Tammy Smith Becomes First Lesbian General Officer | Advocate.com

Less than a year after the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” former Army Colonel Tammy Smith was promoted to brigadier general Friday making her the first general officer to come out while serving.

Tammy Smith received her stars from her wife Tracey Hepner in a private ceremony at the Women’s Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery.

According to Stars and Stripes, Smith, 49, has been assigned as deputy chief at the Office of the Chief at the Army Reserve. Before “don’t ask, don’t tell” was repealed, she told the military newspaper last year that she was not planning on coming out to her colleagues, but would be relieved when she and Hepner would be able to go out together without worrying about being outed.

via Tammy Smith Becomes First Lesbian General Officer | Advocate.com.

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21 openly gay and lesbian athletes at 2012 London Summer Olympics – Outsports

The Outsports list of 21 openly gay and lesbians Olympic athletes are:

Marilyn Agliotti (Netherlands, field hockey); Judith Arndt (Germany, cycling); Seimone Augustus (U.S., basketball); Natalie Cook (Australia, beach volleyball); Lisa Dahlkvist (Sweden, soccer); Carlien Dirkse van den Heuvel (Netherlands, field hockey); Imke Duplitzer (Germany, fencing); Edward Gal (Netherlands, equestrian); Jessica Harrison (France, triathlon); Carl Hester (Britain, equestrian); Alexandra Lacrabère (France, handball); Jessica Landström (Sweden, soccer); Hedvig Lindahl (Sweden, soccer); Matthew Mitcham (Australia, diving); Maartje Paumen (Netherlands, field hockey); Carole Péon (France, triathlon); Mayssa Pessoa (Brazil, handball); Megan Rapinoe (U.S. soccer); Lisa Raymond (U.S., doubles tennis); Rikke Skov (Denmark, handball); Ina-Yoko Teutenberg (Germany, cycling).

via 21 openly gay and lesbian athletes at 2012 London Summer Olympics – Outsports.

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Michelangelo Signorile: Sally Ride, American Hero: This Is What a Lesbian Looks Like

Sally RideIn what is perhaps a stellar example of the new trend in coming out quietly, Sally Ride, the first American woman to rocket into outer space, came out as a lesbian in her obituary, a day after her tragic death due to pancreatic cancer. She now makes history not only as the first American woman in space, aboard the space shuttle Challenger, but as the first openly gay or bisexual person (while the obituary referred to a relationship with a woman for 27 years, it’s possible, since Ride was once married to man, that she identified as bisexual or without a label) to fly in space as well.

While the news of her death at the age of 61 after a 17-month battle with cancer is immensely sad, and while it would have been terrific if she came out while alive, Ride’s posthumous coming out is a wonderful gift to America’s youth. And it’s what we needed right now. If astronauts are among the ultimate heroes and examples of American ingenuity, fortitude and bravery, then with that one line in her obituary — survived by “Tam O’Shaughnessy, her partner of 27 years” — Sally Ride dispeled all the ugliness foisted on this country in recent weeks by the Boy Scouts of America, Chick-Fil-A and Jennifer Carroll, Florida’s GOP lieutenant governor, who, denying charges that she had sex with another woman in her office, claimed women who look like her are not involved in same-sex relationships (and refuses to apologize).

Yes, Lt. Governor Carroll, you are right. With your bigotry and cowardice, you are are not what a lesbian looks like.

via Michelangelo Signorile: Sally Ride, American Hero: This Is What a Lesbian Looks Like.

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Why Sally Ride waited until her death to tell the world she was gay – Cosmic Log

In life, Sally Ride became famous as America’s first woman in space — and in death, she’s now added to her fame as the first acknowledged gay astronaut.

The revelation came in a low-key way: Monday’s obituary from Sally Ride Science, the educational venture she founded a decade ago, referred to Tam O’Shaughnessy as “her partner of 27 years.” A spokeswoman for Sally Ride Science, Terry McEntee, said Ride and O’Shaughnessy, who is the company’s chief operating officer and executive vice president, worked out the phrasing of the announcement before Ride’s death.

In an email today, Sally Ride’s sister, Bear Ride, explained why the former astronaut kept quiet about her sexual orientation.


“In her inherent Norwegian reticence — in this and so many aspects of her personal life (wrestling with pancreatic cancer, for example) — she just didn’t talk much (see Norwegian comment, and add to that the typical tight-lipped scientist thing),” Bear wrote. “If you read interviews from years and years back, you’ll see that there was always a major frustration that she didn’t comment much on ‘how it feels to be the first American woman in space’ — she just didn’t think that way. She wanted to get the job done. Her personal feelings were just that: personal. Not right or wrong — simply Sally. Everyone who knows her well really got that about her.”

via Why Sally Ride waited until her death to tell the world she was gay – Cosmic Log.

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ADL Files Brief in 9th Circuit Opposing Section 3 Of The ‘Defense Of Marriage Act’

New York, NY, July 11, 2012 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has filed an amicus briefjoined by 23 faith leaders and religious and cultural organizations challenging the constitutionality of Section 3 of the 1996 “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA).Joining ADL on the brief was a distinguished group of religious and cultural organizations representing many different faith traditions and communities. 

The case now pending before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is Golinkski v. U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

“A diverse and impressive coalition of religious organizations challenging the application of DOMA signed on to our brief to argue that religious views of marriage must be kept distinct from a civil understanding of marriage,” said Deborah M. Lauter, ADL Civil Rights Director. “The ill-conceived and discriminatory 1996 law flouts this longstanding constitutional principle not only by writing one particular religious understanding of marriage into federal law, but also by failing to provide a secular reason for doing so.”

In February 2012, U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White of the Northern District of California declared DOMA unconstitutional, holding that equal protection of the law extends to all civilly married couples — including same-sex couples — while recognizing the Constitutional freedom of religious institutions to choose how to define religious marriage.

“While religious motivation improperly drove DOMA, and reflected a religious and moral condemnation of gay men and lesbians, the result of the law has gone beyond this. DOMA has had a real impact on real people,” said Ms. Lauter. “Yet, as this brief demonstrates, there are important religious voices that strongly oppose DOMA, too. Our coalition stands squarely behind the proposition that the LGBT community should not be denied due process and equal protection under the law, particularly under the guise of religion and morality.”

The law firm Ropes and Gray LLP prepared the friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of ADL.Signatories to the brief include the Interfaith Alliance Foundation, the Union for Reform Judaism, the General Synod of the United Church of Christ, Hadassah, the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the People for the American Way Foundation on behalf of the African American Ministers Leadership Council, the California Council of Churches, the Japanese American Citizens League, and the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund.

via ADL Files Brief in 9th Circuit Opposing Section 3 Of The ‘Defense Of Marriage Act’.

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Anderson Cooper: “The Fact Is, I’m Gay.” – The Dish | By Andrew Sullivan – The Daily Beast

Last week, Entertainment Weekly ran a story on an emerging trend: gay people in public life who come out in a much more restrained and matter-of-fact way than in the past. In many ways, it’s a great development: we’re evolved enough not to be gob-smacked when we find out someone’s gay. But it does matter nonetheless, it seems to me, that this is on the record. We still have pastors calling for the death of gay people, bullying incidents and suicides among gay kids, and one major political party dedicated to ending the basic civil right to marry the person you love. So these “non-events” are still also events of a kind; and they matter. The visibility of gay people is one of the core means for our equality.

All of which is a prelude to my saying that I’ve known Anderson Cooper as a friend for more than two decades. I asked him for his feedback on this subject, for reasons that are probably obvious to most. Here’s his email in response which he has given me permission to post here:

via Anderson Cooper: “The Fact Is, I’m Gay.” – The Dish | By Andrew Sullivan – The Daily Beast.

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Parents of Rutgers student who committed suicide say “Sin needs to be taken out of homosexuality” – Rock Center with Brian Williams

But the Clementis also say they realize their son was wrestling with demons unrelated to the spying incident. Just weeks before he left home to attend Rutgers he told his mother he was gay. She says the news “shocked” her, in part because of her strong Christian faith. Since then she says she’s gone from “point A” in her beliefs “to point B.”

“Was that point A, the point of “homosexuality is a sin?” asked Holt.

“Well, yes,” Mrs. Clementi answered. “And of trying to just accept it.”

She said she also realizes that Tyler may have misread her reaction during their conversation. He later texted a friend that his mother had rejected him after he came out to her.

“It just was like a dagger,” Mrs. Clementi said. “And that took me a long time to process. Because I did not think I had rejected him.”

via Parents of Rutgers student who committed suicide say “Sin needs to be taken out of homosexuality” – Rock Center with Brian Williams.

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Caiden Cowger, Conservative Teen Radio Host, Slams President Obama For ‘Making Kids Gay’

A West Virginia-based teen radio host is making waves after proclaiming that President Obama “is making kids gay” in a recent episode.

Fourteen-year-old Caiden Cowger, who hosts the twice-weekly “Caiden Cowger Show,” made his anti-gay proclamations in a recent broadcast, video of which was uploaded to his YouTube channel on May 26. “Homosexuality is a belief,” Cowger, who has previously interviewed former GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain, declares. “The person is not born that way, no matter what Lady Gaga says…it is a decision.”

After confessing that he was once friends with some kids who have since come out as gay, he notes, “They were not homosexuals [then]…they just decided all of a sudden, ‘I think I’m going to be gay,'” before he eventually concludes, “I’m going to tell you this, guys: President Obama…Vice President Biden…is making kids gay!”

Cowger, who is identified by The New Civil Rights Movement as a Pentecostal Christian, slams homosexuality as “a perverted belief, it’s immoral and not natural” before noting, “I’m not for bullying homosexuals, I believe that it’s wrong. But when you’re trying to teach them the word of God and they consider that bullying…I find that a big problem, not being allowed to convert other people to my religion.”

via Caiden Cowger, Conservative Teen Radio Host, Slams President Obama For ‘Making Kids Gay’.

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Michelangelo Signorile: The New Gay Celebrity Coming Out: ‘I’ve Never Been In’

…That’s true even as the vast majority are still closeted, told by the powers-that-be in Hollywood, media and politics that coming out will ruin their careers. But the closet hasn’t been a comfortable nor stable place for them for a long time now. Thanks to gay activists who drove the message home over a period of decades, an adult public figure living in the closet today is seen by many as sad and pathetic, not to mention living a lie, deceiving the public.

And whether it’s a sign of more honesty, or too much prying, the media and the blogosphere make it almost impossible for many celebrities to keep their sexual orientation secret for long anyway. Actor Neal Patrick Harris finally came out because he just got tired of the media speculation. “Rather than ignore those who choose to publish their opinions without actually talking to me, I am happy to dispel any rumors or misconceptions and am quite proud to say that I am a very content gay man,” he said. And that was back in 2006. If you’re a closeted gay celebrity today and you don’t get speculated about by the media and the blogs ad nauseam, or outright outed in the tabloids, you may get outed by a well-meaning fellow celebrity, like Ted Allen, who perhaps isn’t aware that your glass closet wasn’t meant for the general public to peer through…

Michelangelo Signorile: The New Gay Celebrity Coming Out: ‘I’ve Never Been In’.

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