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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Stonewall Library & Archives Opens New Space, Sets Course As National And Regional Resource

Stonewall Library & Archives (SLA), the largest independent circulating library of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) materials in the US, officially opened its new facility in downtown Fort Lauderdale today with a cadre of city and county elected officials and dignitaries on hand. Easily moving past its onetime designation as a “controversial” gay library, SLA was presented with proclamations from both the City of Fort Lauderdale and Broward County.

Today, we’re setting Stonewall Library & Archives on a national course,” said executive director Jack Rutland. “We’re a lending library, a cultural center, an art gallery and museum, a research facility, and a place for everyone in the community to learn about our past and chart our future. Stonewall Library sits in Fort Lauderdale, but our impact is felt on the national stage.”

Moving SLA to this new space became a national story during the anti-gay campaign of Fort Lauderdale’s former mayor, who opposed a city building, which is leased by Broward County, providing space to the library. The move into the ArtServe building located at 1300 E. Sunrise Blvd. in Fort Lauderdale required the approval of the Fort Lauderdale City Commission and the Broward County Commission. Both panels easily approved the move in 2007.

Although the budget for the building’s renovation and reconfiguration was set at $500,000, SLA’s two-year Capital Building and Endowment campaign raised over $750,000, entirely from individuals and foundations. The funds were used for the building alterations and to establish an institutional endowment. The most significant donations came from the John C. Graves Trust of the Community Foundation of Broward, George Hester and Alfredo Piniero, Paul Fasana and Dr. Robert S. Graham, the Sunshine Athletic Association and Charles L. Ross.

In addition to Executive Director Jack Rutland, today’s event featured an appearance by Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler; Fort Lauderdale Vice Mayor Bruce Roberts, who presented a proclamation from the city; Fort Lauderdale Commissioner Charlotte Rodstrom; openly gay Broward County Vice Mayor Ken Keechl, who presented a proclamation from the County; Broward County Sheriff Al Lamberti; and Stonewall Library Board President Chuck Williams.

The history of Stonewall Library tracks the history of the GLBT movement in the US,” Williams said. “It took a long time for us to get here, but now that we’re here we’re not going anywhere.”

Stonewall Library & Archives is a museum, gallery, and cultural center for locals, tourists, researchers and scholars, and has an impact far beyond South Florida. With exhibits touring the country, and leading literary supporters such as the legendary Edmund White, SLA honors the past while striving to engage, inform and inspire the next generation of GLBT leaders. The official opening of Stonewall Library & Archives’ new space continues with a building-wide open house tonight beginning at 6:00pm, followed by the Gay and Lesbian Literary Arts Festival April 24 and 25.

More information can be found at Tax-deductible donations can also be made online.

Statement of GOProud Executive Director Jimmy LaSalvia on the Impending Passage of Hate Crimes Legislation in the U.S. House

"In the next few days, the Democratic controlled House of Representatives will do exactly what the Republican controlled House in the 108th Congress did – pass hate crimes legislation. In their cynical never-ending quest to lower expectations, the gay left will undoubtedly hail the passage of hate crimes legislation as ‘historic.' While the passage of hate crimes may be laudable, its passage, and indeed even its enactment into law, is not historic.

"The truth is that Democrats have spent no political capital on moving on important election year promises such as the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell and the partial repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act. Instead of making excuses for the lack of action by Democrats in Washington, the leaders of the gay left should be demanding that Democrats commit to living up to the promises they made."

GOProud represents gay conservatives and their allies. GOProud is committed to a traditional conservative agenda that emphasizes limited government, individual liberty, free markets and a confident foreign policy. GOProud promotes our traditional conservative agenda by influencing politics and policy at the federal level. PO Box 15861 , Washington, DC 20003 . For more information visit our website

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Statement by Metro Weekly co-publishers Sean Bugg and Randy Shulman on erroneous Fishbowl DC report

Despite an erroneous blog post this morning by the Fishbowl DC media blog, the publishers and staff of Metro Weekly have no plans to change, alter or end our print publication. It's unfortunate that Fishbowl DC chose to run a story based on erroneous information from an unnamed source -- had the blogger chosen to call either of us to check the story, she would have quickly learned the truth of the situation.
We are currently preparing our 15th Anniversary Issue and we're working as hard as ever on all of our upcoming spring issues. The entire staff of Metro Weekly finds it meaningful to be responsible members of our local lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community -- and we all look forward to the next 15 years of serving our readers and advertisers, both in print and online."

Sean Bugg
Randy Shulman
Metro Weekly

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

LGBT Movement Unites for Live Online "StorySummit" (Wed 4/22 @ 6pm Pacific)

Kate Kendell (NCLR), Candace Gingrich (HRC), ACLU, GLAAD, PFLAG, GLSEN, The Task Force,, and other LGBTQ equality movement leaders are banding together with visionary media makers and Web 2.0 gurus for a groundbreaking event in San Francisco and around the globe tomorrow, WED 4/22 at 6pm pacific.

The first ever National LGBTQ Equality StorySummit.
Created and hosted by

As LGBTQ people, family, or allies, one of the most powerful tools we have for achieving LGBTQ equality is our stories. But how? What do people need to know about me? And how can I use video and Web 2.0 technologies to help share my story and further LGBTQ equality?

WHEN: Wednesday April 22, from 6-7:30pm pacific time
WHERE: Bay Area Video Coalition (2727 Mariposa Street, 2nd floor @ Bryant, SF, CA)
WHERE ELSE: anywhere in the world, on your computer or telephone

LGBTQ equality, storytelling, film, media, and technology leaders from around the U.S.
"How to use Web 2.0 and storytelling" presentations from:

- ALL of the major national LGBTQ organizations (HRC, GLAAD, Task Force, PFLAG, Out and Equal, NCLR, National Black Justice Coalition, and more).
- Leaders in using storytelling, film, and/or Web 2.0 for social change:, ACLU, Working Films, BAVC, and the Independent Television Service (ITVS)

- Individual youth, ally, transgender, and LGB activists

Speaker highlights:

Kate Kendell, Executive Director, National Center for Lesbian Rights ***

Candace Gingrich, (sister of Newt Gingrich), HRC
Matt Coles, LGBT Director, ACLU
Selisse Berry, Executive Director, Out and Equal Workplace Advocates

StorySummit is created and hosted by:
Melissa Regan, Sundance award-winning filmmaker,

For more info, contact:

Melissa Regan
tel: 650-520-5220

GLAAD Responds to Media Coverage of Miss USA Controversy

New York, Tuesday, April 21, 2009 – Neil G. Giuliano, president of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), today responded to media coverage of the controversy surrounding the current Miss California, Carrie Prejean, and her response to a question during the Miss USA Competition on Sunday, April 19.

During the competition, Prejean said: "I think it's great that Americans are able to choose one or the other. We live in a land that you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite marriage and, you know what, in my country and in my family I think that I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman – no offense to anyone out there – but that's how I was raised and that's how I think it should be, between a man and a woman."

GLAAD's Giuliano today said:

"Much of the media's coverage of this story seems to be missing the main point, which is that what Prejean said is simply inaccurate. Contrary to Prejean's claim that people can choose who they want to marry, loving, committed gay and lesbian couples are in fact denied that choice in all but a few states, and all such couples are also denied the federal security and protections that come with marriage.

"America should in fact be a place where all people – gay and straight – can choose to marry the person they love, but that choice continues to be denied to loving, committed gay couples. GLAAD urges media covering the controversy to focus attention on real gay and lesbian couples who, because they continue to be excluded from marriage, are prevented from being able to take care of and be responsible for each other."

Friday, April 17, 2009

An open letter to Glenn Beck from Faith In America

Dear Glenn,

On a recent segment on marriage equality in which you appeared with commentator Meghan Kelly, you stated you believe marriage equality is about going into schools and churches with a message that "gay marriage" is OK.

If you believe there is something which makes a gay American undeserving or unworthy of enjoying a lifelong relationship with someone they choose to spend their life with, we would expect that you would want to instill such prejudice in places of education and places of worship.

And the semantics of civil union versus marriage does not apply to your position. Whether same-sex parents of a child who visit their child's class are united in a civil union or marriage, their child's classmates will not compute the difference in their minds. Whether a same-sex couple who visits their parents' church for Easter services are there as a couple united in civil union or marriage, the other church congregants would not know if they were united in Oregan or married in Iowa.

The question here, Glenn, is what response do you expect from your child when a same-sex couple joins their child for lunch at your child's school? What is the response you want you child to have when a same-sex couple joins their parents for a service at your church?

Do you want your child to look upon them with an attitude of rejection and moral condemnation?

If you want your child to look upon gay Americans as equal in every sense, then you are correct – marriage equality is about going into churches with the message that gay marriage is OK.

If you go into schools with a message that marriage equality is not OK, you are promoting a message of exclusion, prejudice and discrimination. But worse, you are promoting a societal climate that makes gay youth believe they're better dead than to grow up gay in America.

The pain and trauma that brings a young person to such a terrible conclusion early in their life is inflicted upon them within many facets of the society in which they live – their own families, their peers, their teachers, their elected officials and even their pastors.

These words were shared with Faith In America in an April 17, 2009 email from a college student in Charleston, S.C.:

"When I was 16 I began contemplating suicide, I thought it was the only way to make the pain stop, I told myself that if I killed myself to stop a life of homosexuality then it wasn't wrong. I researched a pill cocktail that would have killed me in my sleep, I stood in the garage several times with a knife to my wrist, I thought about running off a bridge in my car everytime I went for a ride. When some suicidal pictures I had drawn surfaced at my art school the guidance counselor informed my parents. I hated her at the time, but now that I reflect on it, her bringing to light my self-destructive behavior probably saved my life."

It can no longer be acceptable to discuss the rejection, condemnation and discrimination as the problem. It is imperative that the new conversations must focus on the underlying motivators of the oppression. It is equally imperative that religious belief be identified as a prime motivator behind the prejudicial and discriminatory attitudes found within all facets of American society.

So yes, Glenn, these conversations must take place in our schools and our churches.

The lives of precious young children depend upon it.

P.S. We also agree with Meghan Kelly in her position that President Obama in his heart is for marriage equality...because we seriously doubt he wants his daughters to look upon gay Americans as unworthy or undeserving of the same rights and privileges he and Michelle enjoy.

Brent Childers
Executive Director
Faith In America

New information resource on Stonewall Riots launches

As the 40th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots approaches, David Carter, author of the highly praised book STONEWALL, launches a new website with information and resources on this historic event.

In addition to basic information and documentation about the Stonewall Riots, Carter includes audio of the only known 1969 radio report on the riots, documentation of the nomination of the Stonewall Inn as a National Historic Landmark, and interviews with participants in the riots.

Carter is the author of STONEWALL: The Riots that Sparked the Gay Revolution, A Randy Shilts / Publishing Triangle Award Finalist



In his highly-praised definitive account of the 1969 Stonewall Riots, David Carter reveals the truth behind the times, the places and the riots themselves. STONEWALL: The Riots that Sparked the Gay Revolution, reveals some surprising new facts about the raid on the bar and the resulting riots, including:

• Prior to the raid on the Stonewall Inn, Interpol uncovered the theft of negotiated bonds which were turning up on the streets of Europe. The bonds were being stolen by gay Wall St. employees who were victims of a blackmail operation run by Stonewall Inn manager Ed Murphy.

• Murphy, in spite of having been previously arrested for running an extensive national blackmail ring based on homosexual prostitution, had never been to jail because he had incriminating photographs of one of the prostitution ring's most prominent customers: J. Edgar Hoover.

• Once the NYPD learned that the theft of bonds was tied to blackmail at the Stonewall Inn, the order went out to shut down the club.

In his exhaustive research for STONEWALL, Carter reached previously unheard from and/or unexplored primary sources - such as the police inspector who led the fateful raid itself - as well as numerous persons who were present at and participated in the riots. Carter also had access to many primary source materials previously unavailable to any researcher.

In addition to these revelations, STONEWALL offers a clear and detailed look at what life was like, politically and legally, for gay men in New York in the 1960s, including the social life in gay bars, most notable of which is the Stonewall Inn. The book also recounts the events of the raid on the bar in June 1969, and the resultant riots that raid sparked, as well as the emergence of the gay liberation movement, including the birth of the Gay Liberation Front and the Gay Activists Alliance. Carter also describes the triumphant first march held on the first anniversary of the riots, which is now celebrated worldwide through Gay Pride observances each June.

While one of the most seminal events in modern political movements, the Stonewall Inn Riots are poorly documented, and more myth than historical reality exists in most printed accounts. This exhaustively researched volume will be the definitive account from this time forward.

David Carter has had a varied career as a writer, editor, and filmmaker. He is the author of biographies of Salvador Dali and George Santayana, and he compiled and edited Spontaneous Mind, a collection of interviews with Allen Ginsberg. For Peter Townshend, he directed the film Meher Baby in Italy. Carter has a B.A. from Emory University and an M.A. from the University of Wisconsin. He is a resident of Greenwich Village in New York City.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


After an intoxicating makeover, L.A.'s longest continually running gay bar is back in action in a big way. Micky's in West Hollywood now boasts a sexy new look, larger dance floors, inhibition-busting bar and an exclusive 2nd story VIP bar. Not that size matters...Vibe, however, does.

To that end, the new look and feel is a potent mix of queer-contemporary chic and heady exhibitionism. Seductive skin tones, and decadent materials, like ostrich leather and caesarstone, infuse this watering hole with irresistible ambience. As always, voyeurism is the dessert du jour at Micky's, where go-go boys heat up a seething dance floor, and frosted glass restroom windows tease patrons below the waistline.

It's Micky's unabashed raciness that lures patrons in the doors, but it's the bar's openness that keeps people coming back. A diverse clientele of young Hollywood, locals and Micky's loyalists guarantees an enticing mix of warm-hearted revelers and come-hither hotties, seven nights a week.

As has always been the case, risqué entertainment reigns supreme in this WeHo hot spot--albeit this time with unflinching heat, allure and excitement. Glam lighting and an enchanting array of ongoing events and nightly specials will tempt patrons to indulge in their wildest indiscretions.

Design of the space raises the "gay bar" so to speak with glowing semi precious bar tops lit with a series of LED color changing lights, 20 foot wide glass doors that give unobstructed views of Santa Monica Blvd., custom made furniture throughout the bar including booths overlooking the new and improved dance floor. The bar's color scheme focuses on clean whites and rich grays with orange highlights throughout. "This is a 21st century nightclub for a 21st century scene", says designer Dean Larkin. Larkin is credited with designing award winning projects such as Farmer's Daughter Motel as well as homes for celebrities like Lily Tomlin, Jane Wagner and John Fogerty.

Renovation of the space began in August 2007, after electrical fire damage afforded Michael Neymeyer an opportunity to re-envision the venue. "For more than two decades Micky's has been gay L.A.'s hottest community bar. Times have changed and so have we; we're excited to re-introduce our landmark space and revved-up attitude to everyone looking for a new nightclub experience."

Micky's info:
8857 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90069

National Day Of Silence -

Tomorrow, April 17th, hundreds of thousands of students across the country will take a vow of silence, as part of the National Day of Silence, a protest to the harassment, bullying, prejudice and violence aimed at gay and lesbian youth. Becoming part of this deliberate silence is the first step toward fighting these injustices and ending the hatred and discrimination against GLBT youth. And while homosexuality remains a taboo topic for many gay youth, especially those living in religious or conservative communities, many teens are turning to the Internet to share their feelings and to begin to open up about their sexuality and the challenges they face.

Thanks to social networking sites, especially those that provide anonymity like , today’s GLBT youth have found a reprieve where they can feel free to be who they really are, and find a supportive network of online “friends” to aid in their transition out of the closet. These members share their experiences, ask questions of other users, and develop relationships that can see them through tough times, encouraging them to live openly and honestly, and not to accept the harassment they encounter. (EP) is an online social networking site that connects people based on their life experiences rather than by who they know, and is home to 2M+ unique experiences, including groups such as “I am a closet Lesbian,” “My Parents are Gay,” and “I am a Gay Christian.” This anonymous forum creates a community where members can share their thoughts and questions, free from the fear of judgment in a safe environment. would love to encourage you to take the vow of silence tomorrow and come online instead, to share your stories of how living in silence, even for just one day, has affected you.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Win A Chance To Attend The 2009 LA GLAAD Awards

Subscribe To Echelon's Weekly Newsletter And Win A Chance To Attend The Los Angeles GLAAD Media Awards Show. All individuals who subscribe between 4/13/09 and 4/16/09 will be entered into a drawing at 5pm (PST) on Thursday, April 16, 2009. The winner and a guest will receive 2 free passes to this exciting event.
Click on: Join Our Mailing List below. Your email will always be kept private.

The 20th Annual GLAAD Media Awards will be held April 18 at the Nokia Theatre LA Live where Kathy Griffin, Bishop Gene Robinson and The L Word cast will receive Special Honors. Special guests that will help GLAAD celebrate outstanding representations of LGBT people in the media include Ellen DeGeneres & Portia de Rossi, Teri Hatcher, Jessica Alba, Dustin Lance Black, Alan Cumming, Bill Paxton and Gus Van Sant. The evening will end with a special performance by Broadway singer and Out 100 Entertainer of the Year, Cheyenne Jackson. Tickets start at just $50 and can be purchased at

Sunday, April 12, 2009

GenderVision: Transgender at Work

As transgender people work towards fair and equal protection of their right to work at both state and federal levels, many grapple with the realities of being singled out for mistreatment in the workplace. Ethan St. Pierre, former police officer & security guard, and female-to-male transsexual talks about his experience of being harassed and fired simply because of his gender. Alishia Ouelette, firefighter and male-to-female transsexual talks about her experience as a firefighter in Danvers, where she remains on the job after undergoing intense public scrutiny.

Produced and hosted by Nancy Nangeroni and Gordene MacKenzie, GenderVision is available for cablecast from , and is currently cablecast in Beverly and Weston, MA, as well as parts of CA, NH, IA, WA, & ME. Programs are available for direct viewing and downloading at .

Gordene O. MacKenzie, PhD., author of "Transgender Nation," serves as an associate professor and director of the Women's and Gender Studies Program at Merrimack College. Nancy Nangeroni, founder of GenderTalk Radio, currently Chair of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition ( Gordene and Nancy are life partners who've been working together on gender education and advocacy since 1998; they co-hosted GenderTalk radio ( for over 9 years. They co-produce and co-host GenderVision, which is taped at BevCam cable access studio in Beverly, MA. If you would like to view GenderVision on your local cable access channel, you can find out how to do it by visiting, where you can also watch the program, learn more about it, buy DVDs and help support this all-volunteer production.

GenderVision is a production of Gender Education & Media, Inc, a non-profit organization formed to support educational work promoting an inclusive understanding of gender issues. Please consider donating to support the continued production of GenderVision programs.

Robert Garcia Elected To Long Beach City Council: Becomes Youngest, First Latino, And First Openly Gay Person Of Color On Council

Openly Gay candidate Robert Garcia was elected to the Long Beach City Council beating his nearest challenger by 10 percentage points on April 7th.

Robert, 31, is youngest person ever elected to the Long Beach City Council, the first male Latino, and the first gay person of color.

"I really think that people wanted change in Long Beach, and a positive change at City Hall," said Garcia, who is a Long Beach City College dean and president of the North Pine Neighborhood Alliance. "At the end of the day, people want fresh ideas and a new approach to looking at government."

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Senator McCoy of Iowa - Why Same Sex Marriage Will Stay

Hello. I’m Matt McCoy. I represent the south side of Des Moines, Senate District 31 in the Iowa Senate. I’m a lifelong Iowan, an former Eagle Scout, community development director, a father, and the first openly gay member of the Iowa Legislature.

Today is a red letter day for the state of Iowa. All of Iowa’s citizens now have equal protection under the law.

Thousands of Iowans who have worked hard, raised families, and paid taxes will now be afforded the opportunity to marry. Fair minded people throughout our state support equality for all.

I have never been more proud of all the Iowans who have worked continuously for the advancement of human rights for all.

Today we in Iowa are sending a message to all Americans, gay and straight. If you are looking for a great place to live, a place where people treat their neighbors with respect, please consider coming to Iowa to work, to invest and to raise a family.

Unlike the fight in California, I believe that this issue is settled. Iowans will move on to fixing our economy, providing health care to our citizens and making our state a better place to live.

Here’s why I believe Iowa will not go backwards when it comes to civil rights.

One, Iowa has a long history of civil rights leadership.
In 1839, the Iowa Supreme Court rejected slavery in a decision that found that a slave named Ralph became free when he stepped on Iowa soil, 26 years before the end of the Civil War decided the issue.

In 1868, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled that racially segregated “separate but equal” schools had no place in Iowa, 85 years before the U.S. Supreme Court reached the same decision.

In 1873, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled against racial discrimination in public accommodations, 91 years before the U.S. Supreme Court reached the same decision.

In 1869, Iowa became the first state in the union to admit women to the practice of law.

Two, social conservatives have made their case to Iowans and been rejected.

The Iowa Republican Party is one of the most conservative in the country. For example, the Republican winners of the Iowa Presidential Caucuses include Pat Robertson, Pat Buchanan, and Mike Huckleebe.

Here in Iowa, the Republican Party has focused on fringe issues for some time. And Iowans have responded by electing Democrats.

In less than a decade, legislative debate has moved from considering laws banning gay Iowans from adopting children or being foster parents to passage of legislation protecting children from bullying in schools, expanding Iowa’s civil rights protections to include sexual orientation and transgender, a vote AGAINST amending the Constitution to ban gay marriage, and, now, a court decision providing full marriage equality.

Third, the Iowa Constitution can’t be changed quickly. As I said, we’ve already had one vote in the Iowa Senate on amending the constitution to ban gay marriage, and that failed.. That was when Republicans had the majority. Every Democrat voted no and enough Republicans joined us to defeat the idea.

Now Democrats control the Iowa House and Senate, and legislative leaders say the issue won’t come up for vote.

Even if it does, Constitutional Amendments must be approved by two different two-year General Assemblies before they go to the people for a vote.

In short, there is no way a flood of out-of-state money can be used to quickly scare Iowans into going backwards on civil rights.

I believe marriage equality is here to stay. And Iowans will quickly realize that it is no big deal.

Today Iowa is sending a message to young people, both gay and straight. If you are looking for a great place to live, a place where people treat their neighbors with respect, come to Iowa to work, to invest and to raise a family.

I’m so proud to be an Iowan today. Thanks for celebrating with us. And whether you’re gay or straight, think about coming to Iowa to get married

A Week of Victories

Statement from Jennifer C. Pizer, Lambda Legal Marriage Project Director

This is a week we all will remember: first Iowa, then Vermont, then D.C –
all emphatically embracing equality, respect, and consistent treatment of
all families under law. We have turned another critical corner in this
equal rights movement.

A decade ago, Vermont opened an important back door when it created civil
unions for same-sex couples. Now, after years of experience with that
two-tier system, the Green Mountain State has decisively rejected the harms
that come unavoidably with any class system and is inviting lesbian and gay
couples in through the front door of marriage, just as it does for their
heterosexual relatives, neighbors and co-workers. We congratulate the
courageous elected officials who voted to over-ride the Governor's veto and
our tireless colleagues at Vermont Freedom to Marry for their years of
education and advocacy. We also congratulate our friends at Gay & Lesbian
Advocates & Defenders, whose victory in Baker v. Vermont made today’s
success possible.

Just four days ago, the Iowa Supreme Court unanimously ruled in Lambda
Legal's case that same-sex couples cannot be excluded from marriage. They
learned the lessons of Vermont, Connecticut, California, New Jersey and
other places where civil unions and domestic partnerships reduce some of
the harms to same-sex couples, but also marginalize and humiliate them by
relegating them to second-class status. And today the District of Columbia
Council acted on that lesson, too, by unanimously voting to recognize
marriages of same-sex couples and moving closer to fairness.

Most Americans understand the degrading injuries of class systems. Our
country always has been about a commitment to ending them. As Iowa,
Vermont and the District of Columbia make crystal clear this week,
understanding is dawning for more and more people that unequal treatment of
lesbian and gay couples is just another caste system, and it is becoming
increasingly obvious to people of good will that fairness, decency and the
Golden Rule demand marriage equality for all.

LGBT Families Thrilled to Participate in Inclusive White House Egg Roll

In 2006 over 100 families with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) parents attended the White House Easter Egg Roll, organized by Family Equality Council (formerly Family Pride). At the time, it was unclear whether LGBT families were truly welcome at the White House, but our families enthusiastically participated and the country had an opportunity to see and hear from LGBT families in an unprecedented way. This year, another 100 LGBT families or more will attend the Egg Roll, but this time the White House has specifically encouraged them to participate in this time-honored event. President Obama was the first presidential candidate to openly affirm the equal value of LGBT families, in an August 2008 letter to Family Equality Council's Executive Director, Jennifer Chrisler.

Then Senator Obama stated that we must "do more to support and strengthen LGBT families. Because equality in relationship, family, and adoption rights is not some abstract principle; it’s about whether millions of LGBT Americans can finally live lives marked by dignity and freedom."

"I was thrilled when the White House called on the Family Equality Council to encourage our supporters, tens of thousands of LGBT families nationwide, to apply for tickets to this year's Easter Egg Roll," said Jennifer Chrisler, Executive Director of Family Equality Council. "It's clear to me that when the Obama Administration thinks about American families, they think about LGBT families, as well. For too long our families suffered under administrations that simply ignored us or attacked us outright, often for the sake of short-term political gain. Americans are tired of divisive politics. In a time of national crisis, all Americans—all families—should come together to renew this country. LGBT families will take this opportunity to show up and be counted as part of this great effort."

LGBT families' organized participation in the 2006 White House Easter Egg Roll showcased their love and strength on an unprecedented scale. In addition to print and radio coverage, more than 16.5 million television viewers saw LGBT families as they are—just as happy to attend the Egg Roll as any other family, just as tired from waiting in line for tickets, just as thrilled to share an American tradition with others.

This is a dream come true for our family,” said Colleen Gillespie. Gillespie, who with her partner Alisa Sirkus and their daughter Ella were the family that came up with the idea of a group of LGBT families attending the event together after attending alone in 2005 and not seeing other families like theirs. They approached the Family Equality Council for support and in 2006 helped organize the highly visible gathering which is now an LGBT family tradition. “We would have never imagined the opportunity this would offer our families to show the country who we are and how much we love and care for our children,” continued Gillespie. “To now be welcomed with open arms by an Administration and a First Family that has such an inclusive vision of diverse families is overwhelming. We cannot wait to come back to the White House next week,” concluded Gillespie.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Los Angeles Magazine covers a gay library, which few glbt publications do

The Apirl issue of Los Angeles Magazine has many fine interesting articles. It also has one of its lists of interesting places in the area that no other area will have. The list is of seven unusual libraries, and that is what I have asked gay publicatins to do for years.

In the list is a cooking library collection (main L. A. Library) a cat collection (Glendale Library) and "pioneer town collection, strange name, and that is ONE Institute at USC.

Anyone visiting L. A. should have a copy of this publication, It gives great shopping places each issue, taking one street or area. It has an article on a city councilperson. It has a great article on 10 small cities on the coast, and it has a short but interesting question and answer column in each issue about mainly early L. A. (As does New Orleans Magazine).
By Billy Glover

Once again, the general media is doing the gay media's job. How many lgbt travel guides list actual "gay" places? There have been articles for black Americans on how to travel around the nation or one area and visit historic civil rights locations-the state of Louisiana has such a guide and Alabama mentions such a place in a tv ad for the state.

Has the Advocate, on LOGO etc ever done coverage of glbt libraries/archives? The general press covers the listing of Frank Kameny's home as an historic location.
Books have mentioned where Harry Hay et al lived and founded Mattachine. Is it listed on a gay web site? Is the home of Don Slater? Del Martin?

Saperstein Calls on House to Combat Hate Crimes

April 6, 2009 – As a part the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Hate Crimes Task Force’s letter-a-day campaign in support of the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act (H.R. 1913), Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, today sent the following letter to members of the House of Representatives:

On behalf of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose more than 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, I urge you to support the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 (H.R. 1913) introduced by Representatives Conyers (D-MI) and Kirk (R-IL).

All violent crimes are reprehensible, but hate crimes rend the fabric of society and fragment communities. By providing federal officials the authority to investigate and prosecute cases in which violence occurs because of victims’ real or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, gender or disability, the LLEHCPA will significantly strengthen federal response to these horrific crimes.

Of course, states will continue to play the primary role investigating and prosecuting bias-motivated violence, but the LLEHCPA will allow the federal government to intervene in cases where local authorities are either unable or unwilling to do so. Local law enforcement will be supported by federal officials through training and technical assistance, ensuring that these egregious crimes are handled properly and that affected communities are set on a path toward healing.

We are cognizant of the range of views among faith traditions on the issue of homosexuality. While the Reform Jewish Movement is proud of its welcoming of LGBT individuals, there are, of course, faith traditions that hold different views. This legislation only applies to bias-motivated crimes and will not affect lawful public speech or preaching. In fact, in order to make certain that such concerns were addressed, an amendment proposed by Representative Artur Davis (D-AL) is included to clearly protect the First Amendment rights of all Americans.

As Jews, we cherish the biblical commandment found in Leviticus 19:17: "You shall not hate another in your heart." We know all too well the dangers of unchecked persecution and of failing to recognize hate crimes for what they are: acts designed to target and terrorize an entire community. We also take to heart the commandment “You may not stand idly by when your neighbor’s blood is being shed” (Leviticus 19:16). Jewish tradition teaches the importance of tolerance and respect for others.

The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act has languished for far too long. Your help is critical to ensure its passage. I ask you to vote in favor of the LLEHCPA and help bolster federal capacity to address bias-motivated violence.


Rabbi David Saperstein

Friday, April 3, 2009

Institute Analysis of Iowa Supreme Court Decision on Same-Sex Marriage

Today, the Supreme Court of Iowa extended marriage to same-sex couples living in the state. Williams Institute research finds that there are same-sex couples living in every county in Iowa and many are raising children. Furthermore, the impact of allowing same-sex couples to marry would bring Iowa a substantial economic boost.

Key findings include:

• The Census Bureau’s American Community Survey shows that there are 6,425 same-sex couples living in Iowa.
• Nearly a quarter of these couples (24.2%) are raising children - more than 3,000 children.
• Des Moines and Cedar Rapids have the largest number of same-sex couples among Iowa cities, 777 and 603 respectively.
• Same-sex couples marrying in Iowa would boost the state budget by $5.3 million per year over the next three years.
• Allowing same-sex couples to wed could result in approximately $160 million in new spending on weddings and tourism in Iowa.

Statements On Iowa Same Sex Marriage Win

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
Rea Carey, Executive Director

This ruling marks another watershed moment in the struggle for full equality. No longer will same-sex couples have their relationships treated as less than equal by the state. The court rightly affirmed that no loving committed couple should be denied marriage and the critical protections only marriage can provide. This ruling also affirms our common humanity by providing same-sex couples with the opportunity to participate in the shared hopes and dreams of making a public commitment to the person they love. We are thrilled that equality has come to Iowa!

Freedom To Marry
Evan Wolfson, Executive Director

There's a rainbow over Iowa today, and marriage equality has come to America's heartland,” said Evan Wolfson, executive director of Freedom to Marry and author of Why Marriage Matters: America, Equality and Gay People's Right to Marry. “The Iowa Supreme Court’s unanimous willingness to do its job faithfully will give Americans yet another opportunity to experience what they’ve already begun to see in Massachusetts, Connecticut, California, South Africa, and much of Europe—the lived reality that ending exclusion from marriage helps families and harms no one.”

Marriage Equality
Stuart Gaffney, USA Asian Pacific Islander Outreach

“Iowa joins the growing number of states that recognize that marriage discrimination is both un-American and unconstitutional. Our country is a nation which guarantees the rights of all of its citizens to be treated equally under the law,” said Stuart Gaffney Marriage Equality USA Asian Pacific Islander Outreach Director. “Just a generation ago, my parents were legally married in California, because the California Supreme Court overturned the state’s law prohibiting interracial couples from marrying, but faced government discrimination against their marriage when they moved to Missouri and waited until 1967 for the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down the bans on interracial marriage. My husband, John, and I married in California last year, and we believe that marriage discrimination against same-sex couples will end soon, too, and that our marriage will be recognized throughout the country.”

Neil Giuliano, President

"Today's ruling affirms that loving, committed gay and lesbian couples should no longer be excluded from marriage. GLAAD congratulates and expresses our deepest appreciation to One Iowa, Lambda Legal, the Interfaith Alliance of Iowa, and the other organizations, leaders and courageous couples whose work and perseverance culminated in today's ruling. GLAAD urges local and national media reporting on this historic story to ground their coverage in the stories of the Iowa couples whose enduring commitment is at the heart of today's decision."

Family Equality Council
Jennifer Chrisler, Executive Director

The Iowa Supreme Court's unanimous, pro-equality ruling in Varnum v. Brien reminds us what's at stake in the struggle for equal marriage—families' abilities to care for and protect themselves. Thousands of LGBT families in Iowa are raising children. These children deserve the same recognition and respect that children of other married parents get. I'm very proud that Family Equality Council has actively supported LGBT families in Iowa leading up to the Court's decision. Working with state partners, we will continue to prepare our Iowa families for any backlash that may come. We are building a coalition of national, state, and local family groups to support Iowa efforts; providing extensive spokesperson training to put the power of our families to work; and training our colleagues on family-centered approaches to grassroots organizing, ensuring that the families most affected by this ruling are involved in the process of ensuring its permanence."

Thursday, April 2, 2009

eHarmony Presents: "Shotgun Wedding"

This week we received an announcement of eHarmony’s new gay site; This new gay portal was established as a result of a settlement between eHarmony and the New Jersey Attorney General last November as a result of a discrimination lawsuit.

I love how the LA Times calls it a “shotgun wedding,” as the dating site’s Founder, Neil Clark Warren was always very adamant about providing the service solely for heterosexual couples. He claims that his dating site, was created based upon his 40-year psychology practice.

His CEO however is playing the game; “Compatible Partners is a quality matching service with a focus on long-term relationships for gay and lesbian singles,” said eHarmony, Inc. CEO Greg Waldorf. “We’re excited to add this new site to eHarmony, Inc.’s growing portfolio of brands.”

However, it brought up a very interesting question for me and deserved a little research. “Does this settlement mean that gay dating sites now have to provide a service for non-gay couples?

What is going to happen to the business practice of niche marketing? To tell you the truth, it also made me wonder about Echelon and whether or not I would have to provide “mainstream” business article.

Tara Borrelli of Lambda Legal put my mind at ease. She commented, “Non-discrimination laws do not prevent a business from offering important services of interest to a particular community, such as an LGBT magazine.” But if I required all advertisers and subscribers to be gay, I would be in trouble.

In eHarmony’s case, it all boils down to “business justification.” Can a business justify why they are targeting a specific group. This makes for a tough case for the majority, but still supports the minority. Borrelli also adds, “Businesses should not recognize two classes of customers. Anti-discrimination laws are designed to eradicate arbitrary discrimination, which take a terrible toll on our public life."

Time will only tell on how well Compatible Partners does. Many people within our community are all too familiar with the eHarmony case and as part of the settlement, they are only supposed to put forward a “good faith effort.”

I’m also curious about the name, “Compatible Partners.” It’s not one that would send the gay cows running. Webster’s dictionary defines “compatible” as; logically consistent. Personally, I would have gone for something like: Gay-harmony or G-harmony. Now that’s what I would call a “good faith effort, and it's logically consistent!”

Marriage equality measure approved in Vermont

Majority of House members come down on right side of history

During almost four years of debate this evening, lawmaker after lawmaker used a simple history lesson in their arguments for marriage equality.
One supportive legislator quoted a young man she had heard testify some time earlier:

"You put the hand on the Bible and swear to uphold the Constitution. You don't put your hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible."

One lawmaker who voted against the marriage equality measure said after he voted no that he wondered whether time will determine if he is on the wrong side of history.
The 95 Vermont lawmakers who voted yes determined they were on the right side of history.

Vermont Governor Davis has threatened to veto the bill. You contact him through Vermont Freedom To Marry

World Net Daily Columnist Compares GLSEN, Day of Silence Participants to Hitler Youth

In a commentary called “GLSEN and Hitler Youth,” World Net Daily columnist Judith Reisman today compared Day of Silence participants, GLSEN and students who participate in Gay-Straight Alliance student clubs to Hitler Youth. The column was featured on the front page.

Last week at our Lobby Day in Washington, DC, I saw students aglow with joy after having the opportunity to speak directly with their elected representatives and take part in our democratic processes,” said GLSEN Executive Director Eliza Byard. “Today I read a commentary comparing those young people, as well as me and my staff, to Nazis. We can only hope this is some sort of sick April Fool’s joke.”

Reisman’s piece also attacks the National Education Association and the American Library Association, saying they act similarly to Hitler’s National Socialist Teachers Association.

But the brunt of Reisman’s attack is directed at GLSEN and the hundreds of thousands of students will participate in the Day of Silence on April 17 to bring attention to anti-lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender name-calling, bullying and harassment. Students from more than 7,500 middle and high schools participated in 2008.

Wrote Resiman: “Under color of a ‘Safe Schools Movement’ battling alleged 'bullying' of so-called ‘gay’ children (K-12), some see GLSEN as a modern version of the Hitler Youth and as preparing the ground for a larger, sweeping, schoolroom Youth Brigade."

In reality, nearly 9 out of 10 LGBT youth (86.2%) reported being verbally harassed at school in the past year because of their sexual orientation, nearly half (44.1%) reported being physically harassed and about a quarter (22.1%) reported being physically assaulted, according to GLSEN’s 2007 National School Climate Survey of more than 6,000 LGBT students.

Additionally 60.8% of LGBT students said they felt unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation, and nearly a third (32.7%) said they had missed a day of school in the past month because of feeling unsafe.

Bullying and harassment based on sexual orientation and gender identity/expression is a real and endemic problem in our nation’s schools,” said Byard, who along with several GLSEN student and teacher representatives met with Education Secretary Arne Duncan last week to discuss the problem. “I admire and respect the young people who are trying to make a positive difference in their schools, and am sad to think that anyone would make them the target of this kind of violent speech. We should not lose sight of the optimism, hope and bravery of these young advocates, and the fact that school is still a very dangerous and isolating place for many LGBT youth.”

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Washington Blade's coverage of the salaries of GLBT "leaders"

By Billy Glover

I wonder what other people thought if they have seen the news in the Washington Blade on how much money the heads of glbt groups are paid . In a sense it is only the concern of those who give money to these groups.

But intelligent donors should want to know how their money is spent-a question the Johnny-Come-Lately Republicans are asking about the current stimulous money of the Obama Administration but didn't seem to worry about when it was the Bush Administration..

But I can give a personal view, and not out of jealousy. I worked from the 60s to today with the oldest lgbt organization, coming out of early Mattachine (and I was at the infamous Mattachine Convention in Denver that got all the publicity in Denver and San Francisco, with mostly bad results) as ONE, Inc (1952) to be the public voice, the first national publication, which won the first legal battle of our community/movement and then co-founded out of ONE the information part, the Homosexual Information Center (1965-68).

I did financial work at ONE/HIC. I helped put out the magazine. We had little income, little media support and few homosexuals supporting us. The opposite is true today. Every major media service is eager to support our cause. Where we had a few heterosexual attorneys, publishers/printers that helped, we could get no gay professionals to help us.

The opposite is true today. So the job of these leaders is not hard. And if we accomplished what we did-they sure have built on what we have done and in a sense are still doing with our libraries/archives-with so little support and money, they have no excuse for not doing a great job, but that does not mean I personally would accept their reasoning for taking so much money to do their job. Again, if we are saying the Wall street greedy people who got our nation in the financial mess we are in should not be rewarded, we should ask why these leaders with all they have, mostly donated work they if fact refused in the Prop 8 effort, need such high salaries, to do what we did with so little, and we DID succeed. Have these leaders known about Harvey Milk, or seen the movie?

I would like to know where the income of these groups comes from. I suspect lots of it is tax-payer money-I'm sure the gay center in L.. A. was donated by the government and much of their income comes from the city/county/state. So we are entitled to know where the money goes. I wonder how easy it is for someone to get help from these gay centers in L.A., New York, Chicago, San Francisco. I sure can remember sitting with the only person at the L. A. gay center, on weekends when it was really doing a good job, on Highland, and few people had an income from the work.

And I suspect many people have good memories from the first days of the L. A. center, at that old victorian house on Wilshire Blvd, when Morris et al did something, and inspired so many at a time when it was a rare thing, not something seen daily on many tv shows, and written up often in the newspapers, etc. Do young people today who have contact with gay centers come away with a good feeling?

After all, there are now organizations specifically to help them-GLSEN, The Point Foundation, etc. And there are legal (lgbt) groups to help them, Lambda legal, NCLR, GLAD, and for military issues SLDN, etc. So what does the Human Rights Campaign do? What does The Task Force do? The name doesn't tell us who it serves.

And who knows what the professional glbt groups do. Do we know what the gay/lesbian journalists do? The gay physicians? And do we hear anything from the groups for sociology, psychology, anthropology, history, politics???

I have no doubt that if the pioneers had had the money and media support the current leaders have they could have done even greater things. I can tell you that it sure is cheaper to reach people on the internet than it was to type and mail letters, and to pay telephone bills. Course we didn't have to have expensive offices-sort of like those bankrupt bankers do.

I know these groups will not get any financial support from me-but they do from taxpayers. And like the call to eliminate the tax-exemptions for religious organizations that indirectly get taxpayers' money, that may come for such groups as HRC, the centers, etc.

But like a lot of things people seem to think were better in the old days-we did the work with no income and in fact donated not only our time and energy but our money, and it was our desire to change things that gave us the motivation.

I suggest that income for these leaders be ended and let's see how many of them are still willing to give some of their spare time-as they earn a living elsewhere as some of us did-to the cause. Then they will deserve credit and respect. Now they don't need that-they get lots of money as the motive.