Issue 403

Share the Spirit of the Season Adopt a Holiday Basket!

The 23rd Annual Holiday Basket Program of The Aliveness Project, a community nonprofit that serves Minnesotans living with HIV/AIDS, is under way. It started in 1988 as a way to help HIV-positive members celebrate the season in the face of the challenges that come with a HIV-positive diagnosis. Read the rest of this entry »

Supportive Adults Need To Be Visible and ailable to GLBT Youth

In light of the recent surge in teen suicides and prevalence of teen bullying, I wanted to put a call out to all adults who are supporters of GLBT youth to make themselves visible and available to kids in their communities.

I applaud all of those who have spoken in the It Gets Better Campaign, and who have broadcast their own stories to the world. Their voices are irreplaceable! For kids to hear from people who have experienced similar struggles, and survived to become happy adults, there may be nothing more helpful—except maybe an adult in their life who is willing to listen and be accepting. Read the rest of this entry »

Lying with Statistics 101

Perhaps it’s a quirk of the nasty weather, but crackpot theories are erupting like fungus on a decaying log.

Most recently, Paul Kix of AOL News heralded Walter Schumm’s new “research,” which in effect piggybacks on the homophobic scribblings of Paul Cameron, founder and chairman of the Family Research Institute. In 2006, Cameron purported to have proof that gay parents produced gay children at a higher rate than heterosexual parents—who themselves, he failed to note, have been producing gay children since the dawn of time (or Creation, if you prefer). Read the rest of this entry »

Words Lead to Bullying and Bashing

Words are powerful and dynamic. I think that most people would agree that people should be responsible for the effects or impacts of their words and actions. It is illegal to shout “Fire!” in a crowded theater. If you do, you should expect to be held accountable for the stampede or injuries that occur. Read the rest of this entry »

You Are Not Alone

We, the students and staff at Avalon School in St. Paul, have been deeply disturbed by the recent rash of student suicides in neighboring districts and around the country. The Star Tribune’s recent article “Schools Struggle with Gay Policies” brought to light how local schools are dealing with this crisis.

Anoka-Hennepin School Board Chairman Tom Heidemann’s words that “these are issues that can be dealt with outside the classroom” miss the point that queer youth need a supportive school environment if they cannot find it at home or at neighborhood institutions. When none of these environments serve as spaces of refuge and affirmation, it can be suffocating and sometimes deadly. Read the rest of this entry »

Catholic Church’s Moral Teaching Leads to Youth Suicides

I find myself reflecting on the recent bullying stories amidst a maelstrom of political and religious fronts converging on a time when young people continue to kill themselves because our society hides behind “separation” of “church and state.”

Every day, I think about a kid who as a result of attending a religious service decides that suicide is the only option to free himself from an omnipresent stifling and oppressive environment. Read the rest of this entry »

Queer As Folks

Candlelight Vigil for Victims of Anti-GLBT Bullying

On the evening of October 14, Join the Impact-Twin Cities coordinated a Candlelight Vigil for Victims of Anti-GLBT Bullying in Loring Park, Minneapolis. About a thousand people attended, including Tammy Aaberg, mother of Justin Aaberg, a gay student victimized by bullying who took his own life. Another candlelight vigil on October 12 at the University of Minnesota drew about 400 students.

District 202 Zombie Halloween Party

Rise Again!, the second annual Distict 202 Halloween Party, took place on October 23 at University Baptist Church, Minneapolis. In keeping with its ’80s zombie theme, prizes were awarded for Best Zombie. Featured DJ Taskrock presided over the dancing. District 202’s mission is to create safe spaces for GLBT youth and their allied friends where they can build self-confidence, self-expression, skills, and resources.

The Tile Shop Offers Cornucopia of Home Inspiration

Interview with Kirsten Froelich

Man has been a tile-using creature for more than four millennia, crafting polygons of baked clay for utilitarian and aesthetic use. Like our forebears, we continue to delight in the beauty, durability, and myriad uses of tile inside and outside our homes. Read the rest of this entry »

Nienstedt’s Antigay DVD Is Bullying

Like most of you, I’ve had bullies on the brain lately. The stories of Justin Aaberg and the countless other teens who have taken their own lives this year not only leave me saddened, but also give me a chance to reflect.

I think about my own bullies: the handful of kids who called me “faggot” in the locker room or in the hallways between class. I think about my own bullying: the time I teased a “friend” to the point of tears. I learned a lot from both experiences. I know bullies. And I recognize bullying. Read the rest of this entry »

Big Gay News

National News

Pentagon Issues New Order on Gay Dismissals

US Defense Secretary Robert Gates issued new guidelines regarding the military’s recently reinstated ban on openly gay service members. The procedural change requires all discharges to be decided by senior civilian officials. The secretary of the branch in question will have to meet with a senior Pentagon lawyer and an undersecretary of personnel before the final decision is made. Gates’s memo announced that the change will be in place “until further notice.”

Choi Says Obama Playing Politics on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

AOL reports that gay Iraq War veteran Dan Choi, who tried to reenlist in the military in October—prior to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision temporarily to stay a lower court’s lifting of the military’s ban on openly gay soldiers—is criticizing the Obama Administration for its handling of the issue. President Barack Obama has stated that he opposes Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, but the Justice Department is defending it in court. Choi told C-SPAN, “President Obama is playing politics. There’s no reason you should force people to lie to serve their country.” Choi, a graduate of West Point, and an Arab linguist who served in Iraq, was discharged last year after publicly coming out.

Obama To Bullied Gay Kids: “You Are Not Alone”

President Barack Obama added his voice to the It Gets Better Campaign in October, letting gay kids and other victims of bullying know that they’re not alone, and that ultimately, things do get better. He said, “I don’t know what it is like to be picked on for being gay, but I do know what it is like to grow up feeling that sometimes, you don’t belong. It is tough.” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recorded a similar video earlier in the month. The ItGetsBetterProject garnered more than 10 million visits on YouTube in the first four weeks after it was set up.

Lawyers Say Atlanta Police Erased Data in Gay Bar Raid

According to lawyers, Atlanta police allegedly erased and destroyed evidence after a controversial raid on the Atlanta Eagle last year. The suit brought by the bar accuses police of erasing text messages, e-mails, and pictures related to the incident. During the raid, officers searched about five-dozen bar patrons, some of whom were forced down on the sidewalk and handcuffed, while officers shouted antigay slurs at them. City officials responded to the lawsuit, saying they are taking the allegations seriously, and will initiate an investigation.

World News

Court Condemns Moscow Gay Pride Bans

The Associated Press reports that the European Court of Human Rights condemned Russia for letting Moscow ban Gay Pride marches simply because officials don’t like gay and lesbian people. It ordered Russia to pay Gay Pride organizers more than $41,000 in damages and court costs. The court’s rulings are binding, so Russia now must ensure that Gay Pride parades can be held freely throughout the country. Russian activist Nikolay Alekseyev brought the cases over the past few years.

Ugandan Paper Publishes Photos of Gay Men

According to the Associated Press, the Ugandan newspaper Rolling Stone published a list of the country’s 100 “top” homosexuals that included the men’s photographs and names. A graphic across the top of the article said, “Hang Them!” Since its publication in early October, at least four gay men have been attacked, and, according to human rights advocates, many are in hiding. The article not only names the men, but also claims that a deadly disease is attacking gay men in Uganda, and that gay men are recruiting a million children by raiding the country’s schools.

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