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Author Archives: Johnny DeVito

Obama Administration: LGBT Progress Report January 19th, 2012
Obama Administration: LGBT Progress Report

It is remarkable to think that the first four years of the Obama administration come to a close this year. As for what is next, we must wait and see come November 6th. Since 2009, the LGBT community has mad considerable advances all over the United States- advances toward genuine equality. We celebrated the welcoming of marriage equality to new states, and equally so we celebrated having our strongest ally yet in the white house. So what has the Obama administration done? I've pulled some highlights, but the complete list can be found on the Obama Blog here. 2009 -Extended key benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees. -Awarded Harvey Milk the Medal of Freedom. -Signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr Hate Crimes Prevention Act 2010 -Lifted the ban that prohibited people living with HIV/AIDS from entering the country. -Recorded an "It Gets Better" video. -Signed the repeal of "Don't ask, Don't tell". 2011 -Declared the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional. -Hosted a bullying prevention conference in the White House. -Implemented the repeal of "Don't ask, Don't tell". Will 2012 prove equally inspiring?

United States: LGBT Rights are Human Rights December 8th, 2011
United States: LGBT Rights are Human Rights

In an unprecedented shift in United States Foreign Policy, the Obama administration announced that, inter alia, the United States would now employ foreign aid to promote and protect the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people around the world. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made the announcement at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on Tuesday, reiterated that the administration “vowed to actively combat efforts by other nations that criminalize homosexual conduct, abuse gay men, lesbians, bisexuals or transgendered people, or ignore abuse against them.” There is no word on exactly how this effort might take place. The notion that foreign aid might be tied to LGBT rights has been by-and-large dismissed, but perhaps the establishment of programs aimed at the promotion of LGBT rights could be foreseeable. In either case, and in every case, the mere rhetoric behind equating “human rights” with “gay rights” carries incredible symbolic value- especially coming from the United States of America.

Australia Inches Closer to Marriage Equality December 3rd, 2011
Australia Inches Closer to Marriage Equality

Recently, we featured a powerful marriage equality commercial that is being broadcast in Australia. Today, we have more good news to report. Australia's Labor Party, currently in control of parliament, has adopted marriage equality as an official policy. 397 Delegates gathered at Labor's national convention this past week to discuss elections and the direction of the party. Of that, between 250-275 of the delegates endorsed marriage equality to become an official part of the Labor platform. As a result, next year parliament is likely to vote on amending the Marriage Act- in what is called a conscience vote. Members of Parliament will not be permitted to be penalized by the party for voting in favor of, or against the party platform. Whether or not the act passes is up for speculation. The Labor Prime Minister Julia Gillard personally opposes same-sex marriage but congratulated proponents of it. In an emotional scene, Finance Minister Penny Wong received a standing ovation as she took to the podium to thank the delegation: "There is nothing so persistent as the aspiration of equality" she remarked.

Election Day Results: Gay Men Make Local History November 12th, 2011
Election Day Results: Gay Men Make Local History

Every November, Americans vote. On November 8th, 2011, local and special elections were held around the country- signaling to our elected officials that voters have an appetite for a new direction for the nation. As the LGBT Equality Movement marches on across the nation, we witness increased diversity among the ranks of office holders. Today we have four gay and lesbian members of Congress working on our behalf every day in washington. This month, those members released a video from the LGBT Equality Caucus Hear what Congressman Frank, Polis, Cicciline and Congresswoman Baldwin have to say: On November 8th, two gay men made local history. Or rather, the Americans that elected them made local history. After a final tally of 5,121 to 4,513 Alex Morse defeated an incumbent to become Mayor of Holyoke, Massachusetts. At 22, he is neither the youngest nor the first gay Mayor in the State. But he is the youngest gay mayor ever elected... ever. Election day did not bode well for the incumbents Cincinnati, Ohio's City Council. Four Republican members were ousted, as voters remain upset about a lack of growth in the city. Chris Seelbach was there to fill the void. As a citizen, Chris ...

Living Out Loud: Johnny De Vito October 14th, 2011
Living Out Loud: Johnny De Vito

Johnny De Vito shares his coming out story in celebration of our National Coming Out Day on October 11th.

Transgender Children Find Who They Are September 30th, 2011
Transgender Children Find Who They Are

The way that one is born physically does not always resonate with how one feels emotionally. Children who insist that their body does not match their gender often face a painful and confusing journey, during which they discover themselves. Parents have enormous influence over whether this journey ends in self-peace or self-hate. The best thing that parents can do first is listen. Recently CNN ran a story that, for the first time, brought the struggle of transgender kids into the public eye. It followed the lives of three young individuals who realized that their gender was inconsistent with their sexual anatomy and had the courage to say so. Mario, age 14 personified this courage. Since two years old, her never truly felt like a girl; uncomfortable in female clothing and resenting having to be a "fake person" other than who he really was. Mario now acts and dresses as a boy because he is one. He has a charming mother beside him as his support. Tammy underwent a similar transition- at just three years old Tammy was signing to her parents that she was in fact a girl, although anatomically born a boy. Tammy and her parents saw a therapist, and after sensitive ...

New York Finds Unity as 9/11 Approaches September 10th, 2011
New York Finds Unity as 9/11 Approaches

Ten years ago, our nation was forever changed. 3,000 Americans lost their lives on September 11th 2001. Tragedies do not discriminate; people from every walk of life and community felt the impact. In the face of disaster, New York found unity. That unity continues to endure every September 11th- and as we approach the 10th anniversary, it feels particularly strong. The heroes of September 11th serve as a source of great inspiration. Firefighters, Police Officers, EMS personnel and brave citizens all sought to put the lives of others above those of their own. The staff at Born Like This wanted to take the time to remember the stories of a few of those heroes who had given their lives on that day so that others could live. These heroes were each a part of the LGBT community. Mychal F. Judge, (May 11th, 1933 - September 11th, 2001)   Roman Catholic  Priest, Chaplain of the New York City Fire Department Upon receiving word of the attack, Father Judge rushed to the World Trade Center site. He was met by Mayor Guiliani, who asked him to pray for the city and victims. Father Judge administered the Last Rites to several of the dying- an important ...

A New Frontier for Equality September 3rd, 2011
A New Frontier for Equality

For what it's worth, Alaska is a fairly unique place. Although Alaska's population falls short of a million, geographically it is the largest State in the Union. To encourage people to live in Alaska, the State has neither a sales or income tax; in fact people get paid to live there. The Alaska Permanent Fund sets aside a certain percentage of revenues from oil companies and distributes it to the people. This benefit frequently tops $1,000. Of course, Alaska is home to the world famous Sarah Palin's Alaska, hosted by the legendary former Governor. The series was 8 episodes long, and viewers had the opportunity to "observe Mrs. Palin observing nature" as the New York Times put it. Needless to say from November 2010 to January 2011 viewership dropped 40% and the series was not renewed for a second season. Alaska has also found itself in the middle of a grassroots movement for LGBT anti discrimination laws. In August 2009, Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan vetoed an LGBT anti-discrimination ordinance passed by the Assembly. LGBT people were left unprotected in this rather conservative part of the country. Now the people are putting it on the ballot to decide for themselves. A local group ...

Reverend Keith Laine Delivers a Positive Message August 25th, 2011
Reverend Keith Laine Delivers a Positive Message

The Reverend Keith Lane graduated from General Seminary in New York in 2011 and is now ministering at the Episcopal Church of St. Luke in the Fields, Greenwich Village. Fr. Lane worked in business before he began his studies for the priesthood. His wife, Marion, is also active at St. Luke's as a lay leader. His positive message is inspiring in our latest attempt to show another voice for Christians- an LGBT affirming one.

Satan and the Attack on Families- Where do the GOP Candidates Stand on Same-Sex Marriage? August 21st, 2011
Satan and the Attack on Families- Where do the GOP Candidates Stand on Same-Sex Marriage?

Please excuse the awful title- I merely plagiarized it from the words of some of our Republican Presidential candidates. To be honest, the words I chose could have been much worse. So where do the Republican candidates stand Same-Sex Marriage? The outlook is not so good. Historically both the Democratic and Republican party platforms have opposed Marriage Equality. Although the Republican party is more overt about it. Whereas the Democratic Party supports full benefits, parental rights and protection from discrimination of same-sex couples, the Republican Party calls for a Federal Amendment defining marriage as between a "man and woman". As for President Obama, in the most technical sense, he still opposes using the term "marriage" when defining same-sex couples. Unsurprisingly, he has not explicitly said so since the 2008 campaign. Many expect the President's stance on Marriage Equality to evolve before the 2012 campaign is in full swing. Politically, it may be good for the President to wait to announce his support- after all American's suffer from a lack of long-term memory. As for the viable Republican candidates, not one of them supports Marriage Equality- and many of them oppose benefits for civil unions. Allow us to do some introductions for you. Michele Bachmann, ...