VANDALS TARGET SAN FRAN GAY MURAL
A digital mural standing in the Mission District of San Francisco was recently the target of a vandal who objected to its depiction of love between two Latinas, Latino.com reports.
The vandal wrote, among other things, "Colored imitators of white man's enfatuations [ sic ] with one's own genitals."
The attacker also scrawled the numbers of several biblical passages dealing with lust and witchcraft.
The mural, entitled Heaven, is by Los Angeles artist Alma Lopez and is the sixth in a series of digital murals that the Galeria de la Raza&emdash;one of the oldest community-based arts organizations in the country&emdash;is exhibiting.
On the same day of the vandalism, an artist affiliated with the Galeria received threatening, homophobic e-mail from an alleged religious group.
Later in the week, someone shot a BB gun through a window at the Galeria's gift shop.
The incidents are similar to the violent response that met a 1997 exhibition by Alex Donis called "My Cathedral," which portrayed gay politics, history and passion through historical icons engaged in displays of affection.
The city's Human Rights Commission and the police Hate Violence Unit are investigating the anti-gay E-mails.
Interior Secretary nominee lead efforts for anti-gay law
Former Colorado Attorney General Gale Norton, President-elect Bush's choice for Secretary of the Interior, took the lead in defending her state's anti-gay Amendment 2, the Advocate.com reports.
Amendment 2 would have voided existing gay-rights laws and banned the passage of any future ones.
Norton reportedly made clear her disappointment when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Amendment 2 in May 1996.
She was attorney general until last year, and served in the Interior Department during the Reagan administration.
In other Bush appointment news, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Executive Director Elizabeth Toledo has criticized GLBT leaders for their support of Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson as a pick for Health and Human Services secretary.
Citing Thompson's anti-abortion stance, and his home state's "onerous welfare law," Toledo said in a statement last week that he is an unqualified candidate for the post.
"I believe the GLBT community ought to consider issues like reproductive health and poverty a central part of our concerns for many reasons," Toledo said. "After all, a significant portion of our community grapples with these issues in their personal lives."
Person of the Year
PlanetOut.com has named Hillary Rodham Clinton Person of the Year based on a survey of the site's 1.7 million visitors.
Clinton gained a large measure of gay support this year when she marched in New York's GLBT Pride parade, endorsed gay rights across the board and granted an exclusive interview to New York's LGNY, where she discussed her views on gay issues and voiced her support of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.
The other top 25 vote-getters on the PlanetOut In List 2000 were: Ellen DeGeneres, former assistant scoutmaster and Supreme Court case plaintiff James Dale, President Clinton, Vice President Al Gore, the state of Vermont, the "Big Three" Automakers, Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, PlanetOut advice columnist Betty DeGeneres, U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., Melissa Etheridge, Cher, The Netherlands, Margaret Cho, Will & Grace's Eric McCormack, k.d. lang, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, Madonna, Queer as Folk producer Showtime, Matthew Shepard's parents Judy and Dennis Shepard, Hilary Swank, Rupert Everett, the Human Rights Campaign, Elton John, and second lady Tipper Gore.
Boys Don't Cry Oscar-winner Hilary Swank was also named the top up-and-coming star by Ladies Home Journal.
Unsafe sex among
young gay men is
common, study says
A new study has confirmed that unsafe sex among young men who have sex with men is common, Reuters Health reports.
"Our findings show high levels of unprotected sex, drug and alcohol use, and HIV among young men who have sex with men and who attend gay dance clubs and bars,'' researcher John B. Hylton, of the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health in Baltimore, told Reuters Health in an interview.
Results of the study by Hylton and David D. Celentano were presented at the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association held last month in Boston.
Researchers interviewed 61 young men, aged 15 to 22, who had had sexual experiences with other men and who were attending gay bars or dance clubs in Baltimore. More than one third of these men said they had not used a condom the last time they had sex, and 21% said they had been high on drugs or alcohol the last time they had sex. HIV testing showed that 9% of the young men were HIV positive.
Conservative group calls for Showtime boycott over Queer as Folk
The conservative South Dakota Family Policy Council is leading a boycott against Showtime over the gay-themed series Queer as Folk, The Brookings ( S.D. ) Register reports.
The group has taken out a full-page ad in the Sunday edition of the Rapid City ( S.D. ) Journal urging viewers to cancel their Showtime subscriptions for the cable network's decision to air the show.
The ad gripes that the show contains "depictions of oral sex, group sex, bisexuality, pornography, prostitution and sadomasochism." The advertisement also includes quotes from conservatives who disapprove of the show, including American Family Association President Donald Wildmon, who said, "I never thought I'd see the day when a TV series ( would show ) men having anal sex. There may not be a stopping point now. Television has zeroed in on the deepest parts of the sewer, and it will hit its target."
American Family Association to attack diversity campaign
According to the Triangle Foundation, the American Family Association was set to send a representative to the Jan. 2 Traverse City Commission Meeting to protest the Traverse City Community Unity campaign.
As part of the campaign, officials unveiled a "diversity" logo for the city that is to be used on bumper stickers for all city-owned vehicles, including police cars, firetrucks and snowplows. The logo features a puzzle-piece logo imposed across a rainbow design.
Gary Glenn, a Michigan member of the AFA, was the scheduled representative.
Triangle was urging residents to send letters or emails to the Traverse City Record Eagle in support of the Traverse City campaign.
The Record Eagle can be reached at: www.record-eagle.com/ lib/letrform.htm; Or at: Traverse City Record Eagle, Letter to the Editor, 120 West Front St., Traverse City, MI 49684
Soulforce/Dignity-USA change Vatican plans
A delegation of GLBT religious activists from Soulforce and Dignity/USA has had to change its plans for a nonviolent protest outside the Vatican, the group announced last week.
Police have limited access to the Vatican after recent bloody protests fueled by the Pope's decision to grant an audience to right-wing Austrian extremist Joerg Haider.
Soulforce/Dignity still plans to bring its Stop Spiritual Violence campaign to the Vatican this week, from Jan. 3-7, to protest anti-gay teachings and actions by the Catholic Church, but the campaign will take a new form.
"After meeting with Vatican officials and police, and taking our goals of spiritual renewal, non-violence, and reconciliation into account, we will conduct a very different kind of action, initially staying outside the barriers in hopes that the Vatican will recognize us there," said Soulforce Executive Director Dr. Mel White.
The activists plan to bring gifts for orphans, for people living in an AIDS hospice, and for occupants of a home for battered women. At noon on Jan. 3-5, they will carry gifts up the Villa Della Conciliazione to St. Peter's Square, wearing shirts that say, "God's Gay Children Bring Gifts … Bless Them" ( "I Figli Di Dio Portano Regalia … Dategli La Benedizione" ) .
The Soulforce delegation will stop at a police barrier separating Rome from the Vatican City-state. Soulforce leaders have informed Cardinal Ratzinger and other Vatican officials that they intend to wait for a priest to bless their gifts before a large Nativity scene built on St. Peter's Square. Blessed or not blessed, the gifts will be delivered to the orphanage, the hospice, or the home for battered women.