Metro Weekly

Two Tours and a Transgender Bill

Soulforce readies for spring tour as George Michael cancels his, and Massachusetts gets transgender protections

Equality Ride To Start New Nationwide Campaign

The Soulforce Equality Ride, which has devoted its time battling in favor of equal rights and ending discrimination against LGBT people, has announced the launch of their new campaign, ”Hit the Road.”

Beginning in Spring 2012, the campaign will look to promote equality through the country, focusing mainly on institutions of higher education where overt discrimination exists.

In the past five years, the Equality Ride has had much success, having policies changed, student-led support groups formed and people’s opinions changed due to personal experiences and stories shared by Equality Riders. For information about supporting the Equality Ride or joining the ride, visit The spring ride runs March 4 to April 29.

— Brian Vetock

George Michael Hospitalized, Tour Canceled

After falling deeply ill during his European tour, out gay musician George Michael is now reportedly spending time in a Vienna hospital fighting severe pneumonia.

”George Michael has severe community acquired pneumonia and is being treated as an in-patient,” say Dr. Christoph Zielinski and Dr. Thomas Staudinger, who are looking after the singer. ”His condition has stabilized and he is responding to treatment.”

According to Britain’s Daily Mail, the singer is being treated on a ”Triadyne Proventa Bed.” The futuristic bed is for patients who are undergoing treatment for pneumonia and for those who are unable to move.

Michael postponed the remainder of his 2011 tour dates on Friday, Nov. 25, after he was admitted to the hospital on Nov. 21, according to ABC News.

— Brian Vetock

Mass. Governor Signs Gender Identity Nondiscrimination Bill

On Nov. 23, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) signed into law a bill that will outlaw discrimination in housing, employment, credit or post-secondary education in the state on the basis of gender identity.

According to the Patriot Ledger, a provision was removed from the bill that would have required ”sex-segregated facilities” to ”grant admission to people based on their gender identity, rather than their biological gender.”

Of the provision’s removal, Patrick said, ”It gave me pause, and it gave the advocates pause, and it gave transgender people pause.”

Despite that, he concluded, ”There’s a lot of good in this bill, and after consulting with them and my team and my own conscience, I wanted to sign this bill. And then, we’ll come back around to public accommodations.”

— Chris Geidner