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April 6, 2007
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Volume 35
Issue 14
 
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Rex Wockner
International News
AUSTRALIAN POP STAR COMES OUT
Australian pop-music star Anthony Callea, 24, came out in newspaper interviews and on his Web site March 27.

Callea's No. 1 hit "The Prayer" is the biggest-selling single in Australian chart history.

"Yes, I am Gay," Callea wrote on his Web site. "But I want it clear that I am proud, happy, comfortable and confident in who I am. And I have no issue with my sexuality.

"Things now feel right for me to share this part of my life. I am content. I have been in a long-term relationship with my partner, Paul, who has been by my side for the past two and a half years. Together we have the love and support of our family, friends and peers."

In a 2004 interview, Callea had denied being Gay.

"I know some people may feel deceived or betrayed," he said. "I hope you can find it within to understand that 'coming out' can be a very troubling, confusing, and emotional time. ... For some, 'coming out' isn't a big issue. For me it was. ... I hated myself. ... I thought there was something wrong with me and I couldn't escape it or fix it. ... I lied, and for that, I'm sorry."

"I have no issue with my sexuality now but it's taken time to become confident with who I am and happy with who I am," Callea told local media. "I'm looking forward to living a life with no holds barred and not worrying about having to say the right thing."

GAY'S THE WORD MAY CLOSE
The United Kingdom's last Gay bookshop may close because of London's very high rents and loss of sales to the Internet. Gay's The Word is hoping to ward off disaster by raising $40,000 before May 1 to pay bills and set up an online sales site itself.

Among other steps, it has launched a "Sponsor a shelf" scheme.

"It costs £100 [$196] and you can either send us a cheque (payable to GTW), e-mail your card details or give us a bell (0207 278 7654)," says the store's Web site. "Your name/organisation will be listed in-store as an official Friend of Gay's The Word and sponsor."

Novelist Ali Smith told The Guardian, "It'd be a political, cultural, communal and human loss if it went [out of business]."

Author Edmund White said: "It's a shop that keeps Gay titles on the shelves for years in a way no regular bookshop, even one with a Gay section, would ever do. The staff know the books and can give advice. It would be very sad to see it go."

Author Sarah Waters commented: "For me it's more than a bookshop. It was one of those places you went to when you first arrived in London. ... It felt very empowering that it was here and it is still important that there is a visible place for people to go."

Assistant manager Uli Lenart told The Guardian that teenagers arrive at the store "on the verge of tears. This is a place where you can feel less alone."

'NORMAL HEART' THEATER TRASHED
A foreign national has been detained for questioning in an attack on a theater in Monaghan County, Ireland, that had just finished a performance of Larry Kramer's The Normal Heart.

According to the Irish Times, the March 11 incident caused extensive damage to the windows and interior of the Iontas Theatre at Bree. Nearby cars also were damaged.

A police spokesman told the Times, "We cannot comment on whether there is any link between the [Gay] nature of the drama festival presentation and the criminal damage which took place."

BLAIR: CIVIL PARTNERSHIPS 'PROFOUND'
British Prime Minister Tony Blair says the UK's new Civil Partnership Act "doesn't just give me a lot of pride, but it has actually brought a lot of joy."

Speaking to the Stonewall Equality dinner March 22, Blair said: "The change in culture and the civilizing effect of it has gone far greater than the Gay and Lesbian community. ... By taking a stand on this issue and by removing a piece of prejudice and discrimination, and by enabling people to stand proud as what they are, it has had an impact that I think is far more profound on the way the country thinks about itself."

Stonewall is the UK's leading Gay-lobby group.

CITY FUNDS REYKJAVIK PRIDE
Meeting with members of the Gay pride committee March 22, the mayor of Reykjavík, Iceland, Vilhjálmur Th. Vilhjálmsson, agreed to fund the city's pride festivities to the tune of $180,000 a year for the next three years, the Morgunblaðið daily reported.

During the meeting, Vilhjálmsson kissed the hand of the Queen of Videy, a local drag queen and member of the committee.

OFFICIALS: UK CATHOLIC SCHOOLS DON'T PROTECT GAY STUDENTS
A House of Commons education select committee has found that Catholic schools in the United Kingdom aren't protecting GLBT students from homophobic bullying.

Church officials in the UK have refused to set up government-recommended policies for dealing with the problem.

Catholic and some other schools also likely downplay the extent of anti-Gay abuse to prevent bad publicity, the committee said.

The committee also is "concerned that some schools try to tackle bullying by attempting to change the behaviour of the victim."

"The focus of anti-bullying work should be tackling bullying behaviour and making it clear that such behaviour is not acceptable," the MPs said. "We are concerned to hear that some schools are excluding the victims of bullying [from school] on health and safety grounds."

TURKISH GLBT STUDENTS ORGANIZE FOR FIRST TIME
Fifteen students at Istanbul's Bilgi University have set up the nation's first GLBT student club, Turkish Daily News reported March 29.

The Bilgi Gökkusagi LGBT Club applied for and received official university approval.

The club meets weekly and is open to any student who wants to fight homophobia.

Planned projects include a fanzine, forums, movies and workshops with other student clubs.

Quote / Unquote
by Rex Wockner - SGN Contributing Writer

"I believe homosexual acts between two individuals are immoral and that we should not condone immoral acts. I do not believe the United States is well served by a policy that says it is OK to be immoral in any way. As an individual, I would not want [acceptance of Gay behavior] to be our policy, just like I would not want it to be our policy that if we were to find out that so-and-so was sleeping with somebody else's wife, that we would just look the other way, which we do not. We prosecute that kind of immoral behavior."
--Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Peter Pace speaking in support of the military's anti-Gay "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, to the Chicago Tribune, March 12.

"I was going to have a few comments on the other Democratic presidential candidate, John Edwards, but it turns out that you have to go into rehab if you use the word faggot, so I'm ... kind of at an impasse -- can't really talk about Edwards."
--Pundit Ann Coulter addressing the Conservative Political Action Conference, March 2.

"C'mon, it was a joke. I would never insult Gays by suggesting that they are like John Edwards. That would be mean."
--Coulter in a March 3 e-mail to The New York Times.

"I do want to point out one thing that has been driving me crazy with the media -- how they keep describing Mitt Romney's position as being pro-Gays, and that's going to upset the right-wingers. Well, you know, screw you! I'm not anti-Gay. We're against Gay marriage. I don't want Gays to be discriminated against. I don't know why all Gays aren't Republican. I think we have the pro-Gay positions, which is anti-crime and for tax cuts. Gays make a lot of money and they're victims of crime. No, they are! They should be with us."
--Pundit Ann Coulter addressing the Conservative Political Action Conference, March 2.

"I was kissing her because that's what you do, you kiss your loved one when you win an Oscar, that's what I grew up believing."
--Singer Melissa Etheridge backstage at the Oscars Feb. 25 after she kissed wife Tammy Lynn Michaels before accepting the best-original-song trophy for "I Need to Wake Up" from Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth.

"This is the only naked man that will ever be in my bedroom."
--Singer Melissa Etheridge holding her trophy backstage at the Oscars Feb. 25. She won the best-original-song statuette for "I Need to Wake Up" from Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth.

"Even today, when I write books that are not centrally involved with Gay life, these books are put into the Gay shelves of the bookstore. I don't like labels. I don't like being called a Gay writer. I'm Gay -- proudly so -- and I'm a writer, a writer who's amassed quite a body of work."
--Author John Rechy to the Palm Springs Gay magazine The Bottom Line, Feb. 16.

"That term sex addict really makes me laugh. Did I have abundant sex, oh yes ... my God yes, undeniably so. But being Gay allows us to experience an abundance of sexuality. ... I find that we should celebrate that difference in our lives from that of heterosexuals, I think we are different people -- that's a very good thing. I don't like what I call heterosexual imitation, because our lives are very, very rich and I don't want to see that gone. As far as sexual addiction, I would just call it bountiful sex."
--Author John Rechy to the Palm Springs Gay magazine The Bottom Line, Feb. 16.

"I'll try anything once and if I like it I'll go back! Even at my age, I still consider myself sexual, but I don't consider myself Bisexual or homosexual or heterosexual. I think that those are trapping words. They paint sex as some sort of philosophical thing. We spend more time going to the john than having sex -- I would hate to be identified by how I go to the john!"
--Poet Rod McKuen to the Palm Springs Gay magazine The Bottom Line, Feb. 16.

"It definitely is the Gayest show on TV: We have a kid who's into musical theater; Marc, who is totally Gay; and Daniel's brother who is a transsexual."
--Ugly Betty actor Michael Urie, who plays Wilhelmina Slater's assistant, Marc, to the Dallas Voice, Feb. 23.

"We don't know how many citizens ... have this unusual sexual orientation, but the Gay clubs are free to carry out their sexual activity. What we say is that we are against propagating, we are against promoting. Like any other society, we want to protect ourselves from the promotion of alcohol and tobacco. When we promote smoking, it's bad, it's wrong. [T]hrough the Gay parade you promote some uncertain people and it becomes an invitation to acquire this quality of the sexual minorities. [It is saying that] this is OK, that's normal, this is useful. Our view is that it is wrong and unusual. Let the Gay people do what they do, but they shouldn't involve other citizens of our country. ... I am not going to allow the Gay parade."
--Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov during a press conference in London with the pro-Gay mayor of London and the openly Gay mayors of Berlin and Paris, Feb. 28. The four had just finished their annual summit, which also was attended this year by the mayor of Beijing.

"Yuri! You do not become homosexual, there is no risk of propaganda. This is not a disease you catch at some point. It is somehow part of our identity. Some of us have brown skin, some of us have fair skin, some of us have brown eyes, some of us have blue eyes. We are born heterosexual or homosexual. And that's it."
--Openly Gay Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoë to Mayor Luzhkov at the same press conference.

"Abortion must be banned immediately. Homosexual propaganda must also be limited so children will have the correct view of the family. ... The propaganda of homosexuality is reaching ever younger children. In some countries it is even forbidden for children in hospital to talk or read about Mommy and Daddy, because this allegedly violates minority rights. Let's free ourselves of this unwise political correctness. If we will not use all our power to strengthen the family, then as a continent there is no future for us. We will be a continent settled by representatives of the Islamic world who care for the family."
--Polish Deputy Prime Minister Roman Giertych, March 2.

"I don't want to keep on lying and lie to myself because of fear. [The photos of my Canadian same-sex marriage published by a gossip Web site] show a part of me, a part that I was not prepared to speak of in fear of rejection, of criticism, but especially for my family and its consequences. ... I believe love is the purest feeling that exists and in this career filled with loneliness, having the opportunity to share those moments with someone, that when you look into their eyes, you forget all the negative things, it's a gift of life, that I cherish more than fame. ... I don't think this is a defect, I won't deny it. Although I'm scared and filled with uncertainty I know that I can rely on the support of my fans, their love is bigger than all of this. I ask them from the bottom of my heart, not to judge me for being honest and to feel proud of who they are and never make the same mistake I did."
--Mexican pop star Christián Chávez of the group RBD, writing on the group's Web site, March 2. RBD is popular throughout much of Latin America and among Latinos in the U.S.

"I came out when I was 27 and I couldn't stop talking about it actually. My friends thought it was a career death wish. But I have always been really grateful that I wasn't in the closet, and I didn't have to spend so much energy concealing, because it really does change the integrity of your work. And when you see somebody perform and then they come out, you just see a freedom, you know, like Rosie. There's a certain freedom and power in regaining your authentic self."
--Comedian Kate Clinton to the Palm Springs Gay magazine The Bottom Line, March 2.

"[It's] a corporation designed to milk the Gay market for money to hire more fundraisers and marketers to milk more Gay pockets. It's a racket with a plush new multi-million dollar headquarters and salaries that would make corporate America blush. Have they actually done anything for Gay rights? After a couple of decades observing them, my own view is: nada. ... They get tens of millions of dollars a year from well-intentioned Gay men and Lesbians. They've been doing it for years. And what have we got? Nothing. Wake up, guys. Give your money to people who actually fight for Gay equality."
--Writer Andrew Sullivan on the Human Rights Campaign, on his blog, March 7.
above:Australian pop-music star Anthony Callea

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