To see a really cool map of the spread of Marriage Equality across the nation, click on this link:
Nathan Schneider explores the unresolved challenge of transgender identity for the Catholic Church and one woman's courageous, life-saving response.
Maureen Osborne’s mind started to wander. This was 2001, at a conference of the organization now called the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, which took place that year in Galveston, Texas. Several hundred people filled the room. Another panel, another question-and-answer period. Osborne is a Philadelphia-based psychologist, and at the time more and more of her therapy practice was focusing on patients struggling with gender identity. There was a lot to take in at these panels, not all of it useful. And then something caught her attention.
“I heard, without looking or seeing, a woman’s voice,” she remembers. “She was publicly apologizing to all the transgender people in the world for the damage done to them by the Catholic Church.” Though not trans, Osborne had grown up Catholic and felt damaged by the church herself.
Osborne’s head turned. At the microphone where people were asking questions, there was a small woman with a determined posture, prominent cheekbones and close-cropped dark hair beginning to gray. Her intonation betrayed a drawl. She went on to say that she was a nun, and had begun ministering in the trans community and had come to the conference to learn how to be better at it. There was a standing ovation.
“I was speechless,” Osborne says.
To read entire article, please click on this link: http://america.aljazeera.com/features/2014/3/transgender-and-catholic.html
THE NEW YORK TIMES
By MANNY FERNANDEZ
FEB. 26, 2014
HOUSTON — A federal judge in Texas struck down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage on Wednesday, ruling that the laws restricting marriage to a man and a woman violated the United States Constitution and handing gay-rights advocates a major legal victory in one of the nation’s biggest and most conservative states.
The judge wrote that the amendment to the state Constitution that Texas voters approved in 2005 defining marriage as between a man and a woman — and two similar laws passed in 1997 and 2003 — denied gay couples the right to marry and demeaned their dignity “for no legitimate reason.”
“Without a rational relation to a legitimate governmental purpose, state-imposed inequality can find no refuge in our United States Constitution,” wrote Judge Orlando L. Garcia of United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, in San Antonio.
Read the entire article at this link: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/27/us/texas-judge-strikes-down-state-ban-on-same-sex-marriage.html?_r=1
LGBT film fest a labor of faith for two seminary students http://www.latimes.com/local/la-me-lgbt-filmfest-20140224,0,5855550.story#ixzz2uHxVXPnV
By Kurt Streeter
February 23, 2014, 5:55 p.m.
Chelsea McInturff and Samantha Curley were eager for a public conversation about film, gay sexuality and Christian life, but they weren't sure whether it was the right time — or the right place.
They stood nervously inside an auditorium at Pasadena's evangelical Fuller Theological Seminary last spring, worried the drama they were about to screen –— about a teen coming out as lesbian — would end up offending an audience of students and professors who didn't necessarily approve of its story line.
"Should we even do this?" they recently recalled wondering. "Maybe we should we just skip this one and move on."
But they held their breath and decided to show the film, after telling the audience what to expect and taking pains to explain that the soundtrack featured lyrics about female genitalia. When the credits rolled and the crowd began a passionate debate about identity and the harmful effects of marginalizing gays in the name of religion, McInturff and Curley knew their inaugural film festival had tapped into something important.
"It was eye-opening and amazing to hear people talking so openly, from all sides, and with respect for one another," said McInturff, 25, a Fuller student who struggled to come to terms with being gay during her undergraduate years at Pennsylvania's Messiah College. "It showed us that people could have a real discussion about their differences."
One year later, McInturff and Curley are at it again, only this time in a much bigger, bolder way. After attracting corporate sponsors and raising nearly $40,000 though an Internet fundraising campaign, they've moved off the Fuller campus and created Level Ground, billed as the world's first film festival connecting lesbian, gay and transgender sexuality with faith and evangelical Christianity.
To read entire article, please click on this link:
An encore of James Baldwin: The Price of the Ticket (original broadcast August 14, 1989) is scheduled for Friday, August 23 at 9pm on PBS in honor of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington (8/28/1963).
The life, works and beliefs of the late writer and civil rights activist are recounted: what it is to be born black, impoverished, gifted, and gay in a world that has yet to understand that “all men are brothers.” James Baldwin tells his own story in this emotional portrait. Using rarely-seen archival footage from nine different countries, the film melds intimate interviews and eloquent public speeches with cinéma vérité glimpses of Baldwin and original scenes from his extraordinary funeral service in December 1987. His close friends and colleagues — even critics — illuminate the narrative, among them writers Maya Angelou, Amiri Baraka and William Styron, plus entertainer Bobby Short. Originally broadcast August 1989, AMERICAN MASTERS presents this special encore broadcast 25 years after Baldwin’s death and 50 years after the historic March on Washington and publication of his bestselling essay The Fire Next Time. 90 minutes.
To view a video about James Baldwin and this film, please click here: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/episodes/james-baldwin/film-james-baldwin-the-price-of-the-ticket/2632/