by Rex Wockner -
SGN Contributing Writer
GLAAD letters to FCC questioned
Several Gay bloggers have taken issue with three letters sent to the Federal Communications Commission by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.
First, there was concern about an unusual May 31 letter (tinyurl.com/3v5szoh) supporting the merger of AT&T and T-Mobile.
It said in part: 'What our community wants in wireless phone and internet service is exactly what Americans in general want: more access, faster service, and competitive pricing. On all three counts, we believe that the facts strongly favor the merger. ... The LGBT community has a longstanding commitment to all forms of social justice. That is why we look at the deployment of faster wireless internet options not only from financial and technological viewpoints but also in terms of how this improves society.'
The blogosphere didn't quite understand the rainbow connection and pointed out that AT&T is a GLAAD donor. The Gay bloggers also reported that AT&T opposes so-called 'net neutrality,' a complex, hot-button issue related to internet providers' control over some matters of content and speed. (See tinyurl.com/ls4qn for a detailed explanation.)
Next, additional GLAAD letters from 2009 and 2010 concerning Net neutrality were found on the FCC's website, all signed by GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios.
The first letter seemed to support net neutrality (tinyurl.com/barrios1), the second letter seemed to oppose net neutrality, and the third letter asked the FCC to withdraw the second letter from the public record (tinyurl.com/barrios2-3).
In the third letter, Barrios said of the second letter: 'The letter has been submitted under my name and title without my permission. The signature is not in my hand. I have never seen this letter and it is not my signature.'
On June 8, however, Barrios acknowledged to Bilerico.com that the second letter had come from GLAAD, calling it 'an administrative error' (tinyurl.com/barrios12).
A day later, on the 'Feast of Fun' podcast, Barrios added that the administrative error was a 'personnel issue' that had been 'managed' (tinyurl.com/barrios13 at the 57-minute mark).
Then, a day later, June 10, Barrios acknowledged to Bilerico (tinyurl.com/barrios9) that the wording of the second letter had been provided to GLAAD by AT&T, that GLAAD had submitted AT&T's actual language to the FCC, and that he had OK'd sending a letter without reading it.
He did that, he said, because when his assistant reached him by phone at an airport, he thought she was saying GLAAD needed to refile its first (pro-net-neutrality) letter with the FCC.
'When I realized she had inadvertently submitted an anti-net-neutrality letter, I withdrew it,' Barrios told Bilerico.
The matter has been covered online by, among others, Michelangelo Signorile (tinyurl.com/barrios4), Dan Savage (tinyurl.com/barrios5), John Aravosis (tinyurl.com/barrios6), Andy Towle (tinyurl.com/barrios7), and Bil Browning (tinyurl.com/barrios9).
Signorile has questioned whether Barrios' assistant was responsible for the anti-net-neutrality letter, and said that Barrios 'must resign' (tinyurl.com/barrios4).
Three San Diego mayoral candidates are Gay
Two of San Diego's four declared mayoral candidates are Gay, as is a third candidate who has opened a campaign committee.
Republican District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis and Republican City Councilman Carl DeMaio, both openly Gay, are officially in the race, and openly Lesbian state Sen. Christine Kehoe, a Democrat, is officially exploring a run.
Two straight candidates have declared as well: Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, a Republican and former Marine, and U.S. Rep. Bob Filner, D-San Diego.
The primary election will be June 5, 2012. If any candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote, he or she wins the mayoral race. Otherwise, the top two vote-getters will advance to a general-election runoff.
Pro-Gay Republican Mayor Jerry Sanders can't run again because of term limits.
Sanders has attended several rallies against Proposition 8 and he testified in the federal case that led to the anti-same-sex-marriage amendment being struck down. That ruling now is on appeal.
San Diego has had more than its share of openly Gay and Lesbian officials over the years, including four City Council members, two state representatives, one state senator, a fire chief, a district attorney, an acting mayor, two mayoral spokesmen, a school board trustee, and five Superior Court judges.
It is America's eighth-largest city.
U.S. gov't expresses support for Gay student groups
U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said June 7 that the government supports formation of Gay-Straight Alliances in schools, according to a report from the Trevor Project.
He made the statement at the Federal LGBT Youth Summit, the organization said.
'Even though the formation of Gay-Straight Alliances has been protected under the federal Equal Access Act since 1984, youth in many communities across the country have been barred by their school districts from forming these supportive safe spaces,' said Trevor CEO David McFarland. 'Today Secretary Duncan has taken a stand to ensure that youth in public schools no longer have to go to court to start a GSA in their school.'
The Trevor Project is a national organization that provides crisis intervention and suicide-prevention services to LGBTQ youth.
HRC calls for action against LGBT violence in Puerto Rico
The Human Rights Campaign on June 8 urged federal and local officials and law-enforcement authorities to strengthen efforts to address violence against LGBT people in Puerto Rico.
HRC cited reports that three LGBT Puerto Ricans were found dead in recent days and that 18 LGBT Puerto Ricans have been murdered in the past 18 months.
Ramón Salgado was found dead along a highway in Humacao, Transwoman Karlota Gómez Sánchez was found shot to death at an intersection in Santurce, and Alejandro Torres Torres was found stabbed to death in Ponce, activist groups said.
'Puerto Rican government officials and law enforcement, as well as the U.S. Department of Justice, must ensure that LGBT people have the protection they need to survive,' said HRC President Joe Solmonese.
According to HRC, in 2010 the Justice Department's Community Relations Service entered into an agreement with the Puerto Rico Civil Rights Commission, the Puerto Rico Police Department, and the University College of Criminal Justice to develop and implement hate-crime training and a civil-rights curriculum for the Puerto Rico Police Academy and the Puerto Rico Police Department.
With assistance from Bill Kelley
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