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Elton’s Letter to Ryan White


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Photo CC Licensed by

April 26, 2010 • VOLUME 1 • ISSUE 14

Gay Swim Teams


HAMMERHEADS AND Nadadores Making Waves in South Florida page 39



Wilton Drive Initiative



Gay Softball League Sued



An Interview with Melissa Etheridge



Archie’s Gay Buddy


April 26 , 2010 •

Valuing Our Families Day 2010

SunServe Gears Up for Seventh Annual Conference

tobias Packer

By Joey Amato


n May 1, SunServe will be hosting their 7th annual Valuing Our Families Day. The event, held at the Sunshine Cathedral will bring awareness to the demand for services for LGBT youth and their

families. SunServe started the Valuing Our Families Day seven years ago to inform individuals of resources which the organization offers to LGBT individuals. This year’s event titled: Celebrating the Voices of LGBTQ Youth and Their Families, will feature a variety of workshops, led by a consortium of mental health professionals, geared to helping youth and their families deal with the day-to-day issues which may arise from being gay. Some workshops of interest include: Mapping your Journey: Creating Your Life the Way You Want It, Sex and Intimacy: Let’s Talk About It and Swimming in the Alphabet Soup: Creative Identity Expression. In addition to the workshops, Professionals Educating and Advocating Respect in Relationships (PEARR) is sponsoring the Live Boldly Creative Art Space to explore your inner artist throughout the day. Furthermore, the One Heart Sociodrama Ensemble will perform, acting out real-life challenges and triumphs LGBT people face.

In the closing session for the day, the 2010 Valuing Our Families Award will be presented to the Packer family. “Mitch and Patricia Packer and their transgender son Tobias embody everything that is the spirit and goal of Valuing Our Families,” said Mark Adler, Executive Director of SunServe. “The incredible journey of their love and support as their son transitioned to a young man is awe inspiring. They are truly a model for families as to what it is to love and support each other unconditionally.” SunServe’s main focus is to assist economically disadvantaged, marginalized youth, senior adults, people of differing abilities and those with life-challenging health conditions in South Florida. They are also the only mental health agency which serves the transgender community. Guests are invited to attend The Valuing Our Families Day conference free of charge. For more information about the conference or full details on each of the workshops visit Sunserve. org call 954-764-5150.

April 26 , 2010 • Volume 1 • Issue 14

EDITORIAL OFFICES 2520 N. DIXIE HIGHWAY • WILTON MANORS, FL 33305 PHONE: 954-530-4970 FAX: 954-530-7943


CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER Features Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Joey Amato Lifestyle Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A. Sebastian Fortino Arts/Entertainment Editor . . . . . Mary Damiano SFGNites Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . JW Arnold Health/HIV Editor . . . . . . . . . . . Paul Gallotta Business Editor ........................... Richard Gary Senior Feature Correspondent. . Jesse Monteagudo Correspondents . . . . . . . . . . . . . Steve Fritz Contributing Columnists . . . . . . Tony Adams, Wayne Besen, AJ Cross, Deb Price, Brian McNaught, Jennifer Vanasco Creative Director . . . . . . . . . . . . George Dauphin Graphic Designer . . . . . . . . . . . . Jarrett Terrill Online Website Director (Master of Our Domain) . . . . . . . Tom Forcella Display Marketing Associates . . . Brian Swinford, John Fugate Jay Shadden Joyce Blustein Display & Internet Marketing Manager . . . . . . . . . . Cliff Dunn Classified Advertising . . . . . . . . . Mike Trottier 954-928-1862 National Sales Representative . . . Rivendell Media Distributor . . . . . . . . . . . . ..........Charles Braun Printing and Publication . . . . . . . Miami Offset South Florida Gay is published weekly on Mondays. Our paper is a member of the Associated Press. The views and opinions expressed within this publication, in bylined columns, stories, and letters to the editor are those of the writers expressing them. They do not represent the opinions of South Florida Gay, Inc., or the Publisher. They are included to promote free speech and diversity of thought. You should not presume the sexual orientation of individuals based on their names or pictorial representations in SFGN, and it would be careless to do so. For the sake of readable newswriting, the word “gay” in SFGN should, when relevant, be interpreted to be inclusive of the entire gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered community. All of the material that appears in SFGN, both online at www., and in our print edition, including articles used in conjunction with our contract with the Associated Press and our columnists, is protected under federal copyright and intellectual property laws, and is jealously guarded by the newspaper. Thus, nothing published may be reprinted in whole or part without getting written consent from the Publisher of SFGN, at his law office, Kent & Cormican, P.A., 110 Southeast 6th Street, Suite 1970, Fort Lauderdale, Fl 33301. SFGN, as a private corporation, reserves the right to enforce its own standards regarding the suitability of advertising copy, illustrations and photographs. Copyright©2010 South Florida Gay, Inc.

Front Page Photograph is used courtesy of Kevin Tsui ( via a creative commons license. Use of this photograph is in no way meant to presumptively convey the sexual orientation of the unidentified model or photographer.

Associated Press


April 26 , 2010 •

Media News

Southern Voice Back on Street in Atlanta By Richard Gary


outhern Voice, the Atlanta weekly newspaper that covered the gay community for more than two decades before it went out of business last November, has emerged from bankruptcy and began publishing again on April 14. The assets of the Voice and partner Atlanta gay publication, David, were purchased in bankruptcy court by Gaydar Magazine LLC after the collapse of the publication’s previous owner, Washington, D.C.-based Window Media LLC. “We are looking forward to serving the community once again and are working hard to produce a quality publication,” said Matt Neumann, publisher of the Voice and David. “The public response has been amazing and many people are awaiting our return.”

The Voice, with a weekly circulation of about 25,000, struggled financially for years and was hard hit—along with all print media—by the economic downturn. David was re-launched March 10. And the Voice’s web site,, was re-launched last week, the company said in a press release. Its first issue featured the Atlanta Gay and Lesbian Film Festival. SFGN and Atlanta’s Voice, like SFGN and Orlando’s Watermark, have each agreed to share content with each other, so that each of the papers can partner in publishing mutually newsworthy items. “When papers from different regions can work and complement each other’s efforts, all the communities benefit,” said Tom Dyer, Orlando’s publisher of Watermark.

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April 26 , 2010 •

SFGN Profile

Mon 9-5, Tues 8-4, Wed 9-4 Thur 9-3, Fri 9-2

Dr. Rik Pavlescak

Chief Program Officer, Comprehensive AIDS Program of Palm Beach County By Joey Amato


ounded in 1985, the Comprehensive AIDS Program of Palm Beach County (CAP) provides and promotes education, advocacy, and compassion to individuals and families affected by HIV and AIDS in Palm Beach County. Dr. Rik Pavlescak, CAP’s Chief Program Director states that CAP is “the oldest and largest community organization serving people with HIV/AIDS in the county.” CAP provides a wide array of services to HIV positive individuals, and a variety of prevention and risk reduction programs to the community. Dr. Pavlescak began working with CAP in 1989 as a volunteer. “I was new to Florida and hoped to find other gay men who were

interested in doing something good for their community.” Eager to get involved, he attended a volunteer orientation on a Saturday morning. “I found myself sitting with a small group of straight women whose sons had either passed away or were very ill with AIDS. I was impressed that the Executive Director at the time actually showed up on a Saturday morning to conduct the session. I realized that the CAP: “Caring About People” was more than just their slogan.” Eventually, Dr. Pavlescak began consulting for the agency, developing programs, writing grants and administering small projects. “At the time I was doing consulting, training, and grant writing for other organizations throughout the U.S. I also served on the Board of Directors and then as Board President for the Stop AIDS Project of South Florida, Inc.” In 1993, Dr. Pavlescak became the Executive Director of Compass. Even while working at Compass, he maintained a strong connection to CAP. “When I left Compass, CAP called with more projects for me to work on and I accepted them because I saw great things were happening there.” It was during that time when he met CAP employee Brad Mann. The two have been together ever since. After many years of consulting, Dr. Pavlescak accepted a position with the agency. “I knew I would enjoy working with the leadership team, and I’ve been very grateful for the opportunity to work with so many dedicated employees who are really mission-driven.” CAP maintains offices in the four highest HIV incidence areas of the county. “We have an incredible staff who is really dedicated to the cause.” Dr. Pavlescak is proud to say that more than 50% of the staff have been with the agency for 5 years or longer. Each year CAP serves more than 1,700 people living with HIV/AIDS—in some years it has been more than 3,000. “CAP offers different programs which have separate funding sources and unique eligibility criteria, so sadly, not every service is available for every client at all times,” Dr. Pavlescak states referring to the 26 programs offered.

Dr. Rik Pavlescak

CAP’s operating budget each year is in excess of $5 million. A large portion comes from county, state, and federal grants, although this year the Health Care District cut more than $360,000 from HIV case management services. “Unfortunately, the clients and needs for these essential services have not been reduced. In fact, clients are living longer and there are more of them, with increasing needs.” CAP is currently refocusing their fundraising efforts on private donors and non-governmental support. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the organization. “We’re celebrating by bringing back some of the initiatives we did a long time ago such as drag shows in local bars to raise funds and awareness.” These events will lead up to a large 25th anniversary celebration in October. In addition, CAP will participate in and benefit from this year’s SMART Ride. “CAP is really pleased to be participating. Brad and I volunteered on the crew for the last ride and it was an incredible experience.” Despite a rough economy, Dr. Pavlescak remains optimistic about the future. “I keep focused on our mission: providing and promoting education, advocacy and compassion to those infected and affected by HIV/ AIDS. This is an entirely preventable disease and I want to be sure that everyone knows how to protect themselves from becoming infected with the virus.”


April 26 , 2010 •

Elton John’s Letter to Ryan White, 20 Years after His Death from AIDS Published in the Washington Post on Sunday, April 25, 2010 Dear Ryan,


wenty years ago this month, you died of AIDS. I would gladly give my fame and fortune if only I could have one more conversation with you, the friend who changed my life as well as the lives of millions living with HIV. Instead, I have written you this letter. I remember so well when we first met. A young boy with a terrible disease, you were the epitome of grace. You never blamed anyone for the illness that ravaged your body or the torment and stigma you endured. When students, parents and teachers in your community shunned you, threatened you and expelled you from school, you responded not with words of hate but with understanding beyond your years. You said they were simply afraid of what they did not know. When the media heralded you as an “innocent victim” because you had contracted AIDS through a blood transfusion, you rejected that label and stood in solidarity with thousands of HIV-positive women and men. You reminded Elton John America that all victims of AIDS are innocent. When you became a celebrity, you embraced the opportunity to educate the nation about the AIDS epidemic, even though your only wish was to live an ordinary life. Ryan, I wish you could know how much the world has changed since 1990, and how much you changed it. Young boys and girls with HIV attend school and take medicine that allows them to lead normal lives. Children in America are seldom born with the virus, and they

no longer contract it through transfusions. The insults and injustices you suffered are not tolerated by society. Most important, Ryan, you inspired awareness, which helped lead to lifesaving treatments. In 1990, four months after you died, Congress passed the Ryan White Care Act, which now provides more than $2 billion each year for AIDS medicine and treatment for half a million Americans. Today, countless people with HIV live long, productive lives. It breaks my heart that you are not one of them. You were 18 when you died, and you

would be 38 this year, if only the current treatments existed when you were sick. I think about this every day, because America needs your message of compassion as never before. Ryan, when you were alive, your story sparked a national conversation about AIDS. But despite all the progress in the past 20 years, the dialogue has waned. I know you would be trying to revive it if you were here today, when the epidemic continues to strike nearly every demographic group, with more than 50,000 new infections in the United States each year. I know you would be loudly calling for the National HIV/AIDS Strategy that was promised by

Above: Ryan White’s memorial in Cicero, IN Left: Ryan on the cover of People

President Obama but has not yet been delivered. I know you would reach out to young people. I know you would work tirelessly to help everyone suffering from HIV, including those who live on the margins of society. It would sadden you that today, in certain parts of the United States, some poor people with AIDS are still placed on waiting lists to receive treatment. It would anger you that your government is still not doing enough to help vulnerable people with HIV and populations that are at high risk of contracting the virus, including sexually active teenagers. It would upset you that AIDS is a leading cause of death among African Americans. It would frustrate you that even though hundreds of thousands of HIV-positive Americans are receiving treatment in your name, more than 200,000 don’t know their HIV-positive status, largely because of a lingering stigma surrounding the disease that prevents them from being tested. It would disappoint you that many teenagers do not have access to science-based HIV-prevention programs in school, at a time when half of new infections are believed to be among people under 25. I miss you so very much, Ryan. I was by your side when you died at Riley Hospital. You’ve been with me every day since. You inspired me to change my life and carry on your work. Because of you, I’m still in the struggle against AIDS, 20 years later. I pledge to not rest until we achieve the compassion for which you so bravely and beautifully fought. Your friend, Elton


April 26 , 2010 •

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April 26 , 2010 •

National News

Huckabee Compares Gay Marriage to Incest 2008 GOP Presidential Hopeful and Fox News Host is Now Officially a Florida Resident By Cliff Dunn


ike Huckabee, who ran unsuccessfully for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination and is a possible 2012 candidate for the GOP nomination, told reporters that efforts to allow gays and lesbians to marry are tantamount to legalizing drugs, polygamy and incest. The former Arkansas governor also said that gay couples should not be allowed to adopt because “children are not puppies.” During a visit to the College of New Jersey on April 7, Huckabee said that not every group should be accommodated if their lifestyle is outside of what he referred to as “the ideal.” Insisted Huckabee: “That would be like saying, well there’s a lot of people who like to use drugs so let’s go ahead and accommodate those who want to use drugs. There are some people who believe in incest, so we should accommodate them. There are people who believe in polygamy, should we accommodate them?” “Why do you get to choose that two men are OK but one man and three women aren’t OK?” he added. Huckabee also said that the burden of proving that gay marriage works lies with those who favor changing the law. “They have to prove that two men can have an equally definable relationship called marriage, and somehow that that can mean the same thing.” On February 22, Huckabee and his wife, Janet, registered a “Declaration of Domicile,” a sworn statement registering them as Florida residents, with Miramar Beach, a Panhandle community in Walton County as their residence. Last week, a CNN poll showed Huckabee beating fellow Republican Mitt Romney for

Tennessee Remedies Censorship of Gay Student By Norm Kent

their party’s presidential nomination 24% to 20%. That same poll showed Huckabee losing to President Barack Obama by 54% to 45%. His Jersey Shore comments aren’t the first time the ordained Baptist minister has ventured into the arena of LGBT rights. In a 1992 interview with The Associated

Mike Huckabee

Press, Huckabee, then a U.S. Senate candidate, said that it was critical that the U.S. not “legitimize immorality.” “I feel homosexuality is an aberrant, unnatural, and sinful lifestyle,” he answered in response to a question about gays and lesbians serving in the military. While serving as Arkansas governor, Huckabee told an interviewer that “marriage has historically never meant anything other than a man and a woman. It has never meant two men, two women, a man and his pet, or a man and a whole herd of pets.” As governor, he supported a policy prohibiting same-sex couples from serving as foster parents. Huckabee is also on record for advocating the isolation of AIDS patients from the general public, concluding that it is necessary to confine “carriers of this plague.”


he American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee and Lambda Legal has announced that they have received assurances from officials at Greenbrier High School that the school will stop censoring a student from wearing shirts expressing pro-gay messages. As part of a settlement, the school will also have to provide training on its antibullying policy to ensure that it is clear that harassment of any student, regardless of sexual orientation, is not acceptable, by either other students or faculty members. “Students not only have a First Amendment right to be out at school, but the right to an education free from discrimination and harassment,” said Tricia Herzfeld, ACLU of Tennessee staff attorney. “We applaud the school for recognizing this and taking steps to ensure that they are providing a safe and equal learning environment for all students.” The school’s move was prompted by negotiations with the ACLU of Tennessee and Lambda Legal on behalf of Cole Goforth, a Greenbrier High School freshman, and his mother, Julie Gordon. The young man even got the support of Lady GaGa, who tweeted about the incident, defending Goforth on her Twitter page. Then the Advocate and gay

press picked up the story as well. Goforth first contacted the ACLU of Tennessee and Lambda Legal after he was sent home from school on April 5 for wearing a T-shirt that said, “I [Love] Lady Gay Gay” and told by school officials that he could not even wear a T-shirt in support of marriage equality because doing so and, apparently, wearing any shirt with a pro-gay message on it, was inherently “disruptive.” Furthermore, Goforth had long been subjected to daily anti-gay harassment at school, including threats of physical violence. Goforth was not only unable to get relief from the school, he was told by school employees that he had “brought [harassment] on himself by coming out [as gay].” “Sending Cole home for wearing a shirt with the word ‘gay’ on it not only trampled this student’s right to freedom of expression, but also sent a destructive message to all students that there is something wrong with being gay or even saying the word ‘gay,’” said Lambda Legal attorney Beth Littrell. Lambda Legal and the ACLU of Tennessee claimed that attempting to use the harassment the student experienced at the hands of his peers as a justification for censoring his speech was illegal. ACLU of Tennessee’s correspondence with the school can be viewed here: ACLU-TN. org/pdfs/LadyGayGay.pdf




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April 26 , 2010 •

Driving Wilton Group Hopes to Narrow Traffic, Improve Safety on Wilton Drive By Cliff Dunn


f Doug Blevins has his way, Wilton Drive will soon be a lot slower, and a lot safer. Blevins, the President of Wilton Manors Main Street, Inc. (WMMS), is among business and community leaders urging officials in the Island City to make major changes to the community’s main drag. “Our elected city officials need to lead this city as they were elected to do,” Blevins says. “The safety, welfare and economic survival of Wilton Manors and Wilton Drive depend on action, and action now.” The goal of WMMS, a nonprofit comprised primarily of residents and business owners, is to narrow Wilton Drive – also known as Northeast 4 Avenue – from four lanes to two, and to convert it into a tree-lined thoroughfare that includes lanes for bicyclists, wider sidewalks and increased parking. At a meeting of the Wilton Manors City Commission on April 13, supporters and opponents of the initiative gave commissioners and Mayor Gary Resnick an earful. The WMMS proposal would have the city take control of Wilton Drive from the state. Blevins says that would

require about six months, along with an agreement by the city to pay approximately $50,000 a year for maintenance costs. Parking patterns on the street would change from the current parallel configuration to angle-in parking spaces. Tom Tabor, who chairs the group’s twolane initiative, says that would add an additional 112 parking spots. Blevins says the overhaul would occur in phases, with re-striping for the new lane and parking configurations costing around $137,000. Although commissioners did not vote on the initiative, attendees were asked if they supported the proposal; by show of hands, the vast majority signaled their approval. “Now the real work begins,” Blevins noted after the meeting. “We must join forces as a cohesive group so that this is not delayed another three years.”




Present vieW of Wilton Drive


artist renDering of a future Wilton Drive


April 26 , 2010 •


perts and a real respect for people who are in the field,” said Kahn. Two pending House bills, however, want more. The Safe Schools Improvement Act (SSIA) introduced by Rep. Linda Sánchez (D-Calif.) last May, seeks to require schools that receive any federal funds to implement and report on anti-bullying programs. The bill, HR 2262, would define bullying as hostile conSecretary Kevin Jennings. Jennings, head of duct that is directed at a student based on his DOE’s Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools, or her actual or perceived sexual orientation is a former teacher who co-founded GLSEN or gender identity, among other attributes. The Sánchez bill has 101 cosponsors (into help promote safe and healthy environments in schools for LGBT youth. His ap- cluding four Republicans) and is structured pointment in July of last year was both as a set of revisions to the Safe and Drug-Free hailed by the LGBT community and criti- Schools and Communities Act. The Act is a cized by right-wing opponents who claimed part of the Elementary and Secondary Educahe would promote a “homosexual agenda.” tion Act (ESEA), better known as “No Child A spokesperson for Jennings said he has Left Behind.” No Child Left Behind was the a “hectic schedule” and “will not be able to major educational policy implemented by accommodate” a request for an interview Congress at the behest of President George “at this time.” The office did not respond to W. Bush and it is the policy that President subsequent requests for responses to ques- Obama’s “Blueprint” seeks to reform. The second bill currently pending in tions by e-mail. Congress is the Student Nondiscrimination Act (SNDA), introduced by openly gay Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.). HR 4530 seeks to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in any program or activity receiving federal funds. It includes “harassment” Jon Carmichael Phoebe Prince in its definition of disSpokespeople for GLSEN and the Human crimination and has 82 co-sponsors (includRights Campaign (HRC) say they have been ing one Republican). A spokesperson for among more than 100 groups of all types Rep. Polis said the Congressman hopes the that have attended open forums sponsored bill will also become part of ESEA, but will by Jennings’ Office of Safe and Drug-Free push for it as a standalone bill if necessary. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) will be introSchools to discuss the proposed new program. They say they have also offered ad- ducing a Senate companion bill to SNDA in the coming weeks, his office said. vice to the office about the program. The provisions of these bills are not menEllen Kahn, director of the HRC Family Project, says the plans for a survey to assess tioned in President Obama’s “Blueprint,” school needs concerning successful, safe, and there is no indication yet as to whether and healthy students will include the physi- the provisions will be included in the larger cal environment of the school, respect for educational reform bill that Congress will diversity, wellness, harassment, and more. eventually consider. At one place on the survey, Kahn says, students will be able to indicate whether they NEXT WEEK: The Obama administration has are experiencing bullying or harassment shown signs that it takes bullying—including bulbased on any of several factors, including lying based on sexual orientation and gender idensexual orientation and gender. tity—more seriously than its predecessors. So, how “There’s a real interest in including all important is it that LGBT-related bullying be enukinds of voices and getting input from ex- merated in the president’s reform legislation?

Federal Anti-Bullying Actions Face Uncertain Path By Dana Rudolph Keen News Service


after being subjected to bullying based on the perception of other students that they were gay. Both children were 11 years old: Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover of Massachusetts and Jaheem Herrera of Georgia. According to GLSEN, the vast majority of LGBT students surveyed (86 percent) said they experience harassment at school because of their sexual orientation, and most (61 percent) said they feel unsafe because of their sexual orientation. Transgender students face even higher levels of harassment, a 2009 GLSEN study found. President Obama last month released a 41page “Blueprint for Reform” of the nation’s

t doesn’t always pay off to have a seat at the table. Case in point: The Obama administration’s proposal to reform the nation’s educational system includes no specific call for anti-bullying programs in schools, and no mention of protections for students from harassment or discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. This is despite the fact that an openly gay man with considerable experience in combating such bullying heads the Department of Education (DOE) Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools. And it comes despite having a push by the authors of two bills that would give schools strong incentives to enact LGBTinclusive anti-bullying measures for similar language in any educational reform bill. Mathew Shepard Kimberly Linczeski Several bullying-related suicides in the past year have brought educational system –a reform he hopes can the issue of school bullying into a promi- begin when Congress reauthorizes the Elnent media spotlight. Victims in the first ementary and Secondary Education Act, betthree months of 2010 include 15-year-old ter known as “No Child Left Behind.” The Phoebe Prince of Massachusetts, 12-year- “Blueprint” includes one mention of bullying old Kimberly Linczeski of Michigan, and –in the context of discussing a proposed new 13-year-old Jon Carmichael of Texas. And “Successful, Safe, and Healthy Students” pronearly two-thirds of middle and high school gram to replace the existing “Safe and Drug students report being harassed or assaulted Free Schools” program. Under the existing during the past year, according to the most program, about $191 million is divided up recent report (2005) commissioned by the among the states; but under the new proGay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Net- gram, schools, districts, and their community-based “partners” can compete for grants work (GLSEN). LGBT students are particularly vulner- to address issues specific to making schools able. A 2007 survey by the Massachusetts safe and healthy for students. It will require Department of Elementary and Secondary schools to assess needs for safe school proEducation found that high school students gram funding through surveys of students, who identified as LGBT were almost five parents, and teachers, among others. Both the current and proposed incarnatimes more likely to attempt suicide than others. And in two high-profile cases just tions of the safe schools program come unlast year, two children committed suicide der the purview of DOE’s Assistant Deputy


April 26 , 2010 •


April 26 , 2010 •

Tony Adams

The Fabulous Disease of Mark King


ark King whose business card reads “Writer. Blogger. Ginger.” has always been a redhead but not always so healthy, enthusiastic and entertaining. “Someone stepped in and helped me out. I was not capable of getting that needle out of my arm on my own. I’m the one who wouldn’t leave the dance floor. I’m the one who couldn’t get enough of anything. I tried every new drug that came along. I brought that attitude into my new life. Now I can’t get enough of the good stuff.” I got an earful of both the good stuff and the bad during my visit to the waterfront Victoria Park home he shares with Ben, his partner of ten years and an executive in a biotech company. You may know Mark from the videos he produces for, the most com­ prehensive HIV/AIDS resource on the web, where he is consistently ranked among their most viewed pages. You may also know him as the author of A Place Like This, an autobiography about his crazed years as an actor and owner of a phone sex company, Telerotic, in Los Angeles. Mark reports that in six years he handled 30,000 calls from men seeking phone sex. By using his performing skills and his abilities as a manipulator, he brought those calls to a satisfying conclusion in an average of 13 minutes. As we laughed about the fact that many would consider that timeframe not objectionable for even real sex, I began to un­derstand the irresistible humor of a man who has not just survived his tribulations but has transformed them into the inspiring and funny venture that he launched just seven weeks ago. Not everyone appreciates his black humor. He has been receiving some email from angry people who are shocked that he would call HIV fabulous or that he would be thankful for being HIV positive. “AIDS has been normalized for me. I take two big handfuls of pills a day and I say For more about Mark King, please visit and

‘Thank you, God’. My motor is gratitude not resentment. I’m happy to be here. That’s just another perq of HIV. I guess some people are not ready for comedy writing about HIV.” Mark was born in 1960, a military brat whose family’s last stop was Shreveport, Louisiana. He attended school in New Orleans, Houston and Atlanta before moving to Los Angeles at the age of 20 to continue his successful career as a boyish actor featured in many fast food commercials. “I was your basic young self-centered pretty boy in West Hollywood doing a lot of coke.” Mark had always been interested in writing, and particularly enjoyed crafting the print ads for the phone sex business he started when he was 26. He is especially proud of catchy creations such as ‘Telerotic—our men know you like the palm of your hand.” and “Speak now or forever hold your piece.” His written commentary about HIV brought him to the attention of Realizing the potential of his acting skills, they sent him a video camera and suggested he use it to talk about HIV. His camera work has taken him well beyond HIV and has resulted in fame for his alter-ego, Anita Mann, whose hilarious video rendition of “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore” is a must-see YouTube classic. Mark tested positive for HIV in 1985, in the same month the test became available to the public. A friend who worked in a Los Angeles medical lab secretly got him tested after hours. Mark guesses that he was probably infected with the virus soon after moving to Los Angeles at the age of 20. In those days, men died of AIDS rapidly, often before their friends even knew they were ill. Mark got tired of spending his days having sex conversations with clients and watching all his friends die, so he ended his phone sex business and went to work for a local AIDS organization. “Much to my surprise, I didn’t die. Then, in the mid 90s, came the protease inhibitors. I realized I would survive and my reaction was to become a crystal meth addict. This is actually not that unusual a reaction for men like me. “When Ben and I met ten years ago, we

had what I like to call ‘sex before eye contact’. Fortunately for Ben he’s never done any of the drugs, but that made it easy for me to manipulate and lie to him. I’d say ‘Honey I’m going out to Home Depot’ and then I’d go shoot crystal and come home and pretend to be straight.” They separated and Mark went through a recovery pro­cess that eventually brought them back together. “I knew I could not be here under the same terms and conditions as before. I took a lot of time before I came back. I needed to have a new purpose because without that I would start using again. My mind in a neutral state wants drugs. So I need a creative outlet.” Today Mark’s only fear is growing and looking older and unattractive. This is un­ derstandable for an actor whose youthful beauty was an important asset. He made a startling video of his receiving cosmetic

Mark King and Anita Mann

injections to counter his HIV related facial wasting. Ben held the camera. Mark has no map for his future but he does have some immediate plans. He is going to Vienna in July to cover the biennial international conference AIDS 2010 and in October he will be hosting an HIV positive cruise/retreat for “I’m just building on who I am, an absurdist, a Ad lover of human frailty, and a gay man–in4C reSize: 4.875"(wide) x 5.25"(high) covery living with HIV. What’s not to love?”

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April 26 , 2010 •

Military Justice

Final DADT Discharge Numbers Released for Fiscal Year 2009 By Richard Gary

three separate occasions in late 2009 and early 2010 that the internal source of their anervicemembers United, the nation’s nual “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” discharge numbers largest organization of gay and lesbi- is the Defense Manpower Data Center, and that an troops and veterans, announced Defense Manpower Data Center statistics do today that that the total official number of not include discharges from the Reserves or the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” discharges for Fis- National Guard. On this revelation, Nicholson added, “It cal Year 2009 now stands at 443. The annual fiscal year DADT discharge statistic is indeed surprising to learn now that the combines the total number of discharges annual discharge numbers have been unreported by the Department of Defense, derreported. Policy makers, the media, and which was 428, with the total number of the American public rely on these numbers discharges reported by the Department of to make decisions and judgments about the Homeland Security for the Coast Guard, costs of this policy. The Reserves and the which was 15. This brings the official 17- National Guard have been especially active year total, according to the Department of since September 11th, 2001 and their numDefense and the Department of Homeland bers have swelled, so it is highly probably Security, to 13,425 discharges under “Don’t that the discharge numbers from these two additional Activities are significant.” Ask, Don’t Tell.” The Department of Defense in general— “As expected, this record low in total annual ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ discharge num- and the Defense Manpower Data Center spebers reflects a continuing downward trend, cifically—has consistently failed to disclose as military commanders continue to ignore full information and data related to DADT this law that is clearly outdated and which discharges in blatant violation of the Freeimpairs their unit readiness,” said Alexander dom of Information Act. In response to one Nicholson, a former U.S. Army interrogator request for information by Servicemembers who was discharged under DADT and the United in mid-2009, the Department of Decurrent Executive Director of Servicemem- fense took more than twice the amount of time allowable by law to produce less than bers United. “But this new numone-tenth of one percent of the requested ber still means that 443 lives data—data that was not classified and not were unnecessarily turned protected by the Privacy Act. Information upside down in 2009, requests from members of Congress, in443 careers were unfairly cluding House Armed Services Committee terminated, and military members, have also been only parunits unexpectedly lost a tially filled. valuable asset 443 times last For more informayear as two wars raged.” tion about ServicememAlthough only 443 total bers United, please discharges are included visit Service­mem­ in the official statistic for fiscal year 2009, For the latest the true number of information on DADT discharges is discharge numbers, very likely higher. polling, statistics, When pressed by studies, and other Servicemembers archival and referUnited, the Office ence information of the Secretary related to the ‘Don’t of Defense’s FreeAsk, Don’t Tell’ issue, dom of Inforplease visit Dadtar­ mation Office Lt. Col.Victor Fehrenbach, confirmed on fired from the Air Force


New ‘Get Equal’ Rally Keeps Pressure Up on DADT Activist Group Interrupts President’s Speech in LA By Lisa Keen

Keen News Service


everal GetEQUAL activists interrupted President Obama during his speech at a fundraising reception for Senator Barbara Boxer in Los Angeles last Tuesday, expressing anger over the slow progress on repealing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ this year and demanding that he repeal it. GetEQUAL activists shouted, “what about ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’” and “it’s time for equality for all Americans.” The President, at one point bringing his remarks to a halt, said, “Barbara and I are supportive of repealing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’.” Activists David John Fleck, Dan Fotou, Laura Kanter, Zoe Nicholson, and Michelle Wright were then escorted out of the reception by security officers. “President Obama has been AWOL on DADT,” Fotou. “We had to reminded him of the promises he made to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community during his campaign and several times during his Presidency—that DADT will be repealed because, as he’s stated, ‘it’s the right thing to do.’” “We made it clear our community will hold accountable our President for unkept promises,” said Wright, a well known long time northern California feminist. “Deny-

ing LGBT service members and personnel the ability to serve their country is unfair,” she asserted. The April 20 protest action took place nearly one year after a similar protest outside another Obama appearance in Los Angeles, when Lt. Dan Choi asked the President for a response to a letter signed by 136,000 people to repeal DADT. “These empowering and brave activists feel so strongly about our rights they were willing to confront the President of the United States on his lack of leadership on DADT and to hold him accountable for the promises he has made to our community,” said Kip Williams, co-founder of GetEQUAL. The national group is arguing for Obama to act summarily to repeal DADT. It has now launched a small wave of nationally publicized protests at Speaker Pelosi’s office in Washington, D.C., and San Francisco and with Dan Choi, when last month he chained himself to a fence at The White House. Emphasizing direct action and people power, the mission of GetEQUAL is to empower the LGBTQ community and its allies to take action to demand full legal and social equality and to hold accountable those who stand in the way. For more information on GetEQUAL visit


April 26 , 2010 •


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April 26 , 2010 •

Guest Editorial 4/26/2010 A. Sebastian Fortino, Lifestyle Editor

Ricky Martin: Too Little, Too Late, Too Gay


es, the times have changed. I Celebrities come out to fanfare and conhaven’t given a thought to Ricky fetti, with only conservatives shaking their Martin singles like “She Bang, She heads. What do we get? The possible joy of Bang,” and “Livin la Vida Loca” in years. losing our friends, family, and loved ones. “I am a fortunate homosexual man,” Martin In terms of the performer himself I haven’t thought about him in years either…since said. Who even says homosexual anymore? A celebrity—even one past his 15 mincollege. And I am not so impressed by the ‘Coming Out Letter’ we published here in utes of fame—comes out and everyone talks about how hard it must have been to SFGN. So here is my take. To me—and most people—he was a done live in the closet and how brave they are deal, a washed-up celebrity whose lush vo- for telling the truth. That’s loco! How is cals have long been eclipsed by Brittany hiding who he was when he was an A-list celebrity brave? Spears, Justin TimberAdam Lambert wasn’t lake, and now Lady afraid. Rufus Wainright Gaga. Yet, a curious wasn’t afraid. The gay thing happened when members of The Scissor he came out. Sisters weren’t afraid. We A friend told me via shouldn’t give a second chat, “Watch, you’ll hear glance to Ricky Martin. Ricky Martin everywhere Now that Martin is now.” I raised an eyeout, I predict it will brow at that statement. be only a matter of Surely, just because he reweeks before he is invealed something we in vited to be one of the the gay community had B-list entertainers that read between the lines often headline pride long ago, he wouldn’t be events and the last propelled back into the Ricky Martin, if only he were straight... of the circuit parties. limelight. I responded to my friend, “No way. He’s old news. He hasn’t re- Point in fact, Cyndi Lauper. Who even gave leased a song in years. The gays won’t fall for it.” a fig about the “True Colors” singer until she Suddenly, a contrite Ricky Martin domi- launched the True Colors concerts that coinnated the gay world, from his songs on the cide with gay pride events? Exactly…only people who really knew radio to his image on TV screens, to our conversations at Sebastian Beach in Fort of her “back in the day” cared about her. So, before you go and buy the book, downLauderdale, it was all “Ricky-Ticky talk.” Will Ricky Martin’s coming out bring out load music from iTunes just remember this: new fans too? Will the sale of his upcom- Ricky came out when it was comfortable to ing book fly off bookshelves? Yes, and in a do so, after he received his gold records. You came out when you were struggling way I am ashamed for members of the gay community who are taken by this late, un- with your sexuality in high school or colnecessary confession. It is attention whor- lege. You came out when you were afraid ing, if he were doing this for his children he your parents were going to disown you. would have let the book go to press—not You came out because you were in love and didn’t want to call your boyfriend your revealed it on his blog. I don’t mean I encourage him to stay in roommate or your girlfriend your bestthe closet. But I feel it is insulting to our friend, like so many gay people have been community. Yet, I am sure many of us will forced to do in the past. You are the brave ones. Never let yourself download the canon of his works, buy the book, and tout him as one of our own. forget it.

Letters, We Got Letters SAVE WILTON DRIVE STREET INITIATIVE To the Editor: After a major presentation by Wilton Manors Main Street to the City Commission two weeks ago before a standing room only crowd of residents and local business owners, Commissioner Tom Green, speaking during a meeting of the Central Area Neighborhood Association this week, says it appears that the Commission will most likely elect to defer to the voters on the Fall ballot for their opinion on whether to consider such a proposal rather than make a decision themselves. The ballot measure would be limited to only 70 words by law, and as stated, would only ask whether voters would like to take over the financial responsibility to maintain Wilton Drive in the future, an expense which is currently paid by the state.There would be no opportunity in the ballot measure to provide the justification for taking over the liability for the Drive, nor the benefits derived from making a decision to do so. As such, the ballot measure would certainly be defeated in the election. As was stated in the WMMS presentation, the idea of reducing Wilton Drive’s four lanes of traffic to two and adding new parking along the Drive is not new.The City of Wilton Manors in 2006, paid the professional consulting firm URS for a comprehensive study on the matter and they recommended that the City move forward and do so for the benefit of the residents, visitors and businesses alike. In 2007, the Wilton Manors Business Association held several meetings among its members and the community, and they also recommended the City make the improvements for the purpose of safety and business. For the past 3 years,Wilton Manors Main Street, the non-profit group sponsored in large

part by the City of Wilton Manors, approached the issue of calming traffic and pedestrian safety from an approach which also included the arts, cultural and historic considerations within the City. WMMS traveled and reviewed more than a dozen other communities throughout South Florida and from New York and California to see how other urban districts had resolved similar challenges to improve pedestrian safety and comfort and to provide more parking. From the perspective of the supporters of the Initiative by WMMS, the issue is a matter of leadership.Will the Commission finally share the vision with their residents and the business community and make a commitment on the first step to improve the safety and lifestyle for all its citizens, or abdicate the responsibility they were elected to accept? It would seem at times, that Commission members may neglect the consequences of taking no action.Today, pedestrians and businesses are at risk. In danger for their personal safety and encumbered by poor economic conditions, the City can ill afford to ignore these challenges, as there is competition in the marketplace for businesses to relocate and take their employees, patrons and contributions to city revenues with them. Tom Tabor, Committee Chairman Wilton Manors Main Street

Write to the Editor Please send your letters to: Letters to the Editor, SFGN 2520 N. Dixie Highway, Wilton Manors, FL 33305 OR EMAIL:


April 26 , 2010 •

D’Anne Witkowski

Traditional Values Coalition Lies About ENDA


id you hear the news? Nancy Pelosi wants you to have sex with your dog. And President Obama wants you to do it with your underage cousin for money. It’s all right there in the fine print of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. Or at least the version the Traditional Values Coalition made up. It’s no surprise, of course, that a bill that would make it illegal to fire someone just because they’re gay is something TVC would not want to see passed. They are, after all, committed to portraying LGBT folks as depraved monsters. And so they’re going balls-out against ENDA. On April 8, the TVC plead for donations online by declaring that ENDA “normalizes and provides special federal protection for 30+ bizarre sexual orientations listed by the American Psychiatric Association—the so-

called ‘Dirty 30.’ These 30+ fetishes include behaviors that are felonies or misdemeanors in most states (including) such bizarre criminal acts as incest, pedophilia, prostitution, beastiality and cross-dressing. If we don’t act today, Obama and Pelosi will normalize these disorders by federal law on April 21!” I can see it now: TVC readers yelling, “Holy mackerel, Honey, get the credit card! I knew Obama was the anti-Christ, but this is too horrible for words!” And it would be. If any of it were true. TVC is blatantly lying about ENDA and they took a quote by Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) completely out of context to come up with their federal protections for the “Dirty 30” bullshit. According to TVC, “In a moment of candor, liberal Rep. Alcee Hastings openly admitted on the House floor that the ‘Dirty 30’ would be covered by federal law. In fact, he wants the

Susan Estrich

What’s Wrong with Arizona?


ver the weekend, Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony joined in on the attack against the new law passed by the Arizona legislature to expand police powers to arrest and deport illegal immigrants. The law basically makes it a crime to be an undocumented alien. If that doesn’t sound like an inherently controversial proposition, believe me, it will by the time it gets to court. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican, is still deciding whether to sign the bill. If it becomes law, it is certain to keep lawyers and judges busy, if no one else. [At press time, the Bill was signed into law.] The obvious danger is that it will be an invitation to racial profiling, to stops based solely on appearance and to punishment for the status of being undocumented rather than for the act of entering the country illegally. Unbridled discretion to stop, detain and punish people for their status is almost the definition of that which due process condemns.

Even so, it seems to me that Mahony’s strident criticism is unfair to the angry, frightened and frustrated citizens who live in fear of the violence that illegal immigration is bringing to the border. It only contributes to the very kind of polarization he condemns. Calling the bill “the country’s most retrogressive, mean-spirited and useless anti-immigrant law,” Mahony wrote on Sunday that the “tragedy of the law is its totally flawed reasoning: that immigrants come to our country to rob, plunder and consume public resources. That is not only false, the premise is nonsense.” Most immigrants come to this country for the same reasons my grandparents did: in the hopes of finding opportunity and freedom, because they want a better life for themselves and their children and are brave enough and desperate enough to face huge obstacles and great dangers in their quest for that. They do not come to rob, plunder and consume public resources; they come

Dirty 30 to be given special protection! In his own words: ‘all of these philias and fetishes and isms that were put forward—need not live in fear because of who they are.’” TVC makes it sound like Hastings quite recently celebrated all the perverts in the world who would get to be legally pervy once ENDA is passed. Not so. In reality, the quote is from last year when Hastings read a proposed amendment to the hate crimes bill out loud on the House floor. The amendment included a slew of sexual “isms” and such including old standbys like pedophilia and incest, as well as lesser knowns like gerontosexuality and autogynephilia. Hastings was by no means endorsing the list, as TVC claims. He was, in fact, pissed off about the amendment and wanted to enter the ridiculousness of it into the record. He did not ramble off a list of sexual proclivities and declare them free at last. What he actually said was, “This bill addresses our resolve to end violence based on prejudice, and to guarantee that all Americans, regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability—or all of these

philias and fetishes and isms that were put forward—need not live in fear because of who they are.” Granted some of the “philias and fetishes and isms that were put forward” are illegal. And should be illegal. Hastings may be guilty of clumsy speech. But he has not advocated federal protections for child molesters. But that’s all LGBT folks are to groups like TVC. And they want their members to be scared shitless that some tranny child rapist is going to teach their son or daughter’s kindergarten class once ENDA passes. “If Obama, Pelosi, Hastings and the Congressional Democrats pass ENDA, co-workers will be forced to work alongside individuals with these bizarre sex fetishes,” TVC claims. Look TVC folks, sex fetishes aren’t necessarily “bizarre” and they aren’t limited to homos. You are probably already working with these people. And some of them even go to your church.

to work and to contribute. The same, however, is not true of the smugglers, the coyotes who prey upon the desperate and use violence as their way of doing business—that business being trafficking in people, drugs and weapons, leaving citizens in border towns rightly frightened and desperate. Bad times produce bad laws. The problem is not the premise of the law, but the desperation that has state officials and decent citizens searching for equally desperate solutions. Talk to decent people in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, as well as California, where

I live, and you don’t hear them railing against people consuming public resources. When California Republican gubernatorial candidate Steve Poizner recently proposed that undocumented children be kicked out of school, the move was seen by almost everyone—including his opponent Meg Whitman, who is way ahead of him—as an act of desperation, proof that his candidacy is floundering. What was once seen as a winning strategy in political terms is now rightly recognized as a loser in both the courts of law and public opinion. The federal government is supposed to secure the border. Its failure to do so effectively not only invites measures like Arizona’s, but complicates—if not dooms—the prospect of immigration reform at the national level. In the final analysis, the greatest threat to the rule of law is the lawlessness that leaves both desperate immigrants and desperate citizens vulnerable and afraid. Rather than condemning each other, we need to find ways to secure the border that are consistent with the values and security we all came to this country hoping to find.

D’Anne Witkowski has been gay for pay since 2003. She’s a freelance writer and poet (believe it!). When she’s not taking on the creeps of the world she reviews rock and roll shows in Detroit with her twin sister.

To find out more about Susan Estrich and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at


April 26 , 2010 •


April 26 , 2010 •

Ex-Gay Panel Starring Ex-Con at FSU Flops By A. Sebastian Fortino


n Tuesday, April 20 Florida State University hosted a seminar entitled ‘All God’s Children: LGBTQ Members of Faith & the Ex-Gay Movement’. The event was organized by the campus’ Pride group, and Seminole Christian Life. The latter is described as a “very conservative Christian student body.” One of the guest speakers was none other than the infamous Arthur Abba Goldberg, a founding member of JONAH, Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality. Goldberg, of course, was the man exposed by SFGN in February, for having been convicted of committing fraud in connection with a $52 billion municipal bond scam. He served time in jail, and eventually embraced heterosexuality and Orthodox Judaism, resurrecting himself as a leader of the ex gay movement. Kim van der Linde, evolutionary biologist and doctoral fellow at FSU, also attended. Originally from the Netherlands, she is astonished by American’s tug-of-war with religion and LGBT issues. “First of all it was incredibly stupid of Pride to provide a platform to these people,” she stated. “As expected they deliberately distorted what we know about homosexuality, and claimed there’s no genetic component.” Van der Linde summed up their claims in

The affable Cantor Greenblatt

a word beginning with “bull” and ending in “it.” There was a “sh” in between the two. As a biologist she knows which gene to manipulate in order to make flies court the same sex. LGBT-supportive panelists were Rev. Mark Byrd, of Gentle Shepard MCC, Winston-Salem, NC and Cantor Tanya Greenblatt of Temple Israel, Tallahassee who has been involved with the university in terms of scriptural groups. Frank Carrasco and Christine Sneeringer of Exodus International, represented ex-gays along with Arthur Goldberg. “I replied we were an uneven match for them, because we had two educated religious and they had three lay people,” Greenblatt added. “Goldberg used his time to promote himself, his new book, and how he wanted to make more appearances speaking. It was all thinly veiled self-promotion and in terms of the Jewish perspective and the Law, he doesn’t know his stuff.” In turn, she didn’t know Goldberg. “I skimmed SFGN’s article about Goldberg, and learned enough. I heard of the ex-gay movement but never took it seriously.” Goldberg contended that Orthodox Judaism is the most mainstream form of the faith. “This isn’t true. As far as affiliation goes Reformed is the mainstream. He also shook my hand. I didn’t extend mine when we met because an observant Orthodox Jewish man will not shake hands with a woman other than his wife. It made it difficult to take anything he said about Judaism seriously,” Greenblatt added. The event wasn’t successful. Both van der Linde and the Cantor felt attendees were not swayed one way or other, defeating a panel’s purpose. Yet, while he wasn’t successful at FSU, Goldberg could be problematic. As one student said, “A person who can sway people out of millions can convince people that they can change their sexuality.” On April 25 Goldberg will again appear with JONAH in Manhattan. The invitation promises to comply with kosher diets. coyly states “Well, at least it’s good to know there are still some laws observed by Goldberg.”

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott

Texas Court Hears State’s Appeal in Gay Divorce By Jamie Stengle, AP


lawyer for a Dallas man trying to divorce the man he married in Massachusetts told a Texas appeals court Wednesday that his client is entitled to a divorce because he had a valid marriage. But the Texas Attorney General’s Office argued before the three-judge 5th Texas Court of Appeals panel that the marriage isn’t recognized by Texas, so they cannot get a divorce. Jimmy Blacklock, an assistant Texas solicitor general, said the men’s union can only be voided. “The parties lack standing to file a divorce case because they’re not married,” he said. The Dallas men wed in 2006 in Massachusetts, where gay marriage is legal, and separated two years later. Attorney General Greg Abbott appealed a Dallas state district judge’s ruling in October that granted a divorce to the men and said the state’s same-sex marriage ban violates equal rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. Abbott is also appealing an Austin judge’s ruling this spring that granted a divorce to two women married in Massachusetts. Jody Scheske, who represents the Dallas man listed in court records only as J.B., said his client doesn’t want to overturn the state’s marriage ban, but only wants to end

his own marriage. “He is not seeking to enter into a samesex marriage; he’s seeking to end a marriage that was valid,” Scheske said. “The trial courts have the right to hear divorce cases from people who have valid marriages,” he said. Blacklock told the judges that the state’s ban on gay marriage doesn’t violate the Constitution and asked them to confirm that voidance is the correct way to dissolve a same-sex union. “Voidance is the remedy Texas has long provided to dissolve a void marriage,” he said. Scheske said voidance isn’t applicable to his client because he has a valid marriage. And, he said, the constitutional issues only arose in the case after Abbott tried to intervene. The judge did not allow the intervention, so Abbott appealed. “My client’s very private matter has become a public spectacle,” Scheske said. The court did not give a time frame for a ruling in the case. In 2004, Massachusetts became the first state to let same-sex couples get married. Now Connecticut, Iowa, New Hampshire, Vermont and the District of Columbia also allow them. Gay and lesbian couples who turn to the courts when they break up are getting mixed results across the nation. A Pennsylvania judge last month refused to divorce two women who married in Massachusetts, while New York grants such divorces even though the state doesn’t allow same-sex marriage. Hiram Sasser, an attorney for the conservative Liberty Institute in Plano, told the court that the issue of same-sex marriage should be determined by the people. And he said Texans have already spoken on the issue. In 2005, Texas voters passed a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage by a 3-to-1 margin even though state law already prohibited it. Liberty Institute had filed a friend-of-thecourt brief to the appeals court on behalf of the two Republican state lawmakers who co-sponsored the amendment banning gay marriage: state Rep. Warren Chisum and former state Sen. Todd Staples. Attorney Peter Schulte, who also represents J.B., said J.B. and his partner, known in court filings as H.B., had an amicable separation, with no disputes on separation of property and no children involved. He said the couple simply wants an official divorce. “But for the actions of the attorney general,” Scheske told the court, “my client would already be divorced and there would be one less same-sex marriage in Texas.”


April 26 , 2010 •

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April 26 , 2010 •

Legal News

Gay Law Group Sues Gay Softball Group for Bias Against Bisexuals By Lisa Keen

Keen News Service


n what may be a legal first, a national gay legal group has filed suit against a national gay sports group for discriminating based on sexual orientation— against straights and bisexuals. The lawsuit, filed in a federal district court, alleges that the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Association (NAGAAA) violates the Washington State law against sexual orientation discrimination in public accommodations. It says the group did so by imposing a rule that teams participating in the 2008 Gay Softball World Series could have no more than two heterosexuals per team. Shannon Minter, legal director for NCLR, said NCLR has “tried very hard” to settle this case and have NAGAAA change its policy, but to no avail. “We are still hopeful that NAGAAA will agree to change the policy, as that is our goal here,” said Minter. “We strongly support LGBT sporting leagues, but the best practice, and the only lawful one, is not to exclude players based on their sexual orientation.” NCLR is representing three men who played on a San Francisco team competing in the World Series in Seattle, each of whom was asked “intrusive questions about his sexual orientation and his private life in front of a room of over 25 people.” “The players were forced to answer whether they were ‘predominantly attracted to men’ or ‘predominantly attracted to women,’ without the option of answering that they were attracted to both,” according to the complaint. “After each player was interrogated, a panel voted on whether he was ‘gay’ or ‘non-gay.’” NCLR said the NAGAAA panel voted that none of the three were gay. All three were men of color. NCLR said the panel also took votes on the sexual orientation of two other male players from the same team who were white. The panel voted that both those players were gay. “NAGAAA’s committee refused to en-

tertain the idea that the players could be bisexual,” said NCLR. “In response to a player’s statement that he was attracted to both men and women, a NAGAAA member responded, ‘This is the Gay World Series, not the Bisexual World Series.’” “It damages our community to conduct witch hunts and to exclude people from playing in a sports league for not being ‘gay enough’,” said NCLR Sports Project Director Helen Carroll. “We wouldn’t accept this kind of treatment from a non-LGBT sports organization and we shouldn’t do it to ourselves.” The three plaintiffs in the lawsuit—Steven Apilado, Laron Charles, and Jon Russ—are all bisexual. The public accommodations identified are municipal playing fields reserved by NAGAAA for its 2008 softball world series in Seattle. The complaint also alleges NAGAAA treated the plaintiffs differently because of their race and national origin. Minter said the case was filed in federal

court because the plaintiffs and the defendants are from different states. NAGAAA, a non-profit organization incorporated in Wisconsin, did not respond to a request for comment. The NAGAAA’s “Instruments of Governance” states that a “maximum of two heterosexual players” are permitted on each team’s roster and that teams who violate this rule may be disqualified from play or be made to forfeit all games, be fined $100, have its manager suspended, and have the heterosexual player permanently suspended from play. The word “bisexual” does not appear in the policy. The only mention of “sexual orientation” in the policy comes under a statement of the group’s purpose: “To be a nonprofit organization dedicated to the promotion of amateur sports competition, particularly softball, for all

persons regardless of age, sexual orientation or preference, with special emphasis on the participation of members of the Gay Community….” The NCLR complaint notes that it was a team from Atlanta–called the “Mudcats”— that challenged the membership of the San Francisco team–the D2—at the 2008 series. The Mudcats raised their complaints after losing to D2 in the series’ semi-final game and during D2’s championship game with a Los Angeles team but the game was allowed to finish. After D2 lost the game, the NAGAAA organizers held a “hearing” to determine whether five players on D2 were gay or non-gay. Responses by one player indicating he was bisexual were disregarded. Although one black player and one white player gave nearly identical responses to the questions, only the black player was voted to be disqualified. Florida had ten teams in last year’s world series. The 2010 Gay World Series is slated to take place in Columbus, Ohio, in August. The lawsuit, Apilado v. NAGAAA, has been filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington.

NAGAAA’s Response


t its core, NAGAAA is a grass roots organization dedicated to providing a safe environment for gays and lesbians. We have no paid staff; we do not have large sums of money, nor a pool of talented lawyers. It saddens all of us that the NCLR, whom we view as members of our community, have chosen this destructive path. NAGAAA represents a diverse population, and as such there are legitimate differences of opinion among us. However, the action by the NCLR has forced these differences into the court system, rather than allowing our members the right to define who and what we are. One thing is clear, if NCLR is successful, the enormous monetary damages they seek will put our very existence in jeopardy. Regardless of the outcome, everyone loses here. There are no winners We are just at the beginning of this difficult saga. The Board is committed to representing our organization to the best of our abilities. We are guided by the framework of our organizational charter, as written by you, our members. We commit to keeping you informed as this process continues. We believe that once the facts are discovered a very different story emerges from that which has been reported, and we hope that NCLR will join with us.”


April 26 , 2010 •


April 26 , 2010 •

Melissa Etheridge Fierce and Fearless

Inside the rock legend’s life now— her personal awakening and how it’s changed everything By Chris Azzopardi


f Melissa Etheridge’s music has seemed mellow lately, she’s about to show you. Back to her rock-out roots, the tough-and-gruff musician/mother/activist makes a roaring return with the uplifting Fearless Love, her follow-up to 2007’s sociopolitical-powered The Awakening. We spoke with Etheridge, who not only discussed surviving cancer during the last decade and the life lessons she learned in the process, but also how she’s embracing change—a new sound, touring band and the return of those hot, long locks.

Interview on Page 24



April 26 , 2010 •

Eyes Wide Open

Thursday, April 29, 7:15 p.m. Regal 17 I don’t know many Through Sunday, May 2 American gays who Locations throughout the area can’t quote the For tickets and more information: infamous Bible verse from Leviticus that has been used as the basis for hate and intolerance in the name of God. But, Christians aren’t the only gays By J.W. Arnold and lesbians who must reconcile their faith with their sexuality. he 2010 Miami Gay and Lesbian Eyes Wide Open tells the story of Aaron, Film Festival is underway and this a married Orthodox Jew who recently year, the festival’s programmers have put together a diverse array of dramas, lost his father. He hires a handsome young drifter, Ezri, to work in the butcher shop comedies and documentaries to appeal to he inherited. From the first moment the South Florida’s equally diverse LGBT community. Here are mini reviews of seven films two meet, there is a riveting chemistry that from the festival’s more than 50 selections: pervades the film. As they navigate their pious, gender-segregated religious world in Jerusalem, the attraction becomes stronger. Stonewall Uprising Despite the warnings of rabbis who have Tuesday, April 27, 7:15 p.m. “heard” things about Ezri, Aaron finally subRegal 17 mits to his secret yearnings and must then reconcile his actions with the life he has built with his wife and children. There is very little dialogue, a good thing when subtitles are required, but the characters communicate in much deeper ways.This film is beautifully shot and well paced, and undoubtedly one of the best films in the festival.

Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival

Out in the Silence Saturday, May 1, 4 p.m. FIU North Campus Like so many young gay people, Joe Wilson left his small rural Pennsylvania hometown in search of a place to expand his horizons and explore his sexuality. He ended up in Washington, DC and indeed found love. After placing a wedding announcement in his hometown paper, a firestorm erupted in Oil City over gay rights and marriage that would confound him. Among the piles of hate mail, Wilson received a letter from the mother of a gay teen who also struggles with his sexuality in Oil City. Out in the Silence is the result of a trip back to that town with his partner and cofilmmaker Dean Hamer to meet the young man and dig deeper into the attitudes that are so prevalent among the residents. Many viewers will immediately identify with Wilson and his subject, C.J.Yes, society has become much more tolerant, but not everywhere and not at the same pace.

Blaine finally meets the man of his dreams online, he sets off a wacky chain of events by emailing him Cameron’s sexy picture. Directed by Miami native, J.C. Calciano, this film is good silly fun, providing a nice alternative to the many strong dramas and documentaries featured in this year’s festival.

Leading Ladies

College Boys Live

Is it Just Me?

Saturday, May 1, 9:15 p.m. Tower Okay, think “Strictly Ballroom” on crystal meth. With dancing legend Melanie LePatin starring as an overbearing “stage mother,” the Campari sisters live to dance—Tasi as a moderately-talented competitor on the local ballroom circuit and Toni as the stand-in for Tasi’s partner, flamboyant Cedric (played by So You Think You Can Dance winner Benji Schwimmer). An unexpected pregnancy throws a wrench in Tasi’s dreams of victory, but a lesbian twist sends Toni onto the floor to give the performance of her lifetime. LePatin may have been able to dance, but on screen she’s more like a nightmarish Mama Rose, while Schwimmer (who is straight) offers a breakout performance.The story is predictable, but more than compensated by the marvelous dance sequences throughout the film—there’s even a gay sock-hop.

Friday, April 30, 10:15 p.m. FIU North Campus This docu­mentary about the residents of a “web cam” house might be the ultimate voyeuristic experience.Viewers are introduced to Zac, the aging owner of College Boys Live and housemother, as well as his partner Jonathan and a handful of the mostly 18-20 year olds who reside in the central Florida house for free—well, in exchange for agreeing to allow their every moves be followed by Internet “fans” around the world. Oh, and did I mention that every mandatory two-hour chat session, must include 30 minutes in underwear or less? As can be expected, some of the boys— none of whom are actually college students— suffer from low self-esteem, broken home lives and addiction issues. My favorite is Charlie, the subscriber who uses the site as an outlet to

Saturday, May 1, 8 p.m. FIU North Campus

The Adults in the Room

So often, gay and lesbian film festivals get hung up on the same old “coming out” stories told by student filmmakers with their final film school project.You know the story: the awkward young gay kid falls for the high school jock, only to discover he too is gay and they share a romantic kiss under the stars. Well, Is It Just Me? isn’t that kind of film. It’s a silly comedy about Blaine and Cameron, two Los Angeles roommates. Blaine is brainy, even a bit nerdy, and certainly not selfconfident when it comes to men. He dreams of settling down with a husband in a nice house in the suburbs, complete with a white picket fence, and doesn’t want to settle for less. Cameron is a buff exotic dancer who will jump into bed at any opportunity. When

Sunday, May 2, 3:30 p.m. Tower This film is obviously a cathartic experience for filmmaker Andy Blubaugh, who had a secret sexual relationship with a 30-year-old man when he was just 15. But, what makes it interesting is that it really is a film-within-a-film, kind of like the “making of” documentaries that are now standard on DVD releases. Dramatizations from his film are woven throughout as Blubaugh discusses the motivations of his characters, casts actors and unsuccessfully attempts to get “Peter,” his former lover to read the script and comment. All the while, this well-conceived and produced film forces viewers to confront and question the rules society has set for sexual relationships.


What’s a gay and lesbian film festival without the token documentary about the seminal event of the gay rights movement? Well, this is no ordinary documentary. While there have been many accounts of the Stonewall riots, this documentary by Kate Davis and David Heilbroner spends a significant amount of time setting the stage for the uprising—utilizing homophobic public service announcements, amazing archival footage, interviews with police officers who took part and a shocking scene from a presentation at an elementary school in Miami that aired on WTVJ. We’ve lost most of the generation that lived with the societal and legal oppression that led to the riots, but Stonewall Uprising will certainly provide new perspectives to younger generations who cannot imagine those conditions. Without a doubt, this film will become the definitive account and should not be missed.

explore his own feelings about homosexuality and then later moves to Florida to become a frequent “guest” at the house.


April 26 , 2010 •

Fundraising Event

Dining Out for Life By Joey Amato

Galanga is one of only a few Broward County restaurants participating. General Manager Edi Mulyanto calls Dining Out For ining Out For Life is an international Life, “A special program that we have been fundraising event benefitting Care glad to be involved with for five years. Our Resource, South Florida’s oldest and largest HIV/AIDS service organization. On April 29th, customers appreciate that we support the cause and they come back year after year beover two-dozen local restaurants, bars and cause they want to support it too.” Mulyanto lounges will donate 25% of the day’s sales adds, “I hope that in whatever way possible, to the organization. In exchange for their financial support, restaurants are promoted in the restaurant’s contribution makes a difference in the lives of people affected with HIV.” an effort to increase customer traffic. This is the fifth year that Care Resource will Dining Out For Life was created in be the beneficiary of the event, which is co1991by an ActionAIDS volunteer in hosted by Miami New Times and New Times Philadelphia and is now held in 55 cities Broward/Palm Beach.The beneficiary, Care throughout North America. Bernie Matz, Executive Chef at the Café at Resource, provides outpatient medical, dental, Books & Books in South Beach has been in- and psychosocial services, case management, volved with Dining Out For Life for the past drug trials, a food bank and home-delivered groceries/meals for homebound patients. six years. “We like to do whatever we can to support the community. Care Resource is a great organization and we also donate to For more details and a list of participants, visit their annual White Party event at Vizcaya.”




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April 26 , 2010 •

Melissa Etheridge: The Interview By Chris Azzopardi How does it feel to have the long hair back?

I watered it every day, and it grew! It was a big part of me. I really wasn’t aware how big a part. I’m not used to seeing you as glammedup as you’ve been in some recent photos. What’s up with all the make-up?

You know, it’s something I think I’ve grown into. At 48, I need all the help I can get (laughs). After all you’ve been through this past decade, what place are you in now?

That was an intense decade! But everything that happened makes me stronger, makes me understand that this is what life is.You are presented with these issues, but you learn and you grow and you move on. Life is rich and full, and nothing’s going to kill you.You just keep moving forward—and it gets sweeter. So this is an extension of The Awakening?

This is the next step. I had to do The Awakening to present and be upfront about the things that were happening inside of me, the spiritual side of me. The awakening part of me is understanding and going through cancer and saying, “Whoa! Life is a lot different. Life is not what it seems.” That album was important to put out so people—myself and my fans—would know what path I was on, and then after it seemed so clear that it was time to gather up all that strength. I was knocked down and it was time to pull the parts of me together that I knew were there in this confidence and in this clarity that I have now and shoot it through that rock ‘n’ roll gift that I’ve been given. “Life is not what it seems”—that’s a line from the closing track, “Gently We Row.” How has that been true in your own life?

all-encompassing, it’s every breath I take, it’s every moment I live. I am a mother to four chilThat’s what came dren, and to me. That’s where I don’t go I got to going to sleep at through cancer and night until coming out. I know Life doesn’t hapwhere pen to us.We are all four creating this, and we are and have more power how they are. It makes me a better person, than it seems.This can happen to you, but your perception of what it is creates what it is. it makes me more loving, compassionate, You have a choice in how your life affects you. patient—patience is ... definitely required (laughs), or you’ll just get eaten up alive. That’s mostly what I want to convey through They teach me every day about myself. They my music. are these beautiful little mirrors, and I want Did it take you a long time to realize that? to be the best person I can be for them. I got the crash course in it with chemotherapy because I laid there day after Speaking of the kids, there was an epiday, week after week, and had nothing. No sode of Kathy Griffin’s My Life on the television. No books. I couldn’t even read; it D-List that aired last year where she was hurt to read. in your house, seeking tips on becoming It was just day after day with myself, until an activist. What was that like? my mind—our minds are so busy setting Kathy Griffin’s awesome. She’s on a things up in the future and worrying about journey of her own, coming from the place the past—ran out of things to think about. of being on the D-list, and then she turned And it just stopped. When that happens herself A-list.You see it’s not a place you there’s this beautiful spirit that’s behind that get to; it’s about how you feel inside about that really is in charge of what’s happening. yourself. Her activism, her caring and her journey are very inspiring. And she’s super talented, too. Also on “Gently We Row,” I noticed the

because it’s different and crazy and I love it. John called me up and said, “Hey, guess who was across the hall recording—Joss Stone!” She just sang on it.Then, like a week later, he said, “Hey, Natasha Bedingfield’s coming in and I’m going to play her this song. I think she’s going to sing on it.” So he worked with her.That’s what he can do, because he’s John Shanks.

parallels between your mother raising you

This album seems to reach back to your

When did you know you had “Fearless Love”?

The way that I’m looking at it is that it’s about my own fearless love. I need to love fearlessly, and that starts with myself. That’s been the journey in the last five years. Have you seen Crystal Bowersox on American Idol this season?

I have! And my kids love her. The first time they saw her, they paused it—because I only let them watch it on the weekend on TiVo—and came running into the kitchen. They said, “Mom, come here!” They had paused it on the shot of her guitar and they said, “Is that your signature?” And holy cow, that was my signature. “Miss California,” a song about the state’s ban on gay marriage, is blatantly political. How do you think music and political activism—or activism of any sort— work together?

Music reaches past people’s minds and it goes straight into their spirit, their soul, their body.You can take advantage of that in a way. Music and activism is natural. It’s always been a way through time to bring us closer to the unity we all need to be in.

and you raising your daughter. I thought

What was it like reteaming with pro-

roots. You’re rocking out more like you did

that was so powerful.

ducer John Shanks, who worked on 1999’s

in the ’90s and you have a weary woman

That’s another part of getting older.You realize your parents did shape a lot of what you think and do and feel, yet it’s time to stop blaming them.You can stay there and you can wallow around in that or you can say, “OK, this happened to me and now I make different choices.” And that’s what the song’s about. I’m making different choices for myself and for my children. When you do that, you also heal yourself.


in an isolated room in the “Fearless Love”

He was my guitar player in my first band. We hung out in the ’80s, and we’ve played every hellhole bar. And we’ve also played Madison Square Garden. We’ve been through so much, and he knows what I’m capable of. He knows just how to get the best out of it and how to push me to give my best. He’s like my brother that makes me crazy (laughs). It was really wonderful working with him.

video much like the one for “Come to My

I wanted to reference the children’s song “Row, Row, Row Your Boat,” because that Parenthood actually pops up several times How did the collaboration with Natasha song has all the truth in it that we need. I love on this album. How has it changed you? Bedingfield and Joss Stone on “We Are that we’re taught it as a child. “…Life is but a the Ones” come about? Oh, it’s unbelievable. I just had no idea dream”—that’s all it is. We create it every day. of what being a mother would do. And it’s That’s my favorite track on the album just

Window.” Was that intentional?

Yeah, that’s still a part of me. I’m maturing and I create it differently, but that girl is still me, and so when I get on stage and sing “I’m the Only One,” “Come to My Window” and “Bring Me Some Water”—from over 20 years ago—that’s still me. I might not be going through those experiences in that moment, but they happened to me. So I’m able to reflect on it, remember it, understand it in my life now, still see where that’s happening in my life and rock from that place and feel comfortable now.


April 26 , 2010 •

Dining Review

herbes de Provence, parmesan and feta cheese and a light tomato pesto sauce. Both of us really enjoyed this selection and real 2428 East Sunrise Blvd. ized you can never go wrong with a Seasons At the Galleria Mall 52 flatbread to start a meal. 954-537-1052 Next we sampled the Housemade Sonoma Goat Cheese Ravioli, a large ravioli made with roasted garlic and sweet basil By Joey Amato served in a tomato broth. I was expecting the goat cheese to overpower this dish, but fter living in Orlando for seven it didn’t. The flavors blended together very years, I was very familiar with well. My only suggestion is that one ravioli, Seasons 52, although over that albeit large, should not be shared. time period, I only visited the restaurant Along with our salads, I asked to sample for lunch or the occasional flatbread and cocktails. So I decided to give the restaurant a cup of Shrimp & Clam Cioppino. I was slightly disappointed that the shrimp and a formal review to see if I enjoyed all that they had to offer. My guest and I began with clam flavors were hidden in this dish. I was two wonderful martinis. I chose the Organic expecting them to really shine through, but my guest seemed to enjoy the selection. Sunshine Martini made with orange infused Prairie organic vodka and organic agave nec- However, I was extremely impressed by tor, while Daniel opted for the Pomegranate the Organic Wild Arugula salad, prepared with goat cheese, grilled golden beats and Margarita Martini, a blend of two types of toasted almonds. This is one of the best salPatron and pomegranate juice. I found my ads I have tasted in recent memory. It was choice to be a little more refreshing and a hard not to finish the selection. Almost as perfect accompaniment to the starters. enjoyable was the Baby Spinach salad, made Our very knowledgeable server recommended that we try the Eggplant Parmesan with raspberries, toasted pine nuts and crumbled goat cheese. This salad was a bit Flatbread. The dish comes prepared with

WHERE: Seasons 52


more difficult to eat because of the size of the spinach leaves. I would definitely recommend the arugula salad over this one. Four entrees, we decided to try two of the Seasonal Specials. First, and coming highly recommended from the chef, was the Grilled Atlantic Swordfish. The entrée was served over stir-fried vegetables with steamed rice and ponzu glaze. This dish, as the chef hinted, was delightful. The fish was perfectly cooked and the vegetables were

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prepared al dente. The ponzu glaze complimented both the fish and vegetables very nicely. Second was the WoodRoasted Veal Tenderloin with sundried tomato orzo, roasted garlic, sweet basil and shallotDijon sauce.This dish was also very good, although I favored the swordfish a bit more.The veal was cooked medium rare, much to our liking, and I really enjoyed the orzo that accompanied this dish. Now it was time for Season 52’s grand finale, the dessert tray. Having both been here before, we decided to try two selections we hadn’t tried in the past. I chose the Pecan Pie with Vanilla Mousse and Daniel opted for the Mocha Macchiato. Needless to say, you can never go wrong with a dessert from Seasons. Both selections were amazing, especially when enjoyed with a glass of Fonseca Vintage Port. Overall our dining experience was very enjoyable and I learned that Seasons 52 isn’t just a place for lunch.


April 26 , 2010 •


roadSword Sixteen years ago, the Jersey band BroadSword broke up. Now their lead guitarist has ivergone missing. dance What the hell The thunderhappened to ous celebration Richie and of Irish music, who’s the song and dance strange man that has tapped with the disits way onto turbing news? the world stage BroadSword thrilling millions is all about of people around myths, music, the globe, will fantasy and play five Farewell R iverdance heavy metal Performances at deals with the devil. Get ready for the rethe Broward Center. Discover why nothunion of the year, featuring some of Mad Cat ing in the world compares to The Original International Phenomenon.Whether it’s your Theatre’s hottest actors, including actor and director Paul Tei, Erik Fabregat,Todd Allen first time or your fifth, you won’t want to Durkin, Gregg Weiner, Sofia miss these performances of Citarella and Ken ClemRiverdance! April 30 – May ent. April 29 – May 9 at 2 at the Broward Center the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts. for the Performing Arts. Tickets start at $55. www. Tickets start at $35. www. achel Sage An innovative, imunFest provisational keyboardist, Founded in 1982, performs over 150 dates a SunFest is Florida’s largest year throughout the U.S., waterfront music and art Europe and Asia. A Grand festival. Held annually in Prize-Winner in the downtown West Palm Patti LaBelle John Lennon Songwriting Beach the first week in Contest, Sage has earned a loyal following May, SunFest attracts more than 280,000 for her infectious melodies & poetic lyrics, visitors.The festival and the patrons that it and has shared stages with such artists as attracts have a very positive impact on the Sarah McLachlan, Sheryl Crow, Judy Collins community. SunFest takes place in downand Ani DiFranco. town West Palm Rachel’s songs were Beach along Florida’s included in the recent Intracoastal Watersoundtrack for the way, extending along film “Fame” and she Flagler Drive from recently won two Banyan Boulevard OUTmusic Awards for to Lakeview Avenue. Outstanding Producer Artists scheduled to and Outstanding performing this year Songwriter. April 27 at include: Patti LaBelle, the Broward Center ZZ Top, Sean Kingston, for the Performing the B-52’s and Weezer. Arts.Tickets start at April 28- May 2.Tick$15. www.browardets start at $32. www. ZZ Top




Theatre Feature

the target of a hate crime. Stop Kiss is a fascinating play made up of PLAY: Stop Kiss more than 20 non-linear scenes, beginning WHERE: Empire Stage with their first meeting and then jumping 1140 N. Flagler Dr., Fort Lauderdale to Callie being questioned after the attack, DATES: Runs through May 9 at Empire Stage. which leaves Sara critically injured. The structure adds tension to the story, concurFor more information: 05-443-5909 rently illustrating Callie and Sara’s burgeoning or visit: relationship and the aftermath of their kiss. The structure also requires a lot from the two actresses, who often must switch gears from a comedic scene to a tragic scene with only a minute or so in between. This is especially true for Garcia, who is in almost every scene. Garcia is up to the task, delivering a believable, nuanced performance, balancing Callie’s street smarts with heartbreaking vulnerability. Tabino also turns in solid work as Sara, especially in the way she combines desire and hesitancy when Sara tests the By Mary Damiano romantic waters with Callie. Arts Editor Director Jeffrey D. Holmes wears many hats for this production—he also did the set, he way love can be impacted by light and sound design, and mans the booth hate, and the way love can grow during the show. His work on all fronts and endure despite tragedy, is at is impressive. The lighting is evocative, his the center of Stop Kiss by Diana Son, an music choices enhance the action and his set, engrossing play now enjoying a solid production by new company Infinite Abyss and primarily Callie’s apartment, is organic to the now running through May 9 at Empire Stage character. The only thing that needs improving is the pace, not so much in the scenes in Fort Lauderdale. themselves but in the blackouts, which often Callie (Monica Garcia) is a savvy New go on too long. Yorker who becomes fast friends with Sara Stop Kiss is the debut production from (Danielle Tabino), a recent transplant from Infinite Abyss, founded by Holmes and Erinn St. Louis. Callie has an on-again, off-again Dalton, both longtime members of Sol Theintimate relationship with college chum atre Project, the now-defunct company that George (Todd Bruno), while Sara has left a turned this small, warehouse-style space into fiance (Alejandro Posada) back home. As a venue for provocative theatre nearly 10 the two women bond over restaurants and years ago. Stop Kiss is an impressive debut job frustrations, they each struggle with an for Infinite Abyss, one that honors the legacy unexpected attraction to the other. When of Sol and also holds the promise of great they do finally take a step toward exploring work to come. those feelings through a kiss, they become

Falling in Love

Stop Kiss Extends Its Run at Empire Stage


Scene from Stop Kiss


April 26 , 2010 •

Who Abused Who? Gay Rights Law Firm Battles County By A. Sebastian Fortino


he recent Obama memorandum allowing gay couples visitation rites to partners in hospitals and care facilities came a little too late for Clay Greene, 78, and his partner of 2 decades, Harold Scull, 89. In April of 2008, Scull took a fall down the front steps of their home in Sebastopol, CA. The accident occurred when Scull’s health was beginning to deteriorate and Greene was showing signs of cognitive impairment. The fall has led to a lawsuit being prosecuted by the National Center for Lesbian Rights. It has opened up a vicious debate between angry county officials who suggest they acted out of compassion and Greene’s lawyers who say the county actions constituted gross negligence and false imprisonment of an innocent gay man. Based on allegations that Scull may have actually been the victim of domestic violence, and that all was not so pretty in the home, deputy public guardians stepped in and removed Greene from his stewardship of the property. According to the NCLR suit, the County improvidently revoked Greene’s power of attorney and proceeded to liquidate his assets, auctioning off the possessions the partners had acquired over 20 years together. The suit alleges that no care was given to see whose property belonged to whom, and the county’s actions were violative of

Happier days for Harold and Clay

Greene’s civil rights, which amounted to fraud and a breach of fiduciary duty. The county refused to acknowledge their long term relationship, referring to them in legal documents as ‘roommates.’ The end result of the county’s actions and deeds, was that Greene was removed from his home, and separated from Scull, his partner. Greene was placed in a nursing home against his wishes. The two were unable to see each other, making only limited phone calls over the last 3 months of Scull’s life. While Scull put together a scrapbook of memories for Greene during his final months, before passing away in August of 2008. Clay Greene was never able to see his partner alive again, though all the legal and necessary estate work had been prepared for each to make decisions for the other. The National Center for Lesbian Rights

was contacted by Greene’s attorney and has since mounted a national campaign to bring attention to the gross abuse of human rights in this case. The suit has now been filed. “We see a lot of tragic cases but this is really one of the worst things we have seen, on a level that we don’t see very often,” said Melanie Rowen, an attorney with NCLR handling the case. “This is a case where Greene and Scull had taken the precautions of appointing each other with power of attorney over financial and medical decisions. Here the county went outside the bounds of law. They wanted control over Howard Scull’s estate and did so by filing action that overruled Greene’s power of attorney.” “I think tragically it’s a problem of the way aging works in the U.S.,” added Row-

en. “Greene didn’t need to be in a care facility and although traumatized, his attorney Anne Dennis of Santa Rosa made it clear that none of this needed to happen. Currently he is living on his own in an apartment in Guerneville, Sonoma, CA.” However, the Deputy County Counsel of Sonoma County counters NCLR and Greene’s position, implying domestic abuse. Joshua A. Myers contends they were within their rights. They are firing back. “Mr. Greene’s domestic violence against Mr. Scull has been independently verified during the course of litigation, including reports of witnesses who tended to Mr. Scull following his hospitalization. While criminal charges were not filed that does not mean there was no domestic violence. In order to file criminal charges, there must be proof beyond a reasonable doubt, which is the highest standard known in the law.” The case has been set for a July trial in a California courtroom. It could prove to be a landmark case of abuse against elderly gay partners, or the county may have uncovered a stunning case of domestic elder abuse. Time will tell.

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April 26 , 2010 •

Heard it on...

By the Nite Owl AUSTRALIA’S DNA TURNS 10 DNA, one of the world’s hottest model magazines, turned 10 this month. As with all issues #121, celebrating their anniversary, counts diversified subjects such as British rocker Mika, a preview of Sydney Mardi Gras, and articles on gay or homoerotic art among their features. In addition to this the magazine features men. Of course we must mention the hot, sexy, men showing off their bums—which

are not all Aussie—in the photo shoots. What really sets DNA apart from other magazines of this type is the diversity of content and the guys. This is in terms of differences in age, build, and look as well as location. Pics of a salt and pepper hunk photographed on Sardinian sands, and a

lithe model depicted against Manhattan backdrops make the magazine stand out. Miamibased model Levi Poulter was featured in issue #90 a few years ago, he was shot by David Vance who has since had other covers featured on DNA. That you can also read about Mr. Gay China, surviving religious extremism in the mid-East, and pick up a few fashion and gym tips make this guilty pleasure magazine feel like a “real” publication that just happens to have some hotties dominate several pages. The quality of the magazine never ceases to surprise devotees. Unsurprisingly, DNA counts over 130,000 readers among their international circulation. At $10.99 per issue though it might be better to commit to a 12-month subscription for $119.00, which gets you other goodies. Besides being… stimulated by the hot, international models, you can impress your friends by telling them you read an “international publication.” Impress them further by claiming you’re

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Agents with the Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco arrested 1,092 people for underage drinking during statewide spring break enforcement efforts. Vacationers flocked to Florida’s beaches during the month of March, and ABT agents patrolled spring break hot spots including, Panama City, Daytona, Melbourne, Ft. Lauderdale, Ft. Myers, Orlando, Jacksonville and Miami, to protect underage youth from the dangers of alcohol consumption. ABT agents arrested 39 for selling or giving alcoholic beverages to the underage, 50 for providing false identification to a law enforcement officer, and four for narcotics. “Considering the thousands of students who traveled to Florida during this threeweek period, we increased efforts to stop underage drinking during this time. I am proud of our ABT agents who helped protect underage Floridians and visitors,” said Interim Secretary Charlie Liem.


April 26 , 2010 •

Gold Coast Protester Joins Choi in White House Demonstration

By A. Sebastian Fortino


f the 6 servicemen and women who were arrested on Tuesday, April 20 after chaining themselves to the White House fence protesting Obama’s lack of expediency in overturning DADT one of them is a Florida native. Fort Lauderdale resident, Larry Whitt, Petty Officer, First Class, and member of AVER, American Veterans for Equal Rights is a distinguished, decorated soldier. Whitt even worked for the Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff at the Pentagon from 1975 to 79. Whitt enlisted in 1970 and served through 1982, at which time he left the service. “My kid brother was turned in by his ex-lover, so when he turned him in he mentioned my name. Rather than wait to be summoned and dishonorably discharged I turned myself in. I told them I was gay,” Whitt recounted. This was something Officer Whitt did not wish to do, as he chose the military with the intention of serving for at least 20 years as a career. Recently, he befriended Army Lt. Dan Choi on Facebook. Soon after Choi’s initial arrest, Whitt contacted him. “I said to him, next time you do something like that call me up and let me know,” Whitt said proudly. “He asked me if I was a serious enough activist, and reminded me it could get me arrested. I told him absolutely, I was serious enough to risk arrest. We made plans for my trip up to DC soon after.” The reason for the second staged protest at the White House is to educate a vast

majority of the country about the fact that the repeal of DADT is not a “done deal.” Obama will soon sign off on the annual Defense Authorization Bill, outlining military expenditure. “We need to have everyone write Obama requesting the repeal of DADT is put into that bill. As it is now there are enough votes to repeal it in DC. If he does it now DADT will end in 2010. He is wavering though, holding onto it. He keeps saying he’s with you, with us, working on it, but he has to put it into writing in order to make it happen.” Choi, Whitt, Mara Boyd a cadet at the US Airforce Base in Boulder, CO, Jim Pierangelo, Army Captain, transgendered Autumn Sandeen, First Class Navy Petty Officer, and Evyln Thomas, US Marine Corps Corporal were arrested after being told three times to unchain themselves from the fence by Metropolitan Park Police. The MPP are in charge of everything from caretaking the White House lawn to removing protestors engaging in disruptive behavior. As part of the release report the government requests that they stay away from the White House grounds and surrounding areas. This request also includes that they do not congregate in Lafayette Park, across the street from the executive mansion, where it is legal to gather and protest. The charges against them amount to a misdemeanor. Of the arrest Whitt tells SFGN that the MPP verbally abused them, and physically abused them via the ride to jail. “When they took us to the main cell block of the DC jail in the paddy wagon,

the driver was going as fast as he could, taking corners, and hitting breaks which tossed everyone around in the back. We were all handcuffed, we couldn’t brace ourselves. We were arrested at 12:50 Tuesday afternoon and weren’t released until 2:30 on Thursday afternoon. They made it a game,” Whitt reports. “They lost paperwork to stall our release.” Of the verbal abuse: MPP officers referred to transgender Autumn Sandeen as a “shim,” “he-she,” and an “it.” Statements like, “Oh, I didn’t know Popeye was gay,” and, “Oh, we got a fag Popeye” were audible to the detainees. Despite the above, sadly expected jeers, Whitt reports the experience was liberating. He is proud to have served this cause as proudly as he served in the Philippines, at the close of US involvement in the Vietnam

war, when he assisted transporting soldiers back home. “All of the people are wonderful and well-connected in politics. One member used to work for Bill Clinton’s White House. They have promised to keep up these actions until Obama puts some teeth into that bill to get it passed. Our main goal is to let everyone know they must write Obama if they want equality. Petitions are fine and good but he needs— we need to let him know—to act now,” Whitt added passionately. “As SFGN expressed when we covered Dan Choi’s initial arrest it is time once again for the LGBT community to become vocal activists, not mere sympathizers. Larry Whitt through his courage, patriotism, and desire to serve the community should be counted as a hero,” said SFGN publisher Norm Kent.


April 26 , 2010 •

Archie Comics Introduces First Openly Gay Character By Staff Reports


iverdale’s first openly gay character is set to join Archie and the gang at Pop’s Chocklit Shoppe this fall, the publisher of the venerable comic book has announced. On Sept. 1, the comic Veronica #202 will introduce Kevin Keller, a newcomer who catches the eye of the titular raven-haired beauty and sometimes Archie love interest in the full-issue story Isn’t it Bromantic? According to Archie Comic Publications, “Kevin

Keller is the new hunk in town and Veronica just has to have him... Mayhem and hilarity ensue as Kevin desperately attempts to let Veronica down easy and her flirtations only become increasingly persistent.” “The introduction of Kevin is just about keeping the world of Archie Comics current and inclusive,” Archie Comics co-CEO Jon Goldwater said in an online posting Thursday. “Archie’s hometown of Riverdale has always been a safe world

for everyone. It just makes sense to have an openly gay character in Archie comic books.” The Keller character is part of an overall commitment to stay relevant with today’s teens, the publisher said. Last year, Archie Comic Publications caused a stir with a six-issue storyline that purportedly saw the perennial fence-sitter Archie Andrews finally choose between girlnext-door Betty Cooper and wealthy heiress Veronica Lodge. COURT ESY OF ARCHIE COMIC In the meanS time, Archie is in an interracial relationship: the current issues have him dating Valerie, the bassist from the girl group Josie and the Pussycats.

Kevin arrives in VERONICA #202’s “Isn’t it Bromantic?” this September

April 26 , 2010 •



April 26 , 2010 •

Crossword Puzzle

A Fortunate Homosexual Man

Across 1 Evita portrayer Ackerman 5 George of It’s My Party 10 Get hot under the collar 14 East of Eden brother 15 Butt heads 16 Some have it to grind 17 Historic Stonewall event 18 Jamaican cultist 19 It reveals a drag queen’s thighs 20 Soap with Ricky Martin during the ‘90s 23 Lure into wrongdoing 24 Claim 25 He wrote “Englishman in New York” as a tribute to Quentin Crisp 26 Gal. eighths 29 Cicilline staffers 30 Lid for Barrie 31 Tennis great Navratilova 33 1996 Broadway play with Ricky Martin 38 Obama’s middlen name 39 Caesar’s football squads? 41 Runway walker 44 Gaydar, for example

45 Bounteous 47 Britten’s Billy Budd and Peter Grimes 49 Not straight up 50 Song by Ricky Martin 54 Town in O-o-o-o-oklahoma 55 Like Everett, as a movie husband 56 Club for Sheehan 57 Stiff bristle 58 Peter of Say Uncle 59 Not straight 60 Disney sci-fi flick 61 Where priests come together 62 Puts into service Down 1 Penile boast, perhaps 2 Monopoly avenue 3 Quickie hour, for some 4 Status that George O’Malley had to repeat 5 Recycled metal 6 Jerusalem server 7 Slang for vagina 8 Memo start 9 Tibetan capital 10 Like “all my sisters with me” 11 Came together


12 Get by somehow 13 Gertrude Stein in Paris, and others 21 The Advocate, to detractors 22 Backup strategy 26 Out 27 Kilmer poem 28 “Take it off!” 31 Third notes, to Bernstein 32 Magneto portrayer McKellen 34 Nicollette of Desperate Housewives 35 Disney film set in China 36 Checks out thoroughly 37 Breast enlarging material 40 Curve-cutting lines 41 Harass 42 Donor of two cents 43 Hoffa director 45 One ___ time (no threesomes!) 46 California home of Streisand 48 You don’t want to get pink ones 49 Sat on one’s bottom 51 Every 24 hours 52 Blood line 53 Otello villain Solution on page 34



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April 26 , 2010 •


Q Scopes By Jack Fertig

Be practical, Leo! Retrograde Mercury lining up with the Sun in Taurus leads folks to take their own ideas way too seriously. A semi-square from Jupiter in Pisces makes it worse. Keep a sense of humor about your own assertions and be kind, especially if you have to be critical. ARIES (March 20 – April 19): It’s easy to worry too much or too little about money. Meditation and other quiet times alone will help you get perspective. Helping those who are indeed down and out can also remind you where you really stand.

need to get on the right track. Even if that doesn’t work now, a failed experiment can offer lessons for a new approach later.

VIRGO (August 23 – September 22): It may be impossible to avoid arguing with your partner. Try to keep the subject light or not to take yourself too seriously. Make-up sex or an erotic prize for whoever gets the facts right can also make it more interesting.

Jack Fertig, a professional astrologer since 1977, is available for personal and business consultations in person in San Francisco, or online everywhere. He can be reached at 415864-8302, through his Web site at, and by e-mail at

SAGITTARIUS (November 22 – December 20): Most accidents happen around the home. Be TAURUS (April 20 – May 20): especially careful of heavy lifting. “Friends” encouraging you to Throwing out old clutter is good. speak up may be laughing behind When in doubt, box those dubiyour back. Be careful to share your ous treasures to reconsider next ideas with people who will tell month. you honestly when you are truly brilliant – or not. Alas, nowadays CAPRICORN (December it’s probably the latter. 21 – January 19): Winning’s not in the cards. Play for funsies and GEMINI (May 21- June 20): you could learn a few new tricks Mediation can lead to brilliant to help you later, or get the latest inspirations, but perhaps they are gossip. Edit any creative projects. not so brilliant as you think. Writ- “Progress” is challenging; cut whating them down and saving them to ever doesn’t work to make room review later is perhaps best. Being for later improvements. discreet, quiet and modest can help you get favorable attention. AQUARIUS (January 20 – February 18): Don’t be scared CANCER (June 21- July 22): to discuss money at home. Even You may not be able to avoid arguments can prove surprisingly arguments, but you can treat them profitable.You may have to admit as a game and don’t take them to some mistake, but you’re sure too seriously. That could seriously to find hidden resources, expenses upset some of your would-be op- you can cut down on or other ponents, so it may be best to make ways to save. diplomatic noises, if you can! PISCES (February 19 – March LEO (July 23 – August 22): Get19): Don’t be afraid of making ting too friendly with authority mistakes, but do admit quickly to figures could seriously backfire. them. That can be an excellent Be practical, businesslike and cirway of getting to the truth of any cumspect. Take any and all criticism matter. Petty frustrations can offer graciously. Unpleasant as it may be, great insights if you can detach and you could learn a lot and improve be self-aware. on old strategies.

LIBRA (September 23 – October 22): A medical check-up now could uncover something that seems very scary in time to deal with it before it gets truly serious. After the full moon (which is on April 28th) is a great time to quit bad habits. SCORPIO (October 23 – November 21): Whatever is wrong with your partnership, sharing some creative fun may be all you

Solution to Crossword Puzzle on page 32


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April 26 , 2010 •

Queeries by Steven Perow Steven Petrow is the author of The Essential Book of Gay Manners & Etiquette. Find him on the web at

Gay Crisis Control Help for drunken groping? Q: Not too long ago my girlfriend and I went to a posh dinner party hosted by my best friend Georgia, also a lesbian, who— truth be told—has a problem with alcohol. Late in the evening, flush with excitement (and wine), Georgia put her hand up my girlfriend’s skirt. GF made a big scene and insisted we leave. We’re both furious, but what should we do? A: Well, what are you furious about most? That your best friend can’t control her impulses? That she accosted your girlfriend publicly? What about that your girlfriend might think you didn’t stand up for her? It’s easiest to wag your finger at Georgia: She violated your girlfriend’s body and your trust (and may well be an alcoholic). I’d suggest either calling or making a coffee date (not a drink date) and telling her how you

feel about what happened that night. I also suggest doing a little asking and listening, however. While I can understand that you’re furious, it sounds like Georgia may need more help than you need retribution. And isn’t that what best friends are for?

As for your girlfriend, she has good reason to be mad at both you and Georgia. Why was it left to her to make the move to leave? I’m sorry to say, but that was really your job and you let her down. Take the initiative and say two of the most difficult words in the English language: “I’m sorry.”

How to live with a closet case? Q: I’m very comfortable with my sexuality, but my partner’s not out to his family or colleagues. It’s driving me crazy. How do we handle the tension? A: I’m wondering whether you mean the tension between the two of you, one out and one closeted, or the tension you feel in the presence of your partner’s family, when you are being asked to lie about your relationship. They are probably somewhat entwined. Your real issue is that your partner, for whatever reason, is not able to be honest with himself or his family. Perhaps it’s his fear of emotional rejection, the threat of financial or professional ruin, or concern that news of his homosexuality would be too much for his parents to accept. But the truth is that because he’s an adult with a partner, it’s time to develop a coming out plan. Life in the closet is difficult enough for the guy in the closet without spreading the burden around by asking others to lie (or cover up) for him. You may want to suggest he contact PFLAG and/or find a therapist to discuss his coming out issues—and offer to support him through the process. In the end, of course, the decision to come out remains a personal one. Either your partner will or he won’t. And you will either stay with him or move on. If he does remain in the closet and you do stay together, by the way, you may find it easier to limit your visits to his family so as to forego the pretense of being a “friend.”



April 26 , 2010 •

Ft. Lauderdale’s New Playground

U s ! W W W. C O Z M O S B A R . C O M

Come Play With

2 6 7 4 E O A K L A N D PA R K B LV D F O RT L A U D E R D A L E , F L 3 3 3 0 6


April 26 , 2010 •


Swimming Gay in South Florida Hammerheads of Fort Lauderdale By Steve Fritz


’m the lucky guy,” Hammerhead team captain John Grzeszczak declares. “I’m the guy who gets to do what he loves. Starting the Hammerheads is the best thing I ever did.” Grzeszczak also has a lot to be proud of. His Ft. Lauderdale-based swim team is not only the largest in the state of Florida, but has also garnered the most records, medals and awards than any other Masters swim team in the U.S., gay or straight. Grzeszcak’s story is like many other swimmers. He was one of those kids who you couldn’t get out of the water. In college he really started to get recognition, breaking a number of ACC records for his alma mater, North Carolina State. He was getting ready for the 1980 Olympic team only to have his dream crushed by the U.S. boycott. Over time he migrated to South Florida, where he kept swimming. He then became a member of Miami’s Nadadores. In 2004, Grzeszczak decided he was tired of the commute from Broward. “We always wanted our own club up here,” he said. “So we formed the Hammerheads in 2004. Together with the Nadadores we formed Gold Coast Masters, and compete as a United States Masters swim team. Gold Coast Masters currently has 700 swimmers.

“We are always one of the perennial contenders at the national meets. We all swim together at the meets, which is great for things like relays because we have a lot more to draw from. We actually don’t allow anyone to swim in our relays who is not gold as we use the relays for rankings.” Like the Nadadores, the big event on the Hammerhead’s calendar is the Gay Games, which will be held in Cologne, Germany this year. Grzeszczak feels pretty confident about the outcome. “Last year, we sent 17 swimmers, and swept the entire event,” he boasts. “It was the first time a medium sized team ever took the whole thing. Everyone there won a medal and many of us left with multiple gold medals and broke multiple records.” Yet Grzeszczak will also be the first to tell you that competitive swimming isn’t all the Hammerheads are about. They are about community. “The Hammerheads and the Nadadores are all such wonderful, wonderful people. We are one big, happy, extended family; a very close knit group, which is nice. People on our team will do anything they can to help each other. We’re not just a swim club. I may be the coach, but it’s the people who make the team.” If learn more about the Hammerheads, visit

Nadadores of Miami

By Steve Fritz


im Harper will proudly point out that he looks a lot younger than his real age. He will also tell you that a lot of that has to do with his being Team Captain of the Nadadores swim team, which he also proudly proclaims is the most active gayoriented athletic association in Florida. “Our sisters in Ft. Lauderdale, the Hammerheads, might not like it,” he states, “but that’s what I’m going to say.” Thanks to Olympians Jim Phelps and Dara Torres, competitive swimming’s had some media shine recently. At the same time, Harper openly admits Phelps and Torres are extremely rare exceptions in the world of aquatics. “Swimming and professionalism don’t necessarily mix very well unless you’re Michael Phelps,” says Harper. “Phelps is like Tiger Woods, there is only one every generation. Swimmers don’t talk too much about being professionals. Yes, there is the Olympic level, but then there’s everyone else. There aren’t many rich swimmers, at least because of swimming. They swim because they like it.” The Nadadores are celebrating their 15th anniversary this year. Harper believes the lack of money and media attention has turned competitive swimming into a much more open-minded form of athletics than many others. “The Nads” compete with straight teams as much as gay, and the governing athletic association doesn’t seem to care about a team’s orientation. “There’s the USMS, which stands for US Master Swimmers,” says Harper. “That’s

a national organization, and our team is part of that. It just got its 50,000th member, which was a big thing.” There is also an international organization, IGLA (International Gay and Lesbian Aquatics). “There are competitions going all the time, on the local, national and international level. People can also choose not to compete, just to work out. For instance, Dara Torres got back into swimming by Masters swimming. Her doctor told her to do it after her pregnancy, and she did. I actually swam with her in a relay in Coral Springs.” Not that there aren’t times when the Nadadores won’t also show a direct lineage to Esther Williams—In every Gay Games, many of the teams compete in a special event that gives a whole different interpretation to the term water sports: “It’s called the Pink Flamingo. It happens at the end of the meets,” says Harper. “For some people, this is the most important event of all. That’s when we get to combine our theatrical with our aquatic skills. It’s kind of like synchronized swimming meets John Waters…Your water ballet fantasy comes to life.” In the meantime, the next Gay Games will be in Cologne, Germany. Harper is preparing for it. “We’ve done some fundraising already,” says Harper. “The group that will be going over is called Team Florida—a conglomerate with our sisters in Ft. Lauderdale, the Hammerheads.” For more information on the Nadadores, or if you want to help them get to this year’s Gay Games, you can contact them through their website at:


April 26 , 2010 • S P O R T S

H.S. Quarterback Scores a Sex Change And Produces an Award-Winning Film By Dan Woog

Reed expertly weaves still photos and videos of her childhood and youth; interviews with Helena High classmates, rowing up in Montana’s Big Sky family members and friends, plus her own Country, Kimberly Reed was narration. Shots of told Montana’s boundthat anything could less vistas reinforce happen there. And the idea that life it did. Her younger unfolds in a sprawlbrother Todd came ing way—one that out as gay. Her is impossible to other brother comprehend with Marc—adopted only a glance. as an infant—had Too much happart of his brain pens in Prodigal removed following Sons, which was a bad accident, and produced by Big Sky still suffers bouts Film Productions, of fearsome anger Inc, to recount here. and violence. While Suffice it to say that searching for his the film Reed ended biological parents, up with is not the he learned he was one she imagined the grandson of Kim Reed when she began.As Orson Welles and she and Marc confront their pasts—he is still Rita Hayworth. trapped in a brotherly rivalry she long ago As for Kimberly Reed herself, through high school, she was Paul McKerrow. He was abandoned—she realizes that it is not Marc class president, valedictorian—and captain of who thirsts for an identity, but herself. The film is ultimately not about a family the football team. The story has all the makings of a truth-is- grappling with sexuality, adoption, family, sports, Hollywood, growing up or going stranger-than-fiction movie.Which is exactly home. In the end, Reed said, it is “quite what Reed—a filmmaker—has produced. simply about love, and how one family faces Prodigal Sons­—her yearlong look into challenges and triumphs that no one would family dynamics that makes the Royal ever have imagined.” Tenenbaums seem like the Brady Bunch— Last month, days before the film’s release, opened last month in limited release. It airs Reed discussed the project. “With nonon the Sundance Channel in June, and will fiction documentaries, the challenge usually be in the MGLFF on April 30. As an 86-minute documentary, it may not is to increase the drama,” she said. “With receive widespread exposure. But as a vivid this, we had the opposite problem. We had lots of dramatic hand grenades. We had example of the power of biology, chemisto figure out how to throw them without try, geography and fate to shape lives, it is blowing everything up. We had to stick to worth seeking out. everyone’s humanity.” The device that anchors the film is When Reed was Paul, she said, being ­Reed’s return to Helena for her 20th high a football star was “an icon.” “Everyone school reunion—sounds trite, almost knows what ‘high school quarterback’ laughable. It turns out to be the perfect means. We didn’t have to dwell on that.” vehicle for a remarkable journey.


Video of games are used in the documentary as “symbolic images of who I used to be,” Reed said. “I’m haunted by these images.” When people hear “jock,” they think “straight dude,” Reed added. “When I transitioned, I stopped being athletic at all. I had always conflated athletics with maleness, with a particular sexual and/or gender identity.” Now, she said, she has gotten back into athletics and exercise, particularly swimming and yoga. “Hopefully, I’ve found a way to be both athletic and feminine.” One of the film’s surprises is the easy acceptance of her former teammates. “Montana is a surprising place,” she explained. “Montanans are very independent.They like to make up their own minds about things.” On camera, a football co-captain calmly tells Kim about the changes that have occurred over 20 years: “We’re all fat, bald and old. And you’re a girl.” Her football team, she said, was “a really cool group of guys. I got lucky.” One of the lightest moments—in a film that is, for the most part, deadly serious—comes when Tim, Paul’s best friend in high school, re-

counts a bad driving experience from those years. Back then, Tim jokes, “I didn’t know she was a woman driver!” At film festivals in the U.S.—where it has won numerous awards—and as far away as Finland and Estonia, viewers have the same consistent, positive reactions, Reed said. Yet as instructive as the film is for audiences, its effect on the filmmaker herself is equally powerful. “I started out believing this film was about Marc’s quest for identity,” she said. “But it was about my own. “I thought my transition was complete. Instead Marc taught me I was only halfway there, and that I had to somehow resurrect the first half of my life I had buried alive.This freed me to return home and reclaim my past.” Paul McKerrow no longer throws game-winning touchdown passes. But this may be Kimberly Reed’s most important victory of all. Dan Woog is a journalist, educator, soccer coach, gay activist, and author of the “Jocks” series of books on gay male athletes. Visit his website at He can be reached care of this publication or at

04/26/10 V1I14  

Gay Swim Teams

04/26/10 V1I14  

Gay Swim Teams