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From NPR.org:

For two decades, the Food and Drug Administration has prohibited gay and bisexual men from giving blood as a precaution against AIDS. But three major blood collection agencies, including the American Red Cross, argue the practice is no longer warranted. The FDA disagrees. Joel Ginsberg, head of the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association, says the ban unfairly discriminates. (more…)

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from: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB126334233397826947.html?mod=WSJ_latestheadlines

SAN FRANCISCO — The judge presiding over the first serious challenge in federal court of a state gay-marriage ban has defined his career with an unconventional approach.

[Quirky Judge Presides in Gay-Marriage Case] (more…)

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From SFGate.com:

Capping a remarkable year for slain San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill to create a state day of recognition for Milk, making him only the second Californian, after naturalist John Muir, to receive the honor.

The governor signed the measure late Sunday along with new laws to help gay and lesbian people in the state, including a measure giving same-sex couples legally married in other states all the rights of marriage in California.

While the governor vetoed the bill honoring Milk last year, President Obama’s awarding Milk the Presidential Medal of Freedom and an Academy Award-winning film about Milk’s life moved Schwarzenegger to sign the bill, spokesman Aaron McLear said.

“The bill is symbolic of the importance of the gay community to California, which is why he signed it,” McLear said, adding that Schwarzenegger wanted to “honor that community.” It is the only such day of recognition for a gay or lesbian person in the United States.

The measure was among 478 bills signed by Schwarzenegger on Sunday, the deadline for him to act on legislation passed by the Legislature before its session ended Sept. 11. The governor vetoed 229 bills.

Milk, one of the first openly gay people elected in the United States, and San Francisco Mayor George Moscone were shot and killed by Dan White, a former supervisor, at City Hall on Nov. 29, 1978.

The measure mandates that the governor proclaim each May 22 as Harvey Milk Day in the state, to coincide with Milk’s birthday. It will not be a state holiday. The bill signed by Schwarzenegger encourages public schools in the state to conduct lessons “remembering the life of Harvey Milk, recognizing his accomplishments and familiarizing pupils with the contributions he made to this state.”

Formal recognition of Milk and the action on out-of-state same-sex marriage add to Schwarzenegger’s legacy of having approved more legislation expanding gay rights than any other governor in state or national history, despite his vetoes of bills to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples.

In August, Schwarzenegger accepted the nomination of Milk to the California Hall of Fame, to which he will be inducted in December.

Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, who authored the legislation declaring a day honoring Milk, praised the governor for his action, saying it was an idea “whose time had come.”

“This will go a long way to better inform Californians as to the nature of the civil rights struggle in the LGBT community,” Leno said.

The measure was backed by Equality California, the largest gay-rights organization in the state. Geoff Kors, executive director of the group, said it would develop curriculum for schools and teachers to use on Milk’s birthday.

Schwarzenegger’s staff said the office heard from tens of thousands of people, for and against the bill.

The Campaign for Children and Families, which opposed the law, called it “the strongest impetus yet for loving parents to remove their children from anti-family public schools.”

In addition to the Milk bill, Schwarzenegger signed another Leno bill affecting same-sex couples legally married outside of California.

The measure ensures that couples who wed before the passage of Proposition 8 in November retain their status as “married,” while those who wed after the measure passed will retain all rights of marriage save the name. That means married couples who move to California will not have to register as domestic partners to have their relationships recognized by the state.

The governor also signed a bill that will expand funding for domestic violence programs targeting the gay and lesbian communities. He vetoed a measure to direct the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to consider sexual orientation and gender identity in the housing of inmates, which the governor said occurs already.

Schwarzenegger vetoed a measure allowing transgender people who have left the state to request a new birth certificate reflecting their change in gender. He said a recent court ruling made that legal, making a law unnecessary.
Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2009/10/13/MN1K1A4L0L.DTL#ixzz0V3uhfbSg

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I want to thank Julie S for this AWESOME story!

From Broadwayworld.com:

Over the course of its thirteen year run as a Broadway and touring show, the musical RENT by Jonathan Larson has touched the lives of many people across the world. With Rent closing on Broadway last year and the upcoming tour, playing at the Curran Theater in San Francisco October 6 and ending in January, fans across the country are wondering how they can thank the people involved in RENT in a way that does justice to the musical in its final incarnation, and also honour the creators and past cast and crew who have given so much to so many.

Led by uber-fan Aranka Golphy, fans have organized to begin a fundraising campaign for a RENT-related charity on behalf of the current touring cast.  The project, “RENT Fans Give Back Project,” is inspired by the idea that if everyone who enjoys RENT gives just a little, a lot of money can be raised to actively address some of the real world issues that Jonathan Larson depicts in the show.

After much consideration, Friends In Deed, a non-profit organization devoted to providing support to individuals facing life-threatening illnesses, was chosen to be the recipient of the “RENT Fans Give Back” project.

Friends in Deed, in connection with “RENT Fans Give Back,” has created a secure system for those who wish to participate by donating to Friends In Deed in honour of the current National Tour of RENT.

Click here for information on how to donate, learn more and become a part of this project to create a memorable gift for the cast, crew and everyone behind the scenes of RENT: The Broadway Tour.

Rent, written by Jonathan Larson and directed by Michael Greif, opened at Broadway’s Nederlander Theatre, on April 29, 1996, following a history making, sold-out, extended limited engagement at off-Broadway’s New York Theatre Workshop. The musical went on to win every major best musical award, including the Tony Award, as well as the Pulitzer Prize for drama. Rent played its final performance at the Nederlander Theatre on September 7, 2008 after playing 5,124 performances and 16 previews. Rent is the seventh longest running show in Broadway history and grossed over $280 million during its Broadway run.

Tours of Rent have crisscrossed the country almost continuously since late 1996 and the U.S. national tours have grossed over $330 million. The musical has been translated into every major language and been performed on six continents, including in the following countries: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Finland, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

For more information, including the complete schedule for Rent, The Broadway Tour, visitwww.siteforrent.com.

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Throughout the month of October we will be saluting people(s) who have made a positive contribution to the LGBT community.

Already, had have looked at Marti Cummings from BroadwaySpeaksOut.com, Harvey Milk and Matthew Shepard and his family.

OCTOBER 4, 2009

CLEVE JONES

Website: http://www.clevejones.com/

Click to Watch Cleve

Click to Watch Cleve

Cleve Jones in 1978 - Click to Watch

(c) Jerry Pritikin-1978 = Cleve Jones in 1978 - Click to Watch

Click to watch Cleve

Click to watch Cleve

I was fortunate to hear Cleve Jones speak a few weeks ago.  Click the pictures above to hear his touching and passionate words.

From Wikipedia.com:

Cleve Jones (born October 10, 1954) is an American AIDS and LGBT rights activist. He conceived of theNAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt which has become, at 54 tons, the world’s largest piece of community folk art as of 2009. In 1983, at the onset of the AIDS pandemic Jones co-founded the San Francisco AIDS Foundation which has grown into one of the largest and most influential People with AIDSadvocacy organizations in the United States.

Jones was born in West LafayetteIndiana. His career as an activist began in San Francisco during the turbulent 1970s when he was befriended by pioneer gay rights leader Harvey Milk. He worked as a student intern in Milk’s office while studying political science at San Francisco State University. In 1978, Milk was assassinated along with San Francisco’s Mayor George Moscone. Jones went to work in the district office of State Assemblyman Art Agnos.

In 1983, when AIDS was still a new and poorly understood threat, Jones co-founded the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. Jones conceived the idea of the AIDS Memorial Quilt at a candlelight memorial for Harvey Milk in 1985 and in 1987 created the first quilt panel in honor of his friend Marvin Feldman. The AIDS Memorial Quilt has grown to become the world’s largest community arts project, memorializing the lives of over 85,000 Americans killed by AIDS.

While in San Francisco, Jones took part in a documentary about the HIV/AIDS epidemic, speaking during World AIDS Day in 2005. In the documentary he talks about the idea behind the AIDS Memorial Quilt, as well as the activism of San Francisco citizens in the 1970s and 80s to help people affected by AIDS and to figure out what the disease was. The film also looks at the impact HIV/AIDS is having in communities of color, and the young. The title of the film is Echoes of Yourself in The Mirror.

Jones has been working with UNITE HERE, the hotel, restaurant, and garment workers union on homophobia issues. He is a driving force behind the Sleep With The Right People campaign, which aims to convince GLBT tourists to stay only in hotels that respect the rights of their workers. Another part of Jones’ work with UNITE HERE is making the labor movement more open to GLBT members.

Legacy

Jones is portrayed by actor Emile Hirsch in Milk, director Gus Van Sant‘s 2008 biopic of Harvey Milk.

Jones is prominently featured in And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS EpidemicRandy Shilts‘ best-selling 1987 work of nonfiction about the AIDS epidemic in the United States. Jones was also featured in the 1995 documentary The Castro.

Jones was one of the Official Grand Marshals of the 2009 NYC LGBT Pride March, produced by Heritage of Pride joining Dustin Lance Blackand Anne Kronenberg on June 28th, 2009.[1] In August 2009, Jones was an official Grand Marshal of the Vancouver Pride Parade.

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