19 , 1999
Kentucky lawmakers move to block local
November 19, 1999
Frankfort, Ky.--State Rep. Tom Kerr has begun drafting a bill
to forbid Kentucky cities and counties from granting legal protections
to gays and lesbians, and repeal local civil rights laws that have recently
been passed in several cities.
Kerr, a conservative Democrat from Taylor Mill, said he isn't sure
he will sponsor the legislation, but even if he doesn't introduce the
bill, he's certain someone else will.
Gay civil rights advocates are promising a vigorous fight.
"We'll oppose this effort and any effort to turn the clock backwards
on civil rights," said Maria Price, executive director of the Kentucky
Fairness Alliance, a statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender
Gay civil rights activists have won a string of victories in Kentucky
after years of disappointments.
"In order to hold onto a long-held tradition of discrimination,
it seems like there are a few folks who want to resort to reactionary
efforts to stop what a majority of Kentuckians know is right and fair,
which is to oppose discrimination," Price said.
Ordinances forbidding discrimination based on sexual orientation have
been enacted this year in Louisville, Lexington, Henderson and Jefferson
County. Two of these ordinances also cover gender identity.
Louisville banned discrimination in employment. Lexington, Henderson
and Jefferson County outlawed discrimination in employment, housing
and public accommodations, such as restaurants and hotels.
Bowling Green, Ky. also is considering similar legislation, but the
measure there is expected to fail.
Kerr said he usually defers to local governments to decide what laws
are in their best interests, but "the effect of those laws goes
far beyond the reaches of the individual cities or the individual counties."
Rep. Joe Fischer, R-Fort Thomas, said he also is considering legislation
to ban local gay civil rights laws.
"I think all civil rights legislation should be uniform throughout
the state, and there should be no differences depending on which city
or county you live in," Fischer said.
Price said she agrees--and that's why Fischer and other legislators
should support statewide anti-discrimination laws for gays and lesbians.
A bill already filed by Rep. Kathy Stein, D-Lexington, would prohibit
discrimination based on sexual orientation in housing and employment
across the state.
Henderson Mayor Joan Hoffman said she is disappointed that state legislators
would try to overturn her city's new anti-discrimination law. Hoffman
supported the ordinance, which passed in September by a 3-2 vote.
"I truly think it was the right thing to do," she said. "It
has only to do with civil rights, human rights. I don't believe our
fairness ordinance promotes homosexuality or gives credence to any particular
lifestyle, but does just say that in our city everyone has an equal
opportunity to work and have a place to live." |
Ashland University opposes
gay support group
by Denny Sampson
Gay People's Chronicle
November 19, 1999
Ashland, Ohio--Two students at Ashland University have started
a support group for gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and straights, but are
receiving opposition from the university.
to Earl Barnett III, co-founder of the newly formed GLBS-Ashland, another
group of students tried to get a charter for a support group for Ashland�s
GLBT community. However, they were turned down because of the university�s
affiliation with the Brethren Church, according to Ashland vice president
for student affairs Sue Heimann.
The Brethren Church is a conservative Christian faith based in Ashland,
with about 14,000 members in 119 congregations.
Heimann said that a "sanctioned group would not be recognized,
but individual support for those students would."
"When members of the Brethren heard there might be a gay support
group, they called and threatened to cut off financial support if the
vice-president approved of the group," said Barnett.
So Barnett decided to start a GLBS support group that would have no
affiliation with the university. The group plans to meet weekly, and
interact with similar groups from other schools, including University
of Akron, Oberlin College, and Kenyon College.
"This will serve as a healthy, open forum where we can talk,"
The Collegian, Ashland�s student newspaper, published an article
about GLBS-Ashland, written by editor-in-chief Kristy Eckert. She wrote,
"The group is not affiliated with AU."
Nevertheless, Barnett received a letter from Director of Student Activities
Shirley Foss that said, "Since your group is not sanctioned by
the university, it is not entitled to privileges granted to recognized
In her letter, Foss said that GLBS-Ashland may not use the name Ashland
University in any publicity or other areas that would imply that the
group is affiliated with the university; meet in campus facilities,
except in a person�s residence hall room; post any publicity materials
on campus, collect dues of any kind, conduct fundraisers on campus,
or produce events on campus without prior authorization by the vice
president of student affairs.
"The area is very conservative and very religious," Barnett
said. "Ashland University doesn�t tell us about the affiliation
with the Brethren until we get here, and then it�s too late. But GLBS-Ashland
refers to city of Ashland, not the university." Ashland is about
11 miles northeast of Mansfield.
"We have to work within the structure of this institution,"
Foss said. "Ashland University is a private, Christian school,
founded by the Brethren Church. We are not trying to be discriminatory,
we are trying to abide by the guidelines set down by our board of trustees."
Youth group holds
memorial for Chareka Keys
by Denny Sampson
Gay People's Chronicle
November 19, 1999
Cleveland, Ohio--An African-American gay youth group held a
memorial service on November 11 for a slain transgender woman at Archwood
United Church of Christ.
On the morning of September 27, the body of 19-year-old Chareka Keys
of Cleveland was found on the loading dock of an abandoned factory on
East 69th St. Police have ruled her death a homicide, although there
are currently no known suspects.
Club 1722 Youth Project sponsored the memorial. Club 1722 is a program
that was recently established by BlackOut Unlimited to give support
to African American gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth.
BlackOut co-founder Larry Webb, who spoke on behalf of Chareka�s brother,
said, "There is no closure for Chareka�s family because Chareka�s
killer has not been brought to justice. Chareka still isn�t at rest."
"Cases like this are solved because of luck, because of persistence,
and because somebody mattered. I am here to say that Chareka mattered,"
Rev. Carl Wallace of Trinity United Church of Christ delivered the
eulogy, in which he said, "Chareka�s soul is at rest. The person
whose soul isn�t at rest is the person who killed her."
"We need to continue to let our police departments know that someone�s
life has been taken," said police officer Jason Barnett.
Karen Gross, mother of a transgender child and co-founder of the group
TransFamily, spoke about her mission to educate others about what it
means to be transgender.
"I think of it as lighting the darkened mind," she said.
"Once people understand it, they don�t fear it. The biggest fear
for transgenders is safety. We need to show society the impact of violence."
OSU president meets
with GLBT student groups
by Miles Rosenberg
November 19, 1999
Columbus, Ohio�Ohio State University administrators are meeting
for the first time with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students
and groups to find out how they can improve campus life for the students.
October 26 panel discussion organized by the Office of Student Gender
and Sexuality Services drew close to 100 people to the Ohio Union�s
The panel, which included Ohio State University president William Kirwan,
listened as students spoke about the climate for lesbian, gay, bisexual
and transgender students at OSU.
Other panelists included David Williams, vice president of student
affairs; Bridget Strathman, Matt Teaman, and Jared Lilly, co-chairs
of the Bisexual, Gay and Lesbian Assn. campus group, and Martha Garland,
associate dean of academic affairs.
Garland and Kirwan committed themselves to attending "Safe Space,"
OSU�s training program for heterosexual "allies."
Sile Singleton, coordinator of campus GLBT programs and a panelist,
said that the discussion opened up a lot of the panelists� eyes to the
quality of life for GLBT students.
"We had a really strong turnout," Singleton said. "Members
of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays came, and a mother whose
son attended OSU spoke very movingly about him. She explained to the
administration that her son is in their hands."
Graduate students spoke about a sometimes unwelcoming classroom climate.
Jenrose Fitzgerald, a master�s candidate in comparative studies, told
Kirwan that she had a student evaluate her as a "feminist dyke."
She also emphasized to Kirwan that he needs to become comfortable speaking
about GLBT issues.
"The words need to tumble out as easy as �water�," she said.
Some students raised the question of domestic partnership benefits
for faculty and university employees, which the Ohio Board of Trustees
rejected in 1997. Kirwan promised to try to set up a meeting between
P-FLAG and the board of trustees to further discuss this issue.
The October meeting has already begun to initiate change: on Nov. 3,
about forty members of B-GALA met informally with the Office of Residence
Life to discuss how residence hall directors could serve as allies.
On Nov. 16, Singleton said that the Office of Student Gender and Sexuality
Services is currently revising the Safe Space program to encourage participants
to confront their own assumptions as they enter the program. Once allies
complete the 16-hour, one-year program, they can become facilitators.
Kirwan has a good history of GLBT student advocacy. While president
of the University of Maryland, he received an award from the campus
Singleton, who helped organize the panel with Gender and Sexuality
Office director Willa Young, said that while change is slow, she saw
a lot of positives from the meeting.
"This is the first-ever formal public meeting where the administration
has addressed GLBT concerns," she said. "They were there to
listen to us."
Mary Daniels, assistant vice president of student affairs, said that
this will be the first step in the administration�s efforts to affect
the quality of life for gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender students.
"One thing we can do is to provide training and help educate the
campus about GLBT issues," she said. "Institutionally, we
have a responsibility to create greater understanding of GLBT concerns.
With understanding comes acceptance."
Young said that vice president Williams has called for a second meeting
for winter quarter. The meeting would be much smaller and involve leadership
from GLBT student organizations and other concerned groups.