Archive for July, 2011

PHOTOS: 20th Annual Central Pa Pride Festival Huge Success

July 30, 2011

The 20 th Annual Central Pa. Pride Festival held July 30 was a huge success. With cooperating weather, the banks of the Susquehanna River overflowed with unity and diversity.

MCC’s Men’s & Women’s Relationship Groups Open

July 28, 2011

Men’s Relationship Building Group

Men, come on out to MCC’s Men’s Group! Open to singles and couples. The group is designed as a place for discussion free of judgment. This month we are talking about commitment and what it means to different people. August 13 at 6:30PM at the home of Bill Falce and Wil Hildebrand, 4712 Royal Ave, Harrisburg (Colonial Park area). Call Paul Keller with questions, 717-329-1608.

Women’s Relationship Building Group
The setup of the Women’s Group is much the same as the Men’s Group. Open to singles and couples, judgement-free discussion, relationship and commitment. August 13 at 6 p.m. at the home of Rev. Roben Waddell and Barb Canter, 3235 Athena Ave, Harrisburg. Call Rev. Roben with questions, 717-652-0442.

FAB Nov. 12; Nominate For Award

July 27, 2011

FAB – Save the date!
Saturday, November 12, 2011
Make sure to be part of this special evening!
FAB is a key source of funding for the LGBT Community Center.

Lancaster County Convention Center & Marriott at Penn Square
25 S. Queen Street, Lancaster
Black Tie Optional

To serve as a Table Captain for this year’s event, contact Table Captain Coordinator Steve Dorko at

Tickets are $100 before October 15, $120 after

Reserve your room at the Marriott at a discounted rate of $115 by October 22. Use the online code “FABFABA”, or call 800-228-9290 and say that you are with the “Fall Achievement Benefit”.

Visit for more information

We are currently seeking nominations for the 2011 FAB Award.

FAB was created to honor people in our community who have made important contributions to the economic, political, cultural, spiritual and social progress of LGBT causes in our region. Past winners have included Ben Dunlap, Sharon Mahar Potter, Melinda Eash, Steve Glassman and the Reverend Barry Stophel. The 2010 honorees were Paul Foltz, Ashley McLaughlin, and Bill and Carol Sizemore. Nominees may be individuals or organizations.

Nominations should include the name of the candidate and contact information for the candidate and the nominator, along with a short statement (300-500 words) describing the contributions the candidate has made to our community. A panel of judges will select the award recipient(s) from those nominated. Please submit nominations by September 15, 2011 to: LGBT Community Center Coalition, 221 N. Front Street, Harrisburg, PA 17101 or by FAX: 717-920-9536 or by e-mail:

BREAKING: Sect. of Defense Panetta Expected to Certify DADT Repeal Tomorrow

July 21, 2011

NYC Unveils Lottery to Accommodate Expected Crush of Same-Sex Weddings

July 20, 2011

By “Boy in Bushwick”

With five days to go until gays and lesbians can legally marry in New York, city officials earlier today unveiled a lottery designed to accommodate the expected crush of same-sex weddings on the day the marriage equality law takes effect.

The lottery, which will accommodate 764 same-sex and heterosexual couples, opened at noon. It will close at noon on Thursday, July 21.

“We are going to make history on Sunday, with the eyes of the nation once again turning to New York City,” said Bloomberg as he spoke at City Hall alongside City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and City Clerk Michael McSweeney. “We’ve done our homework, and it’s clear that the number of couples who want to marry on Sunday is more than the City Clerk’s offices could possibly handle. And the last thing we want is for couples to wait on line for hours and hours, only to walk away upset on what was supposed to be the happiest day of their lives. The fairest way to determine who gets the chance to wed on Sunday and ensure everyone can properly plan for their own big day is through an even-handed lottery system.”

Truth Wins Out or Will It?

July 13, 2011

John Becker

By Frank Pizzoli

Central Voice talked to Wayne Besen and John Becker, of Truth Wins Out (TWO), on Michele and Marcus Bachmann’s “Pray Away the Gay” problem.

July 13, 2011 – Media of every kind – network, cable, Internet, blogs – are flush with interviews on what has become known as the “Pray Away the Gay” problem for presidential candidate Michelle Bachmann and husband Marcus.

At a Christian counseling clinic Bachmann and Associates, the Lake Elmo, Minn.-based clinic co-owned by the couple, TWO has secretly taped five counseling sessions between John Becker, 26, and a counselor who suggested to him that God made a man’s eyes to appreciate a woman’s body.

“I had five, privately-paid for sessions from June 23 to June 30,” Becker told Central Voice today. He characterized the sessions and subsequent therapeutic suggestions made by his counselor as based on prayer, a better understanding of God, and that changing from homosexual to heterosexual was possible.

“Never did my counselor acknowledge that homosexual orientation is a naturally-occurring variation of human sexuality,” Becker said. His feelings for men were treated as an outside force that prayer could heal. “My counselor said that being heterosexual is the core value of how God has created us,” Becker explained. Marcus Bachmann is squarely on the record in previous media statements as referring to gay people as “Barbarians” who need “discipline”. Becker has been married to a man for five years whom he describes as “the center of my world”.

Bogus Science?
The controversy focuses less on “reparative therapy” than on the fact that Marcus Bachmann has repeatedly said his counseling service did not offer such therapy. The therapy’s claim that one can change sexual orientation from homosexual or lesbian to heterosexual is discredited as false by both the American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychological Association. Those organizations, and former MTV host and now on-air cable face Dr. Drew Pinsky, have described the practice as potentially harmful to individuals already feeling the social strains of rejection from churches, family, schools, and bullying. Becker said he founded the sessions “very emotionally draining and I’m an actor-performer. What about individuals who are less equipped and vulnerable,” he asked?

Federal Funds?
Further stoking the controversy is that the clinic has received $137,000 in federal funds for treating patients in Medicaid-backed programs. NBC’s Michael Isikoff reports the previously unreported payments are on top of the $24,000 in federal and state funds that the clinic received in recent years under a state grant to train its employees, state records show. The figures were provided to NBC News in response to a Freedom of Information request. These revelations bait the question: Have the Bachmann’s used taxpayer funds to train therapists in the use of reparative therapy?

TWO founder Besen told Central Voice that “Michele Bachmann made her career on touting her strong beliefs. Now she is willing to discard her principles for political expediency. It is time the Bachmann’s admit they do reparative therapy and stop running from their record.”

See Interviews
See interviews with John Becker, Wayne Besen, others by MSNBC, NBC Nightline, Chris Matthews, and Anderson Cooper at

Singer-Songwriter Christine Havrilla’s East Coast Tour

July 13, 2011

by Debra Miller
Philadelphia Arts and Culture Correspondent
Photo by Tiana Godfrey

It’s an exciting time for Christine Havrilla. After receiving nominations for two of her songs at the 7th Annual OUTMUSIC Awards in May, she’s focused on a new project, a new album, and a new Northeast tour. The Philadelphia native moved to Portland, Oregon in 2010, but still has strong family ties, a large network of friends, and an extensive fan base in the greater Philadelphia area, which she visits frequently.

This summer, she has been balancing her solo appearances with her work on Gypsy Fuzz–the self-described “power trio” of Havrilla, Mike Kurman on bass, and Rob Schnell on drums, whose debut album will be out in September. With a focus on electric rather than acoustic, and the addition of background singers and musicians on organ, guitars, and horns, Gypsy Fuzz promises to be a dark and ethereal blend, whose layers of sound Havrilla compares to a painter applying layers on a canvas.

To fund her new project, she is offering fans the opportunity to be directly involved in its development, by making a donation, pre-ordering copies of the Gypsy Fuzz CD, or at a higher level of support, by booking a 90-minute “house concert” for an up-close and personal experience. Upcoming private events are scheduled at homes in New Hope on July 17, and Brooklyn on July 31.

This month Havrilla will also perform at a series of public venues, including the Nighcat in Easton, Maryland; the Seafood Shack in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware; Twilight Concerts at the Gazebo in Bryn Mawr; and John & Peter’s in New Hope, where she’ll appear with Gypsy Fuzz. Her passion for the new sound is evident: “I want people to pump a fist and not just tap a toe to some of the new Gypsy Fuzz songs!”

Along with her other local dates, Havrilla will play a charity event for New Jersey Ride Against AIDS on Friday, July 29, beginning at 9 pm. Originally scheduled as a house concert through a friend who cycles with her Dad, the benefit has been moved to Triumph Brewing Company, 400 Bridge Street, New Hope. The goal is not only to raise money, but to generate awareness and support for the 3-day, 250-mile bike ride from High Point State Park to Cape May, scheduled for September 23-25, with 100% of the dollars pledged going to charity.

For more information, a detailed list of concert dates, and “all things Christine,” visit her website at Look for my full-length feature interview with Havrilla in the September-October issue of Central Voice. Havrilla has previously performed at The Wire and Whitaker Center.

BREAKING: Appeals Court Makes DADT Unenforceable

July 6, 2011

In a labyrinth trail of decisions and reversals, today (July 6, 2011) the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals lifted its own stay of a lower court’s injunction barring enforcement of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law. This move once again renders DADT unenforceable by the Pentagon.

“With the wait for certification dragging out beyond a reasonable time frame, the court has once again stepped in to require the Pentagon to stop enforcing DADT and this time it very well may be for good,” said Alexander Nicholson, Servicemembers United, and the sole veteran plaintiff on the case.

“I am proud to have worked personally worked with Log Cabin Repulbicans on this case for more than five years now and to have represented the gay military community as the sole named veteran on this lawsuit. Despite the criticisms and years of waiting, this case has yet again successfully eviscerated this outdated, harmful, and discriminatory law.”

The Log Cabin Republicans vs. U.S.A. lawsuit is the only contemporary successful challenge to the constitutionality of the DADT law, which requires the Department of Defense to abruptly fire any servicemember found to be gay, lesbian, or bisexual. In 2010, U.S. District Court Judge Virginia Phillips found the law to be unconstitutional after a two-week trial, and issued an order barring enforcement of the law worldwide. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals subsequently issued a stay of that order pending appeal by the government. Today’s order from the Ninth Circuit overturns its own previous stay, rendering DADT once again unenforceable.