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January 8, 2009


According to the San Francisco Chronicle, 31 year old Humberto Hernandez Salvador, 21 year old Josue Gonzalez and two other teens were arrested for allegedly raping a 28 year old lesbian on December 13th.

According to several accounts, the woman (whose name is being withheld to protect her privacy) was getting out of her car when the attack occurred at about 9:30 p.m. in the 1500 block of Visalia Avenue in Richmond's Belding-Wood neighborhood. The attack went on for 45 minutes in two different locations.

According to the Richmond police,

After the woman was struck with a blunt object and robbed, the suspects then told her to disrobe. She was sexually assaulted in that location and then forced back into her car after the suspects saw someone approaching. She was driven seven blocks away to the 1300 block of Burbeck Avenue, where she was repeatedly sexually assaulted in her car. She was left naked near a burned-out apartment complex.

After the attack, the men drove off in her car. She sought help from a nearby resident, who called authorities.

The case is being pursued as a hate crime because of comments the suspects made about the victim's sexual orientation. The woman is openly lesbian and had a prominently displayed rainbow sticker on her car.

Salvodor and Gonzales could both face a maximum sentence of life in prison.

I've said this before but it bears repeating now - there are some pretty disturbed people out there who are being riled-up by the hateful and dangerous rhetoric of rightwing fanatics who know they're losing their fight against us and are getting more and more desperate. So, exercising a little extra caution would be a smart thing to do.

I'm not saying that we should jump back into the closet and hide. On the contrary, now is the time to stand up and be strong. But during this period of transition, just be a little more aware of your surroundings when your out and about and don't take anything for granted. Trust your instincts and develop your street-smarts.

January 7, 2009


On New Year's Eve, President Kgalema Motlanthe appointed the highly vocal AIDS activist Edwin Cameron to South Africa's highest court.

Justice Cameron is the first openly gay official to serve in such a prestigious position. The fact that he is also HIV-positive makes the appointment even more groundbreaking.

Box Turtle Bulletin reported that Nelson Mandela called Cameron “one of South Africa’s new heroes” for disclosing that he was HIV-positive:

In an interview with the BBC, he explained that he was inspired to speak out by the death of Gugu Dlamini, who was stoned and stabbed to death three weeks after she had admitted on isi- Zulu-language radio that she was HIV-positive.

“I thought that if this woman, without any protection, living in a township, not behind a palisade like I do in my middle-class suburb in Joburg, not with the income of a judge, not with the constitutional protection … I thought that I should speak out,” he said.

Judge Cameron was intensely questioned about his activist roots by the Judicial Service Commission. Ultimately, the commission did unanimously recommend his appointment. He previously served on South Africa's Supreme Court of Appeal.

He was also a very outspoken critic of former President Thabo Mbeki’s policies on AIDS, calling them tantamount to signing a death sentence for millions of South Africans. Mbeki retaliated by blocking Cameron’s rise to the Constitutional Court.

At the International AIDS Conference held in Mexico City last August, Cameron called for decriminalizing homosexuality worldwide as an important step in combating AIDS.

January 6, 2009


20 year old Sean Kennedy had everything to live for. He was young, good looking, had a great personality and was well liked. He was just at the precipice of adulthood and had a world of possibilities open before him.

Then, on the night of May 16, 2007 at about 3:45 am, all of that ended with a brutal, homophobic attack outside a Greenville County, S.C. bar. In his mother's own words, this is what happened that night:

...a car pulled up beside him, a young man got out of the car, came around the car approached my son and called him fagot and then punched him so hard that it broke his face bones, he fell back and hit the asphalt. This resulted in his brain to be separated from his brain stem and ricochet in his head. Sean never had a chance. Sean's killer got back into the car and left my son dying there.

According to a report posted at Box Turtle Bulletin on June 11, 2008, the killer then called a friend of Sean's about 15 minutes after the attack and left the following message:

Hey. (laughter) Whoa stop. (laughter) Hey, I was just wondering how your boyfriend’s feeling right about now. (laughter) (??) knocked the f— out. (laughter). The f—— faggot. He ought to never stick his mother-f—— nose (??) Where are you going? Just a minute. (laughter). Yea boy, your boy is knocked out, man. The mother——-. Tell him he owes me $500.00 for breaking my god—- hand on his teeth that f—— bitch”

In a shockingly lenient ruling, Stephen Andrew Moller was convicted of Sean's murder on a reduced charge of involuntary manslaughter and sentenced to only three years, minus seven months for time served.

Box Turtle Bulletin reported today that Moller's attorney said that when all was said and done, he expects Moller to serve only 18 MONTHS in jail! With credit for time served, he was due to be released in September 2009.

But now, since South Carolina has no hate crimes law that would have allowed for a more serious and appropriate sentence, Moller will actually be up for parole NEXT MONTH!

This is not only outrageous, it's totally unacceptable! Because of this travesty, Sean's mother, Elke Kennedy is asking for our help...

The parole board is currently conducting an investigation to decide whether to allow him to have a parole hearing, so it is critical that they hear from you that Stephen Andrew Moller violently murdered Sean Kennedy and should serve the remainder of his sentence!

Please consider writing a letter to the parole board and ask them to deny Stephen Moller parole and serve out his sentence. In your letter, please remind the board of the violent and unprovoked nature of Moller’s offense and the pain and suffering it has caused in the lives of Sean Kennedy’s family and friends. If you have the time, please write a personal letter by hand or by computer, as those will be the most effective, and if you knew Sean or his family personally, please include that information.

Also, please let Elke know if you send a letter and if possible, send her a copy of the letter, so she can have copies to take with her to the parole hearing.

Be sure to include Moller’s full name and ID number:
Stephen Andrew Moller - SCDC ID # 00328891.

Send your letters to:
Department of Probation Pardon and Parole Services
2221 Devine Street, Suite 600, PO Box 50666
Columbia SC 29250

Please forward to your contacts, friends and family.
Thank you for all of your support!

Please take a few minutes out of your day and do whatever you can to prevent Moller from getting away with serving LESS THAN A YEAR for this heinous, homophobic murder.

January 5, 2009


Sam Adams is Portland, Oregon's new mayor. He is also the first openly gay Mayor of a major U.S. city.

According to The Portland Monthly, 45 year old Adams actually won the election in May but was just sworn in at 12:01am New Year's day. He garnered an impressive 58% of the vote and "...his rise to leadership comes at a pivotal moment, as the city grows in the national consciousness as a leader in “green” issues and a coveted place to live, as communities struggle to do more with less in a desperate economy, and as mayors begin to rival governors and members of Congress as celebrities."

The Oregonian, on it's website Oregonlive.com, reported that about 40 people, including Adam's mother and his partner Peter Zuckerman, were on hand to watch the official swearing-in at City Hall. The oath of office was administered by Oregon Supreme Court Justice Virginia Linder who, when thanked by Adams, said "It's my honor. My deep honor."

Despite the disappointments of November 4th (all of which I fully expect to be eventually overturned), the GLBT community is rapidly becoming a real, and natural, part of this country's everyday life. And the pace of this change is increasing every year. That's why the rightwing fringe fanatics are becoming more and more frenetic. They know they're losing and they can't stop it. This is making them more and more frustrated -- and dangerous.

So, please, be careful out there. There are some pretty disturbed people running around our streets who are being riled-up by these fanatics so exercising a little extra, measured caution would be a smart thing to do.

I'm not saying that we should jump back into the closed and hide. On the contrary, now is the time to stand up and be strong. But during this period of transition, just be a little more aware of your surroundings when your out and about and don't take anything for granted. Trust your instincts and develop your street-smarts.