Please check out Vol 17 Issue 1 Cover Feature on Quest Journalist Mike Fitzpatrick
Interview with Bruce Vilanch by Michael Johnston
Paul Masterson Takes Us on a Tour of LGBT Sports in Wisconsin
Our PrideFest Feature: PrideFest Milwaukee Goes for the Funny Bone
NATIONAL & WISCONSIN NEWS is BELOW
Senators Introduce Repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”
WASHINGTON, D.C.- A coalition of United States Senators today introduced legislation to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and enhance our country’s military effectiveness. The Military Readiness Enhancement Act of 2010 contains three main provisions: it will repeal the law that prevents gay Americans from openly serving in the military, prohibit discrimination against current and prospective service members on the basis of sexual orientation, and promote the ability of college students who wish to serve our country to join Reserve Officer Training Corps units at universities that currently prevent the establishment of ROTC units on campus.
The bill, cosponsored by Senators Joe Lieberman (I-CT), Carl Levin (D-MI), Mark Udall (D-CO), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Roland Burris (D-IL), Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Arlen Specter (D-PA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and Al Franken (D-MN), incorporates the Pentagon Working Group that has been created at the direction of Defense Secretary Robert Gates to conduct a study and propose an implementation plan for the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
“The bottom line is that we have a volunteer military,” said Senator Lieberman. “If Americans want to serve, they ought to have the right to be considered for that service regardless of characteristics such as race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. Repealing the current policy will allow more patriotic Americans to defend our national security and live up to our nation’s founding values of freedom and opportunity.”
“I did not find the arguments used to justify ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ convincing when it took effect in 1993, and they are less so now,” said Senator Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “This legislation will do what other armies have already done – without having an adverse effect on good order and discipline or unit cohesion. Gays are serving successfully in our military right now – this legislation would allow them to serve with integrity.”
“‘You don’t have to be straight to shoot straight.’ Those were the words of Barry Goldwater, a combat veteran and unflinching advocate for national defense. And you certainly don’t have to be straight to recognize who the enemy is,” said Senator Udall. “This is an issue of military effectiveness. I have soldiers and airmen in my home state of Colorado who are being asked to serve five tours of duty or more. We need all the qualified service members we have to fight – we shouldn’t be dismissing them just because they’re gay.”
“’Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ is an unjust and discriminatory measure that hampers our national security and violates the civil rights of some of the bravest, most heroic Americans,” said Senator Gillibrand. “This policy is wrong for our national security and inconsistent with the moral foundation upon which our country was founded. When we repeal this policy – and we will repeal this policy – we will strengthen America - both militarily and morally.”
“For too long, gay and lesbian service members have been forced to conceal their sexual orientation in order to dutifully serve their country,” said Senator Burris. “With this bill, we will end this discriminatory policy that grossly undermines the strength of our fighting men and women at home and abroad. This legislation will ensure that all gay and lesbian soldiers, airmen, sailors and Marines can serve their country openly and proudly without the threat of prejudice or discharge.”
“The Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy never made sense. In the nearly two decades since it was begun, our military has lost the valuable services of too many patriotic Americans. The time has come to end this broken policy,” said Senator Bingaman.
“I look forward to ending the discriminatory Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy as soon as possible,” said Senator Boxer. “We cannot afford to lose the service of dedicated and honorable military personnel, which is happening right now.”
“Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was bad for our country and our national security when I voted against it 17 years ago, and I’m glad to be part of the team working to repeal it today,” said Senator Wyden. “Under this bill, the military can stop discharging qualified servicemembers because of who they love and instead focus its energy where it belongs – on the nation’s defense.”
“This will help ensure that we have a defense force that reflects our commitment to the fundamental principles upon which the country was founded,” said Senator Leahy. “We ask our troops to protect freedom in places around the globe. It is time to protect their basic freedoms and equal rights here at home.”
“I am pleased to join my colleagues, the Commander-in-Chief and Pentagon leadership in working to repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’” said Senator Specter. “We must end discrimination against those who choose to proudly serve our country.”
“The men and women who honor our nation by serving in the armed forces deserve our utmost respect and support,” said Senator Merkley. “The very strongest fighting force demands that we recruit and retain those who have the skills and knowledge to fulfill their missions. Their private lives should have no bearing on their willingness or ability to serve. This legislation undoes an injustice that has kept far too many excellent Americans from wearing a military uniform.”
“The time has come to repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ It is the right thing to do. Every American should have the opportunity to serve their country, regardless of race, sex, creed, or sexual orientation,” said Senator Feinstein. “The criteria for serving one’s country should be competence, courage and willingness to serve. When we deny people the chance to serve because of their sexual orientation, we deprive them of their rights of citizenship, and we deprive our armed forces the service of willing and capable Americans.”
“I’ve been on 7 USO tours – 4 to Iraq and Afghanistan – and I recently returned from a trip to the Afghanistan-Pakistan region as Senator,” said Senator Franken. “Over the years I’ve seen tremendous movement on this issue within the military. They’re ready for it and we’re ready for it. We need to end a policy that forces patriotic Americans to lie in order to defend their country.”
Milwaukee’s Newest Gay Bar Opens Smoke-Free
Milwaukee- Hybrid Lounge, a newly opened resaurant and bar located at 707 E Brady Street, (where Brady, Van Buren, Holton, and Water streets intersect) held their grand opening on March 9 just after Quest went to press. Hybrid is the first gay bar since Mama Rue’s to open on Milwaukee’s east side. With a state-wide smoking ban taking effect this July, Hybrid Lounge is taking the initiative by opening smoke-free.
This will be the first smoke-free gay bar in the area. Recently The ROOM next to Boom experimented with the concept, but later switched back due to lack of support for a smoke free venue.
Owners Bill Lison and Nate Fried, Milwaukee natives, are creating a welcoming atmosphere where everyone feels comfortable. Their fresh approach combines a bar and lounge along with a restaurant, opening in April, which serves contemporary American food. This menu will focus on progressive ingredients that are health conscious.
The decor incorporates Milwaukee heritage to highlight iconic architecture and brands that have put Milwaukee on the map. From County Stadium, to Schlitz Brewery, each piece showcases Milwaukee pride.
“It just makes sense, it’s about time for a gay bar on the East Side. The location makes it a great alternative destination for the gay community. It’s where Milwaukee meets,” says Lison.
Located at 707 E Brady Street, where Brady, Van Buren, Holton, and Water streets intersect, Hybrid will be open Monday thru Friday 4 p.m. to close, Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to close with happy hour from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday thru Friday. Street parking is available and the lounge is conveniently located near the Milwaukee County Transit bus lines 10, 11, and 15. For more information, call 414-272-2218 or visit www.hybridlounge.net.
Milwaukee GAMMA Celebrates 32 Years
Milwaukee - Milwaukee GAMMA is proud to announce it is in its 32nd year as a gay social organization. Formed 32 years ago as a sporting group of gay men to play volleyball and softball, the group evolved to include social interactions of its members. As the years went by, the function of the organization has changed. As a nonprofit 501(c)7 organization, GAMMA has become a social organization for the gay community of Metro Milwaukee.
GAMMA’s monthly newsletter showcases the diversity of the activities it offers its membership. Activities include monthly parties hosted at members’ homes, dining out at local restaurants throughout the Metro Milwaukee area, card game nights (sheepshead, cribbage, bridge), and board game nights. And, there still are running dates, bowling, and, what we are known for – volleyball. In addition, there are camping trips and destination trips promoted through our calendar. Other special events occur as individual members come up with them.
The key to GAMMA’s success over the last 32 years is it’s completely membership driven. The organizational structure allows individual members to have an impact on the group.
GAMMA’s web page and its success as an organization had led to groups from around the country as well as international groups contacting them for information on how they have achieved success.
“As GAMMA goes into the year 2010 we are trying to recognize the needs and wants of the gay community today. As new members come into the organization we look forward to even more activities added to our monthly calendar.” states Kip Spiering, GAMMA’s marketing director.
For more information about GAMMA, please visit www.milwaukeegamma.com/
GRINDR CRAZE GROWS AT RAPID PACE
iPhone App Changes Landscape of Social Networking
Los Angeles - Grindr, the largest all-male mobile location-based networking service reached its landmark 500,000th member and is still growing. Since the inception of the social networking application in early 2009, approximately 1,000 to 2,000 new users have been signing up every day. The Grindr craze has undeniably changed the game of social networking for gay and bisexual men around the world.
Grindr’s extraordinary growth is as revolutionary as the app itself and has significantly changed the ways in which guys are choosing to meet up with their friends, make new ones or find a friendly face in locations they are visiting. Whether you just want to know if any of your friends are nearby or are looking to see if there are other gay guys in your neck of the woods, Grindr has become the easiest, quickest and most simple way for guys to meet each other.
The app, which runs on iPhone and iPod touch, uses location-based technology like GPS, cell towers and Wi-Fi to determine the user’s location. A quick tap delivers profiles, photos, and information of nearby guys. A user’s profile is available in seconds, as are chat functions and sending additional photos or even a user’s map location.
Simkhai adds, "We've been amazed with not only our growth but also by how engaged Grindr users are. A large number of users launch Grindr hourly and daily. Some guys leave it open for several hours a day. And when they change their location they will launch Grindr again to see who's nearby." An unprecedented 30% of users check their Grindr daily, 44% check their accounts weekly. Best of all, the Grindr application is free.
There is now a premium (extra) version for only $2.99 a month. Grindr X(tra) lets users see up to 200 more guys who are close-by (100 more than the free version allows) and it’s ad free. Grindr X(tra) also uses Push Notification, allowing users to receive messages when they are not online. Grindr and Grindr X(tra) work with both the iPhone and iPod Touch but will be available on the BlackBerry and other platforms in the near future. Visit www.Grindr.com for more information.
Queer the Census at LGBT Center of SE WI
Racine - LGBT Center of SE Wisconsin offers an important and timely program on “Queer the Census,” presented by Bob Waldron Thursday, March 11: 7:30-8:30 pm, The audience will learn why your participation (in a variety of ways) is so vitally important in this year’s extraordinary census. The LGBT center’s website states, “Probably more than any other time in our history, LGBT people must take an active role in our national census. Other communities are gearing up to maximize their allowable count. Can our own LGBT population do the same?”
Find out what makes this year’s Census distributed in March so different and how you can get involved. Bob Waldron, a Census Bureau Complete Count Committee member, will discuss the Census from an LGBT perspective. This program is free.
Reflective of a policy change by the Obama Administration, the 2010 Census is the first national effort to acknowledge same-sex couples, providing insight into the size and racial diversity of the LGBT community.
Same-sex couples filling out the Census can indicate their relationship to their married spouse by indicating ‘husband’ or ‘wife.’ or same sex couples can select the ‘unmarried partner’ option to reflect their household status.
The LGBT community is denied a number of federal civil rights associated with military service, social security, immigration, health and marriage benefits. A Census of LGBT couples helps in highlighting the needs of the LGBT community.
More info at www.queerthecensus.org/ and for information about the LGBT Census and resource locations visit www.ourfamiliescount.org or call 1-877-352-3676.
MGAC Opens Auditions for THE Vagina Monologues
As part of the 2010 V-Day Community Campaign, the Milwaukee Gay Arts Center is proud to present a benefit production of The Vagina Monologues to raise awareness and funds for local organizations working to end violence against women and girls. Performances dates are tentatively scheduled for April 16th, 17th, and 18th, 2010 with an additional performance in early June 2010. Auditions and rehearsals will be held at the Milwaukee Gay Arts Center at 703 South 2nd Street, Milwaukee Wisconsin 53204.
Auditions will be held on Saturday, March 20th and Sunday, March 21st from Noon to 5:00 PM at the Milwaukee Gay Arts Center, one block North of National Avenue. All levels of experience are encouraged to audition. If you cannot make either of the audition dates, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to set up an alternate audition.
Participants are not required to prepare anything in advance for this audition; however, present previously prepared monologues of no longer than 1.5 minutes. Cold reading material will be given at check in. You are welcome to bring a resume and headshot, but it is not required. Audition will be in groups of up to 3 people at a time.
Outwords Books Hosts a Publication Party for Author C.P. Rowlands
Outwords Books is hosting a publication party for novelist, C.P. Rowlands, to celebrate the release of her second novel, “Collision Course,” a new release from Bold Strokes Books. The event is scheduled for Tuesday, March 30 at 7:00pm
Rowland’s first novel, “Lake Effect Snow,” also from Bold Strokes Books proved to be Outwords bestselling lesbian fiction title in 2008.
Brie O’Malley, successful author and college professor, isn’t sure if she believes in destiny. The life she had, the woman she loved, the future she was planning for, were stolen from her the day she and her lover were shot. The only survivor, Brie is dedicated to her work, volunteering in the community, and researching her next historical novel. Yet she hasn’t laughed since the tragedy. Until the day she meets Jordan. Skateboarding to show her two kids how an expert does it, Jordan Carter can’t believe her bad luck when she collides with beautiful blond Brie and meets her later at the hospital. A carpenter and partner in the family business, Jordan has also struggled to pull her life together after a tragedy. Neither woman is looking for or expects a second chance at love but each must make a decision about the past that will open a door to the future.
C.P. Rowlands will read and sign copies of “Collision Course” that Tuesday at Outwords Books, Gifts & Coffee, located at 2710 N. Murray Ave. in Milwaukee. The event is free and all are welcome. For more information, call (414) 963-9089 or visit www.outwordsbooks.com.
NEW LGBT Social Networking Site Queerbook.com Launches
ADDISON, Texas - Queerbook.com lay dormant from 2003 until the owner of the URL happened to take a look at the Google Analytics showing hundreds of thousands of hits on the direct URL entry alone. After this discovery, the site, which had been going to be a "year book" for local gay and lesbian bars, was launched into GLBT social networking ventures.
"It's a competitive niche; however, we are focusing on non-porn, non-quickie, agenda items. We want to bring advocacy, education, interaction and fun to our GLBT members. We commissioned a study by Texas Research and Investment which showed both the increasing acceptance of the 'queer' moniker within the community and the ideals of having a site not dedicated to finding the hottest porn and quickest hookup," says Rick Setter of Advocate USA, LLC, the corporation responsible for Queerbook.com.
Queerbook.com offers members chat, groups, blogs, pictures, videos, and soon, other features including multiple profiles and privacy options. In addition, a speed networking and speed dating feature will be deployed ever two weeks for members. The look and feel is similar to facebook and should appeal to anyone familiar with social netowrking sites.
"The investment in initial research has allowed us to build a site optimized for desired features. We may be skewed toward the 30 to 40 set because of the values we represent, but advertisers will find a rich market to reach on Queerbook.com," says Setter.
FMI Visit http://www.queerbook.com
STILL More Closet Gay Scandals:
If you enjoy seeing politicians destroyed by their own hypocrisy, it’s been a very, very good year.
Sacramento, CA - A California state senator who has voted against gay rights measure since he took office eight years ago was charged with driving under the influence on Wednesday, reportedly after leaving a gay nightclub in Sacramento.
Senator Roy Ashburn, a Republican, was spotted driving erratically at about 2 a.m. Wednesday in downtown Sacramento, officials said. He was arrested after taking a sobriety test, and he was taken to Sacramento County Jail, where he was administered a blood-alcohol test prior to being booked and released. He was charged with driving under the influence and driving with a blood alcohol level of .08 percent or higher.
Ashburn, who is a father of four, apologized for his actions.
"I am deeply sorry for my actions and offer no excuse for my poor judgment," he said in a statement. "I accept complete responsibility for my conduct and am prepared to accept the consequences for what I did. I am also truly sorry for the impact this incident will have on those who support and trust me -- my family, my constituents, my friends, and my colleagues in the Senate."
He was arrested after leaving Faces, a gay nightclub in midtown Sacramento, after allegedly attending a drag show. A male passenger, who was not identified as a lawmaker, was also in the car but was not detained.
This past week the scandal has been a fequent topic in the news since Ashburn, who served in the state Assembly from 1996 to 2002 before he was elected to the Senate, has voted against every gay rights measure since he became a senator, according to Project Vote Smart, a Web site that tracks voting records.
Senator Ashburn is just one of several politicians to recently get caught in embarassing situations all involving hypocracy of thier actions vs a past voting record. Others include: Mark Foely and his sexual instant messages to teenaged Congressional pages. Ted Haggard, the leader of the National Associtation of Evangelicals caught paying male prostitutes for sex and snorting crystal meth. Senator Larry Craig who was caught soliciting sex from an undercover cop and Bob Allen, a member of the Florida House of Representatives who offered an undercover officer $20 in exchange for being allowed to perform oral sex on him.