Tag Archives: lgbt

White House Plans To Push For Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Repeal

Posted by: Audiegrl

DADT Repeal: Democrats Move Forward With Plans

Huffington Post/Sam Stein~Congressional negotiators and White House officials are moving forward with plans to add the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell to the upcoming defense authorization bill, Democratic sources tell the Huffington Post.

In Congress, members are being whipped to ensure that the votes will be there for passage, should the legislation be placed in the bill. At this juncture, aides say, the prospects look good. Meanwhile, a source close to the White House says the president has instructed the Defense Department that he believes the repeal of DADT should be placed in the authorization bill.

However, disagreements could emerge when it comes to crafting the actual legislative language, over which Defense Secretary Robert Gates will wield his influence. And at this juncture, few of the offices working on the issue said they were willing to take passage as a fait accompli.

People have said publicly and privately that this is a good place for repeal to be placed,” said one Democratic aide on the Hill. “It would be reasonable to expect that repeal might be in this year’s defense authorization… But we aren’t assuming anything yet.”

Lt. Dan Choi is an Iraq war veteran, Arabic speaker and West Point graduate who is fighting his dismissal from the Army National Guard for violating the military's DADT policy


If repeal of DADT is added to the defense authorization bill, critics of the program will view it as a long-overdue move. The initial law, in which members of the military weren’t asked about their sexuality nor allowed to serve openly, was passed as part of the defense authorization for FY1994. Since then, a delicate balance — which no particular side of the debate appreciated — has been the law of the land. As a result, thousands of military personnel have hidden their sexuality from their superiors and even more have been dismissed for making their sexuality public.

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President Obama Appoints Amanda Simpson, First Transgender Woman To Commerce Post

Posted by Audiegrl

Amanda Simpson, Senior Technical Adviser to the Commerce Department

Amanda Simpson, Senior Technical Adviser to the Commerce Department

HP/Nick Wing—President Obama has appointed Amanda Simpson, a transgender woman, to be the Senior Technical Adviser to the Commerce Department.

I’m truly honored to have received this appointment and am eager and excited about this opportunity that is before me,” Simpson said in a statement. “As one of the first transgender presidential appointees to the federal government, I hope that I will soon be one of hundreds, and that this appointment opens future opportunities for many others.

Simpson — a former test pilot and 2004 YWCA “Woman On The Move” — has been active in the aerospace and defense industry for the past 30 years. She most recently served as Deputy Director in Advanced Technology Development for Raytheon, where she transitioned from male to female.

In the past decade, Simpson has been highly active in GLBT issues. In 2005, she successfully worked to have Raytheon adopt gender identity into its Equal Employment Opportunity Policy. That same year, she ran unsuccessfully for the Arizona House of Representatives.

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Religious Right Goes Nuts Over Transgender Appointee Amanda Simpson

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Houston Swears In First Openly Gay Mayor Annise Parker

Posted by Audiegrl

Houston Mayor-elect Annise Parker, center, celebrates with her partner Kathy Hubbard, left, Parker's runoff election victory at a campaign party on December 13, 2009 in Houston.


Annise Parker leads supporters at a campaign event

Annise Parker (born May 17, 1956, Houston, Texas) is a Houston-area politician, the Mayor-elect of Houston, and the current Controller of the City of Houston, which is a position second only to that of Mayor. Previously, she served as an at-large member of the Houston City Council since 1997. Parker was victorious in her run for controller in 2003. She ran unopposed in 2005 and 2007; as of December 2009, she is into her final term.

Parker placed first in the November 2009 mayoral election, but failed to capture a majority of the vote. She decisively defeated attorney Gene Locke, the second-place candidate, in the December runoff. Upon taking office as mayor in January, Parker will be the highest-ranking municipal official in the LGBT community of the United States. (from Wikipedia)

Annise Parker sworn in as Mayor of the city of Houston – January 4, 2010. Houston becomes the largest American city with an openly-Gay Mayor

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Houston Is Largest City to Elect Openly Gay Mayor

Posted by Audiegrl

Houston Mayor-elect Annise Parker, center, celebrates with her partner Kathy Hubbard, left, Parker's runoff election victory at a campaign party on December 13, 2009 in Houston.


New York Times/James C. McKinley Jr.—Houston became the largest city in the United States to elect an openly gay mayor on December 13, 2009, as voters gave a solid victory to the city controller, Annise Parker.

Cheers and dancing erupted at Ms. Parker’s campaign party as her opponent, Gene Locke, a former city attorney, conceded defeat just after 10 p.m. when it became clear he could not overcome her lead.

Twenty minutes later, Ms. Parker appeared before ecstatic supporters at the city’s convention center and then joked that she was the first graduate of Rice University to be elected mayor. (She is, by the way.) Then she grew serious.

Tonight the voters of Houston have opened the door to history,” she said, standing by her partner of 19 years, Kathy Hubbard, and their three adopted children. “I acknowledge that. I embrace that. I know what this win means to many of us who never thought we could achieve high office.”

With all precincts reporting, Ms. Parker, the city controller, had defeated Mr. Locke 53 percent to 47 percent.

Annise Parker, the city controller, arriving at her election night party.

Throughout the campaign, Ms. Parker tried to avoid making an issue of her sexual orientation and emphasized her experience in overseeing the city’s finances. But she began her career as an advocate for gay rights in the 1980s, and it was lost on no one in Houston, a city of 2.2 million people, that her election marked a milestone for gay men and lesbians around the country.

Several smaller cities in other regions have chosen openly gay mayors, among them Providence, R.I., Portland, Ore., and Cambridge, Mass. But Ms. Parker’s success came in a conservative state where voters have outlawed gay marriage and a city where a referendum on granting benefits to same-sex partners of city employees was soundly defeated.

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Statement by Mayor-Elect Parker:

To my Friends, Supporters and all Houstonians,

In this campaign, I met many Houstonians.

I met fathers worried about finding a good job. I met mothers worried about crime. I met young men and women who only want a chance for a good education. Families worried about taxes. Homeowners who just want to protect the neighborhood they love. Hear me: the city is on your side.

I learned about the problems and the needs and the hopes of our city at the neighborhood level, where families work and live. This election has changed the world for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities, just as this election is about transforming Houstonians’ lives for the better.

Let us begin from this moment to join as one community, united in the goal of making Houston the city it could be, should be, can be and will be. That’s what this city will be about under my administration.

Houston is a city that invites entrepreneurs – and shelters evacuees. A diverse city. A city built on dreams powered by hard work, creativity, common sense and cooperation.

Public service is a noble calling, and I appreciate that Gene Locke was willing to answer this call. He is a man who has been deeply involved in our community for many years and I hope he will continue to serve Houston. I wish for him and his family the very best.

Let me close by saying that while this is an exciting night, it is also a humbling experience. Our citizens deserve our best effort and I pledge to give them an administration that values honesty, integrity and transparency above all else. My administration will be concerned with only one interest: the public good.

Thank you so much. Together, we will make a difference.

Annise Parker leads supporters at a campaign event

Annise Parker (born May 17, 1956, Houston, Texas) is a Houston-area politician, the Mayor-elect of Houston, and the current Controller of the City of Houston, which is a position second only to that of Mayor. Previously, she served as an at-large member of the Houston City Council since 1997. Parker was victorious in her run for controller in 2003. She ran unopposed in 2005 and 2007; as of December 2009, she is into her final term.

Parker placed first in the November 2009 mayoral election, but failed to capture a majority of the vote. She decisively defeated attorney Gene Locke, the second-place candidate, in the December runoff. Upon taking office as mayor in January, Parker will be the highest-ranking municipal official in the LGBT community of the United States. (from Wikipedia)

Note: Though the race for Houston mayor is strictly non-partisan, she identifies as a Democrat, as did her opponent, Gene Locke.

Annise Parker sworn in as Mayor of the city of Houston – January 4, 2010. Houston becomes the largest American city with an openly-Gay Mayor

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It’s a Helluva State by Cynthia Nixon

Op-ed by Cynthia Nixon

Cynthia Nixon and her girlfriend, Christine Marinoni

HP/Cynthia Nixon—My girlfriend and I want to get married. Only thing is: it’s not legal in NY State, where we live. So we started doing everything we could think of to reverse that. Including going up to Albany this past spring with two of our politico friends to speak to some Senators — Democratic and Republican — who were on the fence on the issue.

Wednesday’s No vote on same sex marriage was supremely disappointing on a personal as well as a political level. Guess Christine and I can kiss that Waldorf Astoria wedding… Brooklyn Botanical Gardens wedding… Montauk Beach wedding — you fill in the blank — goodbye. But we have two things today we didn’t have yesterday.

The first thing we have is clarity about who’s with us and who’s against us. And we’ll remember those yays and nays for next November and for Novembers to come. And there will be consequences.

The second thing is a new ally. Her name is Ruth Hassell-Thompson. She is a Senator from the Bronx and Mt Vernon and she is fierce.

State Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson (D-Bronx/Westchester)

State Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson (D-NY)

Our gang of four met with her last spring and she explained to us in depth, over a long and respectful meeting why she thought she was going to vote no on gay marriage. Senator Hassell-Thompson is deeply religious. She felt strongly that marriage always has been and always should be the union between a man and a woman.

But she is a careful, thoughtful person and you could see her weighing the issue again and again in her mind. And in her considering she stumbled across something in her personal experience that began to change her perspective.

She spoke about how her mother had been a deacon in their church at a time when previously only men had been deacons. And how controversial that had been. And how vehemently many people opposed her mother’s appointment. And how none of those opposed could give any explanation for why her mother becoming a deacon was wrong, just that it was. Because it was new. Because it was shocking. Because it was an idea that took people a little time to get used to.

On Wednesday Ruth Hassell-Thompson voted yes.

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The Wanda Sykes Show Premiere’s Tonight

Posted by Buellboy

Wanda Sykes promises to pull no punches on new show

wanda-sykes-200x225McClatchy/Rick Bentley—Comedian Wanda Sykes says her talk-show topics will hit on everything from entertainment to politics.

Wanda Sykes has no problem speaking her mind, rattling off jokes or creating conversation.

Now, she’ll try to get others to be funny and interesting as she joins the world of late-night chatters when the weekly The Wanda Sykes Show launches at 10 p.m. Saturday on Fox.

Hosting a talk show is new for Sykes but the format is not. She got her start on HBO’s The Chris Rock Show, a talk show that had no restrictions because it aired on premium cable. The freedom was perfect for Sykes, who finds humor in everything from politics to sex — and talks about it frankly.

But even with the strict rules that come with network TV, Sykes doesn’t plan to pull any verbal punches.

I believe Fox has given us the opportunity to put it out there. I mean, that’s what they want. They booked me to be me,” Sykes says.

The network does have a safety net. Like all network talk shows, The Wanda Sykes Show will be recorded in advance. How far in advance might change depending on how much has to be bleeped. Right now, taping the show on Saturday afternoons means Sykes can be topical with her material.

Sykes, a cast member on The New Adventures of Old Christine and Curb Your Enthusiasm, wasn’t looking to host a talk show when Fox contacted her. She especially wasn’t that interested in a network job because of the potential limitations in language and topics.

The Barack Obama campaign made her change her mind.

I was like, ‘Wow, I really wish I had an outlet where I could go out there and just speak on this on a week-to-week basis and be current.’ And I thought, ‘You know what? This talk show … I can do that. I can do the things like we did on Chris Rock.’ And that seemed like what they were getting at, what they wanted. And so I’m like, ‘This is the time. This is the time to jump into it.’” Sykes says.

Executive producer Eddie Feldmann says the show will look at what has happened in the world through Sykes’ eyes.

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In an interview, Sykes explains the show’s premise to Zap2it:

wandasykes260xStoryQ: Will anything be off limits?
A: No. I told the writers as long as it’s relevant, if I can see why we are doing it, it has to be grounded in reality, let’s not be mean-spirited. I’m not going to just call somebody fat.

Q: What’s the format?
A: I am going to do a monologue. It will be the big story – whatever the hot story is everyone is talking about this week. I have a sidekick, Keith Robinson. We have been friends for over 20 years. He’s a very funny comic who opened for me on the road. The audience can see me with my real friends. He pushes my buttons.

Q: So you can riff on anything from reality shows to philandering politicians. Then what happens?
A: Then it’s just a big hodgepodge. We’re calling it “Wandarama.” That will be video clips and photos, doing all of the stories of the week, then a three-minute produced piece, a man-on-the-street or correspondent. This weekend I went to Adultcon, the convention for the porn industry, asking them to go green. What’s wrong with a solar-powered vibrator?

Q: What is your goal for the show?
A: To be funny, to have people talking about it. Do people still say “water cooler”? I would love water cooler. Of course, now you just go online. I would love it to be a show people are looking forward to and say, “I can’t wait for next Saturday.”

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Laura Ricketts Is First Openly Gay Major League Baseball Owner

Posted by Audiegrl

LAURARICKETTS-largeHuffington Post/Tim Taliaferro—The Chicago Cubs have reached a baseball milestone and it has nothing to do with their century-plus World Series drought.

With the team’s purchase by the Ricketts Family, the Cubs are the first Major League Baseball team to have an openly gay owner.

Among the new owners is Laura Ricketts, an out lesbian who is also on the board of the gay rights organization Lambda Legal, the Windy City Times reports.

Ricketts, who is a member of the Cubs board of directors, came out to her family in her 30’s.

Chicago_cubs_2I think for a long time I wasn’t really out to myself growing up in Omaha, Neb., to a Catholic conservative family,” Ricketts said. “It took me a while to come out to myself and not long after that I came out to them. I think that it really couldn’t of been a better experience. They were all immediately supportive. … I have been really really fortunate in that regard.”

The Ricketts family bought the Cubs and Wrigley Field from the Tribune Co. for $845 million in a deal that was finalized Oct. 27.

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