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December 18, 2011


1) Va. OKs same-sex adoption hurdle
Virginia, Richmond Times-Dispatch, December 15, 2011
Virginia's Board of Social Services on Wednesday approved final regulations on adoption that, starting in the spring, will effectively allow state-licensed private agencies to deny the adoption of a child by same-sex couples. The regulations also will allow the adoption agencies to deny services to prospective parents on the basis of age, gender, disability, religion, political belief and family status. The regulations, however, will prohibit discrimination based on race, color or national origin.

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2) Straight Sister of the LGBT Movement
Washington, D.C., Metro Weekly, November 23, 2011
At first glance, Sharon Lettman-Hicks doesn't seem like your typical LGBT activist. For starters, she's a straight woman. She's married to a military husband. She proudly says she was raised with ''strong Christian values.'' But LGBT people, especially those of color, would have a hard time finding a more passionate advocate who demands nothing less than their full equality and freedom to express their identity. Just don't call her an ally. ''I hate the word 'ally,' because I don't consider myself an ally,'' she says. ''I consider myself a sister in a movement, because to me it is a family affair and black LGBT people are my brothers and sisters."

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3) Ghana's education ministry 'optimistic' it can stop homosexuality
Ghana, Africa, Pink News, December 14, 2011
A spokesman for Ghana's Education Ministry has told the Accra Mail he is confident a programme in which teachers warn students of the "adverse consequences" of being gay will make it "a thing of the past".

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4) Transgender People: The Next Frontier in Civil Rights
Time, December 12, 2011
Being fired for "gender non-conformity" is a violation of the constitution, an important court recently found

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5) NH gay Episcopal bishop says Perry sinks to new low in ad on gays and religion
Concord, N.H., Associated Press, December 13, 2011
The Episcopal Church's first openly gay bishop, Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, says GOP presidential hopeful Rick Perry has hit a new low with a campaign ad attacking President Barack Obama on gay rights and religion. The ad, intended to appeal to Christian conservatives who typically dominate the Iowa caucuses, features Perry saying there's something wrong in America when gays can serve openly in the military but kids can't pray in schools. Robinson responded Tuesday with an op-ed in The Washington Post [click here] in which he says Perry would be pathetic if he weren't so infuriating. Robinson says someone who aspires to be commander in chief shouldn't denigrate the gay and lesbian soldiers he would lead.

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6) Twin Boys, One Transgender, Become Brother and Sister
Good Morning America, December 13, 2011
As early as age 4, Wyatt Maines asked his mother, "When do I get to be a girl?" And he told his father he hated his penis. Wyatt always liked girl's clothes and movies, while his twin brother Jonas played with traditional boy toys. Born identical twins, the siblings share the same DNA, but their gender identification took divergent paths. Now, at age 14, they are brother and sister, as Wyatt's transition to Nicole is well under way.

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7) Gay rights: Africa, the new frontier
Africa, BBC News, December 7, 2011
Gay rights appear to have become a new frontier in diplomatic relations between Western powers and African governments, with the US and UK warning they would use foreign aid to push for homosexuality to be decriminalised on the socially conservative continent. . . . UK-based Justice for Gay Africans campaign group co-ordinator, Godwyns Onwuchekwa, told the BBC that with US Christian evangelical groups increasingly active in Africa, hostility toward gay people has worsened on the continent.

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8) Gay priest vindicated
Philadelphia, Penn., Philadelphia Inquirer, December 8, 2011
Ten months ago, there was an uproar when Father Jim St. George, an adjunct professor at Chestnut Hill College, was fired by the school for being gay. . . . . Much heated discussion ensued. Finally, Father Jim and the college agreed to respect each other's differences and went their separate ways. (Father Jim, pastor of St. Miriam parish, is a Catholic priest in the Antioch rite, which allows its priests to be male or female, straight or gay, married or single.) Well last week, the college quietly changed it's "no gays allowed" policy at the small liberal arts college on the western edge of the city.

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9) Girl Scout Troops in Trans Panic Mode?
Denver, Advocate, December 19, 2011
After a Denver Girl Scout troop decided to allow a 7-year-old transgender child into the troop - reiterating that Girl Scouting was about empowerment and inclusion - a representative from Colorado's statewide organization, Rachelle Trujillo, told The Christian Post that "if parents brought a child to a meeting, and the child is recognized in the community as their daughter, then the Girl Scouts accept that.". . . While parents of trans kids applauded the decision, apparently not all Girl Scout moms were happy. According to The Christian Post, three troop leaders in rural Louisiana resigned their posts and are dissolving their troops over the inclusive policy. All three leaders were affiliated with Northlake Christian School in the town of Covington. Those leaders called a trans welcoming policy "extremely confusing" and "dangerous situation."

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10) FREE COPIES of LARGE PRINT book 'Silent Lives: How High a Price?'
from Sara Boesser, bsara.alaska@gci.net, December 2011

Some of you may know that IWR's NEWS resource person, Sara Boesser, wrote a book in 2004 titled:

Silent Lives: How High a Price?
For Personal Reflections and Group Discussions about Sexual Orientation

Today's news is that Silent Lives has just been republished as a LARGE PRINT edition book. It's in 20 PT Arial Font for optimal readability.

The book jacket reads in part:

This work combines autobiographical sources,
personal interviews, and questions for reflection to
explore issues relevant to everyone's sexual orientation
or gender status, be they heterosexual or gay, lesbian,
bisexual, transgender, or intersexual. Very few books
address these topics for low-vision readers. Considering
older readers with vision changes: more GLBTI people than
ever before are moving to assistive living and other care
environments. Tools to help them be open about who they are,
and to help those around them be more understanding, are
very important.

PFLAG Juneau has received a grant to give away FREE COPIES of this book to those who can place them in locations where they will meet the grant's goals:

. . . to give away copies of the large print
edition of Silent Lives to people and organizations who
would benefit from it: long-term care facilities,
retirement homes, assisted living facilities, nursing
homes, hospices, independent living centers, AARP chapters,
PFLAG chapters, religious leaders and faith organization
libraries; organizations or individuals who provide services
to aging LGBTI people; and to those who provide large print
books for low-vision people of any age or any orientation.


If you would like a FREE LARGE PRINT edition, let Sara know. Email her at bsara.alaska@gci.net and include your mailing address and let her know where you hope to place the book. She'll send books as long as the supply lasts.

And feel free to tell others who may be interested.

PS -- Silent Lives is also an audio book
available through Learning Ally,
click here.
Go to the site and search in
their Book Catalog with "Boesser."

To purchase copies of standard and large print editions:

LARGE PRINT edition available at Amazon.com, ISBN 978-0761856610 click here.

Standard print edition ISBN 0761829687 click here.

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11) Links to more news from Welcoming Church Programs


Additional News

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News Selections offers news from around the world related to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersexual, and ally efforts to make the world more accepting and welcoming to everyone of every sexual orientation and every gender identity. It is gathered by Sara Boesser, author of Silent Lives: How High a Price ~ For Personal Reflections and Group Discussions about Sexual Orientation, published by Hamilton Books, an imprint of University Press of America, Inc.

Silent Lives: How High a Price?
For Personal Reflections and Group Discussions about Sexual Orientation


UPDATE: Today's news is that Silent Lives has just been republished
as a LARGE PRINT edition book. It's in 20 PT Arial Font for optimal readability.

The book jacket reads in part:

This work combines autobiographical sources,
personal interviews, and questions for reflection to
explore issues relevant to everyone's sexual orientation
or gender status, be they heterosexual or gay, lesbian,
bisexual, transgender, or intersexual. Very few books
address these topics for low-vision readers. Considering
older readers with vision changes: more GLBTI people than
ever before are moving to assistive living and other care
environments. Tools to help them be open about who they are,
and to help those around them be more understanding, are
very important.

PFLAG Juneau has received a grant to give away FREE COPIES of this book to those who can place them in locations where they will meet the grant's goals:

. . . to give away copies of the large print
edition of Silent Lives to people and organizations who
would benefit from it: long-term care facilities,
retirement homes, assisted living facilities, nursing
homes, hospices, independent living centers, AARP chapters,
PFLAG chapters, religious leaders and faith organization
libraries; organizations or individuals who provide services
to aging LGBTI people; and to those who provide large print
books for low-vision people of any age or any orientation.


If you would like a FREE LARGE PRINT edition, let Sara know. Email her at bsara.alaska@gci.net and include your mailing address and let her know where you hope to place the book. She'll send books as long as the supply lasts.

And feel free to tell others who may be interested.

PS -- Silent Lives is also an audio book
available through Learning Ally,
click here.
Go to the site and search in
their Book Catalog with "Boesser."

To purchase copies of standard and large print editions:

LARGE PRINT edition available at Amazon.com, ISBN 978-0761856610 click here.

Standard print edition ISBN 0761829687 click here.


Organizational Partners

Affirm United/S'affirmer Ensemble The Association of Welcoming & Affirming Baptists Brethren-Mennonite Council for LGBT Concerns Open and Affirming Ministries of the Gay, Lesbian & Affirming Disciples (GLAD) Integrity Reconciling in Christ Program of Lutherans Concerned/North America
More Light Presbyterians Open and Affirming Program of the United Church of Christ Coalition for LGBT Concerns (ONA) Reconciling Ministries Network Room for All - Reformed Church in America Welcoming Community Network - Community of Christ