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both gay papers get trans pronouns wrong

Susan Ryan-Vollmar, editor of Bay Windows, failed to follow the Associated Press's Style Guide on how to refer to transgendered people in last week's letter. The 2000 version of the style guide specifically says you should refer to a person by the gender they prefer regardless of whether or not you are talking about the person in the past, present, or future. And considering Vollmar writes that Michelle Kosilek had been struggling with her gender identity since she was three, you'd think she would understand that the right thing to do would be to call her by the pronoun and name she has identified with for most of her life.

(Michelle) Kosilek has struggled with gender dysphoria since he was 3
years old and his mother abandoned him at
an orphanage where he was punished for dressing as a

Later in the article:
While in prison, Kosilek was initially denied treatment for her gender dysphoria. She attempted suicide twice and once tried to castrate herself. She sued the Massachusetts Department of Corrections for its failure to treat her medical condition.

This week, InNewsWeekly also failed to use the appropriate pronouns when refering to Michelle. On page A11 they write:

Kilosek was Robert Kosilek when he was convicted...he legally changed his name
to Michelle.

The sentence should read "Michelle Kilosek was Robert Kosilek when she was 1993 she legally changed her name."

george bush hates black people!

Rally - Katrina, One Year Later

Tuesday, August 29 4:00pm Dudley Common - Blue Hill Ave. and Dudley St.

August 29th is the one year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. When Katrina hit it devastated the states of Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana. The images of New Orleans even shocked people from developing countries. When the levee broke and people were stranded, the U.S. government did nothing for 4 days, they just left poor, Black, Native Americans and Latino’s there to die. This criminal negligence on the part of the government highlights how poor and oppressed people of color are treated less than human.

The reality is that all across this country, the conditions for poor, Black, Latino and other people of color are one in which our lives are Katrina-ized (criminally neglected). We can see this in the Immigration movement where undocumented immigrant workers receive ridiculously low wages, dangerous work environments, no health care and often unsafe overcrowded housing.

In general, the lives of the poor, Blacks, Native Americans, Latinos and other peoples of color are Katrina-ized by the lack of adequate money for decent housing, education, health and jobs with livable wages. The money that could be spent to improve the quality of life for all people here is used instead on war and occupation in Iraq and bombs killing women and children in Lebanon.

All of these things are connected. We cannot stop the violence in our community without the government stopping the violence and war in Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine. We can not build state of the art Levees, a wall of life, instead the government will spend our tax dollars to builda wall of death on the Mexico borders.

We will not have quality schools, heathcare, housing and jobs at livable wages as long as this government spends billions after billions on violence and war in other countries. We need those resources to make our lives better here in communities across the United States.

Like Rosa Parks we want a better society for poor, Black, Native American, Latino, Asian and all people in need. We want a society that is truly free, safe, equal and just. We want to be a central part of making decisions that impact our lives:

•We want to stop spending money on war and use it for social programs at home.• We want jobs with a livable wage (one that we can pay rent, utilities, food and transportation, clothes and other important necessities.)• We want decent and affordable housing that correspond to our income.• We want full and complete health coverage.• We want fully funded quality education for our children.• We want a healthy and safe environment to live.• We want to be treated like human beings and live with dignity.

Tell your family and friends. Be like Rosa Parks and stand up for dignity and human rights. Support the August 29 Rally to commemorate the horror of Katrina and the Katrina-ization that exist in our communities.

Endorsers: Tony Van Der Meer, Prof. UMASS Boston*; Chuck Turner, Boston City Council, District 7*; Clemencia Lee, Co-Founder Cultural Cafe; Dorotea Manuela, Puerto Rican Activist; Askia Toure, Poet & Political Activist; The Most Rev. Filipe Teixeira, OFSJC, Diocese of St. Francis of Assisi, CCA; Boston Workers Alliance; Encuentro Diaspora Afro; International Action Center; Women's Fightback Network;; Survivors Inc.; MOCAA@MAC; Community Change, Inc; Committee to Defend the Somerville 5; New England Human Rights Organization for Haiti; MLK Jr., Bolivarian Circle; Dorchester People for Peace; Ed Childs, Chief Shop-Steward Unite/HERE L. 26*; United for Justice with Peace; Boston Anti-Zionist Action; Mystic River Green-Rainbow Action; Green-Rainbow Party of Massachusetts; The Lucy Parsons Center; Diocese of Saint Francis of Assisi, Catholic Church of the Americas; Greater Boston Stop The Wars Coalition; Workers World Party; Safety Net*id only

Back up Your Birth Control!

At 9:20 AM this morning, the FDA approved Emergency Contraception to be sold at pharmacies over the counter! This is huge success that people have been fighting for for years. While this is great, there is some not-so-hot news to accompany it. Unfortunately, it was only approved to be sold over the counter to people over the age of 18. This is bad for two major reasons. The first being that it totally de-recognizes (or condemns) the sexuality of young people. Without acknowledging and accepting the fact that people under the age of 18 are sexually active, the teen pregnancy rate will increase, as will the rate of STI and HIV infections, dating abuse, and a whole slew of other related sexual/relationship health problems.

The second reason this under 18 limit is bad is that it means that while you don't need a prescription to get EC, you may have to get it behind the counter, like cigarettes or condoms at some places, so that the pharmacist can ID you. This, as we know, is dangerous. Putting the sexual and reproductive health of women in the hands of pharmacists is not a good thing. Placing it behind the counter will make it harder to ask for, especially for young people, people of color, immigrants, and trans people. And, these are also the people most likely to be denied access to reproductive health care in the first place.

So, back up your birth control, learn more about EC (including why "the morning after pill" is a terrible misnomer and that you can also order EC online!), and talk to your friends about it. Yay reproductive health!

HIV Rates May Soar in the Future

In a disturbing article in, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh are expecting HIV rates to skyrocket in North America and Europe in the future.

The report projects that while only 1 in 12 gay men were infected in their 20s, 1 in 4 of this generation will be HIV+ when they turn 30 and 58% of these same gay men will be HIV+ at 60! The projected stats for people of color are even more grim. On the whole, HIV rates have been rising at about 2% per year since 2001.

While projections like this tend to be on the high side, it is still cause for serious concern. This study is like a tornado watch--the tornado may not happen, but the conditions are right for it to happen, so watch out.

In 2006, twenty-five years after the AIDS epidemic first made its appearance, I still hear things like: "Can you get it from kissing?" or "Can you get it because some cum got on my chest?" or "you look healthy so you don't have to use a condom with me." After hearing comments like these, I have to conclude that a major part of the problem is widespread mis-education.

It is often said that "this isn't the '70s" and so we have to just accept that the sexual landscape has changed. We can no longer have "carefree" sex anymore, some say. Use a condom everytime, HIV prevention specialists say. And they are right--indeed, the sexual landscape has changed and if you are going to have anal sex, USE A CONDOM.

But what HIV prevention specialists also have to take seriously is that this is also not the late '80s and early '90s. Since 1996, anti-retroviral drugs have significantly prolonged the lives of people who are HIV+. Furthermore, the antibody tests have become far more sensitive and now, with the fourth generation antibody tests you can actually know whether or not you are positive only six weeks after a risky encounter! The CDC still recommends three months, but in the state of Massachusetts, six weeks is considered definitive.

With the window period for testing getting smaller, the antiretroviral drugs getting more effective and side-effects becoming more manageable, we may be seeing more incidents of unprotected sex because people are becoming more relaxed and experimenting with new ways to keep themselves safer--e.g. serosorting. People are using "trial and error" to negotiate the changing effects of HIV. But unfortunately, with a lot of "trial" comes a lot of "error" and the rate of new infections continue to rise. That means that there does need to be some leadership and guidance from prevention specialists.

Unfortunately, many of our prevention specialists are still acting as though this is 1988 or 1992 when they need to be ahead of the population at large and creating prevention strategies that take into account the new HIV landscape. "Use a condom every time" is no longer an effective message. The same idea needs to be expressed differently and with some understandings of the complexities of people's lives.

Some say that in the old days (late '80s, early 90s) the fear of getting sick and dying was what kept people in line. So, the logic goes, if we want to stop the spread of HIV, we have to recreate that fearful environment. As a result, some prevention specialists are intensifying the use of fear-mongering and scapegoating to deal with the problem. A recent prevention ad aimed at the black community with the picture of a black man in the crosshairs asking, "HIV: Have you been hit?" is a great example of what's wrong with some HIV prevention strategies. Many critics commented on the ad's most egregious and blatant outrage--racism (as if blacks can only understand the language of violence and guns). The other problem with the ad is the very insinuation that HIV positive people are like snipers! It only reinforces the stigma associated with HIV and encourages people to do the very opposite of what the ad suggested--that is, get tested. Who wants to find out they're a potential sniper?

Fear and scapegoating do not promote testing or safer sex; they produce guilt and shame--which lead to lies and infection. Instead of resorting to fear tactics we need to take on the issue of HIV prevention holistically and address the various social, economic and psychological dynamics that are at the root of the epidemic. That may mean that we reevaluate things like social priorities (what government money gets allocated where), the political and financial priorities of the LGBT movement, etc.

First, it is clear to me that even twenty-five years after AIDS first hit, many, many people simply do not understand how the virus works. Everyone needs to understand that HIV usually means a significant reduction in quality of life--even with anti-retrovirals. Thanks to the pharmaceutical industry's advertising campaigns, the imagery of people who are on HIV-meds is skewed and unrealistic.

Also critical is that people know how HIV is transmitted without obfuscation and fear-mongering. The fact that people are paranoid of infection because they gave someone a blowjob is indicative of widespread mis-education. Sometimes transmission statistics are unclear, but we need to be as clear as possible and allow people to make informed choices.

Second, and most importantly, many prevention campaigns assume that people care enough about themselves to actually take steps to protect themselves. Most of the campaigns say, "Use a condom" and the subtext (and sometimes even the overt message) is if you don't use a condom you're stupid or evil. That's the wrong message. People make mistakes sometimes. Others get to a point in their lives in which they no longer want to live because they feel that their lives have no value--so why would they take steps to keep themselves safe? Some desire so much to fit in or to be loved and accepted that they put the desires of others over their own safety. As someone who works with HIV-positive people, I have heard all of these scenarios multiple times. To say "put on a condom" or "practice safer sex" to people who are hurt and alienated is putting the cart before the horse.

Is it really that inconceivable that people don't take steps to protect their own life if they believe that their life has no value, or they believe that their life isn't going anywhere? I have never seen an HIV prevention ad that says things like: You're special. Your life does have value. You are loved. You're not a slut, you're a good person.

Until we decide that we are ready to treat HIV as something that involves social, psychological and political dynamics, the spectre of rising infections will continue to haunt us.

former hrc spokesperson: stop endorsing republicans

Wayne Besen (former spokesperson for HRC, creator of Truth Wins Out, and author of several books) has come out against endorsing Republicans.
Bipartisanship looks good on paper, but the disastrous consequences that
have come from this strategy cannot be papered over. If we help give Republicans
a slim majority by endorsing and helping to reelect our so-called friends, the
reception to our agenda on Capitol Hill will continue to be quite unfriendly. - read more

battle cry is coming!

Battle Cry is one of the largest right-wing evangelical networking and activism groups for teens. They convince young people that they must "save" their generation by creating a "battle plan" to counteract popular culture and the sinful behavior of their peers.

Rich white republican men strategize behind closed doors about how best to rope these teens into the cult like world of fundamentalist, right-wing Christianity for life. They are succeeding. Battle Cry reaches millions of teens worldwide, and their concerts/propaganda events draw thousands.

During their events Christian "rock" bands play, right-wing ministers and politicians speak, and the United States Army advertises on big screens.

September 22-23, 20067pm Friday through 9pm Saturday

Mullins Center

Amherst, MA 01003


Beijing pledges 'a fight to the death' with Dalai Lama

Several years ago I went to the Fleet Center to witness a speech by the Dalai Lama, and it was life changing. His words of compassion, religious tolerance, and scientific truth are something I will never forget. It pains me to read articles like this. I hate watching our government do and say nothing about the situation in Tibet.
"Ethnic Tibetan officials in Lhasa as well as in surrounding rural counties have been required to write criticisms of the Dalai Lama. Senior civil servants must produce 10,000-word essays while those in junior posts need only write 5,000-character condemnations. Even retired officials are not exempt." continue

reilly aides help killer coke smear patrick

The Boston Globe has uncovered e-mails between the Reilly campaign and "killer coke," an organization, or rather one man who pretends to be an organization, that claims to tell the truth about coke. Is Reilly engaging in a swift-boat style attack as other lefty blogs suggest?

I have problems with most corporations as large as coke, and I do believe there is some truth to the horrific crimes that coke is connected to in Columbia.

Deval claims to have quit his job at coke because they did not investigate these issues enough. It seems as though Deval made a moral choice to quit working for Coke.

What a total waste of time for Killer Coke to focus on preventing Deval from being governor considering they claim to represent union workers! Deval has the most union endorsements does he not? Deval no longer has any involvement in Coke. And he will ultimately enact the most progressive legislation of any of the candidates.

ex-gay groups are in your town

The American Psychological Association on Friday issued a stinging rebuke of the so-called ex-gay movement. The largest ex-gay organization is Exodus International which has chapters natwionwide. Exodus works closely with Focus On The Family and other right-wing groups such as the local Vision New England.

Local Exodus Affiliates: "helping you find freedom from same-sex attraction"

Alive In Christ


Park Street Church (read their page on homosexuality!)

Read the Boston Globe Article About the "lesbian" who runs this ministry!

Recreation Ministries


215 South Broadway, Salem

Renewing Hope Ministries


Springfield, MA

Zimbabwean drag queen offers inspiration

Kudah Samuriwo is a fabulous drag queen who performs in defiance of Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe, who regards homosexuality as un-African. She is proud to be different, proud to be a drag queen, and injects humor into her story of resiliance. Read more!

hot gay twins become pop stars

Okay, so obviously these gay, twin pop stars who sing cheesy, Savage Garden-esque songs are my new guilty pleasure! And it looks like I'll be able to get my satisfaction. The group, who ran away from their right-wing Jehovah Witness parents to start a band, will be followed by LOGO until they release their debut album.

On another note, LOGO has surprised me with the quality of their content. I was expecting it to be painfully HRC style but the channel has made an impressive effort to offer a wide variety of queer entertainment. They own basically every LGBT movie made to date, and they have already shown many queer favorites such as Ma Vie En Rose. Their special following trans women performing the Vagina Monologues was stellar, and their documentary about butch black lesbians thrilled me.

Victory for Lamont & Victory for Voting!

The results are in and Lamont has achieved a 6 point win over Lieberman. Yesterday's Primary in CT was a victory for Lamont and victory for voting. An estimated 43% of CT Democratic voters went to the polls yesterday. High voter turn was partly attributed to many unaffiliated voters who switched their party affiliation to Democrat so they could cast a ballot in yesterday's primary.

For many of you who are concerned about the prospect of a Lamont/Lieberman rematch in November, here is the one definitive reason why progressives don't have to worry about a 3 way race for the CT US Senate seat in November: Lieberman will drop out and will not run as an Independent. Wishful thinking? Perhaps, but I do believe that even though Lieberman has vowed to run as an Independent in November, I do not think that he will continue his election campaign Disclaimer: Despite the 2000 and 2004 "defeats" I am hopelessly optimistic about elections.

But optimism aside, let's look at the facts. To my current knowledge Lieberman does not have any support from any other state democrats now that Lamont has won the party nomination. How will Lieberman get endorsements? How will he raise funds when the Democratic Party is endorsing Lamont? How will Lieberman run an effective campaign when many Democratic Senators are asking him not to run as an Independent? Cheers to Lamont and cheers to Lieberman's inevitable, final descent from politics, which is hopefully just a few weeks away.

i still support mckinney

I supported Cynthia Mckinney when she slapped the police officer a while back. And her concession speech last night is exactly why. She talked about the importance of dissent, praised leftist leaders, derailed the media and electronic voting singing, and concluded by singing Pink's Dear Mister President.

Becca D'Bus Live in Concert


You've seen her in Bay Windows describing hell.

You've seen her at Pride in an orange umm... outfit

Now see her live!

Monday Aug 7th
at Jacques Cabaret int he theater distrcit behind the Radisson hotel

And Her hair looks fierce!

saturday: free hip-hop peace concert @ city hall

On Saturday from 4-9PM several hip-hop acts will perform at the third annual Peace Boston Hip-Hop Festival at City Hall. And the best part? It's FREE!

Oh! And don't forget about the rally and march at 11AM on Saturday to condemn the violence perpetrated by Israel, at the Israeli consulate behind the Park Plaza.

updated: beyondmarriage

Over 250 activists and community leaders have signed the Beyond Marriage initiative which seeks to encourage the LGBT community to refocus its mission to include a broad range of issues.
Their manifesto marks the return of the gay liberationists of yore, whose predecessors since the time of Stonewall (and before) have seen battles over sex and homosexuality, gender and gender identity, as a way of liberating all of society from traditional ways of thinking that are inherently unfair, "-ist" and "-phobic."

Emerging from the Reagan years and countless gay men's funerals, activists were once galvanized by the early-'90s battle over gays in the military. From that point on, the "gay civil rights movement" has been much more narrowly focused as a political fight for equal rights—nowhere better symbolized than by the giant "equals sign" made ubiquitous by the Human Rights Campaign.
This week's manifesto may well mark the revenge of the liberationists, ready to pounce on a series of defeats by equal rights advocates as a sign that we're fighting the wrong battle. - Washington Blade

Statement by Matt Foreman, Executive Director
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

On July 26, more than 150 prominent LGBT activists and thinkers signed on to and released Beyond Marriage: A New Strategic Vision for All Our Families & Relationships. The document was written by 17 individuals, eight of whom are or have been intimately involved with the Task Force over the years.

We welcome this statement and embrace its fundamental premise that all families deserve respect and that legal recognition and essential protections and benefits should not be limited or flow only through marital status. It rightfully honors those for whom marriage is the most meaningful personal choice while calling for recognition of other forms of family that make up the majority of families in this nation, gay or straight.

The statement also makes the point that the right's "marriage movement" is about much more than denying LGBT people marriage equality, it is part of a much larger reactionary and coercive social and religious agenda that disproportionately harms poor people and people of color.

As a movement for justice and liberation, we can and must advance on many fronts at the same time. While we fight the anti-marriage state constitutional amendments, we must work to pass legislation to protect LGBT people from discrimination. Where we win marriage equality, we must fight to preserve and extend domestic partner benefits that help protect our partners or others who are "family" to us. While we fight to win equal access to Social Security benefits for our families, we must also fight to ensure that the system serves all families.

Our vision is that every one of our families gets the recognition and protections it deserves. Yes marriage, but beyond marriage too.

Bay Windows Coverage 08/03/06:

Michael Bronski on Why He Signed The Manifesto

"Activists Call For A Shift" - Ethan Jacobs

"I will never accept 'genderqueer' as a valid category" - read Richard Rosendall's column of shame and misunderstanding.

It is good to finally see these issues raised in the gay news publications. These are issues QueerToday has been raising since the beginning of the gay marriage boom and we will continue to do so. We've taken a lot of criticism for these opinions but it seems that the tide just might be changing. Now we need to work on networking and joining forces. In the coming weeks I hope to work with anyone who wants to get involved to ad some features to our blog and web site to help us stay connected and networked with the queer community throughout Massachusetts.

Beautiful Daughters

Beautiful Daughters is a Logo documentary that explores the lives of trans women who are casted to be in the first ever trans-women only production of Eve Ensler's Vagina Monologues. Watch the entire fabulous series online here!

Who is standing up for Bill?

This post has been revised.

I understand that this is a difficult issue for many of us to discuss, especially those who are friends and colleagues of Mr. Conley. I knew about Conley’s arrest well before it was published on the cover of Bay Windows, and like Chris from TakeMassAction, I chose to ignore it because I recognized that this could have an unfortunate impact on the political work that he does as a lobbyist due to our sex-phobic society.

Since this issue did make a splash in the media it was, of course, fair game to comment about. And since this is a blog/forum of discussion, everyone is welcome to disagree. In fact I enjoy it when people make me think and re-evaluate my opinions. I do not like hearing that my opinions personally hurt the feelings of members of our community, and I regret when that happens so I encourage everyone to speak up and spark discussion. And as a reminder to the readers of this blog, the team members of do not agree on everything. One person’s blog post does not represent the opinions of the entire group unless otherwise stated.

I think that when I use the word "shame" it may confuse people. When a person remains in the closet about something, it is because they have shame, often due to societal or political pressure. In my own coming out process I used to be afraid to cross my legs in public because I was ashamed of my femininity - which did not conform to society’s norms and expectations. Now that I am confident and out about my femininity I think people respect my courage, whereas in the past I appeared nervous and vulnerable.

Sometimes we rely on shame (or silence/closettedness) as a political tool to get what we want. I believe that HRC was late to add Trans people to their mission in part because they were ashamed to admit trans people were members of our community – transgenderdness threatened the integrity of their “we are just like you” messaging.

In the case of Conley’s arrest I believe that when people are quoted discussing his presumed innocence, integrity, and handwork for the LGBT community, it is a good thing. But Conley’s friends and colleagues should say that they will stand by Conley regardless of whether or not he is guilty of breaking this unjust law. We must emphasize that police stings against gay sex environments like craigslist, manhunt, and the fenz are homophobic and a waste of time. We must say that the gay community will not be shamed into silence about the diversity of our sexual practices.

I believe that Hillary Clinton’s intrepid critique of the Iraq war is drenched in a form of political shame and makes her look wishy-washy and weak on the issue. Hillary will strongly critique the war in a room full of lefties, and then turn around and sponsor an amendment to take away our right to burn the flag to appeal to centrists. People saw right through her hypocrisy.

Our opposition will always point out our own hypocrisy when members of our community are “caught” being sexually promiscuous online but emphasizing our monogamy (which in this sexually repressed society translates into respectability) in public.

I believe our community will be seen as weak and vulnerable unless we come out strong in support of the many folks who are sexually promiscuous or in non-conventional relationships.

Think back for a moment to the “little black book scandal.” Many members of our community reacted by emphasizing how wrong it was for that material to be handed out to minors. And they blamed the outreach worker for making a terrible mistake. But behind a virtual wall of shame, many people stated that they do believe explicit safer sex information should indeed be distributed to teens. Our opponents noticed our contradictions and used it against us. They will continue to do so until our community is liberated from its own shame.

I will be shocked if any of the local gay rights organizations publicly condemn the police stings against gay men or our sex-phobic culture, but it is my opinion that it would be the most courageous, admirable, and politically advantageous (in the long run) thing to do.

Middle East Issues Reach LGBT Community

Leslie Feinberg offers an in depth analysis of the crisis in the MIddle East and the controversies surrounding World Pride.
This political struggle regarding Iran and Palestine takes place within the
context of a burgeoning battle between imperialism and the countries of the
Middle East that are resisting its demands to surrender their sovereignty and
right to self-determination.
Those who argue that Islam is the problem and
that pressure from the imperialist democracies—who have historically arrayed
their forces under the banner of Christianity—is the solution are lining up with
the oppressor in this war, not the oppressed.
It was colonialism and later
imperialism that imposed anti-“sodomy” laws—a term that comes from the Bible,
not the Quran—from Africa to the Middle East, from Asia to the Americas, in its
effort to restructure social relations in these countries to its economic
interests. Read More >

saturday protest: US out of Middle East

No Justice, No Peace: US Out of the Middle East


Sat., Aug. 5, 11 A.M.

Israeli Consulate at 20 Park Plaza

March to JFK Federal Bldg

Sponsored by a broad array of community, anti-war and labor groups

There would be no occupation, no bombs dropping on Lebanese and Palestinian
children, no tanks destroying homes, no artillery to rain destruction on
hospitals without billions of dollars each year that the U.S. government gives
to the Israeli government. Since 1949 the U.S. has given Israel a total of
$84,854,827,200. We must expose, challenge, and struggle to end the U.S. support
for Israel's crimes. - IAC Boston