Archive for February, 2011

“Support Wisconsin” Rally Draws Large Crowd

February 26, 2011

Opposite Message Expressed across the Street

See Photos Below

At noon today a crowd that filled the steps of the capital from top to bottom chanted in unison “We are one!” to show solidarity with Wisconsin’s unionized public employees.

At the same time in Wisconsin, unions, Republican Gov. Scott Walker, and the legislative assembly remained gridlocked on negotiations over a “right to work” bill that would allow employees to opt out of paying union dues in a unionized workplace. Media reports said that about 70,000 protesters gathered in the Wisconsin Capital Feb. 20.

“This Saturday we’re drawing a line in the sand. We’re putting everything we’ve got into one massive display of progressive solidarity nationwide,” indicated an email by Keystone Progress, organizer of Harrisburg’s event.

One speaker noted that Gov. Tom Corbett has said he would sign similar legislation if it was sent to him by the legislature. Such laws are in effect in 22 states.

Events were planned for major cities nationwide. Text messages received today by local attendees from ralliers in Philadelphia indicated that crowd may have been in the thousands in downtown Love Park.

About 30-40 people, with a different message gather across the street on the corner of Third and State Sts. Generally, their message of the day was that union collective bargaining hurts taxpayers.

FBI Files: Gay Vet Outed Hoover in 1957?

February 25, 2011

Editor’s Note: The best J. Edgar Hoover story comes from (former) Senator Bob Dole. Dole was MC at a capitol press dinner and had noted how lovely veteran White House reporter Helen Thomas looked in her gown. Dole asked Thomas to rise before the audience and said,” She’s wearing something from the J. Edgar Hoover Collection.”

From Michael Petrelis
There is so much brave gay activism that took place before the Stonewall Riots, including during the very closeted 1950s, and slowly but surely more of our history is coming to light.

I don’t in any way wish to denigrate the courageous anger and rebellion of the bar patrons and street folks and cross-dressers and hustlers at the riots in New York City in 1969. Let’s simply expand our facts about what took place before then, and by whom, to bring some dignity and tolerance to gay people in America.

At the GovernmentAttic.org site, recently released Federal Bureau of Investigation files from 1957 and 1958 detail the courage of one former U.S. Army Colonel John Reybold, an acknowledged homosexual who alleged that FBI director J. Edgar Hoover was “one of the boys.”

A total of 14-pages were released to GovernmentAttic.org in response to a FOIA request.

Several memos about Reybold were went to Hoover’s deputy and life-partner Clyde Tolson. What do some of the memos report?

From an August 1958 report on Reybold’s private life: During conversation, REYBOLD said at one time he had been an actor, that he had been in a Greek play that the police had closed. He said he liked young friends but that sometimes he had to beat them to keep them in place. Further stated he liked young men, liked to make love to them, liked to go to bed with them and to embrace them. He said he also like young men to go to concerts with him as this made him feel young.

At the Morals Division Office, REYBOLD said he has never been either the active or passive partner in any homosexual activity but admitted he “liked to love young men and embrace them.” …

In September 1958, more information was gathered on Reybold: Reybold admits that he is a homosexual and he is very much angered at the ACLU because the Union will make no comment on laws regarding homosexuals. He has numerous complaints concerning the Washington vice squad and the manner in which it handles entraps such people as himself …

The purpose of [redacted] furnishing this information is that Reybold has indicated to him that Mr. Hoover is “one of the boys” and also that there are supposed to be a considerable number in the Central Intelligence Agency and and the State Department …

Also in September 1958, another memo about the allegations was copied to Tolson: Reybold very obviously is a psychopathic case. He appears to have a warped, twisted, but cunning mind. He admittedly stated he is a homosexual by nature and has been one for a long time. He openly bragged of doing considerable reading and states he is currently carrying on a fight to change laws and social practices which besmirch homosexuality.

It was necessary to pin Reybold down in a very harsh manner. He denied that he had made the specific statement “Mr. Hoover is one of the boys.” He denied ever making the statement that Mr. Hoover is a homosexual. He admitted that on several occasions, in company of other homosexuals, he had made the statement “J. Edgar Hoover is either an active homosexual or else has the potentialities of being a homosexual.” Upon the immediate demand that produce facts to support such statements, he attempted to defend himself by stating: (1) the Director is a bachelor; (2) the Director loved his mother very dearly; and (3) the Director frequented the Mayflower Bar.”

Then in October 1958, an agent sent Tolson a terse memo, above, about how the agency resolved the problems with Reybold and his allegations: [Redacted] called me this afternoon advising that the above individual [Reybold] had called on him after his interview with representatives of the Bureau yesterday. He stated that obviously Reybold was shaky but, of course, had no idea where we had secured our information. [Redacted] stated he though Reybold was sufficiently “shook up” to keep his mouth shut in the future.

Googling John Reybold and homosexual and John Reybold and J. Edgar Hoover produce nothing of further relevance, leading me to wonder how this outing homosexual has fallen through the cracks. Have you ever heard anything about him, his open homosexuality, battles with the FBI and other institutions, and public statements regarding Hoover being homosexual?

Kudos to use of the Freedom of Information Act by the GovernmentAttic.org folks for requesting and sharing the file on Colonel John Reybold.

Today: Obama Administration Will Not Defend DOMA

February 23, 2011

The Obama administration said today (Feb. 23, 2011) that it would not defend in court the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the 15-year-old federal law that defines marriage as between a man and a woman.

The Justice Department had previously defended the law, but said it had determined in a pair of cases in the federal appeals court in New York that it was no longer constitutional.

The co-directors of the Columbia Law School’s Center for Gender and Sexuality Law reacted to today’s announcement:

Katherine Franke, Professor of Law; Director, Center for Gender and Sexuality Law said:

The Obama administration is to be applauded for recognizing the injustice and discrimination that were solidified into law with the enactment of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). His decision, along with his Attorney General, to abandon defense of lawsuits challenging DOMA signals a true shift in the recognition of the fundamental rights of lesbians and gay men to organize their lives in ways equal to those of heterosexuals. I also applaud the President and Attorney General’s statement that sexual orientation should be treated as a suspect class under equal protection analysis, thus requiring any state that seeks to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation to provide not just a plausible, but a compelling reason for doing so. This represents a sea change in the recognition of lesbian and gay rights in the U.S.

The President and Justice Department could, however, take one further step, and refuse to defend the lawsuits challenging Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. At the same time that the Administration has changed policy on the marriage rights of same-sex couples, it continues to defend the blatantly discriminatory policy of the U.S. military. This is particularly surprising given that Congress has authorized the repeal of DADT and the President has recognized that maintenance of the policy undermines unit readiness and national security. I urge him to reverse course in the DADT litigation just as he has in the DOMA cases.

Suzanne Goldberg, Clinical Professor of Law; Director, Center for Gender and Sexuality Law said:

This major turn should be a final nail in the coffin for the different treatment of gay and nongay people by the federal government in marriage and the military. It is a long time coming and is wonderful news for the entire nation as we move a giant step closer to equality for all.

UPDATE: Uganda & Criminalization of Homosexuality

February 17, 2011

UPDATE: Uganda & Criminalization of Homosexuality

FEBRUARY 17, 2011: As of today, Fundamentalist Pastor Lou Engle has agreed to meet with a group representing HRC and Soulforce at a date to be determined.

HRC and Soulforce look forward to meeting with Engle and directly communicating their concerns about his radical views, and urge him to immediately make statements on record, delivered on Ugandan soil, explicitly opposing both the Anti-Homosexuality Bill and any criminalization of homosexuality in any country.

In the meantime, Sunday’s scheduled vigil and delivery of petitions will go forward as planned in order to educate the public about the horrific situation in Uganda and the role American evangelicals have played in escalating it.

HRC & Soulforce to Pastor Lou Engle: Stop Exporting Hate to Uganda in the Name of Religion. Organizations to hold vigil and deliver 70,000 petition signatures to Rev. Engle calling on him to engage in dialog on anti-LGBT sentiment in Uganda.

HRC, in partnership with Soulforce, a civil rights organization seeking freedom from religious and political oppression of LGBTQQ people, will hold a vigil outside the International House of Prayer in Kansas City on Sunday, February 20, and ask fundamentalist pastor Lou Engle to abandon his hateful and dangerous anti-LGBT rhetoric and actions.

Prior to the brutal murder of Ugandan civil rights leader David Kato, Engle called LGBT people a threat to Uganda. Engle has publicly defended the Ugandan government’s efforts to pass the “Kill the Gays” bill, a measure that would have made homosexuality a capital crime.

Following Kato’s murder, HRC sent a nationwide action alert to its members and supporters asking them to sign a petition to three leading anti-LGBT ministers including Engle who have been exporting hate in the name of religion. The petition currently has nearly 70,000 signatures.

Members and supporters of Soulforce and HRC have asked for the opportunity to worship in Engle’s church, the International House of Prayer, on Sunday, February 20, and will be in respectful vigil outside the church throughout morning services. Following the vigil, Rev. Cindi Love and Moses Kushaba, a Ugandan who left his country in fear of his life because he is gay and sought political asylum in the United States, will present Engle with the petition signatures and speak to the press.

A Message from Lancaster Pride on Events

February 15, 2011

See full events schedule below.

Our next monthly Pride meeting is Wednesday February 16th from 7 PM to 8:30 PM at the Lancaster YWCA. Meetings are held the third Wednesday of every month and are open to the public. Join us as we get ready for 2011 Pride which will take place on Saturday June 18th. We have exciting fundraisers, events, dances, youth happenings, etc. in the works for the upcoming months. We need volunteers to help in all aspects of putting this year’s Pride together. Come find out how you can get involved!

The Lancaster Pride Youth Outreach is hosting another Family Bingo Night due to the overwhelming success of the first one! This will be held on Monday February 28th from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM at Carmen & David’s Creamery. It is again a family-friendly night so bring your kids and teenagers. It is free to play, there are fun prizes, and ice cream & drinks will be available for purchase. Donations will be accepted.

On Tuesday March 8 from 5 PM to 9 PM, Isaac’s Downtown will host a fundraiser for Lancaster Pride by donating 25% of your food purchase to our group. Bring your friends and family to enjoy great food and great company while supporting our festival. You must bring a coupon with you, so be sure to print one out!

The Red Party will again be held this year at the Chameleon and is co-hosted by Lancaster Pride and ACA/Alder Health Services. It will be on Saturday March 26th from 9 PM to 2 AM. This is a 21 and older event featuring DJ Image, drag performances, a raffle, and silent auction.

The following are some of the other events that are in the works. Details will be announced as they get closer so keep checking the Facebook page and website as well as these newsletters!
•Sunday April 17th–Art Auction & Cocktail Party–Fenz
•Sunday May 1st–Tea Dance–Belvedere
•Sunday June 12th–Ms. Lanc. Pride Pageant–Tally Ho
•Thursday June 16th–Interfaith Service
•Friday June 17th–Pre-Pride Party
•Saturday June 18th–PRIDE!!!–Buchanan Park
•Saturday June 18th–After Party
•July–Chicago—Ephrata Performing Arts Center

As you can see we have a lot planned so be sure to save the dates! And if you want to get involved, a great place to start is our monthly meetings. Hope to see you there!

Congressional Author of DADT Repeal in Harrisburg March 2

February 15, 2011

Brad Koplinsky, Harrisburg City Council member

Want to meet the former US Congressman from Pennsylvania who authored the legislation that ended the military’s policy of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell?

On Wed., March 2, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m., former Pennsylvania Congressman Patrick Murphy will appear at the Art Association of Harrisburg, 21 N. Front Street, Harrisburg. Murphy is here as part of a fund raiser “in support City Councilman Brad Koplinski for his efforts to make Harrisburg a better place,” according to Koplinski’s announcement.

General Reception – $50. Appreciation Reception – $250, (Includes photo with and signed book by Murphy). RSVP to: mailto: RunningforHarrisburg@gmail.com or call 623-2748 by March 1.

An Iraq war veteran who served as a captain in the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, Murphy took over the leadership of the bill to repeal the military’s ”Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in 2009 when former Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-CA) left Congress for a post in the State Department of the Obama administration.

One book reviewer said “The book is a moving and inspiring memoir from the first Iraq war veteran to be elected to the US Congress, Congressman Patrick J. Murphy, the Irish American son of a Philadelphia policeman and a former nun who raised their family in a tough-but-loving blue-collar neighborhood, grew out of a scrappy childhood to become a community college student and then-quickly-army officer, lawyer, and the youngest professor at West Point.”

Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews and NBC’s The Chris Matthews Show said: “My hero Winston Churchill said that ‘Courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities because it is the quality that guarantees all the others.’ Congressman Murphy, a soldier-politician of this new century, is the living proof of that. As a Philadelphia guy myself, I take great pride in Pat Murphy and got a wild kick reading about his exciting young life. Like him I grew up in Northeast Philly and spent so much of my time in nearby Bucks County. I can’t believe how much this young fellow has done – lawyer, prosecutor, paratrooper, national legislator. This guy was born airborne.”

250 Gather at Harrisburg Rally Calling for Mayor Linda Thompson to Resign

February 14, 2011

Watch for more in March-April print edition. See photos below.

The designer’s intention with the sculpture on city hall plaza was to reflect different views of the city. Today that artist’s dream came true.

By noon a crowd of about 250 people assembled in front of the Martin Luther King, Jr. City Government Center in downtown Harrisburg. Most of the people were gone by 1:10 p.m., or so.

When a row of Thompson supporters presented themselves and their signs below her office windows, Thompson came to the window to acknowledge their support.

The Valentine’s Day rally had been branded “Show Your Love for Harrisburg; Demand Linda Thompson Resign” by lead organizer Lisa Paige, who said she was satisfied with the turnout. About halfway through the rally, a man with a petition clipboard had gathered about 50 signatures calling for Thompson’s resignation.

Gauging from messages on hand-made signs, spontaneous crowd cheers, rhymed chants and chatter, it appears that most, but not all who rallied, were there expressing frustrations over the city’s financial woes and recent reports by former mayoral spokesperson Chuck Ardo. Ardo alleges that Thompson had referred to openly gay, elected City Controller Dan Miller as “that homosexual, evil little man.” A son of Holocaust survivors, Ardo also told of potential city investors being referred to as “Israel money”.

Ardo is Thompson’s third spokesperson in 13 months to have resigned, although one left to accept a job in his hometown. A day before Ardo clarified why he resigned and Paige went public with her rally, Harrisburg City Solicitor Phil Harper resigned, citing he had “philosophical differences” with the mayor. “I would hope that the mayor recognizes her philosophical biases have been a hindrance,” Ardo told Central Voice.

After Ardo’s disclosures, Thompson released this statement: “I have a passion for all people and have surrounded myself with a diverse group of people, both in my personal and professional life.

I value my responsibility for diversity and will let my work, as the Mayor of the City of Harrisburg, prove that I am a Mayor for all people.

The work that I have begun, the initiatives I have started, and the coalitions I have built around these initiatives represent diversity.

Those who have a relationship with me, both personally and professionally, know that I care about our City and all people. Chuck Ardo may say what he wants, but the people elected me as Mayor and I will faithfully discharge my duties and let the people decide.”

15 ralliers asked to answer the question “I’m here today because…” said:
Dr. Ali – To support Linda Thompson
Sylvester – To keep Linda Thompson in office
Rafiyqa – Supporting the mayor, how do we know it’s true she said those things?
Vera – Pointed to her sign – Lead or Leave – I want peace, unity, success
Gail – I’d like to get a feel for what people are thinking about all this
Michael G. – Sad to see that the realities by the former administration resulted in this
Kevin – I’m concerned for the safety of the citizens, closing a fire station to balance the budget
Michael – Because of the truth of Jesus
Michael – I support resignation, she’s anti-gay, anti-Semitic, neither confirmed nor denied or apologized
Paula – I cannot accept bigotry in government, especially from a Democrat, we don’t represent that
Mike – I’m a friend of Dan Miller. It’s unfair the way she’s treating him
Amanda – I think Thompson needs to hear from people who didn’t vote
Bill – She promised a plan, 13 months later nothing
Ray – her racism on gays and Jews, if she actually said those things, imagine if someone else said similar things about African Americans, the NAACP would be right on it
Adam – To see this protest, to see people using their voice

Smoking: “Quit for Love” for Valentine’s Day – FREE Offer

February 11, 2011

What better way to express your love to another person – someone whom you love and loves you back, a partner, husband, wife, significant other, boyfriend, girlfriend – than by quitting smoking. And for FREE!

For Pennsylvania smokers eager to go tobacco free, the Department of Health will offer FREE nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) four-week starter kits to qualified applicants beginning Monday, February 14. Residents can call Pennsylvania’s toll-free Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) for more information. The kits will be offered through the PA Free Quitline for approximately six to eight weeks.

The Department of Health’s NRT kits include a four-week supply of nicotine patches and related information. Callers must agree to enroll in a free cessation program with the Quitline and set an actual quit date. The cessation program ranges from three to six phone sessions. To qualify for the starter kit, they must answer several questions regarding any medical conditions that would rule out the safe use of nicotine patches.

The NRT program is part of the Department of Health’s ‘Quit for Love’ campaign, which encourages Pennsylvania smokers to do just that: put the health and well-being of loved ones first and quit for them. ‘Quit for Love’is designed to encourage quit attempts and to highlight the numerous resources for smokers to develop a quit plan, including DeterminedToQuit.com and the Quitline (1-800-QUIT-NOW).

Are You Offended by Saturday Night Live?

February 3, 2011

If you’re a Saturday Night Live fan you may have seen a Jan. 29 sketch on making the transition from male to female and the use of hormones.

Equality Pennsylvania (EQPA) and GLAAD (The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) joined together “in condemning the dangerous and inflammatory anti-transgender segment on the January 29” a news release said.

“This segment ridiculed transgender individuals and degraded their lives and experiences. In an age in which hate crimes against lgbt individuals continue to occur and we have seen the suicide of numerous lgbt youth, this type of dehumanizing broadcast is unacceptable,” the release continued.

GLAAD’s Aaron McQuade told Central Voice “Every laugh in this segment comes from the appearance of one of the sketch’s transgender characters – except for the laughs that Keenan Thompson’s character gets for being intrigued by one of the characters. From subtle things (Hader’s way of crossing his legs and wearing earrings) to very unsubtle (Thompson’s reaction) the laughs for this sketch all come from the idea that both the existence and approval of transgender people is absurd. Transgender people face tremendous difficulties in this country, including hate violence, harassment and discrimination, and so-called “jokes” like this reinforce the stigmas that fuel those injustices. Comedy should be rooted in humor, not cheap stereotype.”

See segment at thecentralvoice.com