July 7, 2011 at 1:38 pm EDT | by Staff reports
National news in brief: July 8

Gay superhero a hit in iTunes App Store

SAN FRANCISCO — An unlikely hit is rising in popularity among iPhone and iPod Touch users.

Spanish game creators Klicrainbow boast that the $2.99 app, “Supergay & The Attack of His Ex-Girlfriends” is the first video game to star a gay superhero, and users of the Apple mobile devices are accepting this groundbreaking game with open arms.

The animated game features comic book style art and currently offers the first 10 chapters of the storyline, with promises of more chapters to come.

The game tells the story of Dr. Tom Palmer — a young, attractive scientist working on a controversial cloning experiment — on the eve of his wedding to the daughter of his boss.

Throughout the narrative, Tom grapples with the fact that he’s gay as well as with some of the choices he’s made in his life, according to MSNBC.

“Having a gay character in a game is always something positive that gay gamers can relate to,” Steve Muir, editor of GenuineGamers.com told the Blade. “However in this instance I think the character we see is more of a stereotype than something we can relate to. Having a quick look at the developers and their title, I see the fluorescent pink color, mentions of Gay Power and the ‘Rainbow Ray.’ I understand this is a gay superhero but I can’t image anyone taking this seriously.”

“I think gay gamers, like gay comic fans, have a fascination with the dual identities of superheroes,” gay gaming champion, Matthew Michael Brown told the Blade. “We see some of our personal struggles reflected in the lives of these characters and are thrilled when they hit any medium. That said, video games are the future of entertainment and so to see such progressive characters break into this industry is especially exciting.” Brown won the second season of Sony’s Playstation Network reality series, The Tester.

Gay soldiers allegedly attacked in Colo.

DENVER — Two soldiers identifying as gay stationed at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs were allegedly assaulted by attackers shouting homophobic slurs and racial epithets early Saturday morning.

The soldiers had stopped off at Albert Tacos after a night out at a local nightclub where the men also work. The two soldiers — who had to conceal their identities when making statements about the crime because “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is still in enforcement — said that some of the work friends that came with them to the restaurant caught the attention of a group of men because of the way that they were dressed, according to ABC News Denver.

One of the victims was treated for a facial fracture and had to have his jaw wired shut.

“We’re concerned that these soldiers may not get the support they need because of the ongoing impact of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” J.D. Smith, co-director of the active duty service members organization OutServe, said in a statement. “Will they be investigated for reporting the crime? Or for seeking medical help? These soldiers will have to literally lie at work to hide what’s occurred to them.”

Calif. mandates teaching LGBT history in schools

SACRAMENTO — The California Assembly this week passed 49-25 a bill that would “end LGBT history exclusion in education.”

The Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful Education Act had already passed the Senate 23-14 on April 14, and now heads to Gov. Jerry Brown for signature.

“The struggle of the multicultural and multiethnic LGBT community in California is one of the greatest stories yet to be told,” said Equality California Executive Director Roland Palencia in a statement released minutes after passage. “The FAIR Education Act will ensure that public schools acknowledge the heroism of individuals and communities who in spite of countless barriers continuously overcome adversity.”

The bill was authored by gay state Sen. Mark Leno, and follows another historic California victory 20 months ago, with the passage of official recognition of Harvey Milk Day.

The bill also compels schools to put strict guidelines in place to protect students from bullying based on real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.

“This is a victory not only for the LGBT youth in California who have been fighting to be heard in Sacramento and represented in their history classes, but also for all California youth who deserve to learn a fair and accurate account of California and U.S. history,” said Carolyn Laub, executive director of Gay-Straight Alliance Network. “By passing the FAIR Education Act, the Assembly has taken an unprecedented step to reduce bullying, increase safety for all students and teach students to respect each other’s differences.”

Rahm Emanuel

Rahm Emanuel. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Mayor Emanuel pushes for marriage equality

CHICAGO — In the spirit of Pride month, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel closed June by stating that he hopes Illinois “moves in the direction” of New York after that state passed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage there.

The political heavyweight left his position as White House chief of staff in 2009 to pursue the Chicago mayoral spot being opened with the retirement of Richard M. Daley. Emanuel secured that spot in March 2010 in a race against many local big names, including former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun, who long backed the idea of marriage equality and voted against both “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in 1993 and the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996.

Emanuel’s statement is his strongest yet on the topic of marriage equality, and advocates hope he will play as pivotal a role in pushing for a bill as Mayor Michael Bloomberg did in New York City.

“Obviously as someone who is working on marriage equality in this state I’m thrilled to see it,” gay state assembly member Greg Harris, author of the state’s civil unions law, told the Blade. “I think it goes to show that mainstream of political thought in Illinois is moving toward full marriage equality for all people, but that doesn’t mean there still isn’t lots of work to do in the state.”

“No matter what the states do, until we get rid of the Federal [Defense of Marriage Act] there will never be full equality for any same-sex relationship.”

Mich. anti-bullying bill put on hold

LANSING, Mich. — The fate of a proposed law that would have specifically protected students from anti-gay and anti-trans harassment and bullying, along with other forms of bullying is now in question as lawmakers go on break.

“Matt’s Safe-School Law,” named for a teen who committed suicide after being bullied, exists in two versions in the state legislature, one where protected classes like gay and lesbian kids are specifically enumerated — a version backed by the state Board of Education, Michigan’s LGBT advocacy group Equality Michigan, and the Republican Rick Snyder — and a general version of the bill that does not specify any protected classes.

The Republican-controlled legislature has only held hearings on the general version of the bill, according to Michigan’s LGBT newspaper, Between the Lines. The June 29 Education Committee hearing saw anti-bullying groups come out against the less powerful version of the bill.

“We are disappointed to have to oppose House Bill 4163 today but feel that changes can be made to strengthen it so it becomes the powerful tool it is intended to be,” Equality Michigan Policy Director Emily Dievendorf said in a statement after the hearing. “Our kids need to be assured that their second home, their school, is conducive to learning and is accepting of who they are.”

Michigan is one of only six states without anti-bullying legislation, which compels schools to create safer environments for students in regard to harassment and bullying.


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