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Tweeting homophobia

Posted by Jim Lopata September 27, 2012 12:16 PM

Answer: 2.4 million.

Question: How many tweets have contained variations on a derogatory, six-letter term for ‘homosexual’ that begins with ‘f’ since July 5, 2012?

A new website — nohomophobes.com — launched today by the University of Alberta’s Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services aims to demonstrate just how widespread potentially homophobic language remains in the realm of new media.

And, given numbers like 2.4 million tweets for ‘f****t’ (this is a family blog) over the course of just under three months, homophobia seems awfully widespread.

Other derogatory terminology tracked include:

— “So Gay,” at 800,000 tweets;
— “No Homo,” at 800,000 tweets;
— “D*ke,” at 300,000 tweets.

The institute is suggesting that users tweet hashtag #nohomophobes when witnessing homophobia on Twitter.

An excerpt from the iSMSS press release provides further context:

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Local advocates for transgender equality decry appeal of the Kosilek decision

Posted by Jim Lopata September 27, 2012 07:22 AM

Two Massachusetts-based organizations that advocate for transgender rights released a joint statement expressing “disappointment” that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is appealing the recent court decision granting Michelle Kosilek medical treatment for gender reassignment surgery, as reported on Boston.com.

Here’s the full statement from Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) and the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC):

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17 Countries to Send Representatives to the 2012 InterPride Conference in Boston

Posted by David Zimmerman September 25, 2012 11:15 AM

More than 200 delegates representing 83 Pride organizations from 17 different countries will be attending the 30th Annual World Conference of InterPride, which Boston Pride is hosting October 3 – 7 at the Sheraton Boston Hotel. InterPride, the International Association of Pride Organizers, was created in Boston, Mass. in 1982. InterPride is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, back in the city where it all began.

75 workshops will be presented to delegates from as far away as Australia and the Philippines. Five African countries – Ghana, Senegal, Kenya, Nigeria, and Uganda – are expected to be represented at the conference. Additionally, Pride committees from seven European nations will be attending. They are France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Netherlands, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Organizations from Canada and Mexico will also join their counterparts from the United States, including representatives from Puerto Rico.

“We are pleased to see so many delegates from different nations and cultures coming to Boston for the InterPride conference,” said Anna Dubrowski, co-chair of the InterPride 2012 conference. “Our community faces tremendous challenges around the globe. We can all learn and grow from hearing from each other about what has worked and what hasn’t as we seek to achieve equality.”

InterPride was originally created in Boston in 1982 after Pride organizers from Boston, New York, San Francisco, Chicago, San Diego and Los Angeles convened to form the National Association of Lesbian and Gay Pride coordinators. InterPride’s vision is a world where there is full cultural, social and legal equality for all. InterPride hopes to raise awareness of cultural and social inequality through its network of Pride organizations, and to effect positive change through education, collaboration, advocacy and outreach.

The five day conference in Boston will feature a variety of activities and workshops for attendees to hear best practices, learn about event planning, a chance to network with fellow organizers, to find solutions to improve and enhance pride and community events, and to educate and energize the LGBT community. Workshops include a development and fundraising workshop called “From The Ground Up: Building Partnerships Not Sponsorships”; an event planning seminar titled “Grassroots Organizing And Community Mobilization”; a talk on the global outlook for the LGBT community, “The State of LGBT Human Rights in the World: “Have Rainbow, Will Travel — The International Experience Of The LGBTQ Community”; and a community building effort called “Old And Bold, Including LGBT Seniors In Pride,” among others.

“InterPride delegates will gain a lot of practical knowledge at the workshops and seminars,” said Sylvain Bruni, InterPride 2012 co-chair. “But they will also have the opportunity to learn about how their counterparts in communities around the world are taking on some of the challenges that we all face. We’re excited that so many presenters - more than 75 – are going to be a part of the event.”

Attendees will also have the opportunity to attend a pre-conference session in Provincetown, Mass. on Oct. 2-3. The pre-conference will feature workshops on fundraising and social media and also give attendees the chance to experience Provincetown’s rich cultural history.

To participate, or for additional information on the 2012 InterPride Annual Conference: www.InterPride2012.org.

Gay dads and surrogate mothers subjected to ‘Paternity Test’ in new novel by out Boston author Michael Lowenthal

Posted by Jim Lopata September 23, 2012 07:45 PM

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Michael Lowenthal will read from and sign copies of The Paternity Test at Brookline Booksmith in Brookline on September 24 at 7 p.m. and at Porter Square Books in Cambridge on October 16 at 7 p.m. He will also appear at the Boston Book Festival on October 27.

Note: The following is adapted from a story that ran in the September/October 2012 issue of Boston Spirit magazine.

By Loren King

For Michael Lowenthal, whose latest novel The Paternity Test (Terrace Books/University of Wisconsin Press) came out this September, gay parenthood is a jumping off point into a rich and complex story that explores what creating a family means for one gay couple.

Same-sex marriage and the “gayby boom” has penetrated the culture — gays pushing strollers are ubiquitous in certain Boston neighborhoods and TV shows like Modern Family and The New Normal have brought gay parents into living rooms across America. But Lowenthal, whose other books include Charity Girl (2007), Avoidance (2002) and The Same Embrace (1998), is too good a writer to simply tell a conventional unconventional story. Lowenthal weaves what he calls a “completely imagined plot” about boyfriends Pat and Stu who hire a surrogate to bear their child with a Cape Cod setting and secondary characters far more familiar to him.

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Supreme Court, gay marriage, Massachusetts—this could be the year

Posted by Jim Lopata September 21, 2012 11:32 AM

By James Lopata

Is this the year the Supreme Court takes on marriage?

The consensus seems to be, yes.

On Monday, September 24, the Supreme Court has scheduled a closed meeting, with marriage cases involving same-sex couples on the agenda. The Court could announce its intentions regarding these cases as early as Tuesday, September 25.

And Massachusetts could figure prominently—in fact, more prominently, than the much hyped, though still important, Prop 8 case from California.

One of the most promising cases is Gill v. Office of Personnel Management. And the lead counsel on that case is New England-based Mary Bonauto.

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Elizabeth Warren to speak at Human Rights Campaign dinner this weekend

Posted by David Zimmerman September 21, 2012 10:40 AM

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The 31st annual Human Rights Campaign –New England dinner will take place on Saturday night, September 22nd, at the Copley Marriott hotel.

Featured speakers include Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren, new HRC President Chad Griffin, and ‘The Good Wife’ actor Josh Charles. There will also be a performance by 80s pop sensation Tiffany.

Warren, fresh off her first debate with incumbent Senator Scott Brown, has been a tireless worker on behalf of LGBT equal rights. She has appeared at a variety of LGBT events during the past year including Pride festivals in Northampton and Boston.

Said Warren, “We must remain committed to promoting fairness and equality for all, and work to end the two-tiered system created by the Defense of Marriage Act, pass a fully-inclusive Employee Non-Discrimination Act, and work to create welcoming schools and prevent bullying."

Josh Charles, known for his role on the CBS legal drama The Good Wife, has also appeared in Sports Night and the Dead Poets Society. Charles is also a fierce advocate for LGBT equality. He has appeared in an HRC-produced Americans for Marriage Equality video testimonial and has been continuously outspoken about his commitment to equal rights across the country.

Tickets to the event are still available and can be purchased by visiting hrcboston.org

The Human Rights Campaign, bills itself as “America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality.”

Chick-fil-A to cease giving money to anti-gay organizations

Posted by David Zimmerman September 19, 2012 10:25 AM

The Civil Rights Agenda (TCRA), Illinois’ largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights advocacy organization, has released a statement confirming that Chick-Fil-A will no longer give money to anti-gay organizations.

From the statement:

In a letter addressed to Chicago Alderman Joe Moreno and signed by Chick-fil-A’s Senior Director of Real Estate, it states, “The WinShape Foundations is now taking a much closer look at the organizations it considers helping, and in that process will remain true to its stated philosophy of not supporting organizations with political agendas.” In meetings the company executives clarified that they will no longer give to anti-gay organizations, such as Focus on the Family and the National Organization for Marriage.

Also, according to TCRA, senior management has sent an internal memo to franchisees and stakeholders that stated that, as a company, they will “treat every person with honor, dignity and respect-regardless of their beliefs, race, creed, sexual orientation and gender,” and that their “intent is not to engage in political or social debates.” This statement was placed into an official company document called “Chick-fil-A: Who We Are.”

“We are very pleased with this outcome and thank Alderman Moreno for his work on this issue,” said Anthony Martinez, executive director of The Civil Rights Agenda. “I think the most important part of this outcome is that Chick-fil-A has ceased their donations to anti-gay groups in 2011 and going forward. With some of the groups that they were donating to being classified as hate groups, and others actively trying to halt the movement toward full civil rights for LGBT people, Chick-fil-A has taken a big step forward. We are encouraged by their willingness to serve all people and ensure their profits are not used to fight against a minority community that is still trying to gain full and equal civil rights.”

“Although we are encouraged by their internal statement, we still would like for the company to adopt an anti-discrimination policy at the corporate level,” said Rick Garcia, policy advisor for The Civil Rights Agenda. “It is one thing for a company to say they respect everyone they serve and employ, it is quite another for them to put that into their policies and demand that all employees adhere to that behavior. As we have heard from gay employees that work for Chick-fil-A, there is a culture of discrimination within the company and we would like to ensure that employees can speak out and call attention to those practices without fear of reprisal. It takes time to change the culture of any institution and steps like a corporate policy ensure that progress is made.”

14th Annual Reaching Out Conference Coming to Boston

Posted by David Zimmerman September 18, 2012 10:15 AM

The 14th annual 2012 Reaching Out conference of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) graduate business school students is coming to Boston. The conference, which attracts more than 1000 students and industry professionals representing all sectors of the business community, from finance and marketing to government and the arts, provides a unique opportunity for LGBT students to network with Fortune 500 companies, business leaders and recruiters from across the globe. The 3 day event will be held at the Seaport Hotel World Trade Center in Boston October 18 – 20, 2012.

This year’s theme, “Together, Building Community” illustrates the conference’s mission to provide an inclusive environment for prospective and current LGBT MBA students to connect with LGBT professionals in a way that fosters personal and professional growth. This year’s keynote speaker is Dan Savage, founder of the “It Gets Better Campaign” a project that empowers members of the community to share stories on how and why life gets better to help prevent suicide among LGBT youth.

According to Kevin Smith, President of the Reaching Out LGBT MBA conference Board of Directors, the conference is a major catalyst in shaping the future of LGBT MBA students in the workplace. “Our organization is dedicated to promoting the acceptance and visibility of LGBT businesspeople and their interests in the work environment,” said Smith. “Through workshops, networking, social events, and career expos, we hope to further strengthen the LGBT network and engage leaders in discussions that will help us achieve full equality both in the US and abroad. Equality in the workplace begins in the classroom.”

The only student run MBA conference of its kind in the country, the Reaching Out LGBT MBA conference is organized by current LGBT MBA students from MIT Sloan, Yale School of Management, and Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. At this year’s conference more than 80 companies will be represented including Google, Southwest, Amazon Inc., McKinsey & Company, American Express, Boston Consulting Group, Ernst & Young, Fidelity, Johnson & Johnson, Proctor & Gamble, Target, Toyota and Wells Fargo. In addition, many top business schools will be attending including Harvard, Wharton, Kellogg, NYU Stern, Columbia, Yale and Georgetown. “There is no other opportunity or venue for LGBT MBA students to have this type of access to the top employers and graduate schools,” revealed Smith. “We are proud to be able to provide the resources and contacts that will help strengthen the vital LGBT business community.”

The Reaching Out LGBT MBA conference will be held October 18 – 20 at the Seaport Hotel World Trade Center, Boston, MA. For registration and information, visit www.reachingoutmba.org.

‘Ghosts of Boston: Haunts of the Hub’: spirited launch party set for new book by local out author Sam Baltrusis

Posted by Jim Lopata September 17, 2012 01:18 PM

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Adam Berry, of Syfy's 'Ghost Hunters,' will be on hand for the launch party of 'Ghosts of Boston: Haunts of the Hub'

It promises to be a spirited evening at Old South Meeting House tomorrow night when Sam Baltrusis’ new book Ghosts of Boston: Haunts of the Hub gets its big coming out party.

Baltrusis is a regular contributor to Boston Spirit, and he just happens to be an expert on otherworldly spirits as well!

Ghosts of Boston made its appearance this month, and the big release event gets underway Tuesday, September 18, at 7 p.m. in downtown Boston.

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Gay Pride for Worcester, Vermont, and Boston Latin@s held in September this year

Posted by Jim Lopata September 14, 2012 03:22 PM

By Alan Tran

The last of this year’s New England LGBT Pride festivities are in Worcester on Saturday, September 15, in Vermont on September 22, and for the New England Latina and Latino community from September 21 through 29.

VERMONT PRIDE

It’s been a year of record-breaking Pride participation across the country, but the season is finally winding down. The last of this year’s New England LGBT Pride parades and festivals is Pride Vermont — which is the creative name Vermonters don for their gay Pride festivities — which will be held on Saturday, September 22, at Battery Park in Burlington.

The annual Vermont Pride cruise on Lake Champlain will be held Friday the 21st. During the festival there will be a NOH8 Campaign photoshoot, turning everyday citizens and celebrities alike into icons of equality, and the Northern Decadance Food & Travel Expo, showcasing LGBT-friendly businesses that encourage Vermonters to have their equal rights cake and eat it too, among other culinary delights.

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Romney a wimp? Not so much, say gays who engaged with him as governor

Posted by Jim Lopata September 11, 2012 01:10 PM

Note: The following story is adapted from the September/October 2012 issue of Boston Spirit magazine.

By Scott Kearnan

It was 2004, after the Supreme Judicial Court had cleared the way for same-sex couples to obtain marriage licenses in Massachusetts. Governor Mitt Romney remained a roadblock, endorsing a constitutional amendment that would ban it.

Julie Goodridge and other plaintiffs in the landmark case had written a letter to the governor, asking for a meeting. He ignored it, so they staged a press conference at his office to read the letter to the media. That, finally, got them through his door. Once inside, they were shocked.

For about 20 frustrating minutes, say those in attendance who Boston Spirit interviewed recently, they shared their stories, pled their case, and tried to explain how equal marriage would protect them and their families. Romney sat stone-faced and almost entirely silent.

“Is there anything else?” Romney asked when they finished. With that, the meeting was over.

“It was like talking to a robot. No expression, no feeling,” recalls David Wilson, one of the plaintiffs in the case who met with Romney that day. “People were sharing touching stories, stories where you’d expect recognition in the other person’s face that they at least hear what you’re saying — that there’s empathy. He didn’t even shake his head. He was completely blank.”

Occasionally Romney would say something.

“I didn’t know you had families,” remarked Romney to the group, according to Wilson.
The offhanded remark underscored that Romney, the governor of the first state prepared to grant same-sex marriage, hadn’t taken the time to look at what the landmark case was really about. By this point the plaintiff’s stories had been widely covered by national media — in particular, Julie Goodridge’s heartrending tale of how her then-partner, Hillary, was denied hospital visitation following the precarious birth of daughter Annie. It was the ignorance of these facts — and Romney’s inaccurate, insensitive answer to her parting question, that pushed Julie Goodridge to her breaking point.

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‘For Colored Boys Who Have Considered Suicide’ author Keith Boykin visits Hispanic Black Gay Coalition

Posted by Jim Lopata September 10, 2012 11:16 AM

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Author and media commentator Keith Boykin preparing to speak at the Hispanic Black Gay Coalition gathering at Club Café in Boston

Have you heard of Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover?

Author and media commentator Keith Boykin visited a standing-room-only gathering of the Hispanic Black Gay Coalition (HBGC) of Boston over the weekend to talk about the underreported concerns of gay and queer Colored Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow Is Still Not Enough, as the title of his new collection of essays, which he edited, puts it.

Boykin pointed out that many people are familiar with Tyler Clementi, who was the gay man who committed suicide in New Jersey after his roommate recorded him with his boyfriend, but that few know of Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover.

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Rapper Jay Z supports same-sex marriage, says to those who don’t 'It’s discrimination, plain and simple'

Posted by David Zimmerman September 8, 2012 09:00 AM

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Rapper and media mogul Jay-Z spoke recently about the topic of same-sex marriage and whether or not he thought that President Obama’s support of same-sex marriage will cost him votes in the upcoming election. The rapper was very clear that he is a supporter of same sex marriage as well as the President.

On the topic of same-sex marriage:

I’ve always thought of it as something that is still holding the country back. What people do in their own homes is their business, they can choose to love whoever they love. That’s their business. It’s no different then discriminating against blacks. It’s discrimination, plain and simple.

Regarding whether or not the President’s views will cost him votes in the upcoming election:

I think it’s the right thing to do, so whether or not it costs him votes … it’s really not about votes, it’s about people. So whether or not it costs him votes, it’s the right thing to do as a human being.

Any chance we can get Jay Z on the phone with Stevie Wonder????

Episcopalian Divinity School panel to discuss transgender and intersex theologies

Posted by Jim Lopata September 6, 2012 10:21 AM

Ready for transgender theology?

Even as religious debates over homosexuality continue, Christian academics have begun working through transgender and intersex (definition below) theological issues. To help address some of the questions, the Episcopal Divinity School (EDS) in Cambridge, Mass., is sponsoring a panel on the topic tomorrow, Friday, September 7, at 3 p.m., at EDS, where Rev. Dr. Patrick S. Cheng will be moderating a discussion among leading thinkers in the field.

Boston Spirit asked Cheng to provide some context on the topic, to say a little more about how the panel came about, and to address any aspects of the discussion that may be controversial. He e-mailed the following response:

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Michelle Obama wows LGBTs at Human Rights Campaign Lunch

Posted by Jim Lopata September 5, 2012 06:07 PM

Fresh from her big speech last night at the Democratic National Convention, First Lady Michelle Obama electrified an enthusiastic crowd at a luncheon this afternoon for the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest LGBT advocacy organization.

While most of her comments predictably outlined her husband President Barack Obama’s dedication to LGBT issues, some of her unscripted moments garnered the most enthusiastic reactions from those gathered, according to the official release from The White House’s Office of the First Lady. Here are a few:

At one point, the First Lady’s speech was interrupted with a shout out:

AUDIENCE MEMBER: I love Barack!

MRS. OBAMA: Yes, I do, too. (Applause.) We have something in common. (Laughter.)

At another point in her remarks, she attempted to impress on the attendees the urgent necessity of working hard on the reelection campaign. When she attempted to appear stern, an audience member played right into her ploy:

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New York avant-garde to blitz Provincetown in September Afterglow Festival

Posted by Jim Lopata September 5, 2012 11:45 AM

aJustinBond-MichaelDoucette_blog.jpgJustin Vivian Bond (photo: Michael Doucette)

Festival reclaims P’town’s Bohemian roots with the best of ‘downtown’ artists, like John Cameron Mitchell and Starsky + Cox, from September 11-16. In the words of performer Justin Vivian Bond, "Dare to suck."

By John O'Connell

“From the time of Eugene O’Neill and the Provincetown Players up through the 1970s, Provincetown remained synonymous with experimental, progressive stage work,” asserts Quinn Cox, founder of the Afterglow Festival. “As a theater professional, I have a goal of helping Provincetown reclaim its birthright as the birthplace of modern American theater.”

The second Afterglow Festival will be held this September 11 through 16, just after the crowds have left the seaside town and many of the “uptown” acts on Commercial Street have closed for the season. While summer is still in full force at the tip of the Cape, the lack of crowds offers space for creative energy to flow.

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Stevie Wonder thinks gay people might be "confused"

Posted by David Zimmerman September 1, 2012 02:03 PM

In a wide ranging interview with The Guardian (UK edition) music legend Stevie Wonder was asked, among other things, what he thought of rapper Frank Ocean’s announcement this past summer that Ocean is gay. Wonder replied that;

I think honestly, some people who think they're gay, they're confused. People can misconstrue closeness for love. People can feel connected, they bond. I'm not saying all [gay people are confused]. Some people have a desire to be with the same sex. But that's them.

Ocean’s announcement, back in early July of this year, came courtesy of a public letter on his tumblr page. In the letter Ocean explained

4 summers ago, I met somebody. I was 19 years old. He was too. We spent that summer, and the summer after, together. Everyday almost. And on the days we were together, time would glide. Most of the day I’d see him, and his smile. I’d hear his conversation and his silence…until it was time to sleep. Sleep I would often share with him. By the time I realized I was in love, it was malignant. It was hopeless. There was no escaping, no negotiating with the feeling. No choice. It was my first love, it changed my life.

Does that sound like someone who is confused? I don’t think so either.

About the author: Boston Spirit Magazine’s daily blog brings you all of the information you need on New England’s LGBT community. In addition to highlighting local and national LGBT news, we will also highlight local leaders from the worlds of business, politics, fashion and entertainment and keep you up-to-date on all the latest events and parties, hot spots for travel, shopping, dining, and more!
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