York Times - tipped me off to McGhee's 2006 arrest).

You see, even as the Garzon family was observing the anniversary of their son's death on Sunday, a jury was deciding whether a man was guilty of his murder for the second time (a first trial ended when the judge declared a mistrial). Today, in surprisingly quick fashion, they declared him guilty (see this and this report from Gay City News)

In my posts about Eddie I have tried to be careful not to link up 9/11 and his murder to avoid insulting any family member who mourns those who died in the Twin Towers but today I am re-posting an October 3, 2001 Newsday editorial in its entirety (it's no longer available online):

Don't Let Jackson Heights Gay Murder Be Forgotten
Seven days before thousands of New Yorkers perished at the hands of suicide hijackers, Edgar Garzon met an equally senseless fate. He died from wounds sustained in a bias attack in Jackson Heights. He had been beaten into a coma with a baseball bat or lead pipe three weeks earlier - because he was gay.

The police, who are actively pursuing leads in the case, have not forgotten about Garzon. Let's hope no one else has either, especially public officials whose duty is to remind residents that brutally attacking people because of their sexual orientation is outrageous and unacceptable.

A Colombia native, Garzon settled in Queens' largest gay community in Jackson Heights. Some residents believe that the borough, no matter how tolerant of its wide diversity, is more susceptible to this kind of bias attack than a lot of people might assume.

In fact, another bias killing horrified the gay community 11 years before, when Julio Rivera was beaten to death a block away from where Garzon was attacked in mid-August. That high-profile murder helped galvanize the community and heighten its social and political influence, culminating this year with the opening of the borough's first two gay community centers – in Corona and Woodside - and an openly gay candidate for City Council, Jimmy Van Bramer, finishing second in the multi-candidate District 25 race.

For now, there's a $15,000 reward for information leading to Garzon's killers, including $10,000 from the city. Community leaders also hope to reschedule a town-hall meeting with police officials that was originally planned for Sept. 12, a day after the World Trade Center terror attack.

Gay residents' fear and anxiety are just as real today. So it's up to law enforcement and elected officials to put their minds at ease.
That says anything I could say much better than I ever could. The crime was at risk of being forgotten in the wake of 9/11 and it certainly was thanks to efforts from his family, community leaders, political leaders and police detectives that kept Eddie's memory in their hearts that today's verdict was possible.


Monday, September 08, 2008

Anti-gay NYC rally by Hispanic religious leaders is a flop

From the NYC Obama Pride event at City Hall yesterday, it was just a skip and a hop over to the "Faith Leaders Rally for Marriage and Life" demo a few blocks away which, of course, was less about marriage than a gay bash-a-thon cloaked in 'love the sinner hate the sin' language. Press was almost non-existent and if it wasn't for El Diario La Prensa and a few low-wattage evangelical radio stations that were carrying the event live there would have been no Spanish-language press at all. Heck, if it wasn't for this blog, there would probably be no English language coverage either which makes me wonder if I should even post anything about it. Still, I got some cool pics so...
A press release notes that the mastermind of the rally was the very non-Latino and dare-I-say (gulp!) handsome Joseph Mattera of the Christ Covenant Coalition (above) who has been at work in 'diversifying' religious opposition to same-sex marriage and abortion-rights for more than a few years perhaps in order to make discrimination a tad bit more palatable to the general masses (see: "Ognibene, clergy protest gay marriage ruling"- New York Sun, Feb. 15, 2005).
Of course, while they are busy denying that they discriminate against gays, their parishioners certainly get it. I mean, which 'behavior' is this young woman addressing? Wearing the wrong shade of lipstick? Nooooo! Showing mother-of-pearl bling-bling and leopard patterns on a hot hot day? Nooooo! Those ARE civil rights! But kissing my boyfriend? Bingo! Not so much.
Which of course brings us to those oh-so-very Latina members of Concerned Women for America of New York who, despite of the '...of America of New York' redundancy, I certainly hope are very, very worried about the effect of the economic downturn on Latino communities or about dwindling educational opportunities for Latino children or about immigration reform that is fair. Alas, a closer look reveals...
Hm. A fear of men kissing horses and women kissing dolphins? Golly! Not even I had seen anything like that until my eyes were singed blind by the images on this poster! Where do they find these pictures anyway?
I do have to say that it wasn't all fun and games hanging with the end-of-days crew. I saw tears of devotion and conviction from these women as the homophobic diatribes flowed from the stage and felt my heart break because I know the damage it does. I have no doubt how sincere these tears were and that they are indeed praying for my soul. I truly believe that they wish the best for me and truly blame their leaders for tainting their hearts.
Key culprit? Homophobic NY State Senator and Reverend Ruben Diaz, Sr. (a declared Sarah Palin fan despite being registered as a Democrat and being such a true believer in the marriage institution that he has married twice). He was a sour-puss when I took this pic but seemed in his element as he smiled, clapped and mugged away throughout the day.
Mattera and Diaz certainly know how to stage an event and 26 Federal Plaza certainly served as a monumental backdrop (just as the Bronx Courthouse served as a much more successful stage in 2004 at least in numbers if not media-wise).
Alas, despite the press release saying that participating religious denominations represented thousands of people I only counted 250 to 300 people (which translates into 25 to 30 worshipers per listed religious institution).
Not enough to keep Republican New York Senator Marty Golden from showing up for the all important fringe homophobic Latino vote even if he didn't even understand what was being said. As a matter of fact, he didn't need to understand: He was one of the most homophobic speakers of the day!

Which brings us to this ugly, ugly sign. Reap what you sow indeed. More photos here.


NYC Obama Pride launched at City Hall

Nowadays it takes a lot form me to make it to Manhattan from Queens on an early Sunday morning (and by early I mean earlier than 11am) so consider it a compliment that I made it to the steps of City Hall for the official launch of the "Obama Pride" NYC campaign. The Post has a blurb on it today and the Daily News posted an item online as well (I saw Paul Schindler from Gay City News as well but no television cameras). Seen:

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn who headlined the press conference and State Senator Thomas K. Duane (both openly gay). Quinn said she would actively campaign for Barack Obama not only in New York but also in more contested states such as Pennsylvania.

City councilmember and strong LGBT-rights ally Leticia "Tish" James.

Steven Latasa-Nicks, co-chair of Obama Pride.

Tobias Wolff is co-chair of the Obama campaign's gay and lesbian policy committee.

Also in the crowd a few other local LGBT political leaders such as [CLICK ON LINKS TO SEE IMAGE] Gary Parker (c) and Matthew Carlin (r), Bob Zuckerman (top left), Danny Dromm, Brad Hoylman and - in the peanut gallery - Doug Robinson (wearing the YES WE CAN shirt), Bernard Tarver (obviously doubtful about something Doug just said) and Gerard Cabrera (top right, not looking too peppy either).

All in all, beautiful weather for a press conference. More pictures here.

For more info on NYC Obama Pride please click here.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Musica: 15th Annual Clubhouse Jamboree is coming up!

Year after year after year we keep going back: This year is no different as DJ Li'l Ray brings us yet another Clubhouse Jamboree at Brooklyn's Prospect Park scheduled for Sunday, September 14th.

This year marks the 15th such event and features Chicago house music producer Glenn Underground, Chicago's Jaime 3:26, Dede, Soul Finger Jam and, of course, DJ Spinna.

A highlight from past years? Karizma spinning the rare mash-up of Jazmina's "Rain Come Down" with Frankie Knuckles and Satoshie Tommie's "Tears" at the 13th Annual Jamboree. Classic!