The Latest

Justin Timberlake Stars in Queerphobic Super Bowl Ad

Last year we gathered hundreds of signatures in a petition against Mars Inc. for their blatently homophobic Snickers advertisement that aired during the Super Bowl. A few years before that we spearheaded a campaign to ban a homophobic prison themed 7UP Ad. This year we bring you Justin Timerlake's Pepsi commercial. When will advertisers stop putting men in dresses/wigs for a few cheap laughs?

Becoming a Black Man

Becoming a Black Man

By Daisy Hernández
from Colorlines Magazine

Louis Mitchell expected a lot of change when he began taking injections of hormones eight years ago to transition from a female body to a male one. He anticipated that he’d grow a beard, which he eventually did and enjoys now. He knew his voice would deepen and that his relationship with his partner, family and friends would change in subtle and, he hoped, good ways, all of which happened.

What he had not counted on was changing the way he drove.
Within months of starting male hormones, “I got pulled over 300 percent more than I had in the previous 23 years of driving, almost immediately. It was astounding,” says Mitchell, who is Black and transitioned while living in the San Francisco area and now resides in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Targeted for “driving while Black” was not new to Mitchell, who is 46 years old. For example, a few years before transitioning, he had been questioned by a cop for simply sitting in his own car late at night. But “he didn’t really sweat me too much once he came up to the car and divined that I was female,” Mitchell recalls.

Now in a Black male body, however, Mitchell has been pulled aside for small infractions. When he and his wife moved from California to the East Coast, Mitchell refused to let her drive on the cross-country trip. “She drives too fast,” he says, chuckling and adding, “I didn’t want to get pulled over. It took me a little bit longer [to drive cross country] ‘cause I had to drive like a Black man. I can’t be going 90 miles an hour down the highway. If I’m going 56, I need to be concerned.” As more people of color transition, Mitchell’s experience is becoming an increasingly common one.

Click for the rest of the article

No Blood For Oil!

"Shell smashed all-time British company profit records today, posting 2007 earnings of $27.5billion (£13.9billion), and immediately ran into a storm with union leaders, who are demanding the Government hits the oil giant with a windfall tax." - Daily Mail

Below is a Current Tv segment about the consequences of the Oil Industry's oppressive and greedy tactics. If you have't seen Current Tv yet, I highly recomment checking out both their web site and channel. It is probably the only channel where you can find real journalism, and submit your own input on the issues facing the world today.

MassEquality Publishes 2008 Goals

Below are the goals MassEquality will be working on this year (from My first thought is that these goals seem worthy. I'd also like to see some real coalition and community building and anti-racism work on the list. Thoughts? Questions? Comments?
  1. Transgender Equality

    Transgender people in our communities should be able to work and live without fear of discrimination or harm.

    • Pass H1722, which would add gender identity and gender expression to existing non-discrimination laws affecting employment, housing, credit, public accommodations, public education and hate crimes.
  2. Equality for LGBT Youth

    Every young person, gay or straight, deserves to feel safe in their own school and have access to the resources they need to flourish and grow.

    • Increase funding for programs directed at LGBT youth, including the Massachusetts Commission on GLBT Youth and the Safe Schools Program.
    • Pass S.275, which would require school districts to set an anti-bullying policy.
  3. Equality for LGBT Seniors

    LGBT seniors deserve equal access to the benefits, protections, services and institutions available to any other senior.

    • Pass the MassHealth Equality Bill (H4107), which will grant married same-sex couples in MA the same access to Medicaid benefits as heterosexual couples.
    • Increase state funding for the LGBT Aging Project, which educates mainstream health and long-term care providers about the special challenges LGBT seniors face.
  4. Equality in HIV/AIDS Treatment and Prevention

    With the rate of HIV infections rising dramatically, particularly among young gay men and people of color, it's clear the fight against AIDS is far from over.

    • Increase funding for HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention programs.
  5. Equality for LGBT Victims of Domestic Violence

    Everyone deserves to be safe in their home, but the special difficulties faced by LGBT people are often not properly understood or addressed by traditional service organizations.

    • Increase state funding for organizations which focus specifically on preventing domestic violence and providing support for victims of domestic violence within the LGBT community.

The Police Need Our Help

     The Boston Police Department is requesting if anyone has ANY information or has heard anything about the night of Daniel A. Yakovleff’s murder to contact them immediately!!

     I have spoken with detectives in the homicide unit and they assured me that everything possible is being done and they are working around the clock on this case.

     You may have a piece of the puzzle that could help solve this horrific slaying.

     A statement from the police,

The Boston Police Homicide Unit is actively investigating the facts and circumstances surrounding the homicide of Dan Yakovleff. Homicide Detectives are seeking to speak with anyone who saw Mr. Yakovleff in the area of Tuttle Street or in the South End section of Boston in the late hours of Wednesday, January 16, 2008 through the time of his death. The detectives are particularly interested in learning who Mr. Yakovleff may have been with in the South End or on Tuttle Street. The detectives are also interested in the type of transportation Mr. Yakovleff may have used (car, bicycle, taxi, MBTA) that evening.

You may call the Homicide Unit directly at 617-343-4470. Those who wish to remain anonymous can call 1-800-494-TIPS (8477) or text the word “TIP” to CRIME (27463).

In Memory of Daniel A. Yakovleff

*If you saw Dan on the night of Wednesday January 16 please call the Boston Police at 617-343-4470.

Daniel A. Yakovleff, known as Dan, was a 20 year old gay man who styled hair at the popular Liquid Hair Salon in Boston's South End. He was well known and liked by the local community, particularly the young gay community who frequent local establishments such as Tremont 647 and the Eagle. Dan was last seen leaving the Eagle on Wednesday night, and was found stabbed in a Dorchester apartment early Thursday (Jan. 17) morning.

Dan was a positive person who always brought a smile to your face. He was very serious about pursuing his dreams of becoming a well established hair stylist, and already had a loyal following of customers. He was never shy about giving us free feedback or tips on our hair!

Family and friends are in shock and continue to struggle to figure out who would target Dan and why. Everyone who knew Dan would say he was one of the most non-violent, positive people you'd ever meet. His gay friends and acquaintances have expressed concern that police may not take the situation as seriously as they should, given the circumstances, and many of us are feeling that this is a difficult reminder of the risk we take when we go home with someone we do not know.

As rumors are cleared up and more details become public, we will report them to you here.

"A memorial service for Daniel Yakovleff is scheduled for 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Knowlton Memorial Hall on Route 44, next to Ashford Town Hall. The family has asked that donations in Daniel's name be made to Joshua's Trust Gifts and Contributions, P.O. Box 4, Mansfield Center, CT 06250.'

news: (updated 1/26/08)

Drop The Guns, Boys!

Out of OkapiStudio come these two outstanding ads for an anti-racism and anti-nationalism campaign with the caption, "Drop The Guns, Boys! Racism Is A Mass Destruction Weapon."

Read and see more.

Unite on Martin Luther King Day!

Monday, January 21
2PM Park Street

Fund Dr. King's Dream
Cut the Military Budget
Use $ for Jobs Education, Housing & Healthcare
End the evils of militarism, economic exploitation & racism
--as Dr. King asked

Black, Latin@, Asian, Arab, Native & White
Together we're powerful-It's time to unite

Stop Immigrant Bashing
Lou Dobbs doesn't speak for working people
Stop the raids & deportations
An injury to one is an injury to all
Justice for Katrina Survivors
Stop the War - The One Abroad & The One Here

  • Remember Sean Bell, Amadou Diallo & all victims of police brutality Stop Police Brutality!
  • Stop the war against Black youth. Stop police invasions of Black youth's homes
  • From Imus to Lou Dobbs to WTKK to WEEI, racists off the air!
  • New Orleans to Roxbury: Stop pushing people out of their homes
  • Troops out of Iraq, Recruiters out of our schools
MLK DAY M:ARCH AGAINST RACISM COALITION (partial list): Fight Imperialism, Stand Together (FIST); City Councilors Chuck Turner, Sam Yoon & Charles Yancey; Jean Mcguire, fmr Boston School Comm.*; Prof. Tony Van Der Meer, UMass Boston*; Frantz Mendes, Pres. USW 8751*; New England Human Rights Organization for Haiti; Voices of Liberation; Women's Fightback Network; Bishop Felipe Teixeira, OFSJC; Tony Hernandez, Organizer, IUPAT Painters Dist. 35*; Ahmad Kawash, Palestine American Congress*; Rev. Franklin Hobbes, Dir. Healing Out Land, Inc.*; Stonewall Warriors; RI Rosa Parks Human Rights Day Comm.; RI Poor Peoples Campaign; RI Peopls Assembly; Springfield Mobilization Against Poverty, Racism & War; International Action Center; Troops Out Now Coalition
* id only

The MRSA Scare: Why Health Care is a Queer Issue

MRSA and VRE are strands of the staph bacteria resistant to most antibiotics and this bacteria seems to appear 13-times more often among gay men in San Francisco. The bacteria also seems to be spreading among gay communities in Boston, LA and New York. This disproportionate rate of bacterial infections coincides with a rising rates of STDs such as syphilis, gonorrhea, and HIV in major urban areas.

According to the study, it is unknown what sexual acts are causing the higher rates of infection. The study says:
It is not clear whether the behavior potentiating these infections among men who have men is anal abrading sexual practices or increased frequency of skin to skin contact; prevention messages may therefore need to suggest caution in each of these practices (p. 256).
In fact, the researchers are not even aware of whether or not these practices are the result of all sexual practices or specific "unsafe sexual risk behaviors." Even if we don't know all the details, we need to be proactive. Venues that promote sexual behavior need to be in contact with health specialists in order to inform patrons about how to protect themselves. Bathhouses and online hookup sites, in particular, should stay on top of developments.

Yet, the spectre of drug resistant bacteria has been looming for years and people, including parents in those oh-so-wholesome nuclear families, have been repeatedly warned about overuse of antibiotics. So those obnoxious right-wingers who claim that gay men are to blame for the spread of resistant bacteria also need to look behind their own precious white picket fences for the root of the problem.

Matt Barber of Concerned Women for America can shriek about the consequences of "the homosexual lifestyle" "spilling over into the population," all he wants. But, in reality, MRSA "spilled over into the population" as a result of bad heath care decisions. MRSA is not specifically transmitted through sex. Other contexts such as contact sports, hospitals and gyms are also high risk. According to one doctor, more attention to disinfection on hospital surfaces could significantly reduce the spread of MRSA. But, the doctor also says, "the expense of extra cleaning can be prohibitive, especially in view of the current preoccupation with hospital budgets..." So a substantial financial commitment to health care is imperative to stemming the tide of the bacteria--something with which Barber is completely unconcerned.

The spread of this resistant bacteria and the fact that gay men may be hit harder shows, once again, that health care is a "queer issue." Gay men's health, and the health of all queer people is not just about personal decisions like "putting on a condom every time." A variety of illnesses and problems plague our communities--and will continue to plague our communities. The sad news that Rev. Irene Monroe was recently diagnosed with breast cancer (a disease that has cut down many talented queer women) underscores this point.

Queer lives depend on a health care system that puts people before profit, so health care needs to become a priority, if not the priority, for queer activism. From the for-profit drug industry (which Mark could tell you more about) to the lack of adequate coverage, our system needs a complete overhaul. The era of quick "pill-fixes" has to end and give rise to more comprehensive, holistic approaches to health care.

Update: Jim Burroway at Box-Turtle Bulletin has an important analysis of the MRSA scare. Apparently, homophobia and sensationalism exaggerated the scope of MRSA's effect on MSMs. Nonetheless, this health scare still points to the need for a reevaluation of our health care system.

MTPC Under Fire For Accepting HRC Money

Bay Windows is reporting on the controversy that has erupted because MTPC took money from the war mongering, bad-on-trans-issues, bad-on-queer-youth issues, mostly-rich-white, HRC. As I said before, I trust that the activists of MTPC (who are amazing!) will make an honest effort not to allow this money to influence their work. Transgender American Veterans Association (TAVA) disagrees, and have "announced that it was severing ties with MTPC over their acceptance of the HRC grant. " MTPC desperately needed the funds for paid staff. I would be interested to know what, if any, stipulations accompany the funding.

Meanwhile: "National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) will not work with HRC in the foreseeable future, until the current HRC leadership is completely purged ..." She elaborated, "Not only is Joe Solmonese not to be trusted but neither are the second rank of HRC staff or its Board of Directors or Board of Governors. All of them would have to resign or be fired before we could even contemplate anything like cooperation. In short, NCTE is neither forgiving nor forgetting what HRC and Barney Frank have done to all of us." - baywindows

HRC lost its first and only Trans board member this year over the ENDA issue.

For now, I will continue to speak out against HRC and in support of MTPC per usual.

Clinton Camp Sues To Supress Votes

Supporters of Hillary Clinton are suing to prevent voters from caucusing in Las Vegas casinos and Bill Clinton has voiced his support for it. The lawsuit was launched just two days after Obama was endorsed by the Culinary Workers Union comprised of many of the hotel workers who will not be able to vote unless they can do so near their jobs on the Las Vegas strip.

I'm no Obama believer, but solidarity with the workers!

Congrats to MTPC!

Congrats to the Mass Trans Political Coalition for securing financial support from HRC ($25,000) and others. Typically I would be concerned about the influence of receiving money from organizations such as HRC, but knowing the fabulously queer Gunner Scott heads MTPC gives me assurance that the blood of innocent Iraqis and neglected trans and queer homeless youth will be thoroughly rinsed from the checks before they are deposited.

MTPC still needs our help. Continue to donate and get involved at their facebook page here.

Laura Kiritsy New Bay Windows Editor

Bay Windows has announced that Susan Ryan-Vollmar has stepped down as editor and will be replaced by Laura Kiritsy.

Though in recent weeks her editorials took a turn for the better on trans issues, Ryan-Vollmar had long been a target of criticism from the community for her often centrist and conservative views. Ryan-Vollmar was on the wrong side of the One ENDA fight, and a vocal critic of for spearheading the Ask Tell Act Coalition during Boston Pride this year.

Hopefully Kiritsy will keep social justice principles at the forefront of her editorial control and involve the most marginalized of our communities as much as possible in the content of Bay Windows so that once again we can be proud of our community's paper.

Good luck Laura!

New bacteria infecting gay men in San Francisco and Boston

Updated (by Mark): Don't panic. Fenway Community Health has an informative web site about this alert and how to reduce your risk here.

This is frightening.

The New York Times is reporting that a new, highly drug-resistant strain of bacteria is spreading rapidly among gay communities in San Francisco and Boston.

According to researchers, this new strain of the "flesh-eating" MRSA bacteria "seemed to be spread most easily through anal intercourse but also through casual skin-to-skin contact and touching contaminated surfaces."

Read more.

Judge Rules: MSNBC Must Include Kucinich

LAS VEGAS — A Nevada judge said Monday that Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich must be included in Tuesday's candidates' debate in Nevada.

Senior Clark County District Court Judge Charles Thompson said if Kucinich is excluded, he'll issue an injunction stopping the televised debate.

The judge sided with a lawyer for the Ohio congressman, who says debate host MSNBC at first invited Kucinich to take part and then told him last week he couldn't. -

Kucinich Banned Again

Dennis Kucinich was congratulated and invited to the next Democratic debate on NBC, but a few days later he received a letter saying that NBC had "changed their criteria." This comes on the heels of his ban from the ABC/facebook debates although he met their criteria as well, and polls #1 on the facebook surveys.

Kucinich is also leading the fight for a recount in New Hampshire because as we've seen in the past, the electronic voting machines are showing different results than hand counted votes.

Regardless of your support for Kucinich the candidate, we must join him in fighting corporate control of our public airwaves and ensuring that every vote is counted.

Boston's First Transgender Legal Clinic Opens Soon

We invite you to join our stride towards justice

Beginning with our January 16th kick-off celebration of

Massachusetts Transgender Legal Advocates,

a new legal clinic serving transgender people in Massachusetts.

WHAT: Kick-off celebration for Massachusetts Transgender Legal Advocates with guest speaker Mara Kiesling, Executive Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality

WHEN: Wednesday, January 16, 2008, 6-8pm.

WHERE: JRI Health, 25 West Street, Boston. Take the Orange or Red line to Downtown Crossing stop or the Green Line Park Street stop.

Massachusetts Transgender Legal Advocates is a joint project between Cambridge Cares about AIDS, AIDS Action Committee, and the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition.

For more information about the kick-off event or the legal clinic, please contact: 617.450.1353 or

Log Cabin Republican$ Love Big Pharma

The Log Cabin Republicans, who last year had less active members in Massachusetts than QueerToday, are funded by the elite men who run the country's largest pharmaceutical companies. When you visit their web site you'll see the logos of Pfizer and Astra Zeneca flash on your screen (as well as the HRC logo! SHAME ON THEM). Make no mistake about it. The Log Cabins have a vested interest in allowing big companies to take advantage of the queer community and keeping republicans in power who will continue to launch war and prevent good health care from becoming a reality.

As most of you know these companies break the law every day in their efforts to keep demand and price high for their products. They launch fraudulent lawsuits against generic drug manufacturers to keep lower cost drugs off the market. They lie to the FDA to obtain and retain their patent rights. They launch misleading advertisements on television and in print. They have over 100,000 sales people in the United States to promote their brand name prescriptions to doctors and medical journals. They donate insane amounts of money to candidates for congress and president. Hillary Clinton has taken the most pharmaceutical industry money so far this year. Donald Rumsfeld continues to make millions from Big Pharma.

The Log Cabin Republicans must be stopped, but more importantly the way drug companies take advantage of us must be publicized and fought against with all our strength.

Earlier this year we reported on how an AIDS Drug company collected the personal information of attendees to Latino Pride in Boston. Said company is currently being sued, as are most of the other drug companies out there. Unfortunately these companies are bribing the LGBT media and some of our finest non-profit organizations with their money and influence.

The good news is that you can help hold drug companies accountable by suing them! Using the courts to hold these companies accountable helps to level the playing field between the big corporations and consumers.

Please take a moment to visit the web site of my employer, Prescription Access Litigation, and fill out our Tell Us Your Story form so that you can be apart of this important work.

Happy 2008!

Happy New Year to all of our activists, readers, and supporters. QueerToday is here to stay, so bookmark us and subscribe to us. Want to be even better connected to our group? Join us on facebook!

QueerToday mentioned in InNewsWeekly Year in Review...
"The Bay State this year marked the 20th Anniversary of the founding of the first Gay-Straight Alliance in the commonwealth at Brookline High School in 1987. Since then, 3,577 GSAs have registered with the Boston-based Gay Straight Education Network, at least one from every state, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico. Massachusetts ranks third in the nation with 242 GSAs. The Impendent Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth, formed in 2006 after Gov. Romney's attempted pre-pride disbanding of the Governor's Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth, began working in January.

Still, the issue of GLBT Youth remained very much in the news, in large part because of the controversy generated by anti-gay-rights group Mass Resistance. In November, the Queer Today blog reported the group co-founder Amy
Contrda's 17-year-old daughter Claudia was a lesbian. The younger Contrada had held a star role in the Action-Boxborough high school's controversial production of "The Laramie Project." MassResistance later said that as a result of all of this, Claudia Contrada's parents were forced to withdraw her from school....

...But the Boston Pride Committee disagreed. Gays in the military, the importance of gays in the military living out lives, the importance of service in general, was demonstrated in its theme: "Ask. Tell. Proud to Serve Our Community, Our Country, Our World." The theme was not without its detractors, however. In May, a coalition was announced to protests the theme, which, members wrote in an email "feeds into the nationalistic pro-war culture [of] corporate America that still controls U.S. foreign policy and impacts our lives here in Boston, draining resources that we so desperately need." Still, despite a double flag-raising (one, the regular rainbow-colored flag; the other, a pink flag, raised by those opposing the Pride theme), Pride Week came, saw more people in attendance than in previous years, and passed...
2007 was another amazing year for QueerToday. We succeeded in drawing attention to the most pressing issues facing the LGBTQIP... community today. We sparked outrage about the theme chosen for Boston Pride which turned into a broad coalition of human rights and social justice groups, the Ask Tell Act Coalition. The coalition went on to make a huge splash at pride, forming the largest contingent and encouraging hundreds of people to wear pink. This year we attended and promoted several anti-war protests, fought for One ENDA, spoke out against Shirly Q. Liqour, created a petition against MARS Inc. for their homophobic advertising, attended and supported Immigrant Rights Marches & Rallies, stood up loud and clear for Trans rights and the Mass Trans Political Coalition, and of course we provided timely insight and commentary on the latest issues facing the queer community and the world.

In 2008 we will continue to push for issues surrounding queer youth and gender identity/expression to be at the forefront of of
everyone's attention through our unique style of blogging, protesting, and campaigning.

Interested in blogging for
QueerToday in 2008? Contact us!

Kucinch: The Airwaves Belong To The People

In his weekly update, Kucinich reminds us that the airwaves belong to the people and the media companies only licence them. Remember when Chavez was accused of shutting down a television station? He was really just discontinuing their licence with the government because they were involved in an illegal coup against him. The issue of media ownership must be brought to the forefront.

disclaimer: Of the capitalists in the race for president, I support Dennis Kucinich in an effort to draw attention to social justice issues.