Saturday, May 26, 2007

As for the Queer Justice League...

The Queer Justice League apparently had their first ever action last night at the West Side Piers.

I had heard that group members had finally agreed on keeping the Queer Justice League name (which at one point carried an asterisk to designate activist dissatisfaction with the supposed military connotations of the name or with the word queer or with the comic-bookishness of it - trust me, process sometimes gets ugly). Ultimately I guess the name stuck and QJL prevailed. Super-homos unite!

I also knew that they had settled on some sort of public kiss-in as a first action (you'd think that New York City is full of public demonstrations of good ol' same-sex saliva swappin' but you'd be surprised) AND that they had also decided to do it in support of the Fabulous Independent Educated Radicals for Community Empowerment (or FIERCE for short) and their efforts to keep the West Side Piers safe and open for queer youth of color. And what can be wrong about bringing together some upscale Chelsea gay glamour with some radical queer youth radicalis of color? They are usually at odds with each other so all's good for mending the bridges.

I would have been there, I really would. Except that the action announcement and date was never sent through the Queer Justice League e-mail list or posted on the QJL blog. What's up with that? (Or maybe I missed something?).

Joe.My.God does have evidence that something did happen. Not sure there was any saliva swappin' though.

Previously, in Queer Action League history.

Friday, May 25, 2007


So there's a trend afoot among my blog roll listers. Joe.My.God has shared, as of late, his observations about Shelly Winters, while Manhattan Offender recently introduced Sybil. Never mind that my friend Doug keeps trying to guilt trip me into joining the trend (then again his best pal Bugsey has his own MySpace page).

But with the joy of having a little friend at home also come responsibilities as well as much love. And, of course, sometimes life happens which is why we are a bit sad today.

You see, I've known of Benji (pictured) probably as long as I've had Rex as a friend and know exactly just how much he is loved. I guess devil dog Piper showed me more spazzy love the times I visited which made Rex think I was a bit partial to the red menace. But, at the end of the day, how could you not also love Benji in all his Benji-nesness? So we fretted when Benji broke his foot a while back and now feel sad that a recent diagnosis does not bode well for his future.

For now he seems oblivious. Let's hope, as the weeks pass, that he won't suffer much.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Update: Man charged with felony assault in Ferreira trial, jury deadlocks on other charges

In a case that we have followed for a while, a San Francisco Superior Court jury has found 25 year old Kyle Adams guilty of "felony assault" in the beating death of 24 year old Chad Ferreira (pictured left) as a result of an altercation that happened last year a day before Halloween in San Francisco's Castro district.

The jury deadlocked on whether to charge Adams with and additional assault charge for hitting a friend of Ferreira's, Angel Zepeda, and on a more serious charge of manslaughter against Ferreira.

The Bay Area Reporter has full details.

Cathy Smith, Ferreira's mom, had previously expressed disappointment that the court did not seek murder charges and is said to be upset that the jury deadlocked on the other charges.

For now the San Francisco DA's Office is considering whether to retry Adams on the other charges.

Previously on this blog, Ferreira's mom wrote to thank us about following the developments in the case (her reply here). So did a friend of Adams (who posted a message on the same blog post that drew a response from Ferreira's mom).

Ferreira's boyfriend, Octavio Xtravaganza also contacted us
a while back. His reaction to the ruling can be found here.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

We [should be] the champions...

While some are entranced by Eurovision weirdness, we have always swooned for this season's edition of "Dancing with the Stars." You know why, don't ya.

So we'll say it: Joey Fatone: You were robbed! And you will always be a winnah in our eyes...

Now, if only Joey would be willing to teach me a few dance steps. I swear, the hubby would not mind!

Musica: SummerStage 2007

The Central Park SummerStage concert and performance line up has just been unveiled. Here are some highlights:

July 1: Rodrigo y Gabriela / Vietnam / JDH and Dave P
July 6:
Ronald K. Brown (Evidence) /Full Circle Soul Productions
July 14:
Cafe Tacvba / Pacha Massive / La Sista
July 10:
Nortec Collective / Federico Aubele
July 11:
Femi Kuti & The Positive Force / DJ Rich Medina
July 16:
The Decemberists / Grizzly Bear / Land of Talk
July 29:
Wild Style 25th Anniversary Reunion

To check the full line up and see if you might have other favorites, go

Monday, May 21, 2007

Press Release: 20 Años de Lucha! – 20 Years of Struggle!

Latino LGBT History Project

Contact: Jose Gutierrez

The Latino LGBT History Project Welcomes You to Celebrate
20 Años de Lucha! – 20 Years of Struggle!

Washington, DC, - May 21, 2007 – The Latino LGBT History Project cordially invites you to the opening reception and the celebration of 20 Años de Lucha! – 20 Years of Struggle!, as part of the Capital Pride 2007. Join us for Latin food and refreshments on Friday, June 8, 2007 from 6:30pm.– Human Rights Campaign in the Equality Room, 1640 Rhode Island Ave. NW. Washington, DC

“The history of the Latino LGBT community will be presented through an astonishing and unique collection of photographs, posters, flyers, banners and memorabilia from 1987 to 2007. The event will include the participation of key Latino LGBT leaders and provide a better understanding of the 20 years of struggle to create a movement in our National Capital,” said Jose Gutierrez, Director of the Latino LGBT History Project

20 Años de Lucha! - 20 Years of Struggle! is a historical exhibit and a panel discussion focused on the growth and contributions of the Latino LGBT community in Washington, DC since 1987 when the first two Latino LGBT groups were formed: ENLACE and LLEGÓ. The panel discussion will be moderated by Mario Acosta-Velez, Latino human rights activist, and will include as panelists long-term Latino LGBT leaders: Letitia Gomez, Yolanda Santiago, Eva Young, Raquel Sapien, Ruby Corado, Frank Yurrita and Jose Gutierrez. The program will also include opening remarks by Councilmember Jim Graham and Christopher Dyer, Interim Director, Office of LGBT Affairs.

20 Años de Lucha! - 20 Years of Struggle! is sponsored by Capital Pride 2007, Human Rights Campaign, Gertrude Stein Democratic Club and Latin@s en Accion. The entire LGBT community is invited to attend this important event.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Good Times

La Monica was in town this week so we obliged by heading up to Mama Mexico uptown for some groovy Mexican food on Thursday. Yup, that's Pedro Julio as well.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

My New York: Dance Parade 2007

First it was supposed to be gloriously sunny and mild earlier in the week, then it was supposed to be rainy all day long. Luckily the rain held off for most of the day and the 1st annual New York Dance Parade was able to get off the ground a little after the announced 1pm starting time.

The deal: 157 dance organizations dancing in 57 different dance styles.

The goal: To shine a light on New York’s unfair cabaret law, which bars three or more people from dancing in a venue without a special permit; a law reinforced by one of our own current presidential candidates, Rudy Giuliani and his Nightclub Enforcement Task Force which clamped down on - gulp! - unlicensed dancing (where's Kevin Bacon when you need him?).

Seen: A cube, a biker bear, a couple of amused cigar-chomping contractors, 10-feet tall cops, colombian cock, los brasileiros, a cutie, another cutie, a cutie and another one. Oh, and Freedom Williams, formerly of C&C Music Factory and, of course, the legendary Danny Tenaglia!

We've got more photos here but, most importantly, we also got lotsa videos too! Including a carioca version of Danny Tenaglia's "Music is the Answer," those hottie cops I mentioned before, Freedom doing "Everybody Dance Now" despite some technical problems that plagued his performance (OMG, I think I can hear myself singing in that one) and his protege Alkebulan.

Best ones by far, Afro Mosaic Soul and the Dance Factory (see below for YouTube videos).

Other bloggers/photographers:

Friday, May 18, 2007

IDAHO 2007 in Latin America

Most of the world, except for the United States, celebrated their own private and not-so- private IDAHOs (short for International Day Against Homophobia) as Doug Ireland reports on his blog.

Information over on the IDAHO website indicates the following activities took place in Latin America and the Caribbean:

• Brazil: Among several activities that took place in different cities throughout the giant nation, Grupo Gay da Bahia organized a "Day without Homophobia." During the event they honored members of the LGBT community lost to homophobic violence by writing their names on colorful handkerchiefs and hanging them on a line with clothespins. Photos here.

• Guyana: The Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD) screened "Songs of Freedom" a documentary by Jamaican born director Phillip Pike that takes a look at homophobia in Jamaica. In doing so, organizers hoped to call attention on "the need of Caribbean societies to battle homophobia as one of the prejudices which retard the development of society." The country, which is located to the right of Venezuela and above Brazil at the north of the South American continent is populated by English-speakers and has stronger ties to Caribbean culture than to Spanish speaking South American countries.

• Venezuela: IDAHO reports that the Caracas-based Asociación Civil Unión Afirmativa (Affirmative Civil Union Association) was to hold a kiss-a-thon in front of the Venezuelan Supreme Tribunal to ask the court to rule on a petition submitted more than two years ago to determine if the Venezuelan constitution grants certain partnership rights to same-sex couples. I couldn't find coverage in the local press.

Newspaper articles from the last couple of days also reveal the following events in other Latin American countries:

• Mexico: The Human Rights Commission of the Federal District, the National Council for the Prevention of Discrimination and more than 60 non-profit organizations asked conservative Mexican president Felipe Calderon to designate yesterday as a "National Day Against Homophobia" (I don't think the president even replied) and highlighted a report that documented the murder of 337 individuals who were lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender from 1995 through 2004. The organizations estimated that the number of murdered LGBT individuals might be much higher and reach into the 1,000's as homophobic violence still remains under reported in the country (La Jornada) [NOTE: A later article in La Jornada puts the number of murders at 387].

In the meantime, in Oaxaca, Amaranta Gómez Regalado also asked a local governor to designate the date of May 17th as a national day against homophobia (ADN Sureste). Amaranta was featured in the groundbreaking film "Juchitan: Queer Paradise" when she ran for political office as a muxe, neither a transgender woman nor a gay man, but a "third gender" accepted by Mexican indigenous communities as part of their culture much as some North-American indigenous cultures accept "two-spirit" individuals.

• El Salvador: Yesterday in San Salvador legislative members of the socialist political party Farabundi Marti National Liberation Front (FMNL) announced their support for a similar measure recognizing every May 17th as a "National Day Against Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender."

The measure received a cold shoulder from members of the right-wing ARENA political party while more conservative members of the legislature reacted by insisting that the legislative body should be fighting for a same-sex marriage ban instead (El Diario de Hoy).

An amendment to the Salvadorian constitution banning same-sex marriages and adoptions by same-sex couples was approved a year ago by the Salvadorian National Assembly but still needs a second debate and vote before passage [NOTE: Both the article that describes yesterday's activities in El Salvador and a separate article also in El Diario that described the scene as LGBT advocates lobbied legislators referred to the activists as "high-heeled" or as "ladies" showing no editorial constraint in their homophobia, both by the reporters as well as the editors of El Diario. Pictured above, the great William Hernandez and members of his LGBT-rights organization Entre Hermanos, who we have featured before].

• Paraguay: The LGBT-rights organization Paragay announced a campaign to promote a bill that would amend an existing anti-discrimination law in order to protect specific social groups including gays and minorities from discrimination (Jakueke).

• Chile:
In Chile, the Homosexual Integration and Mobilization Movement (MOVILH) promoted conjugal visits for imprisoned gay, lesbian and transgender inmates (OpusGay).

• Argentina: The CHA launched an initiative to promote national and regional measures to ban discrimination, criminalization and persecution of individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity (Territorio Digital).

• Dominican Republic: Finally, in Santo Domingo, IDAHO was celebrated through an event recognizing the work of "seventeen individuals and eight institutions that have maintained a non-discriminatory attitude" towards gays and lesbians.

Among the honorees were El Nacional (who carried the story), the Presidential Council on AIDS and Elvira Lora, director of the cultural pages of another daily newspaper, Clave Digital.

Leonardo Sanchez, director of the gay-rights organization Amigos Siempre Amigos, announced the launch of a public campaign titled "Accept me as I am" (
El Nacional).

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Musica: Underworld! in! Central! Park!

Summer's just around the corner and we just might have "the. concert. of. the. year" already lined up for the Fall:

Today the immensely influential UK band Underworld announced that they would be making a couple of United States stops in their upcoming world tour and, hey! New York is one of them! The surprise is that the venue will be... Central Park!

No details other than the date (Sept. 14, 2007). They will also be hitting the Hollywood Bowl (Sept. 9) and Red Rocks in Denver, Colorado (Sept. 11).

I've written about them in the past so giddy-up. In the meantime I suggest the following:
  • Underworld official site here
  • Underworld MySpace page here
Also, to truly know what I am talking about, you better check out this. It will blow your mind (hopefully).

UPDATE: That was fast! I've got details:
Underworld with special guest James Holden
Friday, September 14th starting at 4:30pm
at Central Park's Rumsey Playfield
Advance tickets $45 from while supplies last
Standing room only rain or shine
Event info line 917.723.9381
Photo above by Perou ( In the meantime... you. bring. light. in... you're. so. beautiful... rock. n. rock. n... roll... indeed...

Monday, May 14, 2007

My New York: La Paisa rules

In the past, Oswaldo Gomez a/k/a La Paisa a/k/a Ms. Colombia a/k/a Luz Clarita has been featured in the Queens Tribune, New York Press, the Associated Press and VH1's Best Week Ever (the week they chose "Gays" as having their best week ever) and even on Blabbeando.

On Sunday it was The New York Times that ran the above picture in their City section Op-Ed Photo page (see "Multimedia" here). Congrats Oswaldo! We are proud of you.

Latina trans teen elected Prom Queen at California high school

Photo: Vera and [her] best friend Mickey Gonzalez pose for their official prom photo (Mark Crosse / The Fresno Bee)

Mere weeks after a Fresno, California Latino transgender teen tried but failed to get chosen as Prom King during his high-school's prom night celebration, a Latina transgender teen was crowned Prom Queen at a different Fresno high school over the weekend.

In winning the crown, Johnny "Crystal" Vera - from Roosevelt High School - said that she had been inspired by Cinthia Cobarrubias' recent attempt to get the Prom King crown at Fresno High School, even if she had never met Cobarrubias.

Vera is on the school's cheerleading squad and was rumored to be a 5 to 1 favorite.

Vice Principal John Leal, who describes himself to the Fresno Bee as a "traditional Mexican macho" said the administration had no problems with Vera running for Prom Queen: "It's not our job to judge. We don't allow discrimination in any form here."

Local ABC affiliate KFSN has video of Cobarrubias' historic run for Prom King and of Vera's preparation for her prom night here and of Vera's crowning here.

Incidentally, this week's Newsweek also has a cover story on what it means to be transgender in the United States today.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Cortitos: Carlos Mencia still lame, Los Globos for sale, Glam Slam 2007

Comedy Central comedian Carlos Mencia's lame attempt at humor in light of accusations that he's stolen jokes from other comedians - and how the controversy has increased his fame: "I can't wait 'til I'm really popular and the rumors come up that I'm gay. That's when I'm going to really be famous!" (The National Ledger, May 11, 2007)

Club los Globos, a grungy straight Latino night spot in Los Angeles that used to be a hangout for the pioneering Gay Liberation Front is on sale (Curbed LA, May 4, 2007)

Best Bush Bashing Poem in Cowboy Hat & All American Colors, one of five categories at the all new, all glittery, all fabu annual House of Xavier's Glam Slam. I'm sure the website will be updated soon with entry rules and a list of categories. For now you can find out all about it at Emanuel Xavier's blog (The actual event will take place on Wednesday, June 20th at the Bowery Ballroom in the Lower East Side from 7pm to 9:30pm).

A MEME: The Great Imperative

So, out of the blue, I've been MEME'd (huh?) by Unbeached Whale. Seems that The Great Imperative MEME was originally 'broughten' by Geoffrey Philp which begat Professor Zero which begat Unbeached Whale, which begat, well, you get the point...

So what has been the great imperative in my life? I guess for the longest time it was, to put it in the crassest terms, this, but now that former youthful idealism has been shaped by experience - and as that great imperative now looks a bit trademarked and generic - I've started to realize that the new great imperative is this. Surprisingly, it's something that I have nearly always put second to my work, my lovers, other important relationships and other interests.

So, for the moment, ego rules, baby!

So, what the hell, just for today, I'll tag myself as well.

Albany black and Latino gay pride banner vandalized

From Albany, New York, comes word that a banner announcing a June 2nd Black & Latino Gay Pride celebration was slashed earlier in the week by vandals. Capital News 9 has the story (as well as video if you go to their webpage).

The annual event is put together by Albany's LGBT people of color organization In Our Own Voices.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Who is Luis Barrios? Why isn't he in jail?

Let me tell you a couple of things about the Reverend Luis Barrios:

• In 2006 he was honored by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation when they named him the Outstanding Spanish-language Newspaper Columnist of 2006. For years Reverend Barrios has written an influential weekly opinion column in the New York daily El Diario La Prensa which he has often used as a platform to advocate for LGBT rights.

• In July of 2006 he spoke up against the New York State Court of Appeals' decision that the state is not required to provide equal access to marriage for same-sex couples. In an Empire State Pride Agenda statement, the Reverend was quoted as saying:

"It is a shame that the Court made a decision to not protect the rights of all people. This unfavorable decision affects people that love and take care of each other. Family values lost out today. However, just because the court did not require the legislature to act does not mean that it should neglect its duty when it comes to lesbian and gay couples and their children. We now call upon the legislators to pass a law that allows loving same-sex couples to marry so that they have access to the same life-and-death legal rights and responsibilities that are given to all other families."

• In a 2006 profile from the Columbia school of journalism news service he tells Alison Ogden the reason why he allows condoms to be distributed at his church services: Three of his brothers died of AIDS in the mid-1980's.

• In May of 2006 he spoke movingly of long-time gay activist and journalist Juan Mendez upon his untimely passing when I asked him to reach out to Gay City News for an obituary they were drafting in Juan's honor.

• In 2004 he accepted my invitation to participate as
a panelist at a Hostos Community College forum on the issue of marriage rights for same-sex couples and riled against homophobic Reverend (and state senator) Ruben Diaz, Sr. for the pro-Bush and anti-gay rally he'd organized weeks earlier at the Bronx Courthouse.

• In 2001, he accepted my invitation to say a prayer in memory of Eddie Garzon at a memorial vigil that I organized in Queens a couple of days after Eddie died from injuries he sustained when he was beaten up on the streets of Jackson Heights as he walked home from a nigh out at the gay bars.

• Hm, he also was kind enough to bring me some Dominican cigars from a trip to the Caribbean island last year.

Still, I swear that I am not being biased in my suggestion that he shouldn't go to jail.

You see, ever since he attended an anti-Bush demonstration at the United Nations in September of last year, Reverend Barrios had faced charges of assaulting an officer, of disorderly conduct and of resisting arrest; charges that could have sent him to prison for five years (or more).

Fortunately on Wednesday the court decided that some of the charges had been less than credible and dropped all charges except "violation of disorderly conduct" for which he was charged with time served and a fine of $95 dollars.

Reverend Barrios maintains that he was innocent of all charges and says that the disorderly conduct charge is the price to pay nowadays for civil disobedience.

All in all, we are happy to still have the Reverend amongst us, free to predicate his inclusive sermons.

My New York: Tell Mayor Bloomberg to allow PRIDEfest in Chelsea!

As you might have heard elsewhere, in trying to move the site of their annual LGBT Pride Festival to accommodate increasing crowds and secure a more welcoming environment, New York City's Heritage of Pride has ran smack into Mayor Mike Bloomberg's sreet event policies and the New York City Police Department's regulations on street event permits.

The City has decided that in moving the event from the narrow streets of the West Village to the wider 8th Avenue in the Chelsea district and by changing the date of the PRIDEfest from the day of the actual Pride March to a week earlier, HOP has created a "new" event and, as such, will tax police department resources.

The result? A permit has been denied and Heritage of Pride has been forced to cancel this year's festival.

BUT they would like for the community to express themselves loudly and demand that a permit be granted immediately for next year's event. More information on their site including a sample letter that you can send to local political leaders, including Mayor Bloomberg.

Other views: Blogger Frank León Roberts has another take.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Updates: Chad Ferreira, circumcision, Alvaro Orozco, Colombian 'asylum tragedy'

Chad Ferreira: The Bay Area Reporter continues it's coverage of the altercation in San Francisco's Castro district that led to the death of Chad Ferreira (pictured) in January of 2006.

Last week reporter Ed Walsh described opening statements made at a trial that will determine whether 26 year old Kyle Adams committed manslaughter by beating Ferreira so hard that he caused Ferreira to fall and fracture his skull when his head hit a sidewalk curb or if he is, as he claims, innocent and just acting in self defense.

Today, the Reporter describes Adams turn on the stand and his side of the story, some of which differs with witness statements and includes details were not originally provided to the police department when he was first charged.

The paper says that closing arguments after the print edition of the Reporter went to press and that the case went to the jury at 3:10pm yesterday.

Circumcision as HIV prevention: The New York City department of Health and Mental Hygiene held it's community forum on the issue of male circumcision as a possible HIV prevention tool. I was not able to attend but both Gay City News and the New York Blade covered the arguments and the reaction.

Alvaro Orozco: In February we told you about a decision by Canada's Immigration and Refugee Board not to grant asylum to a young Nicaraguan gay man, Alvaro Orozco, partly because they argued that if Orozco wasn't sexually active when he left Nicaragua at the age of thirteen, he could not assert that he knew he was gay then. The Orozco case and his ongoing efforts to appeal that decision receives a coverline in the current issue of The Advocate. For more on the case and on how you can help, please visit his website.

In United States political asylum news, Arthur Leonard calls an April 25th ruling that turned down an asylum application by a Miami-based Colombian gay man "Another asylum tragedy." Leonard says that the court not only denied asylum but also outed him in the process and now is sending the man back to Colombia despite having arguably shown credible evidence of fear of persecution if sent back.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Cocodorm goes after black gay and lesbian bloggers

It's been a year almost to the day that I posted some comments regarding black and Latino gay porn in the wake of a scandal in Chicago involving porn producer Phillip Bleicher and his well-known (in certain circles) Cocodorm a/k/a FlavaWorks a/k/a Thugboy a/k/a PapiCock a/k/a Cocoboyz productions.

At issue: Did Cocodorm instruct performers not to wear condoms during live sex sessions broadcast online to paying subscribers? Did performers sign a contract that was reported to the Chicago Health Department as being akin to "illegal servitude?" And did Bleicher and some partners also bilk public funding through a purported nonprofit youth service agency he set up for expenditures including liposuction surgery and trips to Brazil?

Bernard Tarver over at Bejata has the published findings of the Chicago Health Department investigation and - no surprise - it's a damning report.

Thing is that since the scandal broke Bleicher left Chicago and settled in Florida. But - what do you know? - the past can sometimes catch up to you.

Now, a few bloggers have kept up with the story, including Bernard, Jasmyne Cannick, Darian Aaron and C. Baptiste-Williams. Incredibly, Cocodorm is now targeting them with cease and desist threats as Bernard chronicles over on his blog.

Not the right move at all. Let's hope that Bleicher gets what is coming to him. Support bloggers that are reporting on the issue and stop supporting sites that exploit young gay men.

Other responses:

Musica: Mr. V and band perform "Welcome Home" at Cielo Tonight

Last night I was lucky enough to meet Mr. V, the beautiful Miss Patty, Alix Alvarez and Little Louie Vega at a Virgin Records in-store CD launch appearance promoting Mr. V's great "Welcome Home" CD (out now on Louie's own Vega Records in the US and on Defected in the UK).

Tonight at Cielo, Mr. V says that he'll bring a full 10-piece band to present the album properly. Should be a fun party.

A teaser from last night at Virgin: "Jus Dance"

Monday, May 07, 2007

To the bestest mom in the world...

My mom had a significant birthday last week and it took some adroit arranging to get the party started right and quickly this weekend (as the immortal C&C Music Factory sorta kinda said). Good thing that the right people were there although my brother Juan was surely missed (he lives in Colombia and was not able to take days off work to be here).

The weather was also amazing! So amazing in fact that we saw flying fat wild turkeys; potentially road-kill bunnies, foxes and deer; a squeaking eagle; chimpmunks; tree worms and shooting stars! So all in all an amazing weekend. The mom thought so too and that is, ultimately, what matters (above, the blabbeador, the mom and the other brother, Gabriel).