Thursday, July 30, 2009

Dawson and Cole : The first duty of love is to listen

Dawson and Cole

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Beautiful #15 - There are many things in life that will catch your eye, but only a few will catch your heart

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

David and Hayden: Love unlocks doors and opens windows that weren't even there before

Monday, July 27, 2009

Hunk of the day July 27, 2009

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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Michael and Calix : Soul meets soul on lover's lips

Michael and Calix

Friday, July 24, 2009

Popular substitute teacher received fewer teaching assignments after transitioning from from male to female

Few teaching assignments and an alleged prejudice from members of a New Jersey school district's board were sources of frustration substitute teacher Lily McBeth cited that led to her resignation.

Lily B. McBeth is an American transgender teacher from Tuckerton, New Jersey. She was born William B. McBeth and as part of her transition underwent sex reassignment surgery in 2005. She is a retired medical sales & marketing executive. As a soldier, she served in the U.S. Army as a Senior Medical Corpsman with a tour duty in Alaska. She worked as a substitute teacher at Little Egg Harbor Township School District, Pinelands Regional School District and Eagleswood Elementary School District for five years prior to her transition and returned after completing surgery to resume her teaching career.

The schools' 2006 decisions to keep her on as a substitute were hailed around the nation as a model of tolerance and acceptance of transgender Americans. But the storybook ending never happened: She got only a handful of assignments since then and is resigning in frustration.

"When I got the news from the school board that I would be retained, I was thrilled," she said. "I thought, `They consider me a person of worth, and that I could still be a valuable asset.' But it didn't happen."

"I was a very active teacher," McBeth, 75, told Advocate on Thursday. "I got very few calls, compared to when I was someone else. By the same token I noticed that the frequency disappeared."

Before her transition from male to female in 2005, McBeth said she averaged 15 to 18 assignments a year as a substitute teacher for elementary students in the Eagleswood school district, and an additional 16 to 20 a year in the Pinelands Regional School District, teaching high school students.

Afterward, she said, she only got two assignments per year at both districts.

"All they did was put me in a closet again," she said. "They boxed me in and kept me there."

Jillian Todd Weiss, an assistant professor of law and society at Ramapo College in New Jersey transitioned in 1998, about five years before she began teaching. She says she's not surprised at how things worked out for McBeth.

"There's a difference between talking the talk and walking the walk," said Weiss, who holds seminars for businesses on how to deal with transgender employees in the workplace. "This often does happen in employment situations where there's an outward display of tolerance and acceptance."

Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, said McBeth's experience is a common one for transgender employees. A survey her group helped to conduct this year of 6,500 transgender Americans found 91 percent had faced bias at work because of their transgender status.

Jennifer Boylan, an English professor at Colby College in Maine and author of the best-selling autobiographical novel, "She's Not There: A Life In Two Genders," said transgender people continue to suffer discrimination.

"It seems like a good teacher is being judged for something other than her talent, and we should all be able to agree that's not fair," said Boylan, who transitioned in 2000. "My heart goes out to Lily and all people who have to fight prejudice as a result of who they are."

In 2003, McBeth started her transition process, and in 2005 she legally changed her name on her birth certificate as well as official identity cards. Some in the community did not think she should have been allowed to return to teaching. One parent took out a full page advertisement in a local newspaper alerting parents to what had happened. Parents expressed fear that some of her students would not understand transgenderism.

While some parents objected at public meetings to McBeth continuing to teach after becoming a woman, many students were supportive.

"I can see where some people might have concerns, but people just need to get over it," one Pinelands high school student said in 2006.

After listening to dozens of parents and citizens, the school district board decided to uphold their previous 4 to 1 vote for her reinstatement. This decision was hailed and criticized by politicians, journalists, and activists around the world. While she continued working as a substitute in Eagleswood School District she reapplied and was put on the substitute teachers list in the Pinelands Regional School in Little Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey in the fall of 2006. The School Board appointed her to this position after a meeting at which they heard no negative comments.

Her case attracted considerable media attention. She appeared in interviews on ABC's Good Morning America, The Lynne Doyle Show in addition to being the subject of many articles and stories published in regional, national and international publications. Considered by some[who?] as the "Rosa Parks" of the transgender movement in New Jersey, the Associated Press reported her as saying: "Look at me as a person: Am I qualified to teach? Yes. Do I have experience? Yes. Do I have a good report card from the schools? Yes. I have nothing to hide, and I'm proud of who I am."

"Make no mistake: Lily McBeth is one of the most important figures in New Jersey civil rights history over the past two decades," said Steven Goldstein, president of Garden State Equality, a gay and transgender rights group.

McBeth sent a letter Wednesday to the Eagleswood Board of Education saying she would not return as a substitute this fall, and plans to give similar notice soon to the Pinelands district.

Deborah Snyder, the Eagleswood schools superintendent, said the district wanted McBeth to return this fall. She denied bias was involved, adding the district has hired a permanent substitute to report to work each day and fill in as needed.

For other classroom vacancies, the district turns to its list of certified teachers. Only after that is exhausted does it call subs from the local hiring list that included McBeth.

"We wanted to see her back on our sub list," Snyder said. "If she makes the decision not to return to our district, we wish her all the best in the future."

McBeth said that her decision to retire is only one facet of her life. With a free schedule at her disposal, she plans to stay busy with hobbies, which include work to help re-establish clam colonies in Barnegat Bay. "I could sue them over the violation of my medical privacy rights, but what would that accomplish?" she said. "I'm not in this for the money, and I have to be able to sleep peacefully at night. I'm just going to enjoy the rest of my life." McBeth also acts in local theater productions and sings in a church choir.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

McInerney could face as much as 53 years to life in prison

Oxnard junior high school student Brandon McInerney bragged that he had guns at home if he ever wanted to kill someone, the officers testified in a Ventura courthouse Monday.

McInerney, 15, is charged with murder and a hate crime in the death of Larry King, 15, on Feb. 12, 2008. King dressed in a feminine manner and told friends he was gay. McInerney, who was 14 when the shooting occurred, is being tried as an adult.

McInerney made the comment to another student at E.O. Green Junior High in Oxnard sometime before walking into the classroom and allegedly gunning down gay classmate Larry King on the morning of Feb. 12, 2008, said Oxnard police Sgt. Kevin Baysinger.

“Brandon said if he ever wanted to kill anybody, his dad had a bunch of guns and he had the capability,” Baysinger told the court.

One student, a female friend of King's, reportedly told Oxnard Police Sgt. Kevin Baysinger that McInerney sought her out the day before the shooting. McInerney reportedly told the girl, "Tell Larry goodbye because you're not going to see him again," Baysinger testified.

One of McInerney's friends told investigators that the youth said he was "going to kill" King. He told another friend that they should jump King and "shank" him.

In the second day of a preliminary hearing in the case, District Attorney’s Office investigator Robert Coughlin testified Tuesday that law enforcement officials interviewed more than 175 people during the investigation into the homicide. He said he conducted 40 of the interviews himself.

He testified that one of his interviews was with a female student who said McInerney was reading a book just before the shooting. Students had been in the E.O Green School classroom for about 15 or 20 minutes.

The female student told Coughlin that she started a conversation with King, who was sitting near her, and asked him to confirm rumors that he was changing his first name to a girl’s name.

The student said boys in the room were giggling after her remark, and then King said: “What are you laughing about?”

The female student said she heard a noise that sounded like “a pop,” Coughlin testified.

“She saw Larry King sliding down from his seat,” said Coughlin, adding that the girl said she also saw McInerney fire a second shot to the back of King’s head.

According to the girl, McInerney said nothing as he looked around the computer lab classroom before firing the second time, Coughlin testified.

Mancha and Tinoco were among several witnesses who spoke on the first day of the preliminary hearing, shedding more light into the slaying, alleged threats made by McInerney against King, and McInerney’s purported interest in skinheads and Nazis.

The defendant’s girlfriend told Mancha that she knew that McInerney had an interest in skinhead culture.

“He knew that she did not approve of that,” Mancha said.

Coughlin, the district attorney’s investigator, testified that computer lab teacher Dawn Boldrin never knew there were problems between King and McInerney.

Coughlin said that in his interview with Boldrin, she told him that King’s behavior was not a problem; she described his behavior as that of a shy, feminine boy.

Boldrin said McInerney told her that he was going to be a skinhead and join the “white power” movement, according to Coughlin. However, McInerney later said, “Oh, I am kidding,” Coughlin testified.

The investigator also said the computer lab class was studying World War II and other students, not just McInerney, were interested in writing about Adolf Hitler.

If convicted, McInerney could face as much as 53 years to life in prison.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Cade and Todd : Love is an irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired

Cade and Todd

Monday, July 20, 2009

Hunk of the day July 20, 2009

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Saturday, July 18, 2009

Jesse and Ethan : Love is the greatest refreshment in life

Jesse and Ethan

Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood. Every passing minute is another chance to turn it all around. Just because somebody doesn't love you the way you want them to, doesn't mean they don't love you with all they have.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Beautiful #14

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Pride Fest has the ceremonial support of a city leader for the first time in several years

An annual event in Colorado Springs organized by gays and lesbians has the ceremonial support of a city leader for the first time in several years.

Colorado Springs is the home of Wil Perkins, author of a 1992 ballot issue that barred Colorado cities from passing laws to protect gays from discrimination. Mayor Lionel Rivera often issues proclamations for city events, but he has withheld his support for Pride Fest since 2003 because the event hosts same-sex commitment ceremonies and he opposes gay marriage.

It became an annual ritual for the Pikes Peak Gay & Lesbian Community Center, which puts on the event, to request his proclamation and for him to reject the request. Pride Fest found an unlikely knight in shining armor this year: Vice Mayor Larry Small. He has issued a personal letter of support for Pride Fest, which will include a parade and interfaith religious service Sunday.

Gay-friendly bar The Underground, 110 N. Nevada Ave., has hoisted a banner thanking Vice Mayor Larry Small for his support for Pride Day this year.

Small, a self-described conservative Republican, says gays and lesbians are members of the community who pay taxes, own businesses.

Unlike the mayor, however, he doesn’t think those stances preclude him from giving a nod to the gay community.

"These are citizens of the community who are having an event, and they need to be appreciated like any other group. They pay taxes, own businesses, and volunteer their time for community organizations," Small said. "I’m not going to treat people differently just because other people might like or dislike them. I wasn’t elected to judge any of them."

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Hunk of the day July 15

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Saturday, July 11, 2009

Two men charged for attack on transgender woman with rocks and bottles

Two men were charged with assault as a hate crime for an attack a transgender female in Queens Wednesday night, according to the Queens district attorney’s office.

Investigators say the attack happened on the corner of 116th Avenue and 199th Street in St. Albans.

The victim, 22-year-old Carmella Etienne, tells the Queens District Attorney's office she was hit by rocks and a beer bottle thrown by Nathaniel Mims, 25, of the Bronx , 25, of the Bronx and Rasheed Thomas, 22, of Queens.

Authorities say the men also shouted anti-gay slurs during the Wednesday night incident.

"I was being attacked because of who I am," said victim Carmella Etienne. "I'm pretty traumatized."

"I never know them, never saw them," said Etienne, who lives in St. Albans. "I was walking from the store, coming to my house and attacking me with rocks with chunky rocks and empty beer bottles. The empty beer bottle they throw at me slash over and cut my legs; it cut my leg up."

When Etienne threatened to call the police, the two suspects allegedly said "The police don't care about you, they won't do anything to us."

Both men were arrested at the scene, but one witness says the police may have grabbed the wrong people.

"He stopped right here, started doing his little vogue-ing thing, cause that's what they do. And I guess the guy that is with my friend he didn't like he, you know 'Go outta here with that, you know, no one wants to see that' and he went about his business," said Candy Brown, a friend of one of the suspects. "Somebody else or whatever started throwin rocks or whatever, but they were here. They didn't have anything to do with it."

"Everyone should understand that these cases, whether they involve ancestry, gender, age or sexual orientation, will all be very vigorously prosecuted because of the effect that they have not only on individuals involved, but on the community generally," said Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.

Brown said if convicted the suspects, 25-year-old Nathaniel Mims and 22-year-old Rasheed Thomas, could face 15 years in prison.

"Nobody has the right to tell you you can't be who you are," Etienne said.

Etienne said she plans to enroll in college this fall to study fashion and wants all hate crime victims to come forward, call police and get justice.

When asked if she feels brave for trying to stand up to the alleged attackers, Etienne said, "Oh wow, I guess I would say that because I'm a very strong minded person. I'm very head strong and I believe in myself."

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Demi Moore and Bruce Willis’ eldest daughter will play a lesbian in an episode of 90210

Demi Moore and Bruce Willis’ eldest daughter Rumer Willis is slated to play gay for the CW network. The series, set at the fictional West Beverly High School, returns to the air this fall.

Willis is set to play "a punky lesbian named Gia". The character will work at the school paper, the Blaze News, alongside Navid (Michael Steger), Adrianna (Jessica Lowndes) and Silver (Jessica Stroup).

This is not Rumer Willis' first one-shot. She's done one episode each on "Army Wives," "CSI: NY" and "Medium."

No word on if Rumer will have her first girl-on-girl kiss, but no doubt her thesp parents Demi Moore, Bruce Willis and stepdad Ashton Kutcher are beaming with pride.

Willis will also be seen later this year alongside Audrina Patridge in Sorority Row.

Born Rumer Glenn Willis in Paducah, Kentucky, where her father was filming In Country at the time, she was named after British author Rumer Godden. Her mother, actress Demi Moore, hired a cameraman to videotape her birth. She has two younger sisters, Scout Larue and Tallulah Belle.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown's wife took part in London's latest gay pride march

The wife of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has joined thousands of revelers in London's latest gay pride march through the streets of the capital's main shopping district.

Sarah Brown carried a red, white and pink version of the Union Jack as the noisy parade wound through the city center before a rally and concert in Trafalgar Square.

Everyone from drag queens to firefighters and soldiers in uniform joined the parade, organized by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender groups.

Earlier, organizers met the Browns outside 10 Downing St.

The prime minister said Britain had made "massive strides towards equality," including the introduction of civil partnerships for gay couples. These have the same legal status as marriage, but some campaigners want the word marriage to apply to both gay and straight couples.

London Mayor Boris Johnson meanwhile sent a video message to the participants, in which he said "how proud" he was to be supporting the event.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Hunk of the day July 03

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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Beautiful #13