Thursday, July 30, 2009

E. Lynn Harris (1955-2009)

E. Lynne Harris, whose 11 novels, a memoir and numerous short stories and articles focused on black men with bisexual tendencies (if not identities), died in Los Angeles on July 23, apparently of heart disease, at age 54. His books -- surprising popular among middle-aged black women as well as his loyal gay and bi male following -- consistently appeared on bestseller lists, though none to date has ever been translated into a feature film or telepic. For more on his life and books, visit:

http://www.elynnharris.com/e_lynn_harris.htm (biography)

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/25/books/25harris.html?_r=1&scp=2&sq=e%20lynn%20har (obituary)

Bibliography:
Invisible Life (1991 Self Published – 1994 Mass Marketed)
Just As I Am (1995) *
And This Too Shall Pass (1997)
If This World Were Mine (1998)
Abide With Me (2000)
Not A Day Goes By (2000)
Money Can't Buy Me Love (2000)
Any Way the Wind Blows (2002) *
A Love Of My Own (2003) *
What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted – A Memoir (2004)
I Say a Little Prayer (2006)
Just Too Good To Be True (2008)
Basketball Jones (2009)
Mama Dearest (forthcoming)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Urgent action request: Death penalty linked to hate crimes bill

The National Lesbian and Gay Task Force issued an urgent action request early this morning that says in part: "As the hate crimes bill moves closer to passage, ... some lawmakers are trying to turn this victory for justice into something ugly. They're using hate crimes legislation to push for an expansion of the death penalty. There's no time to waste. It's expected that in just a few hours, the Senate will vote on two amendments that would expand the use of the death penalty to include hate crimes. We need you to call your senators right now and tell them to vote against both death penalty expansion amendments. Dial 202-684-2468 or go to [www.thetaskforce.org] for links. ... Call now — the vote could be as early as 3 p.m. ET."


Gary North
800-585-9368
Sent via Verizon
Wireless BlackBerry

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Fort Worth mayor apologizes for gay bar raid

Media are reporting that Fort Worth, Texas, Mayor Mike Moncrief apologized Tuesday at a City Council meeting for a raid on a gay bar that sparked claims of brutality and other violations.

His remarks came after seven members of a gay rights group were escorted out of a City Council meeting Tuesday when they demanded to speak immediately rather than at some other time in the meeting.

According to a report carried by the Associated Press, "About 250 people packed council chambers and another 150 watched on televisions in the hallway or overflow rooms as officials briefly discussed the June 28 joint raid by the Texas Alcohol Beverage Commission and the Fort Worth Police Department at the Rainbow Lounge, which left one man hospitalized with a serious head injury.

"Moncrief told the meeting neither the TABC nor police had finished investigations into the raid, which initially had been called a routine license inspection. But the mayor said he has asked the U.S. Attorney's Office to review the department's findings.

"Someone in the audience then called out for an apology.

" 'If you want an apology from the mayor of Fort Worth: I am sorry about what happened in Fort Worth,' Moncrief said, as the crowd erupted in applause and stood."

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Hate Crime amendement needs urgent support, Task Force says

The National Lesbian and Gay Task Force Action Fund called today for help in contacting senators to support hate crimes legislation that could come up for a vote as early as Thursday. Similar legislation has already been OK'd in the House.

According to an email sent by Executive Director Rea Carey, "The Task Force has learned that the Senate may be voting on hate crimes legislation as soon as this Thursday as an amendment to the Department of Defense appropriations bill. That's why it's so important for you to make your voice heard now, before it's too late. Call your senators right away to urge them to pass the hate crimes amendment without delay.

"... Once the amendment passes the Senate, it will go back to the House for approval. And once that's happened, it will be sent to President Obama for his signature. This means we are literally steps away from securing federal protection for the LGBT community from vicious attacks and hate.

"But your senators need to hear from you. ... Every single one of us must act — and act now — to ensure that it is passed."

Monday, July 13, 2009

Bisexuals Support the Rev Eric Lee in the face of DISMISSAL

The Southern Christian Leadership Conference, a civil rights group partly founded by Martin Luther King Jr., has threatened to fire the president of its Los Angeles chapter because he supports same-sex marriage . . . "I'm not going to let their inaction handcuff me from fighting for justice," Lee said. - Los Angeles Times
The Reverend Eric P. Lee is President/CEO of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference-Los Angeles, as well as the Chairman/President of the California Christian Leadership Conference, the parent organization for seven California SCLC Chapters.

bayard rustin (by _Faith)Unfortunately, a founder of Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) was removed from office for being LGBT, Bayard Rustin, (see the terrific film on his life, Brother Outsider on LOGO or order it today at rustin.org).

Saddest thing? Even the folks over at jesus-is-savior(dot)com a fundamental Christian website know Coretta Scott King and Martin Luther King Jr. supported LGBT Civil Liberties.

Coretta Scott King Supports LGBT Americans! (by _Faith)
So why is THE MESSAGE OF Love and Tolerance still missing from SCLC? To deny even established leadership the opportunity to redefine injustice and intolerance indicates this group is erring on the wrong side of their OWN history, so please use your voice and speak up in favor of human rights!

Submit a letter of support for Rev. Eric Lee's involvement in marriage equality visibility on the SCLC website!

The Los Angeles Bi Center was recently invited to attend the launch of Rev. Lee's latest book at a Courage Campaign event. We are SOOOOO there!* As Bisexuals, we easily recognize when equality is ill-defined and not held to the same standard that LOVE should be; open, fair-minded and free.

*yes, this bi is in cali, can't ya tell ;)

Friday, July 10, 2009

[In Memoriam]: Joe Holt is gone

[Updated: Please see bottom of this post for a reaction from Joe's nephew and info on donations]

= = = =

Jack Random sent out the following remembrance July 9th 2009 on the Bay Area Bisexual Network (BABN) chat list after receiving word that longtime San Francisco bisexual activist and a webmaster for BABN Joe Holt had passed away. Joe had suffered from multiple myeloma.
Hi all,

I just got a call from Jon Spinner who got the call from Indiana that Joe Holt died today at the hospital in Terre Haute at about 10:30 am PST. He had just finished a dialysis treatment and died peacefully in his sleep with little or no pain.

Last Sunday Jon and I helped (or at least stood around helpfully) as his father and a couple of other family members loaded Joe on a medical transportation van to get him to SFO for the flight to Indiana where he was born. After consulting with his doctors and his family Joe decided that was where he wanted to be for this last week of his life so that he could see his brother, other family members and several old friends.

For those of you on the list [ed. note BABN Chat list] who may not have met Joe he was the person who set this list up years ago, hosted it from the server at his house and moved it to queernet.org when he became too tired to admin it directly. He was also the mainstay of the bi community who made sure that we had a booth at Pride and Folsom for the last 7 or 8 years and was one of the first people to organize a bisexual contingent in the Pride Parade over a decade ago. I cannot begin to list all the myriad little things that Joe has done for our community and community members over the years. Just say that whenever we needed him he was always there for us and I don't think that it's too much of a stretch to say that the bisexual community as it exists in the bay area would not be nearly what it is today if hadn't been for his efforts.

Jon and I are discussing a memorial for Joe and if anybody has any suggestions or wants to be involved you should let one of us know or just post to this list. I'm sure we will be pulling that together in the next couple of weeks. Joe donated the graphical materials from his occasionally terrifyingly graphic website Bisexualadventures.com to the Center for Sex and Culture just before he got too weak to think clearly and I'll probably be using those to put together some kind of slide show for the memorial. If anyone else has any memorabilia of Joe, especially pictures of him wearing clothes or reminiscences that I could record please contact me.


= = = =

Here is an edited response sent to the Bay Area Bisexual Network from Joe's nephew:

Hello BABN. My name is Eric..., and I am Joe's nephew from back in Indiana. I joined the list tonight so I could say thanks for all the kind comments posted about Joe over the past few days. Before his passing, I did not know he was part of this group -- but after reading the list archives and other things on the web about BABN, I am really proud of the work he did for your community over the years.

While looking through the list archives, I saw a post from Joe just after the election where he actually mentioned me on the list. He said, quote: "My queer nephew is over the moon that he finally lives in a blue state. There was big partying in Indianapolis last night.". I got a huge kick out of that, and I laughed loud enough to bring my significant other in here from the other room to ask what I was laughing about. :) Even after his passing, he can still make us laugh and smile!

Joe was a great son, brother and uncle -- and I can clearly see he was also a great friend and peer. He had the greatest sense of humour and it seemed like when he was home visiting he was always cracking a joke and making his family smile and laugh. He is certainly already missed, by not only our family -- but by his "family" in San Francisco as well.

In regards to donations, ... he was a huge proponent of the EFF and the ACLU, so I am sure either of those groups would meet his approval. At his service here in Terre Haute, information was posted regarding donations to the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. The address given was: 383 Main Ave. 5th Floor, Norwolk, CT 06851. They also have a website which accepts donations, located at: http://www.multiplemyeloma.org/

Again, thanks for the kind words about Joe, and I hope everyone out there that knew him can find the time to celebrate his life. Drink some wine, eat some cheese, tell some funny stories, and laugh -- I have a feeling he would probably approve.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

[BiNet USA]: BiNet USA Applauds Massachusetts Lawsuit Challenging DOMA







Media Advisory

Date: 07/08/2009 05:30 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time Contact: press@binetusa.org 1-800-585-9368

Today Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley filed a lawsuit in US District Court in Boston claiming that the Congress, in enacting the Defense of Marriage Act Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), "overstepped its authority, undermined states' efforts to recognize marriages between same-sex couples, and codified an animus towards gay and lesbian people."

BiNet USA immediately repeated it's support of any action that would result in the ultimate removal of DOMA, President Gary North saying "we applaud the action". While BiNet USA member and Massachusetts resident Robyn Ochs who is married to Peg Preble added, "Even living in an 'equality state,' you'd be amazed at how many rights and protection same-sex couples still don't have, due to the lack of federal recognition of our marriages. DOMA obstructs the ability of those states that practice marriage equality to treat all of its citizens fairly. It's time for DOMA to be struck down."

The lawsuit argues that the DOMA, which was enacted in 1996, precludes same-sex spouses in Massachusetts from a wide range of protections, including federal income tax credits, employment and retirement benefits, health insurance coverage, and Social Security payments. The defendants named in the lawsuit include the US Department of Health and Human Services, the US Department of Veterans Affairs, and the United States itself.

The lawsuit questions the constitutionality of Section 3 of the law, which defines the word "marriage" for the purpose of federal law as "a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife." The suit alleges that the law violates the 10th Amendment to the Constitution, which reserves to the states all powers except those granted to the federal government. It also alleges that the law violates Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution, which limits the power of Congress to attach conditions to the receipt of federal funds.

Janson Wu, attorney for Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), which filed its own lawsuit challenging the law said, "We applaud the Commonwealth's decision to seek to protect its married citizens from the harms caused by federal discrimination."

Congressman Barney Frank's office also issued a statement saying in part, "Martha Coakley’s decision to join the lawsuit against the part of The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that denies federal recognition of thousands of valid Massachusetts marriages deserves the support and gratitude of all of the state’s residents."

For more information, please visit us on the Web at:

www.binetusa.org
binetusa.blogspot.com
www.myspace.com/binetusa
www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=44503625428

and for press inquiries, please call 1-800-585-9368 or email press@binetusa.org

Tags: DOMA, Massachusetts, Attorney General Martha Coakley, Marriage Equality, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, Robyn Ochs

# # #

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Call For Submission: Bisexual Artists

Bisexual Artists is seeking artists who identify as Bisexual (or with a label inclusive of bisexuality, such as Pansexual, Fluid, Omnisexual, Ambisexual or Queer), to submit paintings, drawings, photographs, prints, or sculptures relating to their experiences of living as a bisexual person. Artist's Palette in bisexual Pride ColoursThis project is an opportunity for artists to represent what being bisexual means to them and to help promote the wide variety of people who are bisexual.

Hangable works will be limited to 8' in height and 6' in length. Sculptures will be limited to a base of 2' by 2', with a height no greater than 8'. Works may be either pre-existing work or work created specifically for the event. There should also be a paragraph description of the content of the work and how it relates to issues of bisexuality, bisexual identities and/or bisexual visibility (no more than 500 words).

Deadline for submissions is August 1st 2009. Please click here for complete information, submission guidelines, etc.

Artists selected for the exhibition will have their work on display in the San Francisco art gallery of Good Vibrations on Polk Street from Thursday October 8th 2009 thru Thursday, November 26th 2009.

many thanks to the good peope at Queers United for bringing this to our attention

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Happy Fourth of July!!!

Vintage Patriotic Divider: God Bless America

On this Fourth of July, 2009, we bisexual, fluid and pansexual citizens and residents of the United States of America as well as our friends, families and allies can be proud that we are ably represented at several levels of government by out Bi-identified LGBT politicians.

There is Kate Brown, Oregon's Secretary of State, currently the highest ranking openly bisexual elected politician in the United States. She also attended the June 29 2009 Reception for LGBT people at the White House in celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, where she met up with BiNet USA's own Robyn Ochs. Robyn reports "Kate and I were very excited to see each other and hugged and exclaimed happily!".
Kate Brown Out Bisexual Oregon Secretary of State & bisexual activist Robyn Ochs at the White house on June 29th 2009 at Reception in honor of the Stonewall Riots
We also have Newark, Delaware City Councilman Ezra Temko and New York State Assemblyman Micah Z. Kellner. Assemblyman Kellner has sent this Fourth of July message to the Bisexual Community:
Out Bisexual New York State Assemblyman Micah Z. Kellner"On this our day of independence, we must always remember that we had to fight for our rights and freedom. They were not handed to us. The 4th of July should be a reminder to all those in the Bisexual Community that we must continue to fight for full acceptance with in the greater LGBT community. Bisexuals must be an equal partner in the loud and proud fight for LGBT civil rights."

Micah Z. Kellner
Member of the New York State Assembly
Kellner, who is also a Disability Right's Advocate, is a veteran of many years in the political trenches serving as an aide to Senator Chuck Schumer, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney and City Controller William C. Thompson and now as an Assemblyman elected to represent New York State's 65th district with the assistance of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, nevertheless is realistic about both celebrating how far as a community we have come and yet also clearly facing the almost institutionalized biphobia we must overcome saying "I've found that because the gay community treats us poorly that enables the straight community to do the same, because their gay friends have de facto sanctioned it."

However, with such fantastic out, visible and above all able elected leaders as Brown, Temko and Kellner and up and comers like Emily Drennen we are definitely making progress. It is getting harder and harder for mainstream society straight, gay, lesbian and otherwise to continue to pretend that we as a people and a community do not exist!!!
Happy Birthday USA!!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Going to the White House on June 29th 2009

a personal reflection by Robyn Ochs

Peg and I were invited guests at a historic event: June 29, 2009 marked the first time a United States President ever hosted a reception for LGBT people at the White House. I was there representing BiNet USA and the Bisexual Resource Center (BRC).

Yesterday’s reception was an important symbolic moment. While symbols are not the same as action, they have their own value and power. The President and the First Lady warmly welcomed into the White House a group of people that has historically been excluded.

Remember: It was our community's creativity, hard work, and persistence that built the road that brought us to the White House.

When Peg introduced me to the Obamas as her wife, and they looked into our eyes and shook our hands, I was profoundly moved. “We will get there,” President Obama assured me. I’m not certain whether his “there” is exactly the same as my “there,” but I believe him.

Robyn & Peg with President Obama at the White House on Monday June 29th 2009


Looking around the room at elected officials, government workers, seniors, lesbians, gay men, trans activists, activists of color, cultural workers, youth activists – of course, many in the room were wearing multiple hats – I was struck by the size and by the wonderful diversity of our movement. For every familiar face in the room, there were so many more movers and shakers who were not present.

I hope that President Obama understands the sense of urgency that we in the LGBT community are feeling right now. It is very hard to wait to be equal. Every day that passes, actual people are harmed. Qualified and competent soldiers such as Dan Choi are discharged. LGBT families suffer because we lack full legal recognition. People in bi-national couples who love one another are denied the opportunity to be together. I have several friends in this situation. I have friends who have had to emigrate to the United Kingdom, to South Africa, and to Canada to be together. I have other friends who are separated from the one they love because neither their country nor ours recognizes their relationship.

And every day we pay higher taxes than heterosexual couples and receive fewer government benefits. I am married in Massachusetts since the first day it was legal, and since that time I have paid more than $12,000 in extra federal income taxes than I would have had I been married to a man instead of to a woman. You see, I am taxed on the difference in value between an individual and family plan (“imputed income”) because DOMA prohibits the federal government from recognizing our marriage as valid. Married mixed-sex couples are currently not taxed on their family health plans. Imagine if we could have put this money toward our retirement!

Our level of frustration is so high at this time because, for the first time in our lifetimes, there is a possibility of real, substantive change.

We understand that the President has a great deal on his plate, but he is the best hope that we have ever had and it is hard to wait. We have been waiting for a very long time.

Follow-up on Fort Worth

If you are on Facebook, there is a Facebook group that provides
current information about what is happening in Fort Worth. The
information below is taken from this site:

http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/group.php?gid=109253439840

8 p.m. Wednesday, July 1: Candlelight Vigil at Rainbow Lounge,
651 Jennings Ave.
9 p.m. Friday, July: Benefit Show for Chad Gibson,
Rainbow Lounge
7 p.m. Tuesday, July 14: Fort Worth City Council Meeting,
Fort Worth Municipal Building
1000 Throckmorton St.

To donate to a fund for Chad Gibson, walk into any Frost Bank
location in Texas and ask to make a donation to Q Cinema for
the benefit of Chad Gibson (the donation is through Q Cinema
in order to be tax deductible). The account number is 608439230.
Ability to make online donations coming soon.

There are also a lot of videos on YouTube:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhWMFMPFVpU