Friend of gay couple attacked in Philadelphia works to change hate crime laws | Gay Star News

I reported twice on the gay bashing incident in Philadelphia a little over a week ago. Now a petition to update Pennsylvania’s hate crime law is circulating. Here’s the story from JAMES WITHERS writing for Gay Star News

Pennsylvania is one of 14 US states that does not include sexual orientation or gender expression in hate crime legislation


Philadelphia Police Department

A friend of the gay couple recently attacked in Philadelphia is now working to include sexual orientation in the state’s hate crime laws.

Caryn Kunkle is a longtime friend of the pair and put up a petition, for Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett, on

‘My friends are traumatized but not defeated,’ the petition says in part. ‘They never want this to happen to anyone again. And I won’t standby so I am demanding that the Pennsylvania state legislators act now to pass a law for a hate crime to include sexual orientation in its definition.’

According to the Human Rights Campaign, a civil rights group, the Keystone State is one of 14 other US states where hate crime laws do not include sexual orientation or gender expression.

As of today, 20 September, the petition has 5,830 signatures.

‘It been really great to hear the response of the entire community,’ Kunkle said to CBS Philly. ‘It’s not just gay people who are signing the petition.’

According to CBS Philly, sexual orientation was included when the legislature crafted a hate crime bill in 2002. However, the law was overturned by the state Supreme Court.

There have been no arrests for the 11 September crime. However, police have spoken to a number of the suspects.

After authorities released a video of the 10-12 suspects, walking on a sidewalk, an anonymous Twitter user tracked them down with a Facebook photo taken at a restaurant.

It’s alleged the suspects, all in their early 20s, approached the couple.

‘Is this your fucking boyfriend,’ someone in the group asked.

The gay men, both in their late 20s, were allegedly attacked, held as other suspects punched them in the face, head, and chest.

One of the victims dropped a bag, containing his cell phone, wallet, and credit card. As police approached, a suspect picked up the bag and the group fled.

The victims were transported to hospital. The police report one victim sustained facial fractures, deep lacerations to his face, and a wired shut jaw.

Read more here at Gay Star News

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Religious group forces Indonesia college to cancel gay seminar | Gay Star News

When I was in Indonesia 35 years ago I never got the sense that any of the Muslims I knew were radical and it wasn’t until the fall of Strong Man President Suharto that Islamic radicals began to gain more power. In Ache Province at the end of the island of Sumatra the radicals run the government under regional autonomy. I am really saddened that LGBTQ Indonesians have it so tough. It does seem that moderates have managed to hold the line against radicalism so their is hope. Still, this incident reported on by LIAM JOHNSON in Gay Star News is troubling as is the plan to punish same-sex sex with whippings as reported here. . Here’s the main story…

A group of Islamic extremists pressurized the college to cancel the seminar called ‘LBGTI: We are One’, citing homosexuality as a ‘virus’ needing to be stopped


Image via Wikipedia

A Catholic university in Indonesia cancelled an LGBT seminar, after caving in to pressure from a group of Islamic extremists.

The Catholic University of Sanata Dharma (USD) in Yogyakarta had a seminar planned with the faculty of psychology called ‘LGBTI: We are different, we are unique and we are One.’

However, when a local Islamic group got wind of this seminar, they began to pressurize the university to cancel it.

The Islamic Society Forum (FUI) claimed the proposed seminar would have ‘dishonoured Islam.’

‘Deviant sexual behaviors are contagious,’ said Muhammad Fuad, head of one of the local branches of the FUI.

‘If we do not stop this ‘virus’, it is sure that one day gays and lesbians will claim equal rights and ask to see same-sex marriage recognized.’

The university is described as ‘Jesuit university’ founded by priests, and news source Asia News says it is one of Indonesia’s more tolerant colleges.

An LGBT couple are not eligible to adopt children in Indonesia, and it has a higher legal age of consent for sexual activity between two people of the same sex than heterosexual couples.

In 2003, a bill introduced to criminalize homosexuality failed to become law.

Yesterday (20 September), it was reported an Indonesian province punishes gay sex with 100 lashes. Read more here.

See more here at Gay Star News

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Stunning Day in Court for Marriage Equality


A fascinating look inside the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals deliberation and decision on marriage equality in Wisconsin and Indiana…

Originally posted on Queer Landia:

Never before has the legal case for nationwide marriage equality seemed stronger than at the recent Federal Court of Appeal’s argument in the Indiana and Wisconsin marriage cases. For nearly two hours, the Seventh Circuit panel of three judges, appointed by Presidents Reagan, Clinton, and Obama, tore gaping holes in every argument the states’ attorneys defending Indiana and Wisconsin’s marriage bans offered.

The states’ attorneys sometimes appeared at a loss for words or flustered, and the Wisconsin attorney even tried, unsuccessfully, to evade answering one of the Court’s questions by suggesting his time was up when it wasn’t. One judge referred to various arguments the states made as “feeble,” “absurd,” “ridiculous,” and “pathetic.” The states’ attorneys came up with nothing credible to defend the bans. When the Court asked Wisconsin’s attorney how ending the exclusion of LGBT couples from marriage would harm anyone else, he responded: “…[w]e don’t know.”


View original 346 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Comment: LGBTI equality and the Scottish Independence referendum result ·


LGBTQ Silhouette of Scotland

I spent last night watching the BBC News coverage of the Scottish Independence vote. I am thrilled my cable company provides the both the BBC News channel and BBC America which provide better news coverage on the one hand and better entertainment programming on the other than most other media outlets I have access too. It was interesting to see how both the guests who supported independence and those that were from the “better together” camp be respectful and polite even though it was obvious they cared deeply about the outcome. It was a refreshing change from my experience with American election coverage.

I have been torn between both sides as this debate went on. I have no particular link to Scotland aside from having one side of my family from New Scotland or as you know it Nova Scotia (Latin for New Scotland). They take that connection seriously and you’ll find kilted bagpipe players as part of the welcome to Nova Scotia traditions whether you arrive by auto or ship. In fact all of the Maritimes (Atlantic Canada) are influenced by Scottish culture with each province having it’s own tartan and Highland games and festivals are held each Summer. My heritage includes British with my paternal family name being found in both Scotland and England. I also have Jewish and French ancestry. My heritage in North America goes way back to the 1600s so I am very much a Canadian American.

So my main reason for caring about Scotland comes from my admiration of Scottish people and culture. I also am an Anglophile so I couldn’t help but get caught up in the discussions about Scottish Independence. In some ways it mirrors the story of my ancestors at the time of the American Revolution. Half my ancestors backed Britain and remained loyal in Canada while others were part of the successful fight for Independence in 1776 and to remain free in 1812.

So with all that as background and my also being part of LGBTQ culture; I found this opinion piece fascinating. Here’s Tim Hopkins, the director of the Scottish Equality Network writing for Pink News UK, reflects on today’s independence referendum result, and how it may impact the lives of LGBTI Scottish people….


Scottish and British Flags

After a notably lengthy debate, characterised as “robust but overwhelmingly good-natured”, the people of Scotland have decided by 55% to 45% that Scotland should remain part of the UK.

Huge numbers of people across the country have taken active part in this debate, in what has been described as the greatest democratic experience in the history of Scotland. The turnout of 85% is a record – the highest turnout ever in a national vote in Scotland. The vote also made history by being the first to include people aged 16 and 17.

The Equality Network has been strictly neutral throughout the independence debate. That’s because we know that there is a very wide range of strongly-held views on independence amongst LGBTI people in Scotland. Many will be happy with this result; many will be gutted at their hopes being dashed.

It was always right that this should be decided by a vote of all the people of Scotland, and of course yesterday’s vote has very wide implications. It is the Equality Network’s job though to work, in whatever the circumstances, for greater equality for all LGBTI people in Scotland.

We hope that all LGBTI people, independence supporters or not, are together on that. Taking that rather narrowly focussed perspective on the result then, what now for LGBTI equality in Scotland?


Major areas of law and public services that affect LGBTI people have been devolved to the Scottish Parliament, since 1999. Those include most of marriage, civil partnership and gender recognition law, adoption, hate crime, and sexual offences law, as well as health, education, local government, and police and justice services. In those areas, the Scottish Parliament has made good progress on LGBTI equality, sometimes a little ahead of England and Wales, sometimes a little behind.

What devolution certainly enables is Scotland doing those things differently, and in our view a little better, and more appropriately for Scotland. For example, our equal marriage law took a little longer to finalise, but it does not have the spousal veto and is better in some other ways too. Devolution is about Scotland deciding, democratically, what works best for Scottish circumstances.

And where we do a bit better, that can help inspire the campaign for the same improvement in England and Wales, as we all hope to see on the spousal veto for example.

But not all areas of law are currently devolved to the Scottish Parliament; instead, some are “reserved” to Westminster. Scotland has no power to legislate to ban discrimination, or to amend the Equality Act 2010. We are stuck with the deficiencies of equality law passed at Westminster, including for example that it only protects some trans people from discrimination (those who fit the “gender reassignment” definition). Good practice around the world is to protect people from all gender identity discrimination, and we would like to see intersex status protected too.

Equality law in Scotland, set by the UK Parliament, can be contrasted with hate crime law, set by the Scottish Parliament, which represents global best practice by explicitly protecting all trans and intersex people.


In the run up to the independence referendum, the unionist parties – the Tories, Labour and the LibDems – promised that if Scotland voted no to independence, there would be a major package of new devolved powers for the Scottish Parliament. There seems little doubt that that promise was one of the factors persuading people to vote no to independence.

There is a view in Scotland that the majority of people here, whether they support independence or not, would certainly prefer “devo-max” to the existing devolution arrangements. Devo-max means maximum devolution of powers in Scotland, to Scotland, with only such areas as foreign affairs and defence decided at UK level.

Although the three unionist parties promised earlier this week an agreed and rapid timetable for introducing further devolution in the event of a no vote, they have not yet agreed what will be devolved or how that will be decided.

Our view is that, having made those promises, the UK Government should deliver substantial further devolution for Scotland, through an open and inclusive process of consultation with Scottish people, groups and political parties. That is what people believe has been pledged. What is actually delivered remains to be seen of course.

How could greater devolution benefit LGBTI people? Unsurprisingly, devolution of equality law is top of our list. We campaigned for that, unsuccessfully, when the Scottish Parliament was developed in 1998, and, then as now, we were joined in that by Scottish equality groups working in other areas of equality.

There is no reason why equality law should not be devolved to Scotland within the UK – it is fully devolved in Northern Ireland for example (Northern Ireland’s poor political record of not using its devolved powers for LGBTI equality is a separate issue, that certainly does not apply in Scotland). We see the promise of further devolution as an opportunity to make the same kind of progress in Scotland on anti-discrimination law as we have made on hate crime law, equal marriage and other areas.

So pressing for that will be high on our agenda. It is not the only area though where the devolution arrangements are important for LGBTI equality. To mention just one other: the Scottish Parliament will need to decide on the future of civil partnership in Scotland, since that is already a devolved matter.

But if the Scottish Parliament votes to open civil partnership to mixed-sex couples – something that Scotland’s equal marriage campaign has always called for – then will the UK Government respect that decision, by recognising Scottish mixed-sex civil partnerships for purposes that are not devolved, such as pension regulation? Or will the UK impose the current England and Wales model of civil partnership on Scotland, in those reserved areas of law, regardless of Scotland’s democratic choice about who can register a civil partnership here?

These kind of questions, which are at core all about the evolution of the devolution arrangements right across the UK, will be an important part of our work, and that of many other groups, in the months ahead.

Tim Hopkins is the director of the Scottish Equality Network.

Read more here at Pink News UK

Scotland referendum: Voters say No to leaving the U.K.PHOTOS

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Super adorable twins come out to super supportive parents!


This is the way to come out to your family!

Originally posted on Queer Landia:


Here we have Luke (pictured left) and Adam Monasteros (right), twin 21 year-old brothers from Canada who bravely recorded their parents reaction when they came out of the closet. According to Adam,  “They think Luke is gay. They have an idea, but they have no idea about me, like not a single clue.”

And then their parents react in the best way possible, check out the video after the jump!

View original 62 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Be A Rainbow


I received this wonderful graphic from the good folks at goodreads. If your a reader you should check them out.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Update: Philadelphia Gay Bashing Witness: It Wasn’t Self-Defense

Here’s an update by VICTOR FIORILLO on that gay bashing incident in Philadelphia here’s the intro to the story from Philadelphia Magazine

Geoff Nagle saw the attack from his apartment window.


Geoff Nagle lives on the 3rd floor of an apartment building on the corner of 16th and Chancellor streets, and he saw last Thursday’s brutal attack from his window, where he took this photo of one of the victims being treated. Nagle has been in communication with the Philadelphia Police Department, and he tells us that he doesn’t know the suspects or the victims. We got him on the phone to discuss the attack and the aftermath…

Continue reading the interview with the gay bashing witness here at Philadelphia Magazine

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment