Gay quickies for us all!


First… some blog updates:
The Resources page has been revamped, a little. I’ve also added a State Resources page with a state-by-state listing of state-based and local LGBT advocacy/civil rights organizations. Take a look and if you see an organization that should be listed for any state email me, matt ‘at’ matthillnc ‘dot’ com.

Top Stories of 2006:
If you didn’t see it when I posted it yesterday, check out the blog’s year-end recap and a review of the top stories of 2006. Anti-gay politicians, LGBT high school & college students, anti-gay businesses, the Equality Ride, the Right to Serve Campaign and more. Check it out (I spent over an hour on that post… you’d better check it out, haha). Be sure to check out Brandy’s post from late last night, too. She details some news out from Chicago and California, as well as the recent poll on gay teens and coming out to their doctors.

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell News:
A former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (of the U.S. Military) has written an opinion piece in The New York Times advocating for the repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. Echoing (whether intentionally or not) the message of the Soulforce Right to Serve Campaign, General John M. Shalikashvili states: “we must welcome the service of any American who is willing and able to do the job.” Read more at The New York Times (h/t PageOneQ).

John Edwards & Marriage Equality:
In case you missed it (and I don’t know how you could have if you pay attention to politics and gay news at all), Democratic Presidential hopeful and good ole’ North Carolina boy John Edwards has spoken out on the issue of marriage equality for same-sex couples (src):

Asked his view on same-sex marriage, Edwards called the issue “the single hardest social issue for me personally.”

“Civil unions? Yes. Partnership benefits? Yes,” he said. “But it’s a jump for me to get to gay marriage. I haven’t yet got across that bridge.”

“I wish I knew the right answer,” he said after one audience member booed.

In response… Blogger Pam Spaulding has a good question for all the Presidential candidates.

Progressivism in the South:
Amy Kingsley, of Greensboro, NC-based YES Weekly writes on the “ideals of progressivism” which have landed in Greensboro, NC. She writes (src):

That’s right, folks, progressivism has sunk its ideological hooks into the city character, meaning that forward thinking on environmental issues, gay and lesbian rights and urban sprawl might not be too far behind. Part of the change can be attributed to the dawning realization that quality of life affects economic development at least as much as tax breaks.

To that end, leaders have wised up and decided to install bike lanes to reduce pollution, increase physical fitness and just make Greensboro a funkier place (and we don’t mean that as in used bike shorts funky). The same goes for buses, which have seen a dramatic increase in ridership since gas prices rose.

As for domestic partner benefits, well politicians realized that being competitive in attracting employees also means being tolerant and accommodating.

Starting this year, Greensboro will join only a handful of local governments in the South to offer domestic partner benefits to gay employees.

Marriage Equality on the Horizon:
According to an article from 365gay.com News, a new poll reports that 57% of poll respondents believe that marriage equality for same-sex couples iwll become a relaity in at least one more U.S. state before the close of 2007. Good news… now we just have to make it a reality.

Anti-gay moves mark first legislative actions in Virginia:
According to The Washington Blade, LGBT and straight allied students in Virginia have another thing to fear, on top of knowing that their state will not let LGBT people marry when they are old enough. The first piece of legislation submitted to the Virginia House for debate in 2007 is a bill which, if passed, would require parental permission before students could join or participate in events sponsored by student gay-straight alliances. The bill was debated last year but never passed both houses of Virginia’s state legislature. Read more at The Washington Blade.

National ‘gender-blind’ Campaign moving along:
The National Student Genderblind Campaign (genderblind.org) is a national group based out of my adopted hometown of Greensboro, NC and founded and headed up by my friend David Norton (a student at Guilford College). The group is just moving right along. After being represented by G-PAC on a nationally televised debate on Fox News Channel, good things just keep coming the group’s way. The group has an article in the most recent Greensboro, NC-based YES Weekly.

A safe place for teens:
Up in York, Pennsylvania, a local chapter of Planned Parenthood has started an LGBT teen support group in the community after realizing the lack of support teens were finding in schools. In other places like Greensboro, NC, however, support remains moderate in the schools and community groups like G.L.A.S.S. are finding it hard to advertise their existence and promote involvement (for fear of the dreaded “gay recruiting” accusations). The President of G.L.A.S.S., a great guy named J.J., says that while participation has been at near zero for a year, members of the non-profit hope to rebuild the once hugely active youth organization.

Moving Notes:
LGBT youth social networking site Mogenic.com has a wonderful piece up on a new musical album released by artist Jacob Diefenbach. Ripping Stories for Boys is chock full of songs reminiscent of the tunes of Tori Amos and Rufus Wainright. Jacob has an “e-single” up for a free listen and download on his site. I admit that some of the tunes don’t necessarily fit into my musical likings, but some of the piano parts are just brilliant.

“Queer TV in 2006:”
365gay.com News comments on LGBT programming found on television throughout 2006. Read more at 365gay.com.

2006 – ‘The Ins, the Outs and In-betweens:’
Towleroad has a wonderful piece highlighting the past year of celebs and high profile peeps who came out of the closet, were forced out of the closet, who sorta, kinda came out of the closet and more. Check it out.

A New Book:
I got the chance to attend a New Years Day gathering of a few folks here in Winston-Salem last night. Roger Sharpe, the 2006 Democratic candidate running against Congresswoman Virginia Foxx in the 5th Congressional District, was there and we had quite a bit of interesting conversation… involving politics and religion, of course; those topics your mother always used to tell you were off limits at dinner or a social gathering.

He left me with a signed copy of his book – a memoir. I haven’t yet had the chance to begin reading it, but I took a look at the back and read the various reviews made about it – one from Michael Dukakis – and the short summary:

Ceremony of Innocence addresses what society owes its youngest generation, especially with respect to a humanities education. He expresses a genuine and well-informed concern for the influence of political and religious extremists’ attacks on public education, its consequences for children of poor and working class families, and long-term implications for democratic government.

Roger Sharpe’s numerous cross-cultured experiences and multidisciplinary studies allows him to propose a solution for improving American education that demands reconciliation between society’s various contentious factions by the creation of an institute for training small-gropu leaders who would welcome dialogue among participants, invite reconciliation, and encourage the rebuilding of American communities across economic and social class lines.

Roger Sharpe, a former state senator and lobbyist to the White House for elected school board members and the interests of the nation’s school children, grew up on a tobacco farm near Winston-Salem. He studies Christian ethics at Union Theological Seminary in New York City. When writing at home, he serves as volunteer springskeeper of a Japanese maple tree garden at Sandy Springs, Harmony, North Carolina.

I’m sure this will be a wonderful book to read. I guess it is a good thing that I’ll have about 6 hours of extra, do-nothing time sitting on an airplane to Austin, Texas, on Wednesday. It should give me more than enough time to get a good start in reading Sharpe.

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