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Volume 15/Issue 18

A New Threat

P at Robertson, never a friend of lesbian/gay people, nor of any liberal groups like the ACLU who protect the Constitution's basic freedoms, has formed a counter-group, the ACLJ-the American Center for Law and Justice. Through the "magic" of exchanged mailing lists, Niki [Kirby] received a mailing from Robertson's group, saying "What Happens When a Few Good Attorneys Go to Work for People of Faith? Our Freedoms Are Restored." They asked her for money, of course, and to sign this "Yes, I will help defend the two-parent, marriage-bound family from the unrelenting assault to(sic) [of] homosexual extremists and today's activist judges."

They ask to have a survey completed about one's perception of "Homosexual Activism to Redefine the Family; Children's Rights' Activism to Undermine Parental Authority; & Pornography & Distribution of Objectionable Material to Minors." If one sends in the completed survey, one will receive a copy of the Chief Counsel's Confidential Report on the Homosexual Agenda. They also ask that we pray for the ACLJ.

This mailing shows Robertson's fear & hatred of the ACLU, of judges he calls "activist" (as if that were a bad word), meaning judges who believe in the Constitution & the Bill of Rights, judges who are not afraid of ruling by law instead of caving in to so-called "religious right" groups.Robertson's creation of an ACLJ to fight the ACLU reminds me of last year's effort to create confusion PFOX (Parents & Friends of EX-gays vs. PFLAG. We must be making progress or we wouldn't scare the likes of Pat Robertson. Let's keep up the good work. [from PFLAG's The Banner, vol. 16, No.8, by Betty Caldwell]

ACLU Foundation Of LA Hosts Auction

The ACLU Foundation of Louisiana, a 501C3 non-profit organization, will hold its annual fundraising auction Sat., Sept. 13, 7pm, in the Walnut Room of Lakefront Airport, 6001 Stars and Stripes Bld.

Tickets are $10. Display of the silent auction items will begin at 7pm. The live auction will be begin at 8:30pm. Items to be auctioned include celebrity lunches, signed books, original political cartoons and works of art, meals at many fine restaurants, and jewelry.

The theme of this year's auction is "Don't Give Up The Ship!" in honor of the bicentennial of the launching of the U.S.S. Constitution, "Ol' Ironsides." While historic preservationists are raising money to restore the grand old vessel, the ACLU is hoping to raise money to protect civil liberties in Louisiana. The staying power of such a proud sailing vessel is an inspiring example to those Americans who believe in the defense of the Bill of Rights.

The auction draws members and support from all over Louisiana and the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Over two hundred people are expected to join in the festivities and show their support for the ACLU Foundation's work in defense of American civil liberties.

Music, hors d'oeuvres and an open bar will be provided during the viewing. There will be plenty of patrolled, free parking.

Harrison Makes a Good President, But Can Anne Play Straight?

The August 3 Boston Globe ran "Box Office Phobia," an en lightening and funny piece about open gay and lesbian actors playing straight roles-and whether or not America can handle it. Speaking mainly about Rupert Everett and Anne Heche, the article points out that they are actors, they act. The column pokes fun at film producers, "the way they figure it, the audience could imagine Anne Heche with lava rolling across Los Angeles but couldn't imagine her necking with Harrison Ford. We could fantasize Ford as president of the United States slugging it out with airborne terrorists, but not romancing Heche." It also points to the silliness of audiences who "fuse and confuse characters on and off the screen." People magazine told its readers in an article about Rupert Everett "'sorry, ladies' he was gay in real life too." Columnist Ellen Goodman writes, "Yes, Rupert Everett was a gay man playing a gay man. No, he was not playing himself. 'Sorry, ladies,' it was a role."

Goodman does a great job of pointing out why the film producers' worries are unfounded-America has progressed and can handle, and even desires, openly gay and lesbian actors. The Boston Globe provides a thought-provoking and needed reality check.

Please thank the Boston Globe for reminding the entertainment industry and the public that openly gay actors are no big deal. America is ready. Contact: Matthew V. Storin, Editor, Boston Globe, PO Box 2378, Boston, MA 02107, fax: 617.929.2098, e-mail: [from GLAAD]

Lesbian & Gay History Month Essay Contest

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) announced recently a national essay contest celebrating October's "Lesbian & Gay History Month: A Celebration of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender History." The essay, which will appear in numerous lesbian and gay publications coast-to-coast, will highlight the historical significance of the community and its continued struggle for equal rights.

In the essay, participants will be asked to write on the topic, "What does lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history mean to you, and how do you envision that history influencing the future of the movement?" This question incorporates the theme of this fourth annual event, "Reclaiming the Past, Charting the Future."

"This essay contest is a wonderful opportunity for members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community to explore their history, both personal and collective," said Joan M. Garry, Executive Director of GLAAD. "It's an especially exciting opportunity for young people to learn about the struggle that preceded them, and connect it to our ongoing growth as a people."

The essay will appear in numerous lesbian and gay publications across country throughout the month of October, helping to highlight this community-wide celebration of who we are. The winner will receive a round trip ticket anywhere American Airlines flies in the continental US, Mexico, Canada, the Caribbean, Bermuda and the Bahamas (some restrictions apply). The judges will include, among others, GLAAD staff Sean Sasser, Chastity Bono and Liz Tracey, History Month founder Rodney Wilson, GLSEN's Kevin Jennings and HRC's Donna Red Wing.

Submissions should be no longer than 750 words. They must be received no later than Monday, September 22, and must be typed. This contest is open to all. A winner will be announced on Monday, September 29. Submissions should be addressed to Bill Horn, LGHM Essay Contest, GLAAD, 150 W. 26th Street, #503, New York, NY 10001, or sent via e-mail to

GLAAD is pleased to be co-sponsoring Lesbian & Gay History Month with a number of other national organizations. In addition, GLAAD is proud to have American Express Financial Advisors as History Month's primary corporate sponsor. For more information on History Month visit GLAAD's official History Month World Wide Web site which can be accessed through GLAAD's Homepage at

GLAAD is a national organization that promotes fair, accurate, and inclusive media representation as a means of challenging discrimination based on sexual orientation or identity.

APA Warns of "Change" Therapy

By an overwhelming margin, the American Psychological Association today passed a resolution regarding informed consent for so-called "reparative" therapies intended to change lesbians and gays into heterosexuals. While not going so far as to condemn the therapies as unethical-which was the thrust of resolutions defeated by both the American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association two years ago-the resolution lays out principles that should give anyone considering such therapy second thoughts. "Informed consent" should include full discussion of the potential for a rewarding homosexual life, consideration of the possibility that such therapy may in fact make the client's problems worse, a statement that there is no solid scientific evidence that the therapy is effective, and analysis of the client's motives in desiring to change his/her orientation. Further points in the resolution are intended to protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation.

While the physically assaultive "aversion" approaches of the 1960's and 1970's have fallen into disfavor, many "ex-ex-gays" would agree with the Human Rights Campaign's David Smith that, "These therapies amount to nothing more than psychological terrorism and are usually performed by practitioners who harbor intense bias against gay people."

Certainly the leading proponents of the therapies have never bought into the American Psychological Association's 1973 decision that homosexuality is not in and of itself a mental illness. Psychiatrist Charles Socarides, president of the Encino, California-based National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) and father of President Clinton's openly gay aide Richard Socarides, told the "Washington Post," "Homosexuality is a psychological and psychiatric disorder, there is no question about it. It is a purple menace that is threatening the proper design of gender distinctions in society."

The right-wing politics associated with the therapies is part of what drove the resolution. Also speaking to the "Post" was Doug Haldeman, president of the Association's group studying lesbigay issues, who said, "In the past 10 years, Christian fundamentalists have enlisted a coalition of old-style psychologists, psychiatrists and social workers who have become very visible in this country and internationally, and who have as a mission to 'help' homosexuals get rid of their sexual orientation. Our aim is not to try to stop them per se or interfere with anyone's right to practice, but we want to expose the social context that creates this market."

Clinical psychologist and NARTH executive director Joseph Nicolosi said of the informed consent provisions, "It's like having a restaurant and having a big sign in the window saying, 'You might be poisoned, you might not be happy with the food.'"

The Seattle-based Christian "change ministry" Exodus International claims to have more than 6,000 clients in therapy at its 90 locations across the U.S., and to receive calls for assistance from 500 people each month. [from NewsPlanet]

Navy PR Man Caught in Sting

The chief spokesperson for the Secretary of the Navy--the branch of the U.S. military that leads in dismissing gays and lesbians from service--was arrested August 8 for soliciting gay sex with an undercover police officer. Twenty-one-year veteran Captain Michael John has been charged with two misdemeanor counts of solicitation which could result in as much two years' imprisonment and a $1,000 fine, although he is not reported to have offered money for sex.

Anne Arundel County, Maryland police had been running a two-week sting operation near a video store in Annapolis. John was one of 28 people arrested in the vice squad operation. While he admits having gone to the store, John professes to be surprised by the police report, but is withholding direct comment on the charges. He told the press, "Guilty or innocent, it's just such an embarrassment, professional and personal. No matter what happens now, no matter what I say, there will be doubts."

John has been temporarily reassigned, presumably pending the outcome of his December 10 trial, from the position he's held since June as lead spokesperson for Navy Secretary John Dalton. [from NewsPlanet]

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