Sunday, July 29, 2012

Video: Mormon Bishop Kevin Kloosterman's Emotional Public Apology to Gay Mormons

Former Mormon bishop Kevin Kloosterman, calls his much-publicized apology to a crowd of gay and straight Mormons at a Nov. 2011 conference on gay and lesbian issues in Salt Lake City a "coming out" process of sorts. "I came out and basically made a personal apology to folks for really not understanding their issues, not really taking the time to understand their lives and really not doing my  homework."

"Rediscovering Orthodoxy as a Trans Jew" By Rafi Daugherty

By Rafi Daugherty  Publication:  Date: July 18, 2012 
This weekend marked my 30th birthday. Birthdays are always a time of looking back and seeing how life, or I, have changed over the past year, five years, ten years, etc. If someone would have asked me to write a piece about spirituality ten years ago, when I was still an Orthodox Jewish female, undoubtedly I would have written something from the Old Testament (Torah) about abiding by the many commandments therein. I would have reassured you that there is spirituality behind not doing things that you desire to do or behind doing age-old rituals that don’t seem to make any sense today. And I believed every word of that too.
I spent years struggling with who I was and who I thought G-d wanted me to be. I felt that one of my life’s missions was to reconcile the fact that I was born into a female body but felt that I was really a boy inside. I thought that with enough prayer and devotion, those feelings would leave and I would feel “right” with myself and with G-d. I knew without a doubt that one could not be gay and an Orthodox Jew, I didn’t even know that someone could transition from their birth gender/sex.

Video: Rabbis on Marriage Equality (NJ)

Video:Homosexuality in the Hasidic Community - Oprah's Next Chapter (Feb 13, 2012)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

"Watch: Hillary Clinton Speaks At The 2012 International AIDS Conference" in D.C. (w/ full transcript)

Highlights of her speech on July 23rd, 2012

  • "Well, I am here today to make it absolutely clear: The United States is committed and will remain committed to achieving an AIDS-free generation. We will not back off, we will not back down, we will fight for the resources necessary to achieve this historic milestone."
  • "Let me begin by defining what we mean by an AIDS-free generation. It is a time when, first of all, virtually no child anywhere will be born with the virus. (Applause.) Secondly, as children and teenagers become adults, they will be at significantly lower risk of ever becoming infected than they would be today no matter where they are living. (Applause.) And third, if someone does acquire HIV, they will have access to treatment that helps prevent them from developing AIDS and passing the virus on to others."
  • "Our strategy includes condoms, counseling and testing, and places special emphasis on three other interventions: treatment as prevention, voluntary medical male circumcision, and stopping the transmission of HIV from mothers to children"
  • "On male circumcision, we’ve supported more than 400,000 procedures since last December alone. And I’m pleased to announce that PEPFAR will provide an additional $40 million to support South Africa’s plans to provide voluntary medical circumcisions for almost half a million boys and men in the coming year. (Applause.) You know and we want the world to know that this procedure reduces the risk of female-to-male transmission by more than 60 percent and for the rest of the man’s life, so the impact can be phenomenal."

Monday, July 23, 2012

The End of Michele Bachmann? | Religion Dispatches

The End of Michele Bachmann? | Religion Dispatches

RADIO INTERVIEWS: The Inner Struggles of Gay Orthodox Jews, Rabbis on Homosexuality, and More

The Inner Struggles of Gay Orthodox Jews, Rabbis on Homosexuality, and More

  • The stories of four gay and lesbian Orthodox Jews, struggling to live the 'Torah lifestyle' in a faith that considers homosexuality a sin.
  • In Orthodox Judaism, to be both actively gay and "frum," or observant, is a theological taboo. Producer Jon Kalish spoke to four Orthodox men and women who are trying to merge their two identities.
  • It all started with those two lines in Leviticus - a core text of Judaism. Two rabbis from opposite ends of the theological spectrum explain homosexuality in Jewish law.
    Rabbi Meir Fund, leader of the Orthodox Congregation Sheves Achim in Brooklyn, New York
    Rabbi Debra Kolodny, leader of the Congregation P'nai Or in Portland, Oregon 

Friday, July 20, 2012

LGBT & Welcoming Synagogues & Havurot/Jewish LGBT Organizations and LGBT Orgs.

Republican Majority Leader "Cantor Urges Tolerance On Gays, Muslims"


House Majority Leader Eric Cantor Thursday urged his party, and the nation, to guard against intolerance on issues ranging from gay marriage to the role of Muslims in the government, arguing the country’s diversity of opinion and acceptance are part of America’s basic fabric.
“There can’t be some kind of monolithic opinion handed down from the government or a political party. I don’t think we’re monolithic beings,” Cantor, a Virginia Republican, said in an interview with BuzzFeed.

Short Video: "The Gay Debate Made Easy"

This is the debate over homosexuality made simple, logical, and researched.

Video: "The Gay Debate: The Bible and Homosexuality" A Christians View! Matthew Vines

Really great video! Matthew Vines speaks on the theological debate regarding the Bible and the role of gay Christians in the church. Delivered at College Hill United Methodist Church in Wichita, Kansas on March 8, 2012.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

"Disgraceful Portrayal of the 'First Gay Son' and Former President": Full Episode of Political Animals on the USA Network

Sundays at 10pm on the USA Network          
MY OPINION: I want to share my thoughts on the new USA 6 week series "Political Animals". This story is about the Clintons, but not about the Clintons. Do not get me wrong; this is a great story of a political family and struggles they might go through. The acting is exceptional by Sigourney Weaver, who plays the former First Lady and current Secretary of State. 

"FDA approves first pill to help prevent HIV"

FDA approves first pill to help prevent HIV updated 7/16/2012 1:16:36 PM ET 

Monday, July 16, 2012

"Heterosexual Martyrs and Gay Saints: Did AIDS Coverage Clear the Way for LGBT Equality?" By DIANE WINSTON

                                                  Religion Dispatches Magazine  July 16th, 2012 
4,800 panels from the AIDS Memorial Quilt will be featured in more than 50 venues throughout the capital region from July 21 to 25 during the international AIDS 2012 conference.

Later this month more than 20,000 HIV activists and researchers will meet in Washington DC, 22 years after the last American gathering of the International AIDS Conference. With some 34 million men and women worldwide currently living with HIV/AIDS, it’s no longer possible to call the disease, as it was initially, a “gay plague.” It’s equally easy to forget amid growing support for gay marriage that just thirty years ago a sentence with the word “legal” modifying “same sex relationships” was unimaginable. What happened?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Havruta religious LGBT organization urges members to join right-wing Zionist-religious party Habayit Hayehudi. Minister Hershkowitz: 'I suspect this is a PR stunt'

Havruta religious LGBT organization urges members to join right-wing Zionist-religious party Habayit Hayehudi. Minister Hershkowitz: 'I suspect this is a PR stunt'
Kobi Nahshoni
Published: 07.08.12, 14:31 / Israel Jewish Scene
The religious homosexuals and lesbian organization 'Havruta' is calling on its members to register as members of the Habayit Hayehudi party with the purpose of establishing a "gay cell" within its ranks and thus influence the position of the members of the gay and lesbian community within the religious public.

"When Yeshiva Day School Is No Longer A Viable Option" by The Jewish Press

-July 11th, 2012  By:Vanessa Brooks        

The day school tuition crisis is not new. It has been brewing for years. School costs continue to rise while unemployment and underemployment remain high. And one also needs money to live in a neighborhood with shuls (a place of prayer) and mikvehs (dipping in water as a religious ritual after a woman's menstruation cycle) , to buy kosher food, to make proper simchas (religious parties), to cover Yom Tov (Jewish holiday) expenses, etc.                                                                                       
It seems that somewhere along the line it became mandated that in order to be frum(religious) you have to be rich – or at least extremely well off. And of course you must keep your children in private day schools – or else, we are warned, you are putting your children’s Jewish future at risk.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

"Barney Frank weds Jim Ready to become first congressman in same-sex marriage"

         Posted at 02:03 AM ET, 07/08/2012 By The Reliable Source
 It was by choice that Rep. Barney Frank came out of the closet 25 years ago — not the first gay congressman, but the first to announce voluntarily that he was gay.
         On Saturday, he took another deliberate first step: By exchanging vows in Massachusetts with his longtime boyfriend Jim Ready six months before his planned retirement, Frank will spend the rest of his time in office as the nation’s first congressman in a same-sex marriage.
“I think it’s important,” he told New York magazine in April, “that my colleagues interact with a married gay man.”
        About 300 friends and relatives gathered at the Boston Marriott hotel in Newton, Mass., to see the veteran Democratic lawmaker, 72 — who has represented that district since 1981 — wed Ready, 42, the owner of a carpentry/welding/custom awnings shop and an avid outdoorsman. Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, an early champion of the state’s first-in-the-nation legalization of gay marriage, served as officiant overseeing the rather personalized ceremony, according to the congressman’s office:
Do you promise to love each other and be each other’s best friend,
In sickness and in health,
In Congress or in retirement,
Whether the surf is up or the surf’s flat,
For richer or for poorer,
Under the Democrats or the Republicans,
Whether the slopes are powdery or icy,
Whether the book reviews are good or bad,
For better or for worse,
On MSNBC or on Fox,
For as long as you both shall live.
Otherwise, sounds like it was just your average Beltway power-broker wedding: The grooms were hoisted in chairs during the Horah, we’ve heard, and Nancy Pelosi cut a rug on the dance floor to some swing tunes. Other guests included Sen. John Kerry; Reps. Bill Keating, Rosa DeLauro, Anna Eshoo, Eddie Bernice Johnson, and Jim McGovern; and D.C. strategist types Hilary Rosen, Robert Raben, Steve Elmendorf and Frank’s sister Ann Lewis.
Frank announced last fall that he would not seek reelection this year, citing the rigors of the job and his desire to devote more time to his personal life. He and Ready, who met at a fundraiser in 2005, have been a couple since 2007.

"Google: ‘Legalize Love’ campaign isn’t about gay marriage"

Google’s “Legalize Love” campaign isn’t about gay marriage at all,
says a spokesperson. (Tony Avelar - BLOOMBERG)     

  WASHINGTON POST  By   Posted at 02:28 PM ET, 07/08/2012
Google’s “Legalize Love” campaign isn’t about gay marriage at all, says a spokesperson. (Tony Avelar - BLOOMBERG)
The Internet has been buzzing this weekend over a reported announcement by Google that it is launching a worldwide push to legalize same-sex marriage. However, the tech giant says its new “Legalize Love” campaign isn’t about gay marriage at all, but rather supporting workers in countries that criminalize homosexuality.
"'Legalize Love' is a campaign to promote safer conditions for gay and lesbian people inside and outside the office in countries with anti-gay laws on the books," said a Google spokesperson in a statement.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

"Texas: Dallas gay couple arrested for marriage equality protest"

by   6 July 2012, 11:55pm                      Two gay men in Dallas, Texas, have been arrested after they refused to leave a county clerk’s office.
The pair, named as Mark Jiminez and Beau Chandler, were protesting the state’s ban on marriage equality.
They went to the clerk’s office on Thursday to file for a marriage licence while supporters and TV camera crews waited outside.
When it was denied, they sat on the floor and handcuffed themselves together. Police eventually led them out of the building.
The Dallas Voice reports that local police officers were friendly to the couple, with one advising them to “have a full belly” before starting the protest.
Sr. Cpl. Laura Martin, LGBT liaison officer for the Dallas Police Department, said: “They’re the nicest couple. They’re the first guys after any protest to come up and thank the officers.”
It is not clear what punishment they will face.

"Leader of ‘reparative therapy’ group Exodus says gays can’t be cured"

  7 July 2012, 11:00pm                 Leader of global ‘gay cure’ church Exodus International has declared that gays cannot be turned straight and that so-called ‘reparative therapy’ may be dangerous. 
Exodus president Alan Chambers is said to have shocked the ‘ex-gay’ movement with his volte-face and is facing accusations of heresy, the New York Times reports.
Speaking at the group’s annual meeting last week, he said homosexuality cannot be “cured” and that people can be damaged by therapy designed to turn them heterosexual.
Mr Chambers is said to have repeated his views in a number of public statements.
In January, he told a told a Gay Christian Network conference that “99.9 per cent” of gay people going through the controversial therapy had not experienced any change in their sexual orientation. He also apologised for the “ambiguity” of the group’s former slogan ‘Change Is Possible’.
Speaking to the New York Times this week, Mr Chambers said that while the Bible condemns homosexuality, he believes that gay people who continue to have gay sex can still go to Heaven.
He said: “I believe that any sexual expression outside of heterosexual, monogamous marriage is sinful according to the Bible.
“But we’ve been asking people with same-sex attractions to overcome something in a way that we don’t ask of anyone else [with other sins].”
Mr Chambers, who says he used to be gay, added that he was happy in his heterosexual marriage.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

"Is Change Possible? Shifting the Ex-Gay Question" July 4, 2012

Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International

BLYNNE GERBER July 4, 2012 Religion Dispatches 
         Last month, in an interview with The Atlantic, Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International, made it unequivocally clear that the nation’s largest ex-gay organization no longer considers itself in the business of changing sexual orientation.
          Chambers acknowledged that most Exodus members are single and remain so, that those who are married are trying to salvage an existing marriage rather than starting new, straight ones, and that homosexual desire stays homosexual desire. “In the past,” he said, “we’ve been aligned with organizations that believe feelings can completely change, temptations can completely go away. 

"31 Ways To Live Life On Your Own Terms: A Fourth Of July Manifesto"

Tiphani N. Montgomery
Founder of KNOCKED UP NOW WHAT?, #1 Essence Magazine Bestselling Author Blog section
I was born on the Fourth of July... 31 years ago. When I was little my mom told me that all the red, white, and blue shenanigans were just for me. The fireworks, she confessed, were a gift from President Reagan, and he had called every American, on my behalf, to celebrate.  July 4th, as I had known it to be, was special only because I was born. Can you imagine what all the family reunions, BBQs, and parties can do to a little girl's ego when she thinks that the only reason you're having a great time is because she is alive?
Well, I can tell you firsthand that you feel like a star. A queen. Untouchable. And then one day, somewhere in between me learning about the tooth fairy and my beloved Santa Claus, I found out that my life was all a hoax. That the Fourth of July was actually America's birthday. And the 40th president? Well, he had no idea who I was! My life as I had known it was all a scam. And it all came tumbling down from there. The invisible crown I wore disappeared, and the life that once filled me with the feeling of being special was now replaced with the cold reality that I was normal like everyone else.
And because I believed what seemed to be a fact, I settled into a life of mediocrity. Because it was easy. Comfortable. Safe. My fireworks within had fizzled and I was officially... ordinary! But something funny happens when you get older. The time flies by and the fear of not going after "that dream" -- the one that keeps you up at night -- starts to sink in. Reality becomes your enemy and you realize that the life you sat back and watched happen... sucks!
Well, my friend, I had had enough. I chose to design a lifestyle that would capture the beautiful, jaw-dropping firecracker that I am and it all gets done with no apologies!

"Report: 99 Percent of Gay Pupils Hear Homophobic Language in School"

"Report: 99 percent of gay pupils hear homophobic language in school" by   5 July 2012, 12:43pm
A report launched today has found that 55 per cent of lesbian, gay and bisexual pupils in Britain’s secondary schools experience homophobic bullying, while 99 percent hear the word ‘gay’ being used disparagingly at their schools. 
The University of Cambridge research for Stonewall’s School Report 2012, launched at its Education for All conference, included a national survey of 1,614 young people. It found that nearly a quarter, 23 per cent, of gay young people had attempted to take their own life, and more than half, 56 per cent, deliberately harm themselves. 
     99 per cent of gay young people hear homophobic language using the word ‘gay’ in a disparaging way, using it as an insult or to imply something’s inferiority. However, a quarter of gay young people, over a third in faith schools, said teachers never challenge homophobic language. 
     In schools where teaching staff never challenge homophobic remarks, the rate of homophobic bullying is far higher than in schools where such language is always challenged at 71 per cent compared to 43 per cent.

Monday, July 2, 2012

CNN's Anderson Cooper: "The Fact Is, I'm Gay." (The Daily Beast) July 2nd, 2012

2 Jul 2012 11:01 AM by Andrew Sullivan 
Last week, Entertainment Weekly ran a story on an emerging trend: gay people in public life who come out in a much more restrained and matter-of-fact way than in the past. In many ways, it's a great development: we're evolved enough not to be gob-smacked when we find out someone's gay. But it does matter nonetheless, it seems to me, that this is on the record. 

We still have pastors calling for the death of gay people, bullying incidents and suicides among gay kids, and one major political party dedicated to ending the basic civil right to marry the person you love. So these "non-events" are still also events of a kind; and they matter. The visibility of gay people is one of the core means for our equality.

All of which is a prelude to my saying that I've known Anderson Cooper as a friend for more than two decades. I asked him for his feedback on this subject, for reasons that are probably obvious to most. Here's his email in response which he has given me permission to post here: 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

"How Porn Can Help Your Relationship" by Dr. Joe Kort
Joe Kort, L.M.S.W., is an adjunct professor at Wayne State University's School of Social Work and the author of Gay Affirmative Therapy for the Straight Clinician: The Essential Guide. He's currently working on his doctorate in clinical sexology.
The argument that porn takes away from a relationship and encourages emotional distance doesn't do justice to the trust that can be created though honest discussions about porn.

"The Negative Effects of Porn" Rabbi Shmuley Boteach on

According to Rabbi Shmuley, pornography is incredibly harmful and destructive to marriages. Pornography subtlety undermines male respect for women by detaching a woman's personality from her body, reducing her to a mere sexual commodity, he says. This in turn bores men and leads to dissatisfaction with their own wives and an inability to create a fulfilling, authentic sex life based on mutual respect for their female counterparts.
Rabbi Shmuley outlines the five main reasons why porn has a negative effect on marriages:
  1. Porn is a drug that leads to addiction. "It gives you a hit, it gives you a high that cannot be sustained unless you have massive exposure to it," Rabbi Shmuley says. As such, he says men often consume more and more porn, which can lead to distancing themselves from their loved ones, losing their jobs, etc.
  2. Porn is a form of sexism. Women are commoditized and objectified in porn, which puts them on an unequal footing with men. Rabbi Shmuley says this leads men to regard women as subordinate. "He sees breasts and genitalia," he says. "He sees the walking gratification of his material urges. So, he can't relate to that woman because there's no person—all he can do is use that woman."
  3. Porn portrays all women in one of four degrading, dehumanizing categories. They're either a "greedy gold-digger," "mindless playmate," "insatiable nymphomaniac" or "one who craves pain," Rabbi Shmuley says. "It gives you the most insidious view of women," he says. This can lead to an inability to form meaningful romantic relationships and even violence against women.
  4. Porn makes men get bored with their own wives. "Excessive exposure to the incredible variety of naked bodies that you see in porn makes men feel permanently dissatisfied with their wives' bodies," Rabbi Shmuley says.
  5. Porn cultivates a single standard of beauty that no real women can live up to. Again, Rabbi Shmuley says this leads men to be mistakenly dissatisfied with reality as it pertains to sex.

"Porn & Relationships: Men's Pornography Use Tied To Lower Self-Esteem In Female Partners"
By: Stephanie Pappas, LiveScience Senior Writer  Published: 06/01/2012 10:16 AM EDT on LiveScience
Young women who report that their romantic partners look at porn frequently are less happy in their relationships than women partnered with guys who more often abstain, new research finds.
The study bolsters some anecdotal evidence that men's porn use can shake the self-esteem of their girlfriends or wives, though certainly not all couples have conflicts over pornography, said study researcher Destin Stewart, a clinical psychology intern at the University of Florida. Stewart decided to investigate the effect of porn on relationships after some of her clients revealed that they were struggling with the issue.
Discovering explicit material on a partner's computer "made them feel like they were not good enough, like they could not measure up," Stewart told LiveScience.

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