Anti-gay leader ‘deserves pie’
WASHINGTON, D.C. — At a Congressional hearing on “Defending Marriage” in the Subcommittee on the Constitution, GetEQUAL, a national LGBT rights organization using direct action and nonviolent civil disobedience tactics, presented Maggie Gallagher, one of those testifying at the hearing and the board chair of the National Organization for Marriage, with the inaugural “Anita Bryant Award for Unbridled and Unparalleled Bigotry.”
Group leaders announced further plans to present Gallagher with a prize in honor of the award’s namesake. Harkening back to an incident in 1977, a cream pie will be given in commemoration of the “pieing” of Anita Bryant — then the leader of Save Our Children — who received a pie in the face in retaliation for her anti-gay campaigning.
According to a statement, “GetEQUAL will deliver the pie prize during a future public appearance by Ms. Gallagher, to ensure that she is able to celebrate the award publicly, in front of an audience. The exact moment of delivery is unknown at this time.”
GetEQUAL member Michael Dixon said, “I have seen the video of the four ‘self-proclaimed homosexuals’ who delivered the pie to Anita Bryant in 1977. It is truly an honor to walk in their footsteps as GetEQUAL recognizes and rewards the tireless efforts of Ms. Gallagher — the woman who has picked up the mantle of hatred and prejudice from Ms. Bryant and worked so hard to promote bigotry and discrimination against an entire class of American citizens. I hope we can unite her with her pie as soon as possible. I have always believed that bigots should get their just desserts.”
Trans employment bill passed
HONOLULU, Hawaii — On April 19, the Hawaii House voted overwhelmingly for a bill prohibiting discrimination in employment on the basis of gender identity. The 45-4 vote followed the state Senate’s earlier approval of the measure. At press time the bill was awaiting Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s signature. Hawaii law already protects transgender people from discrimination in housing and public accommodations. Sexual orientation discrimination is barred in employment, housing and public accommodations.
SLDN timing DADT repeal
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Servicemembers Legal Defense Network has prominently placed a digital clock on its website to both mark the more than four months that have passed since President Barack Obama signed legislation allowing for repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and to highlight its call on the U.S. military to accelerate the timeline for training the armed forces on repeal. SLDN says the clock will tick until certification takes place as specified in the law. The legislation, signed December 22, 2010, requires the Pentagon to prepare the necessary policies and regulations before the President, Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs can certify that the military is ready for repeal, which will go into effect 60 days following the date of certification. Despite testimony this month from the service chiefs that training is creating no problems in the field, the Army has signaled that it might not finish training until as late as August, which would delay certification until at least October.
ENDA intro’d in Congress
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would make workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity illegal in most workplaces, has been introduced into both houses of the legislature this month. Currently, it is legal in 29 states to fire or refuse to hire someone for being lesbian, gay or bisexual, while transgender workers can be denied or refused jobs in 37 states.
Conservative areas up suicide risks
NEW YORK, N.Y. — A landmark study involving nearly 32,000 Oregon 11th graders found that lesbian, gay and bisexual teenagers who live in conservative areas with fewer same-sex couples, registered Democrats and schools without anti-bullying protections for LGBT students are 20 percent more likely to attempt suicide than their counterparts in less conservative communities. The survey, led by Mark Hatzenbuehler, a Columbia University psychologist and researcher, also revealed that those factors raised the odds and were a substantial influence on suicide attempts even when known risk contributors like depression and being bullied were considered. Straight teenagers in conservative places were found to be nine percent more likely to try suicide than those who live in more liberal areas.
Anti-bullying bill in Congress
WASHINGTON, D.C. — LGBT youth advocates and education organizations celebrated the April 15 introduction of the Safe Schools Improvement Act in the U.S. House by Rep. Linda Sánchez (D-CA) and 70 bi-partisan cosponsors. The act was introduced in the Senate on March 3 by Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) and lead cosponsor Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL). The bill would require schools to implement comprehensive anti-bullying policies that include enumerated characteristics of students most often targeted, such as race, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity. The House introduction of the bill occurred on the same day that hundreds of thousands of students across the world were participating in GLSEN’s Day of Silence. Students typically participate by taking some form of a vow of silence to raise awareness about anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment.
The most powerful LGBTs
LOS ANGELES — Out magazine’s fifth annual “Power 50” list was released this month, ranking celebrities, moguls, activists and media figures that the magazine declares “the most influential gays and lesbians in America.” Apple’s acting CEO, Tim Cook, a new entry, topped the list this year. Other new entries include Houston Mayor Annise Parker and Chuck Wolfe, president and CEO of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund. The four openly gay and lesbian members of Congress and New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn made the list, as did philanthropist Tim Gill and MSNBC commentator Rachel Maddow. The “Power 50” issue is on newsstands now.
Boys sent to ‘straight’ camp
KUALA TERENGGANU, Malaysia — An international outcry erupted earlier this month when news broke that the education department of the conservative state of Terengganu was sponsoring a week-long camp for 66 boys deemed overly effeminate by their teachers. Reports said the camp employed a combination of physical education, religious teaching and guest speakers in a bid to prevent the boys from growing up gay or transgender. Education department director Razali Daud told the New Straits Times that he understands some will end up gay or trans anyway, but the state will do its best to limit the number.