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Monday, August 31, 2009

New Bay Area LGBT Parents Networking Group

If you happen to live in the Bay Area and your an LGBT parent, then you may be interested in knowing that Betty's List has put together a new social networking group for LGBT families called Parents Are Social Too!

Note from Adrienne Miller, Co-Chair...
We're a group of vibrant parents who want to create a fun venue for like-minded folk in the LGBT community.

You are invited to join our group using our page on

We're planning events for parents and their kids to be hosted throughout the Bay Area usually, on the 3rd Saturday of every month.

Current Calendar of Events includes the following:

  • Saturday, September 19th - Brunch & Walk around Bolinas Beach. (Marin Coast)

  • Saturday, October 17th - "Geocaching" - A Modern Day Treasure Hunt - Follow the clues to the hidden treasure. (Presidio/ Sausalito)

  • November 14th - Point Bonita Lighthouse Tour, Hike & Picnic at Battery Wallace Park - (Marin Headlands)
  • December 5th - MOTOWN MADNESS - For Singles and their Friends! (TBA - Adult Only Event)
For more information, visit this new group's Meetup site and join if you are interested:

Lesbian Couples Given Equal Birth Rights in the UK

BBC news just announced that women in same-sex relationships can now register both their names on the birth certificate of a child conceived as a result of fertility treatment.

Female couples not in a civil partnership but receiving fertility treatment may also both be registered.

The law change applies to female couples in England and Wales who were having fertility treatment on or after 6 April 2009.

However critics say the change would be detrimental to family values.

Previously, the mother's female partner could not be registered as a parent.
But the change in the law confers legal parenthood on the mother's female partner.

According to the Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority, there were 728 lesbians who underwent invitro fertilization (IVF) between 1999 and 2006.

And in the same period, there were 5,211 lesbian females who received donor insemination (DI) treatment.
“ Now lesbian couples in the UK who make a considered decision to start a loving family will finally be afforded equal access to services they help fund as taxpayers ”
Ruth Hunt, Stonewall

The changes to the Registration of Births and Deaths Regulations 1987 were approved by Registrar General James Hall earlier this year, following Royal Assent for new parenthood provisions contained in the Human Fertilization and Embryology Act 2008.

A spokeswoman for the Home Office said that there will be provision for a birth certificate to be used that will have two "parent" sections, rather than mother and father.

Also, sperm donors will continue to be able to opt in or out of having their name on the birth certificate, but if both mothers wish to have their name on the document, the donor cannot be registered in that way.

'Fair treatment'

Home Office Minister Lord Brett said: "This positive change means that, for the first time, female couples who have a child using fertility treatment have the same rights as their heterosexual counterparts to be shown as parents in the birth registration.

"It is vital that we afford equality wherever we can in society, especially as family circumstances continue to change. This is an important step forward in that process."

Conservative MP Nadine Dorries told the BBC that the move undermined the traditional family model.

She said: "If we want to build a stable society, a mother and father and children works as the best model.

"We should be striving towards repairing and reinforcing marriage. I think this move sends out the exact opposite message."

'Legal fiction'

Dr Peter Saunders, of the Christian Medical Fellowship, criticised the move, telling the Daily Mail that the change would "create a legal fiction around the parentage of the children" which would then result in a "legal minefield" when it came to issues of maintenance and inheritance.

He was supported by Labour MP Geraldine Smith, who said: 'To have a birth certificate with two mothers and no father is just madness."

Stonewall's Head of Policy and Research Ruth Hunt said that as a result of the law change, life for lesbian families "isn't only fairer, it's also much easier".

She added: "As the law improves to provide further equality, knowing your new rights will help people make full use of the services they're entitled to. And, if discrimination occurs, the same knowledge can help them demand fair treatment.

"Now lesbian couples in the UK who make a considered decision to start a loving family will finally be afforded equal access to services they help fund as taxpayers."

Story from BBC NEWS

Saturday, August 22, 2009

West Hollywood to Install Plaque Honoring Gay Marriages

A bronze marker engraved with a quote from Nelson Mandela will be placed at a park in West Hollywood where some of the first same-sex marriages in California were performed.

The City Council plans to unveil the rectangular plaque at its Sept. 8 meeting before permanently installing it at West Hollywood Park off North San Vicente Boulevard, a site which was full of pride June 17, 2008, when same-sex couples could legally marry for the first time in California.

“It happened on a single day but it went on for months,” said Jeffrey Prang, the West Hollywood councilman who thought of the plaque. “And it meant something much bigger than that.”

The plaque will bear one of the former South African president’s noteworthy remarks: “I am not truly free if I am taking away someone else’s freedom, just as surely as I am not free when my freedom is taken from me. The oppressed and the oppressor alike are robbed of their humanity.”

Read more at LA Times

Historical Lutheran Church Decision on Lesbian and Gay Pastors

The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) made a historic decision this past week when it voted to lift its ban on noncelibate lesbian and gay pastors and to allow for those in committed same-sex relationships to serve as ministers. Leaders of the nation’s biggest Lutheran denomination voted 559-541 to open the pulpit to gays.

“By allowing for same-sex couples in committed relationships to serve their call to ministry and by creating policies that respect LGBT people in their congregations, ELCA is modeling for other religious communities what it means to be a faith community that honors all of God’s children,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese in a press release issued this week by the HRC. “This is a joyous day for the LGBT Lutheran’s who no longer have to choose between their spirituality and their sexuality.”

“The Holy Spirit has moved powerfully in the community called the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, working through the courageous advocacy of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and our allies,” said Harry Knox, Director for HRC’s Religion and Faith Program. “Thanks be to God for our colleagues at Lutherans Concerned and all of the Goodsoil coalition! The ELCA has studied, prayed and listened to the witness of its LGBT sisters and brothers, and has come to consensus in community. This decision reflects the best of Lutheran tradition.”

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Astroflash Lesbian Horoscope

We brace ourselves as the season starts to hint at change. We can feel it in the air as the summer heat begins to relinquish its intense grasp on our activities and a more energetic mood takes hold.

September starts with a Full moon in 12 degrees of Pisces on the 4th which could very well incite more political fireworks. There is a system called the Sabian symbols which gives a pithy spiritual connotation to each degree of the zodiac so on this day, the Sun which is always opposite the Moon when its in its full phase is in 12 degrees of Virgo.When choosing the correct Sabian symbol you always use the next degree therefore 13 degrees of Virgo represents, " A powerful statesman overcomes a state of political hysteria!" and 13 degrees of Pisces says. "An ancient sword, used in many battles, is displayed in a museum."

With these influences, I think that it is safe to say that we will see some challenging political conflicts at home and abroad. Sounds like Obama might well be that leader who quells the hysteria and perhaps the sword that has been slicing and dicing in the Middle East might pause for reflection.
On Sept. 10 Saturn and Uranus will oppose each other exactly for the third time just as they did on Election day and Inauguration day. Again, the old is being asked to make way for the new. The revolution as they say, will not be televised, its gonna be LIVE!
We all have been sitting precariously on the edge of profound change and reactionary backlash with an economic structure that is yet to right itself in a way that the average person can clearly benefit.
It took a while to get in this mess and yet when we are too comfortable radical change has no room to root so I do believe that the opportunity for real good changes will come out of this tension between the old and the new dying to be born.

Just when you thought it was safe to open your day planner....old murky Mercury will go retrograde on Sept. 7 til Sept. 29. So, you know the drill by now. No big tag buys especially electronics, no big decisions or signing important documents, and double and triple check any of the plans that you do have as communication is simply not connecting the way that it should. If you can possibly wait to put your new plans in action until after the end of the month you will be much happier with the result. Conversely, this is an excellent time for old friends to turn back up and even objects and debts that you had given up on ever seeing again could surprise you.

Blasts from the past are the order of the day.

By the New Moon in Virgo on Sept. 18, we have a traffic jam of planets in Virgo which should make Saturn not feel so isolated and cold. Between the retro and the explosion of Virgo planets, this should be an excellent time to plan, arrange, and clean out while our pace needs to be slower. Sept 29, the airwaves should be buzzing with all kinds of new information and inventions too.

ARIES - I am so self sufficient that I can get buzzed from anything and even though my fire is not at its peak, the fresh air and stimulus is has got me thinking wold thoughts of high adventure. Some of you hate to take a risk, I on the other hand love it. That's what makes me feel alive and more myself. Take me water skiing, sky diving, mountain climbing or at least a good theme park

TAURUS - Feeling kind of lazy and crazy with the summer heat. Whose idea was it to roast the planet this summer? The only thing hot that I want is a lover and that would get me up and out of bed or back in bed for that matter. I love to get my hands and feet in the earth and look forward to the cooler parts of the day to ground myself in Mama.

GEMINI - I am actually feeling more refreshed than usual what with all these Aquarian planets. The bad news is old Merc retro is rearing its ugly head again and that is my ruling planet so I usually find that my thought processes tend to go backwards as well. The good news is that with all the other Mercury ruled energies coming in from Virgo, I should be able to organize myself better.

CANCER - Mars is riding me hard this month and a little bit can go a long way for me as I really don't like to be pushed however, sometimes I do need a gentle nudge to move me into all the bright possibilities for the future. Operative word mars is GENTLE, why does that planet never understand that some of us prefer to have our sensitivities protected or at least considered. Don't even get me started about Pluto that intense little dwarf!

LEO - Ha ha I have Venus in my sign and she can stay all year as far as I am concerned. Nothing like a little touch of sweetness to make all the other stresses just fade away. I would dally with her for more of the time but lately I have just been too busy. I know I know nobody should ever be too busy for the Goddess of Love. I may kick myself for these choices later but it feels like what I need to do for now.

VIRGO - Oh you can all stop whining about mercury retrograde. It only happens 3 times a year for 3 little weeks and I find that if I pay attention it only really slows me down long enough that I organize my life and withdraw into it so that I can focus on my opportunities and make the most of them. I am not procrastinating, I am simply waiting for the right time.

LIBRA - I like the subtle change in the air and I am so sensitive to my surroundings. I can also feel my desires being piqued by some of the new communications that are coming through from the four directions.
Seems like somebody wants to fill up my dance card or at least spend a lot of time with me. I like it too, feels good to be wanted for a change. Yep, I have a song in my heart, a twinkle in my eye and some spring in my step.

SCORPIO - I can be subtle or intense, all depends on who I want to be at the time, what will get me closer to my deepest desires. Some don't like to travel to the places I like to go but that's OK because I love my solitude and can get lost in the dark chocolate sweetness of my own world. Some feel magnetized by the depth of my eyes and wander closer and closer til they are submerged in hot water.

SAGITTARIUS - The wind is whistling beneath my wings as I stretch and explore the energies that have been lying dormant since the Spring. I feel the soul of a Shaman rumbling inside of me singing freedom, freedom, fly away into the sun or to the moon but whatever you do you must leave soon. Shall I take a plane a train or an automobile or shall I just find a good movie with surround sound. Either way, I need to shift this reality .

CAPRICORN - Plutonic, volcanic, supersonic what will be my tonic tonight as I wander over my options or lack thereof. No one can accuse me of not working hard enough or trying hard enough so my conscience is clear but it is not clarity I seek but something more magical more transformational. a road out of the place that I dwell. I no longer want to buy and sell my future which is now , not later and its my turn.

AQUARIUS - I am flying so high without a net or even a wing or a prayer. I will take my chances with some good prayers as I slide further into the Neptunian soup, the sea of possibilities. Too much freedom can be a scary thing free falling, no boundaries and no obstructions just moving forward at warp speed on this new ride.Not even sure if I feel more pleasure or pain at the "not knowing."

Swing low sweet karmic wheel and keep me on an even keel.

PISCES - The sky's the limit and is that even true? Seems more like the heavens have opened up showering us with lightning bolts and baskets of stars. Finding pathways through this maze of inner space and outer rebellion can make for a powerful but dangerous journey. My excitement is full tilt boogie and I want to dance to the beats of those different drummers pounding just beyond my view.

January trial set for U.S. court challenge to California's gay-marriage ban

The San Jose Mercury new reports that a federal judge on Wednesday set a Jan. 11 trial date for the legal challenge to Proposition 8, setting the stage for the most exhaustive legal review of a state's ban on gay marriage in any court in the nation.

During a hearing in San Francisco, Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker ordered lawyers on both sides of the case to gear up quickly for the trial, which foes of California's same-sex marriage ban hope will be the first step in getting the legal fight over same-sex marriage to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Backed by former U.S. Solicitor General Theodore Olson and prominent lawyer David Boies, two same-sex couples sued in federal court this past spring to overturn Proposition 8, approved by voters in fall 2008 to restore California's ban on gay marriage. The lawsuit maintains Proposition 8 violates the federal constitutional rights of gay and lesbian couples by denying them the same right as straight coouples to marry, and it marks what is likely to be the first crucial legal test in the federal courts concerning the issue.

The California Supreme Court this past spring upheld Proposition 8, which amended the California Constitution to outlaw same-sex marriage, but the justices left intact an estimated 18,000 gay marriages that took place last year before voters approved the measure by 52 percent to 48 percent. Those weddings took place after the state Supreme Court struck down the state's previous laws banning same-sex marriage.

Wednesday's hearing, Walker refused to allow a coalition of gay rights groups to directly join the lawsuit, concluding that the current plaintiffs can adequately mount a challenge to Proposition 8 on their own.

The plaintiffs had urged Walker to deny the groups' request, still upset that those organizations originally opposed taking the legal fight over gay marriage into the federal courts at this point. The groups include the American Civil Liberties Union, Lambda Legal and the National Center for Lesbian Rights, which have led the legal fight over gay marriage in state courts around the country but worry about how the conservative U.S. Supreme Court might rule on the issue.

Walker also rejected a bid by the conservative Campaign for California Families to join the case to defend Proposition 8, finding that Proposition 8 supporters can defend the law alone. California Attorney General Jerry Brown, who has argued the law is unconstitutional, is not defending the law, nor is Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has taken no position.

Walker took a swipe at Schwarzenegger's reserve at the conclusion of Wednesday's hearing, saying, "I must say, I'm surprised at the governor's position in this case. "... This is a matter of some importance to the people of the state."

The governor's lawyer declined to comment on the judge's remarks.

The judge did permit the city of San Francisco, which has led the legal fight over California's marriage laws, to join the case, and indicated the other groups can present their legal arguments through friend-of-the court briefs.

The January trial is likely to be the first step in a long process before the Proposition 8 challenge reaches the Supreme Court. Even after Walker decides the case, it is certain to be appealed to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals next year, and that court could take months or longer to rule before the challenge can reach the high court.

Walker previously said he wanted a full trial to provide the appeals court with a complete record, including testimony related to the history of discrimination against gays and lesbians, the impact of denying marriage rights to same-sex couples and evidence related to whether Proposition 8 had a discriminatory intent.

Original article by Howard Mintz, San Jose Mercury News

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Gay Marriage Fight Continues with a Nationwide Kiss-In


SALT LAKE CITY – The Mormon church's vigorous, well-heeled support for Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage in California last year, has turned the Utah-based faith into a lightning rod for gay rights activism, including a nationwide "kiss-in" Saturday.

The event comes after gay couples here and in San Antonio and El Paso, Texas, were arrested, cited for trespassing or harassed by police for publicly kissing. In Utah, the July 9 trespassing incident occurred after a couple were observed by security guards on a downtown park-like plaza owned by the 13 million-member Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The court case was dismissed, but the kiss sparked a community backlash and criticism of the church.

"I don't think that kiss would have turned out to be the kiss heard round the world if it were not for Proposition 8," said Ash Johnsdottir, organizer of the Salt Lake City Kiss-In.

Atali Staffler, a Brigham Young University graduate student from Geneva, Switzerland, said she joined the 200 or so people who filled a downtown amphitheater for the event because she has watched her gay father and many gay friends struggle to find their place.

The 31-year-old, who was raised Mormon but is not active in the church, said the church shouldn't be involved in Prop. 8.

"I encourage them to promote the values they believe in and to defend their religious principles in advertisements, but civil rights have nothing to do with religious principles," she said.

Twenty-two people, many of them strangers to one another, gathered under the scorching sun on Washington's National Mall to participate in the national smooch. They were gay and straight, couples and singles of all ages, with placards that read "Equal Opportunity Kisser" and "A Kiss is a Not a Crime."

"This is America. A kiss on the cheek is OK," said Ian Thomas, 26, of Leesburg, Va., who organized the Washington Kiss-In. "It's got to be OK. If not, we're in serious trouble."

About 50 people, mostly gay and lesbian couples, gathered at Piedmont Park in downtown Atlanta and kissed for about five minutes.

"You think that America is evolving into a gay-friendly nation," said Randal Smith, 42, "but what happened in Texas and Utah show us it's still a long way off."

National organizers say Saturday's broadly held gay rights demonstrations were not aimed specifically at the Mormon church. But observers say the church's heavy-handed intervention into California politics will linger and has left the faith's image tarnished.

"What I hear from my community and from straight progressive individuals is that they now see the church as a force for evil and as an enemy of fairness and equality," said Kate Kendell, executive director of the San Francisco-based National Center for Lesbian Rights. Kendell grew up Mormon in Utah. "To have the church's very deep and noble history telescoped down into this very nasty little image is as painful for me as for any faithful Mormon."

Troy Williams, who is gay and grew up Mormon, said ending the tension between gays and the church requires mutual acceptance and understanding.

"For both sides to peaceably coexist, we're all going to have to engage in some very deep soul searching," said Williams, a Salt Lake City-area activist and host of a liberal radio talk show.

Church insiders say Prop. 8 has bred dissent among members and left families divided. Some members have quit or stopped attending services, while others have appealed to leadership to stay out of the same-sex marriage fight.

But church spokeswoman Kim Farah said Friday that Mormon support for traditional marriage has nothing to do with public relations.

"It's too easy for those whose agenda is to change societal standards to claim there are great difficulties inside the Church because of its decision to support traditional marriage," Kim Farah said. "In reality the Church has received enormous support for its defense of marriage."

Mormonism teaches that homosexual sex is considered a sin, but gays are welcome in church and can maintain church callings and membership if they remain celibate.

The church has actively fought marriage equality legislation across the U.S. since the early 1990s and joined other faiths in asking Congress for a marriage amendment to the Constitution in 2006.

Last year at the urging of church leaders, Mormons donated tens of millions of dollars to the "Yes on 8" campaign and were among the most vigorous volunteers. The institutional church gave nearly $190,000 to the campaign — contributions now being investigated by California's Fair Political Practices Commission.

After the vote, many gay rights advocates turned their anger toward the church in protests and marches outside temples that singled out Mormons as the key culprits in restricting the rights of gay couples.

That constituted a setback for the faith, argued Jan Shipps, a professor of religious history and a Mormon expert from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

Mormonism, Shipps said, has struggled with its image since its western New York founding in 1830 for a host of reasons, including polygamy.

Leading up to Salt Lake City's 2002 Olympic Winter Games, the faith worked hard to craft a modern, mainstream image, touting its unique American history, culture and worldwide humanitarian work to thousands of reporters.

"This really undercut the Mormon image that had been so carefully nurtured during the Olympics," Shipps said.

Church representatives don't discuss public relations strategies or challenges publicly, but at a semiannual conference in April, church President Thomas S. Monson seemed to be clearly feeling a post-Prop. 8 sting.

In an era of "shifting moral footings," Monson said, "those who attempt to safeguard those footings are often ridiculed, picketed and persecuted."

That argument doesn't wash for Linda Stay, whose ancestors were early Mormon converts. Stay said she was doubly transformed by Prop. 8. She and her husband, Steve, finally quit the church — along with 18 other family members and a few close friends — and became gay right activists.

The St. George woman's family, which includes two gay children, will play a central role in a documentary film, "8: The Mormon Proposition" currently in production. Stay's son, Tyler Barrick, married his boyfriend in San Francisco on June 17, 2008, the first day gay marriage was legal in California.

Miami-area filmmaker Reed Cowan said the Stays' story is a painful representative of many Latter-day Saint families, including his own, that needed to be told.

"It used to be that I could defend my church and my heritage, but what they did here, they crossed the line and they made it very hard to defend their actions," said Cowan, whose family has cut him off since he began work on the film.

With the gay rights fight far from over, some believe Prop. 8 could continue to frustrate the church's image for years to come, much like polygamy — the church's own one-time alternative form of marriage — and a policy on keeping black men out of the priesthood, issues that have lingered years after the practices were abandoned.

"The church is certainly going to survive and thrive, there's no question about that," said the National Center for Lesbian Rights' Kendell, who is raising three kids in California with her partner of 16 years. "The issue is, what will be its image in the average American mindset."

To see the church characterized, because of its own actions, as one in a group of anti-gay religions and as a religion that forces members to choose faith over family is "a tragedy of generational proportion," she said. "And it seems to me, that it was entirely unnecessary."

Associated Press writers Gillian Gaynair in Washington, D.C., and Peter Prengaman in Atlanta contributed to this report.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Lust, Dust & Leather: The lesbian cowboy erotica reading tour

Lesbian Cowboys: Erotic Adventures - Fifteen writers share their take on the phenomenon of Cowboys - a calling, a vocation, and a status that has nothing to do with gender. Whether in the old west or the Australian outback, New England or the Great Plains, these girls and their horses work hard, play hard, and love hard. Contributors Radclyffe and Jove Bell depict the rough and tumble world of female rodeo riders, while Cheyenne Blue explores cattle ranching and the new environmentalism, and Delilah Devlin writes about a 'Hired Hand' who may be a woman, but is more than a match for any man. Sexy, steamy, and crackling with the energy of a wild filly, these stories represent the cutting edge of lesbian cowboy fiction.

And beginning on August 12, 2009, Sacchi Green and kelle Valencia, editors of the lesbian cowboy anthology: Lesbian Cowboys, along with some of the contributing writers, will be going on tour.

  • August 14: Center for Sex and Culture- San Francisco, CA 7pm
  • August 16: Q Center- Portland, OR 2pm
  • August 17: Center for Sex Positive Culture- Seattle, WA 7pm
  • August 22: In The Flesh Reading Series @ Happy Ending Lounge- New York, NY 8pm
  • October 12: New Voyager- Provincetown, MA

Friday, August 14, 2009

80's Pop Star Samantha Fox to Marry Lesbian Manager

80's pop star and pin-up girl, Samantha Fox, has recently announced her engagement to long-time lover and manager Myra Stratton.

“We might get married here (in the UK) and have the do (party) in Siberia,” Samantha told the latest issue of OK! magazine.

Samantha said she and Myra would like to have children, but admitted the problem is “finding the time. And how? How? How?”

In Britain and in some parts of India, Samantha had became the ultimate fantasy figure for schoolboys when she appeared topless at 17 for the Sun newspaper.

Samantha and Myra met when Samantha went through a court case against her father in 1995. Myra was recommended to her as a replacement manager by an actor, and the pair bonded immediately.

Rumors about Samantha's sexual orientation began to surface in 1999. In 2003, Samantha publicly declared she was in love with Myra but added: “People keep trying to say I’m a lesbian. I don’t know what I am.”

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Resolving Conflict

by Larry James relationship coach and author.

Conflict is inevitable. How we handle it is what makes the difference. When the structure of a love relationship breaks down, while fault may not necessarily be evenly distributed, both partners must ultimately accept equal responsibility. You are in this together.

It takes two for a healthy love relationship to work and it takes two to perpetuate an unhealthy love relationship. Seek not to place blame. What difference will that make? You both know the truth about what happened. Who cares whose fault it is? If you love each other, focus on solving the problem! What happened, happened. That's all! It's not healthy to make things up about why something happened or who did what to whom. Again. . . who cares?

The goal of resolving conflict in a relationship is not victory or defeat. It is reaching a mutual understanding that benefits both love partners. Resolving conflict brings love partners closer together. It allows for negotiation and compromise.

Specific conversations, designed to "talk things out" will assist you on your path of self-discovery and they are a useful tool for resolving conflict. It brings about a higher awareness of your love partner's wants and needs.

Constructive conversations help to avoid repeating the patterns of behavior that incite the controversy that problems create in the first place. It takes two, working together to explore workable solutions that ease the tension that occurs when problems arise in a relationship.

A determination to resolve conflict by conversation offers a chance for healing and promotes the opportunity to become closer to the one you love.

Men and women are different, or have you noticed? Cherish the differences. Learn to accept and be with or accept the things you cannot change about each other.

Acceptance tills the soil that allows for individuality to grow.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Wanda Sykes New Late Night Talk Show Inspired by Obama

Wanda Sykes says she wasn't interested in hosting a late night talk show until Barack Obama decided to run for president.

Executives at Fox had been courting Sykes, but she just wanted to do stand-up comedy, her movie gigs and her role on CBS' "The New Adventures of Old Christine."

Then came Obama's campaign, and she realized she also wanted an outlet to discuss her views.

Sykes, talking with the Television Critics Association on Thursday, said her Saturday night series debuting this Novemebr on Fox will address the week's hot topics through monologues, skits and panel discussions.

Viewers shouldn't expect many musical guests, Sykes said -- unless former Vice President Dick Cheney puts out a hip-hop album. In that case, "we're booking him," the comedian said.

What are Gay & Lesbian Car Buyers Looking for?'s just released a compilation of the top 10 most-researched vehicles on their site. This list of vehicles represents the diversity of interests among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) automotive consumers over the past 6 months.

1. Volkswagen Rabbit
EPA fuel economy: 21-22 city / 29 highway
Available engines: 170-hp, 2.5-liter I-5
Available transmissions: five-speed manual w/OD, six-speed automatic w/OD and auto-manual

Monday, August 3, 2009

Abuse in Lesbian Relationships

Domestic violence is not a subject we often talk about in the lesbian community, however it is something that does occur. I recently read an article on Women's Web about Abuse in Lesbian Relationships and thought it would be something you may want to read as well.

Domestic Violence: Abuse in Lesbian Relationships

Violence against women in now recognized as a significant health issue. Abuse in lesbian relationships must also be recognized as a major health concern in our communities. Victims of abuse may be affected sexually, physically, emotionally, and psychologically.

Although violence against lesbians occurs in other contexts (e.g., lesbian bashing and heterosexual rape), this article focuses on abuse in intimate relationships. Although the principles presented in this article apply equally to these contexts, this article also presents additional dynamics in cases of abuse against lesbians outside their intimate relationships. It provides guidelines for lesbians, friends, and helping professionals responding to lesbian abuse.
Fears about coming forward and discussing abuse

Until fairly recently, violence in lesbian relationships has been a taboo subject and one best kept "behind closed doors". Only in the recent past have women begun to name and discuss their abusive relationships. One reason is that, until recently, abuse has been hidden. However, additional factors have made it more difficult for lesbians to discuss abuse in their relationships.

For many lesbians, a same-sex relationship is a positive alternative to heterosexual relationships. It's often assumed that women interact in a caring and supportive fashion and that as a result, they cannot be abusers. Consequently, it's commonly thought that abuse occurs only in heterosexual relationships. Consider also society's prejudices and misconceptions about lesbians. There is fear that open discussion will generate even more negative images and notions about the lesbian community.
The larger social context

In speaking about violence in lesbian relationships, we must always consider the larger social context of lesbians' lives. Violence against lesbians may stem from hatred of women (misogyny) and fear of homosexuals (homophobia). It can also be linked to other forms of domination within society, such as racism and classism. These can provide the framework that allows abusive relations between people.

For instance, in our society, women often report feeling devalued or commodified—feeling like little more than sexual objects or property. Because they are seen as sexual deviants threatening the social and moral fabric of society, lesbians are often ostracized and discriminated against.

Where heterosexist and misogynist views exist, anger, fear, and rage can be misdirected at partners who have come to represent those things we've been taught to hate in ourselves. Like others in our society, lesbians are a product of their upbringing; they could have been been exposed to unhealthy patterns of dealing with conflict and anger. They may have learned about relationships from abusive families and may not have learned how to behave appropriately in an intimate and caring relationship.

Violence and violent patterns may be learned. A person who has learned violent patterns may use violence as a means to gain and maintain control of another person. Therefore, as a result of societal influences, abuses of power, ownership, and control can exist in lesbian relationships.
Types of abuse

As seen, abuse is a pattern of behavior in which physical violence and/or emotional coercion is/are used to gain and maintain power or control in a relationship. Abuse may be continuous, or it may be a single incident of assault. Abuse may be physical, sexual, psychological/emotional, or ecomonomic. It can include threats, the destruction of property, and/or stalking/harassing behavior. (See Types of Abuse for more information and concrete examples.)
Prevalence of violence

At present, there are no reliable statistics clearly demonstrating the scope of lesbian abuse. Although studies have attempted to identify the incidence of lesbian violence, there has been little consistency in the results. Therefore, lesbians must often rely on anecdotal reports to fully appreciate the scope of abuse within the lesbian community. Some report having been subjected to psychological and emotional abuse. Others report physical or sexual assault. Unfortunately, few victims of abuse seek counseling or legal/medical services. It seems even fewer turn to police, shelters, or distress lines, believing social service workers, health care officials, and police need to become educated in order to address the issue properly and appropriately.
Why does lesbian abuse happen? Myths and facts

Although there are many explanations as to why abuse occurs in lesbian relationships, these are often myths fueled by stereotypes, fear and prejudice. Below are some common myths:

Myth: Lesbian relationships are never abusive.

Fact: Although it's commonly thought that lesbians are caring and supportive to one another, violence does exist in some relationships.

Myth: Lesbian violence occurs only in "butch" and "femme" relationships. The "butch" is the batterer and the "femme" is the victim.

Fact: Regardless of the fact that most lesbians do not assume explicitly butch-femme roles, the roles themselves do not automatically dictate who has more power or the desire to exercise more control in the relationship.

Myth: Abuse between lesbians is mutual. Both partners contribute equally to the violence.

Fact: This myths assumes that lesbian relationships are always equal partnerships. In violent relationships, there is often a perpetrator and a victim. A perpetrator cannot be distinguished by any features such as size, height, or age. Defending oneself against an attacker must be examined closely as it may be mistakenly construed either as initiating or equally contributing to abuse.

Myth: Abusive lesbian relationships involve apolitical lesbians or lesbians who are part of the lesbian bar culture.

Fact: Violence in lesbian relationships is not limited to any particular "type" of lesbian. Abuse transcends race, class, age, political affiliation, and interests.

Myth: Lesbian violence is caused by substance abuse, stress, childhood violence, or provocation.

Fact: While these factors may account for an abuser's patterns of abusive behavior, there is no simple cause-and-effect relationship. Abusers have choices and can control their behavior. Abusers must assume responsibility for their actions; there's no excuse or justification for violence.


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