Win some: Trans candidate makes history
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — Turns out that the 2010 midterm elections weren’t a complete disaster for the LGBT community after all. Victoria Kolakowski, a lawyer and administrative law judge with over 20 years of legal experience, ran for Superior Court Judge in Alameda County, Calif., and won. She is now the nation’s first openly transgender trial judge. Kolakowski’s opponent was the Deputy District Attorney for the county.
Another trans candidate, Kim Coco Iwamoto, secured a second four-year term on Hawaii’s Board of Education. She placed second among a slate of six candidates competing for three seats. Iwamoto first became involved in the school system as a foster parent.
Two other trans candidates made strong showings in their respective races but came up short. Brittany Novatny, an attorney who specializes in employment and civil rights law, challenged incumbent right-winger Sally Kerns for her seat in the Oklahoma state House of Representatives. Kerns is notorious for her 2008 statement that gays pose a bigger threat to the nation than terrorists. Novatny garnered 34.11 percent of the vote in a heavily conservative district.
Theresa Sparks ran for San Francisco City Supervisor in District 6. Sparks is the former CEO of Good Vibrations, a woman-owned and -run sex toy business, and has co-chaired the Alice B. Toklas Democratic Club in San Francisco. She also serves on the city’s Human Rights Commission and has been on the Police Commission. At press time, the results were not yet final for this race, but Sparks was third among the candidates running for the seat.
Lose some: Pro-equality justices ousted
DES MOINES, Iowa — The three Iowa state Supreme Court justices who ruled in favor of marriage equality for same-sex couples last year were voted out after being targeted with a bruising campaign led by the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage. NOM was joined in its efforts by fellow right-wing groups the Campaign for Working Families, the American Family Association and Iowa for Freedom. NOM spent an unprecedented $600,000 on TV attack ads and mounted a 45-county bus tour to ensure the justices defeat.
The end goal of the campaign was not just the ouster of these three judges. “By their own admission, NOM’s Iowa strategy was about sending a warning shot to judges nationwide,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “NOM and its secret donors will continue to target judges around the country if they rule in favor of marriage equality and will foster an anti-gay, hostile environment in the process.”
Troops, families support DADT repeal
WASHINGTON, D.C. — According to early unofficial reports, the results of an internal Pentagon study reveal most military personnel and their families support open service for gays and are not opposed to repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
Servicemembers Legal Defense Network Executive Director and Army veteran Aubrey Sarvis responded, “The majority of young troops are okay serving side by side with their gay comrades, and their attitudes reflect how most Americans feel about open service: It’s no big deal, let’s move on and get the job done. No one should be surprised if a vocal minority, for a short window, might well object, as some did when segregation in the ranks ended and women were admitted to the service academies. In the military you get over your objections or you get out. It’s clear that a majority of Americans in both the military and civilian spheres agree that ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ is outdated and needs to go. Congress needs to catch up and the Senate should immediately act on repeal legislation when it returns to Washington.”
Outstanding authors given nod
CHICAGO, Ill. — The American Library Association is recognizing the outstanding work of authors and illustrators of LGBT literature for youth. The Stonewall Children’s and Young Adult Literature Award joins the ALA Youth Media Award announcements, which include such prominent literary prizes as the Coretta Scott King Book Award, John Newbery Medal, Michael Printz Award, Randolph Caldecott Medal, Schneider Family Book Awards and 13 other distinguished awards for youth literature.
The Stonewall award is administered by the ALA’s Stonewall Book Awards Committee of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered Round Table and is awarded annually to English-language works for children or teens of exceptional merit relating to the LGBT experience.
Lesbian ‘Star’ dancing with a woman
TEL AVIV, Israel — Gili Shem Tov, one of Israel’s best-known sports commentators and an open lesbian, has become the first star to dance with a partner of the same sex on the internationally syndicated TV show “Dancing with the Stars.” Shem Tov told Britain’s Sky News, “I live with a woman, we are raising my son together and it felt natural to dance with a woman.” “Dancing with the Stars” has paired Tov with professional dancer Dorit Milman, who is straight.