National News Notes
Gay man tapped for Ambassador
NEW YORK, N.Y. — The White House wants David Huebner to be the U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand and the Independent State of Samoa. If confirmed by the Senate, he will be the first openly gay Ambassador appointed in the Obama administration. He currently serves as pro bono legal counsel for the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and was a founding board member of the group including a stint as co-chair.
Huebner is an expert in international law and a highly respected arbitration specialist in Europe and the Pacific Rim. He is currently the head of the China Practice and the International Disputes Practice at Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton, based in Shanghai. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators in London.
“We congratulate David and know he will bring the determination and expertise that he has brought to his work at GLAAD to this new post,” said GLAAD President and former Massachusetts state Senator Jarrett T. Barrios. “His commitment to public service is unrivaled and for over a decade as a founding national board member and today as our legal counsel, GLAAD and the LGBT community have been the beneficiary of his commitment, dedication and skill.”
Workplace report: LGBTs in hiding
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Fifty-one percent of LGBT workers hide their identity from most or all co-workers, according to a new report from the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. The study finds that despite significant advances in employment policies at major U.S. corporations, a majority of LGBT workers continue to experience a range of negative consequences because of their sexual orientation and gender identity.
As reasons for hiding their identities, 39 percent fear losing connections, 28 percent fear not being considered for advancement, 17 percent fear getting fired and 13 percent fear for their personal safety. Among transgender workers specifically, 40 percent report fearing for their personal safety and 42 percent fear getting fired.
The report also reveals that younger workers are particularly likely to hide their LGBT identity. Only 5 percent of LGBT employees ages 18 to 24 say they are totally open at work, compared to more than 20 percent of older LGBT workers.
Middle school study ‘wake-up call’
NEW YORK, N.Y. — According to research from the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, LGBT middle school students are significantly more likely to face hostile school climates than LGBT high school students, yet have less access to school resources and support. The findings were based on data from 626 LGBT middle school students who participated in GLSEN’s 2007 National School Climate Survey of 6,209 secondary school students.
Ninety-one percent of LGBT middle school students said they experienced harassment at school in the past year because of their sexual orientation, 59 percent experienced physical harassment and a startling 39 percent said they had been physically assaulted, nearly twice as many as in high school (20 percent).
More than eight out of 10 LGBT middle school students reported hearing homophobic epithets (e.g., “faggot” or “dyke”) frequently or often from other students in school — a higher percentage than high school students (73 percent). Perhaps most shocking, 63 percent of LGBT middle school students had heard school staff make homophobic remarks.
“The findings should be a wake-up call to school officials and policymakers across the country that we can no longer ignore one of the biggest school climate issues facing middle school students, regardless of sexual orientation,” said GLSEN Executive Director Eliza Byard. “GLSEN has worked for many years to provide educators/schools with evidence-based solutions that they can implement to address anti-LGBT bullying and harassment. For the sake of all of our students, schools must take action to address these issues in the critical middle grades.”
Victory endorses largest slate
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund has endorsed 76 openly LGBT political candidates in 2009, making this endorsement slate the group’s largest ever in a non-federal election year.
Chuck Wolfe, the Victory Fund’s president and CEO, said the record number of endorsed candidates in 2009 bodes well for progress in the near future: “LGBT officials are our best hope of reaching full equality for all Americans. By running openly and honestly, they’re changing the political landscape. When elected, they’ll be our voice inside government, and that is irreplaceable.”
The Victory Fund is the nation’s largest LGBT political action committee, and the only national organization dedicated to increasing the number of out elected officials at all levels of government. Since its founding in 1991, the number of openly LGBT elected officials in the U.S. has grown from less than 50 to more than 450.
GLAAD looks at LGBT TV regulars
LOS ANGELES, Calif. — The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation has released its 14th annual “Where We Are On TV” study, a comprehensive review of scripted LGBT primetime characters in the 2009-10 television season. Based on information provided by the five broadcast networks — ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC and The CW — GLAAD reviewed 79 scripted comedies and dramas airing or set to air this season, and counted a total of 600 series regulars, 18 of which are LGBT.
ABC leads in LGBT representation, with eight such characters out of 168 total series regular characters (5 percent). FOX, which only two years ago featured no regular LGBT characters at the start of the season, now offers four out of 105 (4 percent). NBC has three series regular LGBT characters out of 126 (3 percent). The CW is showing gradual improvement with two LGBT series regular characters out of 69 (3 percent). CBS continues to disappoint; out of 132 series regular characters on the network, none are LGBT.
On mainstream cable networks, the number of announced LGBT series regular characters dropped to 25 from last year’s total of 32. The presence of LGBT-focused cable networks here! and Logo, which program specifically for LGBT viewers, adds an additional 27 series regular LGBT characters.