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04/19/2007


Colorado Military Vets Speak Out For Marriage Equality In New PSA - VIDEO

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Why Marriage Matters Colorado — a new effort organized by the LGBT PAC One Colorado, the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado, and the national marriage equality group Freedom to Marry — just released their first advertisement. It features active and retired military servicemembers discussing why they support equal rights for one of their gay troopmates.

The video’s description reads:

Three military veterans who, together with their friend, U.S. Air Force Master Sergeant T. Ashley Metcalf — who is still actively serving his country — represent 45 years of military service. Sgt. Metcalf is gay, and his band of brothers — former Army Staff Sgt. Izzy Abbass, retired U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Dennis Mont'Ros, and former Marine Sgt. Will Glenn — talk about the importance of the freedom to marry for everyone.

Colorado currently has a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. Why Marriage Matters Colorado says, “We can win marriage either by amending the constitution by a vote of the people or by winning in the courts. Both paths are being pursued simultaneously. Whatever our path, it’s important to have this public conversation about why marriage matters to us all.”

Watch the video AFTER THE JUMP…

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Gay Fighter Pilot 'DADT' Drama 'Burning Blue' Comes to the Big Screen: VIDEO

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Burning Blue, the 1995 off-Broadway play about Navy fighter pilots who fall in love under 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' and are exposed during a government investigation into a series of fatal accidents, has been adapted for the big screen.

The film, directed by DMW Greer, stars Trent Ford, Morgan Spector , Rob Mayes  William Lee Scott, Cotter Smith, Michael Cumpsty. It hits select theaters and VOD on June 6.

Watch the film's trailer, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Straight Marine Comes Out In Support Of Marriage Equality And Gay Rights

Former Marine sergean Roger Dean Huffstetler grew up with a gay man without ever realizing it, and when he joined the armed services he bunked with a gay man in Afghanistan, or as he puts it, "I slept with a gay man for six months in Afghanistan. 

HuffstetlerNo one asked. He did not tell." He didn't learn the truth about either until well after the fact and realized that while he never was disparaging towards homosexuals, he wasn't the champion for equal rights he thought he was.

The irony was that I had always imagined that if I’d lived in the time of segregation and the civil rights movement, I would be the white Southerner who was proud to march with the NAACP — that I would tear down bigoted beliefs and demand equality for all, even putting myself at risk if need be.

But I didn’t do those things. I watched the fight right in front of me without question, inactive and accepting — just like the generations before me.

The whole Washington Post editorial is worth a read.


Israel Forbids Soldiers From Wearing Uniforms In Pride Parades

On March 30 Israel Defense Forces Manpower Directorate Commander Major General Orna Barbivai overturned a policy allowing Israeli soldiers to march in uniform in Pride parades.

IsraelisoldiersprideflagSoldiers will now have to march in civilian clothing. No explanation thus far has been given for the policy change.

According to GayAsiaNews:

The new ruling also states that it will allow soldiers to participate in such events provided they receive permission from their commanders.

Soldiers may only attend social protests that are not organized by a political party. They are also forbidden to participate in protests related to the army and its policies, or in anti-Israel protests.

The Israeli military accepts LGBT soldiers. However same-sex marriage is not legal in the country even though they recognize such marriages that occur elsewhere.

(image via Desert Peace Files)


Seeking Hormone Therapy, Convicted Wikileaker Chelsea Manning Petitions For Name Change

Convicted Wikileaker Private Chelsea Manning has petitioned a Kansas court for a legal name change to match her female identity. The day after she was sentenced to 35 years in prison for violating the Espionage Act, Manning released a statement announcing her transgender identity.

Chelsea_manningManning is seeking the name change as part of a longer battle to secure hormone therapy during her time in incarceration. The New York Times has more:

Manning has asked to receive hormone replacement therapy and live as a woman while incarcerated... [and] will go to court, if necessary, to obtain the hormone treatment.

Civilian federal prisons are required to provide such treatment, if deemed medically necessary, for inmates diagnosed with gender dysphoria. Unlike in military prisons, the policy also allows inmates who believe they are the wrong gender to dress and live accordingly as part of their individual treatment plans.

The military has said it does not provide treatment for gender dysphoria because Pentagon policy dictates that transgender soldiers are not allowed to serve.

According to Lauren McNamara (aka Zinnia Jones) — an activist, friend and former defense witness for Chelsea Manning — civilian courts have found in almost all cases that prisons are required to provide hormone therapy and increasingly surgery as well for trans inmates. If Manning succeeds in her quest to receive hormone treatment and other trans accomodations, she could help set a precedent for future trans soldiers both in and out of prison. 


Panel Recommends Obama Lift Transgender Military Service Ban

An independent panel convened by a think tank at San Francisco State University and led by former Surgeon General Dr. Joycelyn Elders (pictured) and Rear Admiral Alan Steinman, recommends lifting the current ban on transgender service members and says Obama could lift it without congressional approval, the AP reports:

EldersThe report said Department of Defense regulations designed to keep transgender people from joining or remaining in the military on the grounds of psychological and physical unfitness are based on outdated beliefs that require thousands of current service members either to leave the service or to forego the medical procedures and other changes that could align their bodies and gender identities.

"We determined not only that there is no compelling medical reason for the ban, but also that the ban itself is an expensive, damaging and unfair barrier to health care access for the approximately 15,450 transgender personnel who serve currently in the active, Guard and reserve components," said the commission...

Thee report from the commission is to be released today.

The commission argued that facilitating gender transitions "would place almost no burden on the military," adding that a relatively small number of active and reserve service members would elect to undergo transition-related surgeries and that only a fraction might suffer complications that would prevent them from serving. It estimated that 230 transgender people a year would seek such surgery at an average cost of about $30,000.

A Defense Department spokesman told the AP there are no current plans to change the department's policy.


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