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NOW Supports Legislation to Repeal the Defense of Marriage Act


Statement of NOW Executive Vice President Bonnie Grabenhofer

September 15, 2009

The National Organization for Women is proud to stand with Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) in support of legislation to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) -- a discriminatory law that is deceptive and harmful. Under DOMA, same-sex couples who legally wed are still denied federal marriage benefits, and other states may refuse to recognize their unions. NOW thanks Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) for cosponsoring this important legislation.

Loving couples and their families deserve the same recognition and legal protection as their neighbors. NOW applauds Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont and Maine for legalizing same-sex marriages.

Last month, the Obama Administration strongly denounced and defended DOMA, placing itself in a neutral position and forcing Congress to take up the fight.

Rep. Nadler is doing what the Obama administration has failed to do: take a hard line on DOMA and say discrimination and bigotry do not belong in the law. The right to marry has been recognized by the Supreme Court as a fundamental right under the U.S. Constitution. DOMA singles out a group of people and categorizes them as second-class citizens. NOW urges Congress to support this bill and remove one more barrier to fulfilling the promise of equality and justice for all.


For Immediate Release

Mai Shiozaki, 202-628-8669, ext. 116; cell 202-641-1906

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Transgender Dance Composition: Lost / Found


"I'm interested in using the specific experience of being transgender as a way into talking about, really human universal questions of love and belonging, and feeling like an outsider."

-- Sean Dorsey


Transgender performer Sean Dorsey brings stories of his own struggles with gender and sexuality to the stage, making them accessible to a wider audience. Spark visits with Dorsey while he works on "Lost/Found."

For this work, Dorsey uses journal entries, memoirs and letters culled from the trans and queer community to piece together a narrative in which he fantasizes about the normal childhood he might have had if he was born a boy.

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Homophobia Should Not Be Ruled Out in Terry's Murder

The Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG) is concerned about the manner in which investigation into the murder of British Honorary Consul, John Terry on Wednesday, September 9 is proceeding. While J-FLAG believes that Mr. Terry’s murder is yet another sign of the general disregard that many in our society have for human life, the content of a note reportedly found at the murder scene suggests he was the victim of a violently homophobic crime.

In the Friday, September 11 edition of the U.K.-based Guardian newspaper, it was reported that the handwritten note, signed "Gay-Man", warned: "This is what will happen to ALL gays". If this report is true, it would suggest that Mr. Terry’s killing was indeed a hate crime.

Given this report and police declarations that they have no strong leads as to the motive for Mr. Terry’s murder, J-FLAG is surprised that homophobia has been ruled out as a motive. J-FLAG believes that this is a precipitous decision and calls on the Jamaica Constabulary Force to provide evidence to justify its claim this early in the investigation. Further, the Force must also deny or confirm that a note of the kind reported by the Guardian was found at the crime scene.

As detectives continue their probe into the murder, J-FLAG hopes that their declaration that the killing was not motivated by homophobia is not an expedient attempt to counter the international perception that Jamaica is a homophobic society. J-FLAG calls on the security forces to treat this case with the utmost importance not because of Mr. Terry’s status but by virtue of his humanity. It also implores them to assure that their statements about the nature of the killing are not made based on attempts to protect the image of the nation but on the evidence in the case.

Contact: Jason McFarlane
Tel: (876)978-8988

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IMHRO condemns the rape of prisoners in Iran

Iranian Minorities’ Human Rights Organisation (IMHRO)


Since the revolution in 1979 there have been numerous reports of rape of prisoners in Iran. In Iran, prisons are places of terror, where the human spirit is destroyed with object of extracting false confessions.

IMHRO is aware of several allegations of Iranian security service officers raping male and female prisoners. Some ex-prisoners have talked about the on-going physical injuries which they have suffered as a result of the assaults.

Lila G, a Kurdish lady told IMHRO that in prison in 2005 she was gang raped by security service officers: “They did not let me sleep, even my judge raped me”.

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We Are Everywhere: A Fiveway Review of A History of Bisexuality, Bisexual Spaces, Look Both Ways, Open, and Becoming Visible (Pt. 4)

By Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio and Jonathan Alexander



Will appear in Bisexuality and Queer Theory, a special-topics issue of The Journal of Bisexuality. Pre-published with permission of Routledge, New York.

Book Four: Jenny Block’s Open: Love, Sex and Live in an Open Marriage. (Seal Press, 2002.)

Similarly provocative, but in more subdued ways, is Jenny Block’s Open, a narrative about the author’s personal journey through the meanders of social prescriptions, expectations, and clichés, and her endeavor to define herself as a bisexual, polyamorous subject, a woman capable of loving both men and women and of sustaining more than one amorous relationship at once.

Block’s narrative is presented as that of a modern “every(wo)man,” who, in the United States, tries her best to meet social and familial expectations while at the same time continuing her search for what is fulfilling on a deeper level, as well as honest and authentic.

The literary quality of the book is quite impressive, which also speaks well of where bisexual and polyamorous communities are at in the ways of nurturing talent beyond what is merely effective. The prologue, written in the third person, gives a summary of this every(wo)man’s story in paragraphs that then repeat at the opening of each chapter. The story that particularizes the person to whom these things happened comes alive as the first-person narrative of each chapter unfolds.

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Explorer | Sex, Lies, and Gender

Tuesday September 15 9P

It does not seem like a question that should be asked. You know who you are. Or do you?

Each year thousands of people around the world are born with ambiguous gender. They do not fit into our binary system of male or female - and shockingly many of them don't know it. Early surgeries transformed their bodies; families and doctors hid the truth.

Now, their stories are starting to be heard. National Geographic Explorer examines the science of gender...and the gray areas in between. 

From scientists and medical professionals to individuals whose lives are affected, we search for answers, even looking to the lives of other animals for clues.

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Some Notes on Intersex

The Australian affiliate of Organisation Internationale des Intersexués (OII) published a great list of Intersex Terms for Journalists.  The goal is for people to understand Intersex persons better and to language conversations in respect and accuracy. 

I think the list is great for not only journalists, but for anyone in relationship with Intersex persons or with a desire to understand and respect the people we share this existence with. 

Read the list and comment with anything you would like to see added.

Disorders of Sex Development (DSD)

Intersex people find this term abhorrent and insulting, and ask that it not be used in connection with intersex. It was invented by a group of medical personnel to replace the word intersex and further medicalise and control being intersex when intersex is in fact a natural variation in human biology.

Intersex people object to the control that doctors have long exercised over our lives. Instead we wish to have them act as learned friends who practice client-centred health care in close consultation with us, and not one-size-fits-all solutions formulated under various unscientific belief systems and that do few of us any good.

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LGBTQ Youth of Color Development Workshops - Organizing 101

As part of the Youth Pride Center (YPC) LGBTQ Youth of Color Development Workshop Series, Gender JUST Organizers Renisha Campbell, Eric Amaya, & Sam Finkelstein will be offering an:

Organizing 101 Training:
How to build power and develop leadership in your community through organizing!

• Do you want to develop a basic understanding of grassroots organizing?
• Do you have a hard time getting people to come out to meetings, actions, or events?
• Would you like to develop a better analysis of power?
• Are you looking for a deeper grasp of strategy?
• Do you want to understand direct-action?

Come to the Organizing 101 Training, as a part of YPC’s LGBTQ Youth of Color Development Workshop Series.

Presented by Gender JUST Organizers Renisha Campbell, Eric Amaya, & Sam Finkelstein

Tuesday, September 15th from 6 - 8pm
1525 E 55th St, Chicago
Free for members/$1 for non-members

*2 Credit Hours of Service Learning Available!

Training format will be based in participatory popular education, where we will work together to develop a shared understanding of organizing and its implications for our communities.

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Gender JUST: LGBTQI Call to Action for Israel

Call for Action: Tell IGLTA that Apartheid Israel is not for LGBT Leisure Tourism!

September 8th 2009


Queers Against Israeli Apartheid, Toronto

Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism

International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network

Queer BDS activists from Israel

On October 10-16, 2009, the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) is planning to hold a tourism conference in Tel Aviv, Israel, aimed at boosting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) leisure tourism to Israel. The audience of this conference is expected to be made up mostly of travel agents who specialize in promoting LGBT tourism. With this conference IGLTA, in cooperation with an Israeli LGBT organization, the Aguda, will give its symbolic and financial support to a state that continually occupies, oppresses and dispossess millions of Palestinians and murders and imprisons many thousands of them.

We, queer activists and groups, call on LGBTQI people and friends around the world to join us in our protest against IGLTA’s promotion of leisure tourism to apartheid Israel. We demand that IGLTA cancel its planned conference in Israel and cease any promotion of tourism to this country.

For some time now, Israeli officials and organizations such as the Aguda, who are cooperating closely with IGLTA, have been promoting LGBT tourism to Israel through false representations of visiting Tel Aviv as not taking sides, or as being on the “LGBT” side, as if LGBT lives were the only ones that mattered. It is implied that it’s okay to visit Israel as long as you “believe in peace,” as if what is taking place in Palestine/Israel is merely a conflict between equals, rather than an oppressive power relationship. Consistent with globalization’s tendency to distance the “final product” from the moral implications of the manufacturing process, LGBT tourists are encouraged to forget about politics and just have fun in a so-called gay-friendly city.

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Jake Raynard: In His Own Words

Jake Raynard, who sustained 15 cheekbone fractures, and a broken jaw, eye socket, and upper palate, in a homophobic attack by a gang of up to eight men in Thunder Bay, Ontario on Saturday.  This is released in advance of the community rally held in his honor, this evening.

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