i am

My photo
harlem, usa
same-gender-loving contemporary descendant of enslaved africans. community activist, feminist, health educator, independent filmmaker, mentor, playwright, poet & spiritual being. featured at, in & on africana.com, afrikan poetry theatre, angel herald, bejata dot com, bet tonight with tavis smiley, blacklight online, black noir, brooklyn moon cafe, gmhc's barbershop, klmo-fm, lgbt community services center, longmoor productions, nuyorican poets cafe, our corner, poz, pulse, rolling out new york, rush arts gallery, saint veronica's church, schomburg center for research in black culture, sexplorations, the citizen, the new york times, the soundz bar, the trenton times, the village voice, upn news, uzuri, venus, vibe, wbai-fm, wnyc-fm & wqht-fm. volunteered with adodi, bailey house, inc., black men's xchange-new york, colorofchange.org, drug policy alliance, east harlem tutorial program, imagenation film & music festival, presente.org, save darfur coalition, the enough project, the osborne association, the sledge group & your black world. worked on films with maurice jamal & heather murphy. writing student of phil bertelsen & ed bullins. mjt975@msn.com.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Ravens Linebacker Plans To Affirm LGBT Rights At Super Bowl XLVII

baltimore ravens linebacker & special teams ace brendon ayanbadejo has unconventional plans for the upcoming super bowl week. ayanbadejo intends to utilize the global media blitz as a unique opportunity to express his views on anti-bullying, gay rights & marriage equality.

ayanbadejo is bi-racial & grew up in a liberal environment where discrimination was frowned upon. his stepfather was a resident director for a lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgender (lgbt) dorm at the university of california at santa cruz. ayanbadejo & his family lived in the dorm, which helped him cultivate passionate feelings for lgbt people & their rights.

earlier this season, ayanbadejo was at the center of a developing controversy: a maryland politician wrote a letter to the ravens demanding the organization silence him for speaking publicly about lgbt issues. surprisingly, minnesota vikings punter chris kluwe supported ayanbadejo & wrote a scathing letter to the politician - admonishing him for discouraging a citizen for sharing their views.

despite the political backlash, ayanbadejo remains steadfast. according to the new york times, he e-mailed two marriage equality advocates hours after returning home from the team's come-from-behind win against the new england patriots in the afc championship game last sunday. he also swapped e-mails with the founder & executive director of athlete ally, a group dedicated to eliminating homophobia in sports.     

ayanbadejo began working on ways to get out his message as soon as the ravens clinched a berth in the game against the san francisco 49ers. in fact, he even has a dream scenario in mind: the ravens win the super bowl & he is invited to the ellen degeneres talk show as a guest, where the duo will discuss the importance of equality for all gays & lesbians. but before they get their talk on, he wants to get his dance on, with ellen. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Pentagon Chief Leon Panetta Removes Military Ban On Women In Combat

senior defense officials wednesday said pentagon chief leon panetta is removing the military's ban on women serving in combat. the ban will open hundreds of thousands of front-line positions & potentially elite commando jobs after more than a decade of war.

the groundbreaking move recommended by the joint chiefs of staff overturns a 1994 rule prohibiting women from being assigned to smaller ground combat units. panetta's decision gives the military services until january 2016 to seek special exceptions if they believe any positions must remain closed to women. 

a senior military official says the services will develop plans for allowing women to seek the combat positions. some jobs may open as soon as this year. assessments for others, such as special operations forces, including navy seals & the army's delta force, may take longer.

the official said the military chiefs must report back to panetta with their initial implementation plans by may 15. since the announcement on panetta's decision is not expected until thursday, the official spoke on the condition of anonymity.

panetta's bold move expands the pentagon's action nearly a year ago to open up about 14,500 combat positions to women, nearly all of them in the army. this decision could open up more than 230,000 jobs, many in army & marine infantry units, to women.

in recent years the necessities of war propelled women into jobs such as intelligence officers, medics & military police sometimes attached - but not formally assigned - to units on the front lines. women comprise 14 percent of the nearly 1.4 million active military personnel.


Sunday, January 13, 2013

Major Porn Producer Sues To Block Controversial Los Angeles Condom Law

a major adult filmmaker sued to block a new los angeles county law requiring porn actors to wear condoms, calling it a threat to free expression. vivid entertainment contends measure b, passed by country voters last fall, violates the first amendment right to free speech & expression. vivid feels the law is unnecessary because the adult industry currently employs safeguards, such as regular blood testing of actors, to prevent the spread of aids & other sexually transmitted infections.

the provocative suit, filed thursday in federal court, also maintains the law is burdensome, ineffective, vague & is pre-empted by california laws & regulations. it asks the court to block the measure's enforcement & rule it unconstitutional. county counsel declined comment friday, saying they had just begun a review of the case.

measure b requires adult film producers to apply for a permit from the county department of health to shoot sex scenes. permit fees will finance periodic inspections of film sets to enforce compliance. however, public health authorities have not announced specific enforcement measures for the law. the aids healthcare foundation, which sponsored the initiative, said the measure will safeguard both the public & porn actors from sexually transmitted infections.

some adult film actors rallied to oppose the law before its november passage. sex film star amber lynn told the los angeles daily news at the time, "the idea of allowing a government employee to come & inspect our genitalia while we're on set is atrocious."

industry critics said fans don't want to see actors using condoms. they say if the law is enforced, the 200 or so companies producing adult films in los angeles, primarily in the san fernando valley, will simply move their businesses elsewhere - taking with them as many as 10,000 jobs.

steven hirsch, vivid's founder & co-chairman, said, "overturning this law is something i feel very passionate about. i believe the industry's current testing system works well." hirsch said, "since 2004 over 300,000 explicit scenes have been filmed with zero hiv transmission. the new law makes no sense & it imposes a government licensing regime on making films protected by the constitution."

hirsch also said, in a statement, the law will have "vast unintended consequences which may undermine industry efforts to protect the health of our actors & actresses." califa productions, which produces adult films for vivid, along with actors who use the stage names kayden kross & logan pierce, joined the suit, which names the county, its district attorney & public health director.   

Monday, January 07, 2013

Gang-Rape: Five Male Suspects Charged In Murder Of Young Woman In Delhi, India

indian authorities have charged five men with the kidnap, gang rape & murder of a woman in delhi, india last month. the 23 year-old female died of her injuries two weeks after the december 16 attack. the five men will be tried in a fast-track court, where they could be handed the death penalty. a sixth suspect is likely to be tried in juvenile court.

the brutally vicious incident has sparked outrage all across the indian continent. the victim's father said he backed calls for the men to be executed if they are found guilty. "the whole country is demanding that these monsters be hanged. i am with them," he told reporters at his home in uttar predesh state. under indian law, neither the woman nor her family can be identified.

the charges were put before a magistrate but will be transferred to a specially launched fast-track court. the trial is expected to start at the weekend. although its mandatory in india for the accused to appear in person to be charged, policemen outside the court said the suspects, who include the driver of the bus, would not be present on thursday for security reasons.

case documents already exceed 1,000 pages - including key testimony from the woman before she died. police say they have scheduled more than 30 witnesses. the bar association said none of its members are willing to defend the suspects; the court is expected to appoint defense lawyers itself. india's chief justice, altamas kabir, warned, despite the strength of public feeling, "a swift trial should not be at the cost of a fair trial." he also told reporters,"let us not lose sight of the fact that a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty."

protests have been taking place every day since the attack, with protesters expressing rage over attitudes towards woman in india, while calling for changes to the laws on violence against women. they say woman across india are frequent victims of harassment & sexual assault, reports of crimes against women are not taken seriously & conviction rates are too low.

the bbc's sanjoy majumder in delhi says this is not the first such crime to make the news, but it has touched a raw nerve with the public & could become a watershed case. on wednesday, delhi's chief minister sheila dikshit joined thousands of women on a protest march through delhi to rajghat & called for stringent anti-rape laws. india's junior education minister shashi tharoor suggested a new anti-rape law be named after the victim - whose family said they would not object to such a move.

the woman & a male friend had been to the cinema when they boarded a private bus home in the evening. police have said the men on the bus had been drinking & were taking the vehicle on a joyride. they beat the woman & her companion with iron bars, raped her for nearly an hour & then threw them out of the moving bus into the street.

the press trust of india quoted police sources as saying the driver of the bus tried to run her over after throwing her out, but she was saved by her male friend. she sustained serious injuries to her body & her brain. tragically, she died in a hospital in singapore december 29, where she had been flown in for specialist treatment.

delhi officials have responded to criticism stating they are failing to protect women by announcing a series of measures intended to make the city safer. these include checks on bus drivers & their assistants, more police night patrols & the banning of buses with tinted windows or curtains. the government has also set up a committee under a retired supreme court judge to recommend changes to the anti-rape law. additionally, a telephone helpline has been launched for women in distress, connected with police stations across the city.

in what has been seen as an indication of the growing public rage around sexual violence towards women, ironic footage was broadcast on national television last thursday. a member of the ruling congress party in north-eastern assam state - who had been accused of raping a young woman - was being publicly attacked. the video showed a crowd of woman surrounding the man, hitting him & stripping him, before they turned him over to the police. 



Thursday, January 03, 2013

Minimum Wage Bill Pushes Federal Increase To $10 An Hour

the minimum wage hasn't kept pace with inflation, according to three u.s. congressmen. they want to correct the situation by boosting the federal standard to $10 an hour. 

representatives john conyers, jr. (d-mich), dennis kucinich (d-ohio), & jesse jackson, jr. (d-ill) announced the introduction of "the catching up to 1968 act of 2012" at a press conference wednesday in washington, dc. the proposed bill would augment the minimum wage up from $7.25 an hour & require an annual increase tied to inflation. 

the congressmen said that even at $10 an hour, the minimum wage is below 1968 levels when adjusted for inflation. said conyers, "this legislation is long overdue & sorely needed. more than 30 million americans would see their wages increased, which would provide an immediate boost to the economy." congress hasn't passed legislation raising the minimum wage since 2006, when it put in place a series of increases that ended in 2009.

consumer advocate & former presidential candidate ralph nader helped announce the legislation at the press conference. said nader, "at at time when the issue of income inequality has been elevated in political discourse, it is surprising that a plight of millions of workers throughout this country hasn't been addressed. a single wall street executive's compensation of $15 million would pay the annual wages of over 700 workers working at a minimum wage of $10 an hour."

in a october 2010 poll conducted by the public religion research institute, two-thirds of the american public - including a majority of republicans - supported raising the minimum wage. while running for office, president barack obama promised to raise the minimum wage to $9.50 an hour by 2011. both obama & his 2012 campaign opponent republican mitt romney support the idea of adjusting the minimum wage to keep up with inflation.