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Top Stories This Week in the Chronicle.
February 9, 2001

 

Ohio United Way will keep funding Scouts

by Eric Resnick

United Way chapters in Ohio say their funding of the Boy Scouts will remain steady or slightly increase next year. Most also report that the Boy Scouts’ ban on gay leaders and members has no effect on their decisions to fund them, even in cases where the United Way chapter has a diversity policy.

Since a Supreme Court decision last June allowing the Scouts to ban gays, United Way chapters in Orlando, suburban Milwaukee and Duluth, Minn. have ended their Boy Scout funding, along with a handful of smaller chapters. They join a number of other agencies, including the cities of Los Angeles, Tucson and the New York City schools, that have cut ties with the Scouts.

There are 101 United Way chapters in Ohio that fund the state’s 13 Boy Scout councils. Each United Way chapter is an independent non-profit corporation with complete autonomy.

Each chapter follows its own guidelines for allocating funds. Many are beginning the process of deciding how their 2002 funds will be allocated.

Generally, the Boy Scouts got a 5 to 7 percent increase from the United Ways in 2001 over the 2000 funding cycle.

Since the Supreme Court decision came in the middle of their funding calendar, many United Ways are now discussing Boy Scout funding in the context of that decision for the first time.

United Way chapters randomly sampled for this article, which included those in large communities and small communities, clearly indicated that they consider the Boy Scouts’ discrimination a non-issue, even where a goal of diversity is claimed.

In November, Stonewall Columbus executive director Jeff Redfield said he would meet with Franklin County United Way officials to discuss the matter.

Franklin County United Way has a non-discrimination policy and a goal of funding diversity.

"Inclusion of sexual orientation is their goal, not their policy," Redfield said he learned at that meeting.

Stonewall Columbus has an arrangement with the United Way that allows people to designate their contributions to Stonewall, even though it is not a United Way agency.

According to Redfield, that arrangement raised about $10,000 for Stonewall Columbus last year.

But that relationship has not altered the Franklin County United Way’s intention to maintain or increase their Boy Scout funding.

United Ways offer a variety of reasons for why they are not concerned about the Boy Scouts’ ban on gays. The United Way of Knox County, which gave the Muskingum Valley Council Boy Scouts $18,000 in 2000 and $18,500 in 2001, says that their by-laws do not include discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The United Way of Greater Dayton, which gave the Tecumseh Council and the Miami Valley Council a total of $45,441 this year and expects to give them the same next year, has no reservations about funding Boy Scouts "as long as they are not violating any federal laws."

But most United Way chapters just say that the Boy Scouts are doing a good job and meeting their goals.

Jeanne Rustin of the United Way of Hancock County, which funded the Black Swamp Council $105,000 in 2000 and the same in 2001, said her chapter will begin to discuss funding for next year in November.

"Most of our comments come from people worried that we will defund them, that ask us not to," she said.

United Way chapters are significant contributors to the Boy Scouts. In 1996, the most recent year figures are available for, United Ways nationally gave $83.7 million to Boy Scout councils.

United Way contributions to individual councils range from $11-19 per year per member, which, for large councils, can total as much as $500,000. According to Boy Scout executives, that accounts for about 20 percent of their total operating budget.

Typically, other youth organizations receive far less United Way funding per participant than Boy Scouts do. The Girl Scouts typically get 25 to 30 percent of what Boy Scouts do.

The Girl Scouts have no policy banning gays and lesbians from participation. Neither do Camp Fire, the 4-H Clubs, the Boys and Girls Clubs, or the YM/YWCA.

With exception of a few small outreach programs in the large metropolitan areas, there is no United Way funding directed toward programs specifically serving the GLBT population in Ohio.

There is also no consensus in the GLBT community as to how to persuade United Ways to examine their relationship with the Boy Scouts. Many people are reluctant to withhold United Way funds because there is pressure at work to have 100 percent United Way participation, and refusing a donation may out them at work.

 

Bucyrus man is town’s first gay candidate

by Eric Resnick

Bucyrus, Ohio—A web site designer has filed petitions to become the first openly gay candidate for city council in the history of this rural Ohio community.

James Moore-McDermott, 27, filed the last of his nominating petitions February 5, making him the third Democrat to file for three open council-at-large seats.

Though rural and located in north-central Ohio, Bucyrus and Crawford County elect many Democrats, including the mayor, president of city council, and two other members of council.

Moore-McDermott, who owns a computer building and web site design company, said that the Democratic Party came to him asking him to run.

They nearly appointed him to fill the open council seat vacated when Dallas Easterday was elected to the Crawford County Commission. Moore-McDermott had raised money for Easterday’s campaign.

"I have always known I wanted to get into politics," said Moore-McDermott. "It’s how you really make your mark."

Moore-McDermott says he brings experience to the table as a business owner, and having studied criminal justice at OSU’s North Central Technical College in nearby Mansfield.

"I know the laws and I know how to negotiate with people," he said.

He also serves as the vice president of the Bucyrus Bratwurst Festival’s board of directors. The Bucyrus Bratwurst Festival is one of the largest community festivals in Ohio.

According to Moore-McDermott, the issues in Bucyrus, a city of 15,000, include the storm water and sewage problems, snow removal, the budget and taxes. He hopes tackling those issues will someday qualify him to run for the Ohio House of Representatives.

Moore-McDermott says he and his partner Tyson Mollenkopf, also a Bucyrus native, are the most out gay couple around.

"Everyone knows who we are," he said.

"The Democratic Party knows I’m gay, too," he added. "It’s no secret. In fact, the party people who are helping me have already told me how to deal with it if it comes up."

"Just say ‘yes’ and move on to the next question, they told me."

Though Moore-McDermott and Mollenkopf are a well known gay couple in their community, they are not familiar with the GLBT community throughout the state.

"Living in Bucyrus, it’s kind of hard," he said.

But Moore-McDermott is certain that his candidacy is important to GLBT people everywhere.

"It is important that I be seen and heard as a gay man," he said, "and that people see that we’re normal people who think for ourselves."

"I’m very popular among the older voters," he said, "because I’m known as someone who listens to them."

Moore-McDermott believes he will need to raise $1,500 to run the race. In Bucyrus, the three top vote-getters get the three council-at-large seats.

"Whether I win or lose, I have made a mark," he said. "The people of Bucyrus can never take back that a gay man ran for council here."

Bucyrus is located in the fourth U.S. House district, where openly gay Dan Dickman of Mansfield was the Democratic candidate in 2000.

"I’m going to win because I am going to look farther ahead and raise the most money," said Moore-McDermott.

Another Ohio openly gay candidate, Joe Santiago, is running for a Cleveland city council seat. Both of the state’s two out elected officials are also city council members, Mary Wiseman of Dayton and Louis Escobar of Toledo.


Drive-by incident leaves coffee shop owner worried

 

by Andy Scahill

Columbus—The latest in a series of drive-by incidents has the owner of a popular coffeehouse concerned that the shop is being targeted because of its gay and lesbian clientele.

At about 8:40 pm on Tuesday, January 30, an object was shot or thrown at the Coffee Table on the corner of Buttles Ave. and High Street, breaking a hole in one of the shop’s windows.

No one was injured.

Authorities are unsure whether the missile was a bullet, BB, rock or other object. The incident occurred shortly after several witnesses heard a group of young men in a passing car yell at two women. According to witnesses, the window broke when the car circled the block and returned to the coffee shop.

The Coffee Table is a popular Short North gay and lesbian hangout.

Gloria McCauley of the Buckeye Regional Anti-Violence Organization said that her organization is looking at the incident as a possible anti-gay attack. McCauley put the Coffee Table in contact with Detective Wes Johnson, the Columbus Police Department’s gay and lesbian community liaison.

Coffee Table owner Angie Freeman filed a police report, though she said she is frustrated about the lack of tangible results from the police investigation. The Coffee Table has had prior attacks involving anti-gay speech and BBs being shot at it. After a similar incident last October, Freeman filed a report with the police, without an arrest.

"They try to do what they can, but one of these days, someone will get hurt and it will be too late," says Freeman.

"I think one of the things this brings home for us is how vulnerable we feel when something like this happens," McCauley said. "We like to think these things happen in other places."

Andy Scahill writes for OutinColumbus.com, where this first appeared.


Movement has shifted to the states, Dem leader says

by Anthony Glassman

Cleveland—The gay and lesbian movement has shifted from Washington and the federal arena to the states, a lesbian Democratic leader says.

Cindy Jordan, field director of the National Stonewall Democrats, was in town February 5, preparing for her group’s annual convention to be held here in September.

While here, she spoke to the Cleveland Stonewall Democrats in a packed meeting, bringing her message of the urgency of action now that a less gay-friendly administration is in the White House.

The biggest goal of the Stonewall Democrats, she said, is to take back Congress in 2002 and the White House in 2004.

"I think this election proved that our movement has shifted dramatically to the state and local levels," she said, referring to the large number of gay-related referenda on state ballots this past November, as well as the quantity of openly gay candidates running for office.

Jordan, the partner of National Gay and Lesbian Task Force director Elizabeth Toledo, discussed her views on the status of gay people in America, where the gay community should focus its efforts, and what is to come.

Jordan’s job keeps her busy. She is responsible for helping to organize new local chapters, maintaining the relationship between existing chapters and the national leadership, and sharing ideas between clubs.

Another role the Stonewall Dems will be facing over the next four years, she said, will be that of watchdog over the Bush administration.

"Because we’re partisan, by our essence, we’ll be all over them," Jordan said, noting that other organizations, including the NGLTF and the Human Rights Campaign, are bipartisan groups that try to work with both parties.

" ‘Compassionate conservatism’ was a farce," she said. "The Ashcroft nomination was proof of that."

It is unusual for senators to vote against a former senator for an appointed post; however, 42 out of 50 Democratic senators voted against confirming the anti-gay John Ashcroft to the post of attorney general.

"Senatorial courtesy should have gone out the window, considering Ashcroft’s record on women’s rights, his racism, his homophobia," Jordan said. Another goal will be to illustrate to the Democrats who voted for Ashcroft’s confirmation the displeasure of the mainstream of Democrats with their placation of the Bush administration.

"They should have filibustered, stretched it out, and seen how strong Bush’s support for Ashcroft was."

The partisan nature of the group also makes their efforts more difficult. Last year’s election saw many liberal Democrats shifting their allegiances to Ralph Nader and the Green Party, a move that hurt the Democrats and cost Al Gore a number of closely-contested states.

"Somehow or another, we have to bring these people back into the fold," she noted. "We have to bring the Democratic Party back to its roots on the left, or we’ll have a really viable third-party effort in the near future."

Interestingly, Jordan’s comments on her Republican counterparts were not unkind. While angered by the comments of the national leadership of the Log Cabin Republicans supporting the Ashcroft confirmation, she noted, "I don’t fault people that vote Republican, although I believe Democrats are the clear choice for our community."

Her first allegiance, however, is to her community.

"We are LGBT activists before we are Democrats," she stressed, again demanding accountability for the senators that crossed party lines to vote for Ashcroft’s confirmation.

Not all of her conversation was taken up with concern over the state of the government, though. At the mention of the upcoming convention, her eyes lit up.

"I’m really excited about the convention," she said. "The Cleveland and Columbus chapters are strong, vibrant voices."

"I’m very proud of the work these groups have done in Ohio."|


Study finds thirty percent of young, black gay men are positive

by Daniel Q. Haney
associated press

Chicago-One-third of young gay black men in large U.S. cities are infected with HIV, another sign of the growing racial divide in the AIDS epidemic.

The findings, based on a study released February 5, show that HIV infections are disturbingly common among gay men of all races in their 20s, especially considering that they grew up knowing how AIDS spreads. However, HIV is particularly rampant among young gay blacks, and experts worry that these men have missed the safe-sex message that has been a drumbeat among white gay men since the mid-1980s.

The study found that among young gay men, 3 percent of Asians, 7 percent of whites, 15 percent of Hispanics and 30 percent of blacks are infected with the virus.

The study, directed by Linda Valleroy of the Centers for Disease Control, was presented at the Eighth Annual Retrovirus Conference in Chicago. Since this was the first survey ever done among gays of this age group--23 to 29--there are no previous numbers with which to compare these findings.

Since the epidemic’s start, when AIDS was primarily a disease of gay white men, the burden of HIV has increasingly shifted to blacks. Now, just over half of the estimated 40,000 new HIV infections annually occur among blacks. Among infected women, blacks outnumber whites almost 4 to 1.

The survey was based on testing of 2,401 gay men ages 23 to 29 between 1998 and 2000. They were tested at parks, bars, clubs and other gay meeting places in Baltimore, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, Seattle and New York City. Except in Miami and Seattle, where few blacks were in the study, the infection rate for blacks was around 30 percent in all the cities. In general, AIDS infections have become less common among gay men since the height of the epidemic in the 1980s.

For instance, in New York, just over half of all gay men of all ages who were tested at venereal disease clinics in 1988 were infected, compared with 20 percent in 1997. Valleroy said there is no easy explanation for why the disease is so much more prevalent among young gay blacks.

But one reason may be that blacks are less likely to be openly gay, so they miss the frequent exhortations for safe sex.

"Being gay is more hidden among African Americans," she said. "There is no Gay Men’s Health Crisis for African Americans. They tend not to live in the gay neighborhoods."

Dr. Carlos del Rio of Emory University in Atlanta, who studies AIDS in inner cities, noted that the disease largely affects populations on the edges of the mainstream, including gay men and poor blacks.

"In African Americans, there is a much greater stigma about being homosexual than there is among whites," he said. "That makes them even more marginalized."

Less than one-third of those who had HIV in the survey knew about their infection. An earlier study by the same group looked at AIDS infections among gay 15- to 22-year-olds. It found that 14 percent of blacks were infected.


News Briefs

Basketball player pays fine for using gay epithet

Indianapolis—Indiana Pacers player Allen Iverson, who was criticized in October for releasing a rap album with homophobic lyrics, has been fined $5,000 by the NBA for "directing profanity towards fans."

The fine was announced February 2 and stems from an incident at a January 28 game with the Philadelphia 76ers. A fan behind the Pacers’ bench shouted at Iverson throughout the game, allegedly called him a "monkey" and another racial epithet. The fan also used profanity in describing Iverson’s perceived lack of rap skills.

In response, Iverson smiled, stuck his tongue out at the fan and told him, "Go home, faggot," the same epithet that got him in trouble for his record.

Iverson also complained to the referee that the fan should have been ejected, but was not.

 

California courts show bias, study says

Los Angeles-The California court system treats gays and lesbians different than the general public, according to a newly unveiled study.

The six-year study, released February 1 by the Judicial Council of California, showed that more than 56 percent of the 1,225 gay men and lesbians surveyed experienced or observed a negative comment or action in the courts when their sexual orientation was made known.

Information was gathered from five focus groups in 1996 and the data were used for two studies, one on gay and lesbian court users and the other on court employees, regardless of their sexual orientation.

In that study, 20 percent of the 1,525 court employees surveyed heard "derogatory terms, ridicule, snickering or jokes about gay men or lesbians in open court, with the comments being made most frequently by judges, lawyers or court employees."

 

Swastikas drawn on church rainbows

Sudbury, Massachusetts—About 1,000 people gathered February 5 to protest anti-gay vandalism of a Unitarian Universalist church, less than a week after swastikas were drawn over the church’s rainbow triangles, symbols of the congregation’s welcome of gay men and lesbians.

On January 27, vandals drew swastikas on two rainbow triangles at the First Parish Church of Sudbury. When churchgoers cleaned the offending symbols off that night, the vandals returned and redid the damage, also stealing a rainbow flag some time before services on the morning of January 28.

Police spokesman Lt. Peter Fadgen said the graffiti "appears to be a hate crime."

Three teens were arrested on February 6 in connection with the vandalism, two males and a female. The boys will appear in court on February 27 to be arraigned, and the girl’s arraignment will be held on February 21.

 

Mauled lacrosse coach remembered

Moraga, California-More than 600 people gathered February 1 for a memorial mass to remember Diane Whipple, a 33-year-old woman who died in January after she was fatally mauled by a dog at her apartment doorstep.

Whipple was killed January 26 after her neighbor’s 120-pound mastiff-Canary Island dog mix lunged for her throat as she was bringing groceries into her San Francisco apartment. Police are investigating the incident, and prosecutors have not determined whether the dog’s owners will face charges.

During Whipple’s memorial service, team members choked back tears as they recalled scavenger hunts and trips to San Francisco to look for the best hot dogs in the city.

Whipple took great pride in her players, was fascinated by aliens and loved her partner, Sharon Smith.

Smith said Whipple’s death will leave a void in her life. She remembered how much her partner of seven years loved chocolate, but "only dark, and only Godiva . . . expensive clothes, long hikes, and me."

 

Missouri executes gay killer

Potosi, Missouri--A 37-year-old gay man was executed by lethal injection February 7 for the 1985 slaying of a teen-ager who was beaten with a tire iron and run over by a car.

Stanley D. Lingar was the first person to be executed in Missouri this year after Gov. Bob Holden denied clemency. He declined to make a final statement but issued one prepared on behalf of his family. It sought forgiveness from the family of his victim, Thomas S. Allen.

Advocates for Lingar made several claims on his behalf: he suffered from a severe mental disorder and was borderline mentally retarded; was drunk at the time of the killing; and that the other man involved in the crime, David L. Smith, served just six years in prison.

Most prominent among the claims was that Lingar’s sexual orientation played a role in his sentence.

During the penalty phase of the trial, the only evidence introduced by the prosecution was the fact that Lingar was gay, which was presented as evidence of his "bad character."

An appeals court ruled that the introduction of the evidence was unconstitutional, but the majority felt that it did not affect his sentencing.|

Compiled from wire reports by Brian DeWitt, Anthony Glassman and Patti Harris.

 


Seven Valentine videos to share with a boyfriend

by Bob Findle

Paper hearts and colorful flowers exchanged, candlelight dinner eaten and then a romantic video. The perfect stay-at-home Valentine’s Day. What could be better than seeing your great love reflected in warm glow of the TV while wrapped in a big, comfy blanket as you sit on the couch with your one true snuggle bunny? Maybe taking that trip to Bali, but how soon is that going to happen?

Knowing that you will be all a-flutter in the days leading up to this, the most romantic day of the year, we offer this guide to the top Valentine’s Day gay videos, or as we call them, the Fabulous Seven. Using the guide will ease your mind as to which video to rent, leaving you plenty of time to find those special undies for the big night and an extra few days to work the gym and bars to find a suitable (breathing?) boyfriend in time if you are still empty-handed at this late date.

Rest assured though, even if Cupid’s stinging shaft misses your rump this year, the video list is still an invaluable lonely hearts resource. Watching one or two of these while you chase away the Valentine’s Day blues by killing off a quart of triple fudge nut ice cream chased by a bag of Double-Stuf Oreos could help. You can watch two impossibly handsome men cuddle and coo, bump and woo, while you spoon and chew.

If you are alone this year, take heart. There is always plenty of time to get coupled by next year. Meanwhile, you can still wear the special undies even if you are all alone this year. In fact, we recommend it. As Stephen Stills says: "If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with." Be your own Valentine in whatever way you want.

The Fabulous Seven

Another Country: Richly and beautifully filmed in the Merchant-Ivory genre, this early 1980s film is set in an architecturally magnificent English prep school. And we do know about English prep schools--how the boys are often busy conducting impromptu anatomy lessons on each other in dressing rooms and boat houses.

The cast features three then unknowns: Rupert Everett, Colin Firth and Cary Elwes. Firth is Everett’s Marxist roommate. Elwes is Everett’s love interest. Two scenes are just what Cupid ordered up to stimulate some cuddling and smooching. One is in a restaurant where dark, brooding Everett tries to express his love to shy, bright-eyed Elwes. The other is when the two spend the night in a rowboat, floating on the school’s lake while talking under the stars until dawn. Underneath it all is a simple, minor-key piano soundtrack.

• Later pics: Everett, The Next Best Thing, My Best Friend’s Wedding. Firth, The English Patient, Valmont. Elwes, Shadow of the Vampire, Robin Hood: Men in Tights.

Billy’s Hollywood Screen Kiss: Is coffee-jockey Gabriel gay or not? Is in-puppy-love Sean Hayes barking up the wrong tree? Find out what happens when they sleep together as "just friends" for the first time in a great goose-bumpy scene.

Hayes is a man in pursuit of love and damn the trouser torpedoes. He is very cute in the film, his marionette face and expressions endearing (unlike his Will & Grace Jack character, who has become often too brittle). Billy’s is both funny and a heart-tugger.

• Musical bonus: Nina Simone’s "Love Me or Leave Me" and Petula Clark’s "This is My Song" are in the soundtrack.

Boys’ Life (1995): The best offering in the Boy’s Life series of gay film short collections. All three stories deal with young men coming of age and coming out. They have quite the angst-filled time of it what with being mixed up, one foot in the closet, one foot out. Their thwarted attempts and longings for romance and affection are played with a tongue-in-cheek realism that will have you smiling when you recognize your own first stumblings on the road to boyfriendland. The mirroring will cause you to hug your Valentine partner tightly.

• Career update: Two of the three young directors went on to later projects. Brian Sloan wrote and directed I Think I Do in 1997 and Robert Lee King directed Psycho Beach Party in 2000.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s: Right, no gay characters, but still one the most romantic films ever made. Sweet without being cloying; clever without being too camp. Audrey Hepburn, all big eyes and waif body, is perfect in her signature role and the young George Peppard as a reluctant gigolo for older society woman Patricia Neal never looked more GQ handsome than here.

Besides the delightful, witty storyline, the romantic classic "Moon River" comes from this film’s soundtrack.

• Literary sidebar: Rumor has it that Truman Capote wrote the madcap Holly Golightly (Hepburn) character based on how he wished his own life was. Try not to imagine Holly as a pudgy, bespectacled New York City queen. It shouldn’t be hard.

I Think I Do: Studly soap star Sterling is ready to tie the symbolic knot and make the commitment with fickle Bob. To complicate things, while at a straight friend’s wedding, Bob is spending time with Brendan, his unrequited college crush. Brendan is still as sexy as ever, and now is giving off signals that he might be interested back.

What is Bob to do? Take the chance and pursue hot monkey love with babe-o-licious Brendan or stay safe and start selecting the china pattern with steady Sterling? In the vein of a Rock Hudson-Doris Day comedy, I Think I Do is cute, fuzzy, warm and doesn’t require a lot of attention to be enjoyed.

• Best Lips Award: Alexis Arquette’s thick, full lips fill up the screen rather nicely. They are so kissable you may end up necking with your TV.

Longtime Companion: A tear-jerker that you might not think of as a Valentine’s Day pick. Think again. This story of a group of friends confronting AIDS through the ’80s has several relationships, romances and deep friendships intertwined with the tragedy. The love, support and care shown between the men is the stuff life should be made of. Unlike the pasteurized Philadelphia, here the men kiss like lovers do and share the same beds.

A relatively unknown cast keeps the focus on the story with no grandstanding performance to distract. This melancholy movie will get you appreciating your boyfriend or lover. If you are alone, it can facilitate a nice cryfest that will help ease the emptiness. The final scene always gets me weepy, no matter how many times I see it.

• Prep note: Have at least four tissues handy.

Trick: No one gets beat up, no one dies, no one is rejected by family, no big political point is made. Trick is engaging fluff about two men who meet one New York night and have a hard time finding a private place where they can have a hard time.

It is actually not as crass as that sounds. Director Jim Fall laces the story with a light touch of whimsy and several outrageous supporting characters, including scene-stealer Miss Coco Peru as a mean drag queen ("It burns!"). Plus, star J.P. Pitoc shaking his bodacious bare go-go boy booty is worth the rental fee alone. Get those pause and rewind buttons ready. You’re going to need them.

The other star, Christian Campbell, is adorable in his freckle-faced Howdy Doody way. You can’t help but want to have your carnal way with him every time he is on the screen.

• Diva trouble: Supporting star Tori Spelling was none too happy that many people who saw the movie thought she and Miss Coco Peru were one and the same.|

 

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