Tuesday, May 30, 2006
Curtis and I wanted to give you an update on our marriage case. Hernandez v. Robles has been consolidated with other marriage cases throughout New York State and we will have our day in the state's highest court, the New York State Court of Appeals, on Wednesday, May 31, 2006, in Albany. As our journey to seek marriage equality draws to a conclusion, I can say we are feeling several emotions, but most of all, nervous.
As many of you who live in the city are aware there have articles about one of the justices recusing himself. While there has been speculation about why he has recused himself, we have decided not to exert energy on speculation. Ultimately, what that means is that the court is pared down to 6 justices which leaves the case open to a 3-3 split decision. In the event of this occurrence, the final decision could be put off for some time. A split vote would require the court to call in another justice from the appellate division to sit in on the proceedings. This could require oral arguments to be re-heard all over again. In the best case scenario, a decision could be rendered by the end of June.
While we could go on about the political reasons for why we should be allowed to marry, it really has not been about that for us. Quite frankly we are astonished that we have placed our relationship under such a public light. We want to have the right to marry because we love each other and we want our relationship protected under the law, just like every other committed opposite sex couple. For us, the matter has been about respect and equality. It continues to frustrate us that we have to explain in depth the reasons for why we should be allowed to marry, when with the stroke of a pen an impetuous pop star can be fully and legally married and then proceed to dissolve the marriage hours later (Anyone remember Brittany?) What could be more a slap in the face to committed couples who have been together for years and struggle every day to protect their relationship? Curtis and I have been lucky that the hurdles we've had to overcome have been relatively minor, but what happens when luck runs out? And why should the protection and recognition of our relationship have to rely on luck?
As we head into court, we are trying to remain hopeful and positive under stressful conditions, but as most of you may recall, the justices at the appellate division were openly hostile to our attorney. It was difficult to watch especially knowing that we were at the center of the hostility. Knowing what we know now, we are bracing for a similar exchange at the high court.
We will continue to keep you posted and we ask that you keep not only us in your thoughts, but also the other 40+ couples in New York state who have placed their relationships on the line for equality.
Daniel & Curtis
Saturday, May 27, 2006
Friday, May 26, 2006
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
starting at 8pm
Merced Church plaza
Cdra. 5 Jr. de la Union
Cercado de Lima
Paseo de los Heroes
In front of the Justice Palace
IF ALL SHINE EQUALLY AS BRIGHT, WHY DO YOU SNUFF ONE OUT?
Organized by: Proyecto Experiencia - Art Against Stigma and Discrimination (Public Health Faculty of the Cayetanc Heredia Peruvian University). Co-sponsored by: MOHL, TLGB Peruvian Network, PROMSEX, GALF, LGBT activists and artistic and theatre activists.
Design and photography: Claudia Hermosilla / Mona Herbe
Thursday, May 25, 2006
Exley arrived from Great Britain at Logan International Airport in Boston on April 20th, 2006, headed to Lynn where he met an acquaintance, and then disappeared four days later, on April 24th, when he took a train back to Boston.
On a leather site, his profile now reads:
ADRIAN HAS BEEN MISSING. HE DID NOT RETURN FROM A TRIP TO BOSTON (USA). HIS FRIENDS AND FAMILY ARE VERY WORRIED. IF YOU KNOW WHERE THIS GUY IS PLEASE ASK HIM TO CONTACT HOME OR TEXT OR TELEPHONE ME ( HIS FRIEND IN THE UK ) ON UK MOBILE XXXXXX OR HIS SISTER ON UK MOBILE XXXXXXX. WE MISS HIM, AND DESPARATLY NEED TO KNOW HE IS SAFE AND WELL. [Editor's note: Phone numbers have been removed in light of the updates below]Here's to Adrian being found safe from harm!
- Adrian Alun Dennis Exley's body sought by police (June 26, 2006)
- So sad: Adrian Alun Dennis Exley's body unearthed in RI (June 28, 2006)
The event, which brings together a bunch of gay rugby clubs for a three day international tournament, also includes a women's division. Matches will be held at Randall's Island starting tomorrow and through the weekend. They are open to the public and are free.
I was looking forward to attending some of the games and maybe say hi to some of the guys I know from the San Francisco Fog and New York's own Gotham Knights (pictured above at the 2002 Heritage of Pride march). Alas, I just found out that I will be out of the city this whole weekend.
At the very least, I don't see any teams from Argentina in the tournament so I'm pretty sure that it's not as if I'll miss out on a chance to meet, say, Luisma Molinari.
Their alter ego, Nuyorican Soul, will be introducing percussionist Luisito Quintero at the Hiro Ballroom this coming Tuesday.
As for La India, she has had tremendous success in the past but her last CD, Soy Diferente, hasn't gotten much play despite a duet with Raggaeton royalty Queen Ivy and a new sound that this reviewer called "salsaton."
And about "I Can't Get No Sleep," well, what can I say? It certainly takes me back a few years when I had just arrived in New York City and used to hang in the West Village piers. Blink and you'll miss some of the gals and guys from the legendary House of Extravaganza performing in the background.
Last week, I was glad to find out that the United States had back-tracked on a shameful vote in January in which they joined countries such as China and Iran in blocking two international LGBT organizations, ILGA and LBL, from being considered for consultative status to the United Nation. On May 17th, ILGA Europe and Germany's LSVD were also denied consultative status but this time the United States voted in favor of the LGBT organizations. What came as a surprise in reading this Blade article was that Colombia switched from abstaining the last time around to also supporting the LGBT organizations (yay for Colombia!). They joined Chile, France, Germany, Peru and Romania who had been previously supportive. Against consultative status? African nations Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, Senegal, Sudan and Zimbabwe as well as China, Iran, Pakistan and the Russian Federation (India and Turkey abstained and Cuba, which voted against the LGBT organizations in January, was absent at last week's vote). In February, Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA), had sent a letter to Secretary of State Condaleeza Rice and Colombian President Alvaro Uribe expressing his disappointment in the earlier votes. Last week Frank told the Blade that he was pleased but that additional pressure was needed to secure consultative status for these organizations in the future.
Speaking of Colombia, we've been checking out Sangroncito's World as of late. The self-described "compulsive traveler" arrived in Bogota on Monday and has been blogging about his experiences. We're not so sure what to think of his indulgence in some of the younger men he meets during his time abroad, including some beautiful Brazilian hustlers on his last trip, but it's interesting to see a foreigner discover the country I love so much through his eyes. I hope he doesn't mind me also sharing a link to his Colombia photo album on flckr.
Speaking about beautiful boys, Anthony Montgomery, who graciously linked to this site a while back, truly gives you a view of the vibrant gay social life that exists nowadays in the Dominican Republic through his blog. Recently, he has also been featuring some glorious images of Dominican men as captured by photographer Paul Culver (including Cesar, above). For more of life in DR and those men, check out Anthony's blog, Monaga. There is also a lot more on architecture in Santo Domingo, travel to the island and Dominican club life as well.
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
- June 24: (not a freebie but...) Club Shelter's 15h Anniversary
- July 30: UK's Lady Sovereign, DJ Pete Rock and DJ Rekha
- Aug. 5: Gustavo Cerati, Calle 13 and Mexican Institute of Sound
- Aug. 13: Talvin Singh DJ set, Asha Puthli feat Dewey Redman, Guru, Solar & DJ Doo Wop, Prefuse 73, Outternational (curated - whatever that means - by DJ Spooky "That Subliminal Kid")
Not enough? Well, you can always check the shows at Brooklyn's Prospect Park Bandshell Stage, including Nortec Collective (July 15), and Los Amigos Invisibles (August 4); or the smaller Madison Square Park where the great Me'shell Ndegeocello (pictured above) will perform on June 21st. Over at the Lincoln Center you have vocal house legend Martha Wash on June 15th (also not a freebie but we must pay respect to our house foundations).
As for the Annual Clubhouse Jamboree in Prospect Park (which last year had us grooving to DJ Spinna and the amazing Barbara Tucker), word is that it will take place, so look for updates.
In yesterday's Bermuda Sun, Ms. Barrington, also known as Mark Anderson when not in drag (pictured right), talks about teens in the Caribbean island who are struggling with their identity and have nowhere to go for support, counseling or advice.
The Sun says that Mr. Anderson was in the headlines last week when some objected to his alter ego, Ms. Barrington, being named as "Queen of the Gombeys" for the annual Bermuda Heritage Day Parade.
In yesterday's The Royal Gazette, there is also a lengthy profile of Mr. Anderson, who was born and currently lives in Bermuda, but has also recently performed at Sylvia's Restaurant in Harlem and other New York City clubs. He talks of perhaps bringing Harmonica Sunbeam to perform with him at an upcoming presentation scheduled for late June at City Hall and of his ultimate dream to perform with legend Patti LaBelle at the Bermuda Music Festival, where she is scheduled to appear.
The ruling is a defeat for gay attorney Yashin Castrillo, who asked the court to allow him to marry his partner.
UPDATE: In today's Al Dia, Pablo Guerén Catepillán and Paula Chinchilla report that, in the majority opinion, the Court determined that "there are no legal impediments for gays living together and [that] the ban instituted in the questioned norm only refers specifically to the institution of marriage."
Nevertheless, they also indicated that more could be done to recognize same-sex partnerships arguing that, in Costa Rica, there is an absence of "an appropriate norm to regulate these type of unions, specially if they bring conditions of stability and loyalty."
They also urged the country's Justice Department to establish rights and responsibilities that would better define same-sex partnerships.
Not surprisingly the current government welcomed the ruling (they had argued against recognition of same-sex marriages during the recent court hearing on the issue): Justice Minister Laura Chinchilla said that it was a balanced decision that kept the institution of marriage available only to heterosexual couples while "reiterating the rights derived from civil partnerships between couples of the same sex."
As for Mr. Castrillo, in statements made last night, he stated that the court had shown arrogance by "establishing the superiority of heterosexuals" and pledged to take case before the Inter-American Human Rights Court.
Finally, while both EFE and Al Dia report that the two judges that voted to allow marriages between same-sex couples did so while denying that gay couples should have the right to adopt, Diario Extra says that Judge Adrian Vargas Benavides voted not only in favor of the right to marry but also for the right to adopt.
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
In "We Too are Immigrants," Todd Henneman takes a look at LGBT immigrants and LGBT participation in the recent immigration rights marches. All in all a good article - and not just because I am quoted - but unfortunately it perpetuates the falsehood that it's just a Latino/Mexican thing (Herb Sosa from Miami's Unity Coalition and Oscar De La O from Bienestar in California are also interviewed, as well as some community members caught in the legislative cross-fire).
In "Thick and Thin for Binational Couples" (no online access available to the article), Neal Broveman looks at an upcoming documentary by Sebastian Cordoba on the issue of immigration rights being denied to binational same-sex couples in the United States. It was produced by Lavi Soloway and features my great friend Emilio and his partner Tom (pictured above).
Finally, in "Fear and Loafing," Editor-in-Chief Bruce C. Steele ponders what the LGBT rights movement should learn from the immigration rights demonstrations.
Saturday, May 20, 2006
Those who commit crimes of sodomy or induce, promote, propagate or practice any form of copulation between people of the same sex will be subject to suffer a penalty of from one to three years in prisonOver on his blog, Dani has compiled a nice group of photos taken at demos in Peru (see above), Uruguay, Chile and Mexico as well as the text of the Amnesty International call to action (Thanks to Daniel Soto for the heads-up).
Now, I actually do not spend that much money on too much stuff (except perhaps music) but the passage of time has healed some of the Mac-hate (truth be told, deep inside, I'm a Mac-lovah, not a Mac-hatah).
Bernard seems to be going for the recently unveiled new MacBook, and then there's also Ronn Taylor's minute-by-minute report on tonight's opening of the latest Mac store in Manhattan. But my eye is on the 15" MacBook Pro that is a bit more expensive but Oh! So! Nice! (pictured above). Then there is also the news that Central Park will go WiFi and all of a sudden there seems to be some sort of astral alignment as well.
Should anyone wanna contribute toward my upcoming birthday gift to myself, just leave a reply! (hehe). Then again, let's see how much time I hold off before splurging.
Thursday, May 18, 2006
The place, which must have been a sight to behold in its Art Deco splendor back in the '30's and '40's, had since become a porn house and fallen into squalor and disrepair.
Those of us who live in the neighborhood might have wanted the place to be renovated and afforded the landmark status that its architecture deserves. Unfortunately, it appears the new owners will probably tear it down to make way for some apartment buildings (a fate that another former Jackson Heights porn house, the Earle, escaped when it became a first-run Indian movie house and was re-named The Eagle, even though it too is in dire need of renovations).
For those who have never been to New York City (or Queens for that matter), the money quote from this week's Voice article is this:
In fact, by early 2006, [the Polk] was one of only three big theaters left where people could watch porn on the big screen in the city.For a city that is known for its sometimes ribald and racy image, particularly in movies that are set in New York but shot elsewhere ("Phone Booth," et al.), this might come as a surprise to some.
The times, they have'a'changed!
Monday, May 15, 2006
Real immigration reform begins with enforcement at the border and in the workplace, but it does not end with enforcement.
During the last decade, we have doubled the number of Border Patrol agents and illegal immigration into the United States has also doubled.
We need a comprehensive, tough and fair approach.
People who have broken our laws should not and will not be rewarded with amnesty. But people who work hard and play by the rules should have a chance to earn their way to legal status if they pay a fine, learn English, pay back taxes and go to the back of the line.
Hm, Republicans, Democrats, where is the difference?
The Smoking Gun has a document that exposes an undercover FBI program "targeting Americans seeking overseas sex tours" focusing on companies that offer trips to the Philipines and Thailand that play up the availability of underage boys and girls
Caught in the red was 58 year-old Florida resident Gary Evans (pictured), who purportedly offered FBI agents, through a fake webiste, ways to expand business into Honduras and Costa Rica.
The sad part is that this is not necessarily ground breaking news and Lord knows that there are many others who do not get caught in these reds but, when it comes to sexual tourism, and specifically the type that involves minors, I am glad that at least someone who did this type of business in Central America might be taken out of business.
Friday, May 12, 2006
On May 5th, Diario Extra reported that the seven members of the court sat in absolute silence for two hours while arguments were aired - pro and con - and left without asking a single question.
The paper says that both sides claimed victory after the hearing.
On the side of those arguing that the ban was unconstitutional, Castrillo argued that Costa Rica had to observe international human rights treaties and remove legislation that established limits on equality, liberty expression and emotions: "Today," he told the judges, "it is your turn to judicially recognize that every human being deserves dignity and respect."
Also according to the paper, fellow attorneys Marco Castillo and Rose Mary Madden Arias challenged religious arguments that fomenting procreation was the sole purpose for civil marriage as an institution.
On the side of those arguing that the discriminatory language should remain in the family code, Costa Rica's General Attorney Fernando Castillo argued that the Constitutional Court did not have the standing to determine the constitutionality of banning marriage for same-sex couples and that the language could only be removed by adopting a new constitution. "You cannot claim a right if it has never been given," Castillo argued, "and the Court is blocked from imposing it."
Jorge Fisher, an Evangelical preacher who also testified during the hearing, said "we cannot an institution that was born in God's heart and change it."
Reporter Oscar Rodriguez sates that it's not likely that the Court will simply reject Yashin Castrillo's arguments by throwing his "action of unconstitutionality" out of court but that it might agree with the General Attorney's office that the Court is not able to rule on the issue; or find that while the family code might violate the rights of a minority, the Legislative Assembly is in its rights to establish such violation; or, finally, rule that the Court can rule in the case and does establish that the rights of a certain minority have been violated. "From that moment on," Rodriguez writes, "the State would be obligated of accepting these type of unions."
Diaro Extra had previously reported that the Court would have a month to announce their ruling, although the paper also said that in some circumstances, the court could ask for additional time.
A detail that surprisingly gets left out of most articles I have read on this issue: In an interview shown on a Costa Rica television news station (which was available on the day of the hearing but no longer online), Mr. Castrillo spoke openly about being gay and the fact that he filed his challenge to court after he was denied a license to marry his partner.
UPDATE: Costa Rican court ratifies same-sex marriage ban (May 24, 2006)
This morning at a meeting called by Speaker Quinn and held in the Red Room at City Hall two things were different: The Empire State Pride Agenda was present and Mayor Bloomberg was not.
Officially, this was not a follow-up to the Bloomberg meeting but rather to a March 16th Washington, DC meeting that Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton convened, which included the Democratic Senate Steering and Outreach Committee, which Alan also attended.
Compared to the Bloomberg meeting, there were also a greater number of people in the room (about fifty people) which included staff members from Senators Clinton and Schumer's office (if not Clinton and Schumer themselves) - and a staffer from Congressman Jerry Nadler's office - along with Senator Tom Duane, Assemblymembers Danny O'Donnell and Deborah Glick, Congressman Anthony Weiner, political consultants Emily Giske and Ethan Geto, representatives from some of the city's political clubs (Gary Parker, Dirk McCall, Brad Hoylman) and LGBT organizations (Richard Burns and Myriam Young from The Center, the great Matt Foreman of NGLTF, Adam Francoeur from Immigration Equality, Joe Tarver and Desma Holcom from the Empire State Pride Agenda, Phyllis Steinberg of PFLAG NYC, Ron Zacchi and Cathy Marino-Thomas of Marriage Equality New York, and Daryl Cochrane from HRC). There were also representatives from the Log Cabin republicans and the organizers of the Staten Island pride parade.
Though not necessarily extensive, there seemed to be obvious efforts to reach to some people of color organizations and leaders including George Gates from People of Color in Crisis, Joey Pressley from the New York AIDS Coalition, Tokes Osubu from Gay Men of African Descent and the National Black Justice Coalition, Charles Rice-Gonzalez from BAAD! as well as I.
Discussion mostly centered on proposed federal legislation to amend the United States Constitution to ban marriage rights for same-sex couples which Senate Majority Leader Bill "M.D." Frist is planning to bring up for yet another vote, since everything else seems to be failing to energize the Republican vote in the upcoming elections.
On the table was also the upcoming May 31st New York State Court of Appeals hearing on whether refusing to let same-sex couples obtain marriage licenses violates state constitution for which several briefs have been filed arguing for the right to marry (over at the Gotham Gazette, reporter Andy Humm has a great breakdown of what is at stake in "Same-sex Marriage Show Down").
I'm proud to say - in a historic first - some of the New York City Latino LGBT grassroots organizations recently joined one of the friend-of-the court briefs filed for the hearing which was submitted by the Empire State Pride Agenda. These include Las Buenas Amigas, the Colombian Lesbian and Gay Association (COLEGA), the Gay and Lesbian Dominican Empowerment Organization (GALDE), Latino Gay men of New York, Mano a Mano and Primer Movimiento Peruano.
Funny, the court hearing is two weeks away and yet - unless you have followed the issue - not that many people out in the street probably know about it. Let's hope that the court, which could rule as early as this summer, will come down on the right side of history.
UPDATE: "Quinn convenes amendment confab" (Gay City News, May 18, 2006)
Thursday, May 11, 2006
Yesterday I also spent some time referring people who were close to Juan to Gay City News which also runs an article on his death in today's edition (you can read in its entirety here).
I was particularly struck by this paragraph:
Father Luis Barrios, pastor of La Iglesia San Romero de Las Americas, a non-denominational church in Washington Heights, remembered that Mendez drew him, a straight Episcopal priest, into LGBT advocacy in 1990 when a transsexual youth named Jesus was murdered on Fordham Road in the Bronx, near the parish, St. Anne’s, where he was then ministering. Barrios celebrated a mass for Jesus at the church and also joined Mendez in pressing the police to classify the murder as a hate crime. Mendez later helped Barrios get a religious column—“from the left perspective”—at El Diario, which he continues to write.
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
After working as Assistant to the Vice President of Orion Pictures and in response to the mounting AIDS epidemic, he decided to leave this job to work in his community as an AIDS Outreach Worker and Educator for the Lower East Side family Union. He was also a founding member of the Latino Caucus of ACT-UP New York, and among many actions, he was involved in a collaborative effort that resulted in the founding of ACT-UP Puerto Rico and the first ever AIDS protest against the Puerto Rican government and the Puerto Rican Catholic Church. He then worked as Assistant Director of the Homeless Youth Program at the Hetrick Martin Institute and later as Director of the Domestic Violence Program at the NYC Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project. He then joined the newly founded Latino Commission on AIDS as Deputy Director for Policy.
After many years of working in the AIDS/LGBT communities, Mr. Mendez decided to pursue his original calling of working in the media and joined the newly formed staff of the now-defunct El Daily News, the bilingual version of the NY Daily News. Upon the closing of the paper, Mr. Mendez was approached by the Empire State Pride Agenda and became the organization's Communication Director.
He later was hired by EI Diario-La Prensa, where he wrote the paper's bilingual editorials, edited the opinion page and later became the paper's entertainment editor. After several years at EI Diario, Mr. Mendez joined the team of Latina Magazine, as entertainment editor. He did many of the magazines celebrity cover interviews, including the first major interview with pop sensation Christina Aguilera. After two years at the magazine, Juan was approached by the Univision Company and relocated to Miami to work as editor of the film section of Univision.com.
He returned to New York in 2002 where he worked as Communications and Press for the Latino Commission on AIDS, focusing on the Commission's annual fundraiser Cielo Latino and was instrumental in the Commission's crystal meth prevention program targeting Latino gay and bisexual men. He served on the Board of Directors of GALDE (the Gay and Lesbian Dominican Empowerment Organization) and PRIDE (Puerto Rican Initiative to Develop Empowerment). Dennis deLeon, President of the Latino Commission on AIDS said, "Juan was one of the most imaginative and committed activists against homophobia and HIV/AIDS in all communities we have ever known. He was one of the best media gurus our community had." Mr. Mendez is survived by his mother, two sisters, a brother and long time friend Kent Johnson.
VIEWING & MEMORIALS
There will be a viewing tomorrow Thursday, May 11th from 4pm to 9pm. For details please call the La Paz Funerary at 718 585-0699. Two memorial services are being held: The first is also taking place tomorrow night from 7-9pm at the Bronx Lesbian & Gay Health Resource Consortium (BLGHRC). A second memorial service - which is being organized by family and friends to honor his wishes to celebrate his life joyfully - will be held at a future date.
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
Today, as I sought to inform people in the community about his passing, I was trying to find ways to convey just how important Juan Mendez had been to the community and, doing some online research, I found the following link which begins to tell the story. By no means a comprehensive look at history, but an indication of why Juan should be mourned by the LGBT community as a whole in the United States:
ACT UP Oral History
Read the interview with Moises Agosto for actions involving Juan Mendez in the early 1990's when both were part of the Latino Caucus of ACT UP. Read the interview with Robert Vazquez Pacheco for further commentary on the involvement of LGBT Latinos in ACT UP.
Sunday, May 07, 2006
In Latino boxers and gay paranoia (March 1, 2006), I noted the escalating war of words between adversaries in two upcoming boxing matches and how two Nicaraguan boxers, Rosendo Alvarez and Ricardo Mayorga (both managed by US-based boxing figure Don King) were both using press events to question their adversaries' sexuality, using the Spanish word for "faggot" and generally questioning their rivals' sexual proess and masculinity. Obviously, this is boxing, so it must be said that most of these confrontations during press conferences seem to be staged for maximum scandal (and to draw interest to the fights) but, according to reports, the blatant homophobia was starting to truly annoy Oscar De La Hoya, who faced Ricardo Mayorga last night.
The pictures above tell the story, De La Hoya knocked-out Mayorga in the 6th round, after which he accepted Mayorga's appology for what had been said leading up to the fight.
As for Rosendo Alvarez? He forfeited a chance at the title in the April 8th match after weighing-in at three more pounds than the flyweight limit, but still was knocked-out by Mexican fighter Jorge Arce in a 'special attraction' match that was just for show (before the 6th round KO, Alvarez continued to question Arce's masculinity to the the end, even in-between rounds).
The De La Hoya fight did lead to a bizarre television interview on Tuesday when Jay Leno had Dr. Phil and the boxer as guests. If memory serves me right, De La Hoya walked into it by asking Dr. Phil what he could do to deal with having to be celibate for an extended period of time before a match and not being able to have sex with his wife. Dr. Phil said something to the effect that he personally wasn't gay or needed to observe celibacy so he didn't know what to say. De La Hoya tried to laugh it off and even threw a kiss to Dr. Phil as he got a bit closer to him. Considering the questions that have followed De La Hoya all through his boxing career and how ugly the comments got in this particular match, it was a weird way to deflect some of the commentary.
Some Ricardo Mayorga quotes from one of the press conferences before the match:
"...tu vas a ser el maricon en mi cama cuando yo quiera" ["...you are going to be the fag in my bed anytime I want you to be"]
"Yo te voy a partir la cara de maricon que tienes, yo ODIO los maricones como tu" ["I'm going to break that faggot face of yours, I HATE fags like you"]
You can also check-out some of Don King's comments goading his fighter on at the above link.
Saturday, May 06, 2006
Friday, May 05, 2006
Juxtaposing a comment posted on April 29, 2006 in Tim's El Salvador Blog which said:
The same-sex marriage amendment is one of a number of constitutional amendments proposed in the waning hours of the current session of the Salvadorian National Assembly which ends at midnight on April 30. Many of the current deputies will no longer have jobs after that point as deputies elected on the March 12 elections take their seats on May 1. To become effective, a constitutional amendment must be passed in two successive sessions of the National Assembly. Jjmar at Hunnapuh points out that a constitutional amendment could be passed by a vote taken on April 30th and then another on May 1 with the new legislature....with an April 22, 2006 Spanish language article that ran in La Prensa Grafica which said that the old assembly was ready for a vote against the right for gay couples to marry or adopt and, additionally, a May 2, 2006 Spanish language EFE article on the new assembly session which also made reference to passage of the amendment, I wrongly concluded that said amendment had quickly passed in two successive National Assembly sessions and had become law.
Now it is clear that, while the constitutional measure was passed by the previous National Assembly session that ended on April 30th, the new session that begun on May 1st has yet to debate or vote on the measure .
The fact that the first vote was taken at 4 in the morning of April 30th, on the last day that the old legislature was in session, also meant that reporters covering the opening of the new session on May 1st made passing reference to votes taken a day earlier, which aded to the confusion.
In any case, we apologize to readers.
Below is a translated excerpt from a May 1st article in El Faro describing what took place on the early morning of April 30th, 2006:
Matrimony between homosexuals is banned
This [constitutional] reform was brought to the floor by Deputy Rodolfo Parker of the Democratic Christian Party [pictured above]. At 4 in the morning, after three hours and 57 minutes of negotiations in the Policy Commission, Parker thanked the ARENA and PCN parties for endorsing the measure which "soes not seek to discriminate against anyone, but marriages are between a man and a woman."Obviously Duran and Parker are talking about totally different miracles. In any case, unless something happens, the discriminatory constitutional reform seems to be heading towards easy ratification in the legislative session that just begun.
Then, the Deputy told a story about a "small town" in which its occupants, being extremely religious, went to their priest to ask what they could eat, since it was Holy Friday and they could not eat pork in observance of the religious holiday. "And they only had pigs," said the Deputy.
According to [Parker], the priest answered that on that day he would "declare the pig seafood." Parker immediately raised his voice and said "But, gentlemen! A pig is not seafood and seafood is not a pig! Let's not deceive ourselves!"
This constitutional reform, which - following these arguments - passed with 51 votes (from the ARENA, PCN, PDC and PPSC parties), raises marriage between persons of "different genders" and adoption of minors as only allowed to couples constituted by persons of different gender to a constitutional level.
Hector Silva of the CD party, after explaining that the party had left the vote to the discretion of the moral and religious beliefs of each deputy [in their ranks], indicated that this reform discriminated against a good percentage of the Salvadorian population that have other sexual options, "that it is not an illness," and that it helped to "close our eyes to something that, in my judgment, is a very important reality." Several ARENA deputies laughed as Silva presented his arguments.
Walter Duran, of the FMLN, indicated that in his party, for the next legislative session, will leave it up to personal discretion whether to ratify the reform or not. "Miracles can happen," he said, to which Parker responded: "Let's hope that those miracles do occur."
Thursday, May 04, 2006
Benny & Cabiria Present
Sunday, March 7th, 2006
and special guests
an unprecedented & rare US performance by
Roisin Murphy aka MOLOKO
Performing her smash hit "Forever More"
On Lights – Ariel
16 W. 22ND Street (Between 5TH & 6TH Ave, NYC)
The Vibe Starts @ 6pm Til 12 Midnight
& Amazingly Still Only $5 Bucks !!!
(For The First 100 People Before 7PM)
$12 With Flyer Or Membership After 7PM
& Now $17 Without
YOU KNOW THE PARTY HASN'T REALLY STARTED UNTIL YOU GET THERE, SO PLEASE, MAKE SURE YOU GET THERE EARLY!!
718 Sessions Info Line: 212-978-8869
or e-mail - THE718SESSIONS@aol.com
If you focus on events happening in different Latin American countries, it's often tough to keep abreast of local politics, legislative bodies, voting processes and constitutional law.
This is why in "El Salvador: Legislation to ban marriage & adoption for gays closer to approval" (April 22, 2006) I was a bit tentative in spelling out if and when a final legislative vote on an amendment to the constitution would pass.
Guess what, folks! It's done and over with:
As of May 1st, 2006, El Salvador has adopted a constitutional amendment defining marriage as that between members that were born with the opposite sex and also limits adoptions to couples whose marriages are legally recognized by law (in effect banning adoptions for gays as well).
Over at Tim's Blog, he spells out how a constitutional amendment has to pass two successive sessions of the National Assembly in order to be adopted, as we noted previously. What we failed to grasp was that the Assembly finalized a session on April 30th and began a new one on May 1st. Well, on May 2nd, EFE reported that, as soon as the new Assembly took session, they got to work on immediately ratifying the proposed amendment language that had passed a first vote just a week earlier. A second Assembly vote was taken and the motion became law on May 1st, 2006.
The article does say that, despite comments by their spokesperson that seemed to back the amendment, none of the 32 legislators associated with the left-wing FMLN voted in favor of the amendment. Unfortunately, the opposition was able to amass the 43 'yes' votes needed from other political parties including 34 votes from the right-wing ARENA party to gain a simple majority and adopt the amendment.
To my knowledge, this makes El Salvador the only Latin American country to adopt a constitutional amendment banning the right to marry to gay couples
[CORRECTION: According to Rex Wockner's International News column of April 4, 2005, Honduras amended its constitution to ban gay marriage on March 29, 2005 and, as we have been reporting, Costa Rica is facing a challenge to its gay marriage ban as well]
I had never been to Joe's Pub but did not like the venue the moment I walked in. It was crowded, there were tables set up for people who had made dinner reservations, and a really small standing room space for those people who chose not to dine during the concert. At the very least, it was a small venue so that you could actually see most of the performance from pretty much everywhere you stood. The crowd was a mix of people in the mid to upper 30's, a bunch'o'gay guys and, in one annoying case, the younger girlfriend of a guy about my age who kept asking why people seemed to be so much into music she'd never heard. Then again, there were the couple of guys who seemed to think they were in a VH1 "Whatever Happened to..." concert and kept shouting stuff at Dolby.
The show ran into some technical difficulties as Thomas Dolby would introduce a song, for example, and the computers would play another; at a couple of spots, the sound dropped out altogether. All in all though, it was a truly enjoyable night with some highlights including great renditions of "I Live in a Suitcase" and "Hyperactive" among other songs. Surprisingly, most of the repertoire came from the earlier albums rather than "The Flat Earth" or "Astronauts and Heretics."
For a couple of the songs he simply broke down the layered sounds of the songs and allowed the audience to see how he constructed their melodies. You can check what I mean by taking a look at "The Flat Earth" on his website (although last night he simply allowed the tracks to speak for themselves instead of giving a spoken tour - allow time for the full clip to download).
For the most part, the song structures followed those of the original versions with some thrilling exceptions, including the cacophonously funky new intro for "Airhead" (which he did as an encore). In "Wind Power" and a couple of other songs, a hypnotic looped-in beat made me wonder what bands like Gus Gus could do with these tracks.
With additional concerts added to his New York stop, I'm not sure what the man thought about last night's audience. His blog allows you to have a different perspective on what it means to put a tour like this together.
Mostly, it felt bizarre that after all these years, I was able to see Thomas Dolby live. He's certainly been the soundtrack to some of my memories.
In any case, the music Gods are smiling down on me. Next up, if I can make it, Roisin Murphy at Danny Krivit's "718 Sessions" at Club Deep this coming Sunday. On Saturday she's also appearing at Cielo.
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
If you look through the local gay bar guides in large urban centers throughout the United States, one thing is clear: Black and brown skin sells.
Count the number of bar ads that use erotic and stylized images of black and Latino men in the next issue of your favorite bar guide and then, for extra credit, see if the words "ghetto," "thug," "jungle," "papi" or "caliente" are anywhere near the copy of the ad (hm, just found one! See above!) and see just how pervasive the imagery is (never mind the wording used).
Similarly, the gay porn market has also developed a healthy appetite for men of color.
In the Latino side of things, there's the granddaddy of them all, the exploitative Latino Fan Club, which began when a guy started filming the Latino hustlers and homeless guys he used to pick up at the NYC Port Authority and then started selling the videos (the enterprise has recently moved online as well).
Of late, we also have seen Latino gay porn producers such as Enrique Cruz step up to the plate with their own take on the scene. Having met Enrique in the past, I know for a fact that one of his goals in launching his La Mancha films was to change some of the exploitative set-ups, story-lines and imagery being used in Latino-themed porn films. I'll let you judge how successful Enrique has been in meeting his original goals through his website (click on hyperlink above). He also makes some comments on the industry in this Interview.
These things come to mind because of a few posts on Bernard Tarver's blog that highlight an article published last week in the gay newsweekly Chicago Free Press [NOTE: the article is no longer available online but quoted in Bernard's first post on the article here and elsewhere in this blog].
"At the urging of Chicago Department of Public Health officials," the newspaper says, "the City of Chicago slapped a cease-and-desist order on the Lakeview home of an online porn site April 20 after concerns were raised about cases of HIV and other STD's tied to the site's models"
It ads that "Christopher brown, assistant commissioner for HIV/AIDS/STD programs at CDPH, said health officials acted after uncovering 'credible' evidence that models at FlavaWorks.com, which also operated CocoBoyz Dorm Room online, were HIV positive, were engaging in unsafe sex practices and were spreading HIV, syphilis and gonorrhea through contacts with individuals outside the business."
The paper also reports that the Chicago Department of Health began their investigation after local HIV service providers alerted them that some of the models were engaging in unsafe sex acts during online presentations available to the site's paying subscribers. A source also told the Health Department that the contracts that the models signed "bordered on illegal servitude."
This week CocoDorm sent out a response to the article to several bloggers, including myself. Bernard has the full text here as well as a couple of remarks that challenge some of the assertions in the response. People who have posted replies to Bernard's original post have also uncovered this document as well as this article that further implicate Phillip Bleicher, the owner of the sites, for additional shady business practices (he recently was charged with being part of a fraudulent youth leadership organization which used charitable donations to pay for an assortment of personal expenses for several officers and Board Directors, including a trip to Brazil, liposuction treatments and wigs).
Personally I feel that erotica has a place in our adult lives and that porn films can (and do) have tremendous power to shape perceptions about desire, sex, sexuality and, in this case, race. More often than not, I stay away from most of the so called blatino stuff because I find it offensive and full of demeaning stereotypes. But I also know friends who love the stuff and can't get enough of it. And yet, I'm not sure that we should be looking for the porn industry to provide us with positive messages. It's when the lines of industry, exploitation and personal safety begin to cross that we should raise a voice and challenge certain practices in the adult industry.
I have always been particularly weary of the type of sites that the CocoBoyz Dorm room represent: Put two or more young performers in a room with cyber cameras, allow people to pay a fee to watch, and then have the young guys have sex in front of the live cameras. If there are people out there who stop to read this and realize just how exploitative these sites can be, I hope that they will think twice the next time they want to support these sites with their money (hm, come to think of it, here in New York, you have Tommy G, who used to 'organize' Latino go-go boy events at a Queens bar called "The Magic Touch" which the NYC Department of Health shut down a few years back due to violations of the health code - and charges of prostitution - but just moved his business online and still prospers).
As long as these stories remain underground, these people will continue to take advantage of a steady flow of young Latino and black men who might seek an easy buck by performing in these webistes or films and end up worse off instead.
You might also wanna check Bernard Bradshaw's blog for additional commentary as well.
Monday, May 01, 2006
In the work I have done advocating for the right of same-sex couples to marry, often I feel pitted between younger Latino LGBT community members for whom marriage remains an abstract idea that is not relevant to their daily lives; and LGBT activists, most of whom do work in communities of color, who feel that the push to embrace marriage comes at the cost of eclipsing other more "pressing needs" (then again, some would actually rather see marriage, which they see as an oppressive institution, fully disappear).
When I am asked why the issue of marriage for same-sex couples should be a priority for the Latino LGBT community, the question often comes from someone who is opposed to the issue and is trying to make a rhetorical point. And yet, the insistence on asking the "priority" question often puzzles me as I'm not sure that some of us who do advocate for the right to marry think that it's the "only" work that we do or our number one goal (I often respond that we are all able to advocate for a myriad of issues, not just the right to marry, and that I find it funny that I am not asked the "priority" question when it comes to my work on other areas which I do prioritize, such as immigration).
More difficult is to respond to criticism that marriage would benefit mostly well-to-do white gay couples and do little to benefit less well-off gay couples of color, mostly because - until recently - we have had to go by gut instinct rather than facts (as research has been sporadic and limited).
This is why an article such as "From Pain to Family: Seeking stability amid the chaos, more poor women of color are turning to each other" (Hartford Courant, April 30, 2006) is such a breath of fresh-air.
Over a period of a year, reporters Tina A. Brown and Elizabeth Hamilton followed the lives of seven poor African-American and Hispanic female couples in the Hartford, Connecticut area, and they describe the harsh life these women lead as they try to sustain their relationships and their ties to other family members including children.
Though committed relationships can fail whether they are between heterosexual or homosexual couples, it is clear to me that these women are being hurt by the fact that they are not allowed to marry. They are being denied the right to cement the family bonds they are struggling to sustain; they are being denied the right to strengthen the legal and economic protections they would enjoy as married couples and parents; and, most importantly, they are being denied the right to celebrate their love for each other in such a meaningful way.
It is an amazing article and I hope you take a couple of minutes to read it. Afterwards, feel free to write a "Letter to the Editors" of the Hartford Courant congratulating them on the piece by sending it to: letters@ courant.com
As for recent research on minority same-sex couples in the United States and the true impact of denying them the right to marry, you can go to:
- "Race and Ethnicity of Same-Sex Couples in California" (UCLA School of Law, Feb. 2006)
- "Hispanic and Latino Same-Sex Households in the United States: A Report from the 2000 Census" (NGLTF, Nov. 1, 2005)
- "Black Same-Sex Households in the United States: A Report from the 2000 Census" (NGLTF, Oct. 5, 2004)