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Top Stories This Week in the Chronicle.
January 5, 2001

 

Cincinnati airs lesbian-gay
positive TV commercial

by Eric Resnick

Cincinnati-In an ironic twist of events, the Dr. Laura TV show has made it possible for a gay-affirming public service announcement (PSA) to air in Cincinnati.

TV station WCPO, an ABC affiliate, entered into a contract with Stonewall Cincinnati to pay for and air a public service announcement 71 times per week for three months, then place it in rotation with other PSAs. The commercial debuted December 15.

The 30 second spot, which will air between 5:30am and midnight, features former Cincinnati mayor Bobbie Sterne and members of the Cincinnati lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

The commercial opens against a shot of the Cincinnati skyline with the popular former mayor, who is one of only two Stonewall Cincinnati honorary lifetime members saying, "A world class city honors the diversity of all its citizens."

Stonewall Cincinnati executive director Doreen Cudnik said Sterne�s opening line calling Cincinnati a "world class" city is part of the city�s attempt to secure an Olympic bid "We have been hearing that line a lot," said Cudnik.

Cudnik added that Sterne was chosen because she is so well known and loved by Cincinnati residents, as well as for her commitment to diversity.

The commercial is also timely because Cincinnati is still wrestling with what to do about Article 12 of its charter. Article 12 was first known as ballot issue 3 in 1994. It repealed the city�s recently-passed ordinance making it illegal to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. The Christian right rallied and passed the referendum, which also makes it impossible for the city to ever pass non-discrimination laws inclusive of sexual orientation and gender without first repealing the charter article.

The courts have ruled the article constitutional, but civil rights activists are still committed to repealing it. To date, Cincinnati is the only city in the United States with such a charter provision.

The next scene in the commercial is in the kitchen of Kelli and Theresa Robinson, a white lesbian couple with their three young children saying, "We want our children to grow up in a world free of prejudice."

According to Cudnik, the original plan called for a PFLAG family, but when the Robinsons surfaced, "it was just too good," said Cudnik, adding that the TV station also approved the change.

Then the spot moves to Ahoo Tabatabai, a Persian lesbian and student, delivering the strongest line in the spot. In a setting resembling a campus, Tabatabai says, "I want a future filled with opportunity and freedom. Should that be different because I�m gay?"

The next scene depicts Terry Payne, an African-American gay man who is a visible member of Persons of All Colors Together and sings in the Cincinnati Men�s Chorus, in a classroom portraying a teacher saying, "I teach respect for all to build a better community."

Cudnik said the racial and ethnic make-up of the actors was important because she wanted to emphasize the diversity within the LGBT community as well as promote diversity in general.

The spot then moves to a worship service at Mt. Auburn Presbyterian Church with Rev. Steve Van Kuiken and openly-lesbian UCC minister Rev. Bonnie Daniel in front of the congregation.

Van Kuiken says, "We welcome everyone in our spiritual family." Then the camera pans across the congregation and returns to Mayor Sterne saying, "Isn�t it time we learned to respect our differences?"

Then it fades to a still of the Stonewall Cincinnati logo and website address.

Cudnik said the school scenes were also filmed at Mt. Auburn Presbyterian, which has a long history of affirming the LGBT community. "It is the most visible of friendly churches."

"The church�s former pastor Hal Porter made it the first church in Cincinnati to perform same-sex unions and he is now the co-chair of the Repeal Article 12 Committee," she added.

Cudnik said community activist Andy Ruffner wrote the commercial script, which she edited.

The idea for the PSA emerged in June as a result of meetings with WCPO vice president and general manager Bill Fee, which came about when WCPO committed to airing the Dr. Laura show. It also airs the Dr. Dobson show. Schlessinger and Dobson frequently disparage LGBT people on the air. Schlessinger called gay people "biological errors" on her radio program.

"As a result of our community�s protest of Dr. Laura, we called and asked for a meeting with [Fee]," said Cudnik. "We knew he wasn�t going to be able to break his contract with Paramount [the syndicator of the show], but we knew we had some leverage."

Cudnik added, "I continued to express to him that the conservatives were well represented on his TV station, but our community had no voice."

Cudnik said Fee then told her she gave him something to think about.

The PSA, which was produced by WCPO at no cost to Stonewall, was the biggest part of their negotiations.

Additionally, Fee invited Stonewall Cincinnati to continue to meet with him with any concerns about the Dr. Laura show and the representation of the LGBT community by his station.

"We wanted the PSA to show the community that we are not biological errors," said Cudnik.

Cudnik has also been appointed to the Public Affairs Committee of the station as a result of the negotiations.

"In an ironic way, we have Dr. Laura to thank for this," said Cudnik.

Fee told Cudnik he was expecting backlash for running the PSA, but he was proud to do it because it is the right thing to do.

The station gave ownership of the commercial to Stonewall Cincinnati, which gives them the opportunity to run it on the other stations, as well. "They even called the other stations to find out what format they need it in," added Cudnik.

"You never know what bridges can be built with dialogue," concluded Cudnik. "Sometimes when you ask for something, you get a surprising �yes�."


 

Leather club, Wal-Mart and Pepsi
work together for HIV fundraiser

by Eric Resnick

Massillon � Twenty three families affected by HIV and AIDS in Stark, Holmes, Tuscarawas, Wayne, and Carroll counties were the beneficiaries of a cooperative fundraising effort by the Iron Eagles, a Canton-based leather group, along with employees of Wal-Mart of Massillon, and the Pepsi Cola Company.

An in-store raffle was held Saturday, December 23 at Wal-Mart, staffed by Wal-Mart employees and personalities from radio station Z92. Pepsi provided the space and prizes. The raffle raised $145, bringing the total cash raised in various events hosted by the Iron Eagles to $2700.

The 23 families were selected by Family Services of Stark County, the agency responsible for HIV/AIDS case management, in March. They were selected from clients with one or more adult members of the household having HIV or AIDS.

Wal-Mart became involved in the fundraising efforts when they noticed that the Iron Eagles� were turning cash raised into Wal-Mart gift cards to distribute to the families, according to Lori Wiggins, chair of the Massillon Wal-Mart�s employees donation committee. "They came to us and we thought it was a worthy cause," said Wiggins.

Additionally, the Iron Eagles collected 48 toys for distribution and $645 was raised from donation barrels at two popular Canton gay bars, the Boardwalk and the 540 Club.

This was the first fundraising drive for the 44-member Iron Eagles group.

"For their first year, they did an outstanding job," commented Tom Wingert, Health Services Coordinator of the Canton Health Department.

Patti Milford, Social Services Assistant at Family Services expressed appreciation on behalf of the agency and the families saying, "This was just like a miracle. It was the most wonderful gift we have ever been given for our clients."

Milford said she connected with the Iron Eagles by word of mouth. "They came to us because they knew we were struggling," she said. "And this went far beyond anything we were expecting."

Milford said some of the families have called to express their gratitude, saying that were it not for the Iron Eagles, they would not have had much to celebrate this holiday season.


From the bug with no bite to a stalled election
Year 2000: news in review

by Anthony Glassman

Popular misconceptions to the contrary, 2000 was the last year of the second millennium, not the first year of the third. The Y2K bug was a bust, and the rest of the world did not end, but the end of the century presented a mixed bag for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in Ohio, the United States, and around the world.

Here�s a look at what made news throughout the year.

January

The presidential primaries moved the Pentagon�s "don�t ask, don�t tell" policy to the forefront, as the Republican candidates supported the current policy, while the Democratic hopefuls argued over which of them were more opposed to the status quo in terms of gays in the military. George W. Bush, in a January 6 GOP debate, said that he would not appoint anyone to the Joint Chiefs of Staff who advocated allowing gays to serve openly in the military.

For his role in the murder of Pvt. Barry Winchell, Justin Fisher was sentenced to 12� years in prison. The sentenced followed a plea bargain, where Fisher plead guilty to lying to Army investigators and obstructing justice in the investigation into the murder of Winchell, who was beaten to death with baseball bats while he slept in the barracks in Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Winchell was murdered because other soldiers thought he was gay.

February

Jimmy Lee Bird was released on parole after spending five years in prison. He was convicted in 1994 following a plea of no contest to felonious assault for spitting on a police officer. Bird, who is HIV-positive, later appealed his conviction, but the Ohio Supreme Court avoiding ruling on whether or not HIV-tainted body fluids could be defined as "deadly weapons."

The Human Rights Campaign officially endorsed Al Gore in the Democratic Party�s primary race. Gore goes on to clinch the nomination.

Charles Spingola, the street preacher tried for tearing down a rainbow flag flying in front of the statehouse at the 1999 Columbus Pride celebration, was found guilty of criminal damaging, but not guilty of ethnic intimidation.

Deborah Ingersoll, better known as the musician Ingy, was assaulted in a strip mall parking lot late at night by three youths who attempted to rob her. A 14-year old was promptly caught by police and charged with aggravated robbery. Ingy is well known in Northeast Ohio for playing at LGBT fundraisers and gatherings.

February 19 marked the 25th anniversary of Oven Productions� Womyn�s Variety Show. The Cleveland womyn�s arts community showed up in full force to sell out the Civic Theater in Cleveland Heights, and the standing-room-only crowd was thrilled with the witty and ribald performances.

March

California, West Virginia and South Dakota passed laws outlawing gay marriage.

Jordanna LeSesne, also known as 1.8.7, a transgendered DJ from Philadelphia, was attacked following a show at the Robin Hood club in Kent.

The United States Department of the Interior on March 1 declared the Stonewall Inn, epicenter of the "Stonewall Riots," a National Historic Landmark, deeming it "meaningful to the history and culture of the United States."

Hillary Swank won a Best Actress Academy Award. Swank referred throughout her acceptance speech to Brandon Teena as "he," in contrast to other presenters and commentators who found dealing with transgendered pronouns difficult, at best.

The Central Conference of American Rabbis, the governing body of reform Judaism, almost unanimously approved a resolution declaring that gay couples are "worthy of affirmation through appropriate Jewish ritual," officially giving support to rabbis that perform gay marriage.

April

The big news of the month came at the end of April with the Millennium March on Washington. Somewhere between 125,000 and 800,000 queers converged on the nation�s capital, depending on whose figures you believed. What was certain was that the controversy surrounding the management of the march and missing funds would last for months, resulting in an FBI investigation and a great deal of finger-pointing.

The New Jersey Supreme Court in an April 6 ruling upheld the finding of a lower court that a lesbian who raised her partner�s children has the same parental rights as any other parent.

Rudy Galindo, the 1996 national figure skating champion, revealed April 5 that he is HIV-positive.

George W. Bush, as candidate for president, met with gay and lesbian Republicans. Although some were members of the Log Cabin Republicans, Bush refused to meet with the national leadership of the LCR.

April 25 saw Vermont approving a final version of its civil unions law, unleashing a tempest that would unseat many pro-civil union state senators and representatives, but leaving Gov. Howard Dean in office. The first civil unions were set for July 1.

May

The Methodist Convention opened in Cleveland amid protests organized by Soulforce. Over 200 protesters were aressted as they fought for gays and lesbians to have a "place at the table."

Sir John Gielgud, the last great Shakespearean actors of his generation, died at age 96.

The Lesbian-Gay Community Center of Greater Cleveland moved into their new digs at 6600 Detroit Avenue.

Procter & Gamble, announced that they would not be advertising on Laura Schlessinger�s planned television show. The move sparked months of defections by advertisers seeking to escape the controversy surrounding Schlessinger�s anti-gay comments.

Five pharmaceutical companies announced that they would be slashing the cost of drugs to fight AIDS being sent to Africa. President Clinton also signed an executive order loosening patent restrictions on AIDS medications to enable less expensive drugs to get to Africa to fight the pandemic.

June

The Big Three automakers (Ford, General Motors and Daimler-Chrysler) and Coca-Cola announced that they were going to be offering domestic partnership benefits to the partners of gay and lesbian employees.

For the first time in five years, Cincinnati had a Pride parade, which drew over 1,000 people. Later in the month, Columbus and Cleveland celebrated their Pride festivals on the same day, with sweltering heat in Columbus and pouring rain in Cleveland.

The United State Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the Boy Scouts of America have the right to prohibit gays from being scouts or serving as adult volunteers. The ruling publicized their anti-gay policies, and has caused many schools, municipalities, and charitable organizations to cut their ties with the Scouts.

A lesbian kiss between Selma Blair and Sarah Michelle Gellar from the movie Cruel Intentions, a teen remake of Dangerous Liaisons, wins the MTV Movie Award for Best Kiss.

July

The World Pride Festival opened in Rome with over 200,000 LGBT people gathered to celebrate, compared to about 700 members of the right-wing Forza Nuova, who protested the event.

Arthur "J.R." Warren, a developmentally disabled black gay man was beaten and repeatedly run over in Grant Town, West Virginia in an attempt to make his death look like a hit and run accident. Three teenagers were arrested for the crime. Warren was apparently killed because he told people in town that he had been sexually involved with one of the boys.

George W. Bush picked Dick Cheney as his running mate. The choice was viewed as bad news for the LGBT community, despite his having a lesbian daughter (something Cheney and his wife were reluctant to admit), as Cheney voted against almost every gay-friendly bill that came before him in Congress.

Rep. Jim Kolbe, gay Republican from Arizona, became the first openly gay person to address the Republican National Convention.

August

Al Gore, the Democratic candidate for the presidency, picked Joseph Lieberman as his running mate. Lieberman, the first Jew to be on the presidential ticket for either of the two major parties, brought with him a mixed record on gay issues in the Senate.

Anne Heche and Ellen DeGeneres, Hollywood�s most notable lesbian couple, confirmed on August 18 that they had amicably parted ways.

September

In an attempt to help mobilize the LGBT vote in Ohio, every copy of the September 15 Gay People�s Chronicle contained a voter registration application while thousands more were distributed in bars and businesses across the state.

Holland passed a bill giving gay and lesbian couples the right to full legal marriage.

In other marriage news, the United States� first legal lesbian wedding happened in Texas, thanks to a loophole accidentally created by the courts there. In ruling on another case involving a transsexual, the court ruled that biological gender is a person�s gender, regardless of surgical alteration of genitalia. Using that logic, a lesbian couple, one of whom had been born male but had sexual reassignment surgery, were able to legally marry, since the state still viewed her as a man.

Melissa Etheridge and her longtime partner Julie Cypher became the second famous lesbian couple to split. At the Emmy Awards, Sean Hayes and Megan Mullally won Best Supporting Actor and Actress for their roles as Jack and Karen on Will and Grace, and the series won two other awards, including Best Comedy Series. Vanessa Redgrave won an Emmy for her role as a lesbian widow in HBO�s If These Walls Could Talk II.

Exodus International chairman John Paulk was photographed by HRC staff members in a gay bar in Washington DC. Paulk, head of the umbrella organization for the "ex-gay" movement, at first claimed he had just entered the establishment to use the rest room.

October

Ruth Ellis, lesbian pioneer, died in her sleep in her Detroit apartment October 5 at the age of 101. Author Alice Walker described her as a woman of "power, audacity, and joy." Ellis is honored annually by the city of Detroit with Ruth Ellis Day during Black History Month.

Out In Akron, the city�s gay pride celebration nearly doubled in size, making it one of Ohio�s largest cultural festivals.

November

The elections came and went. The country didn�t have a president-elect for over a month, and George W. Bush finally got the nod. Nebraska and Nevada got Defense of Marriage acts or amendments, and the ACLU already plans on attacking the broad language in Nebraska�s amendment. Oregon�s latest anti-gay initiative was defeated, but so was Maine�s gay rights proposal. Michigan got its first gay state lawmaker. Gay Representatives Barney Frank, Tammy Baldwin and Jim Kolbe were all re-elected. Dan Dickman and Joe Lacey, two gay men running for office in Ohio, were both defeated, but the Cincinnati elections went well for gays.

The Bundestag, the lower house of Germany�s parliament, passed a domestic partnership bill that would give gay couples most of the rights of heterosexual married couples. The upper house of the parliament, however, stripped the tax measures off the bill before passing it in December.

Britain not only lowered the gay age of consent to match that of heterosexuals, but it also announced that, since they would not do it themselves, it was removing anti-gay laws from the books in its Caribbean holdings.

A Massachusetts appeals court judge upheld a lower court�s ruling that a transgendered teen must be allowed to return to classes. The teen, who had previously gone to classes dressed as a boy, came at the start of the school year dressed in women�s clothing.

December

Lakewood, eleven months after shooting down domestic partner benefits for city employees, added sexual orientation to its intimidation ordinance. The two dissenting votes came from Councilperson Pamela Smith and Council President Robert M. Seelie.

Queer as Folk, Showtime�s adaptation of the British series of the same name, debuted to some of the highest ratings the cable network has ever had.

In a historical and controversial move, the Supreme Court, acting against the popular vote, denied Al Gore�s Florida recounts, handing the Electoral College vote to George W. Bush, who promptly started nominating arch-conservatives to cabinet posts.


Stonewall Democrats to hold convention in Cleveland

by Anthony Glassman

Cleveland-With George W. Bush set to take over the White House, the National Stonewall Democrats have announced that their fourth annual convention will be in Cleveland.

The convention, set for September 14 through 16, will be held at the Holiday Inn Select on Lakeside Avenue in the heart of downtown. Over 300 LGBT democrats from more than 60 affiliated organizations will converge on the city.

Their goal will be to gear up for the new election cycle, and formulate a strategy by which the gay community can help the Democrats reclaim Congress.

The goal has gained a certain sense of urgency of late. An evenly-split Senate, a still-Republican House of Representatives and a conservative Republican president do not seem to bode well for future gains by the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

"We will formulate a national LGBT coordinated campaign plan with the specific goal of returning control of the United States Senate and... House of Representatives back to the Democratic Party," said Brian Shinn, president of the Central Ohio Stonewall Democrats.

Other goals for the convention will focus on increasing LGBT representation in elected offices, raising the level of participation of the gay community in political campaigns, and strengthening grassroots organizations.

Speakers and panelists have been invited from the Democratic National Committee, People for the American Way, the Human Rights Campaign, National Latino/a Lesbian and Gay Organization, the National Gay and Lesbian Taskforce, the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, and Pride at Work.

"The National Stonewall Democrats seek to educate the Democratic Party on issues of concern to the LGBT community, and ensure that its candidates, leaders and members are supportive of equal rights for all American," said Patrick Shepherd, founding member of the Cleveland Stonewall Democrats. "The goals of our organization are to work within the gay and lesbian community to bring more members of our family into the Democratic Party and to encourage them to seek positions of leadership and candidacy at every level."

The convention is being co-hosted by the Cleveland and Central Ohio chapters of the Stonewall Democrats, along with the Dayton GLBT Caucus.

"All of our members will greatly benefit from this experience, and we are all very excited," Shepherd said. "It is a profound honor that National Stonewall Democrats are holding our annual convention here in our great city of Cleveland."


Activists call for a national
Winn-Dixie boycott

by Eric Resnick

New Orleans, La.-A national boycott was organized against supermarket giant Winn-Dixie for the January 5, 2000 firing of truck driver Peter Oiler of New Orleans for cross dressing at home.

Oiler, an employee for 21 years, was fired because a supervisor had learned that he cross-dresses, even though he never wore women�s clothing on the job. Oiler says he is transgendered, but has no intention of living as a woman or having sexual reassignment surgery.

Oiler is so discreet with his cross dressing that Shirley, his wife of 24 years, only learned of it four years ago.

But Winn-Dixie fired him because they said his cross dressing "would harm the company image."

The Louisiana ACLU has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit on Oiler�s behalf. The suit contends that Oiler was fired because he "did not conform to the company�s stereotyped notions of how a man ought to look and act." It is the first suit of its kind under a 1989 US Supreme Court decision, using the ruling to claim discrimination on the basis of sex under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, preceding a similar Ohio case involving a transgender woman suing the Scott Fetzer Company. The 1989 ruling found that the enforcement of gender stereotypes is a form of sexual discrimination.

Activists, headed by the Gulf Gender Alliance, GenderPAC, and the ACLU have mobilized a boycott of Winn-Dixie stores from December 18 to January 5, the store�s busiest season, demanding justice.

In addition to boycotting the stores, organizers called on people to write to Winn-Dixie corporate managers expressing dissatisfaction with Oiler�s firing.

The boycott culminates on January 5, the anniversary of Oiler�s termination, with a day of protests in front of Winn_Dixie stores and a telephone and e-mail campaign.

Winn-Dixie is a Fortune 500 Company with 1100 stores, primarily in the southeast part of the United States. Winn-Dixie operates 15 stores in Ohio, mostly in Cincinnati and small towns in the southwest part of the state.


News Briefs

Vandalism at Bush adviser�s home may be hate crime

Palo Alto, Calif.-A vandal scrawled "fascist," "Nazi" and other epithets on cars parked outside the Palo Alto home of Bill Evers, a former education adviser to President-elect Bush.

An indelible marker and a sharp object were used to write the slurs and anti-Bush expletives on a black 1995 Mercedes-Benz convertible owned by Evers� wife.

Police in the neighborhood near Stanford University deemed the Friday night incident a hate crime because of an anti-gay message that also was left on the car. Evers said he is not gay. Evers� former employer, George W. Bush, does not believe hate crime legislation is necessary.

In 1999, Evers joined a Bush education team that included Education Secretary nominee Roderick Paige and Lynne Cheney, wife of Vice President-elect Dick Cheney.

Evers said the vandal may have identified him with Bush because of campaign signs on his front lawn and because local papers have touted him as a potential high-level appointee to the incoming administration.

Neighbors� cars in front of the Evers house also were vandalized. But the focus was Evers� convertible _ its soft top was slashed, a side view mirror snapped off and its tires flattened.

Police said they have no suspects.

 

Adopted 72 year-old heir challenged

West Palm Beach, Fla.�A woman can challenge the hefty inheritance her
91-year-old uncle left to the 72-year-old man he adopted three years before dying, a state appeal court ruled December 27.

Sylvia Rickard is fighting to inherit a $660,000 family trust left to her uncle, W. Donald Blackwell, before he passed away in 1997. In his will, Blackwell said he wanted the money to go to Gordon McKesson, whom Blackwell adopted in 1994.

But Rickard claims the adoption was a fraud because the men were a gay couple and, under Florida law, gays are banned from adopting. The men used the adoption to cheat her out of her inheritance, Rickard claims.

The 4th District Court of Appeal sent the case back to Palm Beach County Circuit Court, where Rickard must prove Blackwell was gay and that the adoption was illegal.

The family�s trust fund, drawn up in Toronto in 1932, requires that Blackwell�s money be passed to a child. If Blackwell had no children, his money was to go to his sister or, if she died, to her children. Rickard�s mother, now deceased, was Blackwell�s sister.

McKesson has denied he was romantically involved with Blackwell.

The pair lived together at a costly assisted-living facility in Delray Beach, McKesson said, but he moved in with Blackwell, who wrote and directed Broadway plays in the 1920s and 1930s, to take care of him.

"I went to help him write a book," said McKesson, now 78 and living in central Florida.

McKesson said Blackwell was not close to Rickard.

"He hadn�t seen her since before his sister�s death in 1962," McKesson said.

McKesson�s lawyer, Michael Gora, said that even if Blackwell were gay it shouldn�t matter. Blackwell just wanted to leave his money to his friend, Gora said.

 

Head of Outright Vermont fired

Burlington, Vt.-Controversy continues to linger at Outright Vermont, the statewide organization that counsels gay and lesbian youth.

The executive director of the group has been dismissed, in part because of a dispute over the denial of the state Education Department�s funding for the organization.

Keith Elston was fired, officials said, after the Education Department�s decision that $12,000 would not be turned over to Outright, although the money had originally been appropriated for that purpose.

Outright Vermont has been the subject of criticism among those who oppose homosexuality. They argue that Outright helps to promote and teach it among youth in the schools. Outright says that it is merely helping gay and lesbian youth and also promoting acceptance of diversity in the schools.

Opponents focused on Outright after the Legislature enacted civil unions for same-sex couples.

 

Housing Commissioner arrested
after making anti-gay remarks

Baltimore, Md.-The city�s housing commissioner was arrested after refusing to leave a bar, where a bartender complained the commissioner made repeated disparaging remarks about patrons he suspected of being gay.

"You guys are fags," and "This whole place is full of fags" were among the remarks Paul T. Graziano repeatedly made, according to a police report filed by Officer Evert Lutadeju.

Graziano was arrested shortly after midnight December 29 at Bertha�s, a popular bar and restaurant in the historic Fells Point waterfront district, police spokeswoman Ragina Averella said.

After trying to ignore the remarks, the two patrons, Jason Edward and Prasad Narasimha Kuduvalli, asked the bartender to ask Graziano to leave, the report said.

"Police were called because Mr. Graziano had been asked to leave and refused to do so," Averella said. "Police were called to the scene and he still refused to leave, and he was placed under arrest."

The officers advised the suspect repeatedly to leave, and arrested Graziano after he said, "I don�t have to go anywhere," the report said.

Graziano, who was initially charged with disorderly conduct, was released from the city detention center later Friday morning, the police spokeswoman said.

Graziano will not be prosecuted, said Deputy State�s Attorney Haven Kodeck.

"Based on our guidelines, we determined that prosecution was not warranted," Kodeck said. "The situation was abated by Mr. Graziano�s arrest and removal from the situation."

 

Students sue over gay book ban

Santa Ana, Calif.-Two students sued the Anaheim Union High School District on December 21 for removing 10 biographies on gay men and lesbians from their school library in what they contend is a violation of constitutional free-speech rights.

The Orangeview Junior High School students said in the U.S. District Court lawsuit that the district censored a book series called Lives of Notable Gay Men and Lesbians.

The books include biographies of tennis player Martina Navratilova, economist John Maynard Keynes, and writers Willa Cather and James Baldwin.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which filed the suit on behalf of the two unidentified students, demanded that the district immediately return the books to the library shelves.

"We all know why these books have been banned," ACLU attorney Martha Matthews said. "The books were banned because they had a positive statement to make to kids about gay and lesbian people.

"The books were banned because of deep-seated prejudice," she added.

Principal Barbara Smith removed the books and took them to the district office in September, the suit said. No reason was given by administrators, Orangeview library teacher Chris Enterline said.

"In my heart, I know it�s because they are about gays and lesbians, and it says so on the front of the book," Enterline said.

Enterline said she ordered the books over the summer because the library lacked biographies and she wanted students to have the chance to learn about gay and lesbian role models.

"The books are not about sex. They are just about people who have led interesting, productive lives and also happen to be gay," said Tom Kovac, the school�s library technician.

Chelsea House, who also produced biographical series on Native Americans, African-Americans, American women, and people of faith, publishes the books.

Some of the company�s other books were in the same shipment with the gay biographies. The gay books, however, never made it to the students.

According to Enterline, a teacher saw them and complained. The principal took them home to look over, and then sent them on to the school district�s offices, where they still remain.

"No parents objected to the books, and there was no formal challenge made to any of these books," Kovac told the Los Angeles Times. "A teacher just came in and made some flippant comment and the books were gone. And you can�t do that."

 

When in Rome . . .

Laguna Beach, Calif.-Soulforce, the interfaith network that uses nonviolent demonstration to try to change churches� views on gays, and Dignity/USA, the largest national organization of LGBT Catholics and their allies, have announced new plans for their protests in Rome

.

A Soulforce team met with Roman police officials to obtain permits for the planned protests. However, according to police, no protests are allowed in or near the Vatican, a separate city-state within Rome.

"...We decided not to stage our demonstrations in the Vatican city-state," Rev. Mel White, the executive director of Soulforce said. "After meeting with Vatican officials and police, and taking our goals of spiritual renewal, non-violence and reconciliation into account, we will conduct a very different kind of action, initially staying outside the barriers in hopes that the Vatican will recognize us there."

From January 3 to 5, delegates will walk together carrying gifts up the Villa Della Conciliazione (Street of Conciliation) to St. Peter�s Square, to have the gifts blessed before taking them to an orphanage, an AIDS hospice, and a shelter for battered women. Whether or not the gifts are blessed, they will be given by the delegates, wearing shirts saying "I Figlio Di Dio Portano Regalia...Dategli La Benedizione" ("God�s Gay Children Bring Gifts...Bless Them").

After the Festive Mass on January 6, the delegates will bring themselves as gifts.

"In asking to be blessed we are asking the church to take one small step towards reconciliation," said Mary Louise Cervone, president of Dignity/USA.

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

 


Evenings Out

Snuggle up and hope for a snow day

Dykes With Baggage: The Lighter Side of Lesbians in Therapy
Edited by Riggin Waugh
Alyson Publications
Trade Paperback/$12.95

The Femme�s Guide to the Universe
by Shar Rednour
Alyson Publications
$14.95/Trade Paperback

Reviewed by Anthony Glassman

The library here at the office has a tendency to grow by leaps and bounds with a number of anthologies: erotic anthologies, activist essay anthologies, youth anthologies, and Norwegian homosexual Eco-terrorist performance artist anthologies. You name it, someone�s written it.

Few of them, however, are done as well as Dykes with Baggage, a collection of humorous works about the lesbian fascination with therapy. Being a gay man, I knew a completely stocked tool box and some flannel shirts were required to get your dyke card but nobody told me you had to get a therapist, too. I guess I�ll have to save up...

This collection is yet another in a long line of Alyson Publications books that absolutely rocks and collects some of the funniest stories and anecdotes ever read. Some of them are bits of stand-up comedy by Sara Cytron, written with her partner Harriet Malinowitz. Others are simply short stories or essays on therapy. A few are even written from the point of view of a therapist, like the hilarious "The Y Files" by Shari J. Berman, adventures of a yenta psychologist, who can�t keep herself from taking a more active role in her patients� lives.

Then there�s Julia Willis� "Case History of a Warrior Princess," in which a familiar leather-clad figure laments her inability to consummate her relationship with a certain bard named Gabrielle.

Nice counterpoints to the stories are the comics interspersed between tales. Such lesbian luminaries as Roberta Gregory, Alison Bechdel, and the punk sensibilities of Kris Kovick keep the flow going during what would otherwise be the two seconds of letdown in between chapters.

Now, because this is an anthology being reviewed, it�s customary for the reviewer to run around like a chicken with its head cut off, finding appropriate lines from various stories to illustrate why the book does/doesn�t suck. In the case of Dykes with Baggage, the problem is restricting the number of quotations to a reasonable amount.

Of course, "Serial Therapy (or What to Do When Your Therapist Is Seeing Someone Else)" by G.L. Morrison lends itself beautifully as an illustration of all that is good in the world of humor.

Morrison writes, "I learned a valuable lesson-therapy is a good way to get out of a math test. I used this technique a lot in high school, excusing myself to the guidance counselor with urgent teen angst."

When she takes her four-year-old son to a therapist, fearing that the baby-sitter�s brother molested him, she tells us:

"She tried to reassure me that any maladjustments he might be displaying were solely the result of being raised by an anxious, poverty-stricken, teenage lesbian.

�He�s fine,� she said. �You�re a mess. I�ll make an appointment for you to see me on Tuesdays.�

Since I couldn�t stop sobbing, I had no choice but to agree. (A lot of my relationships start that way.)"

I could go on and just print the entire story, but that would be both overkill and actionable copyright infringement, so I�ll stop there. You get the idea. And, best of all, it�s all that good. Some pieces are more slapstick, some are more serious, but all of them are seriously funny.

So, if you know what�s good for your sanity, you�ll grab your tool belt, your flannel shirt, your shrink, and curl up in front of the fire with this collection.

Our second selection is equally as funny. However, there is a caveat that should be inserted here: there are some people that are simply not meant to read certain books, and certain books are simply not meant to be read by some people.

That is a strange statement to read at the beginning of a book review, but it�s true. Neo-Nazis aren�t going to get the point of The Diary of Anne Frank, men don�t usually glean as much useful information from Our Bodies, Our Selves as do women. It�s a clear case of target-audience marketing in action.

Shar Rednour�s The Femme�s Guide to the Universe is like that. It was written for a very specific section of the population, and should not be read by a certain class of people.

To see if you should read it, answer the following questions truthfully:

1)Do you have a sense of humor?

2)Can you handle brief descriptions of lesbian sex?

3)Do you like, or like being, or can stand, feminine men or women, or at least recognize their inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?

If you answered no to any of these questions, do not read this book. Under no circumstances should this book even be opened in your presence! It has not been proven scientifically, but the guide might actually be detrimental to your health.

Shar Rednour, writer of erotica and fierce femme poet, has compiled the how-to guide of femmedom. Since an author writes what she knows, the book is necessarily slanted towards the lipstick lesbian, but as the author herself says, "Femmes and aspiring femmes of all genders and sexualities...are official citizens of Shartopia." And Shartopia, apparently, is the place to be.

"In Shartopia, you sleep on your schedule and still make enough money to pay rent."

Sounds like the Garden of Eden, before that little problem with the snake and the apple got in the way.

The most important thing to remember, going into this book, is the Shartopian Credo: "Get what you want and nobody gets hurt." Truly words to live by.

In addition to being a how-to guide of everything from dressing to decorating to party-going, while offering hard-won advice on relationships, removing stains, and staying safe in a world that hates and fears us, Rednour also offers a glimpse into the darkness of the butch-femme dichotomy within the lesbian community.

She explains, couched in humor, the types of butches and femmes that populate the urban landscape, and tells each how to deal with the other. She makes clear all the things that can confuse a reader immersed in Pat Califia�s smutty stories. She makes role-playing fun again, and keeps the egos of all involved from being bruised.

Best of all, she tells you how to walk in stiletto heels.

 


 

Snuggle up and hope for a snow day

 

Dykes With Baggage: The Lighter Side of Lesbians in Therapy

Edited by Riggin Waugh
Alyson Publications
Trade Paperback/$12.95

The Femme�s Guide to the Universe

by Shar Rednour
Alyson Publications
$14.95/Trade Paperback

Reviewed by Anthony Glassman

The library here at the office has a tendency to grow by leaps and bounds with a number of anthologies: erotic anthologies, activist essay anthologies, youth anthologies, and Norwegian homosexual Eco-terrorist performance artist anthologies. You name it, someone�s written it.

Few of them, however, are done as well as Dykes with Baggage, a collection of humorous works about the lesbian fascination with therapy. Being a gay man, I knew a completely stocked tool box and some flannel shirts were required to get your dyke card but nobody told me you had to get a therapist, too. I guess I�ll have to save up...

This collection is yet another in a long line of Alyson Publications books that absolutely rocks and collects some of the funniest stories and anecdotes ever read. Some of them are bits of stand-up comedy by Sara Cytron, written with her partner Harriet Malinowitz. Others are simply short stories or essays on therapy. A few are even written from the point of view of a therapist, like the hilarious "The Y Files" by Shari J. Berman, adventures of a yenta psychologist, who can�t keep herself from taking a more active role in her patients� lives.

Then there�s Julia Willis� "Case History of a Warrior Princess," in which a familiar leather-clad figure laments her inability to consummate her relationship with a certain bard named Gabrielle.

Nice counterpoints to the stories are the comics interspersed between tales. Such lesbian luminaries as Roberta Gregory, Alison Bechdel, and the punk sensibilities of Kris Kovick keep the flow going during what would otherwise be the two seconds of letdown in between chapters.

Now, because this is an anthology being reviewed, it�s customary for the reviewer to run around like a chicken with its head cut off, finding appropriate lines from various stories to illustrate why the book does/doesn�t suck. In the case of Dykes with Baggage, the problem is restricting the number of quotations to a reasonable amount.

Of course, "Serial Therapy (or What to Do When Your Therapist Is Seeing Someone Else)" by G.L. Morrison lends itself beautifully as an illustration of all that is good in the world of humor.

Morrison writes, "I learned a valuable lesson-therapy is a good way to get out of a math test. I used this technique a lot in high school, excusing myself to the guidance counselor with urgent teen angst."

When she takes her four-year-old son to a therapist, fearing that the baby-sitter�s brother molested him, she tells us:

"She tried to reassure me that any maladjustments he might be displaying were solely the result of being raised by an anxious, poverty-stricken, teenage lesbian.

�He�s fine,� she said. �You�re a mess. I�ll make an appointment for you to see me on Tuesdays.�

Since I couldn�t stop sobbing, I had no choice but to agree. (A lot of my relationships start that way.)"

I could go on and just print the entire story, but that would be both overkill and actionable copyright infringement, so I�ll stop there. You get the idea. And, best of all, it�s all that good. Some pieces are more slapstick, some are more serious, but all of them are seriously funny.

So, if you know what�s good for your sanity, you�ll grab your tool belt, your flannel shirt, your shrink, and curl up in front of the fire with this collection.

Our second selection is equally as funny. However, there is a caveat that should be inserted here: there are some people that are simply not meant to read certain books, and certain books are simply not meant to be read by some people.

That is a strange statement to read at the beginning of a book review, but it�s true. Neo-Nazis aren�t going to get the point of The Diary of Anne Frank, men don�t usually glean as much useful information from Our Bodies, Our Selves as do women. It�s a clear case of target-audience marketing in action.

Shar Rednour�s The Femme�s Guide to the Universe is like that. It was written for a very specific section of the population, and should not be read by a certain class of people.

To see if you should read it, answer the following questions truthfully:

1)Do you have a sense of humor?

2)Can you handle brief descriptions of lesbian sex?

3)Do you like, or like being, or can stand, feminine men or women, or at least recognize their inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?

If you answered no to any of these questions, do not read this book. Under no circumstances should this book even be opened in your presence! It has not been proven scientifically, but the guide might actually be detrimental to your health.

Shar Rednour, writer of erotica and fierce femme poet, has compiled the how-to guide of femmedom. Since an author writes what she knows, the book is necessarily slanted towards the lipstick lesbian, but as the author herself says, "Femmes and aspiring femmes of all genders and sexualities...are official citizens of Shartopia." And Shartopia, apparently, is the place to be.

"In Shartopia, you sleep on your schedule and still make enough money to pay rent."

Sounds like the Garden of Eden, before that little problem with the snake and the apple got in the way.

The most important thing to remember, going into this book, is the Shartopian Credo: "Get what you want and nobody gets hurt." Truly words to live by.

In addition to being a how-to guide of everything from dressing to decorating to party-going, while offering hard-won advice on relationships, removing stains, and staying safe in a world that hates and fears us, Rednour also offers a glimpse into the darkness of the butch-femme dichotomy within the lesbian community.

She explains, couched in humor, the types of butches and femmes that populate the urban landscape, and tells each how to deal with the other. She makes clear all the things that can confuse a reader immersed in Pat Califia�s smutty stories. She makes role-playing fun again, and keeps the egos of all involved from being bruised.

Best of all, she tells you how to walk in stiletto heels.|

 

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