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Monday, March 29, 2010

GLAAD Statement on Ricky Martin Coming Out

I am proud to say that I am a fortunate homosexual man. I am very blessed to be who I am. 

March 29, 2010, New York, NY - Statement from GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios regarding Ricky Martin’s decision to come out publicly on his Web site today:

"When someone like Ricky Martin comes out, hundreds of millions of people now have a cultural connection with an artist, a celebrity and, perhaps most importantly, a father who happens to be gay," said Jarrett Barrios, President of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). "His decision to model this kind of openness and honesty can lead to greater acceptance for countless gay people in U.S., in Latin America and worldwide."

Jarrett Barrios is available for interviews in English or Spanish on the topic. Barrios is the father of two teenage sons. He previously served as the first openly gay and first Latino state Senator in Massachusetts.

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) is dedicated to promoting and ensuring fair, accurate and inclusive representation of people and events in the media as a means of eliminating homophobia and discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. For more information, please visit

Monday, March 22, 2010 Changes Hands

Launched in 2005, the premier website dedicated to identifying gay-friendly auto manufacturers is changing hands.

Founder, Joe LaMuraglia has moved on from his passion to GM as one of their social media gurus. "It wasn't an easy decision.  At the end of the day, the cash flow for the site was tight and I was barely scraping by.  GM recruited me for a social media position and it was a decision I couldn't pass up.  Hot new area + new company = great learning and loads of exposure."

Taking over is Joe Tralongo, who has been with GayWheels since its inception. "I've been with Gaywheels since the start, and Joe and I pretty much see eye to eye on most things. With his sudden departure to GM, I think Joe felt a smooth transition could best be accomplished by having someone from inside the organization take charge. I'm honored that he asked me, and I'm confident I can fill what are undoubtedly a very large pair of shoes."

Tralongo is still reviewing the site's possibilities after the quick departure by LaMuraglia, but he is looking at expanding the content and possibly adding more humor to the editorial to make it a bit more fun. He is also looking to work on adding more video and increasing his efforts in social media.

We wish Talongo well with his new endeavors. Check out their site, especially if you are in the market for new wheels.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


Equality Across America (EAA), a national grassroots network of LGBTQ and allied activists, extends solidarity to Dan Choi and all those arrested from GetEqual in SF and DC taking action to repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell and to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. We call upon all members and allies to demand the immediate release without charges of Choi and his collaborators, including Cpt. Jim Pietrangelo. According to pre-trial services in Washington, D.C., they will be arraigned Friday afternoon and charged with "failing to obey a lawful order."

Further, as last weekend's EAA Midwest regional gathering of nearly 300 expressed, there are at least hundreds, if not thousands, ready and willing to take coordinated action for full equality. Let's plan and mobilize together for full equality—in unity there is strength! Post your solidarity and others actions at Plan and mobilize together for full federal equality—in unity there is strength!

Please visit to post your solidarity and other actions.

E-Gay Mag --The Gay Men's e-book magazine

We just discovered this resource for Gay - E books. A great resource for both publishers and readers. Check out E-Gay Mag!

This web site is an off-shoot of GLB Publishers, designed to showcase e-book short fiction (novellas)and other non-standard works which may be a difficult form to sell as print books (spine is too narrow to show up on bookstore shelves) but can be quite successful as e-books to be downloaded to individuals' computers. Some authors include some of the text as an excerpt sample so the buyer has some idea what he is buying. GLB has generally preferred the book-length novels for printing and also for downloading as e-books (generally 70,000 words or more). For purposes of reference, we can define novellas as fiction  of 25,000 words to 55,000 words. We have also defined a Short Novella for this purpose. The royalty to be
paid depends on the length of the e-book, and word counts are indicated.
We have also established companion web sites:

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Developing an ENDA Toolkit:Out & Equal 20 Steps to an Inclusive Workplace

March Town Call

Passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) is once again in the national spotlight.  The law will add sexual orientation and gender identity to the current protected employment classes.  This is a huge step, but as each emerging group in the workplace has found out, there is more that needs to be done than just being added to the EEO policy to ensure an inclusive workplace.  Join this month's Town Call to get the latest information on the 20 steps to an Out & Equal Workplace.  Best practices and current research will be presented on policies, benefits, professional development, workplace climate, community commitment and advocacy.  Whether your company has just started considering the inclusion of LGBT employees in their policies and benefits or if you are a sector leader in Corporate Social Responsibility that includes LGBT advocacy, this Town Call will provide you with the latest updates to use and help continue the discussion about what it means to be Out & Equal.

When: March 25
Time: 12:00 p.m. Pacific; 1:00 p.m. Mountain; 2:00 p.m. Central; 3:00 p.m. Eastern
Duration: 1 hour
Where: Live webinar
Cost: Free
Registration: Online

Key Senate Committee Hears Testimony On Discriminatory "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Policy

WASHINGTON – At a hearing today before the Senate Armed Services Committee, several former armed forces officers urged repeal of the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” statute. The statute, passed by Congress and signed by President Clinton in 1993, states that openly lesbian and gay individuals pose "an unacceptable threat to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability," and prevents gay and lesbian individuals from serving openly in the military. Today’s hearing was the first congressional hearing since President Obama’s call for repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in his January State of the Union address to feature those whose military careers were ended as a result of the policy.

An act of Congress is needed to repeal the law and the American Civil Liberties Union strongly urges Congress to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” this year. There are bills pending in both the House and Senate to repeal the policy.

"The time has come to end ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’” said Laura W. Murphy, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. “For nearly two decades, gay and lesbian Americans have lived with the threat of being discharged under this policy simply for being who they are. Congress has the ability and obligation to put an end to this discriminatory policy.

Testimony was heard at today’s hearing from “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” proponent retired U.S. Marine Corps General John J. Sheehan and two veterans, former Air Force Major Mike Almy and former U.S. Navy Lieutenant Junior Grade Jenny Kopfstein, who were prematurely terminated as a result of the statute.

President Obama and several high-ranking military leaders, including Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael G. Mullen, have called for an end to "Don't Ask, Don't Tell.” Last month, Secretary Gates announced a 45-day period to examine steps the Pentagon could take on its own to lessen the impact of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” without having to wait for Congress to repeal it. That review period is due to end Friday, March 19.

We should not ask anyone willing to fight and die for our country to hide their family and loved ones,” said Christopher Anders, ACLU Senior Legislative Counsel. “Our men and women in uniform deserve the opportunity to serve their country with dignity, regardless of whether the soldier or sailor is gay or straight. With the backing of the president, Congress is finally poised to finish this long march toward equality. With bills pending in both chambers of Congress and with the support of our president and our military, Congress should not miss this historic opportunity.”

Dan Choi Handcuffs Himself To White House Fence

You have to hand it to Dan Choi for really taking action towards getting DADT repealed.
My hero!

Sit-ins target Speaker Pelosi to GetENDA

ENDA (Employment Non Discrimination Act) protecting LGBT workers in the U.S. was originally introduced into Congress under another name by Bela Abzug and Ed Koch in the early 1970's. It has been kicked around in Washington for far too long and today marks a great day in our political activism to get this long overdue piece of legislation to achieve passage.

Dr. Jillian Weiss and the Bilerico Project has taken the helm to create a blogswarm to get Speaker Pelosi to bring ENDA to the House floor for a vote.

Dr. Jillian from the Bilerico Project wrote about the standing of ENDA today:
Initially, the Committee said that some technical language required tweaking, ostensibly to insure that plaintiffs could not recover too much money or attorney fees, and to prevent lawsuits based on inadvertent discrimination. But it has become increasingly clear that something else is at work.
A clue to the inaction: Speaker Nancy Pelosi publicly told Democrats that she would not move controversial bills. Meanwhile, the House Committee has stated its readiness to move, but is waiting for a signal from Speaker Pelosi.
That signal has not come. Meanwhile, LGBT Americans continue to suffer discrimination and harassment with no recourse.
Today, other activists from organized a peaceful sit-in at Pelosi's San Francisco office.

Please call Speaker Nancy Pelosi at 202-225-4965. Ask that the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, HR 3017, move to a vote. Please be polite, but firm.
After you call, please tell us how the call went by clicking here. If you get a busy signal or hang up, let us know that too.

Blogswarm: Demand LGBT Employment Rights Today

Please call Speaker Nancy Pelosi at 202-225-4965. Ask that the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, HR 3017, move to a vote.

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act, first introduced in 1994, would prohibit job discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. But LGBT people have never been able to achieve the enactment of the bill, known by the acronym of "ENDA".

Last year, the Administration's highest ranking gay official, Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry, indicated that ENDA was highest priority on the LGBT civil rights agenda.

"If we can get ENDA enacted and signed into law, it is only a matter of time before all the rest happens," he said. "It is the keystone that holds up the whole bunch, and so we need to focus our energies and attention there."

Hearings were held last Fall in the House and in the Senate to demonstrate the need for the bill, and testimony was heard on the severe unemployment, underemployment and harassment experienced by LGBT workers. Witnesses testified to the scientific studies demonstrating this.

But nothing has happened. Click here to find out why and join us in swarming Speaker Pelosi's office:

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Blitz - “All Out for the Count"

Friday evening, March 19 and Saturday evening, March 20, 2010 in
Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, San Jose, Seattle,
Anchorage, Juneau, Portland, Honolulu and more….

WHAT:         All Out for the Count is a first-ever U.S. Census Bureau outreach effort to educate and mobilize the LGBT population to fill out and mail back the Census form.  The purpose of this multi-city event is to engage people in their communities--in the bars, clubs, restaurants, coffee houses, bookstores and other businesses where they socialize on Friday and Saturday nights.  This will be a call to action, asking everyone to Mail It Back!

WHERE:        All Out for the Count will occur in multiple cities and venues on the West Coast—San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle, Anchorage, Juneau, Portland, Los Angeles, San Diego, Honolulu  and other communities.

WHEN:          The evenings of Friday and Saturday, March 19 and 20, 2010.

Organized by the 2010 Census LGBT outreach teams on the West Coast, and assisted by volunteers from organizations like Equality California and Equal Rights Washington, teams will cover LGBT neighborhoods, business and establishments distributing information and promotional items and engaging people in brief conversations about the 2010 Census.
Prior to the weekend, Census outreach teams will contact neighborhood businesses, providing them with census posters, stickers, coasters and T-shirts for their staff on those nights and creating partnerships with them to support the 2010 Census and encourage everyone to mail back their Census forms.

Households around the nation should have begun receiving the 10-question Census form in their mailboxes starting March 15.

Mandated by the U.S. Constitution, the census takes place on April 1, 2010. Census data determine boundaries for state and local legislative and congressional districts. More than $400 billion in federal funds are distributed annually based on census data to pay for local programs and services such as free lunches for low-income students, vocational training, road construction and emergency services.   

The 2010 Census form will be one of the shortest in U.S. history, consisting of 10 questions, taking about 10 minutes to complete. Strict confidentiality laws protect the respondents and the information they provide.

All Out for The Count is a far-reaching event that will be an important and historic effort in ensuring a complete count in the LGBT community on the 2010 Census.  For more information (in English and Spanish) about LGBT participation in the 2010 Census, please visit as well.  Other valuable information resources include:

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Our Families Count: New Video On 2010 Census

Here is a great new video provided by Our Families Count regarding the importance of this year's Census for LGBT.

History books should document harm caused by anti-gay religious figures

If the Texas State Board of Education moves to include mention of Phyllis Schlafly and Jerry Falwell in school textbooks, Faith In America hopes they will document how harmful their anti-gay actions have been to millions of gay and lesbian youth.

The Texas State Board of Education in a 10-5 party line vote approved some controversial alterations to what most students in the state and other areas of the country will be studying as history. After a public comment period, the board will vote on final recommendations in May.

According to an Associated Press story, it would mean not only increased favorable mentions of anti-gay activist Phyllis Schlafly but also more discussion about the anti-gay Moral Majority and Heritage Foundation.

"The bigotry, prejudice and violence that has been justified and promoted by these so-called conservative groups has inflicted a horrific toll on the lives of gay and lesbian individuals, especially youth," said Brent Childers, an evangelical Christian who serves as executive director Faith In America. "It's unimaginable that millions of kids across this nation may now be taught that people who espouse and promote religion-based bigotry are to be looked upon as favorable.

"History, time and time again, has judged such religion-based bigotry as harmful and unacceptable, whether such bigotry and prejudice was perpetrated toward American Natives, women or African-Americans. Apologies have been issued by the church and others for their role in promoting religion-based bigotry toward a minority  group."

Childers said that he recalls how his own past bigotry and prejudice toward gay Americans was fostered and reinforced by Falwell and other anti-gay figures who for years used the religious and political arenas to promote the attitude that it's OK to be prejudiced and hostile toward gay and lesbian individuals.

"Now, the Texas Board of Education is poised to use public school textbooks to give a stamp of approval to the religion-based bigotry and hostility that has been promoted by groups like the Moral Majority or Heritage Foundation.  To put a positive spin on those group's prejudice and hostility toward gay Americans is no different than if someone proposed to rewriting history to portray segregation, racism or looking upon women as inferior in favorable terms."

Monday, March 15, 2010

Gay & Lesbian Marketing Conference

Pink Banana Media has teamed up with Community Marketing (CMI) to bring you the first-ever Gay & Lesbian Marketing Conference, to be held in New York on April 30, 2010, at the Westin Times Square.

Don’t miss this comprehensive research, advertising, marketing, and communications forum, helping you better understand and serve gay and lesbian consumers.

Audience: Perfect for marketing, advertising and PR executives of all industries who want to successfully reach gay and lesbian communities, and initiate or update effective strategies.

Dedicated: Conference attendance is limited, in order to facilitate the best learning and networking environment.

Learn, review, update and strategize:

  • Review of Community Marketing’s research on over 30,000 out consumers
  • Internet and email marketing, social networking, and other emerging communications technologies
  • Exploring diversity markets within “LGBT” and how to reach them
  • Focus group insights and trends
  • Maximizing print and PR results
  • Direct response marketing outreach
  • Proven techniques for measuring, monitoring and maximizing ROI
  • Sponsorship marketing and events, and more.
  • Conference Registration
  • Pre-registration by March 31: $245 (Half Day Pre-registration Offered for $195)
  • Standard and On-Site registration: $295
  • 2+ from the same company: $225 each
  • 5+ from the same company $195 each
  • Click Here For More Information and to Register

Register here....

GLAAD Calls on Community Members to Speak Out About Stars on Ice’s Double Standard

March 12, 2010 – The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) released the following statement regarding Johnny Weir’s confirmation today that Stars on Ice has refused to invite him to participate. 

Johnny Weir is a two time Olympian and three time U.S. champion. Other athletes of his caliber would be granted the opportunity to perform during national tours like Stars on Ice,” said Jarrett Barrios, President of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). “By choosing not to bring the performances and talent of Johnny Weir to American audiences, Stars on Ice is reinforcing an unfortunate double standard that is too often applied to gay athletes and athletes perceived to be gay.”

GLAAD calls on Stars on Ice to invite all eligible figure skaters because today people of all gender expressions and sexual orientations are part of the fabric of our culture. Athletes of Weir’s caliber deserve the same rights to perform on this, and any, tour.”

We urge community members to speak out against this apparent double standard and call on Stars on Ice and corporate sponsor Smucker’s to demand equal opportunities for all athletes.”

An online petition can be found here:

Friday, March 12, 2010

Open Strategy Forum on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Announced

First Opportunity for Veterans, Activists, Bloggers, and Supporters to Coordinate on DADT Repeal in 2010

WASHINGTON – Servicemembers United, the nation’s largest organization of gay and lesbian troops and veterans and their allies, announced today that it will host a first-ever Open Strategy Forum on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." The event will bring together veterans, servicemembers, grassroots activists, bloggers, civilian advocates, and others to discuss and coordinate strategy and tactics to forward repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law in 2010.

"This Open Strategy Forum on 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' will be a unique opportunity to bring together those in the grassroots, netroots, and political communities who are interested in getting this law repealed this year," said Alexander Nicholson, Executive Director of Servicemembers United. "There are many people who are interested in becoming more active on this issue, and we are glad to be able to facilitate more democratic and widespread involvement in this movement."

The forum will take place on Saturday, March 20th from 12:00pm until 2:00pm in Washington, D.C. The event is open to everyone, but those who plan to attend must briefly register for the event in advance on Servicemembers United’s website. Additional event details and information will be sent by email to those who register.

To register for the Open Strategy Forum on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," please go to

VA Gov. Issues Anti-Discrimination Directive With No Teeth

HRC calls for inclusive executive order and legislative action to address discrimination against public employees
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, today responded to a directive issued by Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell that on its face seems to counter recent anti-LGBT actions by the state’s Attorney General.  Yet as worded, the Governor’s directive lacks teeth to address the very real problem of discrimination and does not give Virginia’s LGBT state employees any more protections than the U.S. Constitution already provides. As hundreds of cities and counties, 21 states and hundreds of private companies across the United States have already determined, it is absolutely necessary to have laws and policies that clearly and explicitly protect LGBT people by prohibiting employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression, and by providing clear mechanisms to report such discrimination.

No one should be fooled by the Governor’s directive,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. “While it is a positive step to acknowledge that employment discrimination is a challenge faced by LGBT Virginians, public employees remain vulnerable without an inclusive executive order or law passed by the legislature.”

HRC launched an action alert to Virginia residents today calling on them to ask Gov. McDonnell to reinstate protections for LGBT employees by executive order and to push the state legislature to enact legislation that would provide clear and consistent protections for all employees in Virginia.  The action alert is available at: and further coverage of the issue is on HRC’s blog at

GLAAD Speaks Out Against Cancellation of Gay Storyline on One Life to Live

March 12, 2010 – The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) today advocated for continuation of the storyline of characters Kyle and Fish on One Life to Live and spoke out on the importance of bringing fair and accurate media images of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people to Americans.

“Last summer, One Life to Live brought a ground-breaking relationship into the homes of millions with Kyle and Fish’s story, one that built acceptance and understanding of gay people. While we understand that the close of storylines is a frequent occurrence on daytime dramas, canceling this story just as it gains momentum is a step backward in ABC Daytime’s representation of the lives of gay Americans.”

When news reports broke yesterday, GLAAD spoke to ABC Daytime to voice concerns over the cancellation and advocate that the storyline continue.

“We remain disappointed that ABC Daytime has chosen to stop sharing this powerful story with viewers of One Life to Live. GLAAD will continue to advocate that in the near future producers and writers at ABC Daytime incorporate gay and transgender characters in their programming.”

Monday, March 8, 2010

Lambda Legal Condemns Virginia AG's Rejection of Policies Banning Antigay Discrimination at Public Colleges and Universities

"Virginia public colleges and universities can and should make policies banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, because the law supports it, and because policies of inclusion make for safer and more productive schools."

(New York, NY March 8, 2010) - Today, Lambda Legal sent an open letter to Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II in response to his written opinion instructing the state's public colleges and universities that they do not have the legal authority to ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

"We want to set the record straight. Attorney General Cuccinelli is trying to read discrimination into the law, but his opinion is flawed," said Greg Nevins, Supervising Senior Staff Attorney in Lambda Legal's Southern Regional Office in Atlanta. "Virginia's public colleges and universities can and should make policies banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, because the law supports it, and because policies of inclusion make for safer and more productive schools."

On March 4, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli sent a letter to the state's colleges and universities asking them to rescind their policies that ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, asserting that the schools do not have the legal authority to enact such policies.

Lambda Legal explained in its letter to Cuccinelli that "Virginia's universities are authorized to decide what categories of discrimination they will oppose, based on both their specific statutory authority to regulate admission, advancement, conduct, and employees; as well as all universities' general authority to enact policies furthering their educational mission, so long as such policies do not undermine a specific provision of existing law."  Cuccinelli's opinion itself "recognized the relevance of judicial precedent, but then proceeded to cite an absence of any Virginia Supreme Court authority holding 'sexual orientation as a protected class,' while ignoring the fact that the United States Supreme Court and many other federal and state courts have held that state action against people based on their sexual orientation violates the Equal Protection Clause unless it is, at minimum, rationally related to a legitimate state objective."  

In this letter and in ongoing work with the Consortium of Higher Education Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Resource Professionals, Lambda Legal continues to advocate for equality for students and employees on campuses across the country. Attorney General Cuccinelli’s opinion is out of step with the law of Virginia and the rest of the United States.  

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Participate in the First 2010 WBI Teleconference with Guest Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney

The NGLCC kicks off the 2010 Women's Business Initiative teleconference series with an exclusive conversation with LGBT and women's rights champion Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., on March 10th.

In honor of Women's History Month, Maloney will also discuss her new book, Rumors of Our Progress Have Been Greatly Exaggerated, on the conference call, and she'll talk about the steps women can take to make real progress on women's issues in their homes, communities and workplaces.

Wednesday, March 10, 4:30pm ET (1:30pm PT)
To RSVP and receive call in information, email:

Wednesday, March 3, 2010 Makes Debut as Fastest Growing GLBT Social Network

Hundreds of GLBT Community Members Flock to Fledgling Site

After almost a year of development and discussions and a few false starts, finally came online on February 23,” says Rick Setter,  “To get things kicked off, we used the NING platform.”

Members can chat, both publically and privately, establish profiles, meet each other in subgroups – a whole host of functions.  Professional content, including movie and book reviews will be being added soon.  Members will have their ability to place items for sale in The Mall and post videos and blogs.

Advertisers are invited to come by the site and see the look and feel of the unique venture. continues to remain committed to the values on non-porn, pro-advocacy.  One immediate draw will be Reece Manley, DD, M.Ed., MPM’s exclusive content for his Spirit Thinking Coaching series.

In addition, the site contains the ability to post moderated videos and blog posts.  “We want to make the site as immense as the user would like to make it or an intimate.  The great thing is each user can do their own thing,” says Rick.

GLBT Community members are encouraged to drop by and enjoy the site.

The Freedom to Marry Arrives in D.C.

 "A Significant Victory for the National Movement"

New York, March 3, 2010 - Statement by Evan Wolfson, Executive Director of Freedom to Marry, on the Freedom to Marry in the District of Columbia:

"Today is a day of jubilation as Washington D.C. joins the five states and eight countries where same-sex couples now share in the freedom to marry. The issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples in America's capital marks a significant victory for the national movement to secure the freedom to marry, and a great joy for D.C. couples who no longer need to leave home to secure the protections and responsibilities of marriage for their families.  As our nation's lawmakers mingle with committed couples living more securely than before and witness first-hand that the sky does not fall, it will be evident that there is no good reason for denying gay couples the freedom to marry, and every reason to end the federal discrimination against married couples inflicted through the so-called 'Defense of Marriage Act.'"

Monday, March 1, 2010

Local Groups Turns Westboro Baptist Church Protests Into Fundraising Opportunity

“Pennies in Protest” Raises Money for Local Jewish and LGBT Organizations

Richmond, VA (February 26, 2010)  In response to the upcoming protests by the Westboro Baptist Church in Richmond, Virginia, a local group called Pennies in Protest is calling all Richmonders to donate money to the targets of the anti-gay and anti-Jew protests.

Westboro Baptist Church (WBC), based in Topeka, Kansas, is an anti-gay church known for picketing funerals of AIDS victims, stomping on American flags, and protesting gay and Jewish organizations around the country.

On its website, WBC has announced its plans to protest at four locations in Richmond: The Virginia Holocaust Museum, the University of Richmond Hillel organization at the Jewish Community Center, the Jerusalem Connection, and Hermitage High School because the school allowed the creation of a gay student group.

A local group called Pennies In Protest has started collecting money for every minute that WBC is protesting Richmond organizations. Founded by Richmonders Patience Salgado (aka, Jessica Lucia, Sara Heifetz, and Sarah Allen-Short, the group hopes to turn the WBC’s protests into something beneficial for the targets of the hate attacks. The Richmond group got the idea from a synagogue in Manhattan that raised more than $10,000 for charity during a recent visit from WBC.

There is so much debate in the community about whether to counter-protest this group or just ignore them,” said Sarah Allen-Short, the spokesperson for Pennies in Protest. “What better way to turn their mission of hate into a mission of love than to ensure their very presence results in donations to the organizations that they wish to harm. We've raised over $1000 in less than 12 hours. It's really catching on, and I'd love to raise as much as we can by Tuesday.”

In light of the messages that will be spread by WBC on Tuesday, we need to offer Richmond a kinder, more hopeful way forward,” said Patience Salgado, founder of and organizer of regular “Guerrilla Goodness” actions around the country. “We have the power to make their visit to Richmond result in goodness, positive energy, community support, and money for some of the best organizations in our city.”
Pennies in Protest has set up a Facebook page ( and a website to collect donations ( but encourages Richmonders to give any way they feel comfortable, including giving directly to the organizations impacted by Tuesday’s protests. Money collected on the Pennies In Protest donation page will be split evenly between The Virginia Holocaust Museum, The Weinstein Jewish Community Center, the Jerusalem Connection, and the Hermitage High School Gay Student Union.

Those of us that started this group have ten children among the four of us,” added Jessica Lucia. "Ignoring expressions of hatred is not something we want to model for our children and we want to live in a world where hatred is met with an outpouring of love. We encourage everyone to find the responses that suit them best, whether through active protest, financial support, sharing links through social media outlets, talking to children about tolerance, or simply making March 2nd a day of special focus on acts of kindness."

"I'm looking forward to standing across from the WBC protesters on Tuesday with my two-year old and my own sign thanking them for helping us raise money for the causes they hate," said Sara Heifetz. "I'm teaching creative nonviolence by example."
For more information, please visit Pennies in Protest on the web at or contact Sarah Allen-Short,