Austin gay bashing prompted by hug
DALLAS — TwoAustin, Texas, menclaim they were the vic-tims of a hate crime theday after Christmas,according to a reportsfrom the Dallas Voice,a gay Texas paper, andOn Top Magazine, aCleveland-based na-tional gay news web-site.Bobby Beltran andChristopher Ortega saythe attack was prompt-ed by an embrace theyshared after leavinga downtown gay barcalled Rain early Sun-day morning. Five menwho saw them hugyelled homophobicslurs at the two from inside their car. The men saythey were punched, kicked and yelled at for aboutthree minutes minutes. About 20 people observedit but didn’t try to intervene, the Voice reported. Theattack ended when one of the men warned the oth-ers that police were coming, On Top reported.The men told a Texas NBC news afﬁliate the po-lice were not helpful and said, “We’ll never catchthese guys.”
Gay W.Va. miner accusesemployer of sexual harassment
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Troubled coal producerMassey Energy Co. is facing more legal problems,this time in the form of a sexual harassment lawsuitﬁled by a gay miner, according to an AssociatedPress report.Sam Hall’s lawsuit claims he endured years ofverbal abuse and threats from co-workers and man-agers at several Massey mines in West Virginia. Thelawsuit names Massey subsidiary Spartan MiningCo. and a Spartan foreman as defendants, the re-port said.Hall’s lawsuit chieﬂy seeks a court order requiringSpartan’s management to put an end to the threats,intimidation, name calling and the like. And it seekscourt-ordered monitoring by the West Virginia HumanRights Commission, as well as unspeciﬁed damages.“He wants to be a coal miner and he wants to beprotected and safe,” Hall’s lawyer, Roger Forman, toldthe AP. “This is a dangerous job and you can’t be pre-occupied about what other people are going to do.”Hall still works for Massey, where he started hismining career in 2005. He has stayed with the com-pany, transferring as mines ran out of coal and closedover the years, the AP report said. Through it all, he’sput up with harsh treatment from name-calling co-workers, according to the complaint.“He didn’t want to sue anybody, he wanted towork it out,” Forman told the AP. “There needs to besome education of people who act that way.”At one mine, a co-worker allegedly spray painteda picture depicting Hall engaged in a gay sexual actand attaching a sign accusing Hall of pedophilia to hiscar. At another mine, Hall “became seriously worriedbecause the harassing slurs accelerated to violentthreats, such as ‘I would like to see all faggots die.’”
Florida men found murderedon Christmas were partners
WILTON MANORS, Fla. — Two men whose bod-ies were found last week inside their rented home inWilton Manors, Fla., were partners and appear to havebeen murdered, the South Florida Gay News reported.The bodies of Kevin Powell, 47, and Steve Ad-ams, 52, former residents of Hollywood, Fla., werediscovered by the sister of one of the victims whocalled police when her brother failed to arrive at herhome for planned holiday festivities. Powell had Dia-betes and his sister was fearful he may have need-ed medical care.Investigators are looking for the victims’ vehicle,a black 2003 Saturn Vue with Florida tag 989VRL.The investigation continues. At this time, investiga-tors do not have a motive and have not named anysuspect. The South Florida Gay News called thecase a “double homicide” but did not give detailsabout how the men appear to have been murdered.
Allentown, Pa., considers extendingmedical beneﬁts to gay couples
ALLENTOWN, Pa. — Allentown, a small town ineastern Pennsylvania, may soon become the ﬁrstmunicipality in the Lehigh Valley to offer medicalbeneﬁts to partners of gay employees, whether ac-tive or retired, the Morning Call, a regional Pennsyl-vania paper, reported this week.Under a domestic partnership bill before coun-cil, partners of gay employees would be eligible forhealth beneﬁts as long as the couple can illustratethey live together and are jointly responsible forhousehold ﬁnances, the Call reported.Many private companies and institutions in theLehigh Valley, such as Muhlenberg College and theMorning Call, offer similar beneﬁts, as does the cityof Philadelphia.“This is about equality and doing the right thingfor our very hard-working city staff members,” Adri-an Shanker, a city resident and vice president of thePennsylvania Diversity Network, which supports theLehigh Valley’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgen-der community, told the Call.He said the bill is “about recruiting and retainingthe most talented employees for the city of Allen-town.”The bill, introduced on Dec. 15 and slated for aﬁnal vote as early as next month, has broad supportamong council members, who say gay couples de-serve the same beneﬁts as their heterosexual coun-terparts, the Call said.Mayor Ed Pawlowski has yet to reveal his positionon the measure, saying it’s “under review.”
Gay man leads N.C.church association
RALEIGH, N.C. — The newly elected presidentof the North Carolina Council of Churches is gay, asigniﬁcant point as churches in the south are oftenslower in accepting gays into church life.The News Observer, a North Carolina paper, re-ported that Stan Kimer, is one of only two of the coun-try’s 33 similar church councils that has elected anopenly gay leader. That makes Kimer’s presidencyof the N.C. Council — a coalition of 17 Christian de-nominations and eight individual churches that workon social issues — historic in the South.As president, Kimer leads a 35-member govern-ing board that sets the council’s direction on a hostof social issues, including racial equality, healthcare, immigrant rights and environmental conserva-tion. He was elected to a one-year term and couldrun for a second one-year term.Kimer, who retired from IBM last year after serv-ing as director of sales operations for its globalbusiness services, is now a private consultant. Helives in Raleigh with his partner of 19 years, RichRoark, a loan manager for Capital Bank, the Ob-server reported.
Catania turned down oncommittee assignment
D.C. Council member Kwame Brown (D-At-Large), whobecomes Council chair Jan. 2, turned down a request byCouncil member David Catania (I-At-Large) that he create anew education committee and appoint Catania as chair.Brown turned down a similar request by Council memberMary Cheh (D-Ward 3), who, like Catania, had been cam-paigning behind the scenes for Brown to name her chair ofan education panel.Brown instead decided to follow the course set by his pre-decessor, Council Chair Vincent Gray, who becomes mayorthe same day Brown becomes Council chair. Brown will keepeducation issues and oversight of the D.C. public school sys-tem under the auspices of the Committee of the Whole. AndBrown, like Gray, will be chair of that committee, on which all13 Council members serve.While a disappointment to Catania, AIDS activists and ad-vocates for health care reform will likely be pleased that Cata-nia will remain chair of the Council’s Committee on Health.Catania, who is gay, has been credited with pushing throughsweeping changes in the city’s AIDS ofﬁce and Departmentof Health that activists have said have greatly improved theservices to people with HIV/AIDS and other health conditions.In a separate action, Brown reassigned gay Council mem-ber Jim Graham (D-At-Large) from his post as chair of theCommittee on Public Works and Transportation to becomechair of the Committee on Human Services. Council memberTommy Wells (D-Ward 6), who has chaired the Human Ser-vices panel, will take over the Public Works and Transporta-tion Committee.Brown did not say why he made the switch between Gra-ham and Wells. Graham told the Washington Post he is “ﬁne”with the change, saying he comes from a background in hu-man services programs as the former head of the Whitman-Walker Clinic.
— LOU CHIBBARO JR.
Kameny FB page formed tohelp longtime activist financially
A volunteer member of the local gay charitable groupHelping Our Brothers and Sisters (HOBS) has created aFacebook page intended to facilitate ﬁnancial contributionsto support veteran gay rights leader Frank Kameny.In a letter to HOBS supporters and others in the LGBTcommunity, Ben Carver announced that he has created a“Buy Frank a drink,” page on Facebook, with the intent ofenabling members of the community to make a $10 dona-tion in lieu of buying Kameny a drink to thank him for hismore than 50 years of work on behalf of LGBT causes.“I’m writing you today because while Mr. Kameny livesvery simply, he has struggled to make ends meet on his slimpension,” Carver said. “Also, while his mind is sharp, he hasdifﬁculty managing his ﬁnances. To be brief, one of our great-est heroes needs help.”Marvin Carter, HOBS’ founder and president, noted thatduring a HOBS Christmas luncheon for Kameny, the na-tionally known activist told of his attendance at PresidentObama’s signing of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal bill andhow Obama and Vice President Joe Biden shook his hand atthe event.Kameny, a World War II combat veteran, has been cred-ited with starting a paralegal service to help gay and lesbianservice members under investigation for their sexual orien-tation in the 1970s, becoming the ﬁrst known gay-run effortto stop gays from being discharged from the military. Theparalegal service was one of many Kameny initiatives andadvocacy campaigns he organized over the years on behalfof LGBT rights.The Kameny page can be found by doing a Facebooksearch for “buy Frank a drink.”
— LOU CHIBBARO JR.
2 washingtonblade.com • december 31, 2010