Metro Weekly

Last Word

Quotes from GLBT-related headlines: lesbian student T-shirt ruckus, Nepal, Syphilis scare in Europe, marriage equality in Maryland, and the gay Mormon winner of Survivor

”I don’t feel like I should have to hide my sexuality.”

Bethany Laccone, a student from I.C. Norcom High School in Portsmouth, Va., who was asked by school administrators to conceal a T-shirt depicting lesbian Pride, before the American Civil Liberties Union’s advocacy resulted in an apology from the school. (Associated Press)

”Lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans-sexual and inter-sex (LGBTI) people are also ‘natural persons’ though they are not masculine or feminine from the perspective of gender… they should be allowed to enjoy all the rights defined by national and international human rights law and instruments.”

The Nepal Supreme Court’s decision to protect the rights of GLBT people in the conservative Himalayan state. (Hindustan Times)

”Syphilis used to be a very rare disease… I’m not sure we can say that anymore.”

Dr. Marita van de Laar, an expert in Sexually Transmitted Diseases at the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, on the disease’s recent resurgence among gay men and other groups in Europe. (The Examiner)

”I think our two biggest challenges are political skittishness by some legislators and general ignorance about the issue.”

–Dan Furmansky, executive director of Equality Maryland, on how Maryland’s same-sex marriage decision may split the state’s Democrats, as activists get ready to take their fight to the legislature. (The Gazette)

”It automatically causes people to judge, to be honest. If people want to know how I was raised, I’ll tell them. If people want to know who I am, I’m not afraid to tell them. I think the people who do judge me and say, ‘You can’t be both,’ are actually the sinners.”

Todd Herzog, the flight attendant who recently won Survivor: China, on being gay and Mormon. (After

Last Word

Quotes from GLBT-related headlines: lesbian stress, Iraq, Morocco, European schools, and Law School bias

”Estrangement from family, marginalization within and isolation from society, separation from children,…and inadequate access to culturally sensitive health-care practitioners are all factors that can adversely affect mood during a season so identified with ‘family’ activities.”

Dr. Linda Spooner, chair of The Mautner Project, commenting on new survey data showing lesbians feel more stress and depression than straight women during the holiday season. (Business Wire)

”We thought that with the presence of Americans, life would become paradise, that Iraq would be Westernized. But unfortunately the way things were before was so much better than where we are now.”

Mohammed, a 37-year-old Baghdad resident who is male, taking estrogen and who identifies as gay, describing the situation for the Iraqi GLBT community as Islamic fundamentalists gain more clout in that country’s post-war political scene. (New York Times)

I am the only male ever denied tenure by a vote of the law school faculty in at least 40 years.”

— Peter Hammer, who is suing the University of Michigan Law School, claiming he was denied tenure because he is gay. A tenure review committee had recommended 4-1 he receive tenure. Hammer is asking the judge to void votes among all tenured faculty by professors holding deeply anti-gay bias, such as one who wrote that gays are a ”pariah group.” (Bloomberg)

”These guidelines should help young activists to make schools realize that LGBT pupils can be found everywhere, and schools must take measures that protect the whole school community. Access to education is a basic human right and must be respected.”

Bruno Selun, a board member of the International LGBTQ Youth and Student Organization, speaking at the group’s recent meeting in Spain as attendees prepared guidelines for making Europe’s schools more gay-friendly. (

”If Morocco truly aspires to be a regional leader on human rights, it should lead the way in decriminalizing homosexual conduct.”

Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch, criticizing the recent convictions of six men sentenced to prison for homosexual conduct. Morocco’s reigning and married monarch, King Mohammed VI, was widely reported to be gay while living in Europe before taking the throne in 1999. (

Last Word

GLBT news quotes: Mike Huckabee, Queen Latifah, Jodie Foster, Ricky Martin, more

”I would have great regret and anxiety if I thought my comments were hurtful or in any way added to the already incredible pain that families have felt regardless of how they contracted AIDS.”

Mike Huckabee, GOP presidential candidate and former governor of Arkansas, defending comments he made in 1992 stating that HIV-positive Americans should be ”isolated” and that homosexuality could ”pose a dangerous public health risk.” (Associated Press)

”I never thought we’d be able to do that sort of thing, because sexual orientation is supposed to be hard-wired. This fundamentally changes how we think about this behavior.”

David Featherstone, a University of Illinois at Chicago researcher, commenting on his successful attempts at manipulating the sexual orientation of male fruit flies. (Fox News)

”They screamed that we were disgusting and a threat to Sweden and that they were going to beat us up.”

Frederick Federley, a gay member of the Swedish Parliament, detailing a Dec. 8 attack against him and two friends by a group of young men in Stockholm. (United Press International)

”People will make up all sorts of things that are not true…. There ain’t gonna be no wedding.”

Queen Latifah, responding to marriage rumors dogging her and Jeanette Jenkins, her friend and personal trainer. (Chicago Sun-Times)

”The one lesson is to try and be who you are and not be somebody else, because you’re never going to be very good at being somebody else.”

Jodie Foster, speaking to reporters at The Hollywood Reporter‘s Women in Entertainment breakfast last week, during which she thanked ”my beautiful Cydney,” the female film producer helping her raise two foster children. (The Hollywood Reporter)

”I’d go for [former Danish soccer player] Stig Tøfting, but since he’s straight, I’d say my client Ricky Martin.”

Ole Henriksen, celebrity stylist, when asked by Danish paper Nyhedsavisen with whom he’d like to vacation, aside from his partner. (E! Online)

Last Word

Quotes from this week's GLBT newsmakers

”Men who have sex with men account for almost half of all people estimated to be living with HIV in the United States, and African Americans are the most heavily impacted.”

Kevin Fenton, director of HIV prevention for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, speaking Dec. 3 at a national HIV-prevention conference, adding that the disparate infection rates between black gay men and white gay men are puzzling. (Baltimore Sun)

We’re letting it pass. We feel it’s a political, arbitrary deadline.”

Jeff Jubelirer, of the Boy Scouts of America’s Cradle of Liberty Council in Philadelphia, commenting on a city- imposed deadline regarding the council’s headquarters on city land. They city says the council must either lift the Scouts’ ban on gays and atheists, or pay ”fair market rent” of $200,000 annually, versus the symbolic $1 rent the council has paid since erecting the building nearly 80 years ago on city property. (Philadelphia Inquirer)

”If this experience is taking place in a rock-ribbed conservative town like Fort Worth, then it’s everywhere.”

Bill Leonard, dean of North Carolina’s Wake Forest Divinity School, commenting on a struggle within Fort Worth’s moderate Broadway Baptist Church regarding whether the church directory should include photos of gay congregants. (Dallas Morning News)

”There are countries with more advanced legislation and policies, but this will be he first time that a federal government convokes a complete conference…to define a national plan of public policies for almost 10 percent of the population historically relegated to prejudice and discrimination.”

Julian Rodrigues, an organizer of Brazil’s first national conference on GLBT issues, announced last week by President Luiz Lula. The conference will take place in May 2008. (

There is so much more freedom these days. You see gays on television here, in government. Just 15 years ago it was a completely different situation.”

Mauricio Urbides, 28, a Buenos Aires fashion designer, remarking on gay progress as the Axel Hotel opened in his city in November, billed as South America’s first luxury hotel targeting a gay clientele. (New York Times)