Gay former Texas prison inmate Roderick Johnson alleges he was repeatedly raped by other inmates and is suing six prison officials who he claims ignored his pleas for help, The Washington Blade reported. The ACLU is representing him in the case. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, Texas prisons have the highest number of allegations of inmate-on-inmate sexual assault in the country; in 2004 there were 550—13 were substantiated.
Servicemembers Legal Defense Network ( SLDN ) , in a statement, questioned the results of a new poll exploring the impact of the military's 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' ban on the decision of potential recruits to enlist. According to the release, similar polls in Canada and Britain predicted dire consequences if gays were allowed to serve openly; however, those predictions never occurred. The poll, from a research institute at the University of California at Santa Barbara, reports that 21 percent of potential recruits—among a young, male and conservative sampling—would be 'less likely' to join the armed forces if the military's ban on lesbian, gay and bisexual personnel were repealed. Sharra Greer, director of law and policy for SLDN contradicted the findings by stating, 'Instead, recent studies have indicated the U.S. military could attract as many as 41,000 new recruits by repealing 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.''
The armed forces' 'don't ask, don't tell' policy makes more people embarrassed by the military than proud of it, according to a new University of California poll. According to the poll, 24.2 percent of respondents said that the policy makes them embarrassed by the military while 17.5 percent said the policy makes them proud. Fifty-six percent said that the policy has no impact on their feelings about the military.
The court that made Massachusetts the first state to legalize gay marriage will now decide whether same-sex couples from other states can marry there, CNN.com reported. If the Supreme Judicial Court strikes down a 1913 law, same-sex couples from across the country could wed in Massachusetts and demand marriage rights at home. Eight gay couples from surrounding states, all of whom were denied marriage licenses in Massachusetts, are challenging the law.
The National Stonewall Democrats has called on the White House and the Republican Party to meet with gay and lesbian families on key issues such as judicial nominations and marriage equality. 'The Republican Party's reliance on the corrupt counsel of anti-gay activists is poisoning American policy with toxic cronyism,' said Executive Director Eric Stern.
The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force will present its National Leadership Award to California assemblyman Mark Leno at the 9th Annual Miami Recognition Dinner Nov. 5. Leno made history in 2002 when he was elected as one of the first openly gay men to the California State Assembly. This year he was the force behind the California legislature's passage of a marriage equality bill that was vetoed by governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
According to the 2000 census, same-sex cohabiting couples are more likely to be interracial than their straight counterparts, according to an item in DiversityInc. Most of these couples are Latino-white ( 43 percent ) , followed by Black-white ( 14 percent ) , Asian Pacific Islander-white ( 11 percent ) and Black-Latino ( 3 percent ) .
The Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) commended several state-level advancements made this year on behalf of transgender Americans ( including an anti-bias measure signed by Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich ) . 'From ensuring that health insurers don't discriminate to protecting transgender people on the job, we see increasing support among state legislators and governors for equal rights regardless of gender identity or expression,' remarked HRC President Joe Solmonese.
More than 100 major corporations have added gender identity and/or expression to their non-discrimination policies, according to the Gender Public Advocacy Coalition ( GenderPAC ) . With recent expansions to the policies of companies such as defense contractor Raytheon and healthcare provider Kaiser Permanente, the total is now 104.
California First Lady Maria Shriver has selected Daniel Zingale as chief of staff, according to a release from the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board. Zingale, 45, who recently served as a member of the board, has almost two decades of state government and policy experience; among other things, he was chief executive director of the AIDS Action Council and AIDS Action Foundation.
More than 40 members of the Massachusetts and California congressional delegations have written to Republican National Committee Chair Ken Mehlman urging him to repudiate false statements regarding the Republican policy position on gay marriage, according to a release from the office of Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass. The release asserted that Mehlman had previously stated that the definition of marriage is the domain of the state legislature. However, by pushing President Bush's constitutional amendment, it would make any decision by a state legislature null and void.
New York City's most famous gay penguin couple has split up—and one has now taken up with a female, according to Fox News. Silo and Roy, two male chinstrap penguins native to the South Atlantic, made local headlines six years ago when they came out with their same-sexrelationship. However, that all ended when Scrappy, a single female newly arrived from SeaWorld in San Diego, caught Silo's eye.
Exodus International's flagship 'ex-gay' residential treatment facility, Love in Action, is facing possible closure by the state of Tennessee for unlawfully treating mentally ill gay men, according to the New York Blade.
Marshall K. Kirk, who co-authored one of the most celebrated chronicles of the gay-rights movement, has died at 47, according to YourGenealogist.com . Kirk partnered with Hunter Madsen to write After the Ball: How America Will Conquer Its Fear and Hatred of Gays in the '90s and described what they called 'homohatred.' The analysis of gay history and culture was published in 1989 and landed Kirk in the pages of Newsweek, Time and The Washington Post.
Tobias Schneebaum, an openly gay explorer and writer, died at this home in Great Neck, NY. He was in his mid-80s and the cause of death was due to Parkinson's disease, his nephew told The New York Times. Schneebaum became famous after he lived among cannibals in the Amazon during the 1950s and claimed to have eaten part of a human heart. He was featured in the 2000 documentary Keep the River on Your Right: A Modern Cannibal Tale, where he returned to the Amazon and Indonesian New Guinea.
A California jury handed down murder convictions for Michael Magidson and Jose Merel in the murder of Gwen Araujo, according to a release from GenderPAC, a gender-rights group. The 17-year-old Araujo was beaten, bound, and strangled by a group of four men who learned that she was biologically male. After three months of testimony, the four-woman, eight-man jury took seven days to find the defendants guilty of second-degree murder. They face mandatory sentences of 15 years to life. The third defendant, Jason Cazares, was free to go on $1 million bail after jurors deadlocked on his conviction.