An LGBT activist’s view of entertainment and world news.
As an LGBT activist, the promotion of queer rights is #1 on my homosexual agenda. This weekly column serves as a forum for me to comment on issues and causes currently affecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals. My “rundown” of these topics is from the perspective of an LGBT activist; it is my goal that by keeping our community informed, we can all help contribute to the battle for equality.
African Lesbian Activist Murdered
Noxolo Nogwaza was found dead in the Kwa-Thema township on Sunday, believed to be the latest lesbian victim of murder and the “corrective rape” practice in South Africa. Queerlife reports on the crime, which has been denounced by advocacy groups and some media. Nogwaza was 24 years old. “Ms. Nogwaza was a member of the Ekurhuleni Pride Organizing Committee (EPOC), the key LGBTI organization in Kwa-Thema. The committee, along with the Coalition of African Lesbians (CAL), said that Ms Nogwaza’s face was so badly beaten that she was unrecognizable. Her body had been stabbed all over with glass shards and an empty bottle and used condom were also reportedly found in her genitals,” reported Queerlife.
R.I. Civil Union Bill
Rhode Island lawmakers could introduce a civil union bill this week after deciding not to push for marriage equality legislation. According to the Associated Press, “The new bill comes after House Speaker Gordon Fox declared that gay marriage legislation wouldn’t pass the General Assembly this year. Fox, who is gay, now supports civil unions as a more politically feasible alternative.” The civil union legislation would seek to give same-sex couples in Rhode Island the same state rights given to married couples. Lawmakers are reviewing civil union laws in other states to help them draft their proposal, the AP reports.
Don’t Say Gay Protest
75 people protested in Oak Ridge, Tennessee against a proposed bill that would specifically bar teachers from discussing anything related to gay people. Dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, the legislation would affect students from kindergarten to eighth grade. It was proposed by Republican State Senator Stacey Campfield and has already passed the senate education committee. Gay and civil rights leaders argue the bill is unnecessary and perpetuates negative attitudes toward gay people — many feel it also encourages bullying. At Thursday’s rally in Oak Ridge, protesters held signs reading “It’s Okay to Be Gay” and “Stand on the Side of Love.”
Labor Dept. Protects Gender Identity
The U.S. Department of Labor has added gender identity as a protected class in its internal equal opportunity policies. In the Dept. of Labor’s equal opportunity policy, gender identity is listed under sex discrimination; pregnancy status has also been added as a protected category, and applies to hiring, disciplinary action, and promotion for agency employees. In January 2010, the Obama administration’s Office of Personnel Management — headed by John Berry, the highest-ranking openly gay official in the administration — began listing gender identity as a protected class under federal equal opportunity policies. The policy does not affect state or local government workers, however, nor does it protect private sector workers. “With this change, the federal government is doing what smart employers in the private sector have been doing for years,” National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey said in a statement. “They know that in order to attract the best talent they need to show that diversity is important to their companies.”
Lesbian Dream Wedding
Theresa Thacker and Heather Thomason of Douglasville, Ga. are competing to win Crate & Barrel’s Ultimate Dream Wedding. The couple has14 kids between the two of them – Theresa has nine adopted children and Heather has five children of her own. The two are planning to get married in April 2012, their second anniversary of knowing one another. “I entered the Crate & Barrel Ultimate Wedding Contest so that we could possibly win the wedding of a lifetime,” Theresa writes. “Having such a large household and expenses it would be very difficult for us to afford the wedding we both dream of.” Click here to vote for the happy couple: http://www.ultimateweddingcontest.com/entry/160170?=fsqiu.
Speaking of happy couples I want to say “CONGRATS to Prince William and Princess Katherine!” Thanks for tuning in and hope you stop by next week!