GLAADLines News and Breaking Stories about the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community
|Anti-Gay Ad Confronts Candidates in Iowa
As presidential candidates and media flocked to the Republicans' Iowa Straw Poll, a controversial newspaper ad asked candidates to stand against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (lgbt) equality. Sponsored by a coalition of anti-gay groups, the ad in the August 13 Des Moines Register called on candidates to sign a pledge to, among other things, "resist all attempts to provide the benefits and privileges traditionally accorded married couples to unmarried 'domestic partners,'" and "[oppose] federal legislation that would expand [non-discrimination law] to include special legal protections based on sexual behavior or preference." August 13 also saw the release of "Y2K Presidential Candidates & Gay and Lesbian Equality," a Human Rights Campaign (HRC) report looking at candidate positions on lesbian and gay issues. "The lesson from the 1998 elections was that the voters overwhelmingly reject extremism and divisive, anti-gay rhetoric," said HRC Political Director Winnie Stachelberg. While welcoming the change in tone from some candidates, Stachelberg cautioned that those who embrace discriminatory policies will alienate mainstream voters. "Any candidate who signs this pledge is really pledging to ignore American voters who overwhelmingly support non-discrimination."
"Don't Ask; Don't Tell" Updated
In the wake of record-high servicemember discharges on account of sexual orientation, the Pentagon revised its "don't ask, don't tell" policy on lesbians and gay men in the military. The Pentagon ordered commanders to seek approval from senior civilian officials at the Pentagon before opening certain types of investigations and ordered ongoing anti-harassment education for all military personnel. The revisions came as testimony continued in the Article 32 hearing (the military equivalent of a grand jury hearing) for Private Calvin Glover, charged with allegedly committing premeditated murder of Private First Class Barry Winchell. "It's truly unfortunate that something so serious had to happen before the Pentagon would finally move on this," said Stacey Sobel, senior staff attorney for the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), noting that Winchell had faced anti-gay harassment for at least four months prior to his murder. "Pentagon officials have had very similar guidance sitting on the shelf for two-and-a-half years. It's shameful that it wasn't released earlier when so many other servicemembers' careers and physical safety were at risk."
GLSEN, DOCKERS PARTNER TO BRING TOGETHER YOUTH LEADERS
For the second consecutive year, Dockers Khakis will fund a national scholarship program to bring over 100 youth to "Teaching Respect for All '99," the third annual conference of the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network (GLSEN). The conference, held October 1-3 in Atlanta, is the largest national summit of parents, educators, students, and concerned community members working to end anti-gay bias in K-12 schools. The Dockers-sponsored Youth United Against Bias scholarship fund represents an opportunity for lgbt students to attend the conference. "One of the great hurdles standing between youth activists and their ability to participate fully in the larger civil rights movement is money," said GLSEN Executive Director Kevin Jennings. "These scholarships will allow youth and their adult allies to join together, learn from one another, and build stronger alliances as they work to end anti-gay harassment in hometown schools."
1999-2000 Primetime TV Lineup "Barely Realistic," say GLAAD
In its annual Fall TV Scoreboard, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) has voiced concerns over the lack of diversity and depth in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (lgbt) prime-time representations. "The upcoming television season is barely realistic in the portrayals of lesbian and gay characters," said GLAAD Entertainment Media Director Scott Seomin, noting that of the new season's 28 lesbian, gay and transgender characters (there are no bisexual representations on the fall schedule) on broadcast and cable networks, the majority are small, recurring roles; and of the nine gay lead or supporting roles, all are male and only one is a person of color. There are some bright spots, Seomin observed, such as soap-opera actor Russell (Dan Montgomery) on the ABC drama Wasteland and the elderly gay couple Wally & Gus (voices of Tom Kenny and Nick Jameson) included in the WB animated series Mission Hill. Returning shows, including the WB's Dawson's Creek, NBC's Will & Grace and ABC's Spin City, also show promise in their gay representations. "These are shows with integrity," Seomin noted, "but they need to further develop their gay characters." GLAAD is appealing to the networks not only to include more lgbt representations on television, but also to make the representations more diverse and more fully realized.
E*TRADE CEO Gives $300,000 to Defeat Anti-Gay California Initiative
Kathy Levinson, president and CEO of E*Trade Group, Inc., and her partner have donated $300,000 to "No On Knight," a statewide effort to defeat the controversial California initiative to ban gay marriages. "This initiative is unfair, divisive and intrusive," Levinson said in a recent statement. "Government ought not pass any law that intrudes into the private lives and decisions of individuals and singles out one group of people for discrimination." The so-called "Knight Initiative" named after chief sponsor State Sen. Pete Knight (R-Palmdale) would restrict civil marriage in California to one man and one woman. "If the Knight Initiative passes here in California, Pete Knight and his right-wing allies will use it to attack hospital visitation rights, domestic partnership laws and even local non-discrimination laws that give gay and lesbian Californians the same equal rights and responsibilities that all Californians deserve," said Mike Marshall, campaign manager for Californians For Fairness, organizers of the "No On Knight" campaign.
GLAAD, the nation's lesbian & gay media advocacy organization, promotes fair, accurate, and inclusive representation as a means of challenging discrimination based on sexual orientation or identity.
LETTERS From CAMP Rehoboth, Vol. 9, No. 12, Aug. 27, 1999