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Out Front: February 2004

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George Zemanek
Photo of George Zemanek by Yvonne Feece

JOINING THE CORPS.: Georges Zemanek, until recently the chairman of STAG (Some Transgenders Are Guys), begins duty this month with AmeriCorps, the national service program. Before leaving for the three-week orientation camp in Florida, the 2003 University of St. Thomas graduate reported that he didn’t yet know his assignment. His first choice: working with the urban homeless. “That issue is such a problem, and one we ignore,” he said. After his one-year volunteer stint, Zemanek, who is 23, plans to enter graduate school to continue his French studies.

OUT WEST: Syed Asif Hassan will travel to Los Angeles this month for the North American conference of Al-Fatiha, the U.S.-based organization dedicated to GLBT Muslims. Hassan, a Rice University graduate student in physics, serves on the national board. For the February 13–16 event, Hassan is helping to coordinate the first queer Muslim film festival. He will also speak on two panels—one on the history and state of the Al-Fatiha movement and another on Sufism. “That’s one of the more inclusive communities,” Hassan explains. “There are Sufi congregations that are accepting of the full spectrum of queer.”

THE MARRYING KIND: On February 13, 30 gay and lesbian couples will converge at the county clerk’s office to request marriage licenses. This observance of Freedom To Marry Day—the annual day of action calling for equality in matrimonial laws, organized by an array national GLBT rights groups and locally by Stonewall Law Association of Greater Houston—will surely get noticed. One of the couples, Stephanie Welch (l) and Cindy Scott, had a commitment ceremony in 1999. Now they seek to legalize their union. “I think it’s going to take a nationwide effort to push marriage equality through,” Scott says.

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