by Eric Resnick
Washington, D.C.--With the final numbers in, the 2000 United States Census shows that same-sex couples live in 99.3 percent of the nation’s counties and in every legislative district. The results prove the old "We are everywhere" slogan, and dispel the idea that lesbian and gay couples only live in major metropolitan areas.
The U.S. constitution requires that the census be conducted every ten years. The results determine legislative districts, and also social policy, how federal and state money is allocated, and the extent to which minority groups are represented by legislators.
The 2000 census was the first attempt to count same-sex unmarried partners. The results of this count were released state-by-state over the summer, ending August 22.
Unlike the 1990 census, which used the "unmarried partner" box to count unmarried heterosexuals, the 2000 census counted unmarried partners of the same sex, and did not automatically "correct" those who also checked the "spouse" box to different sexes.
The result is a 314 percent increase in the number of same-sex unmarried partners counted nationwide, from 145,130 in 1990 to 601,209 counted in 2000. Of that total, 304,148 of the couples are men, 297,061 are women.
Demographers are quick to note that the 2000 figures are not a count of the number of gay and lesbian people in the nation. Single gay and lesbian people were not counted. Neither were couples who do not live together. It is also believed that the 2000 figures do not represent an actual increase in same-sex households, only a better count.
But the figures shatter stereotypes and beliefs that gay and lesbian people live only in metropolitan areas, mostly concentrated on the coasts.
The census counted same-sex couples living in all but 22 of the nation’s 3,072 counties and independent cities. This contrasts to 1990 when the count determined that only 52 percent of counties had same-sex households.
The 22 counties showing no same-sex couples are mostly desolate western areas including Kalawao County, Hawaii, the nation’s smallest, total population 147. Oneida County, Idaho, is the largest of those with no same-sex couples, population 4,125.
The 22 counties are in Colorado, Nebraska, Texas, Oklahoma, Montana, South Dakota, North Dakota, Idaho, and Hawaii.
Of all coupled U.S. households, married and unmarried, .99 percent of them are same-sex.
Washington, D.C. has the highest concentration of same-sex partner households in the country, with 5.14 percent of its total. North Dakota has the lowest concentration with .47 percent of its households being same-sex partners.
Ohio is tied with Missouri and Oklahoma for 35th place with .75 percent of households being same-sex partners.
When Ohio’s figures were released June 27, they showed a total of 18,937 same-sex households, which was an increase of 401 percent over 1990. All of Ohio’s 88 counties have same-sex households, with none having fewer than 15.
In 2000, Wyoming showed the greatest increase in same-sex households, 2,590 percent.
Outside Washington, D.C., San Francisco County, California and New York County (Manhattan), New York, show the highest concentration of same-sex households with 6.91 and 4.34 percent, respectively.
The census also showed that 15 percent of gay and lesbian couples, 88,606 households, live in rural areas.
Even with the large increases, it is believed that same-sex households were undercounted by as much as 62 percent.
Reasons cited include people not fully understanding the forms and fear of identifying one’s sexual orientation on federal forms, particularly among older couples.
Exit polls in the last three elections showed the gay vote at between four and five percent nationwide, according to the Human Rights Campaign, a national gay political group. Using five percent as a base, they calculate that there are 10,456,405 gays and lesbians over age 18 in the nation. They then figure in a February, 2001 survey done by Harris Interactive showing that 30 percent of gays and lesbians live together in committed relationships.
Using those figures, HRC calculates that there could be as many as 3,136,921 same-sex households, not the 1,202,418 counted in the census.
"It is a difference in methodology," said HRC communications director David Smith. "It is important to point out that the census only counted those who understood the form and were comfortable giving the information."
"But the census is important," said Smith, "because it is the first federally sanctioned look at the gay and lesbian population."
"No lawmaker, at any level of government will be able to use the excuse that they don’t have gay people in their district," Smith continued. "We won’t have to hear that anymore. Now, they have the moral obligation to represent gay and lesbian families, as well."
The Census Bureau will continue releasing data throughout the year that will begin to show the make-up of the same-sex households, including the number of children, income and racial composition.
A Lake Erie sunset glints off the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in a view from WKYC Channel 3’s studio commissary, where Renee Cossette, left, and Kathie Michael of GALA Choruses met with 30 Cleveland chorus members to discuss holding their 2004 festival in the city. At right are Sharon Marrell and Amy Collins of Windsong. Photos: Jeff Woodard
Minneapolis, Montreal also seek event with 8,000 gay singers
by Jeff Woodard
Cleveland--Kathie Michael and Renee Cossette weren’t about to buy into tongue-in-cheek claims that Northeastern Ohio weather is always as gorgeous as it was last week. But it’s as clear as the recent blue skies that the representatives from the Gay and Lesbian Association of Choruses are impressed with Cleveland and its ability to host their organization’s international Festival VII in July 2004.
"You really have done a tremendous amount of work," said Michael, GALA’s director of meetings and festivals, praising the efforts of Cleveland’s three GALA member choruses and the city’s Convention and Visitors Bureau. "Everything has been truly wonderful. There are so many options our heads are spinning. Every place we go is even more amazing than the place before."
Accompanied by David Toler of the convention bureau, Michael and events assistant Renee Cossette were in town August 13-15 for a site inspection of downtown hotels, rehearsal facilities and possible performance venues.
They spoke at an August 14 potluck dinner attended by 30 members of Cleveland’s GALA choruses--the North Coast Men’s Chorus, Good Company, and Windsong--giving them a break from their whirlwind tour. Stops included the Cleveland Convention Center, Public Hall, Music Hall, the four Playhouse Square theaters, Severance Hall, and, as evidenced by the souvenirs they wore, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.
"Cleveland is within driving distance of so many choruses," remarked Michael. "It’s just tremendous how many there are."
"Tremendous" is also a word on Joe Zion’s mind. The convention bureau executive vice president estimates the direct impact--money coming in from visitors living more than 50 miles from Cleveland--of hosting Festival VII at about $14 million.
"And that’s in today’s dollars," noted Zion. He said the "indirect" total, generated from local businesses spending with other local businesses, is in the eye-popping $26 million range.
"This would be one more way to showcase the community, to show that we can provide a safe environment, and offer the great venues of Cleveland," said Zion.
Last year’s Festival VI in San Jose, Calif., drew more than 140 choruses with 6,000 singers from North America, Europe and Australia. The previous festival, held in Tampa in 1996, drew 5,000 singers in 100 choruses.
As GALA membership continues to grow, officials expect about 8,000 participants to descend upon the host city of Festival VII.
Michael and Cossette will visit the other two host city finalists, Minneapolis and Montreal, in the next six weeks. After they file reports to the GALA site selection committee, representatives of each finalist city will make a presentation to the GALA board of directors at its October 20 meeting in Cincinnati. Before the weekend ends, the host city for Festival VII will be named.
Cincinnati is hosting one of two GALA regional festivals next year. Sponsored by Muse Cincinnati Women’s Choir and the Cincinnati Men’s Chorus, the Eastern Regional Festival will be held in the Aronoff Center from July 3 to 7, 2002. Its western counterpart will be in Seattle May 23-27.
The seeds for planting a GALA event in Cleveland were sown by members of the North Coast Men’s Chorus even as the group was participating in San Jose’s Festival VI last July. By fall, the chorus’ executive board had approved formation of an ad hoc committee to study the feasibility of hosting such a grand soiree.
Within weeks, members of Good Company, Windsong and the convention bureau had pledged support. Months of exhaustive research and legwork culminated in June when the Cleveland choruses and the visitors bureau submitted separate bid packages to GALA officials.
While the question of who will be named host city for Festival VII remains up in the air a while longer, Michael had a query of her own.
"Cleveland," she said, shrugging her shoulders. "Who knew?"
by Anthony Glassman
Fairmont, W. Va.—The third case stemming from last summer’s murder of Arthur "J.R." Warren ended August 20 with a guilty plea and a 20-year sentence.
Jared M. Wilson was sentenced to 20 years after pleading guilty to second-degree murder in the death of Warren, a 26-year-old gay black man in Grant Town, West Virginia.
The case had been closely watched by the LGBT community, since the motivation for the murder might have qualified it as a hate crime, although West Virginia law does not cover hate crimes on the basis of sexual orientation. The NAACP also demanded that police keep an eye on race as a factor in the murder, since all three of the teenagers are white.
The charge and sentence are lighter than that of David Allen Parker who, according to reports, instigated the attack on Warren and threatened Wilson if he did not aid him. Parker pleaded guilty last month to first-degree murder with a recommendation of mercy for the charge, which usually carries a life sentence.
Wilson will be eligible for parole in ten years, Parker in fifteen.
A third teenager, Jason Shoemaker, was tried as a juvenile last year. He did not take part in the attack and later told his mother what had happened, and she contacted the police. He was charged as an accessory after the fact.
According to police and testimony in the case, Parker, Wilson and Shoemaker were painting a house owned by Parker’s father. While there, the two older teens drank beer, smoked marijuana and "huffed" gasoline.
Warren came to the house to ask the teens about $20 one of them had taken from his wallet, according to one report. An argument ensued, and Parker started punching Warren and kicking him with steel-toed boots. When Warren lost consciousness, Parker had the other two teens help him put Warren in the trunk of Parker’s car.
Parker started driving to a nearby power plant. On the way, Warren climbed from the hatchback area and asked to be taken home. Parker pulled over and he and Wilson kicked Warren for another five minutes. Parker then drove over Warren four more times, killing him.
His body was found at 5:30 am on July 2, 2000.
Information surfaced during the investigation that Parker was angry at Warren for telling people that they had engage in sexual activity. Parker later claimed that Warren, who was developmentally disabled, had sexually abused him since he was 12.
"The implication that they are gay is enough to need to silence the person they feel is ‘humiliating’ them," said Jeffrey Montgomery of Detroit’s Triangle Foundation, who acted as a consultant to LGBT groups in West Virginia during the investigation.
"The ‘humiliating’ event occurred around gay events, if not by gay people," added Montgomery. "We live in a society that is heinous enough to think that gay activity is humiliating enough to kill for."
by Eric Resnick
Hamilton, Ohio--A transgender woman whose attempt to change her name from Richard to Susan is being blocked by the Butler County Probate Court and now the 12th District Court of Appeals, says she is "outraged" and "pleased that others are outraged, too."
The Court of Appeals decision, which was handed down August 13, affirmed the year-old probate court decision. But in an extraordinary move, the appellate panel found reasons other than the ones cited by the lower court.
The decision will make Susan Louise Maloney, born Richard Clark Maloney, age 51, the first to petition the Ohio Supreme Court to allow her legal name to change prior to sexual reassignment surgery.
This case is the first in the nation where a court has denied a transgender person the right to change their name to reflect the gender they are transitioning to.
Ohio law requires that applicants for name change prove three things: residency in the county for one year prior to the filing; notices of the hearing published 30 days prior to it; and reasonable and proper cause for the change of name.
Butler County Probate Judge Randy Rogers noted in his August 14, 2000 decision that the residency and notification requirements were met but that allowing the name change would be "confusing and misleading to others."
The appellate court did not address the "confusing and misleading" argument. Instead, they ruled 2-1 that since Maloney has not yet undergone nor scheduled reassignment surgery, there was the possibility she could change her mind.
"[Rogers’] decision was so bogus that they couldn’t even justify it, so they had to switch the issue," said Maloney’s attorney, openly gay Scott Knox of Cincinnati. Knox noted that appeals courts are supposed to examine the reasons given for the prior ruling, not come up with new ones.
Knox emphasized that the new ruling is just as bad.
"No one else is held to that standard," he said. "People change their names when they get married and divorced all the time. Should we say that people can’t change their name when they get married because there is a chance they might want to change it back someday?"
In oral argument Feruary 20, Knox pointed out that there have been three prior Butler County cases where name changes have been granted to transgender people. One of those name changes was granted by then Probate Judge Stephen Powell in 1994. This time, Powell sided with Judge James Walsh in this ruling against Maloney.
Judge Anthony Valen dissented, and wrote an opinion condemning his colleagues and Rogers for arbitrarily denying the name change petition. He wrote: "I find that the trial court abused its discretion by handling this case with an unreasonable, arbitrary, and unconscionable attitude."
"Many people have names that are confusing to the public in that they do not indicate whether the person they name is male or female," Valen wrote. "Consider such names as Chris, Jamie, Kim, Kelly, Leslie, Max, Pat, Robin, and so on, which can be used for either gender."
He then listed original names with no gender associated to them and said, "These are actual names documented and held by living persons. Should the courts not allow individuals to adopt these names because they might confuse the public?"
Valen also agreed with Knox that since denial of the name change would not change Maloney’s behavior, "it will be more confusing to the public not to allow appellant to change his name to Susan."
One matter that was part of the original decision was considered by the appellate court. It is an article that appeared in the Arizona Law Review in 1999. The author gives six factors to consider in granting name changes to transgender people; chromosomal sex disorders, gonadal sex disorders, internal organ anomalies, external organ anomalies, hormonal disorders, gender identity disorders and surgical creation of an intersexed condition.
Because there is little case law governing name changes, Rogers cited the article as justification for his decision, but cited only the first five factors, leaving off gender identity disorder, which is what Maloney has.
Rogers cited Maloney’s 22-year marriage and two children as evidence that he has perfectly functioning male genitalia, to dismiss the first five named reasons.
According to Knox, this omission is what an appellate court is supposed to correct. But in this case, it did not. Walsh and Powell found nothing wrong with the purposeful omission of Maloney’s condition from the list, even though the court agreed the diagnosis.
Valen took issue with that, too, writing: "Therefore, even if the trial court was justified in adopting the disorders established in Greenberg’s article as the factors to consider in deciding this name change case, the trial court should have found that the appellant suffered from one of the disorders and granted the name change accordingly."
Knox argues that the denial of the name change is interfering with Maloney’s psychological treatment.
The Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoric Association standard of care requires that applicants live as the gender they are transitioning to at least one year before the surgery is scheduled.
At trial, Maloney’s psychologist testified that if she is denied treatment, including the surgery, she would likely suffer from depression and become socially isolated.
"You can’t live entirely as a woman when your first name is Richard," said Knox.
"I don’t write checks in public," said Maloney, fearing confrontation. "I have a carry letter from my psychologist explaining my condition and why I am a woman with a man’s identification, but I don’t go places where I have to show ID, and I am still scared about what could happen if, say, I was in an accident."
Maloney tells about an incident in the Cincinnati airport when she attempted to pick up airline tickets to fly to Dallas for a job interview. "I was delayed because the name on the tickets was Susan and the name on my drivers license is Richard."
Maloney’s petition and an unrelated name change case involving a lesbian couple who wish to share last names have both come to public attention because their requests were denied by the same probate judge and their denials were affirmed by the same two appellate judges.
Valen also dissented in a February 12 decision to deny name changes to Belinda Lou Priddy and Jennifer Lane Bicknell, also of Hamilton.
Rogers said the women’s name change would have been contrary to "natural law" and "divine edict."
The anti-gay American Family Association has filed friend of the court briefs in both cases. According to Knox and AFA’s own briefs, their involvement in otherwise uncontested name change cases is extraordinary.
Attorney David Langdon authored both briefs and argued before the appellate court. Langdon is a full-time employee of Citizens for Community Values in Cincinnati--the group that spearheaded the campaign to pass Issue 3. Langdon is also the author of the anti-gay "Defense of Marriage Act" introduced in the Ohio legislature.
Langdon’s brief in the Maloney case says: "AFA of Ohio has no interest in any of the parties to this dispute or in the outcome of this case, other than to the extent that the case affects the legal status of the interpretation of Ohio’s name change statute, Ohio’s public policy regarding transsexualism, and the public generally."
In footnote to that comment, Langdon wrote that AFA was allowed to oppose Maloney’s name change as a friend of the court because otherwise, "this Court will be presented with only ‘one side of the story,’ which is antithetical to the adversarial nature of our judicial system."
Knox, who is handling both name change matters pro bono, has filed a "motion to certify conflict," which lets the Ohio Supreme Court know of Maloney’s intention to appeal. The brief explaining why Knox believes the high court should hear the case, called a jurisdictional memorandum, will be filed by the September 27 deadline.
Knox has already filed the brief to the Ohio Supreme Court in the lesbian couple’s case.
"If the Ohio Supreme Court decides not to hear this case, I will see if there is a constituional argument and try get it heard under the 14th Amendment in a federal court," said Knox.
Outcome of Warren primary is the same:
by Eric Resnick
Warren, Ohio--The Ohio Elections Commission has ruled in favor of an openly gay Warren city council candidate who claimed to have lost the May primary due to his opponent’s foul play.
The seven member commission ruled 4-3 July 26 that Robert Holmes III committed two violations of state election law in the latter days of the May 8 Democratic primary campaign for Ward 4 city council. The complaint was made by openly gay Tristan Hand, who finished third of three candidates in the close race.
The ruling does not change the outcome of the primary election, in which Holmes defeated Hand and the incumbent, Ron White.
Hand’s complaint stemmed from a letter Holmes sent to all the residents of the ward on April 30, just prior to the May 8 election, claiming that Hand was not a resident of Warren.
Hand, who had the most visible campaign and was winning the race by a substantial margin in the Warren Pages online straw poll, indicated that the false information Holmes spread undermined the credibility of his campaign. Hand also said that because Holmes’ letter hit so late, there was not enough time or resources for him to adequately correct the record before election day.
Holmes’ letter was also found in violation for not having the proper campaign disclaimer.
The letter reads, in part, "Mr. Tristan Paul Hand . . . whose own bartender stated, "Tristan DOSE NOT [sic] live in the city of Warren" . . . Mr. Hand claims he has two residents [sic], one in Warren, and [sic] apartment, (which one of his bartenders lives at) and his other residence is in Summit County."
Hand, who owns the Queen of Hearts gay bar, said that his business partner lives in Summit County, and their corporation is there. Hand is the statutory agent of the corporation and uses the Summit County corporate address in that capacity, but lives in an apartment on Monroe Street in Warren.
As evidence of his residency, Hand submitted his lease and a letter from his landlord, his automobile insurance policy, and documents from the Veterans Administration.
Hand filed the complaint May 3, five days prior to the election. "I filed it early so no one could say, if I lost, that I did it because I was having sour grapes," he said.
Hand said that at the commission hearing, Holmes tried to make his case by saying that there was no bill in his name for city water and sanitation. Those bills are sent to the property owners, and since Hand rents an apartment, it goes to his landlord.
Hand said that the commissioners told Holmes that he needed to separate the man from his business, and chastised him for not first verifying that Hand met the residency requirement with the Trumbull County Board of Elections.
Holmes’ attorney, Samuel Bluedorn of Warren, told the commission his client "did not knowingly with reckless regard make a false statement."
Although the commission found two violations, it did not penalize Holmes or change the result of the election.
The seven-member commission is comprised of three Democrats, three Republicans, and one independent, all appointed by the governor. They can penalize an offender with a letter of reprimand, or, in the worst cases, refer the matter for prosecution.
In this case, they did neither, instead, letting the violations stand without penalty. The dissenting commissioners thought Holmes’ statements were protected under the First Amendment, which is the likely reason why they did not issue a letter of reprimand.
Hand said this finding has given him more credibility in the ward, which he will use to launch his next campaign in 2003.
"Holmes liked to talk about accountability during the campaign," said Hand, "I am happy that the elections commission held him accountable, which was what I wanted."
Hand concluded, "When people see me, they tell me they are glad I stood my ground."
Compiled from wire reports by Brian DeWitt, Anthony Glassman, Patti Harris and Rex Wockner.
Erie County, Pa. considers gay equal rights ordinance
Erie, Pa.—The Erie County council may be asked to vote on changes to anti-discrimination ordinances that would add sexual orientation as a category.
The county’s human relations commission unanimously recommended that sexual orientation be added to civil rights statutes in the county, along with a number of other changes that commission members say are vital to making the ordinances enforceable.
County Council chairman James Terrill, however, told commission chairman William McCarthy that the council was unlikely to approve the changes if sexual orientation was included.
McCarthy said on August 13 that Terrill had told him that some council members felt it was a federal matter, while others believe there is not enough anti-gay discrimination in Erie to justify the move. Others oppose the addition believing that their constituents disapprove.
The proposed changes, which will be presented to the county council at their September 10 meeting, would update outdated language rendering the law ineffective.
The commission is split on whether to remove the sexual orientation clause. Some members believe that it would endanger the commission’s funding, which is up for review later this year; others, however, feel that it is more important for the commission to protect the rights of all Erie citizens.
Teen held in attacks on 3 gay men
Reno, Nev.—A teenager wanted by the FBI in connection with the deaths of two gay men in Florida and an attack on another in San Francisco was captured on the eve of a Gay Pride celebration here.
Adam Ezerski, 19, of Atlantic Beach, Florida, surrendered to FBI agents August 17 without incident in his hotel room. He will be extradited to Florida to face one charge of first-degree murder.
He was found with another man, Troy Young of San Francisco, who was arrested on a parole violation.
Authorities said the two had driven a rented truck to Reno from San Francisco, where a red Mustang belonging to one of the Florida victims had been found.
Ezerski is accused of strangling Anthony Martilotto, 39, at a Fort Lauderdale hotel July 26. The FBI is also investigating Ezerski’s connection to the death of Irving Sicherer, 76, who was found bludgeoned to death a day earlier in the Miami suburb of Aventura.
Ezerski told investigators after his Augut 17 arrest that he killed Martilotto in self-defense. Ezerski said Martilotto was drunk and attacked him.
Ezerski denied any involvement in the bludgeoning death of Sicherer, whose body was found at his condominium.
Daron W. Borst, an FBI special agent, said it had not been determined if Ezerski is gay. His brother, Aaron Smith, 18, told the San Jose Mercury News that he was not gay but was homophobic.
Ezerski is also accused of attacking a San Francisco man the morning of August 14 after befriending him and staying at his apartment for two days.
That report caused local and federal authorities to patrol California gay neighborhoods and warn residents that a killer could be among them.
Kevin Begoon, 43, of San Francisco, told FBI agents he awoke when Ezerski began striking him in the head with a plaster statue. After a struggle, Begoon said Ezerski tried to strangle him before fleeing.
A key break in the case came when Ezerski was spotted by a man in a San Francisco gay bowling league, where the fugitive had been brought by Young.
Ezerski lived in Dayton, Ohio until he was 13, when his family moved to the Jacksonville, Fla. suburb of Atlantic Beach.
Egypt trial sees worldwide protest
Cairo, Egypt--The trial of 52 Egyptian men arrested at a gay bar got underway in Cairo August 15 as gay activists around the world staged protests.
The men, nabbed May 11 in and around Cairo’s Queen Boat discotheque, have been charged with "practicing sexual immorality." Two of the men also were charged with "forming a group which aims to exploit the Islamic religion to propagate extremist ideas."
All of the men pleaded innocent. They have been jailed at Tora Prison for more than three months.
The immorality offense carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison and the religion offense carries a maximum penalty of five years.
Gays protested in several cities as the trial began.
In Geneva, 50 people picketed the United Nations offices. In Washington, D.C., 100 people demonstrated at the Egyptian Cultural and Educational Bureau.
Filipino gays marched on the Manila Egypt Air office.
In Stockholm, activists picketed the Egyptian Embassy.
About 50 people picketed the Egyptian consulate in San Francisco and 100 targeted the New York City consulate. Fifteen gays demonstrated at Egypt’s London embassy. There were additional protests in Austria, Switzerland and Uganda.
Group gets cleanup sign–for a while
Sioux Falls, S.D.—Seeking to defuse a lawsuit, Gov. Bill Janklow said August 17 that the state will put up a sign requested by a gay group as part of the state’s Adopt-a-Highway program.
But Janklow also said all signs in the program, approximately 1,000 of them, will be taken down by the end of the year. They will be replaced with generic signs noting that concerned citizens who care about keeping the roads clean are responsible for the work.
"I do not think government should be used to offend people," Janklow said. He said the state web site will list all groups involved in the program to clean up roads and highways.
State Department of Transportation officials had said the Sioux Empire Gay and Lesbian Coalition did not qualify for the sign because it is an advocacy group. The group responded with a federal lawsuit against the state, seeking to have the sign erected and monetary damages.
The South Dakota Animal Rights Advocates, the American Association of Retired People and county branches of the Democratic and Republican parties have all had signs, the SEGLC noted.
Janklow had said he might eliminate the program rather than see it go to court, or give the group their sign. Both sides claimed partial victory after his announcement.
Helms won’t seek re-election
Raleigh, N.C.—Sen. Jesse Helms, who for three decades has fought against civil rights for women, gays and blacks, will step down when his term ends in two years, opening up a Senate seat that Republicans desperately want to maintain.
Helms planned to announce August 22 that he will not seek a sixth term.
Helms' staff began contacting senior Republicans the day before, including President Bush’s advisers, to tell them of the senator's plans, according to two GOP sources.
His departure could complicate GOP hopes of reclaiming the narrowly divided Senate. Another senior Republican, 98-year-old Sen. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, has said he will not seek re-election.
Helms considers himself a "family values" stalwart and has often condemned what he called "gay lifestyles." He is generally considered unsympathetic to civil rights and the use of tax dollars to subsidize what he considers indecent art.
Even his own campaign consultant Carter Wrenn once said, "He doesn't win over his opponents. He polarizes."
‘Survivor’ Hatch arrested for assault
Providence, R.I.—Former Survivor winner Richard Hatch pleaded innocent to a domestic assault charge after allegedly pushing a former partner who tried to force his way into Hatch's home.
Hatch went to the Newport County Courthouse on August 21 to seek a restraining order against Glenn Boyanowski. While there, Hatch learned there was a warrant out for his arrest, so he turned himself in, said Hatch's attorney, Christopher Behan.
Hatch was released on $1,000 bond. Hatch, who is gay, also was granted a temporary restraining order against Boyanowski.
Police would release few details of the incident, but Behan said it happened August 20 on the front steps of Hatch's Middletown home. Behan said Hatch pushed Boyanowski away when he tried to force his way inside.
Hatch, 40, became a national celebrity last year after he won $1 million on the CBS television show Survivor.
Swimming with sharks
A mother tries to keep her son’s head above
The Deep End
Reviewed by Kaizaad Kotwal
How far would you go to protect the ones you love? To what extent would you be willing to sacrifice your safety and well being to make sure that your kith and kin are safe and well? To what degree are you willing to sacrifice yourself at the altar of preserving your family? These are the very profound and universal questions that are explored in the new film The Deep End.
Written and directed by Scott McGhee and David Siegel, The Deep End is a exploration of a mother’s love and protective nature for her gay son. The film is as much a psychological exploration as it is a classic suspense thriller with a twist.
Margaret Hall is an isolated, lonely and very ordinary suburban housewife in Lake Tahoe, California. She could very well be the patron saint of soccer moms the world over. Her husband, a naval captain, spends months away at sea on an aircraft carrier, out of reach physically and emotionally.
As a single mother by circumstance, Margaret does all she can to keep family and self together. She is accustomed to flying from one crisis to the next, solving each to the best of her abilities and experiences. But little was she expecting the body of her eldest son Beau’s lover to wash up on the beachfront by their home.
When this happens, she goes into her crisis mode and does the only thing she knows how. She disposes of the body to protect her son. In the aftermath of that crazy act of self-preservation, Margaret is confronted by a mysterious man named Alek Spera who knows about the death and the secret life of her son. He comes in with damning evidence to use as blackmail to extort money from her.
Margaret and Alek’s relationship starts out as a cat and mouse game, a series of encounters of one-upmanship, in which they both must protect their own secrets and pasts. But as the masks fall away and as the facades are revealed, what starts out as a journey of intrigue and blackmail turns into a haunting love story that is all about self-sacrifice on both their parts.
The film is inspired by the 1940s novel The Blank Wall by Elisabeth Sanxay Holding. In the book it is the daughter’s male lover who washes ashore, but McGhee and Siegel changed the heterosexual relationship to a gay one.
"We didn’t add the gay lover just to up the ante but to really put a block in the communication between mother and son," McGhee notes in the press kit for the film. "Margaret isn’t homophobic but she has no means for talking to her son about this. She is terrified for him and having him be part of this other world adds a layer of restriction and repression that makes sense in today’s world."
The film is very much about the things that we can’t say to one another or the things we won’t say to each other, and worst of all, the things that we aren’t allowed to speak lest the world know the truth.
The Deep End won the award for Best Cinematography at Sundance. Giles Nuttgens, whose previous work includes Deepa Mehta’s Fire, has once again shot a mesmerizing film.
The setting of the film is a perfect metaphor for Margaret’s state of mind. Like the deep waters of Tahoe, nestled in the mountains and surrounded by thick trees, Margaret’s state of being is similar--the still waters of her mind run deep and she is enshrouded in secrecy and the darkness of desperation.
Nuttgens’s camera work is wonderful here as he uses water in many unique and mesmerizing ways to take us underneath the surface of Margaret’s turbulence.
It is Tilda Swinton as Margaret who carries this film from the first to the last frame. Swinton has built up an amazing body of work, most notably as the gender bending title character in Sally Potter’s award winning film Orlando.
Swinton, who has the American accent down, is a chameleonic actor, not afraid to go where many actors would be petrified to tread. In The Deep End she is used to perfection for the minute ways in which she can communicate the mountains of emotions that Margaret is being crushed beneath.
It will be a shame if Swinton isn’t remembered at the time of next year’s Academy Award nominations. She deserves it for giving us a Margaret that is deep, deliberate and daring.
Goran Visnjic plays Alek Spera, the Machiavellian manipulator. Visnjic garnered critical acclaim in the haunting film Welcome to Sarajevo and has gone on to stardom with NBC’s hit series ER.
He matches well with Swinton and the two have a chemistry that is reminiscent of pairings where subtlety was the key and the unspoken was more erotic and charged than the spoken. Visnjic inhabits mystery well, and his foreignness serves the film and his character.
Jonathan Tucker plays Beau, the gay adolescent son who has fallen into the world of bad boys, and yet must maintain the façade of the perfect WASP soccer kid.
Tucker conveys all the turbulence and confusion of gay adolescence with stunning accuracy. This is a very mature performance by an actor who turned 18 during the shooting of the film. Hiss portrayal is brazen in a very quiet sort of way and he isn’t afraid to let the raw emotionality of adolescence gone wrong show through with vivid colors.
Josh Lucas stars as the enigmatic and infuriating Darby Reese, a high-rolling gay nightclub owner who lives way beyond his means. His weakness is young, innocent boys. Lucas brings a savage sliminess to his performance and yet he is able to appear so vulnerable. He inhabits the very short screen time he has with great gusto.
McGhee and Seigel deserve great kudos for writing and directing a film that is intelligent, emotionally satisfying and cinematically beautiful. The film unfolds quietly, under their deliberate direction, like some dream gone bad that hurtles out of control the more the characters think they have on the situations at hand. The film leaves many questions unanswered and open ended, a sure sign of mature film makers, who shy away from the obligatory tidy endings and the overstated sense of closure in most other Hollywood fare.
There is one minor flaw in this film. Raymond Barry, who plays Carlie Nagle, Alek Spera’s evil boss, comes across more like a caricature than the other fully rounded humans that inhabit the film. His performance is way over the top and grating in an otherwise subtle and sublime film.
In a summer of mindless and highly disappointing fare, The Deep End is a refreshing change of pace hopefully signifying better things to come as the fall rolls around. It ranks up there with the best of this year’s films thus far, including Moulin Rouge, Memento and A.I.
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