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It's Time To Vote For Your Favourite Diva!

The sequins and glitter is selling out all over Sydney with the eighteenth DIVA Awards coming up at Paddinton Town Hall on August 18.

Public voting day for DIVA 2008 is Saturday 16 August, from midday at the Midnight Shift, Oxford Street, Darlinghurst.

Categories for the public voting include Most Popular Venue, Most Popular DJ, Most Popular Showcast, Diva Rising Star, Most Popular Male Performer, Most Popular Female Performer, My Favourite Drag Queen and Bitch of the Year.

DIVA 2008 has not been without it's controversy however, with organisers opting for a financially prudent smaller venue - with a capacity of approx 440, compared to the much larger venues of past. Angering many a Sydney drag queen who wont be able to attend the event.

The theme for this year’s DIVA night is ‘Femme Fatale:Kit Kat Club’ ‘Underground’, dirty on the outside but glamorous on the inside, featuring Sydney Queens, Portia Turbo and the sensational Candy Box, as co-MC’s.

20 Awards will be given out on the evening, with a special performance by SYTYCD runner up and drag identity, Rhys Bobridge.

Stay tuned to Guidetogay.com for extensive coverage of the awards night.... and don't forget to vote for your favourties on Saturday.

Obama Pledges to end LGBT Family Discrimination

  • Written by GTG
  • Category: Latest
The presumptive Democratic party nominee for President of the United States has pledged to work towards the elimination of discrimination against LGBT families if elected.

Barack Obama was responding to a letter from Jennifer Chrisler of the Family Equality Council.

Presumptive Republican nominee John McCain said in an interview with the New York Times last month that he does not believe gay people should adopt children.

In response the FEC wrote to both candidates asking them to outline their plans to "recognise, respect, protect and celebrate all of the loving families [they] seek to represent."

Senator McCain has so far failed to respond, but Senator Obama said: "I’ll be a President that stands up for American families – all of them."

"The desire to build a life with a loved one, to provide for a family and to have children who will grow and thrive — these are desires that all people share, regardless of race, sex, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity," he wrote.

"My own experience has taught me this lesson well. I was born to a single mother, my devoted grandparents helped raise me, and then I married the woman of my dreams and had two beautiful daughters.

"The love that has blessed each of those households has been strong and sure, and I know that millions of families across this nation share the same blessings.

"We also have to do more to support and strengthen LGBT families.

"Because equality in relationship, family, and adoption rights is not some abstract principle; it’s about whether millions of LGBT Americans can finally live lives marked by dignity and freedom."

Senator Obama listed more funding for after-school programmes, the abolition of the federal ban on same-sex marriage, an end to discrimination against LGBT families and "equal treatment in our family and adoption laws" as goals for his administration.

The FEC praised the candidate and pointed out that according to the 2000 census, more than 75% of American households "differ from the paradigm of a married, heterosexual couple raising their biological children."

Ms Chrisler stated in her letter to the candidates:

"Thirty-seven percent of parent households with children in the home are not headed by married, heterosexual couples.

"Since 1940, grandparents have been the primary caregivers (without biological parents in the home) for approximately 2 percent of all children in this country, some 1.6 million children today.

"Forty percent of all children will likely be raised by unmarried partners living together for a portion of their lives.

"Lesbian and gay parents are raising four percent of all adopted children in the United States, as well as three percent of all children in foster care.

"Until grandmothers and grandfathers can easily access the government benefits intended to keep their grandchildren healthy and safe; until lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender parents can have their relationships universally and unquestionably recognised; until unmarried parents can access benefits without penalty or derision, we will not be doing justice by the millions of American families that do not fit a small minority's notion of what a"real" family is.”

Senator McCain’s comments about gay adoption were seized upon by LGBT rights advocates as evidence that he is hostile to their community.

Jody M Huckaby, executive director of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, said:

"We are disappointed and saddened that a public leader who is himself an adoptive father would deny the children in America’s foster care system the opportunity to thrive as part of a welcoming family.

"Love makes a family, but short-sighted positions like Senator McCain’s can certainly tear families apart, too.

"In a country where more than 125,000 children are waiting for foster parents, Senator McCain would deny loving homes to children who desperately need them simply because of an outdated prejudice about what a family may look like.”

In the wake of such criticism after his New York Times interview last month, the McCain campaign’s Director of Communications, Jill Hazelbaker, made the following clarification:

"McCain could have been clearer in the interview in stating that his position on gay adoption is that it is a state issue, just as he made it clear in the interview that marriage is a state issue.

"He was not endorsing any federal legislation.

"McCain’s expressed his personal preference for children to be raised by a mother and a father wherever possible.

"However, as an adoptive father himself, McCain believes children deserve loving and caring home environments, and he recognises that there are many abandoned children who have yet to find homes.

"McCain believes that in those situations that caring parental figures are better for the child than the alternative."

Mardi Gras, Profitable - but for how long?

  • Written by GTG
  • Category: Latest
New Mardi Gras will announce a profit of almost $500K from the last year's activities and a range of community donations at its Annual General Meeting to be held on August 23.

Though a strong profit, MArdi Gras Annual Report marks a 3.5% growth in revenue - but is this strong enough considering the popularity of the 30th Anniversary, and will this translate past last years celebrations?

With last years Sleaze Ball being a production and themeing success, community complaints about Marketing (lack of) and appeal to a wider GLBTI market, caused Sleaze Ball to not turn a sizeable profit.

The costume party is normally the fundraiser for the next years celebrations - so will Mardi Gras adopt new financial incentives to attract memberships or continue as an event management company or return to being the provider of community events AND advocacy for GLBTI rights?

This year will be the first year that Mardi Gras will share back monies with the backers that salvaged it from financial ruin when old Mardi Gras collapsed. Entities like ACON, Queerscreen, Gay & Lesbian Rights Lobby will see a portion of the profits.

It will be intersting to also see how the organisation deals with the miriad of community press that it tries to work with, including the Sydney Star Observer, who was dumped by the organisation as its long term print media partner in favour of the gloss party/scene magazine, SX.

Members are expected to be told of the organisation’s plans to move away from the business plan developed by old Mardi Gras and towards a more sustainable model, which is not as reliant on events like the Mardi Gras Party and Sleaze Ball, to raise revenue.

Plans to boost memberships by another 1500 by the end of next year, plans to combine the launch and Fair Day and the expected announcement of substantial NSW Government funding through Events NSW in the coming months are all expected to be outlined to members at the August 23 AGM.

With a new board, new chair and the key event manager and producer not continuing from last year - how do you think Mardi Gras should direct itself?

Would love to hear your comments below!

UK Archbishop: Gay Relationships comparable to marriage.

  • Written by GTG
  • Category: Latest
Rowan Williams,Archbishop of Cantebury, believes that gay sexual relationships can “reflect the love of God” in a way that is comparable to marriage.
Gay partnerships pose the same ethical questions as those between men and women, and the key issue for Christians is that they are faithful and lifelong, he believes.

Dr Williams is known to be personally liberal on the issue but the strength of his views, revealed in private correspondence shown to The Times, will astonish his critics.

The news threatens to reopenbitter divisions over ordaining gay priests, which pushed the Anglican Communion towards a split.

However, in an exchange of letters with an evangelical Christian, written eight years ago when he was Archbishop of Wales, he described his belief that biblical passages criticising homosexual sex were not aimed at people who were gay by nature.

He argued that scriptural prohibitions were addressed to heterosexuals looking for sexual variety. He wrote: “I concluded that an active sexual relationship between two people of the same sex might therefore reflect the love of God in a way comparable to marriage, if and only if it had about it the same character of absolute covenanted faithfulness.” Dr Williams described his view as his “definitive conclusion” reached after 20 years of study and prayer. He drew a distinction between his own beliefs as a theologian and his position as a church leader, for which he had to take account of the traditionalist view.

The letters, written in the autumn of 2000 and 2001, were exchanged with Deborah Pitt, a psychiatrist and evangelical Christian living in his former archdiocese in South Wales, who had written challenging him on the issue.

In reply, he described how his view began to change from that of opposing gay relationships in 1980. His mind became “unsettled” by contact as a university teacher with Christian students who believed that the Bible forbade promiscuity rather than gay sex.

Dr Williams, who was ordained a priest in 1978, became a lecturer at Cambridge two years later and was appointed Dean of Clare College in 1984.

He told Dr Pitt that by the end of the 1980s he had “definitely come to the conclusion” that the Bible did not denounce faithful relationships between people who happened to be gay.

He cited two academics as pivotal in influencing his view. One of them was Jeffrey John, the celibate homosexual whom he later forced not to become Bishop of Reading after an outcry from conservatives.

In his 1989 essay The Body’s Grace, Dr Williams argued that the Church’s acceptance of contraception meant that it acknowledged the validity of nonprocreative sex. This could be taken as a green light for gay sex.

Liberals have been bitterly disappointed that a man whom they regarded as chosen to advance their agenda has instead abided by the traditionalist consensus of the majority.

In the correspondence Dr Williams wrote of his regret that the issue had become “very much politicised” and was treated by many as “the sole or primary marker of Christian orthodoxy”.

Asked to comment yesterday, Lambeth Palace quoted a recent interview in which the Archbishop said: “When I teach as a bishop I teach what the Church teaches. In controverted areas it is my responsibility to teach what the Church has said and why.”

Source: The Times (London)

The Potbelleez Headline Sleaze Ball 2008

  • Written by Rob Manser
  • Category: Latest
Tickets are now on sale for Sydney’s most spectacular costume party. Scoundrels, deviants and mutants can now secure their place for the sexiest and most creative party of the year, Sleaze Ball 2008 –Villains’ Lair.

The full line-up for the party will be announced over the coming weeks, but New Mardi Gras can now reveal the DJs who will play the Hordern Pavilion on October 4th.

Headliners the Potbelleez will be joined by Alan Thompson, Sveta, Mark Murphy and Deepchild. They will perform alongside big production shows, roving entertainment and the Project Sleazeway costume competition.

The Potbelleez are the “fastest rising stars of the dance scene” according to Rolling Stone magazine. Dishing up breathtaking DJ sets over 6 decks, the Potbelleez have proved their ability to make a dancefloor swoon.

Their biggest hit “Don’t Hold Back” was in the top 40 for 23 weeks and the last year has seen them touring widely, DJing alongside the likes of Armand Van Helden, Frankie Knuckles, Axwell and Roger Sanchez.

“The Potbelleez were one of the stars of Mardi Gras 2008 when they rocked the Forum,” said NMG Chair David Imrie. “We had no hesitation in bringing them back to give them a bigger audience in the Hordern.”

“We’ve had great feedback on this year’s theme. After the enormous success of last year’s Zirkus people’s expectations are high, but we’re confident we’ll be able to take it up a level again,” said Imrie.

Tickets are available from Ticketek outlets, at www.ticketek.com.au and by phone on 13 2849. Prices are $99 for New Mardi Gras members, $119 for non-members and $79 for concessions.


The Potbelleez play 2008 Mardi Gras in the Forum