Click Click Expose

December 29, 2009

Another country of firsts: Argentina’s First Same Sex Marriage

Argentina First Gay Marriage (Photo-Tierra del Fuego/Reuters)

Argentina First Gay Marriage (Photo-Tierra del Fuego/Reuters)

After a months-long legal battle, two gay men in Argentina became the first homosexuals to marry in Latin America, in a wedding that took place in the southernmost province, Tierra del Fuego, the only one governed by a woman.

“We’re the first, but we won’t be the last,” said Alex Freyre, who married José Maria Di Bello Monday in Ushuaia, capital of Tierra del Fuego, more than 3,000 km south of Buenos Aires. “There are hundreds of legal appeals that we hope will have the same outcome,” he said.

Same-sex marriage is legal in Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, Norway, South Africa, Spain, Sweden with the US lagging behind with same sex marriage only being legal in Vermont, Massachusetts, Iowa, Connecticut & Washington DC & New Hampshire. (Did you know there are 40 US states with laws on the books stating that marriage is between a man and women)?  In spite of these positive developments, this Argentina marriage represents the first gay marriage in Latin America.

Earlier this month, the Mexico City legislative assembly approved changes to the local civil code, replacing the clause that defines marriage as the union between a man and a woman with one that says it is a union “between two people.” But actual weddings will not start taking place until the reform goes into effect next year.   For a highly catholic country, this is an amazing development.

Freyre and Di Bello’s wedding was held without any previous announcement in Ushuaia, after their first attempt in Buenos Aires fell through on Dec. 1.   In April, the couple, who belong to the Argentine Federation of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Trans (LGBT), had been denied a marriage license in Buenos Aires. Along with other members of the Federation whose applications for a license had been denied, they filed an appeal.  In November, Buenos Aires Judge Gabriela Seijas ruled in the case that the civil code’s ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional, and ordered that the two men be granted a marriage license. The Buenos Aires government did not appeal the decision.

However, another court filed an injunction on the eve of the wedding that blocked it from taking place in Buenos Aires. A final decision is pending in the Supreme Court.   But Freyre and Di Bello were determined to get married this year. Aware that Tierra del Fuego Governor Fabiana Ríos had backed different initiatives in favour of same-sex marriage, they applied for a marriage license in that province, which was also denied.   But when they complained to higher-ranking authorities, the governor intervened, ordering that the initial Buenos Aires court ruling be honoured and that they be allowed to marry in the civil registry office.  “I didn’t do anything extraordinary. I merely complied with the law; the right of two people who had a ruling in their favour could not be denied,” said Ríos.

The campaign for “the same rights with the same names” was launched by the LGBT Argentine Federation before Freyre and Di Bello appealed to the courts. But since Seijas ruled in their favour, the movement has gathered momentum and more than 30 appeals have been filed around the country.

According to a survey by the pollster Analogías, 66 percent of respondents were in favour of legalising same-sex marriage, while 57 percent of those who defined themselves as Catholics rejected the Catholic Church stance against marriage between homosexuals.

I think this is great for Latin America and for Argentina and continues to show how the US is really behind the times when it comes to granting basic civil rights to all.

Thomas (Timeline information provided by IPS Reporter Marcela Valente)

December 26, 2009

Drag pageantry will come alive in California January 12th – Don’t miss it!!

California EOY - Jan 12 - House of Blues, Hollywood, CA

California EOY - Jan 12 - House of Blues, Hollywood, CA

Forget what you think you know about drag because honey, it’s quite different from your perception.  Often when we refer to drag in the gay community, we refer to camp and burly men dressed in women’s clothes with makeup from hell and mother’s 1950’s dress.  If this is your perception of drag in our community, I invite you to take a look at the world of gay drag pageantry.  This art form of female illusion and male lead is a highly established, highly stylized and fierce competition between men and women in a variety of local, regional and national contests.  While “drag” has been a cornerstone of cabarets and live theatre since the Middle Ages, drag pageantry is said to have been established in the LGBT community in the 1970s in the post Stonewall era.

When you travel across the United States in search of drag pageantry, you think of such hot bed markets as Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas & the east coast.  These markets have been engaged in the world of pageant competition since the beginning.  California, on the other hand, has always been known for “camp and comedic,” according to Erin White, Executive Director of California Entertainer of the Year.  “Thankfully, California has moved into a new era with some of the most jaw dropping illusionist and formidable talents.”

The Entertainer of the Year pageantry system is one of the major “four” pageantry systems in the United States.  It is a system that prides itself on creativity and talent.  And because of this emphasis, dozens upon dozens of entertainers (since EOY’s inception in 1990) have coveted the title of Entertainer of the Year, FI and Mr. Entertainer of the Year.  California joins a list of more than 15 preliminary contests whose goal is to send the winner and first runner-up to the national contest in Louisville, KY.  Executive Director Erin White is excited to add California  to the system and feels with the huge pool of viable competitors in California, that his system has “a shot at taking the national title this coming year.”

Not only will the contest be exciting for both contestants and spectators, but this year’s preliminary pageant is also a major fund-raising event.  The “Heel Hate” silent auction is designed to raise money for the Matthew Shepard Foundation.  Starting on January 4th, people from all over the world will be able to bid on autographed high heels from celebrities including Jennifer Aniston, Shania Twain, Cyndi Lauper, Shakira, Paula Dean, Salma Hayek, Lauren Conrad and Lea Michele (from “Glee”).  If you want to bid on these items, head to the website “charitybuzz.com” or you can bid at the night of the pageant.  Another charity that the folks at California EOY are working on is the NOH8 Campaign who has been raising awareness on the issue of gay marriage through a year-long photo “silent protest.”  All of the contestants will have a NOH8 photo in the program and there will be a souvenir NOH8 poster of the contestants.

And if that wasn’t enough to entice you to come see the pageant (January 12, House of Blues-Sunset Strip in Hollywood, California), maybe the star-studded judges panel will.  Judges this year include: 2008 EOY winner Nina West, National Title Holder Alyssa Edwards, Actress, Author and 1999 Tennessee EOY winner Calpernia Addams, Singer, Dancer & Actress Aubrey O’Day, American model and television personality Holly Madison, Co-Director of Miss California USA Shanna Moakler and the producer of Logo TV’s Rupaul’s Drag Race Matthew Rose.

Needless to say, Click Click Expose is excited to be chosen as the official videographer of this year’s inaugural contest.  As you know, we have been filming gay pageants since the days of us getting our start in Houston, TX in 1996 – so our cameras have been around the block a few times – but never have we been more excited than coming into a new market with new ideas and a fresh outlook on the pageantry community.  Look out everyone, California EOY is looking to make its mark in the world of pageantry.

So details you say…details:  buy your tickets at: www.ticketmaster.com or the California EOY website at: www.californiaeoy.com.  Ticket prices are: general admission $18.00,  reserved seating $25.00 and VIP Platinum seating $45.00.  Never seen an EOY contest before, check out this preview trailer we created of this year’s 2009 National contest or more than a dozen EOY preview videos on our very own video sharing website Planet Q TV (Just click on the button that says Planet Q TV).  This year’s contest will be held at the world-famous House of Blues – Sunset Strip on Tuesday, January 12, 2010.  Doors open at 6:30pm.  Showtime is at 7:00pm.  See you there…

–Thomas

December 4, 2009

Gay News update for December 4th

Obama White House supports World AIDS Day

Obama White House supports World AIDS Day

December 2nd – In conjunction with World AIDS Day, a two-story Red Ribbon was hung in front of the white house.  While it would be nice to say this reflects the change in administration at the White House, this is not without precedent.  Former President Bush is credited with the first red ribbon appearance in 2007.  While some say that Bush’s ribbon was more militaristic and clear-cut, other say Obama’s is more flowing and encompassing.  No matter what side of the ideological debate you fall, one thing is for certain – the White House is sending a clear message in its support of World AIDS Day.

December 3rd – Remember Actress Meredith Baxter from TV fame “Family Ties?”  Well she came out of the closet yesterday when news leaked that she was attending a gay cruise for women.  The choice to come out was not voluntary as she was outed by the paparazzi when candid pictures of her partner Nancy Locke appeared on Perez Hilton’s blog.  Baxter appeared on an interview with NBC’s Matt Lauer to confirm the story and to state that she wished she had come out sooner stating that is was a personal as much as a political statement to come out.  Way to go Meredith!!

December 3rd – Gay marriage advocates were disappointed yet again when the New York Senate voted 24-38 to deny a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in the state.  The vote was delayed by 2 hours as a passionate debate hit the floor.  As always is the case when same-sex marriage comes up for debate, members of the religious right and the Catholic and Orthodox Jewish population petitioned to have the bill fail.

December 4th – Watch what internet video blogger Philip Defranco (better known as Sexy Phil) has to say about the New York Senate’s recent vote against same-sex marriage.  Why can’t all hetero guys be like him? Open minded, smart, outspoken, a little geeky and always ready to poke fun at both gays and straights.

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.