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National Roundup

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Transgendered youth murdered in San Jose

In San Jose, the body of Alina, a transgender youth, was retrieved from the trunk of a car by police Jan. 16. Little about the case is known, but Alina suffered injuries to her neck.

Scott Santino, 21, who owned the car, has been arrested on suspicion of murder and is being held without bail.

Alina was known at the Billy DeFrank Lesbian & Gay Community Center, where she was a volunteer and member of the youth group.

Teenager holding hands is assaulted

In an episode officials are calling a hate crime, three Boston High School students were arrested Jan. 28 after they allegedly sexually assaulted a 16-year-old classmate on a train because they thought she was gay, reports The Boston Globe.

The alleged attack began when five girls got on the train and apparently saw the victim holding hands with another girl. ( The girl was born and raised in an African country where schoolgirls often hold hands. )

Saying she was a lesbian, they allegedly started groping the girl, ripping her clothes, and pointing at their own genitals while shouting: "Do you like this? Do you like this? Is this what you like?" the paper reported.

When the girl resisted, a teenage boy allegedly pulled a knife on her, holding it to her throat and threatening to slash her. The girl was not cut, but she told authorities she passed out from the beating, reports the Globe.

Police arrested three of the girls, all Boston High students; they were charged with indecent assault and battery and civil-rights violations.

Catholic priests are quietly dying of AIDS

According to medical experts, priests, and an analysis of health statistics by The Kansas City Star, hundreds of Roman Catholic priests across the U.S. have died of AIDS-related illnesses, and hundreds more are living with HIV. Priests may be dying at a rate at least four times that of the general U.S. population.

The deaths are of such concern to the church that most dioceses and religious orders now require applicants for the priesthood to take an HIV-antibody test before their ordination, the paper said.

Army gets sensitivity training on gays

The Army has ordered mandatory gay sensitivity training for all soldiers in the aftermath of the murder of Pfc. Barry Winchell at Fort Campbell, Ky., reports The Washington Times. The Pentagon is also issuing surveys to military personnel on how their commands view gays.

Company: AIDS drug working well in patients

According to Reuters, an experimental HIV drug that stops the virus from infecting cells is working in severely ill patients and seems to be boosting their immune systems.

The drug, T— 20, is the first of a new class called fusion inhibitors. Made by Durham, North Carolina-based Trimeris Inc. in partnership with F. Hoffmann-La Roche, the drug has been tested on several dozen patients for eight months.

Lambda to sue Reno school officials

The Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund said Jan. 27 that it is suing school administrators in Reno, Nevada, for allowing years of merciless abuse to drive a gay student from completing high school.

Derek Henkle and Lambda Supervising Attorney Jon W. Davidson announced the lawsuit against Washoe County School District officials, who they say failed to protect Henkle and violated his constitutional rights.

The lawsuit charges the principals and administrators at Galena, Washoe, and Wooster High Schools, with violating the constitutional guarantee of equal protection because they refused to act decisively against the anti-gay harassment.

As administrators ignored vicious rumors and anti-gay slurs, the abuse quickly escalated to threats of violence, bullying, and physical attacks that followed Henkle through three high schools. At Galena, two boys threw a lasso around Henkle's neck and threatened to drag him from their pick-up truck. Later, at Wooster High School, school police officers stood by and watched a student repeatedly punch Henkle in the face. At Washoe High School, the principal warned Henkle against "acting like a fag."

Despairing of his chances for a safe education in the school district, Henkle, then only 16 years old, was forced to enroll in adult education classes where a high school diploma could not be obtained.

Creech preaches on

While the United Methodist Church defrocked Jimmy Creech, it hasn't muzzled him. Creech recently drove five hours to preach in north Charlotte to 32 people who share his belief that God loves gays, reports MSNBC News.

After 29 years as a Methodist pastor, Creech was stripped of his preaching credentials in November for blessing the union of two gay men. Creech is scheduled to preside over two same-sex unions involving lesbian couples later this year in North Carolina.

Vt. marriage hearing draws overflow crowd

An estimated 1,500 people jammed into the Vermont State House last week to hear and give testimony on the issue of same-sex marriage, reports The Rutland Herald.

The committees, first the House and later the Senate, are crafting a response to a Vermont Supreme Court decision handed down Dec. 20 that said same-sex couples were entitled to the same legal protections and benefits extended to heterosexual couples, the Herald said.

The House Judiciary Committee has heard from lawyers and other experts for the past three weeks, but Jan. 25 was the first public hearing.

NationalGayLobby.Org endorse candidates

NationalGayLobby.Org ( NGL ) announced its endorsements of candidates in the 2000 presidential primary elections last week.

NGL president Jayce Fortwangler said that of the NGL members who participated in a vote Jan. 21, 65.4 percent of Democrats voting supported the candidacy of former Sen. Bill Bradley, and 34.6 percent supported Vice President Al Gore.

The results of the NGL membership vote mirrored that of a poll of visitors to the NGL Web site conducted Jan. 2— 23. Of the 3,437 individuals—Democrats, Republicans, Independents and others—who participated in the poll, 58.3 percent indicated support for Bill Bradley's candidacy, and 16.7 percent said they supported Al Gore. The remaining 25 percent of poll participants divided their support between Sen. John McCain, Gov. Jesse Ventura, and "none" of the candidates listed.

According to Fortwangler, 100 percent of the Republican NGL members who voted Jan. 21 cast their vote for Sen. McCain.

Killer escapes murder conviction—'gay panic'

In Detroit, the "gay panic" defense won again in a Wayne County Circuit courtroom, when a murder suspect escaped with a slap on the wrist for his role in the murder of an acquaintance. The defendant made claims of an advance by the victim to justify the cold-blooded shooting.

Justin Wallace was convicted of manslaughter in the death of Alexander Charles, beating a 1st-degree conviction for the murder. Although there was no evidence to support assertions that the victim was gay, much less that he made any sexual advances toward his killer, the defense used a so-called "gay panic" defense in explaining why Wallace shot Charles to death.

"'Gay panic' defenses are the last refuge of a scoundrel, and the last resort of defense attorneys," said Jeffrey Montgomery, executive director of the Triangle Foundation.

Schools to form gay tolerance program

Boston's public high schools will form "gay-straight alliances'' as required by state law with the help of $40,000 in funding from the Dept. of Education, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino announced Jan. 24.

With another $5,000 from the city, the $45,000 will fund a coordinator, train students and staff and provide help for 15 high schools to form alliances, said The Boston Herald.

Gay men's twins get to stay in Britain

Six-week-old twins borne for a British gay couple by a surrogate mother in the U.S. have been allowed to live with their new parents in Britain, reports Reuters.

The twins, a boy and a girl, had flown to London with their gay parents Tony Barlow, 35, and Barrie Drewitt, 30, at the end of last month but, as American citizens, were granted only temporary permission to stay.

A spokesman for the Home Office ( interior ministry ) said the children's welfare had been a determining factor in Home Secretary Jack Straw's decision to let them stay.

The men, together for 11 years, turned to the U.S. and opted for surrogacy after their efforts to adopt a child in England were rejected. The men, one of whom fathered the child, have changed their names to Mr. and Mr. Drewitt-Barlow, said Reuters.

Gore meets Stonewall

In a historic meeting with national gay and lesbian leaders at his residence in Washington D.C., Vice President Gore recommitted his support on issues important to America's l/g/b/t community. Vice President Al Gore spoke with board members of the National Stonewall Democratic Federation and agreed to address the rising gay concerns over the new immigration bill.

Gay and lesbian leaders critical of the bill said there are no beneficial aspects for the LGBT community within the legislation. Same-sex couples who include someone outside of the U.S. are not granted similar access to citizenship as heterosexuals.

Gore agreed to appoint a commission during a Gore Administration that would include looking into the new immigration reforms.

3rd Gender, Sexuality and the Law Symposium

On Friday, Feb. 4, The Georgetown Journal of Gender and Law is presenting its third annual Gender, Sexuality and the Law Symposium in Washington, D.C. This year's topic is "Beyond Biology: Adoption, Reproductive Technology and Intentional Families." Speakers include Kate Kendall, executive director of the National Center of Lesbian Rights; Jon and Michael Galluccio, a gay couple who recently won a lawsuit in New Jersey that allows them to adopt jointly; and Terry Boggis, director of the Center Kids Project at the New York Lesbian and Gay Community Center.

Call at ( 202 ) 662— 9460.

Event organized by "YouGoGore" team

In an historic gay political event hosted by the New Hampshire Gay & Lesbian Legislative Caucus, openly gay Clinton/Gore appointees Fred Hochberg, Todd Dickinson, Gail Shibley and former appointee Bob Hattoy spoke to more than 70 New Hampshire lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender activists and leaders. The program was launched to promote Vice President Al Gore's candidacy and his leadership for the LGBT community.

In tandem with the newly formed LGBT campaign Team "YouGoGore," the event was held Jan. 22 at a private gay and lesbian civic club a few blocks from Gore's Manchester campaign headquarters.

Team "YouGoGore" was organized by gay and lesbian former appointees Mirian Saez and Paul Yandura and currently consists of a core of LGBT volunteers and will be organizing other events following New Hampshire, before the Super Tuesday primaries scheduled for March in pivotal states.

[ Outlines went to press before results were known from the NH primary. ]

Bi Conference in 2001

The first North American Conference on Bisexuality, Gender and Sexual Diversity takes place Aug. 9— 12, 2001 at the UBC Conference Centre in Vancouver British Columbia.

Email or visit

Leach proposes world bank AIDS trust fund

Rep. James A. Leach, Chairman of the U.S. House Banking and Financial Services Committee, has introduced legislation to create a Trust Fund at the World Bank to pay for AIDS education, prevention, treatment and vaccine development efforts in the world's poorest countries.

The World Bank AIDS Prevention Trust Fund Act authorizes establishment of a billion-dollar fund in which the U.S. would contribute 10 percent. The fund could solicit support from worldwide charitable groups and private sector businesses, as well as from governments of other countries.


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