Schools settle bullying cases
NEW YORK, N.Y. — The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network said two recent settlements reaffirm the potential liability for schools that ignore anti-LGBT bullying and harassment. In California, the Upper Lake Union School District agreed earlier this month to implement comprehensive steps to protect students from anti-LGBT bullying and bias after a student was repeatedly harassed for his perceived sexual orientation.

In Connecticut, the Watertown Unified School District agreed to pay $30,000 to a former Watertown High School hockey player who endured torment from coaches and teammates, including being called “gay” and “faggot.” The student alleged that the coaches encouraged a what-goes-on-in-the-locker-room-stays-in-the-locker-room policy that was condoned by the highest administration officials.

With the National Center for Lesbian Rights, GLSEN has released “Fifteen Expensive Reasons Why Safe Schools Legislation Is In Your State’s Best Interest” that illustrates the potential liability for ignoring anti-LGBT bullying.

Download it free at www.glsen.org/cgi-bin/iowa/all/library/record/1913.html.

Concert will rock Dem faithful
DENVER, Colo. — Melissa Etheridge, Cyndi Lauper and Rufus Wainwright will headline “Rock to Win,” a concert celebrating the LGBT community during the Democratic National Convention, to be held here next month. The show will take place at the Fillmore Auditorium — a venue modeled on the historic San Francisco Fillmore rock club — on Aug. 26, the second night of the Convention.

The Human Rights Campaign is collaborating on the production. HRC President Joe Solmonese said, “In 2004, GLBT issues were used by the right-wing in an attempt to distract and manipulate voters. ‘Rock to Win’ is a celebration of the progress our community has made in the intervening four years, and a grand kickoff to hard work ahead in the general to elect a new president of our nation.”

Throughout the summer, Lauper has been on the road for the second annual True Colors Tour in partnership with HRC. This year’s tour emphasized the importance of voting and participating in 2008’s historic elections. The show was conceived by Lauper as a way to give back to the LGBT community for the love and support it has always given her.

Anti-marriage poll dismissed
WASHINGTON, D.C. — On July 10, the anti-gay Family Research Council released the results of their latest poll on the political impact of anti-gay amendments on the general elections. They crowed that their “commissioned national survey [demonstrates] the potential for significant political impact of marriage protection amendments on the November ballot in California, Florida and Arizona,” where such measures are up for the vote.

However, LGBT leaders countered that the survey was inconsequential — a ploy by the right-wing to force GOP presidential nominee John McCain into using same-sex marriage as a divisive wedge during the campaign. In reality, they concluded, FRC’s efforts are actually a symbol of the arch-conservative movement’s weakness in 2008.

“A recent Field Poll shows that a majority of Californians support marriage equality,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “The FRC thinks that anti-gay voters are McCain’s best hope to win his home state of Arizona, but Arizona voters have already rejected this tactic at the polls. This just smacks of desperation.”

Teen website battles hate bias
LOS ANGELES, Calif. — The Matthew Shepard Foundation has teamed with Habbo, which promotes itself as “the largest global virtual community for teens,” to educate online users about dignity and respect. The Foundation, through its “Erase Hate” project, will host an ongoing series of conversations among users in the Habbo.com InfoBus, a virtual room designed as the inside of a high-end bus where users gather to discuss issues of concern to young people.

The Foundation’s mission is to support diversity programs in education and to help youth organizations establish environments where young people can feel safe and be themselves. Since July 7, Foundation staff have lead discussions twice a week in the InfoBus. Topics have included ways to deal with discrimination and hate encountered on and offline, and how to encourage respect among peers.

There are currently Habbo communities in 32 countries on six continents. According to ComScore, 9.5 million unique users worldwide visit Habbo each month.

Carey named Task Force head
WASHINGTON, D.C. — On June 24, the Board of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force announced that deputy executive director Rea Carey would permanently fill the position vacated in April by her former boss, Matt Foreman, when he exited the organization. Carey was appointed acting executive director while the board conducted a four-month national search for Foreman’s replacement.

Initially, Carey asked not to be considered for the permanent position, preferring to remain as deputy executive director. The board, however, asked her to reconsider in light of her performance as interim head. “Rea proved to be an extremely strong and charismatic leader in the interim position,” said Paula Redd Zeman, board member and co-chair of the search committee.

Carey said she was honored and energized by the opportunity to lead the Task Force at a crucial time in the struggle for LGBT equality. “I believe our movement is on the cusp of taking the gains of the last 40 years and translating them into permanent and society-changing advances,” she said.

David Stout

David Stout is the associate editor of QNotes. He can be reached at editor2@goqnotes.com.