SEPT. 11 GL SURVIVOR FUND SET
With donations so far of $141,000, the Empire State Pride Agenda and the Stonewall Community Foundation have announced the establishment of the "September 11 Gay & Lesbian Family Fund" to assist the surviving families of gay and lesbian individuals killed in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The fund will be administered by the New York City Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project and will be divided equally among the estimated three dozen surviving partners and their families.
Four surviving same-sex partners spoke at a press conference, where they also each received a check for $4,000.
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Pride Agenda, Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, and the Anti-Violence Project are among groups working successfully to get private relief funds such as the Red Cross and United Way to treat gay and lesbian partners the same as spouses. However, gay partners are not eligible to receive Workers Compensation and social security benefits as well as state and federal line-of-duty benefits.
Call ( 212 ) 627-0305, Empire State Pride, 647 Hudson Street, NY, NY 10014.
TRANS MURDER IN FLA.
Equality Florida, along with other organizations, is voicing concerns that the Dec. 12 murder of Jacksonville, Fla., transsexual activist Terrianne Summers may have been a hate crime. Summers, 51, was found shot to death in the back of her head, but she was not robbed. Summers is survived by her spouse and two children.
"Terrianne was a human-rights activist who worked closely with local and state human-rights organizations and who helped to organize and empower the transgender community in the Jacksonville area," said Jessica Archer of Equality Florida. "A Navy veteran with 22 years of service, her sudden and violent death is a great loss for her family and friends as well as for the transgender community long ravaged by hate-based violence."
HOUSE PASSES FUNDING FOR GLOBAL HIV/AIDS
The U.S. House of Representatives Dec. 11 passed the Global Access to HIV/AIDS Prevention, Awareness, Education and Treatment Act ( HR 2069 ) by voice vote. The legislation was a compromise among the original sponsor, Rep. Barbara Lee ( D-Calif. ) , Rep. Jim Leach ( R-Iowa ) , Rep. Tom Lantos ( D-Calif. ) , and the International Relations Committee, chaired by Rep. Henry Hyde ( R-Ill. ) . The bill authorizes...but does not appropriate...nearly $1.3 billion annually to combat HIV/AIDS in developing countries. Senate action on the bill is not expected until early next year.
SWINGING BOTH WAYS
The UK Telegraph reports that a scientist has observed same-sex behavior in wild orangutans for the first time, "adding the great apes to the long list of animals that take part in same sex relationships. The two pairs of male orangutans were spotted in the jungles of Sumatra by Dr Elizabeth Fox, a researcher from the Wildlife Conservation Society, based at the Bronx Zoo, New York. Their encounters were short-lived, but mimicked many of the rituals of male-female mating," the paper said.
"Same-sex behavior has been observed in almost every species of animal including dolphins, hedgehogs, kangeroos, sheep, whales, albatrosses, chimpanzees and gorillas. Dr Fox published her observations in the American Journal of Primatology," the Telegraph reported.
TREE LOT DONATES TO GL CENTER
The Speck Christmas Tree Lot, 1013 W. Roscoe, will donate a portion of proceeds this season to support development of the Center of Halsted, Chicago's planned GLBT community center.
See www.centeronhalsted.org .
Tennis legend Martina Navratilova told the British press that she and her partner are happy and may want to adopt a 6- or 7-year-old child. She also may want to get married outside the U.S., just to make a point, reported the Sun-Times Dec. 11.
Lily Tomlin stars in the upcoming cinema comedy Orange County.
The winners of the 2001 Whiting Writers' Awards have been announced. Among the winners of the awards, which are $35,000 each, is lesbian nonfiction writer Kathleen Finneran ( interviewed previously in Windy City Times ) . Her memoir, The Tender Land: A Family Love Story, was published by Houghton Mifflin in 2000.
Mitchell Fink of the New York Daily News reports that the "on-again off-again romance between Ellen DeGeneres and photographer Alexandra Hedison is definitely off again. And this time it may be for good. ... DeGeneres' rep confirmed the split, saying that Ellen is once again 'single, and dating.'"