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Cuba

MANIC MONDAY: News, Becks, Politics, Gyllenhaal....

1st EVER QUEERS TO CUBA TOUR
A group of LGBT North Americans will make history on December 27, 2007 when they will begin an 8-day tour of Cuba. The group will enjoy the rich cultural experiences and meet with leaders working for sexual dignity in Cuba. "As a gay, I feel safer in Cuba than in Canada or the States. Soon island queers will enjoy greater rights and freedoms than their counterparts in the USA," said Marcel Hatch, coordinator of Cuba Education Tours of Vancouver.

UGLY BECKHAM BETTY
Victoria Beckham will make a guest appearance on the second season of Ugly Betty. But, the real reason Victoria got the cameo? The cast wanted David to show up on set.

GAY COUPLE JAILED FOR KISS
Arcigay, Italy's LGBT civil rights orgnization, has called for a "national gay kiss-in" at the Coliseum on August 2 after a gay male couple was arrested for kissing in front of the the historic monument. The two men shared a kiss and were immediately rushed to a police station, detained, and charged with lewd conduct. The price for the kiss: the two men could face up to two years in prison.

JAPAN TO GET OPENLY GAY PARLIAMENTARIAN?
Japan's LGBT community is anxiously awaiting the results of Kanako Otsuji's campaign which, if elected, would make Otsuji the first openly gay person in Japan's parliament. Otsuji was also the youngest person to get into the Osaka Assembly when she was just 28.

MORE SAME-SEX COUPLES ALLOWED TO WED
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has recently announced that same-sex couples from New Mexico will be allowed to marry in Massachusetts. New Mexico joins Rhode Island to be the only other state whose gay residents can marry legally in Massachusetts.

BECKHAM'S DEBUT SETS ESPN RECORD

David Beckham's much hyped debut with the Los Angeles Galaxy led to an estimated 1.5 million viewers, according to ESPN. The Saturday game was the largest audience for an ESPN telecast involving a Major League Soccer team.

GYLLENHAAL TOPS HOT 100 LIST
My baby daddy, Jake Gyllenhaal, topped AfterElton.com's Hot 100 List. The list was compiled and selected by gay male readers. This list is different than People's "Sexiest Man Alive" as witnessed by the dismal performance of George Clooney (recently named "Sexiest Man Alive").

Other hot stars who made the list: Chris Evans, LL Cool J, Gale Harold, T.R. Knight, Darryl Stephens, Gael Garcia Bernal, and Cillian Murphy. The list was rounded out at the bottom by Zach Braff.


NEWS: Harassment, Jake does Broadway, Cuba, Hillary, Paris..and more!

QUEER JOB HARASSMENT: A new CareerBuilder.com poll found that 28 percent of LGBT workers have suffered harassment at their place of employment. Nearly half of those respondents described their harassment as severe. The poll which was conducted by Harris Interactive also studied workplace issues for African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, Females, LGBT workers and people in the workforce over the age of 50.

PLAYMATE PARIS?: Is Paris Hilton going to be the next Playboy playmate? "Well, that's a standing offer. I think the problem quite frankly is mama. Mama doesn't want her to pose." Hugh Hefner is hopeful that once the drunk driving Paris finishes her jail time she'll consider his offer to rip off her clothes. This time for some cash....

STRANGE BEDFELLOWS: ISAIAH WASHINGTON + ??
Former Grey's Anatomy star Isaiah Washington is getting some help from an unlikely ally. You'll recall that Washington landed himself in a heap of trouble last year when he referred to co-star T.R. Knight as a "faggot." Washington went to rehab, did a queer public service announcment for GLSEN and recently found out he wouldn't be returning to the cast of Grey's Anatomy.

His ally? Prominent queer activist Jasmyne Cannick who has previously worked with Washington. Cannick is petitioning for the actor to be reinstated to Grey's Anatomy, and is countering the charges of homophobia on Washington's behalf by firing claims of racism at ABC.

CUBA TO RECOGNIZE SAME-SEX COUPLES
"The political will exists to eliminate all forms of discrimination in our laws," said Mariela Castro during a presentation of the proposed reform. Castro is the director of the governmental National Centre for Sex Education (CENESEX).

Cuba could become the first Caribbean island nation to recognise the civil and inheritance rights of gay and lesbian couples, if a proposed reform of the Family Code is approved.

JAKE STARRING IN BROADWAY THIS FALL?
Jake Gyllenhaal has been offered a part in a new Broadway play this fall called "Farragut North." Last week, Jake went in for a private reading and the show's producer, Jeffrey Richards, has acknowledged the outstanding offer to Jake.

If he accepts Jake will play an idealistic communications director for an unorthodox U.S. presidential candidate. The story is rumored to be modeled after the Howard Dean campaign for U.S. President in 2004.


HILLARY SETS HERSELF APART FROM BILL
Hillary Clinton's campaign recently clarified Hillary's positions on several important LGBT issues. It's thought that she is hoping to set herself apart from her husband who gave us gays "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act).

“Senator Clinton believes that each state should make its own decisions regarding marriage or civil unions, but once a state legalizes such relationships, these relationships should receive full federal recognition and benefits,” Ethan Geto, senior national adviser to Senator Clinton on LGBT Issues, explained in an e-mail to The Advocate.