Rundown, Queer 411: WNBA Violence, Oregon’s 1st Lesbian Leader + More!

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.

WNBA Violence

WNBA legend Chamique Holdsclaw, 35, after a dispute with her alleged ex-girlfriend, Jennifer Lacy, 29, turned violent and an arrest warrant was issued in Georgia on her this week, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.  According to police, the warrant was issued for aggravated assault, criminal damage to property, and reckless conduct after Holdsclaw took a baseball bat to Lacy’s Range Rover front and rear windows and fired a weapon inside her SUV.  There were no injuries reported. Holdsclaw, a forward, played 12 seasons in the WNBA, was a six-time all-star, earned Rookie of the Year honors in 1999, and was a vital member of the gold medal winning team during the 2000 Sydney Olympics. She retired in 2010. Lacy, 29, also a forward, currently plays for the Tulsa Shock, and played college basketball at Pepperdine before she entered the WNBA in 2006.  Her father is former MLB player Lee Lacy.

Oregon’s 1st Lesbian Leader

An openly lesbian lawmaker will lead a state legislative chamber for the first time after Oregon Democrats chose Rep. Tina Kotek as state House speaker. Kotek has represented a liberal district in the heart of Portland since 2007. She became the No. 2 leader in the Oregon House in 2011 when her Democratic colleagues ousted her predecessor after a legislative session that left many of them frustrated by Republican successes. Kotek’s selection is another key political victory for the gay community that has notched successes around the nation. It still has to be formally ratified in January.  Kotek said she didn’t set out to break barriers but is honored to represent the gay community.  “We all look for people out there who look like us,” she said. “I have had emails and text messages from people who are very excited.” She oversaw campaign efforts that helped her party pick up four House seats on Nov. 6 and grab the majority in the chamber. Oregon Democrats also chose Rep. Val Hoyle of Eugene to be majority leader, the No. 2 position in the House.

Destroyed NYC Gay Center Gets Help

Superstorm Sandy’s surging waters have severely damaged an emergency drop-in center for homeless gay youths in New York. ”I wish every day thousands of people would help get homeless kids off the street,” said Carl Siciliano, Executive Director of a last-ditch refuge for homeless lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youths. “Too bad it takes a storm to get people to see how bad they have it.”  Siciliano founded the drop-in center in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood 10 years ago, naming it after Ali Forney, a gay 22-year-old who was shot to death on a Harlem street in 1997. He had been homeless since age 13, when his mother threw him out. City officials estimate LGBT youths represent about half the city’s nearly 4,000 homeless young people, who sleep outdoors or in city subways, abandoned houses and even on rooftops. In the first three days, the center received almost 1,000 donations totaling more than $100,000. That total has grown to more than $250,000 – and counting – with contributions coming from around the world, including England, France, Sweden, Canada and Mexico. About $400,000 is needed to replace what the center lost and prepare the Harlem site, which Siciliano hopes will be up and running by Christmas.

Catholic Church is At it Again

A Minnesota teenager, Lennon Cihak, has been banned from confirmation after he posted a photograph on Facebook urging people to vote for equal marriage rights. He will only be allowed to take part in the rite if he denounces his support for equality. He defaced an anti-equality sign, crossing out the words ‘Vote Yes’ and replacing them with ‘Vote No’ to an attempt to pass a constitutional amendment to ban gay couples marrying. He posted a photograph of the sign on Facebook and it was spotted by his local priest, Rev Gary LaMoine. The boy’s mother told local newspaper The Forum that she was shocked to hear of the decision after the priest called her into a private conversation. She told the newspaper, “He said ‘I cannot, cannot confirm him. Father would not confirm him and they won’t confirm him unless he changes his views.” She also claimed that the family has been denied Holy Communion in the parish.

That’s all folks and I hope you tune in next week!

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