Local Gay News

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Thursday, December 29, 2005

Seattle Gay Blog gets noticed

The Seattle Gay Blog is getting noticed in the blogosphere. Thanks for the mention guys!

Queen City Cruise's news blog:

The [SGN] has also, finally, joined the blogosphere with what they're calling "The officially unofficial blog of the Seattle Gay News staff." ... We welcome them and look forward to the blog's development.


Seattlest:
Our soggy little heart warms just a few degrees every time we see a print pub launch themselves into bloggy space (don't expect a print version of Seattlest anytime soon, though) and we have high hopes that the SGN guys will iron out a few HTML kinks and help keep us appraised as to the whereabouts and goings-on of the gays far into the future. Welcome to the neighborhood - Expect us to come knocking with a welcome basket any time now.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Coming soon: SGN's Grammy Central


Hey there,

It's Albert from the SGN. We're kicking things off in 2006 with a special blog feature called "Grammy Central", a one-stop information source for all things related to the 48th Annual Grammy Awards. It'll be a place where anyone awaiting music's biggest night can post information about the awards and make predictions as to who will likely walk away with a Grammy.

Join me here on January 2 for the first Grammy topic, a look at this year's nominees in the Rock categories. Until then, have a great time ringing in the New Year! Be safe and please don't drink and drive or let any of your friends drink and drive.

Pictured: Grammy nominee Franz Ferdinand, photo courtesy of Domino Records.

Seattle Times backs Anderson-Murray Civil Rights Bill

The Seattle Times editorial board called for passage of the Anderson-Murray Civil Rights Bill in today's edition:

The Legislature has spent decades debating simple gay-rights legislation, always to be rebuffed by one vote or maneuver that prevents passage.

The 2006 session should be different. It will be if one senator, Republican Bill Finkbeiner, can muster the courage to vote for the bill.

The gay-rights bill would make a basic change that adds sexual orientation to Washington anti-discrimination laws regarding housing, employment and financial transactions.


Click here for the full editorial.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

SGN gives away autographed, framed Jason Mraz photo


Jose Fernandez of Seattle won the Jason Mraz autographed, framed photo given away by the Seattle Gay News. The photo was signed backstage before Mraz's sold out performance at the Paramount Theatre on November 13. The SGN would like to thank everyone who entered our contest. We're especially pleased to see so much adoration for Jason Mraz, one of the nicest human beings on earth and one of our very favorite artists in music today.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Roy Moore: A threat to democracy says editorial board

Former Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore, famous for his battle to keep a shrine to the Ten Commandments in the lobby of the Alabama Judicial building and his hatred of Gay people, could be a threat to democracy, according to the editorial board of the The Decatur Daily.

The woman who filed suit to reinstate Roy Moore as Alabama's Supreme Court chief justice now fears his election as governor.

Whether Christian talk show host Kelly McGinley had a falling out with the right wing of the Republican Party or saw a vision of the future, she's saying some chilling things.

From Mobile, Ms. McGinley said Mr. Moore and his followers want to establish a theocracy, or a government by a person or persons who claims to rule with divine authority.

She said they "wish to bring a government based on Old Testament law, which would administer the death penalty for offenses ranging from homosexuality to talking back to your parents." ...

Whether she's got it right or is wrong about Mr. Moore's supporters, the country's radical-right element wants to fundamentally change the nation's government. The Moore wing of the Republican Party is a roiling mass of fearful people who haven't made the transition to the teachings in the New Testament.

As proof of that, Mr. Moore built his candidacy entirely on defying the constitutional ban on mixing church and state.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

SGN presents "Hedwig" party on New Year's Eve

The Seattle Gay News is pleased to present "Hedwig's New Year's Eve Glam Rock Circus" at The Crocodile Cafe on December 31. If you loved Re-Bar's stage production of 'Hedwig' from last year, then you'll really like this event because its main stars, Nick Garrison & Sissyfist (The Angry Inch), are scheduled to perform, along with Sara Rudinoff, The Buttrock Suites and Ziggy Stardust. Many off-the-wall surprises are expected at this unique, musical year-end treat.

Tickets, priced at $20, are available at www.ticketweb.com or at The Crocodile Cafe box office. For something wildly entertaining this New Year's Eve, we recommend a little 'Hedwig'.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Brokeback Mountain not shown in Wyoming, elsewhere

Gay blogger Wayne Besen wrote about Brokeback Mountain's distribution woes.

If it weren't for gay people and gay bashers would anyone know about Wyoming? Sure, it is a beautiful state with some fine folks. But Matthew Shepard, Mary Cheney and now the movie Brokeback Mountain are the only reasons it makes news.

One would think the state would be so ecstatic about the national attention generated by the gay cowboy movie, it would produce custom "Brokeback Mountain" vanity plates. But no, the movie has yet to find an exhibitor in the state. Aren't Wyoming's residents the slightest bit curious why the rest of the nation can suddenly find their state on the map?


The movie's storyline is based in Wyoming.

Inovative anti-violence campaign to exclude homophobic music

From the Seattle Times:

Armed with a $35,000 grant from the state, Southeast Youth and Family Services has teamed up with Seaspot Music Group for a yearlong campaign called "Respect Yourself: No Means No" aimed at young people...

Southeast Youth and Family will provide counseling services to victims of sexual assault as part of the campaign, which is being funded by a grant from the Washington Office of Crime Victim Advocacy...

Seaspot, a promotions company that bills itself as the gateway to Seattle urban culture, will distribute free CDs with "clean" music aimed at countering the message of violent, gangsta rap. The CDs will be given away early next year to young people at parties, ballgames and shopping malls...

Seaspot is now taking submissions from local artists who want to have their music on the CD. It must be original and free of derogatory, racist, sexist or homophobic words, themes or profanity.


As a Gay man, I want to thank Southeast Youth and Family Services and Seaspot for excluding homophobic music from it's CDs. I also wish to commend them for this innovative campaign.

Inovative anti-violence campaign to exclude homophobic music

From the Seattle Times:

Armed with a $35,000 grant from the state, Southeast Youth and Family Services has teamed up with Seaspot Music Group for a yearlong campaign called "Respect Yourself: No Means No" aimed at young people...

Southeast Youth and Family will provide counseling services to victims of sexual assault as part of the campaign, which is being funded by a grant from the Washington Office of Crime Victim Advocacy...

Seaspot, a promotions company that bills itself as the gateway to Seattle urban culture, will distribute free CDs with "clean" music aimed at countering the message of violent, gangsta rap. The CDs will be given away early next year to young people at parties, ballgames and shopping malls...

Seaspot is now taking submissions from local artists who want to have their music on the CD. It must be original and free of derogatory, racist, sexist or homophobic words, themes or profanity.


As a Gay man, I want to thank Southeast Youth and Family Services and Seaspot for excluding homophobic music from it's CDs. I also wish to commend them for this innovative campaign.

Sen. Finkbeiner key to passage of the Civil Rights Bill, say Democrats

The Seattle Times reports that Democrats in Olympia are looking to Republican Sen. Bill Finkbeiner to help them pass the Anderson-Murray Civil Rights Bill, which would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment, housing, and public accommodations.

Democrats, who excoriated him for defeating the bill when it died by one vote on the Senate floor in April, are now banking on Finkbeiner as its savior when the measure is reintroduced this coming legislative session. The Legislature convenes Jan. 9 for a 60-day session.

"The X factor will be Sen. Finkbeiner," said state Sen. Erik Poulsen, D-Seattle, a key negotiator in the Senate last year for the bill, which would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation.


Finkbeiner twice voted for the bill while serving in the state House of Representatives. Currently, he represents the 45th Legislative District (Redmond, Kirkland and rural parts of King County) in the Senate.

SGN Contributor in New Orleans

Rex Wockner, a contributing writer to the Seattle Gay News, has been blogging from New Orleans for the last three works. It is an interesting body of work. Check it out!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

SGN announces "Best Albums and Singles of 2005"


The Seattle Gay News is proud to announce its choices for the best albums and singles of 2005, featured as part of our "Best of Music 2005" section in this week's issue. The issue features an interview with Nick Harmer and Chris Walla of the Grammy nominated band Death Cab for Cutie. We recommend two local record stores, Sonic Boom and Easy Street, if you are interested in purchasing any of these titles.

Best Albums/CDs of 2005 (in order)

1 I Am A Bird Now - Antony and the Johnsons
2 Plans - Death Cab for Cutie
3 The Alternative to Love - Brendan Benson
4 Illinois - Sufjan Stevens
5 LCD Soundsystem - LCD Soundsystem
6 Late Registration - Kanye West
7 You Could Have It So Much Better - Franz Ferdinand
8 Nashville - Josh Rouse
9 Confessions on a Dance Floor - Madonna
10 X & Y - Coldplay

Best Singles/Tracks of 2005 (in order)

1 Feel Good Inc. - Gorillaz featuring De La Soul
2 High - James Blunt
3 Gold Digger - Kanye West
4 Daft Punk is Playing at My House - LCD Soundsystem
5 Hope There's Someone - Antony and the Johnsons
6 Since U Been Gone - Kelly Clarkson
7 Bucky Done Gun - M.I.A.
8 Soul Meets Body - Death Cab for Cutie
9 This is How a Heart Breaks - Rob Thomas
10 Juice Box - The Strokes

Photo of Kanye West, courtesy of Island/Def Jam Records

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Update: Ford reaffirms committment to Gay community

From The Task Force:

In a statement released today, Ford reaffirmed its commitment to its progressive workplace policies, said it would place corporate advertising in LGBT publications on behalf of all of its brands, including Jaguar and Land Rover, and would continue financial support for LGBT organizations and events consistent with its business condition. In response, a broad coalition of LGBT organizations issued a statement commending Ford for its actions (the statement appears below). Visit www.media.ford.com to read Ford's statement or click here to download a pdf of the letter...

The controversy erupted on Dec. 1, 2005, when the American Family Association (AFA) officially announced it was dropping its threat of a boycott, saying Ford “heard our concerns; they are acting on our concerns. We are pleased with where we are.” The next day, a Ford spokesperson appeared to confirm an agreement by saying the company would stop advertising its Jaguar and Land Rover brands in gay publications. AFA is an extremist anti-LGBT organization that routinely threatens boycotts against LGBT-supportive companies, television programs it does not like, and even cartoon characters such as SpongeBob.

On Dec. 5, 18 leading LGBT organizations issued a statement calling upon Ford to disavow any agreement with AFA, to reaffirm its commitment to the LGBT community and to meet with the LGBT community and resolve the issue. As a result of that statement, Ford Motor executives met with LGBT community representatives, including Task Force Executive Director Matt Foreman, in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 12. There, Ford said it would issue a statement based on the topics discussed, and the comprehensive statement released today was the result.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Brokeback Mountain wins over audience; critics

From BoxOfficeMojo.com:

Director Ang Lee's cowboy love story rambled into three locations in New York City, one in Los Angeles and one in San Francisco and rustled up the highest per theater average on record for a live action movie.

Brokeback Mountain corralled $547,425 over the weekend, or a potent $109,485 per site. The average ranks ninth overall among the top weekend averages since 1982, behind animated features including The Lion King and Pocahontas. Adjust for ticket price inflation, and only Evita and Edward Scissorhands inch ahead among live action pictures, although each played at two venues where high averages were easier to achieve.


From The Washington Blade:

The New York Film Critics Circle today named "Brokeback" the year's top film, and picked Ang Lee as best director. The group also named Heath Ledger best actor for his role in the film.

"Brokeback [Mountain] was an old-fashioned romance that also fulfilled the group's impulse to be daring and original," Gene Seymour, film critic for Newsday and president of the New York Film Critics Circle, told the AP. "It combines the best of both these elements."

The Los Angeles Film Critics Association named 'Brokeback' as the best picture of the year on Saturday. Director Ang Lee won best director.


After I saw the film last month, I worried that audiences wouldn't connect with the story or that the brief kissing and (Gay) sex would repel audiences. I still remember the audience reaction when Tom Selleck kisses Kevin Kline in In & Out (1997) -- a lot of "Eew!" However, I knew the critics would love it.

I attended a second public screening last night at the Uptown Cinema and was delighted to find that the audience 'got it.' The story line appeals to audiences -- both Gay and straight. The audience had empathy for the characters and displayed an appropriate level of maturity. Hopefully, it is a sign of things to come for Brokeback Mountain and Hollywood.

Friday, December 9, 2005

Death Cab for Cutie special guests for SGN's "Best of Music 2005" issue


The Seattle Gay News is very pleased to announce Grammy-nominated quartet Death Cab for Cutie as the special guests for our "Best of Music 2005" issue that streets on Friday, December 16. Aside from the usual music shop talk and gay culture questions, two of DCFC's bandmembers will share their personal music favorites of the year and holiday plans with you, our readers and friends.

The "Best of Music 2005" will feature the SGN's top picks for albums/cds, singles/tracks, concerts and the hottest artists who rocked the music world these past twelve months. We look forward to you picking up a copy of next week's issue or looking for it online (Sunday, December 18) and celebrating the year that was in music.

Wednesday, December 7, 2005

Anti-Gay organization pushes Mass. constitutional amendment

The Massachusetts Family Institute delivered more than 170,000 signatures to the secretary of state today in an effort to amend the Massachusetts Constitution to bar marriage equality for Gay couples, according to the Associated Press. They only need 65,825 certified signatures to qualify for the ballot. Massachusetts is the only state that allows same-sex couples to marry.

Fifty members of the 200-seat Legislature would have to vote for it in two successive legislative sessions before it can go on the 2008 ballot. A similar constitutional amendment had won approval in the Legislature but failed in a second round of voting earlier this year.

Spokane mayor shown the door by voters

Nearly two-thirds of Spokane voters voted to show Mayor James E. West the door in special recall election. Personally, I won't be losing any sleep over it. West, who as described himself as being "asexual," has constantly voted against equality for Gays in the Legislature and as the mayor of Spokane.

A couple weeks before he was 'outed' by the Spokesman Review, he even opposed domestic partner benefits for city employees. He is certainly no friend of our community. Now, he will have plenty of time to sort out his sexuality and the Gay community won't have to suffer for it.

Tuesday, December 6, 2005

Ford pulls luxury car ads from Gay media

The Ford Motor Company pulled advertising of its luxury car lines from Gay publications nationwide. The company denies pressure from conservative Christian groups, such as the American Family Association, which had called for a boycott of the company, was a factor in its decision.

The Associated Press quoted Ford spokesman Mike Moran:

"The decisions with regard to advertising was a business decision," Ford spokesman Mike Moran said. He said Ford's Volvo brand would continue advertising in gay publications. Ford has not advertised its Ford, Lincoln and Mercury brands in those publications, Moran added.

Moran said Jaguar and Land Rover, which are part of Ford's money-losing Premier Automotive Group, have decided to cut back on their advertising everywhere because of difficult market conditions. The Premier Automotive Group reported a pretax loss of $108 million in the third quarter.


Personally, I don't see how pulling your advertising in the Gay market, which is well known to purchase more luxury goods and high ticket items than most segments of the consumer market, is a good idea. A doubt that the dozens of studies that have crossed my desk could be wrong.

Focus on the Family dumps Wells Fargo for "pro-homosexual agenda"

Focus on the Family announced it was going to be looking for new bank, because of Wells Fargo's perceived "pro-homosexual agenda." The anti-Gay organization is upset with the bank after its logo appeared on a GLAAD Internet fund-raising campaign.

The Scripps Howard News Service quotes Focus on the Family leaders:

James Dobson, Focus on the Family's chairman, told group followers that Wells Fargo was part of a larger trend in which "gay and lesbian activist groups have picked off all the big companies in the United States."

Focus CEO Jim Daly said 49 of the Top 50 Fortune 500 companies "have adopted pro-gay policies. Looking at the entire list, 85 percent of the Top 500 companies have done so."


Daly was probably referring to the Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index, which rates rates businesses on their treatment of Gays.

AP world-wide releases marriage equality timeline

The Associated Press issued a timeline of the marriage equality movement around the world, beginning in 1998. It's certainly worth a look. Click here.

Sunday, December 4, 2005

Don't blame gays for marriage woes says historian

The Associated Press interviewed five-time Author and Historian Stephanie Coontz for a story titled,"I do? Marriage roles keep changing with the times." In the story, Coontz is quoted as saying:

"People may have their own opinions about the morality of homosexuality," Coontz said. "As a historian, I can only say: Heterosexuals revolutionized marriage. Gay and lesbian marriages, there is no evidence that they are going to make marriage worse. They are some of the few people clamoring to enter marriage."

Click here for the full text of the article.

State considers return to name-based HIV reporting

Local health officials, who face losing as much as $5 million for the treatment and prevention of HIV because the CDC doen't consider our state's name-to-code system to be as accurate or reliable, are moving to adopt a name-based HIV reporting system.

Local HIV/AIDS organizations beleive the system works just fine the way it is.

Gay City: "The CDC is basically forcing this. We can go to the public hearing and we can testify, but the funds are contingent on this for Ryan White dollars," said said Fred Swanson, executive director of Gay City. "It is unrealistic to think that the State of Washington will take a stand and say, 'We will give up all our Ryan White CARE dollars or prevention dollars because we think this thing is stupid.' This is another policy coming down from the federal government that seems to make no sense whatsoever."

POCAAN: "This is another thing that may deter people of color from getting tested," said People of Color Against AIDS Network's Operations Manager Kiande Jakaba. "There is a lot of stigma that comes with being positive. A lot of our communities don't necessarily have positive conversations about HIV, sexuality and drug use and all the things associated with that. Those people tend to be cast aside. So, it is going to be an issue for them."

After the Board of Health voted to enact name-based HIV reporting on July 14, 1999, AIDS advocates put up fierce resistance and, Resist the List, who formed to organize opposition to name-based HIV reporting, even filed a lawsuit. At the time, the states largest AIDS service organizations, including the United Communities Against AIDS Network in Olympia; the Northwest AIDS Foundation in Seattle; the Pierce County AIDS Foundation in Tacoma; the Spokane AIDS Network in Spokane; and People of Color Against AIDS Network all favored a code-based or name-to-code system. Former Governor Gary Locke's Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS also voted 14 to 4 in favor of using coded identifiers.

As Sally Clark, a long time AIDS advocate and current director of community resources at Lifelong AIDS Alliance, puts it: "The community was mainly against names-based reporting and strongly favored a name-to-code option," said Clark.

On its website, Lambda Legal's AIDS Project Director's update from June 1998 makes a compelling case against name-based HIV reporting:

"For those who mistrust government or its enthusiasm for protecting them -- and gay men of all races and people of color historically have good reason to do so -- reassurances about the safety of surveillance data are unpersuasive," wrote Catherine Hanssens. "There also is ample reason to fear that the collection of names could be used, with the wave of a legislative pen, for purposes beyond monitoring the epidemic. There already are disturbing instances of the easy legislative shift to misuse of AIDS-related surveillance data.

"Adoption of any system of HIV surveillance which ignores the views of the communities the system targets, or which further discourages people at risk of infection from getting tested, is doomed to failure. It is critical that a proposal to radically change current HIV surveillance respect that reality."

The community will have an opportunity to have its say during a public hearing on the proposed changes to be held at the Seattle Central Community College on Monday, December 12, from 7 - 9 p.m. in Room 3211.

Saturday, December 3, 2005

See Brokeback Mountain; free and before it hits theaters

The Seattle Gay News is offering advance screening tickets to Brokeback Mountain, the Gay love story that features Hollywood hotties Heath Ledger (hot) and Jake Gyllenhaal (hotter). The passes are good for two, so ask that guy or gal or that one who might normally say no (trust me, he/she will be dying to see the movie too)!

Just bring a picture of Heath Ledger or Jake Gyllenhaal to the Purr Cocktail Lounge (1518 11th Ave.) on Thursday, Dec. 8, after 9 p.m. and present it to one of the bartender(s) on duty. After the movie, share your story or thoughts about the film: Click here.

Friday, December 2, 2005

Ed Murray: Will he or won't he?



Joel Connelly, political columnist for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, wrote an interesting column today. State Rep. Ed Murray and State Sen. Pat Thibaudeau could be headed for a political showdown over Thibaudeau's senate seat, which she has announced she hopes to retain. However, Murray hasn't formally announced his candidacy. More.

Thursday, December 1, 2005

SGN's "Best of Music 2005" coming soon

Hey, it's Albert from the Seattle Gay News. Just wanted to letya know that the SGN's "Best of Music 2005" issue streets on Friday, December 16 and goes online Sunday, December 18. We'll pick the year's best albums/cds, singles/tracks, concerts and the hottest artists who rocked the music world these past twelve months. Check it out!

Win a 'walk on' role on the L-Word

Our friends over at Basic Rights Oregon sent this over:

HOW MUCH WOULD YOU PAY TO SAY, 'HEY! I'M ON THE L-WORD!'?

Win a "walk on" role to appear in the Season 3 finale of Showtime's hit series, the L Word.

This special episode, directed by the show's creator, Ilene Chaiken, will feature the marriage of one of the show's main characters plus appearances from the entire L Word cast…and maybe even you.

A small number of these unique "walk on" roles have been made available to supporters of Equality for All -- the California coalition working to fight an initiative on the ballot in 2006 that would amend the California constitution to ban marriage for same-sex couples and to repeal all domestic partnership protections in state law.

But hurry! This contest ends on Friday, Dec. 2nd at midnight, PST! For contest details and your chance to win, click here!

South Africa to wed gay couples


365gay.com reports that South Africa became the 5th nation to extend marriage equality to gay and lesbian couples.

The Constitutional Court, the highest court in South Africa, ruled that it is unconstitutional to deny gay and lesbian couples the right to marry.

The court ordered Parliament to amend marriage laws within 12 months. If it fails to act within that timeframe, the court said the ruling would automatically change the law to include same-sex unions.


Now, when will our state Supreme Court issue its decision?

Honor World AIDS Day by getting tested

One of the best way to honor World AIDS Day is by making an appointment for an HIV test. Trust me when I say, NOW IS THE TIME (more details on this tomorrow)! Call Public Health's HIV/STD Hotline at 206-205-7837 or 800-678-1595 (open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday - Friday) for HIV testing sites in your area. The information is also available online. Testing is also available at Gay City's Wellness Center on Broadway.