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Top Stories This Week in the Chronicle.
October 11, 2002

Paris mayor stabbed in anti-gay attack

Paris--The openly gay mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delano�, was stabbed in the stomach during an all-night party at City Hall on October 6.

He required three hours of surgery and remains hospitalized. He is expected to make a full recovery. Several internal organs were damaged, doctors said.

The attacker, Azedine Berkane, a 39-year-old Muslim, told police he does not like politicians and especially does not like gays. He said he has strong religious views that homosexuality is unnatural.

�Berkane is no ayatollah, but he is a believer, and he told us that his religion prohibits homosexuality,� a police officer told the Agence France-Presse wire service.

The Paris daily newspaper Le Monde quoted one of Berkane�s neighbors as saying, �He did not like homosexuals and he did not care who knew it.�

Another neighbor said: �Here we are all homophobic because it�s not natural. It�s against Islam. There are no Muslim gays.�

Paris Deputy Mayor Christophe Girard called Berkane �clearly a deranged person.�

At the time of the attack, Delano� was participating in Paris� �Sleepless Night� festival during which museums and tourist attractions stay open all night, and special concerts and other artistic events take place citywide.

City Hall was hosting an electronic lounge-music concert.


High court lets rulings on Grid Radio, TG marriage

Washington, D.C.�The United States Supreme Court on October 7 refused to hear the appeals of Grid owner Jerry Szoka in the closure of his low-power radio station by the Federal Communications Commission, and of a Kansas transsexual whose stepson was granted sole inheritance of his father�s $2.5 million estate.

The two denials came at the beginning of the Supreme Court�s new term.

�I�m totally disappointed with the court,� Szoka said. �They don�t realize what they have in front of them, or maybe they do and they�re afraid because it would have major repercussions.�

Szoka started Grid Radio in 1995, broadcasting on a vacant frequency at 96.9 FM. The station, audible in Cleveland and its inner suburbs, played music from the Grid nightclub�s dance floor as well as entertainment and news programs. It filled a niche that the club owner said was not being served by commercial radio.

The FCC ordered Szoka to cease broadcasting, but he fought the order. In early 2000, U.S. District Judge Kathleen O�Malley issued a court order for him to shut down the station, a few months after the FCC released new guidelines for licensing similar low-powered stations. The new regulations, however, banned the granting of licenses to stations that had broadcast illegally after being ordered to stop by the FCC.

Szoka�s appeal of the FCC regulations contended that the ban on low-power stations originally in place was in violation of First Amendment guarantees of free speech, leaving the mass media�s access to the American public in the hands of a few large corporations.

�The media�s controlled by so few corporations now that it�s easy for them to squash a story that would make waves,� he noted. �Strike it up to another one of our rights being taken away.�

Szoka also pointed to the large number of low-power applications being accepted from religious broadcasters as a reason for concern, �which is what we didn�t want to happen,� he said.

�So I guess it�s back to the back of the bus for me,� he concluded. �By the time America wakes up, it will be too late.�

The second LGBT-related case that the Supreme Court let stand was that of J�Noel Gardiner, a male-to-female transsexual whose husband, Marshall Gardiner, left a $2.5 million estate when he died without a will in August of 1999.

Under the laws of Kansas, where the Gardiners lived, J�Noel Gardiner should have been entitled to half of her husband�s estate when he died without a will. But Joe Gardiner, Marshall Gardiner�s son from a previous marriage, argued that J�Noel Gardiner was still a man under Kansas law, meaning that she could not have legally married Marshall Gardiner.

The Kansas Supreme Court ruled unanimously in March that, in their eyes, J�Noel is a man and could not have legally married Marshall, and thus his son receives the entire estate.

J�Noel Gardiner�s Wisconsin birth certificate had been legally changed to reflect her post-operative physical sex. The Supreme Court�s refusal to hear the case left open the question of whether Kansas� refusal to recognize her as a woman is in violation of the U.S. Constitution�s �full faith and credit� clause, which requires states to recognize official decrees of other states, like marriage and driver�s licenses.

A third case is expected to come before the court soon, dealing with a challenge to the constitutionality of Texas� gay-only sodomy laws. The Texas law makes oral and anal sex between consenting adult members of the same sex illegal, while leaving the same activities legal for opposite-sex couples. As of press time, the Supreme Court had not yet decided whether it would hear the case.



Chevrei Tikva celebrates 18th year,
and first rabbi

Cleveland--According to Jewish mysticism, eighteen is a special number. Designated by the Hebrew letters chet and yud, which also spell chai or �alive,� an individual or group reaching their 18th year is highly encouraged to celebrate and give thanks to God for enabling such an accomplishment.

On October 4 and 5, Chevrei Tikva, the only Jewish congregation in Ohio consisting primarily of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and heterosexual Jews and their families, commemorated this significant anniversary by installing its first rabbi and recognizing its founders and those who have inspired them.

The Saturday evening gala and benefit was attended by 100 people, and held at the Western Reserve Historical Society and Crawford Auto and Aviation Museum in Cleveland�s University Circle.

During the Sabbath service the prior evening, the congregation installed Rabbi Rachel Rembrandt as its first spiritual leader before an array of eight rabbis representing local congregations, the Reform Judaism movement, of which Chevrei Tikva is a member, and Rembrandt�s father, Rabbi Michael Oppenheimer.

�We�re no longer marginal,� said congregation president Nancy Huntsman on the decision to hire a rabbi. �In the Jewish community, people always want to know what temple you belong to and who your rabbi is. Now that we have one, it makes a difference.�

Rembrandt, her husband Jeff and three children, Jason, Micah, and Hannah returned to Cleveland from New York about a year ago, and following a few months of leading the congregation on an occasional basis, was asked to fill the newly-created position.

�It was a perfect match in that I wanted to work part- time,� said Rembrandt.

Rembrandt grinned when it was pointed out to her that as the leader of a gay congregation, she might have to come out as a non-gay woman.

�When I was asked to take the position,� said Rembrandt, �I spoke to my husband about what it would mean to us.�

�We also spoke to our oldest son, who is 11 and already understood why he could not join the Boy Scouts,� said Rembrandt. �He knows what being gay or lesbian means, and he knows how we feel about it.�

�We had some discussion with our nine-year-old, too,� Rembrandt added, �Our youngest is six, and wouldn�t understand. We haven�t had the sex talk yet.�

Rembrandt called her sexual orientation �the white elephant� at her interview.

�When it finally came up for discussion,� she said, �people wanted to know how I could relate to their lives.�

Rembrandt said she recalled a time when, as a young rabbinic student, an elderly man questioned her ability to be his spiritual leader by asking, �What do you know about my life?� First taken back by the question, Rembrandt explained that she didn�t need to need to live the elderly man�s life to be there with him as his spiritual leader.

�It�s the same answer here,� she said, adding that her colleagues, even the non-Reform ones, who are not inclined to be gay-affirming, have been excited for her for taking the job.

Rembrandt pointed out that the Orthodox rabbis will probably have more trouble accepting her as a woman than as the rabbi of a gay congregation.

The Rembrandt children will join other children that make up a growing number of the 80 members.

�Once we hit 100 members, then we�ll start measuring in family units like larger congregations do,� said Huntsman.

At the anniversary dinner, the congregation gave its first ever Notein Ohr (Giver of Light) award to Rabbi David Horowitz, who recently retired as rabbi of Temple Israel of Akron.

Horowitz, who refers to Chevrei Tikva as the only congregation he has ever written a membership check to, is also a former president of Akron�s PFLAG, Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. Following their daughter Wendy�s coming out to them, Rabbi and his wife Toby Horowitz became activists in the struggle for GLBT equality.

Horowitz criticized Conservative and Orthodox Judaism, which are not gay-affirming.

�As we celebrate here this evening,� said Horowitz, �two of our movements that contain more than half of all Jews are teaching their children that to be gay is to be doing acts that are an abomination.�

�And we can�t rest,� Horowitz continued, �until children are safe from that message, because that message leads to death.�

The congregation also recognized its six founding members, Barry Feldman, Brynna Fish, Gregg Levine, Bruce Shewitz, David Rosenzweig, and Mark Weidner.

Feldman spoke for the six, regaling celebrants with a brief history of how the congregation was formed.

Feldman used a letter he saved from a young gay Orthodox Jewish kid in 1985. The young man was struggling because he was �not going to be following a traditional Jewish path.� He also hoped that he could someday join a congregation like Chevrei Tikva in order to meet the man of his dreams.

�Things have changed a lot since then,� said Feldman.

Feldman said that when two prominent families had sons with AIDS in the late 1980s, it focused more attention on gay Jews in Cleveland--not all of it good.

Feldman described anti-gay letters from Orthodox Jews responding to an AIDS piece in the Cleveland Jewish News.

Those letters referred to gay Jews as �Torah sinners.�

�We were attacked by the community and needed to come out fighting,� he said.

About that time, the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, which represents the liberal Reform Jewish movement, was beginning its transformation to its current gay- inclusive position.

�UAHC offered guidance to us,� said Feldman.

UAHC currently has fewer than ten affiliated congregations that are primarily GLBT.

Chevrei Tikva affiliated with UAHC on October 31, 1989. With affiliation came the services of student rabbis.

�We were a novelty,� said Feldman, �The students saw us as a challenge.�

Feldman added that two Chevrei Tikva members have gone on to rabbinical school.

The evening�s keynote speaker was Ohio Senator Eric Fingerhut.

�This is like a high school reunion,� said Fingerhut, noting that he went to Cleveland Heights High School with many Chevrei Tikva members.

Fingerhut, who is also Jewish, closed his remarks by chanting Psalm 118, and drawing a parallel between the congregation and the passage that says, �The very stone that builders rejected has become the cornerstone of this building.�

�We were young pioneers and visionaries that started this congregation,� said Feldman, �It�s nice to see all the growth after 18 years.�



Loss of health events funds reveals agenda, some say

Washington, D.C.�The National Lesbian Health Conference, held from Sept. 26 to 28, was missing something this year: federal funding promised to organizers by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Last year�s conference was given $50,000 in federal money; this year�s event was originally promised $75,000, but the money never came.

HHS officials said that an error in the grant request was to blame for the reversal of funding, but LGBT health advocates contend that a darker agenda is at work.

�Lesbians have been left out of research; they don�t have equal access to care,� Kathleen DeBold, executive director of the Mautner Project for Lesbians with Cancer, told the Washington Post.

�This could have killed the conference,� she said, referring to the withdrawal of the federal funding.

DeBold was forced to increase registration from $75 to $300 and scramble to find private donations to bridge the funding gap.

�We are witnessing what appears to be an increasingly concerted effort to undo what little has been done in health care on behalf of LGBT people,� Gay and Lesbian Medical Association executive director Maureen S. O�Leary noted. �The most blatant example is the omission of health disparities for our community in the HHS master plan.�

HHS guidelines to correct health disparities among various sectors of the population are based on the �Healthy People 2010� report, which noted that sexual orientation is one of the top six causes for a lag in health care. In recent plans unveiled by HHS, however, sexual orientation is not mentioned.

�The administration is funding and pushing �abstinence until marriage� programs that not only have been proven to be less effective,� O�Leary said of HIV education, �but mock gay and lesbian youth who, of course, are not permitted by law to ever marry. Are there programs for gay, lesbian and questioning youth? No. Does the administration care about a population already at higher risk for HIV transmission and suicide? Apparently not.�

According to Human Rights Campaign political director Winnie Stachelberg, the administration has, in the past year, reneged on a number of promises to give support, as well as shuffling gay liaisons and trying to distance itself from supporters of more widespread sex education.

�Any one or two or three of these things would be merely policy changes or the natural course of a new administration, but taken together they are of real concern to us,� she said. �While we hope that anti-gay bias is not going on at the department, it�s hard to look at the totality of these things and not wonder what is going on.�


Couple, denied a marriage license, applies again

Warren--A heterosexual couple denied a marriage license by a probate judge put the judge�s ruling under scrutiny by filing a new application.

Jacob Nash and Erin Barr, whose attempt to marry has gotten national attention because Nash is transsexual, filed a new marriage license application in Trunbull County Probate Court when the office opened October 2, less than 48 hours after Probate Judge Thomas A. Swift denied the first application.

The new application has also ended up in Swift�s court.

Swift denied the first application made by the couple September 20, saying that Nash �misled� the court by not disclosing his previous marriage when he was a woman. That marriage ended in 1998.

Barr and Nash amended their application to include Nash�s divorce decree prior to a September 5 hearing on the matter. Swift also granted a motion by the couple�s attorney Deborah Smith to �conform the application to all the evidence� at the hearing, which is a cure for any error or omission.

Still, Swift refused to reconsider his earlier decision in a September 30 ruling, again citing only �falsification made in the original application� as the sole basis for denying the license.

So, Nash and Barr started over.

The new application was prepared accurately under the supervision of transgender rights attorney Randi Barnabee.

Because Nash is a Massachusetts native, he was able to correct the sex marker on his birth certificate after his sex reassignment surgery, according to the laws of that state.

Currently, only Ohio, Idaho, and Tennessee prohibit such corrections, though Ohio allowed Nash to correct his driver�s license.

Barnabee accompanied the couple to the courthouse to observe the new filing.

Barnabee said the application was taken by clerk Mary Horvath, with magistrate Susan Lightbody also present as directed by Swift.

Lightbody refused to confirm or deny that she was present or make any comment on anything that happened.

Barnabee said that even though the couple clearly met all the requirements for marriage, Lightbody informed the couple that the judge had set this new application for a hearing on November 5.

Barnabee added that 30 percent of Trumbull County�s marriage license applications are granted the same day.

Swift�s order for the hearing, issued later that day, is longer and has more legal analysis than his two previous denials combined.

In it, Swift undermines his previous �falsification� claim and shows that his issue with this license has always been Nash�s sex.

�The court further finds that the designation of sex on an Ohio driver�s license is not necessarily determinative of a person�s sex for the purpose of marriage under the laws of the state of Ohio,� wrote Swift.

Barnabee said that probate judges are not empowered to make an independent legal determination of Nash�s sex, which the state of Massachusetts has already settled.

�He just wants another chance to look down my client�s pants,� said Barnabee, �and we�re not going to let him have it.���������� |


News Briefs

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

Arrests, but no hate crime charge in West Hollywood attacks

Los Angeles�The City Council urged the county�s top prosecutor to file hate crime charges against three men who allegedly attacked a gay actor in neighboring West Hollywood.

District Attorney Steve Cooley�s decision not to prosecute the case as a hate crime has triggered demonstrations in West Hollywood.

Larry Walker, 29; his brother, Vincent Dotson, 18; and Torwin Sessions, 19, pleaded not guilty last week to two counts each of assault with a deadly weapon and one count each of attempted robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery.

The three were charged in the Sept. 2 beating of Treve Broudy, 34, who had just embraced a friend as they parted after a late dinner. His friend was also attacked but managed to escape.

The West Hollywood City Council on October 7 approved a resolution calling on state attorney general Bill Lockyer and U.S. attorney general John Ashcroft to investigate the beating as a hate crime.

Broudy and his friend were among four gay men attacked in the space of three weeks. The trio have not yet been charged in connection with the other attacks, which occurred nearby later that night and on Sept. 22.

AIDS art campaign wins award

Cleveland�Art/Action/AIDS, an HIV education program run by the AIDS Taskforce of Greater Cleveland, John Chaich of the Cleveland Center for Contemporary Art and Mobius Grey, a graphic design firm, received the Northern Ohio Live Award of Achievement for Outreach on Sept. 23.

The series of ads, printed as billboards, in magazines and on postcards, highlighted the work of various local artists while educating the public about the risks of HIV transmission.

�Keith Haring, a vibrant gay artist originally from the Midwest who the world lost to AIDS, shared in his diaries: �Art should be something that liberates the soul, provokes the imagination and encourages people to go further,� � Chaich said while accepting the award.

Chaich served as manager, copywriter and curator of the project.

The advertising campaign will be featured in an upcoming exhibit at Spaces Gallery, 2220 West Superior Viaduct. The artists included in the campaign are Nannette Bedway, James Morrison, Anna Arnold, Douglas Lucak, Liz Maugans, Mark Howard and Luna Luis Ortiz.

Man charged with extorting Marines

Raleigh, N.C.�A man was charged with extortion for allegedly luring six Marines for sex, then threatening to tell their families and superiors unless they had sex with him again.

Rodney Brent Hodge, 39, hired the men, ages 18 to 22, to do yard work at his home last month, police said. He then allegedly got them drunk and offered them hundreds of thousands of dollars, plus a new truck, in exchange for sex. Police said the men left Hodge�s home without receiving any money.

Hodge made secret video and audio tapes of the sex acts and told the men he would send the tapes to their military superiors and families unless they came back, police said.

Hodge was arrested Oct. 4. He pleaded innocent, and is being held on $1 million bail, County Magistrate Steve Swindell said. Officials were unable to confirm whether he had an attorney.

Those serving in the military face dismissal if caught engaging in homosexual acts. It was not immediately clear whether the Marines would be disciplined.

Jeb Bush makes off-color comment

Tallahassee, Fla.�Gov. Jeb Bush told a delegation of lawmakers that he had �some juicy details� about the sexual orientation of a missing Miami girl�s caretakers.

During a meeting October 2, Bush implied that the two women, who had just been charged with fraud stemming from the investigation into Rilya Wilson�s disappearance, were lesbians.

�As [Pamela Graham] was being arrested, she told her co-workers, �Tell my wife I�ve been arrested.� The wife is the grandmother, and the aunt is the husband,� Bush explained, making quotation marks with his fingers to question the word �grandmother.�

�Bet you don�t get that in Pensacola,� Bush told his guests, a group of lawmakers from Florida�s Panhandle.

Joshua Fisher, Pamela Graham�s attorney, called the governor�s comments �outrageous� and �disgusting.�

Nadine Smith, executive director of Equality Florida, the state�s largest gay and lesbian advocacy group, called the comments �childish� and �locker-room homophobia.�

Bush made his remarks to three Republican legislators, two GOP state House candidates and aides during a meeting in the governor�s office. He apparently did not realize a reporter accompanied the group.

Library accused of barring gay paper

Statesboro, Ga.�The editor of a gay newspaper in southeast Georgia has accused the Ohoopee library of censorship, after the library barred the publication from its lobby area.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit October 2 in U.S. District Court in Statesboro against the Vidalia library on behalf of the Gay Guardian newspaper and its editor, Ron Marcus.

�I don�t think a librarian should be able to impose censorship or restrict information based on her own Christian views,� Marcus said.

According to the lawsuit, the library initially allowed the paper to be displayed in the lobby, but later barred the publication after receiving complaints about it.

The library has since removed all publications from the lobby and is reviewing its display policy, said Dusty Gres, director of the library system. The only materials available to the public now are government forms, such as tax returns and scholarship applications, she said.

Gres said the library is not censoring the Gay Guardian, a five-year-old publication with an estimated readership of 20,000 from southeast and central Georgia, Florida and South Carolina.

She said the publication failed to follow library policies when putting the newspaper in the lobby.

Two million homes in �gayby boom�

New York City�A report released October 7 indicates that over 2 million gay and lesbian households have children, and over 3 million children will be in homes with same-sex relationships by 2004.

The report, �The Gay and Lesbian Market: New Trends, New Opportunities,� pointed to the �gayby boom� of the 1990s as one of the factors in the statistic.

The report, used to target advertising to the LGBT demographic, was compiled by Packaged Facts and Witeck-Combs Communications.

�Parenting has added a new dimension to the gay and lesbian market,� said Don Montuori, an editor at Packaged Facts. �Traditionally, advertising to gays has focused on travel, fashion and liquor.�

�But as gay and lesbian households evolve,� he continued, �so do their spending habits, and a smart marketer should know how to respond to capture these dollars.�

The full report is available online at

Pat Robertson gets �faith-based� money

Washington, D.C.�A charity founded by Pat Robertson, who referred to Bush�s �faith-based� funding initiative as a �Pandora�s box,� is one of the first to receive a grant under the initiative.

Operation Blessing International will get $500,000 from the Bush administration in the first wave of �faith-based� grants to religious institutions that provide social services, according to the October 3 release from the Department of Health and Human Services.

The outspokenly anti-gay Robertson, the founder of the Christian Coalition, the 700 Club television program and chair of Operation Blessing, compared the groups that would get federal funds to addicts who would not be able to wean themselves off the government subsidies.

According to the Washington Post, Operation Blessing officials said that Robertson was out of town and could not comment on whether his opinion of the program had changed.

Operation Blessing officials said the money will be used to coordinate hunger programs across the country, as well as enabling local organizations to seek out and solicit corporate and institutional donors.

The �faith-based� initiative has also drawn fire from progressives, who argue that it blurs the line between church and state and would give tax dollars to organizations that discriminate against gay men and lesbians based on the groups� religious beliefs.

Aileen Wuornos is executed

Starke, Fla.�Serial killer Aileen Wuornos was executed October 9, more than a decade after she murdered six men along central Florida highways while working as a prostitute.

Wuornos, 46, became the tenth woman executed in the United States since the death penalty resumed in 1976, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

Wuornos was sentenced to death six times for killing middle-aged men in 1989 and 1990 and spent a decade on Florida�s death row.

The death warrant was based on her first murder victim, Richard Mallory, a Clearwater electronics shop owner whose body was found in 1989 in Volusia County.

During her 1992 murder trial, Wuornos testified that Mallory raped and beat a her and that she killed him in self-defense. Wuornos later said that she had planned to rob one of her customers because she was afraid her female lover would leave her and she needed $200 for rent quickly.

After standing trial for Mallory�s death, Wuornos pleaded guilty to five other murders in Marion, Pasco and Dixie counties.���������������


Who are you calling a Pansy?

Cleveland--Relatively few bands retain their popularity over the course of a decade. The Rolling Stones, the Cure and David Bowie all stand the test of time.

When one examines the fates of openly gay recording artists, there are even fewer who keep going as the years progress. Elton John is a great example, although he came out after he became famous, as did George Michael.

Perhaps there is a certain safety net in living on the fringe, as homo-core, gay punk icons Pansy Division prove. While they have never hit the top 40 charts, they continue to amass a major following over ten years after the release of their first single.

�After we left our San Francisco cocoon, we encountered more straight fans and fans of many different ages,� said guitarist and vocalist Jon Ginoli. �It kind of goes back and forth, some towns are more teenagers, some towns are more of a gay adult crowd.�

�But it keeps growing, which is gratifying since we�ve been less active lately,� he continued. �People discover and go to our web site and send us great emails. Having a 17-year-old gay kid in Oklahoma tell us we�ve helped save his life, or at least his sanity, is very rewarding.�

�It�s nice that the stuff we do for fun cheers people up and has a positive social effect,� he concluded.

Ginoli and crew will be coming through Ohio this week, with a Sunday show at the Grog Shop in Cleveland Heights. Unfortunately, on their current, abbreviated tour, it is their only stop in the Buckeye State.

�After doing two U.S. tours a year for five years, it�s now been three since we did one,� Ginoli explained. �It�s short by our standards, just three weeks. We wanted to get back to some of the best cities from past tours, Cleveland being one of them.�

�We�ve done a new record--it�s recorded, we�re mixing it now--and we have a lot of new songs we want to spring on the world,� he expounded. �But when our next album actually comes out next year, we�ll do a more full-scale tour and play more cities.�

For those unfamiliar with Pansy Division, they are an eclectic m�lange of styles all fused under the banner of punk rock, often with a sardonic, sometimes silly, wit. Their influences are as far-ranging as their previous tours.

�Between the four of us, we have a lot of influences,� Ginoli noted. �Generally, it�s a combo of �60s British invasion and garage rock, �70s rock and punk, and various underground and alternative stuff from the �80s and �90s. Basically, we�re the combination of the lifetime�s worth of stuff we like.�

As happens to the best of people, the 42-year old Ginoli--and his band�s music--have grown up.

�Our lyrics have gotten more serious, though there is still a humorous element in many songs,� he noted. �The band began wanting to play simple, direct music with a direct message. As time has gone on, our musical palette has broadened to accommodate different moods and sounds.�

Jon Ginoli and the rest of Pansy Division will be performing October 13 at the Grog Shop, 1765 Coventry Rd, Cleveland Heights. Tickets are $7 in advance, $8 at the door, and opening the show will be the Standing 69s and the Plus Ones. For more information, call 216-3215588 or log onto



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