Archive for May, 2010

Lambda Literary Awards Note Best in LGBT Authors

May 26, 2010

By Lewis Maurer
Dauphin County Library System

See “Gay Literature at Street Level” with views from both Lambda Literary Foundation and local writers in upcoming July-August Pride Edition of Central Voice.

The 22nd Annual Lambda Literary Awards will be held May 27 at the School of Visual Arts Theater in New York City. The titles listed below are nominated in the Gay Fiction, Lesbian Fiction and Transgender Categories. Please follow this link for the full roster of nominations in all categories: http://www.lambdaliterary.org/awards/awards-finalists/

Lesbian Fiction
Dismantled, by Jennifer McMahon (HarperCollins)
A Field Guide to Deception, by Jill Malone (Bywater Books)
Forgetting the Alamo, Or, Blood Memory, by Emma Pérez (University of Texas Press)
Risk, by Elana Dykewomon (Bywater Books)
This One’s Going to Last Forever, by Nairne Holtz (Insomniac Press)

Gay Fiction
Lake Overturn, by Vestal McIntyre (HarperCollins)
The River In Winter, by Matt Dean (Queens English Productions)
Said and Done, by James Morrison (Black Lawrence Press)
Salvation Army, by Abdellah Taia (Semiotext(e))
Silverlake, by Peter Gadol (Tyrus Books)

Lesbian Debut Fiction
The Creamsickle, by Rhiannon Argo (Spinsters Ink)
The Bigness of the World, by Lori Ostlund (University of Georgia Press)
Land Beyond Maps, by Maida Tilchen (Savvy Press)
More of This World or Maybe Another, by Barb Johnson (Harper Perennial)
Verge, by Z Egloff (Bywater Books)

Gay Debut Fiction
Blue Boy, by Rakesh Satyal (Kensington Books)
God Says No, by James Hannaham (McSweeneys)
Pop Salvation, by Lance Reynald (HarperCollins)
Shaming the Devil: Collected Short Stories, by G. Winston James (Top Pen Press)
Sugarless, by James Magruder (University of Wisconsin Press)

Transgender
Bharat Jiva, by Kari Edwards (Litmus Press)
Lynnee Breedlove’s One Freak Show, by Lynn Breedlove (Manic D Press)
The Nearest Exit May Be Behind You, by S Bear Bergman (Arsenal Pulp Press)
Transmigration, by Joy Ladin (Sheep Meadow Press)
Troglodyte Rose, by Adam Lowe (Cadaverine Publications)

The first Lambda Literary Awards were presented in 1989. If a book has a gold sticker saying ‘Winner of the Lambda Literary Award’ on its cover, you know it is both brilliantly written and a meaningful examination of the LGBTQ experience.

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Lt. Dan Choi Calls DADT Compromise a “Delay”

May 25, 2010

Lt. Dan Choi on Humvee duty.

By Frank Pizzoli

“Compromise is a bad term to use in describing what the White House yesterday released as a deal to repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’” Lt. Dan Choi told Central Voice today (May 25, 2010). He calls President Obama’s orchestrated deal a “delay”.

Late yesterday the news broke that the White House had gathered Congressional leaders, Pentagon officials and gay rights organizations to announce it had hammered out a compromise deal repealing DADT.

Here is what may unfold in the next few days.

In the US Senate, an amendment to repeal DADT is expected to be offered this week by Senator Lieberman (I-CT) during the markup of the National Defense Authorization Act. The vote is expected to take place Wednesday or Thursday.

In the US House, a repeal amendment is also expected to be offered this week by Congressman Patrick Murphy (D-PA) on the floor as the chamber debates the National Defense Authorization Act. That vote is expected to take place Thursday or Friday.

A third legislative move that could also take place involves both chambers agreeing to amend current law to reflect that the US Armed Forces does not discriminate against gay and lesbian soldiers.

All deals discussed this week still leave the final decision on certifying any further repeal or regulatory changes regarding gay and lesbian Americans serving in the U.S. military in the hands of the Obama, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mullen.

On March 19, 2009, Choi announced that he was gay on The Rachel Maddox Show. Although Choi had value as an Arabic speaker able to communicate quickly and clearly with the Iraqi people, one month after his announcement he was notified that the Army had begun discharge proceedings against him. He was one of only eight soldiers from his graduating class who majored in Arabic.

While at West Point Choi recited the Cadet Prayer every Sunday. “It taught me to choose the harder right over the easier wrong and to never be content with a half truth when the whole can be won,” he says.” Choi notes that the Cadet Honor Code demands truthfulness and honesty. “It imposed a zero-tolerance policy against deception, or hiding behind comfort,” he says.

Choi served for a decade under DADT. On June 30, 2009 he faced a military trial under the policy where the primary evidence against him was his simple statement of truth. Despite the board’s recommendation for discharge, the case was never finalized and Choi continues to serve in his military unit.

On March 19, 2010 Choi, with former Army Captain James Pietrangelo, chained themselves to the White House fence and were arrested with over a dozen patriots around the country in the pursuit of justice. They spent the night in prison. They were arrested again and spent the night in prison with four other military veterans on April 20, 2010. The day following release, Lt. Choi reported to weekend drill with his infantry unit and continues to serve as an army officer.

AIDS Community Alliance to Host LGBT Health Expert June 9 – Community Invited

May 25, 2010

“Whenever a segment of the community is not accepted stress often creates health disparities such as higher rates of alcoholism, drug abuse, tobacco use, and obesity,” says Rebecca Fox, director, National Coalition on LGBT Health.

Fox will headline AIDS Community Alliance’s LGBT Health Priorities Forum June 9, 7 p.m. at the Unitarian Church of Harrisburg, 1280 Clover Lane, Harrisburg, PA 17113.

ACA recently engaged numerous community organizations in discussions around the agency’s new LGBT Community Health Initiative.

“Let me say clearly that our traditional core services to HIV/AIDS clients is intact, will remain intact, and will continue and expand as usual. We are adding lgbt health issues to our mission not subtracting services,” explains Phil Goropoulos, ACA’s President/CEO.

“We believe the organization has the skills, resources and partnerships necessary to improve health outcomes in eight areas that were highlighted by the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association in its companion document to Healthy People 2010: HIV/AIDS, Sexually Transmitted Infections, Immunizations & Infectious Diseases, Health Communication, Access to Quality Health Services, Mental Health & Mental Disorders, Substance Abuse, and Cancer.

Although the lgbt people are often excluded from the life of the community “We know that we are a strong community with support mechanisms,” Fox says. The more an individual is “out” the better chance for a positive mental health outlook, she notes.

Fox says that the lgbt community still has work to do even with national healthcare reform underway. “We won’t have data collection under reform,” Fox says, meaning that health disparities won’t be measured as a part of reform policy. “Many in the community are uninsured and/or underinsured and this needs to be addressed,” Fox says.

In the first year of ACA’s LGBT Community Health Initiative, programming will address the disparities in sexually transmitted infections, immunization and infectious diseases. “We will also begin a communication program around lgbt health issues which will, of course, include these disparities among other lgbt-related health issues.

Also during this first year, “We will begin investigation into the means and best practices of addressing lgbt access to quality health services,” Goropoulos says. “Our meetings with community stakeholders stressed the importance of adding services to address mental health and mental disorders as quickly as possible to the Initiative’s efforts. We will work toward this goal as speedily as possible,” he says.

To date, ACA has secured a Preferred Provider Agreement from the Pennsylvania Department of Health Division of STDs to being screening for syphilis. Members of ACA’s staff are to be trained during the next few weeks with the hope that the service should be in place by Central PA Pride Festival July 23–25. In addition, the Agency has begun the process of securing the staffing, training and appropriate contracts to add testing and treatment for Gonorrhea and Chlamydia . ACA hopes to incorporate the full array of STD screenings and treatment options into the Agency’s community-based testing program that currently provides HIV Rapid Testing at locations throughout the region.

ACA has been in communication with the division of the Department of Health responsible for immunizations. The department is interested in partnering with ACA for the provision of Hepatitis A and B vaccine and ACA is in the process of securing a medical director to oversee the program. “Once the director is in place, the application process may move forward. The Hepatitis A and B vaccine will be provided by the Department of Health at no cost to ACA,” Goropoulos says. In addition to Hepatitis A and B, the agency is exploring the addition of HPV vaccinations for both men and women through the program.

As part of its research, the agency has visited the Hartford Gay and Lesbian Health Collective and is planning a visit to the Mazzoni Center in Philadelphia. Regarding the addition of mental health services, the agency will be meeting with Pittsburgh’s Persad Center to discuss mental health service delivery and models that have been effective as it has evolved over the years.

“We are planning to potentially do some surveying during Pride (both in Lancaster and Harrisburg). In addition, if you are a trained phlebotomist / nurse and would be willing to assist with blood draws for syphilis screenings at Harrisburg Pride please let ACA know calling 717.233.7190.

Contact: Phil Goropoulos, President/CEO, AIDS Community Alliance, 100 North Cameron Street, Ste. 301-East, Harrisburg, PA 17101, 717.233.7190, fax: 717.233.7196
http://www.ACA-PA.com.

EqualityPA Names Ted Martin Head

May 24, 2010

Ted Martin named EqualityPA Executive Director

Following a national search, EqualityPA named local leader Ted Martin executive director.

Martin comes to the position with nearly 10 years with the US House of Representatives, a short stint running Historic Harrisburg Association, and from his most recent job with the PA Dept. of Community and Economic Development as head of Economic Development Marketing.

He’s also involved with the south central Pennsylvania community where he lead a business association, served on the boards youth group Common Roads. Martin currently serves as board president of The LGBT Community Center Coalition of Central PA.

“I know that in the coming months this job is going to involve equal amounts of listening and talking,” Martin says. “I intend to get out into the state to hear what the members of the community want and expect of EqualityPA, and I am hopeful that this will only be the beginning of an ongoing conversation. That, in and of itself, is a huge task,” he explained, “but this conversation will be central to our long term goal of making the Commonwealth’s lgbt community a real force in politics and policymaking.”

Martin will be based in EqualityPA’s Harrisburg office, with office hours in their Philadelphia location. The organization is currently in discussions to open an additional office in the state.

In an effort to make the organization truly representative of the entire state, the organization recently added new board members. Including Martin, four of them are from the south central region: Chris Gatesman, Lauren Barr, and Syngred Briddell. “It has been said all that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men and women to do nothing. I want to do something. I want to be part of the solution,” says Gatesman.

New EqualityPA board members from the region Lauren Barr, Chris Gatesman, and Syngred Briddell

Martin and new board members recently hosted a meet-and-greet at The Mantis Gallery, Midtown Harrisburg, which drew nearly 40 people to hear about the organization’s new direction.

The full board compliment includes: Brian Sims, president, Phila.; Mark Usry, vice-president, Bloomsburg; Saida Agostini, Phila.; Joyce Avila, Tobyhanna; Barr, Martin, now executive director, and Briddell, Harrisburg; Jeff Brauer and Paul Nardone, Scranton; Gatesman, and David Price, Pittsburgh.

Board president Brian Sims says “education, advocacy, and the lobbying work that is so vital in Pennsylvania” remains their focus. The organization has played an active role in every piece of lgbt legislation passing through the Pennsylvania House or Senate,” says Sims.

The organization has involved itself with a statewide non-discrimination policy, statewide hate crimes legislation, strengthening anti-bullying legislation, and relationship recognition.

Local Harrisburg board member Lauren Barr says “As a straight person it is sometimes all too easy to take certain rights for granted; rights that are denied to a segment of the population because of their sexual orientation, or their gender identity or expression.”

“I accepted a seat on the board because I believe that our society is inherently unequal until the equality on which we pride ourselves extends to absolutely everyone,” she says. Barr feels that as the seat of state government it is important for central Pennsylvania to have a presence on the board.

Local Harrisburg board member Syngred Briddell became involved because he has been “very alarmed by the political climate surrounding lgbt rights in our state, as well as nationwide.” She volunteered with the ACLU on House Bill 300. “I began to feel a sense of indignation and urgency to do more to help protect these individuals.”

As a Black American woman, who is a descendant of interracial families, Briddell feels a kindred spirit with the struggles experienced within the lgbt community. Being cognizant of the role various systems – judicial, political, educational – have played in marginalizing specific groups in this country “is imperative when you’re attempting to effect change for this community,” she notes.

Briddell thinks impeding the rights of any minority group within this nation “leaves all others susceptible to attacks at the whims of the entitled. Being apathetic towards discrimination faced by the lgbt community is dangerous. Choosing not to recognize these actions as violations of their civil rights is unacceptable. This is what I believe.”

Gatesman says “Although the Stonewall Riots were certainly not the beginning of our journey toward lgbt equality, it was a profound point in our history. I was in my first year of high school when all that was happening and believed I had nothing in common with the gay activists of 1969. Much has changed since the summer of ‘69 for our community and for me. I don’t take for granted all that I have as a gay person today,” he says.

Gatesman says he realizes change has comes from “a generation of men and women who stepped in front of their personal insecurities and fears and worked to make a difference.”

Historic Harrisburg Association Draws 300+ to Facility

May 22, 2010

The Paper Lion Gallery owners Bill Grace and Jim Hadfield installed the art exhibit for the event.

L to R: Historic Harrisburg Association executive director John Campbell, business manager Chris Deitz, and the first executive director David Morrison.

“We couldn’t be happier with our turnout!” beamed John Campbell, executive director, Historic Harrisburg Association. The organization drew more than 300 visitors to its buffed up property at as part of a 3rd in the Burg night in Midtown Harrisburg.

“Recently we had 20 students from Bloomsburg University here to seriously clean the space,” said Chris Deitz, business manager. Some returned that night to see their work firsthand.

With constant chatter throughout the evening of new talent at the helm, visitors spoke enthusiastically of bringing back the valuable resource. “We’re more than meets the eye,” explained Campbell. HHA is the parent organization to the Broad Street Market. As the capital city’s 3rd Street corridor continues to evolve into a destination point, HHA is poised to play ball.

Well after 9 p.m. the night of the street event, the corners at 3rd and Verbeke Sts. Remained abuzz with visitors from surrounding neighborhoods and communities. Mantis Gallery, also home to Moviate, held court well into the evening with a lively crowd.

Campbell and Deitz see their first step as bringing people back into the HHA orbit. The organization’s first executive director, David Morrison, well known in historical preservation and art circles who continuously support the mission, greeted newcomers and old faces. “This is great, this feels like renewal,” he commented.

Campbell talked of a Capital Campaign. “We’ve had the facility reviewed by developers and others. We need $1.5 million to bring it back,” he said. He and Deitz envision a multipurpose property, rentals to smaller organizations, meeting space. “Recently we hosted Preservation PA for their annual conference,” Campbell said.

Bill Grace and Jim Hadfield, owners of The Paper Lion Gallery, 12317 Hummel Ave., Lemoyne, installed the art exhibit for the event.
One visitor said with a wide smile “I know I’m living in the right place when I see this.”
Info: Historic Harrisburg Association, 1230 North Third St., Harrisburg, PA 17102, (717) 233-4646, Mon.-Fri., 9-5, http://www.historicharrisburg.org; info@historicharrisburg.org

Phila. Trans-Health Conference Career Day June 3

May 10, 2010

From Chris Paige at Trans-Health – On-site job recruitement.

Dear Friends,

You are invited to participate in the Philadelphia Trans-Health Conference’s annual Career Day. This year’s Career Day will be held on Thursday, June 3, 2010, at the Pennsylvania Convention Center (12th and Arch St in Center City, Philadelphia).

To kick off the day, this year’s Career Day will feature three-hours of programming for employers on emerging legal protections for transgender employees and guidelines for creating a transgender-inclusive work environment. Registration for the Philadelphia Trans-Health Conference is free and there is no additional charge for this seminar. You can register and learn more about this conference at http://www.trans-health.org.

In the afternoon, we will provide an opportunity for LGBT-friendly employers to establish their organization as an employer of individuals within the transgender community and to conduct on-site recruitment for full- or part-time employees and student interns. Please register for the Career Fair by the end of your business day on Friday, May 23, 2010. You can find the link to registration online at http://trans-health.org/content/expanded-career-day-june-3-2010.

Please share this email with other colleagues who might be interested participating in the Career Day as either an employer or a potential employee. Thank you for your time. Please feel free to contact me with any questions. We hope to see you in June!

Regards,

Chris
P.S. In case you are not familiar with it, the Philadelphia Trans-Health Conference draws presenters and participants from all over the U.S. With 1500 participants in 2009, we are the largest transgender conference in the world!

Family Research Council Founder Uses Rentboy.com

May 6, 2010

The blogosphere is ablaze today with a story that broke in the May issue of Miami New Times and was reported today by The Washington Post. Prominent anti-gay activist and cofounder of the conservative Family Research Council George Alan Rekers recently returned from a 10-day European trip with a male escort who advertises on a Web site called Rentboy.com.

Rekers told the New Times he hired the escort to help carry luggage, not for sexual purposes. He only learned his companion was a prostitute midway through the trip and on Wednesday published a statement decrying the New Times story as “slanderous.”

“A recent article in an alternative newspaper cleverly gave false impressions of inappropriate behavior because of its misleading innuendo, incorrectly implying that Professor George Rekers used the Rentboy website to hire a prostitute to accompany him on a recent trip,” the statement said. “Contrary to Internet stories based on this slanderous article, following medical advice Professor George Rekers requires an assistant to lift his luggage in his travels because of an ongoing condition following surgery. … Professor Rekers was not involved in any illegal or sexual behavior with his travel assistant.”

A professor of psychology at the University of South Carolina and a Baptist minister, Rekers is a leading proponent of therapy to “cure” homosexuality and has testified against gay adoption. He is a board member of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, which calls itself “a professional, scientific organization that offers hope to those who struggle with unwanted homosexuality.”

The escort, who was identified in the article by the pseudonym ‘Lucien,’ told the newspaper that his services were enlisted through Rentboy.com, which helps clients “find gay escorts, male escorts, gay masseurs, male masseurs and learn how to become an escort.”

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, said the group had no specific knowledge of Rekers recent doings. Central Voice columnist Sophonda Cox said “You go girl!”

Pretty Things Peepshow at Stage at Herr June 1

May 5, 2010

“The Pretty Things Peepshow” – a burlesque and sideshow – team up with bad boy rock and roll band “The Sex Slaves” June 1 at Stage on Herr, 268 Herr St., Harrisburg, PA.

Doors open at 7 p.m., burlesque at 8 p.m., band at 9 p.m. $8 advance, $10 day of show.

There’s a little something for every one. Classic burlesque, dirty rock and roll and some of the most amazing sideshow acts you’ve ever seen. You’ll see midgets walking on glass and escaping from a straight jacket, comedy, whip cracking, prize giveaways, and beautiful burlesque. Take a peep into the glamour of the past and a look into the future of rock and roll in one amazing night.

The Pretty Things Peepshow cast currently includes four femme fatales Suicide Girl and vintage pin up Queen Bettina May, burlesque beauty and sideshow siren, Go-Go Amy, sexy songbird Bonnie Voyage, The Midget of Mischief Lil’ Miss Firefly and The Bob Barker of Boobies, Vincent Drambuie.

The peepshow has appeared in Las Vegas, Ozzefest, Warped Tour, Hotel Monceau Demolition Party in Paris, France, The West Coast Riot/Metal Town Music festivals in Sweden an the Reaperbahn Festival in Hamburg Germany and dancing in Music videos for The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Semi Precious Weapons, Tommy Stinson (Guns and Roses) Probot (featuring Dave Grohl and Lemmy) under their sparkly little belts these sexy ladies know how to translate charm and sex appeal into any language.

The Sex Slaves is a powerhouse of rock and roll, an unstoppable force of nature. They leave audiences screaming for more. Ladies, The Sex Slaves are the boys your momma warned you about.

A staple in the dirty downtown rock scene of NYC since 2004 these badass boys have earned their place in rock history and the record collections of every super hot babe on the planet. Three albums, a huge radio hit “Thank God for Jack Daniels,” and a few hundred tour dates in the US, Canada, Europe and Japan later these boy are ready to show you that they’ve got what it takes. Get ready to throw your fists in the air and your panties at the stage. This is a night you’ll be talking about for years to come.

Contact: http://harrisburgarts.com; 717-441-7506