by CDC Division of News

The first set of national prevalence data on intimate partner violence (IPV), sexual violence (SV), and stalking victimization by sexual orientation was released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The study found that lesbians and gay men reported IPV and SV over their lifetimes at levels equal to or higher than those of heterosexuals; with sexual orientation based on respondents’ identification at the time of the survey. The survey also found that bisexual women (61.1 percent) report a higher prevalence of rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner compared to both lesbian (43.8 percent) and heterosexual women (35 percent). Of the bisexual women who experienced IPV, approximately 90 percent reported having only male perpetrators, while two -thirds of lesbians reported having only female perpetrators of IPV.

The data presented in this report do not indicate whether violence occurs more often in same-sex or opposite sex couples. Rather, the data show the prevalence of lifetime victimization of intimate partner violence, sexual violence and stalking of respondents who self-identified as lesbian, gay or bisexual at the time of the survey and describe violence experienced with both same-sex and opposite-sex partners. 

“We know that violence affects everyone, regardless of sexual orientation. This report suggests that lesbians, gay men and bisexuals in this country suffer a heavy toll of sexual violence and stalking committed by an intimate partner.” said CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden. “While intervening and providing services are important, prevention is equally critical.”

The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS) is designed to better describe and understand the level of IPV, SV, and stalking victimization in the United States. Using 2010 data from NISVS, this report is the first to provide national data that examines IPV, SV and stalking by sexual orientation. Further research is needed in order to fully understand the experience of interpersonal violence that impact LGB individuals and their communities. This information is critical to informing prevention programs and policies aimed at reducing these types of victimization.

Other key findings include:

  • The majority of women who reported experiencing sexual violence, regardless of their sexual orientation, reported that they were victimized by male perpetrators.
  • Nearly half of female bisexual victims (48.2 percent) and more than one-quarter of female heterosexual victims (28.3 percent) experienced their first rape between the ages of 11 and 17 years.
CDC will work to create resources to bring attention to these issues within lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities.

For more information about NISVS, including study details, visit  www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/nisvs/index.html. To watch webinars that discuss the NISVS 2010 Summary findings, visit PreventConnect, a national online project dedicated to the primary prevention of sexual assault and domestic violence.

CDC’s Injury Center works to prevent injuries and violence and their adverse health consequences. 
 
 

 
"Opposing Death Squads and Dictatorship" is the theme of a 7-city U.S. tour by Honduran LGBT leader Jose "Pepe" Palacios beginning today at Atlanta's "Creating Change" conference.
 
Since a 2009 U.S.-supported coup, 87 LGBT Hondurans – including top leaders like Walter Trochez and LIBRE candidate Erick Martinez Avila – have been murdered in a systematic campaign of targeted hate crimes and political assassination.  
 
Palacios is a founding member of the Honduran LGBT group, Diversity Movement in Resistance (MDR), formed in response to Trochez's murder, and is a member of the steering committee of the National Front of Popular Resistance (FNRP).
 
Honduras won the dubious distinction of having the highest murder rate in the world in the years since the U.S.-supported coup.  Coup supporters used the overthrow of the elected government to settle scores against social justice movements and the poor.
 
Contrary to stereotypes about predominately Roman Catholic countries, Honduras has a vibrant Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) movement which is among the leading forces organizing against the coup regime. LGBTs there have joined indigenous peoples, African descendants, farmers, teachers, women, students, and trade unionists in numerous, massive, non-violent street demonstrations of resistance. 
 
This summer and fall, in the run up to the country's first contested election since the coup, many fear that the violence will get even worse.  The purpose of the tourorganized by the Gay Liberation Network, La Voz de los de Abajo and the Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America is to raise international awareness about the dire situation in the country and use the spotlight of publicity to add a higher level of safety for activists there.

Included in the presentations will be a short film produced by the Gay Liberation Network which was shot during a September 2012 solidarity delegation to Honduras organized by La Voz de los de Abajo. Footage in the film shows armed guards of the nation's largest landowner firing in the direction of the delegation to intimidate them from investigating a murder that had happened just a few days before.
 
In addition to Atlanta, Palacios will be giving presentations at and attending leadership meetings in Milwaukee, Madison, Green Bay, Cleveland, New York, Washington, DC and Chicago (Chicago will have two public events, one in English and one in Spanish).
 
 
President Obama made history today Monday, January 21, 2013, by becoming the first president to include his support for marriage equality as part of his Inaugural address.

A Statement from HRC President Chad Griffin:

“President Barack Obama made history today by connecting the lives of committed and loving lesbian and gay couples fighting for marriage equality to this nation's proud tradition of equal rights for all. Moments after swearing to uphold the Constitution for all Americans on Bibles owned by Abraham Lincoln and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., President Obama declared passionately that our national journey towards a more perfect union cannot be finished until equal protection under the law extends to each and every American regardless of who they are or whom they love.

“By lifting up the lives of LGBT families for the very first time in an inaugural address, President Obama sent a clear message to LGBT young people from the Gulf Coast to the Rocky Mountains that this country's leaders will fight for them until equality is the law of the land. As the merits of marriage equality come up for debate from state houses to the halls of the U.S. Supreme Court, and a broad majority of Americans are standing up for liberty and fairness, the President's unequivocal support for equality is a clarion call that all Americans should receive with celebration.

“We were honored that the President included Stonewall among the historic events in American history that have made our union stronger. Its inclusion is testament to the valiant contributions of LGBT Americans past and present who seek nothing more than to be treated equally by the country they love.”

The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender political organization with members throughout the country. It effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign support and educates the public to ensure that LGBT Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.

check also PINK Ppolitics
 
 
by David Cohen

With More than 12,000 participants from  more than 70 nations are expected to compete at the Gay Games which held  in a different country onec in four years.  For a full week people compete in all levels, from complete beginner to elite athletes, in up to 30 sports, and over the years it became a cultural and one of the biggest human rights event for the global LGBT community. 

The last Gay Games was held in Cologne, Germany, and the next one is skedule for 2014, in Cleveland, Ohio in the USA.  The 2018 Gay Games event will be the tenth time for the games, and the city of London (UK) is joining the bid for the 2018 location for the games, along with Rio de Janerio (Brazil), Paris (France), Orlando (USA), and Amsterdam (Holland).

The Prime Minister said: “The UK is currently bidding for the Gay Games in 2018 in London, which could give us something to cheer on that year, and I wish them every luck.”

The Gay Games are the largest sporting event in the world open to all. The Olympics are for an elite, but the Gay Games are for everyone. Even you! In fact, the Olympics do discriminate against LGBT participants and only a handful of LGBT athletes compete each year. In many countries LGBT athletes face the death penalty for being gay. And yet the Olympics has no problems with those countries participating in the games. 

 
 


The Mount Diablo-Silverado Boy Scout Council has approved a gay Scout’s Eagle application after more than 460,000 people joined his mother’s campaign on Change.org, despite the Boy Scouts of America’s anti-gay policy.
  • Despite national anti-gay policy, Boy Scout council in California approves gay Scout’s Eagle application after more than 460,000 people join a mother’s campaign on Change.org;
  • Karen Andresen launched petition in support of her son Ryan after his Scoutmaster refused to sign off on Ryan’s Eagle application because he’s gay;
  • Ryan Andresen, an 18-year-old Boy Scout from the San Francisco area, was granted an Eagle Board of Review after his campaign was featured by Ellen DeGeneres and Anderson Cooper, and supported by U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, and 32 California state legislators;

Karen Andresen launched her campaign on Change.org urging the Boy Scouts to award her son, 18-year-old Ryan Andresen, the rank of Eagle Scout after Ryan’s Scoutmaster refused to sign the Eagle application because of Ryan’s sexual orientation. On December 19, local Boy Scout leaders granted Ryan an official Eagle Board of Review, and submitted their recommendation of approval to the Mt. Diablo-Silverado Council on Dec. 31. Ryan’s application for Eagle Scout, the Boy Scouts of America’s highest rank, will now be forwarded to the national organization for final approval.

“I’m just so incredibly happy for Ryan. He’s worked so hard for this honor, and as a mother, it means the world to me to know that our local Scouting community believes in him, too,” said Karen Andresen, who launched the petition on Change.org. “Regardless of what the BSA’s National Advancement Team decides to do with his application, this victory makes it all worth it, and gives me so much hope for the future of the organization.”

Bonnie Hazarabedian, the volunteer District Advancement Chair who headed Ryan Andresen’s Eagle Board of Review, verified that Ryan’s application had been approved at the local district and council levels, and issued the following statement:

“Ryan did everything right in this process, with respect and honesty, requesting an Eagle Board of Review under disputed circumstances when his Scoutmaster refused to sign the application. Following BSA advancement policies in such situations, we felt an Eagle Board of Review was justified. As we do with all Eagle candidates, volunteer Scout leaders --- parents ourselves of current or former Scouts --- met with Ryan to review and discuss his scouting history and advancement records, his Eagle Leadership Project, and his spiritual beliefs and life goals. We are convinced that Ryan has demonstrated he deserves the rank of Eagle Scout.”

Approval from the Eagle Board of Review overrides Ryan’s Scoutmaster at Troop 212, Rainer Del Valle, who still hasn’t contacted the Andresen family or issued a statement about his refusal to sign Ryan’s Eagle application. Ryan had completed all of the requirements for his Eagle Scout Award while still a member of BSA and before his 18th birthday, including a capstone project where he worked with a local middle school to build a permanent “Tolerance Wall” to raise awareness about bullying.

“I want other gay Scouts to know, especially those who are hiding who they really are, that this win is for you. Thank you to everyone who joined my mom’s campaign. Your signatures made this possible,” said Ryan Andresen. “It’s been a wild and exhausting ride. I’m really looking forward to life getting back to normal, and to being able to focus on my final year of high school and completing my college applications.”

GLAAD -- which broke Tyrrell’s story in April, sparking a national dialogue about discrimination in the Boy Scouts -- joined Wahls and Scouts for Equality in celebrating news of Ryan Andresen’s Eagle application approval.

"Councils across the nation are rejecting the Boy Scouts' grossly discriminatory ban on gay scouts, echoing the support of fellow scouts, business leaders, and the American public,” said GLAAD President Herndon Graddick. “How long can the BSA go on ignoring its own members and its core values of fairness, leadership and integrity? The growing number of councils welcoming gay scouts and leaders reminds BSA autocrats: change will come with you, or without you."

For more information visit petition on Change.org
 
 
by Stagg

Gay Men Still Face Barriers to Meet Potential Mates

Stagg, a next-generation, mobile dating app for gay men released the results from a nationwide survey of 537 gay men showing that even though the country moves closer toward legal recognition of same-sex relationships, gay men still face significant barriers to meeting potential partners and future husbands. However, the same national survey conducted by the new mobile dating app for gay men, also shows that apps are becoming increasingly important in the ability of gay men to connect to other single gay men for long-term romantic relationships. 

Stagg’s national survey shows that two-thirds of gay guys who use mobile dating apps said they use them in the hopes of finding long-term potential. Stagg was designed partly in response to this survey, which underscores a pressing need in the mobile dating app market for users to be able to learn more than just the location of a potential match.

“The Supreme Court of the United States has announced they’d hear arguments in late March on two historic cases that could dramatically advance legal recognition of same-sex relationships,” said Brad Brenner, Ph.D., co-founder of Stagg and a licensed psychologist with a private practice in Washington, DC.  “However, partly due to decades of stigmatization and discrimination faced by the LGBT community and, in particular, our romantic lives, gay men continue to find themselves too often wandering in bars, places of work, or online – our version of wandering in the wilderness – in search of potential long-term partners.”

Here are the highlights from Stagg’s nationwide survey.
App users search for a deeper connection.
  • 66% of the respondents said they use apps in the hopes of finding long-term potential, despite the almost universal perception that other guys on dating apps are looking for a hookup.
  • 64% said that they use dating apps to find new friends.
  • 16% of respondents – 1 in 6 men -- choose dating apps as the most promising place to meet someone for long-term potential, a surprisingly substantial result given the reputation of first-generation dating apps for hookups.
Apps move dating away from computer screens and into public and social settings.
  • 56% of the respondents said that they use dating apps in public.
  • More than one-third of all respondents, 37%, use the apps while with their friends. 
Apps bridge communication and build connections.
  • 78% said that apps help them to start a conversation that they wouldn’t have otherwise initiated.
  • More than one-third of respondents, 35%, said that apps are a way to have fun with their friends.
Stagg satisfies the urgent dating needs of gay men.
  • 77% of the men said that when it comes to dating they don’t know where or how to find guys who are like themselves.
  • 65% stated that breaking the ice and starting a conversation is a serious impediment to meeting guys.
  • 56% said that dating apps are not friendly, when compared to dating websites.
An open-ended question put to these 537 men about what is most needed in apps revealed that they are seeking more substance in the type of information and potential connection than first-generation apps can deliver.

For more information on Stagg or to download the app, visit www.staggapp.com,
 
 
by Cathy Renna for Faith in America

Faith In America is seeking an explanation as to why YouTube would remove a video that the organization posted as part of its ongoing report about an anti-gay church that allegedly abused a young man because of his sexual orientation.

The video was produced by Faith In America and contained the personal story of Jerry Cooper, who was once a member of Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF) in Spindale, N.C. In the video, Cooper corroborates allegations of abuse by the church that have been lodged by 22-year-old Michael Lowry, a gay man who says he was confined for four months against his will.

"It is really dumbfounding," said Brent Childers, executive director of the gay advocacy group. "YouTube allows a controversial video that pokes fun at Islam. But here we have a video in which a person is telling his own personal knowledge of how this bizarre Christian church treats gay youth or those suspected of being gay, and they remove the video."

"What YouTube is doing, perhaps inadvertently, in this particular case is giving cover to a church that believes it is OK to harm gay youth and families in the name of religious teaching," Childers said. "In doing so, it is giving cover to a vast number of churches who do the same, whether a small charismatic church in rural North Carolina or a large Methodist church in some American suburb."

Childers said that Google, which owns YouTube, is considered to be a very LGBT-friendly company. In addition, one of Faith In America's own media strategies in 2007 involved the first CNN/YouTube Democratic presidential primary debate. YouTube selected a question from a Faith In America supporter and pastor who asked why is it still OK to use religion to discriminate against gay Americans. It was rated the best question of the debate by a group of youth who had been assembled around the globe by YouTube to rate the questions.

"We have been told that YouTube apparently considers any allegations against a church as somehow stepping on their religious liberty. Considering the wealth of YouTube videos that address controversial religious issues, we find that hard to believe. Unfortunately, YouTube doesn't offer a process to question the removal of a video that has been deemed inappropriate. And they do not give a reason why."

Cooper is scheduled to appear on Friday in a Rutherford County courtroom to face off against four WOFF members who were arrested and charged with stalking and harassing him during an incident in October. Cooper and Lowry in October had returned to Spindale to follow-up on Lowry's original police report when Cooper was surrounded at a public mall by church members reportedly acting as church security personnel. Forest City Police officers were called and arrived to reportedly observe the alleged harassment.

Word of Faith Fellowship has been accused of being a cult because of the way it controls its members. Despite numerous investigations into reports of abuse, the church manages to portray itself as a mainstream church. Its web site has the pastor pictured with several high-ranking government officials, including the Israeli Ambassador to the United States, U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan and former N.C. Lt. Gov. Walton Dalton.

Faith In America in October requested the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate Lowry's case as a possible hate crime. Lowry alleges he was locked away for four months in a church building and suffered other abuse there because of his sexual orientation. The church's web site states that homosexuality is a form of demonic possession.

At least four former church members have stepped forward to say that they either observed or were victims of similar abuse that Michael Lowry alleges occurred. One of those individuals, Ben Carmona, says he experienced similar abuse. He says he was once accused of having "unclean homosexual spirits" because of his friendship with another boy. Carmona, who says he also was confined as Lowry alleges, also fled the church. He is now studying architectural design at a Chicago university.

Lowry was scheduled to appear before a grand jury in December, but the hearing was postponed when Lowry spotted a WOFF member on the grand jury. Lowry does not believe he will get a fair hearing because of the church's influence in Rutherford County.

Cooper agrees. He was told a special prosecutor and special judge had been brought in from neighboring McDowell County to hear his case Friday. He informed the district attorney that a Word of Faith Fellowship a leader in the church serves as a court reporter in McDowell County.

They are asking that the case be heard in another area of the state, beyond the immediate influence of the church. So far, their request has been rebuffed by local court officials.

Faith In America has not been able to determine the status of its request for a hate crimes investigation. After filing the request, Childers received a telephone call from a U.S. Department of Justice official who asked him if he had attempted to dialogue with the church as a means of conflict resolution. 


For more information, or to view the video in question visit FaithandEquality.org .