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National Roundup
by Andrew Davis

This article shared 1697 times since Wed Oct 18, 2006
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The National Black Justice Coalition ( NBJC ) has issued a release condemning a violent attack against Michael Sandy—a Black gay man who was brutally beaten in a hate crime in New York—but praising police for arresting suspects. Two 20-year-old men, a 19-year-old and a 16-year-old were arrested and questioned by authorities in the attack on the young interior designer, who was on a respirator fighting for his life, reported.

In the wake of the Mark Foley fallout, Florida independent gubernatorial candidate Max Linn said that Republican opponent and Florida Attorney General Charlie Crist is gay, reported. Appearing on a South Florida news-talk station, Linn said it is common knowledge in Tallahassee that Crist is gay and that he should acknowledge it. Crist has repeatedly denied being gay.

Seven out of ten heterosexual adults in the United States say that they know a GLBT individual, according to a survey of 2,932 adults conducted by Harris Interactive and Witeck-Combs Communications. Other interesting findings from the study included that 54 percent of those who are GLBT say that concern about being the victim of a hate crime would be a reason for a person to not come out.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice administered the oath of office to gay physician Mark Dybul as he became U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, a post equal to the rank of ambassador, The Washington Blade reported. Laura Bush, who also attended the swearing-in, stated that Dybul will oversee President Bush's $15 billion Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief ( PEPFAR ) .

In New York, Eliot Spitzer, the state's attorney general who is running for governor and holds a commanding lead in the polls, made a strong declaration concerning gay marriage, The New York Times reported. Before the Empire State Pride Agenda, the state's leading gay lobbying group, Spitzer said that, 'We will make [ same-sex marriage ] law in New York.'

In California, the state's supreme court refused to get involved in a legal fight over same-sex marriage, declining an appeal from Arthur Smelt and Christopher Hammer, a gay California couple who were denied a license to wed in 2004, the Associated Press reported.

However, also in California, the Long Beach City Council has unanimously approved a resolution in support of same-sex marriage, according to The Long Beach Press-Telegram. The resolution places Long Beach among 38 other California cities that have passed similar measures.

The Williams Institute for Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy released a report, 'Same-Sex Couples and the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual Population: New Estimates from the American Community Survey,' that analyzes new demographic data about lesbians, gay men and bisexuals in the United States. Among other things, the study reveals a 30-percent increase in the number of same-sex couples in the United States over five years—an increase that is five times the growth rate of the general U.S. population. The study is available at

In a press release, National Center for Transgender Equality ( NCTE ) Executive Director Mara Keisling talked about the importance of National Coming Out Day, which takes place every year on Oct. 11. ' [ This day ] is a great time to consider the different ways that we can all come out and live openly in our communities,' she stated. 'Transgender people are increasingly choosing to live openly in regards to our gender identity and expression.' NCTE, Human Rights Campaign and others are working together on a coming out guide specifically for transgender people.

Speaking of National Coming Out Day, the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network ( SLDN ) issued a release on that day to announce that increasing numbers of LGB military personnel are serving openly. Statistician Gary Gates has estimated that at least 65,000 LGB individuals serve in the armed forces today, and another 41,000 would possibly enlist if 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' were repealed. Servicemembers considering coming out should call SLDN for free, confidential legal counseling at 202-328-FAIR, or e-mail .

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has taken the non-committal route regarding Proposition 22, refusing to say if he would support overturning the measure that defines marriage as being between one man and one woman, according to . In a meeting with the editorial board of the San Francisco Chronicle, the governor hesitated and then said 'I will get back to you on that.'

In Massachusetts, police alleged that AIDS activist and former Boston councilor David Scondras, 60, sent pornographic images and messages to someone he thought was a 15-year-old boy, reported. Police arrested Scondras at Day Charter School in Lawrence, where authorities say he had arranged to meet for sex. Scondras swept onto the City Council in 1983, and was re-elected five times, serving as the city's first openly gay council member.

Conservative politics in the United States is seen as a deterrent for travel to the United States by 68 percent of gays and lesbians from outside this country, according to a study by Community Marketing, Inc. ( CMI ) . ( The study, the largest of its kind, was based on more than 7,500 responses. ) However, 61 percent of gay and lesbian respondents from other countries visit because of the U.S.'s gay urban communities and resort towns.

TransJustice, 'a political group created by and for Trans and Gender Non-conforming people of color,' has put out a press release demanding that the New York Police Department allow Christina Sforza, a transgender woman, to file a complaint after she was allegedly attacked by a McDonald's employee this past July. The group also contends that the police prevented Sforza from filing a complaint on six separate occasions.

In North Carolina, two gay Wake Forest University students say they were the victims of anti-gay assault and harassment the same week, according to an item in The Washington Blade. The first case involved a verbal altercation that escalated into a physical attack. The second matter involved anti-gay verbal harassment and was referred to university officials for disciplinary action.

Seventy-four colleges and universities have adopted non-discrimination policies that include gender identity and expression, according to a new report issued by the Gender Public Advocacy Coalition ( GenderPAC ) . More than half of the schools adopted the policies in just the last two years.

Dee Deirdre Farmer, 41, a transgender inmate freed from prison last year because she was dying of AIDS, has been charged with using a forged Maryland death certificate to get new criminal charges dismissed, according to a Washington Blade item. Farmer was charged with forging a Baltimore Circuit Court order to change the death certificate of a man named Charles Smith to show that Farmer had died.

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