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FYI: The New York Department of State is refusing to allow an organization calling itself Queer Awareness to register as a nonprofit, saying the use of the word “queer” violates the state’s ban on registering names with language that is obscene or intended to ridicule. NYU grad student Christopher Barton Benecke, who is seeking to establish the group as one dedicated to “promote a healthy image of non-heterosexual people,” has filed suit in State Supreme Court challenging the ruling as a violation of his First Amendment rights. State officials told Benecke that, despite his attempt to “reclaim” the word as an umbrella term for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people with positive connotations, queer “still connotes hostility and is used by many people in a pejorative manner.” [11/11/03]

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