This week in SGN History: 9 Years Ago

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SGN 5/25/2012
SGN 5/25/2012

Over 47 years, the Seattle Gay News has covered thousands of stories that still resonate today. This week we look back at Vol. 40, Issue 21, published on May 25, 2012.

Rea Carey exclusive: Then-SGN Associate Editor Shaun Knittel reported, "[NGTLTF Executive Director] Carey believes we are living in exciting times. 'I've been working in the LGBT movement since the late 1980s, and I've never seen so much in play. This is a wonderful time for the advancement of civil and human rights in this country. We can start to see the other side of the fence. We need to stick with it because we are not done yet. We have a lot of work ahead of us but we will continue to make progress.'"

Update: Carey recently left her position as executive director of the Task Force after 13 years.

2012 GSBA scholars: SGN Staff Writer James Whitey reported, "This year, the GSBA awarded $182,000 to 43 students. The Pride Foundation, which covers four other Northwestern states in addition to Washington, awarded a record $400,000 to their 94 scholars.

"The GSBA held its annual awards banquet on May 18 at Seattle's Waterfront Marriott Hotel. Keynote speaker Gautam Raghavan spoke at the event. Raghavan is an associate director in the White House Office of Public Engagement and serves as the Obama administration's liaison to the LGBT community.

"'Gautam was charming, warm, delightful, and inspiring,' [GSBA President and CEO Louise] Chernin told the SGN. 'Speaking of charming, our witty MC, JJ McKay, kept up just the right amount of delightful banter and used great skill in hosting this complicated event.'"

USNS Harvey Milk: The SGN's associate editor reported, "California Gov. Jerry Brown issued a proclamation in the honor of Milk's birthday. 'His courage in facing a hostile public and his insistence on being treated the same as anyone else contributed greatly to the advancement of this cause,' Brown said.

"In addition to having a street named after him, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted 9-2 in favor of a resolution putting the City on record supporting the christening of a US Navy ship as the USNS Harvey Milk. There was, however, division among supervisors over whether it was a fitting honor. Milk was an outspoken critic of the Vietnam War. Supervisor Scott Wiener, who introduced the resolution, called it a 'great honor' and said Milk was proud of his military service."

Update: The USNS Harvey Milk started construction in September 2019 and as of May 2021 is more than halfway finished.

Rutgers bully : Over 18 months since the suicide of Rutgers student Tyler Clementi, his then-roommate, Dharun Ravi, was convicted of the cyberbullying that led to Clementi's death, as reported by then- SGN Associate Editor Shaun Knittel: "Ravi received a big break Monday when the judge sentenced him to just 30 days behind bars. He could have received as much as 10 years. In addition to the jail term, Ravi was sentenced to three years' probation, 300 hours of community service, and court costs. He also was ordered to contribute $10,000 to a community organization assisting bias crime victims."

Update: Ravi completed his three years of probation in 2015. In October 2016, he pleaded guilty to invading the privacy of Tyler Clementi. The judge rendered the sentence as time served.

Miss Congeniality: SGN Staff Writer Mike Andrew reported, "Jenna Talackova, the Transgender Canadian woman who hoped to represent her country in the Miss Universe pageant, placed in the top 12 in the contest for Miss Universe Canada, but fell short of the crown. According to Trump spokesperson Michael Cohen, the Miss Universe organization decided that as long as Talackova is a woman under Canadian law, she is a woman for the purposes of the pageant."

Update: Talackova filmed Brave New Girls, a Canadian reality show, in 2014. Michael Cohen was sent to prison but is currently serving his sentence at home, while Donald Trump served four years as president and is still at large.

Pro-Gay shirt: SGN Staff Writer Mike Andrew reported, "A court in Waynesville, Ohio, has ruled that high school student Maverick Couch may wear his 'Jesus is not a homophobe' T-shirt whenever he likes. The Waynesville school district was also ordered to pay Couch $20,000 in legal fees.

"Couch first wore the shirt to school for GLSEN's National Day of Silence last year. At that time, principal Randy Gebhardt ordered him to turn it inside out, and Couch complied. The next day, he wore the shirt again. This time, Couch and his mother were summoned to the principal's office, where Gebhardt ordered him to remove the shirt. Couch again complied.

"After spending the summer researching his First Amendment rights, Couch asked Gebhardt for permission to wear the shirt again. The principal refused, telling Couch he would be suspended if he did."

In other news...

Colin Powell supports marriage equality

  • agrees that Title VII protects Trans people
  • Dow Constantine has an $11,300 surprise for the Approve Ref. 74 campaign
  • Jim Parsons comes out
  • Seattle's 4th annual Red Dress Party nets $16K to fund local HIV/AIDS organizations

    La Femme Magnifique winners crowned at Neighbours: Diamond St. James Black and Beyonce Blaque were crowned as La Femme Magnifique Washington 2012 and La Femme Magnifique Washington Plus 2012, respectively.

    In A&E news:

    Glambert: Adam Lambert released his second album, Trespassing, and SGN A&E Writer Chris Azzopardi interviewed the glam rocker, who said, "Being who I am in this music environment is trespassing, and that's why Pharrell [Williams] and I wrote about that. We had a big conversation about the music industry and the business and being an artist, and then on top of it, being somebody who's different, being a Gay man, and being in an industry where it's not very common, not very present. Kind of feeling like I'm gonna own this, march forward, and ignore any kind of sign or person telling me no. I'm gonna do what I wanna do and not feel sorry for myself."

    Trans rocker: Tom Gabel, lead singer of the hard rock music group Against Me!, came out as M2F Transgender, as reported by SGN A&E Writer Albert Rodriguez: "[After] suffering many years from gender dysphoria, a disorder in which a person is unhappy with their biological sex and desires to be the opposite sex, the decision was made to go public. Gabel, who will soon transition to Laura Jane Grace, broke the news to Against Me! followers on May 8, though she had already shared the information with Rolling Stone magazine about a month before. At that time, only a tight circle of family and friends knew about it.

    "As reported by Rolling Stone contributing editor Josh Eells, not even the band's drummer was aware of Gabel's circumstances until late March. Following the announcement, support from GLAAD and fellow artists soon began streaming in. Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park, who outspokenly voiced his opposition to Proposition 8 several years ago, tweeted, 'I don't think I've ever done anything that demonstrated the bravery of Tom Gabel.' New Jersey-based punk act The Gaslight Anthem wrote an entire page of support for Tom on Tumblr, basically telling unsettled fans to just deal with it. The note ended with, 'So go live, Tom.' And it wasn't long before some of Against Me!'s faithful started posting words of encouragement on random Internet sites."

    Update: Gabel soon changed her name to Laura Jane Grace. In 2016, her memoir, Tranny: Confessions Of Punk Rock's Most Infamous Anarchist Sellout, was released. She now fronts a new band called Laura Jane Grace and the Devouring Mothers.

    2012 film preview: SGN Film Critic Sara Michelle Fetters previewed the 2012 summer film season which saw the release of some modern classics, like Magic Mike, Pixar's Brave, Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom, Lynn Shelton's Your Sister's Sister, and the final installment of The Dark Knight.

    But there were some real flops, like Men in Black 3, the second Spiderman in the form of Andrew Garfield, Battleship, and Rock of Ages.