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Archive for the ‘Current Events’ Category

Those who attended the Sunshine Cathedral last night, Monday, held in response to the nationwide call for Vigils and Marches as an alert to the recent rash of gay suicides, no doubt found themselves this morning with a revived sense of awe, inspiration and purpose.

The speakers were nothing less than top notch. Each had a specific message, delivered with eclectic soul reaching verbal acuity, embellished with appropriate humor and containing well reasoned intellectual points, impossible for any rational person to challenge or refute.

The program was lead off by Dr. Robert Griffin, Minister for Social Justice of the Sunshine Cathedral, who set the key note for the event. His remarks were then followed by a lengthy series of speakers, each making a point as they saw it, each from their respective positions of leadership within the community or as allies of the LGBTQIA (I know, all those damn initials we use are a bit too much) community.

The follow up speakers included our Executive Director of the Pride Center at Equality Park, Paul Hyman, Chair of the Sunshine Cathedral, Anne Atwell, Presiding Elder of the MCC, Nancy Wilson, members of the Inter-Religious Leadership, Rev. Gail Tapscott of the Unitarian Universalist Church, Rabbi Noah Kitty representing the Congregation of Etz Chaim, a Florida State Senator and a Florida State representative. The closing and summation was eloquently delivered by Rev. Dr. Durrell Watkins who also administered the Community Blessing to all who attended as well as extending it to all who did not.

The generally paid for musicians, donated their artistic abilities, declining any compensation, as a proof offering of their sincerity and dedication to the event. The music they provided was from a range of well selected pieces such as “Prayer of St. Frances” performed by soloist Elena Correia, “Holding You,” “This is the Day” with Katy Peterson directing portions of music which included the Sunshine Cathedral Community Choir along with members of the Gay Men’s Chorus having various portions backed up on organ, piano and drum. This was also interlaced with specially created drama “To Be or Not to Be” by the SunServe’s Youth Interactive Theater Group followed by “One Heart” musical of Kris Drumm, as director.

My personal take on all of this? It takes a lot to impress an old high milage, elder curmudgeon such as myself but I was totally impressed by it all, but once being impressed, I remain impressed. All points, all views and all tastes were well represented and fairly presented.

I can not help but further point out the genuine warmth of the Greeters and volunteers of the church. The dedication and sincerity of their purpose was clearly evident, as well as was the overall warmth the church membership and others attending. Coming from background religious mixture of a lapsed Lutheran and shunned Amish, this was all new to me; inspirational, ennobling, humanizing and stimulating.

We also had a good showing of the Wednesday Night Group. I didn’t take a head count, but we did more than fill an entire pew, which afforded us the opportunity for us all to hold hands, cross shoulders, and join together in the celebration of what was taking place.

Though I was unable to go, the group later retired to Peter Pan. I surmise being more attracted to a certain Argentinian waiter than food quality, but with all my sexual afflictions, peccadilloes and proclivities, I realize that I should be the last to talk about that.

So, let us all join together in continuing our crusade against hatred and oppression, now refreshed and re-inspired.

-Marqus

I counted 10 people from our group.
-Steve

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In September, 4 Gay teenagers committed suicide. Last week at the Wednesday night group, we discussed that those teenagers didn’t committ suicide because they were Gay, but because they felt other people wouldn’t, couldn’t or didn’t accept them because of that. Many of us shared our own expereinces and fears of coming out and the reactions other people would have. The question was raised, how can we accept our HIV-status if we still can’t fully accept our homosexuality. The psychological aspects of learning to accept being both Gay and HIV Positive may take on an added dimension in people who were infected with HIV sexually.

October didn’t bring any better news. In New York, eight gang members were arrested in the torture of two teenage boys and a man in an anti-gay attack. The victims were burned, beat, tortured for hours and sodomized with baseball bats and the wooden handle of a plunger.

Some of our leaders still just don’t get it. A week AFTER those attacks, in New York, where those attacks took place, the NY Republican candidate for Governor, Carl Paladino was still making anti-Gay remarks; “I just think my children and your children would be much better off and much more successful getting married and raising a family, and I don’t want them brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid and successful option – it isn’t” His written address went even furthur “There is nothing to be proud of in being a dysfunctional homosexual” and being homosexual “is not how God created us.”

Personally, I didn’t choose to be Gay anymore than I chose my race or ancestory.

When politicians hold these beliefs is it any wonder that gang members feel it’s ok to burn, beat torture and sodomize people they feel are threats. They’re just doing physically what Carl Paladino was doing verbally. They’re marginalizing homosexuals. They’re marginalizing us, you and I. I guarantee you that if those gang members were upset with those teenager for being Gay, they would have less sympathy for us being Gay and HIV Positive. And I guarantee you that as Governor, Carl Paladino will have no sympathy.

I suspect that we will continue to hear stories like this next month and the month after that. But there is a difference today. Today is Coming out day and there is going to be a candelight vigil. The Pride Center and Sunshine Cathedral are co-sponsoring this event. Today is your opportunity to stand up in a dignified manner and denounce those gang members and the political thought that we, you and I, are not dysfunctional homosexuals. We don’t accept being marginalized and most importantly we accept and embrace ourselves, just as we are.

If you’re angry, about the suicides, about the beatings and about those political ideas, then join me and The Group at the Sunshine Cathedral on 1480 SW 9th Ave at 7:30 PM tonight.

-Steve

On Monday, Paladino soften, yet reaffirmed his position. Asked about the “brainwashed” remark, he said that comment had “to do with schooling children. My feelings on homosexuality are unequivocal. I have absolutely no problem with it whatsoever. My only reservation is marriage.”

And yet he went on to say that “children should not be exposed to that at a young age. They don’t understand this. It’s a very difficult thing. And exposing them to homosexuality, especially at a Gay Pride parade, and I don’t know if you’ve ever been to one, but they wear these little Speedos and they grind against each other. It’s just a terrible thing.”

So is it just marriage you’re opposed to or the fact that homosexuals have Gay Pride parades that might expose children? Make up your mind.

“Mr. Paladino’s statement displays a stunning homophobia and a glaring disregard for basic equality,” Vlasto said in a statement. “These comments along with other views he has espoused make it clear that he is way out of the mainstream and is unfit to represent New York.”

Caputo disagreed. “The majority of New Yorkers agree with him,” he said of Paladino’s views on homosexuals and gay rights.

Polls have shown 58 percent of New Yorkers favor gay marriage, which Paladino says he opposes. Polls have also shown Cuomo expanding his lead on Paladino after the gap had closed last month to six points.

Paladino’s own personal life has been an issue in the campaign. He has raised charges about Cuomo’s sex life that he now admits are unsubstantiated, while Paladino is married but has a 10-year-old daughter from an affair with a former employee of his. He has also admitted to sending out obscene and racist e-mails.

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Florida Gay-Straight Network

Fort Lauderdale: Monday, October 11 – 7:30PM

-As participants in the Nationwide call for Vigils and Marches for LGBT Suicide Victims & Anti-Gay Bullying Initiatives, The Pride Center at Equality Park and the Sunshine Cathedral (a Metropolitan Community Church affiliated with The Center for Progressive Christianity) are collaborating to present a community-wide event scheduled for October 11, 2010 at 7:30PM to be held at the Sunshine Cathedral, 1480 SW 9th Ave, Fort Lauderdale, FL. Your presence and prayers can make a powerful statement.

The Group is going to be there. Come out to support Coming Out.

-Steve

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Gentle reminder that tonite (Sunday, Oct 3rd) at 9 PM EST Nate will be talking with Robert, Jeromy, and Jack on Poziam Radio about the upcoming cruise and next year’s event. (never too late to start planning)

Just go to this link and click the listen NOW button at 9PM call in PLEASE with your comments about past cruises and what made you decide to go on the cruise and why you are coming back

blogtalkradio.com/poziam

(347) 215-9442 call in number.. wait about 10-15 min for the intro

-Nate

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FL Appeals Court: Anti-Gay Adoption Law Violates Equal Protection
Great news!

By a unanimous decision, an appeals court has upheld a Miami judge who ruled that Florida’s anti-gay adoption ban is unconstitutional.

The Third District Court of Appeals three-judge panel agreed with Miami Judge Cindy Lederman who ruled in 2008 that there is “no rational basis to prohibit gay parents from adopting” and that the law violates equal protection rights for the children and their prospective gay parents.

The opinion reads in part:

“We affirm the judgment of adoption, which holds subsection 63.042(3), Florida Statutes, violates the equal protection provision found in article I, section 2, of the Florida Constitution.”

“Given a total ban on adoption by homosexual persons, one might expect that this reflected a legislative judgment that homosexual persons are, as a group, unfit to be parents,” the opinion states.

“No one in this case has made, or even hinted at, any such argument. To the contrary, the parties agree ‘that gay people and heterosexuals make equally good parents.'”

You can read the full decision here.

This is an historic day but the fight is not over yet. The case may now head to the Florida Supreme Court and anti-gay extremists are expected to seek a ballot measure putting this discrimination into the state Constitution. Equality Florida will continue working with our team across the state to be ready to defend this victory.

What a phenomenal day for Martin Gill and his family who have challenged this ban head on. A big congratulations to the legal team at the ACLU of Florida who worked so hard on this case. Thank you to all the Floridians who have helped to expose the bigotry of this ban.

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Oprah revisits one of her most memorable shows when she returns to Williamson, West Virginia, the site of a town hall episode on AIDS on November 16, 1987. After Michael Sisco, a town resident who had contracted AIDS, swam in the local swimming pool, the mayor shut down the facility, sparking a community-wide debate. The emotional hour featured heated exchanges between Sisco and his neighbors, as fears spread in the early days of the AIDS epidemic. Now, close to 23 years later, Oprah returns to the Williamson Field House, site of the original show, for a candid discussion with Sisco’s family members and other guests from the 1987 episode.”

The facts, then and now.

Sometimes, Oprah gets it just right.

-Steve

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We discussed the Don’t ask Don’t Tell policy and vote at the Wednesday Night Support Group. Current issues that affect Gay people are topical concerns for our group.

The Senate on Tuesday September 21, 2010 dealt a significant blow to efforts to repeal the ban on gay people serving openly in the military.

In a 56-43 vote, Senate Democratic leaders fell short of the 60 votes need to proceed to the 2011 defense authorization bill, which included language to repeal “Don’t ask, don’t tell”.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, and Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark) and Mark Pryor of Arkansas were the 3 Democrats that voted to block debate. Reid’s vote allows him to bring up the bill at a later time.

It’s possible Congrees could revisit the issue in a lame-duck session, that period of time after the November elections and before the new congress takes office in January when things are not as emotionally charged. But there is no guarantee this will happen.

More than 75% of Americans believe gays should be allowed to serve openly in the military according to the most recent ABC News/Washington Post poll.

We have a couple questions:

!. Why are the Democrats so inept at getting things passed. We have a solid majority in the House of Representatives, 1 vote shy of a filibuster proof Senate, 59 of 100 Senators and a Democratic President and yet we struggle to get the agenda passed that was promised to the people who voted these people in. Needless to say I am disappointed in this lack of leadership.

2. 13,386 gay men and women have been discharged under DADT since 1993. But the full name of the policy is “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Pursue.” “Don’t Ask” mandates that military or appointed officials will not ask about or require members to reveal their sexual orientation. “Don’t Tell” states that a member may be discharged for claiming to be a homosexual or bisexual or making a statement indicating a tendency towards or intent to engage in homosexual activities. “Don’t Pursue” establishes what is minimally required for an investigation to be initiated. “Don’t Harass” was added to the policy later. It ensures that the military will not allow harassment or violence against servicemembers for any reason.

Every one of these 13,386 people were discharged under the “Don’t Tell” portion of this policy. Not one person has been discharged over the “Don’t Ask” portion. Why not enforce BOTH sides of this policy?

I realize that this still would not allow gays to serve OPENLY in the military, but it would allow gays to serve in the military without being harrassed. Don’t ask Don’t tell was a compromise at the time, but it was never evenly enforced.

Enforcing both sides of that compromise would move more people to the conclusion that this was a bad policy and needs to be repealed.

-Steve

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