Annabelle River's picture

The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance

The first time I heard the name Elna Baker was on the "Matchmakers" episode of This American Life radio show.  Her segment on working for FAO Schwartz is well worth listening to: The beginning makes me laugh hard, and then it packs a sucker-punch of commentary on American racism and classism.  Touched by Elna Baker's humor and poignancy, I went looking for her personal website, which has clips of her telling stories.  Watching her first video clip, then, I was surprised to learn that Elna Baker is also a practicing Mormon committed to virginity-until-marriage.  As she says of her  dating experience for the laugh-line, "As a Mormon, I don't believe in having sex, and eventually, as a guy, he didn't believe in that.  So atheists do have beliefs."

arvan's picture

Picket Anti-Gay Cardinal George on Freedom-to-Marry Day!

In opposition to the desires of millions of lay Catholics for simple justice for all, the hierarchy of the Catholic Church has long aligned itself with, and often led, the forces of hate and bigotry opposing equal rights for gays and women.

At 10:30 AM on Freedom-to-Marry Day 2010 – Sunday, February 14, Valentine’s Day – the Gay Liberation Network will host an informational picket of Chicago’s Holy Name Cathedral, 735 N. State Street, to highlight the role the Church’s leadership has played in promoting inequality.

For many years the Catholic leadership has attempted to fly under the radar screen with its opposition to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality.  A key secret to their success has been their stealthiness, ironically often assisted by gay rights “leaders.”  These leaders, not trusting rank-and-file Catholics to be fair and too worried about hurting their fundraising base with well-connected and wealthy Catholics, are too cowardly to call out Catholic leaders for promoting hate and discrimination.

As a local example, Chicago's Catholic leader Cardinal Francis George has worked tirelessly -- albeit from behind the scenes -- to block our path to full legal equality.  George attempted to kill LGBT inclusion as a protected class in the Illinois Human Rights Act, which now protects us from housing and employment discrimination.  He and other Catholic bishops circulated petitions in a failed effort to force an advisory referendum on "gay marriage," and George is the head of the national Conference of Catholic Bishops which spent big bucks backing Prop 8 hate in California.  Back in Illinois, George is working hard today to block same sex-marriage and/or civil unions.

PLEASE JOIN THE FACEBOOK EVENT for the action & invite your friends:

MORE DETAILS on the event are available at that URL, or by emailing LGBTliberation@aol.com

Laura Agustín's picture

On Gender Equality, Swedish debates

For those interested in the idealistic power of the Swedish model - whether the wider economic/social one or the prostitution law - I've begun to try to figure out how the idea of mainstreaming Gender Equality policy and the role of State Feminists end up making a lot of us feel annoyed or unfeminist or worse. Three things have been published in English on a news site called The Local:

1- The pleasures of dissent: Not?

2- Violence against women: Too much of a bad thing

3- Good sex, equal sex: Who has the best sex?


arvan's picture

A Day in Hand - Same-sex hand holding (Sshh): Our silent revolution

A Day In Hand - Same-sex hand holding

This campaign's aim is to INSPIRE and SUPPORT same-sex couples who want to hold their partner's hand in public. 

"...when you're trying just to be thought of as a human being, the smallest victories feel like huge ones."

You don't have to fight to change the world.  Promote love and equality by the simple act of holding hands.

Holding hands with your partner, where you can, is about being true to yourself and to those you love.  This is not a protest, a rally, a Pride or a march.  This is about you and the life you lead every day.  We can do this.
arvan's picture

Peace Is Impossible When Half the Population Is Excluded from Negotiations, Say Afghanistan’s Women Activists

A day ahead of the London Conference, women’s groups make strong recommendations for reconstruction and development.

London [UNIFEM] In the lead-up to the 28 January London Conference on Afghanistan hosted by the UK Government, Afghan women human rights defenders today released strong, specific recommendations on security, development and governance priorities for their country. These recommendations provide the only concrete input from consultation with Afghan women into the key decisions affecting the future of their country that will be set in London by international actors.

Deeply concerned about the exclusion of Afghan women’s perspectives from the dialogue surrounding the London Conference, the statement issued today by the women activists comes as a result of broad-based consultations with Afghan women civil society leaders at the Dubai Women’s Dialogue and London Dialogue over the last week, involving the Afghan Women’s Network and supported by the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) and the Institute for Inclusive Security. 

"As the global community knows, nowhere are women’s human rights more at stake than in Afghanistan. Therefore it is of grave concern that women’s voices and perspectives are largely missing from this London conference on Afghanistan’s future. The international community should stand behind the women of Afghanistan and elevate their voices, not barter away their rights in the name of short-term peace and stabilization,” said Wazma Frogh, Afghan Gender and Development Specialist.

arvan's picture

YOWLI 2010: Application Online Now

The Young Women’s Knowledge and Leadership Institute (YOWLI) is one of the 2 Flagship programs of African Women's Millenium Initiative (AWOMI).  The other flagship program is the African Women Empowerment Fund (WEFU). 

YOWLI was set up to enable young women and men of African descent to widen their leadership horizons enhance their knowledge base and actively engage in monitoring and fighting for social justice.  YOWLI supports innovative ideas that challenge anti human rights strategies and propel organizing for social transformation.

Download Application (MS Word)

arvan's picture

Nepal 'to stage gay weddings on Everest'

Nepal is set to stage same-sex weddings on Mount Everest as part of a bid to promote the country as the homosexual tourism capital of Asia.

By Dean Nelson [Telegraph]

Nepal's homosexual community, which is led by Asia's only openly gay member of parliament, will next month host a tourism conference to explore how to attract wealthy gay visitors to boost the country's war-ravaged economy.

The country's new constitution will legalise homosexual marriage in May this year, when "Pink Mountain" will begin offering luxury honeymoon and wedding packages.

Sunil Babu Pant, a Communist legislator and leader of the country's homosexual rights movement, has launched a travel company dedicated to promoting the former Hindu kingdom to gay tourists in an effort to tap the so-called "Pink Pound" and dollar.

arvan's picture

2010 BB! Convergence Call For Workshops!

bash back denver is pleased to host the twenty-ten bash back! convergence from may twenty-seventh to thirtieth.


We want this year’s convergence to be a smashing success, and to do it we need your help.  Workshops were an integral part of previous convergences and will be this year.

We are seeking workshop proposals for this year’s convergence especially on the following topics:

Anti-Oppression!, Mental Health, Queer Nurturing, Response to Sexual Assault, DIY Sex Toys, DIY Other Sexy Things, Sex Work, Direct Action (including Bloc Tactics, Mobile Disco Sound Systems, Analysis/Theory), Anarchist and Queer Theory/Histories, Prison Abolition, Prisoner Support, Kink, Spirituality, Group Presentations,Queer/Anarchist films and documentaries, and Permaculture/Rural Queer.  

arvan's picture

An Ombudswoman for Sexual Diversity in Nicaragua

By José Adán Silva

MANAGUA, Dec 15 , 2009 (IPS) - At last, homosexuals in Nicaragua have someone to uphold their rights: an ombudswoman for sexual diversity has been appointed to defend the rights of the gay community, estimated to number half a million people.

The new ombudswoman's office started work this month with the remit to "recognise the constitutional rights and duties of all citizens, whatever their sexual orientation, as universal rights which must be respected," human rights ombudsman Omar Cabezas told IPS.

The person appointed to the new post is María Samira Montiel, a young lawyer who has been an activist in the lesbian movement in Nicaragua for the past decade, and who has a high profile because of her campaigns against abuses and discrimination against people with different sexual identities.

This Central American country of 5.7 million people is the second poorest country in the western hemisphere after Haiti. And although constitutionally it is a secular state, the Catholic Church has an extremely strong influence, to the point that abortion is illegal under all circumstances, even when the mother's life is at risk, and homosexuality was regarded as a crime punishable by imprisonment until 2008.

Montiel told IPS that her brief as a public official serving a cultural minority will transcend issues like promoting same-sex marriage or adoption of children by same-sex couples, both of which are illegal at present.

arvan's picture

Melissa Steyn: On Defining - and Defying - the 'Most Proper Way' to be Sexual

Christi van der Westhuizen interviews MELISSA STEYN, author and professor of diversity studies

CAPE TOWN, Jan 16, 2010 (IPS) - "The Prize and The Price - Shaping Sexualities in South Africa" is the first book of its kind in South Africa to unpack the ideology behind the enforcement of "acceptable" versions of sex, gender and sexuality.

The book's editors, Melissa Steyn and activist Mikki van Zyl, take aim at the system of "hetero-normativity": the institutions and norms that enforce exclusive heterosexuality.

Christi van der Westhuizen spoke to Steyn, who is the director of Intercultural and Diversity Studies of South Africa at the University of Cape Town, South Africa.

Q: Why study hetero-normativity?

A: Because hetero-normativity is so powerful in the way it structures social behaviour, expectations and our identities. It is invisible, so we tend not to be conscious of the extent to which it shapes our society.

This is true for most dominant ideologies. But hetero-normativity is even less within our conscious understanding day-to-day than, for example, how whiteness operates to shape the racial order.

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