Sara's News Roundup 1/31/10

This week's LGBT news roundup from Sara Boesser in Juneau, Alaska.

Concord, New Hampshire, Gay City News, January 7, 2010

2) Colin Higgins Foundation Seeks Nominations for Youth Courage Awards

Collins Higgins Foundation

3) For Transgender People, Name Is a Message

New York Times, January 24, 2010

4) Indian Prince To Wed Partner in Nepal, Raises Gay Tourism Hopes

Kathmandu, Nepal, Just Out, January 25th, 2010

5) Moscow Mayor Bans 'Satanic' Gay Parade

Moscow, ABC News, January 26, 2010

6) Project Examines Black / LGBT Struggles

Windy City Times, November 18, 2009

7) Can The Church Repeal Its Own DADT Policies?

Reconciling Ministries Network, Flashnet, January 28, 2010

8) Italy builds first transgender prison

Rome, UPI, January 27, 2010

9) To tell or not to tell, that is the question

Anchorage, Alaska, Anchorage Press, January 13, 2010

10) Utah Lawmakers Won't Take Up a Ban on Discrimination Against Gays

Salt Lake City, Utah, Associated Press, January 30, 2010

11) The Third Mom

New York, Gay City News, January 21, 2010

Singing Valentines and Pride Chorus Concert

Mark your calendars for the Juneau Pride Chorus "Eye on Chicago" Concert on February 20, and order your Singing Valentine today.
Singing Valentines all over the state
Make Valentine's Day extra special with a Singing Valentine sung by members of the Juneau Pride Chorus!

Anyone can order a Valentine: an ensemble from the Chorus will sing by phone to a sweetheart, or in person if the loved one lives in Juneau. The cost is $10 on the phone or $35 in person (this includes one song, a rose, and a personalized card, $55 for two).

Orders must be made by February 11, and can be sung on the 12th or 14th of February. To order a Valentine, call 586-6984 and send a check made out to "PFLAG Juneau" to: Juneau Pride Chorus, PO Box 32245, Juneau, AK 99803.

"Eye on Chicago" Concert 2/20
Join the Juneau Pride Concert for "Eye on Chicago," a Chicago-themed concert sponsored by PFLAG Juneau, on Saturday, February 20 in the Juneau Arts & Culture Center. The silent auction begins at 6:30 p.m. and the concert starts at 7:30 p.m.

The concert is a fundraiser for the Chorus to participate in the Sister Singers Network Festival on July 4th weekend in Chicago.

Tickets are available at the door or from chorus members: $15 adults, $30 families, $12 students & seniors.

Denny's update and Hater Quote of the Day

Denny's received a pile of email about the local anti-trans incident reported by Anja on Tuesday, and leaders of the Anchorage LGBTA community are in contact with the manager/owner. Meanwhile, an anonymous hater left this comment on the Bent post:
you people need to face the facts, by people I mean gays, trans whatevers etc. You are not "normal" and though you are allowed to co-exist in our society it does not mean everyone has to accept your lifestyle. you all need to grow a thicker skin, remember the saying sticks and stones can break my bones but names will never harm me ? get off your politically correct high horse and shut up already
Note to Mayor Sullivan: Do you really think this hater will treat his neighbors, co-workers, clients, employees and renters fairly and equally - without discrimination - when he learns that they are gay or trans? FAIL

This Week in LGBT Alaska 1/29/10

This week's LGBT events from the statewide newsletter Alaska GLBT News.


SEAGLA Social Fridays (6-8 p.m.) for GLBT people and our friends over 21, at The Imperial Bar.


UAF Gay-Straight Alliance Get-Together 1/29, 4:30-6 p.m. in the Alumni Lounge.

"Bears, Bears, Bears" Taco Feed 1/30, 7 p.m. for Bears and Bellies and their admirers. $5 RSVP.

LGBTQ Discussion with Heather Neville 1/31, 12-1 p.m. at the UUFF.

Wednesday Social & Movie "A Serious Man" 2/3, 7:30 p.m. at the Blue Loon. Joshua.

Mat-Su Valley

Lulu Small and the Small Band at Del Roi's 1/30, Old Glenn Hwy just north of the Knik River bridge.

Mat-Su LGBT Community Center in Palmer is open M-F 5-8 p.m. (except 6-8 on Wed.) The social group meets Wednesdays, 5-6 p.m. at Vagabond Blues.


"The Laramie Project" Movie and panel discussion 1/30, 7p.m. in the Student Union Den, for Alaska Civil Rights Month, sponsored by UAA Women Studies.

Colleen Crinklaw's "Soul Searching Tour" begins 1/30, 7-9 p.m. $10 at Mad Myrna's.

Kodiak Bar and Grill GIRL PARTY 1/30, 9 p.m.

UAA's "Out" 1/31, new time: 2 p.m. on Sundays, 2nd floor of the Student Union.

Memorial Birthday Party for Nicole Blizzard 1/31, 3:30 p.m. at Mad Myrna's. Sign her memorial book.

Midnight Over Siberia: Re-investitures 1/31, 6 p.m. at Sub Zero.

LGBTQA Game Night at the GLCCA 2/3, 6-9 p.m. Anchorage Meetup group.

Church Life AK Special Prayer Vigil for Uganda 2/4, 6:30 p.m. at the GLCCA as part of the nationwide "American Prayer Hour."

On the 12th day of Testimony, the Prop 8 trial ends (for now)

Wednesday was the final day of testimony in the federal Prop 8 trial Perry v. Schwarzenegger. Shannon Minter wraps up the trial in his 12th daily summary on Out For Justice, the National Center For Lesbian Rights blog:
It has been an amazing two and a half weeks. This trial has been a truly historic moment for our community. It is the first time a federal court has heard, first hand, from real live witnesses, about the harm that the denial of marriage equality causes lesbians, gay men and their families every day. It's also the first time a federal court has heard the arguments in favor of marriage equality presented live in court by an array of internationally renowned scholars who are truly experts in their respective fields.

What stands out the most after having seen all the witnesses on both sides is how overwhelmingly one-sided the evidence in this case turned out to be. The plaintiffs, represented by some of the most skilled attorneys in the country, laid out a well-crafted, meticulous case, backed by the testimony of half a dozen of the most respected historians, psychologists, economists, and political scientists who study marriage, sexual orientation, and child development. Using the Prop 8 proponents' own outrageous and inflammatory words, ads, and emails, the plaintiffs powerfully demonstrated that Prop 8 was a direct product of hostility, fear-mongering, and demonization of lesbians and gay men. And through the deeply moving testimony of the plaintiffs and other members of our community, they proved beyond question that denying same-sex couples the right to marry causes great harm to LGBT people and their children.

Stacked up against this mountain of facts, scholarship, and science, the Prop 8 proponents - though represented by fine attorneys - were not able to come forward with a case of their own. Before trial, they dropped nearly every witness they had planned to present and relied entirely on two poorly qualified, ill-prepared expert witnesses, neither of whom was able to establish that banning same-sex couples from getting married has any rational or legitimate purpose relating to procreation, child rearing, tradition, or any of the other justifications that have been offered in the past in support of anti-gay discrimination. In fact, nearly all of the defendants' experts agreed with the plaintiffs that marriage equality would benefit same-sex couples and their families in many real, tangible ways.

It should not have come as a surprise that the defense's case turned out to be so weak. As our executive director Kate Kendell is fond of saying, the arguments against marriage equality have always been "all hat and no cattle." This trial showed more powerfully than ever that there truly is no substance to the arguments of those who would deny equality to our families. It has been extremely gratifying to see those arguments aired out in public, before a smart, independent-minded judge, in a way that's never been done before. It is a shame that the public was unable to see the trial in video, but the transcripts, available at, are fascinating reading for anyone interested in learning more about this important chapter in our civil rights struggle.

Judge Walker will now take some time to review all the evidence that has been presented. The lawyers for both sides will return to court in a few weeks (on a date still to be determined) to present their closing arguments.
Read all 12 of Minter's daily Prop 8 trial summaries on Out For Justice and Pam's House Blend.

The 305 Most LGBT-Friendly Employers

Alaska Air Group, based in Seattle, made the list. So did UPS, BP, Costco and AT&T, along with several national retail businesses that have stores in Alaska. No Alaska-based companies participate in the annual HRC rating.

The list of 305 Best Places to Work was released on Monday and contains only businesses that scored 100% in HRC's 2010 Corporate Equality Index.

"These companies' actions constitute tangible, significant civil rights progress," HRC president Joe Solmonese said in a statement. "By mandating equal opportunity in hiring, ensuring equal compensation through medical and family benefits, and promoting informed work forces and equal work places, these companies light the way for advances in state and federal law."

The 305 Best Places, and the full 2010 Index ratings, are posted HERE.

Gay Weddings on Everest (not Denail)

Imagine advertising gay weddings on Mount Denali, enticing gay tourists from all over the world to spend their travel money in Alaska by offering legal same sex weddings on our tallest mountain.

Well, the country of Nepal is legalizing gay marriage this spring, and they're advertising same sex weddings on Mount Everest, complete with elephant-riding processions and honeymoon tours to Nepal's favorite sites.

Nepal is adding rights for sexual minorities to their new national constitution, including the right to marry a same sex partner. Sunil Babu Pant, Nepal's openly gay member of Parliament, celebrated by opening a travel company catering to gay and lesbian couples, called Pink Mountain Travels and Tours.

Nepal, a mainly Hindu country with some of the most progressive LGBT policies in Asia, is well placed to cash in on the gay travel industry, worth an estimated $670 million worldwide.

"If we brought even one per cent of that market to Nepal it would be big. But I'm hoping we can attract 10 per cent," said Pant.

Just think what gay and lesbian tourism could do for Alaska! Oh, wait... Alaska banned same sex marriage. Too bad.

Gay Games director still comes home to Alaska

Although Darl Schaaff is forming Team Alaska for the 2010 Gay Games, said that Schaaff - a martial arts competitor, Alaska Statehood event planner, and Federation of Gay Games board member - is moving to the midwest next year. It's partly true:
Cleveland didn't just win the 2014 Gay Games when it went all out to woo organizers this summer. It won the heart of the site selection committee's top judge, too.

Darl Schaaff, who has lived in Alaska for more than three decades, bought a condo in Ohio City after he was "blown away" by Cleveland.

"Cleveland was, and I say this lovingly, this joke because we had Washington, D.C. bidding and we had Boston bidding," said Schaaff. "And along came Cleveland, the little engine that could."

Schaaff will spend much of this year in Germany, where this year's games are. And he knows he'll get the same question he always gets when he mentions the next venue: "Where is Cleveland?" He answers: "The heartland of America."

And now he can say it's home, too.

"I came to Cleveland, found the people to be charming and the city lovely," he said.

So he bought a still-under-construction condo in the old YMCA on Franklin Blvd., where his downstairs is the old basketball court, wood floor and all.

"I'm a Clevelander," he declared proudly.
Schaaff spends time working in each host city and usually rents an apartment. He's currently looking for a rental in Cologne for this summer's Games. As for the Cleveland condo:
"I bought the place because I will be there so much in the next 5 years," Schaaff wrote when I asked if he was moving. "Planning to use it for FGG Headquarters and hang out spot."
The Federation of Gay Games announced Cleveland as the 2014 host last October, citing the city's world-class athletic facilities, hotels and public transportation. From TIME:
"We've never really gone to the heartland," says Schaaff, who lives in Anchorage, Alaska. "Here was an opportunity to boldly go to a place that is perhaps not recognizable throughout the world as a gay center, but where real change is starting to happen."

Cleveland instituted a registry for domestic partners in May. The Ohio house of representatives passed a bill on Sept. 15 that would make it illegal to discriminate against gay people in housing and in the workplace. The same day, Cleveland's city council passed a law guaranteeing the Gay Games $2 million in cash and in-kind contributions. "The city of Cleveland is prepared to roll out the welcome mat to the LGBT athletes, their families and spectators from around the world," Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson said in a press release.
They wouldn't get that kind of welcome in Anchorage. Besides, we don't have world class public transportation.

Schaaf will share his knowledge of the Gay Games, the largest GLBT sport and culture event in the world, on March 17 at the Gay & Lesbian Community Center of Anchorage at 7 p.m. Athletes and others interested in the Games and Team Alaska are encouraged to attend.
"Looking forward to the GLCCA meeting as I love telling about the Gay Games," he wrote. "I am currently working to raise money to provide scholarships for a few people to go from Alaska."
Athletes outside the Anchorage area can contact Schaaff through Art Services North.

Action: Anti-trans Denny's manager needs Diversity Training

A transgender support group in Anchorage was harassed during a recent meeting at Denny's restaurant and now the Denny's corporate office is backing out of a proposed diversity training for the local staff. Anja co-founded the trans support group and their TransAlaska Pipeline website. She sent this message to Bent Alaska:
After the ugly incident that ocurred here in Anchorage, Alaska on December 27, 2009 in which a Denny's manager openly pointed out and made fun of a group of trangendered people TO OTHER CUSTOMERS in the crowded restaurant, we were led to believe that Denny's would be subjecting their employees to sensitivity training concerning transpeople as an acceptable resolution.

We have been more than diplomatic in dealing with them, requesting that the manager who incited the incident not be fired, but instead be required to attend an Identity, Inc. sensitivity training.

Denny's obviously took this as a sign of weakness, and is trying to ignore the whole incident now.

It appears that Denny's corporate is now pushing this off as a local matter to be swept under the carpet with NO action taken anywhere.

We must take a stand on this. To all of my sisters and brothers out there who are tired of being discriminated against, PLEASE write a letter/e-mail of concern to Denny's Corporate. Let them know that doing nothing about this is unacceptable, and that it must never be allowed to happen again.
Go to the national Denny's contact page, click the "Email Us" link and voice your concerns.

Denny's was involved in a series of lawsuits in the 1990's involving servers denying or providing inferior service to racial minorities, especially African-American customers. After a $54.4 million settlement, Denny's created a racial sensitivity training program for all its employees.

Last year, Denny's lost a transgender bias case in Maine. "This company needs diversity training to understand what it means to be gender-nonconforming," said Betsy Smith, executive director of Equality Maine.

Off-Road Alaska Gays first to Queer the Census

The 2010 US Census begins this week in western Alaska and, for the first time in history, the census will count both unmarried same-sex partners and legally married same sex spouses. Queer the Census encourages married same-sex couples to check the "husband or wife" box:
If you have legally married your same-sex spouse in any state, you may choose the "husband or wife" option, and the Census will record and report on these figures in its official Census tables on married couples in the U.S... Having a count of LGBT married couples will be an historic, important first step in changing the way the entire country understands LGBT partnership. If you are legally married, don't miss out on being counted!
Before 2000, there was no option for same-sex couples on the census form. If a gay partner checked "husband or wife," the Census Bureau assumed it was an error and changed the person's gender. There is still no question on sexual orientation or gender.

Queer the Census explains why the census is important for us:
The census tells the story of who we are as a nation, and that includes LGBT people — but only when we participate, and only when we're fully counted. Thanks to the collection of unmarried partner data, a more complete picture of who we are has emerged. For example, we know that same-sex couples live in 99% of all US counties, LGBT parents live in 97% of all US counties, and that Black and Latino same-sex couples are raising children at nearly the rates of their heterosexual peers, while earning lower incomes.

Still, there is no question on the 2010 census that asks individuals if they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender — and LGBT questions are not included in almost all other major federal surveys.

It's a big problem. The census, which counts everyone living in the United States every ten years, provides the data that is used to determine funding and policy priorities at the national and state level.

Being counted isn't just a numbers game, but a question of whether the LGBT community gets access to the resources that support our health, economic well-being, safety and families. The LGBT community must be visible--and that means participating in the census, but it also means being counted fully.
Get your free Queer the Census sticker HERE (pictured above) and use it to seal the back of your census envelope. For more information, read the FAQ at and visit

2010 U.S Census schedule:
Jan. 27: Northwest Arctic Borough, Seward Peninsula, & the Y-K Delta (except Bethel, Nome & Kotzebue.)
Feb. 16: Bristol Bay, Kodiak, Interior Villages and Glenallen.
March 9: Aleutians and North Slope.
Mid-March: Census forms mailed to the rest of Alaska and the US.

Stop School Bullying on No Name-Calling Week

No Name-Calling Week begins today, a week of educational activities aimed at stopping name-calling and bullying in schools. For tips on involving your school community in planning a fun and effective No Name-Calling Week, visit Plan a NNCW Event.

Nik Castillo, a transgender student, spoke about the effects of school bullying and the need for safer schools, at the GLSEN Respect Awards in Los Angeles:

"8: The Mormon Proposition" debuts at Sundance

The film "8: The Mormon Proposition" premiered at Sundance yesterday, showing how the LDS church funded Prop 8 and took away the right to marry in California. The Utah church also spent $1 million to ban same sex marriage in Alaska, and pushed similar bans in other states.
8:TMP follows the stories of many LGBT citizens seeking marriage equality and never-before revealed Mormon efforts to stop them... [Fred] Karger, a gay Californian, was given secret memos and documents from inside the Mormon Church as he investigated the tens of millions of dollars funneled into California to fight gay marriage. The memos reveal for the first time that Mormons used front groups to achieve their goals against LGBT legislation, with a battle plan beginning in Hawaii.
The Mormons bankrolled a gay marriage ban in Hawaii in 1998, the same year they funded the Alaska marriage ban. (On Friday, the Hawaii senate passed a civil unions bill by a veto-proof majority, and the house is expected to pass it as well.)

The current Prop 8 trial in San Fransicso exposed more documents proving the Mormon role in pushing the ban, including church leaders working for the political campaign, sending fundraising letters to members, and calling for door to door teams to advocate for Prop 8.

The open promotion of anti-gay political issues by the LDS and other churches has focused attention on the tax exempt status of religious organizations. A Canadian church that was heavily involved in anti-gay political measures had its tax exempt status revoked last week.

Watch the trailer for "8"

Sara's News Roundup 1/24/10

This week's LGBT news roundup from Sara Boesser in Juneau, Alaska.

Miami, Florida, Orlando Sentinel, January 22, 2010
Yahoo News, January 21, 2010
Miami Beach, Florida, New York Times, January 20, 2010
Chicago Tribune, January 18, 2010
Advocate, February 2010, January 22, 2010
Honolulu, Hawaii, Daily Record, January 23, 2010
New York, Daily Freeman, January 23, 2010
Rome, Italy, Global Post, January 23, 2010
U.K., BBC News, January 22, 2010

Gay Church gives offerings to Haiti, plans Open House & Valentine's party

MCC Anchorage is donating 20% of all offerings from the next two Sunday worship services to Doctors Without Borders to help Haiti recover from the devastating earthquake.

"Please uphold the people of Haiti in your thoughts and prayers, as well as the people from many nations who are involved in the aid effort."

In February, the Metropolitan Community Church of Anchorage (MCCA) is hosting an Open House, a Retreat and a Valentine's Day Party.

MCCA Open House 2/7
Join us for a meet and great with the newly elected Board of Directors and Community Representative of MCC Anchorage on Feb. 7 from 3-4:30 p.m. Find out how MCCA is working to support Identity, Four A's and others this year and beyond. MCCA is looking forward to meeting representatives from other like-minded organizations who promote diversity and equality for all of Alaska. Share with us your mission and objectives and find out how MCCA can work with you in your endeavors. Finger foods and refreshments will be provided.

Retreat: Newness 2/13
The retreat is open to all and has been two months in the planning. Join us for a time of food, music, and fellowship on Feb. 13 from 12-2 p.m. as we celebrate the New Year and discuss how to put off the old and bring in the new.

Love Your Gay Neighbor Valentine's Day Party 2/14
Join MCCA after the 2-3 p.m. service on Valentine's Day as we celebrate who God created us to be! Bring your straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered and/or queer friends! We will provide red and white foods and share in the tradition of exchanging Valentines with one another. Come for a fantastic time of friendship and unity!

Visit MCCA for more information.

Haiti: Countering Robertson's Lies with Love

- guest post by Rev. Johnathan Jones of Church Life Alaska

As the death toll from Haiti's devastating earthquake rises to 200,000 the world is literally scrambling to send aid and relief to the broken country. However, some people are making outlandish claims that the earthquake was punishment from God. Just think of the recent comments made by the 700 Club's so called "Reverend" Pat Robertson. It reminds me of other ridiculous comments made in the past. Like Jerry Falwell's comment that "AIDS is not just God's punishment for homosexuals; it is God's punishment for the society that tolerates homosexuals."

What do we do with such comments? Shake our heads in disbelief? Stare in shock at our TV screens? Discuss the comments over a cup of coffee and declare how dumb such people are? The reality is that many people agree with such statements, and the media delights in reporting them. We should be taking notice of such comments and speak against such lies.

As a Christian, I am moved to let folks know that the majority of Christians don't think this way. I also want to apologize on behalf of those Christians who do believe that way. I apologize not because I have some type of spiritual bond with them but rather because they are children of God, just like I am. As a gay man I am also aware just how hurtful and upsetting such comments can be. Even though these words are absolute lies, it hurts knowing people actually think this way and are saying "Amen" to the Pat Robertson's of this world.

I want to come up with some solution that will dispel these false comments, solutions that will reveal them for the lies that they are, I want to stop them from being said in the first place. Except, there's nothing I can really do that is going to stop Pat Robertson from making such comments again or from having the media report on them. But, I can do my best to reveal them as the lies that they are.

Through relationships. As queer folk we know anecdotally that homophobes and fence sitters often change their views about homosexuality when they become friends and enter into relationships with people who are queer. I have seen this time and time again. I believe that with the same philosophy we can show the people of Haiti, and those who are hurt by such ugly words, that these are not the truth.

By offering our support, love, prayers and money we can show Haiti and the world that we do not believe the earthquake was punishment from God because of some so-called pact made with the devil 200 years ago. By loving the people of Haiti, by caring for those hurt by others' words, by loving our neighbors as we love ourselves we can reveal a God of love rather than a God of hate.

Sticks and stones can break our bones and words can break our spirits, but love and care can build those bones and renew our spirits. Let's do our part to make a good difference during this time of trial. Let's spread love and stop hate.

This Week in LGBT Alaska 1/22/10

This week's LGBT events from the statewide newsletter Alaska GLBT News.


New Year Class for Changing Directions 1/24, 12:30-5 p.m. with Dr. Maureen Longworth at Alaska Holistic Family Medicine.

Ryan's Travel Slideshow & Cocktail Party 1/25, 7 p.m. at the Silverbow.

SEAGLA Social Fridays (6-8 p.m.) for GLBT people and our friends over 21, at The Imperial Bar.

Juneau Pride Chorus rehearses every Friday, 5:15 - 7:15 p.m. at Resurrection Lutheran Church. Marsha


Women's Bowling, Sundays at 2 p.m in the Polar Alley at UAF.

Wednesday LGBTA Social at 9 p.m. Email Joshua for the current location.

Mat-Su Valley

Mat-Su LGBT Community Center in Palmer is open M-F 5-8 p.m. (except 6-8 on Wed.) The social group meets Wednesdays, 5-6 p.m. at Vagabond Blues.


Ever Ready performs in Eagle River 1/22, 7:30-11:30 p.m. at the VFW Post.

UAA's "Out" resumes 1/24, 12 p.m. on the 2nd floor of the Student Union.

Miss MeMe's FRICKIN' COLD Gospel Show! 1/24, 4 p.m. at Mad Myrna's

Dolores, Rachel and Wendy play the Folk Fest 1/26, 7 p.m. at Cafe Felix, inside Metro Books and Music.

Wasilla blogger: liberals use children for sex toys & gays are "dead end" of society

Today is the anniversary of the Supreme Court's pro-choice Roe v Wade ruling. Why is that on a blog about Gay Alaska? Let's get Larry from Wasilla to explain the connection:
"This victimization of the underaged female, and the failure of society to remark or to react with condemnation, point to the success of the goal of the liberals who want to use our children for sex toys. This success is marked by the revealing clothes young girls wear, MTV, the ever younger indoctrination of our young in public schools about sex and alternative lifestyles... Abortion is part of the desensitization of society to the taboos associated with how we view and treat our young... The homosexual agenda shares in the goal of the liberal establishment that seeks to breakdown morality and the family to accomplish recruitment for casual sex at ever younger ages."
Larry Wood was somehow allowed to write an Alaska Gubernatorial column for the Examiner. He wrote glowing columns about Sarah Palin until she quit and made him write about appointed governor Sean Parnell. The quote above is from a column asking Parnell to sign a petition to declare fetuses a protected minority group and thus make abortion a hate crime. The post begins:
"A national movement has finally hit Alaska. This movement seeks to extend Constitution protection to the right to 'life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness' to the unborn. Given former Governor Sarah Palin's avowed pro-life stance, one wonders if Governor Sean Parnell will add his voice in support of this initiative?... Unlike Sarah Palin, his predecessor, Parnell has yet to speak out on the issue of whether or not the State should be in the business of killing babies in the womb."
What do you want to bet that ol' red-shirt Larry testified against extending protection to the right to 'life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness' to the LGBT residents of Anchorage who tried to pass a nondiscrimination ordinance last summer? The anti-abortion post isn't the first time he called gays pedophiles. His post on the passage of the Hate Crimes Act berated our Congress members for supporting it:
"Yes, Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Rep. Don Young, two staunch, conservative Republicans voted with the pack, rather than voice their disapproval of this dirty trick by the Reid Senate and the Pelosi House. Of course, Sen. Mark Begich voted with his party to further establish homosexuals as a "protected" class under a system of law that was supposed to be based upon the fact that none stand above any other.... Meanwhile, in our Congress, the priority is keep pedophiles and homosexuals from being offended by heterosexuals. Once again the liberal congress and Alaska's congressional delegation said to Hell with our troops and their needs. Why, the egos of this evolutionary dead end faction of our society takes precedent over the welfare of our troops in harms way."
Protecting a minority group that is targeted for discrimination does not raise them above others, it simply levels the field. But given his opinion on protected status - that it raises some groups above others and creates an unfair situation - his argument in the very next column in favor of making fetuses a protected class, and thus unfairly raising them above others, is a stunning about-face. Enough to give one a touch of vertigo.

Of course, Pres. Obama is also to blame for gays and liberal destroying the country. In the special rights for fetuses column, his tirade against gays and "liberals who want to use our children for sex toys" includes a predictable attack on Obama for the appointment of Kevin Jennings, founder of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Educators Network:
"One of the most notable examples is the North American Man Boy Love Association (NAMBLA), supported by Kevin Jennings, President Obama's director of the Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools (OSDFS)."
You knew he was going to mention NAMBLA, didn't you? How tired. And completely untrue. Kevin Jennings is the current punching bag of the far right homophobes because he's an openly gay man appointed by Pres. Obama - two people who send the far right into crazyland. Jennings founded GLSEN and dedicated his life to creating safer schools for LGBT kids, and no, he does not support illegal sexual activities. But truth is low on the far right list of priorities, well below firing gays and demonizing liberals. He also argues that abortion causes immigration:
"Another byproduct of abortion is the current illegal migrant worker situation. These are foreign nationals that are in the U.S. illegally, who are taking jobs, benefits and resources that are rightfully the purview of the naturalized U.S. citizen and their children. Abortion has created the demand for labor by terminating approximately 45 million Americans before birth, too many in the last trimester of the reproductive process. We have killed those before they are born who would otherwise be there to replace an aging and diminishing U.S. workforce."
Creepy, huh? Let's drag his whole paranoid argument out into the light and see what it says. (hold on to something solid):

Abortion causes illegal immigration,
because America doesn't have enough poor children
waiting to fill all the menial jobs for starvation wages.
And abortion promotes the homosexual agenda
because... well, somehow abortion allows gays to share
in the liberal goal of using children as sex toys.

So if Gov. Parnell is a good governor like Sarah Palin,
he will sign a petition to give 'special rights' to fetuses
(protected group status for stigmatized minority groups,
like gays, but fetuses should have them instead.)

Then abortion will be classified as murder
and that will magically stop
non-white foreigners from sneaking into America,
put an end to casual sex, rape and MTV,
and prevent gay people from taking over Congress.

Pure. Batshit. Crazy.

Palin, McCain, Gay Marriage and CPAC

Several bits of news converged this week connecting Sarah Palin, John McCain, gay marriage and republicans in a tangled web that may spell change in the GOP:

1. Cindy McCain, the former presidential hopeful's wife, posed for a photo shoot with the NOH8 campaign against Prop 8 and in favor of gay marriage. Daughter Meghan already posed for the campaign. Senator McCain's office released a statement saying that he continues to oppose marriage equality. He is running for re-election this year.

2. Sarah Palin endorsed McCain's re-election campaign and agreed to stump for him. Palin may have a gay friend (what pageant girl doesn't have a gay friend?) but she doesn't support legal rights for gays. She opposes domestic partnerships, civil unions and marriage equality. Cindy McCain's NOH8 photo shoot is not likely to improve Palin's opinion of her.

3. Neither Palin nor McCain are speaking at CPAC, the annual conservative conference, but gay republicans are co-sponsoring the event. The anti-gay Liberty Counsel threatened to withdraw from CPAC because the organizers accepted sponsorship from GOProud, who would like to be friends with Sarah but would have better luck with Cindy and Meghan.

4. Palin did not speak at CPAC last year either, or rather, she was supposed to speak but didn't attend. She said she never committed, CPAC said she did. The conference organizer accused Palin of "whining" after she backed out, which may explain why she isn't going this year.

5. Other CPAC co-sponsors include the Alliance Defense Fund, the ultra-conservative legal team defending Prop 8 in the current federal trial, and NOM, a national group for straights-only marriage that produced those ridiculous Gathering Storm ads for Prop 8. They also ran the campaign that repealed marriage equality in Maine. These are the groups Palin appeals to, but she isn't attending the conference. Instead, she's speaking at a Tea Party shindig while gay republicans climb into bed with the anti-gay CPAC sponsors.

6. The federal court challenge on the legality of Prop 8 continued this week with the republican mayor of San Diego testifying in support of gay marriage because he wants his lesbian daughter to have a legally equal relationship with her lover, not a second class civil union or domestic partnership. Ted Olson, a top conservative lawyer and the former Solicitor General of the United States, is defending gay marriage.

7. GayPolitics posted a list of prominent republicans who support marriage equality, including Steve Schmidt, McCain's chief strategist during his 2008 presidential run, and FOX News contributor Margaret Hoover, who announced her support for marriage equality last week in an op-ed titled, "Why I'm Joining the Fight for Marriage Equality." Sarah Palin was hired by FOX the same week.

High profile republicans are coming out in support of gay marriage, even leading the way to marriage equality. Openly gay republicans are co-sponsoring conservative events. Even FOX has a pro-equality commentator. Perhaps mainstream republicans are trying to regain control of their party from the religious extremists by making support for gay marriage a moderate position.

Where will that leave Sarah Palin and her far right religious fans who refuse to accept the "gay marriage = individual liberty" memo? On the outer fringe, where they belong.

Alaska is 1 of 5 states with no gay elected leaders. Really?

Alaska, Mississippi, North Dakota, South Dakota and West Virginia - these are the only 5 states in the nation that have no LGBT elected officials, according to the Victory Fund.

The Fund recently announced the 36 LGBT candidates they endorsed for elected office this year. Based on the categories below their map, 30 states currently have LGBT representation at the state or federal level, another 15 have at least one elected LGBT official below the state level, and only 5 states have no LGBT representation at any level. Alaska is in the last category.

We don't have a single gay or lesbian elected official in the entire state of Alaska? Hogwash.

We must have a few gay officials among the hundreds of people who hold public office in this state. There are thousands of LGBT people living here, and we are just as capable as heterosexuals. Statistically, it's inconceivable that there wouldn't be at least a few elected gay people. Maybe not in high profile positions, but somewhere.

Historically in Alaska, the leaders were people who might not have won elections in the more settled regions of the country. Some would not have been allowed to run for office in parts of the Lower 48. But in frontier Alaska, a capable and friendly person who would commit to staying for a few years might be recognized as a leader despite other characteristics. Some Alaska towns are still like that, and one or two might have a good leader who happens to be gay.

But they wouldn't be likely to talk about something they were willing to overlook, and a gay leader elected despite their identity wouldn't make a big deal out of it. It's besides the point.

For the national LGBT movement, knowing about them is an important point. Someone who is elected in spite of being gay cannot advocate for changes on our behalf without calling attention to their own identity.

When the Victory Fund said "openly LGBT" they didn't mean being out to friends and relatives, or even co-workers, they meant being publicly out. For a candidate in a city with a large LGBT population, the national exposure can help them get elected. They might as well come out publicly during the campaign so they won't be outed in office. But there isn't much advantage in a small town, or for someone who is already in office despite being gay.

So the Fund's map is basically accurate, although it isn't true. They just need to change the description of the Horizon category that includes Alaska from "no openly LGBT elected officials" to "no LGBT elected officials who want to come out to the whole world." That's probably true for the other 4 Horizon states as well.

But if you're a capable and friendly Alaskan who wants to run for office as a publicly out gay man or lesbian, the Victory Fund would be happy to add Alaska to their list of active states... and we'd be happy to move out of that column.

Prop 8 trial: pro-gay marriage republican mayor & live-blogging links

The court took a break in honor of Dr. King, and the trial resumes today with testimony from the Mayor of San Diego, a republican who supports gay marriage because he wants his lesbian daughter to be equal.

We may never see the actual trial, but a Los Angeles company is filming reenactments of the Prop. 8 trial using partial transcripts and first-hand accounts from bloggers. They hope to begin posting segments from the first week on Wednesday.

Live-blogging teams converged on San Francisco when the US Supreme Court blocked broadcast of the trial, and these amazing bloggers are typing hour after hour to keep the world informed of the proceedings.

Here are several good resources for live-blogging and analysis of the Prop 8 trial:

The Courage Campaign's Prop 8 Tracker has a live-blogging team, and posts nightly summaries with commentary.
Bilerico's Davina Kotulski is live-blogging with occasional commentary.
The National Center for Lesbian Rights blog has good nightly reviews that are cross-posted on Pam's House Blend.
FireDogLake has been live-blogging the trial since the first morning. This impressive set of transcripts is a great resource for the media and anyone who has time to read the whole thing.
Karen Ocamb is posting about the trial at LGBT POV, including reports from live-bloggers.
The American Foundation for Equal Rights posts a steady stream of Prop 8 news.
The San Jose Mercury News was live-blogging from the first day with short summaries in place of word for word transcripts.

The bloggers and non-profits work for donations, so please show your appreciation for their efforts. If you have another favorite site for Prop 8 trial news, please add it in the comments.

Federal Job Site Ends Gender Identity Bias

If you are a transgender Alaskan looking for work, hundreds of local open positions are now more available to you: the federal government's official job site added gender identity to the hiring nondiscrimination policy.

And if you're a red-shirted local who thinks Alaska is not ready to protect transgender workers from job discrimination, it's time to get ready for workplace diversity.

While the Anchorage effort for gay and trans protections dragged on last summer, the federal government was evaluating it's employment practices. On Jan 5, gender identity was added to the equal-employment opportunity notices on, the federal job site.

Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, said, "The largest employer in the country is doing what all the other large employers in the country are doing, so that's really great news."

The change brought criticism from social conservatives, who trotted out the same nonsense we heard in Anchorage: biology = destiny, trans people are faking it, and if we protect them from discrimination the sky will fall.

But the federal hiring practices are now trans-inclusive, and there are HUNDREDS of open federal positions based in Alaska.

The USAJOBS search page currently lists 292 federal job openings in Alaska, but the Alaska page lists 881 results (the anywhere-in-the-US positions make up the difference.)
  • There are currently 80 federal job openings based in Anchorage, 57 in Fairbanks, 23 in Juneau, 25 in Homer, etc. and others are listed for regions or the whole state.
  • Almost all are full-time and many are permanent.
  • They cover 21 fields, mostly science, engineering, office work and medical/health, but also business, finance, education, safety, communications, trades, transportation, and more.
  • They represent 16 agencies, primarily Agriculture, Interior, the Air Force and the Army, but also Justice, Homeland Security, Defense, Transportation, and the VA...
Wait, what? Openly gay and trans people cannot serve in the military, but we can work for the military in civilian positions, even on base, and they can't discriminate against us in hiring for those jobs. Well, that's interesting.

OK, trans people looking for work in Alaska, head over to the USAJOBS site and check out the options on the Alaska page. You'll find all kinds of interesting jobs, and a shiny new trans-inclusive hiring policy.

Rachel Maddow covered the policy change following a segment on Amanda Simpson, the first transwoman appointed by Pres. Obama:

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