Movie Industry Lags Behind TV in LGBT Roles

GLAAD Faults Hollywood Studios

Media watchdog group GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) criticizes Hollywood in its first substantial study of releases from the major film studios. Called “2013 Studio Responsibility Index,” the study found that of 101 films from the six major studios in 2012, only fourteen included characters who were identified as LGB, and none were transgender.
GLAAD spokesman Wilson Cruz found that as opposed to movies, television has become increasingly inclusive , including a record high percentage of LGBT characters in the 2012-2013 broadcast season. Says Cruz, “as a major influence in American culture and one of our nation’s largest media exports abroad, the lack of LGBT characters in big-budget films needs to change. Until LGBT characters are depicted in these films in a substantial way with more regularity, there will remain the appearance of LGBT bias on the studio’s part. Whether it’s an action hero or a supporting character, moviegoers should be able to see LGBT people as integral players in the stories told by leading Hollywood studios.” Although this year’s hit, Skyfall, had a bisexual main character, Javier Bardem, he was portrayed as devious and villainous.

Cruz’s organization plans to meet with the major studios about the absence of LGBT characters. Just two decades ago, there were more films, 48 with significant LGBT characters, that grossed over $1 million dollars at the box office.

Conclusions of the Study

The study also found that:
• 56% of those inclusive films featured gay male characters, 33% featured lesbian characters, and 11% contained bisexual characters.
• Of the 31 different characters counted: 26 were white, four were Black/African-American, and one was Latino. There were no Asian-Pacific Islander or recognizably multi-racial characters counted.
• There were more LGBT characters in 2012 releases in comedies. 34 genre films (action, sci-fi, fantasy) made up the majority of the 2012 releases, though only three of those included any LGBT characters. Only one of 21 dramas and one of four documentaries were inclusive.

Report Card for the Studios

The criteria to measure the quality of the LGBT roles was whether a character was identifiably LGBT: whether it was not solely or predominantly defined by its sexual orientation or gender identity, and whether it was tied into the plot in such a way that its removal would have significant effect.
Cruz uses the animated family film “ParaNorman” as a good example of an LGBT-inclusive film in 2012.

The six studios were rated by the SRI and their grades are as follows:
• 20th Century Fox and Disney received failing grades.
• Paramount, Sony, Universal and Warner Bros. got “adequate” grades.

Other Tests to Pass

Before the SRI Index, there was the Bechdel Test to ascertain if a movie properly represented female characters. A Bechdel-inspired set of criteria developed into the Russo Test, named for GLAAD co-founder and film historian Vito Russo. Less than half of the films of 2012 passed the Russo Test.

Criteria for Vito Russo Test
• The film contains a character that is identifiably lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or transgender.
• That character must not be solely or predominantly defined by their sexual orientation or gender identity (i.e. the character is made up of the same sort of unique character traits commonly used to differentiate straight characters).
• The LGBT character must be tied into the plot in such a way that their removal would have a significant effect.
• Only 6 of the 14 studio films featuring LGB characters actually passed the Vito Russo Test, including Cloud Atlas, Pitch Perfect, Rock of Ages and The Five Year Engagement.

Mainstream Hollywood Needs To Come Out A Little

This year marks the first year GLAAD, an organization that works with media (social, cultural, and entertainment) on the inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and issues, has released a report that measures the representation of lgbt people in the mainstream film industry.

GLAAD reports that it has followed and advocated for lgbt character and issue inclusion in television for almost twenty years, and that this year, because of how quickly television shows have become inclusive, the organization has shifted its focus to the behind-the-times film industry. It started the research because “major film studios appear reluctant to include LGBT characters in significant roles or franchises,” and from its research, that certainly seems to be the case.

The “Studio Responsibility Index” looked at the six largest film studios in Hollywood: 20th Century Fox, Paramount Pictures, Sony Columbia, Universal Pictures, Warner Brothers, and The Walt Disney Studios. Only films released during the 2012 calendar year were chosen, amounting to 101 films (and Dalmatians). What was searched for in each film was an lgbt character, they were classified into minor or major characters, and then counted under demographic information, including race/ethnicity and sexual orientation/gender identity.

What the report found is that less than 14% of the films had a character which identified as lgbt. The majority of these (56%) were gay males, followed by lesbians (33%), although male representation almost doubled females. Almost 84% of all queer characters were white, and none were Asian, Pacific Islanders, or multi-racial. The films which were the most inclusive? Comedies, while no family-oriented movies contained a hint of queerness in them.

Of the six studios studied, none got a passing grade. Two—20th Century Fox and The Walt Disney Studios—are considered failing, with one lgbt character between the two studio powerhouses.

The report also establishes its own barometer test for the stereotyping and flatness involved in creating queer characters. The “Vito Russo Test” takes its name from GLAAD co-founder and celebrated film historian, has three points a film has to pass in order to be considered having a queer character that matters. The test takes direction from the famous “Bechdel Test” for women, and reads:

1.     The film contains a character that is identifiably lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or transgender.

 2.     That character must not be solely or predominantly defined by their sexual orientation or gender identity. I.E. they are made up of the same sort of unique character traits commonly used to differentiate straight characters from one another.

 3.     The LGBT character must be tied into the plot in such a way that their removal would have a significant effect. Meaning they are not there to simply provide colorful commentary, paint urban authenticity, or (perhaps most commonly) set up a punchline. The character should matter.

Of the 14 films identified with lgbt characters, less than half of them pass this test, showing that the “LGBT community may be increasingly well represented on television, but clearly there is a lot of work remaining in Hollywood film.”

Recommendations made by GLAAD for the film industry touch on the importance of queer characters and their positive portrayal, especially in greater frequency and in more important roles, though at the very least in “normalizing” roles of everyday encounters. The report also underscored the importance of diversity which the entire entertainment industry has been struggling with for years. Issues of race, gender, socio-economic background, religion, and age are just as important as lgbt issues and are routinely glazed over. Lastly and perhaps most expectedly, there needs to be far more improvements when it comes to transgender inclusion in film. GLAAD points out that “transgender representations remain at least 20 years behind the curve [in both film and television].” They go on to say that since there has been more publicity about trans issues nationwide, the portrayal of trans issues should keep pace, rather than contribute to the marginalization of the trans community, something that has been becoming far too commonplace.

Gay Wrestler Comes Out, Real This Time

Celebrities and high-profile figures coming out has become a careful publicity game, stars wanting to disclose their sexualities themselves when they want, and tabloids wanting to be the first to dish the dirt. It seems like WWE wrestler Darren Young wanted to take his coming out into his own hands when he told a shocked TMZ reporter <> that he was gay after getting off of a plane at in Los Angeles.

On the subject of gay wrestlers and whether or not they could be successful in the WWE, Young said, “Absolutely. Look at me. I’m a WWE superstar and to be honest with you, I’ll tell you right now, I’m gay. And I’m happy. I’m very happy.” The reason for his coming out, TMZ later reported, came because of Young’s relationship with his boyfriend of two years. Maybe they’ll be tying the knot soon?

After coming out, Young got support from fellow wrestlers and his organization. Fellow WWE wrestler John Cena, congratulated Young for his coming out. He said he was proud of the wrestler for coming out and that it won’t—and shouldn’t—matter in or out of the ring, “as long as you’re entertaining.”

A representative at the WWE gave a statement <>, saying that, “WWE is proud of Darren Young for being open about his sexuality, and we will continue to support him as a WWE Superstar. Today, in fact, Darren will be participating in one of our Be A Star anti-bullying rallies in Los Angeles to teach children how to create positive environments for everyone regardless of age, race, religion, or sexual orientation.”

Young, 33 whose real name is Fredrick Douglas Rosser, is considered the first openly active gay WWE wrestler to come out while with the company. United States wrestling has had several gay figures, but none who came out while employed as prominent figures. Orlando Jordan performed as a bisexual man while wrestling, a character that was based on his actual life, but never came out to the press while working for the WWE. And Chris Kanyon created a character who was openly homosexual which segued into him admitting that he was actually gay and wanted to remain closeted while preforming.

The WWE and other wrestling shows have used queer characters in their shows, but usually in negative ways. Most male characters exhibiting feminine or homosexual traits are cast as heels, or the villains, in matches. Many cross-dress. The character Goldust would be sexually lewd, groping opponents and expressing affection toward them in order to make them uncomfortable and lose.

One of the more popular gay story arches revolved around the tag-team Billy and Chuck, who started showing affection toward each other on stage after pairing up in 2001. They won two World Tag Team Championships, and then were scheduled to get married on air, in partnership with GLAAD. During the commitment ceremony, the duo declared that they were strictly heterosexual and that the wedding and relationship had all been a publicity stunt, enraging GLADD who denounced the WWE for leading them on.

It seems like good news for wrestling in the United States, whose male sports figures have been regarded as being behind the times in terms of coming out and being open about their sexuality. Just after coming out, WWE added Young to their 2K14 roster, and it will be his debut in a WWE video game. Young has been shocked by how much positive press his decision has been making, and is glad that he can be seen as a positive role model.

Gay Mountaineer Raises Money For Trevor Project

Climbs “Seven Summits”

Impetus to Change GLBT Suicide Rate

Cason Crane is an incoming Princeton University freshman.  Devastated by the suicide of a friend as well as the tragic death of Tyler Clementi in his home state.prompted Carson to help more LGBTQ youth to get the help they need and to call attention to youth suicide, the third leading cause of death for 15-to-24 year-olds.

Gay himself, Cason remembers times when he was bullied, teased in the locker room, and called names. Luckily, he had the support of family and friends unlike many GLBT kids who consider suicide. In fact, GLBTQ kids have four times the suicide rate of their peers.

The Rainbow Summits Project

A cum laude graduate of a competitive preparatory school, Choate Rosemary Hall, Cason  wanted to bring awareness and funds  The Trevor Project, the leading GLBTQ suicide and crisis prevention service. His work is called The Rainbow Summits Project.

While most organizations raise money through telethons, direct mail, SuperPacs, Cason has a unique approach: he climbs mountains.  Although he says he is afraid of heights, he has been climbing since he was fifteen years old when he climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa.  He has worked and partaked of volunteer missions in Africa, Asia, and North America and has travelled to more than sixty-five countries.

A good athlete, he is an avid runner, swimmer, and triathlete.  He completed his first Ironman in New Zealand in January 2012.

Why Climb?

Although physically fit, Crane speaks about the challenges inherent in climbing the tallest mountains in the seven continents.  He likens climbing to the challenges of being GLBTQ: the obstacles, the need for external support, but ultimately, the pay-off – the high of being true to themselves and to those who care about them.

Crane has climbed mountains in the United States, New Zealand, Russia, Switzerland, France, and Argentina.  His ascent of Mt. Everest, the tallest in the world, was on May 21.  His final climb, a second try, was Mt. McKinley in Alaska on July 11, 2013. He carried Tibetan prayer flags to the summit.  Pictures are on his website: http://www., On the flags are dedications to people who have committed suicide or been the victims of harassment.

No Small Feat

With his seven climbs, Crane becomes the first openly LGBT person to attain the distinction of successfully climbing to the tops of the highest mountains on each continent.  He is also the fifth youngest person to achieve that record.

Raised Awareness and Money

Cason Crane has raised over $135,000 for The Trevor Project and awareness for GLBTQ suicide. This year, he received an award from GLAAD, a principal organization for LGBT equality that works directly with the news media.  You can also follow Cason on Twitter mailto:@casoncrane.




Wanda Sykes & OWN Kick Out the Jams In New HERLARIOUS Comedy Special

Call Wanda Sykes a “power lesbian” and you just might be right—the way she rocks her power, however, is with strictly comedic brilliance.

Here to make your summer sizzle with all-girl comedy giggles, Multi-Emmy and GLAAD award-winning comedian, actress and comedy writer Wanda Sykes is back in full effect.  Feeling better than ever, Sykes returns to cable television with a new production deal and an Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) TV special debut.

You’ve likely seen Wanda’s many other comedic treats including her longstanding funny business with Chris Rock, Logo TV’s “NewNowNext,” the “Curb Your Enthusiasm” team, her self-penned and produced shows  “Tongue United,” “Sick and Tired,” “I’ma Be Me,” and of course her own “she-larious”  program “The Wanda Sykes Show.”

Sykes’ new two-part OWN special HERLARIOUS debuted this week (July 13) and ends next week (July 20), teaming up queer women of color with a veritable rainbow of all-female mega talents (including straight but not narrow folks).  Said to be among Sykes’ favorite up-and-coming stand-ups, the guest starring funny ladies include Andi Smith, Gloria Bigelow, Marina Franklin, Tracey Ashley, Carmen Lynch and Dominique Witten.

Sykes’ press indicates all comediennes were handpicked by Wanda herself, and that this effort spearheads a multi-project first-look production deal that’s also pulling in NBC/Universal TV execs and production partner Page Hurwitz, said to be teaming up on several productions after HERLARIOUS airs.

Both one hour-long comedy specials were recorded in front of a live audience at Oprah’s home base, Harpo Studios.

“Life is better when you’re laughing,” The Oprah Winfrey Network team tweeted (via @OWNTV), continuing, “@iamwandasykes presents #Herlarious.”

And you know your girl Wanda big-upped OWN’s social share with her own retweet.

Sure, Wanda’s calendar is filled to brimming over with holiday jaunts to France (wife Alex and two darling kids are on board, natch) but she’ll always make extra room for Oprah.  In the HERLARIOUS sneak peek video Wanda jokes, ” I keep getting asked, ‘Wanda…why are you doing a show with all female comics?’  I’m like, because Oprah asked me to!  Shoot…Oprah asks you to do somethin’, you move.  Come on!”

To watch exclusive performances including audience Q and A’s, celeb sightings of Brooke Shields (“Lipstick Jungle”) and Kym Whitley (“Next Friday,” “Raising Whitley”), and oodles of queer-centric laughs, visit this page.

You can also hang out at Wanda Sykes’ “homepage away from home,”

New Children’s Cartoon Distresses, Excites, and Leaves Others Nonplussed

A new children’s cartoon has garnered mixed reactions, though most all of them agree: it’s funny and children will watch it.

 SheZow  is a timeless superhero story with a twist. In order to be a hero and battle various villains, twelve-year-old boy Guy Hamdon needs a ring to transform and access his powers. The twist is that Guy’s alter-ego is SheZow, a crime-fighting heroine who dresses in pink and purple, and whose world revolves around puns on the word “she.” To access his powers, he shouts “You go girl!” and goes about in the “she-hicle” to stop “she-vil” doers. It’s silly, but it attempts to bridge the gender gaps of many children’s shows with superheroes who appeal to only one or the other.

As soon as it was announced to be coming to American television, the group One Million Moms sent out a warning to all parents to boycott the show, saying that “This character especially will appeal to both boys and girls since the superhero represents both genders by cross dressing and being transgendered. This dude becomes the FEMALE superhero SheZow dressed in pink and purple.” Their central fear is that their sons will quickly ignore all of the other television shows and movies marketed just toward them and think, (taken from their press release) “I want to be a girl, so I can help people and save the world!”

Other groups were quick to voice their praise, happy to see a network taking on such a potentially challenging idea and running with it. Originally premiering in Australia in December 2012, it green-lit for America on June 1 on Hub Network, which replaced Discovery Kids and specializes in programming for children 2-11. While not the powerhouse of Nickelodeon or Disney Channel, the network gets a sizable amount of viewers and is hoping that the characters on SheZow will attract more.

The CEO of Hub Network, Margaret Loesh, commented to the Los Angeles Times that her initial reaction to the show was, “Are you out of your minds?” She added, “Then I looked at it and I thought, ‘This is just funny.’”

Most news outlets are calling the cartoon character SheZow a transgender or transsexual superhero, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. While the show does play on typical gender stereotypes, Guy likes to skateboard and comments that his sister should “Do the girly unpacking [herself],” when fighting villains as SheZow Guy’s voice doesn’t change, he doesn’t try to pass as a woman other than to keep his secret identity, and comments on how uncomfortable some of the superhero gear makes him. His roles are acknowledged as separate, and nothing is ever mentioned about sexual orientation.

GLAAD (formerly the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) responded with a similar view. Spokesperson Rich Ferraro commented on the show, saying “I don’t think this show is about transgender issues any more than the Teletubbies were about gay issues, because one of the characters was purple and carried around a purse.” Creator Obie Scott Wade himself argues that “by becoming SheZow, the main focus is on responsibility and less on gender.”

While having the central shtick of a television show be the cheap laugh of an uncomfortable gender reversal, the show uses the character of SheZow to help the main character Guy grow, since he’s learning lessons from two genders. It also shows that, although SheZow becomes weakened when her hair isn’t perfectly coiffed, she is powerful when confronted with danger and uses both brain and brawn to save the day.

You can watch new episodes of SheZow every Saturday on Hub Network at 12:30 pm EST/9:30 am PST.

Boy Scouts’ Proposal Would Allow Gay Youth, Not Leaders

Scouts’ National Council Voting on May 20

On April 19, 2013, the Scouts announced that the proposal to lift the ban for gay youth members, but keep the ban for adult leaders who are lesbian or gay would be submitted to over 1,400 voting members of its National Council on May 20. If the resolution is approved, “no youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone, “Deron Smith, the BSA’s spokesman stated.

During this past January, the Boy Scouts of America was considering a plan to give sponsors of local Scout units the option of admitting gays as both youth members and adult leaders or continuing to exclude them. However, the BSA changed its course owing to the surveys sent out to the Scouting community’s million members, starting in February.

Survey Results

The organization sent out about one million surveys and heard from 200,000 respondents, including many churches and religious organizations who are large supporters of scouting.

The results?  Sixty-one percent favored keeping the current policy of excluding gays while thirty-four percent did not.  However, among parents, 45% opposed the existing ban while 42% supported it.  A majority of teens opposed the ban. Three years ago, 58% supported the ban. The BSA in a statement said “while perspectives and opinions vary significantly, parents, adults in the Scouting community and teens alike tend to agree that youth should not be denied the benefits of Scouting. “ The proposed resolution also reinforces that “Scouting is a youth program, and any sexual conduct, whether heterosexual or homosexual, by youth of Scouting age is contrary to the virtues of Scouting.”

A divisive Issue

Gay-rights groups and other have been pressing the Scouts to end the ban.  Said Richard Ferraro, the vice- president of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Discrimination, “what this resolution appears to be doing is reinforcing the outrageous idea that gay people somehow pose a threat to kids, which experts like the American Psychological Association have dismissed for more than a decade.” Four experts consulted by the Scouts, according to the summary, said, that homosexuality is not a risk factor for sexual abuse and that there was no evidence that having a gay leader would alter a child’s sexual orientation.

Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said the BSA hadn’t gone far enough. “What message does this resolution send to the gay Eagle Scout who, as an adult, wants to continue a lifetime of Scouting by becoming a troop leader?”

For some gay scouts like Ryan Andresen of California, this policy will come too late.  Last year, Ryan was denied his Eagle Scout award because he is gay.  ‘Had this proposed policy been enacted just a few months ago, Ryan would have received his Eagle award.  Now that he’s 18, under the proposed policy, he would once again be rejected by the Boy Scouts.’


Conservative Members

More conservative members have advocated maintaining the ban, which the Scouts defended before the Supreme Court in 2000.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the largest organization for Scouts troops, is non-commital about the ban at this point. Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, said the policy is incoherent. “ The proposal says in essence, that homosexuality is morally acceptable until a boy turns 18- then, when he comes of age, he’s removed for the Scouts.” The Family Research Council has been circulating an online petition urging the BSA to keep the ban.

Besides the Mormon Church, many scout units are sponsored by relatively religious denominations that have supported the ban on gays in the past, notably the Roman Catholic Church and Southern Baptist Churches. They have expressed concern over having gay adult leaders and were less concerned about gay youth members.

The survey gauged the proposal’s impact on financial support.  Local Scout councils reported that fifty-one percent of their major donors opposed easing the ban, while a majority of Fortune 500 companies supported a change.

Outcome in May

The BSA has anticipated that easing the ban on gay adults might prompt between 100,000 and 350,000 members to leave the organization which now has 2.6 million youth members. Gay-friendly scouting group, Navigators USA, now has forty-five chapters in twenty-one states, with nineteen chapters since March 2012.




Carly Rae Jepsen uses her non-singing voice to Criticize Boy Scouts

Cancels Jamboree Show owing to BSA’s anti-gay Membership Rules

The 2013 Boy Scout Jamboree, which normally draws thousands of Scouts and their leaders to a campground in West Virginia,will not have Canadian pop singer Carly Rae Jepsen entertaining this summer. Jepsen’s single “Call Me Maybe,”has sold more than 12.5 million copies.  She is enormously popular.

Why She Cancelled Her Appearance

Announced on Twitter on March 5th, Ms. Jepsen said “as an artist who believes in equality for all people, I will not be participating in the Boy Scouts of America Jamboree this summer.  I always have and always will support the LGBT community on a global level.”

Change.Org Contacted Jepsen

On February 28, Derek Nance, a former closeted Eagle Scout and camp leader for ten years,  started a petition on asking Carly Rae Jepsen and the trio Train from San Francisco not to perform at the Jamboree unless openly gay scouts and leaders would be welcome to attend.. Train, an American poprock band, had a Gold album “Save Me, San Francisco.” Last month, Train cancelled its jamboree appearance because of the Boy Scouts’ membership policy that excludes openly gay youths and scoutmasters.

Four days after Nance started the petition drive on, calling on the musical artists to disassociate themselves from the Boy Scouts, more than 60,000 people signed the petition. Spokesman at Boy Scouts of America in Irving, Texas, declined to say whether Jepsen and Train would be replaced as musical headliners at the Jamboree.

GLAAD and Others Who Call for BSA Policy Change

GLAAD (Gay/Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation commended the musicians on its website and urged them to withdraw from the jamboree following Nance’s campaign. “No fair-minded media outlet, corporation or celebrity will want to partner with the BSA as long as the organization puts discrimination and anti-gay bias before the needs of young people.  GLAAD will continue to call for partners of the BSA to speak out against the anti-gay ban until the BSA puts Scouting first and adopts a national non-discrimination policy. Carly Rae Jepsen and Train’s decisions not only send the right message to the BSA, but remind LGBT young people that they are supported and accepted.”

Advocacy groups, including GLAAD, have been calling on the National Geographic Channel to end its relationship with the BSA. The cable channel has a current reality series entitled “Are You Tougher Than a Boy Scout?” The groups have accused the BSA of using the show as free advertising for the Scouts.

BSA’s Policy

The Boy Scouts of America have continued their policy of discriminating against gays for which corporations such as United Way and Starbucks have withdrawn financial support for the Boy Scouts.  Former scouts and leaders have mailed in their merit badges in support of Eagle Scouts and leaders who have been kicked out of the BSA for being gay.

According to the Supreme Court, the Scouts’ ban on gays is legal.  The court ruled that the organization has a constitutionally protected right to deem homosexuality inconsistent with BSA values. In 2000, the justices ruled 5-4 that the Boy Scouts of America, a private organization, did not have to reinstate a scout leader who was expelled after publicly disclosing his homosexuality.

This past January, BSA’s headquarters announced that the leadership would review the policy again, but decided it was too soon.  There is a national meeting in May 2013 at which councils will vote on the current ban.







Recent Poll Released Show Voters Disagree with DOMA

Majority Find DOMA Discriminates

The Center for American Progress and Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAAD) released a poll on February 19, 2013 that found that an increasing number of voters think the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is discriminatory.

Details of the Poll

The poll shows that 59% of voters are opposed to DOMA, the federal law that prohibits the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriage. As with other polls, this one proved that a majority of voters (52 percent) said they support marriage equality for same-sex couples.

The opposition to DOMA was highest among Hispanics (61%) and African-Americans (65%). Sixty-two percent agreed with the statement that DOMA is discriminatory. even though some were against gay marriage.

The poll results are based on live interviewer telephone survey conducted January 23-27 among 802 U.S. registered voters. The respondents were informed about DOMA, is the law prohibits the federal government from offering benefits to same-sex couples who are legally married.

According to Winnie Stachelberg of the commissioners of the poll, the Center for American Progress and Gay and Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, “ the findings of this poll should provide significant headwinds to LGBT advocates and allies and demonstrate to the Court that the thinking behind DOMA is outdated and indefensible.”

The Future of DOMA

Section 3 of DOMA has previously been found unconstitutional in eight federal courts, including First and Second Circuit Court of Appeals, on issues including bankruptcy, public employee benefits, estate taxes, and immigration.  One of those cases, United States v. Windsor, will have oral arguments, beginning in March 2013.  The justices have agreed to hear the New York case filed by Edith Windsor who sued because she was required to pay a $350,000 federal estate tax bill.  The government, because of DOMA, does not recognize her marriage to her late wife Thea Spyer.

This spring, the Supreme Court will rule on the constitutionality of Section 3 of Acts, which unfairly denied legally married same-sex couples the benefits and protections currently available to heterosexual married couples. Federal appeals courts in New York and Boston ruled that DOMA is unconstitutional – rulings appealed by the Republicans to the Supreme Court.



Two Ways You Can Support GLBT Youth This Week

October is Anti-Bullying Month

In deference to October as anti-bullying month, glaad, The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation is sponsoring Spirit Day on Friday, October 19th.  On that day, millions of Americans will wear purple to speak out against bullying and to show support for GLBT youth.

Why Purple?  It represents spirit on the rainbow flag.  Participants will either wear purple on Spirit Day or change their social media profile pictures to purple using GLAAD’s Spirit Day apps available at “By going purple for Spirit Day, millions of Americans are helping to send a clear message that no one should be bullied simply because of who they are,” states GLAAD President Herndon Graddick.

Businesses that Participate in Spirit Day

AT&T is the exclusive underwriter of the of the Spirit Day Text purple campaign: supporters can donate to GLAAD, Glsen ( Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network)and The Trevor Project by texting ‘PURPLE’ to 80888 to make a $5 contribution.

American Apparel, the Los Angeles clothing manufacturer launched a Spirit Day store featuring the company’s purple clothing items. Supporters will receive a special 10% discount on the purple items by using the promo code ‘SPIRIT’ at check out.  American Apparel will donate 10% of all ‘purple proceeds’ to GLAAD.

Celebrities Don Purple on October 19th

Hosts of ‘Good Morning America,’ ‘The Talk,” ‘E!News,’ ‘Chelsea Lately,’ among others, have pledged to wear purple along with Katy Butler, the 17 year old openly lesbian Michigan high school student whose campaign changed the Motion Picture  ‘R’ rating of the documentary “Bully.” Butler is calling for President Obama and Governor Romney to wear purple on Friday.

What will you be wearing this Friday?

GLSEN Sponsors ALLY WEEK, October 15-19, 2012

Glsen, the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students is sponsoring its seventh Ally Week in schools and communities nationwide October 15-19. Ally Week is a time that student organizers can plan events that serve to identify, support, and celebrate allies against anti-LGBT language, bullying and harassment in U.S. schools. Students, often with the help of Glsen’s resources, plan events for their school community through their Gay Straight Alliances, similar clubs, pledge drives, PSA announcements, as well as workshops. The events increase awareness for students and school staff of anti-LGBT behavior while working to build the networks of support within the schools.

Ways to Show Your Support

  • Register your school and event on
  • Take the Ally Pledge found on
  • Print badges and twibbons from website to use.
  • Make a video of why you’re an ally or why allies are important to you.
  • Post your story about why allies are important to your or why it’s important that you as an ally are creating safer schools for LGBT youth.
  • Download  resources that include sample letter to administrators, printable pledge form, printable pledge cards, Ally Week Organizing Manual, 20 Things You Can Do for Ally Week, Ally 101 Workshop Guide, and Thank you Card to send to allies.
  • Find out now about other days of action such as National Silence Day in April 2013.

Most importantly, show your support not just for this week, but throughout the year for GLBT students.