Friday, September 15, 2006

In the news: Buju Banton show cancelled, SF court rules against Latino gay man, Latina lesbian sheriff criticized, prejudice in the LGBT community

Stories you might have missed:

In Chicago, the Gay Liberation Network staged protests outside the House of Blues where homophobic dance-hall reggae singer Buju Banton was set to perform, as the Chicago Tribune reported on Tuesday. The event went ahead as scheduled but the Gay Liberation Network claimed later in the week that their protest led a Bloomington, Indiana club to cancel Banton's scheduled appearance, according to an article in yesterday's the Indiana Daily Student.

On Thursday, the Bay Area Reporter said that the San Francisco Civil Service Commission "denied claims of anti-gay harassment and retaliation brought by a San Francisco General Hospital worker, maintaining that the alleged incidents were neither pervasive nor intentionally" even if witnesses corroborated that homophobic comments were made and the city acknowledged that supervisors took questionable steps in addressing the claims. In the suit, Frank Valdez, a licenced psychiatric technician and allegedly the only gay Latino man assigned "at the African American focused wing of the hospital's psychiatric facility" claimed that the harassment created anxiety and fear although an internal report indicated that Valdez and the man he accused often engaged each other in mutual banter with racial and homophobic undertones in a joking manner. Mr. Valdez hopes to take the case to civil court.

In Dallas, Sheriff Lupe Valdez (pictured) has come under some criticism for her decision to appoint her top deputy as the liaison officer to the LGBT community, according to today's Dallas Voice. The Voice points to an opinion piece by Dallas Morning News columnist James Ragland (Is the Sheriff Reaching Out or Pandering? printed on Sept. 8) in which Ragland accuses Valdez of "shooting blanks" by not addressing other issues that he deems more pressing and implies that it's nothing but an "ill-conceived PR stunt." The Voice says that the Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance contacted the Dallas Morning News to complain about what it called an "irresponsible" column which also contained unflattering quotes from Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price and excerpts from homophobic anonymous comments posted on a chat-room frequently used by Dallas police department employees. In 2004, Valdez made history by becoming the first Hispanic, the first woman and the first openly gay person to be elected to the Dallas County Sheriff's Office.

Finally, the Dallas Voice also has an opinion piece by Fernie Sanchez, President of the Dallas LGBT Latino organization, Valiente, on "Prejudice in the LGBT community."

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