Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Transgender Day of Visibility

Happy Transgender Day of Visibility, today March 31st is the groundbreaking and first time this holiday is being celebrated. Unlike Transgender Day of Remembrance, where we mourn those we lost to hate crimes based on gender identity/expression, today is a day to focus on the living and the positive aspects of the trans community and to promote education, awareness and visibility of this segment of the population.

Events are being held throughout the world, including presentations, films, and people attending school in drag, as well as groups meeting to discuss trans politics, safety, and the commitment to futher recognition of trans people.

Word of the Gay: "Butt Pirate"

A "butt pirate" is a disparaging term for gay/bi men, or straight men who enjoy anal sex.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Sundays of Solidarity

Between May 17 and June 28, 2009, groups of LGBT and allied people around the country will attend worship services at a church of their choice - a church that is not welcoming and affirming of openly LGBT members and guests. Each group will wear a lapel button that reads "gay? fine by me." For less formal churches we also have a t-shirt with this message. The lapel button (or t-shirt) serves as a conversation starter - opening dialogue with people in the church about faith, sexual orientation, and gender identity.

When that visible act of courage is paired with adequate training, then transforming hearts and minds becomes a bona fide possibility. That's why we've designed a three-part teleconference course and a resource webpage that covers the essentials of Nonviolent communication, Media talking points, and What both the Bible and science really say about homosexuality. Training teleconferences will be held on April 19, April 26, and May 3 at 4pm CST. To register for the trainings go to http://www.soulforce.org/moodle/login/index.php and enter your information.

We hope you will consider organizing a Sundays of Solidarity project in your area. It simply involves choosing a church in your area that could benefit from an SOS visit, using your contact list to recruit others to join you, attending the teleconference training sessions, and then organizing your group to take action on one of the Sundays between May 17 and June 28, 2009. To purchase a lapel button or t-shirt, please visit http://finebyme.org/sos.html.

Queers United Celebrates 1 year Anniversary!

Well, apparently we missed it. March 23rd 2008 this blog began with the first post being about representative Sally Kern. The idea came about to unite the queer community and allies and to educate, as well as demand equal rights through netroots activism. We have been successfully doing so for over a year. We as a community have had major defeats and challenges, but have also made many strides and won many battles. It is through our unity and commitment that we will achieve full equality and dignity under the law.

Thank YOU for being part of the movement, and part of queer liberation.

Word of the Gay: "Lesbian Two Degrees of Separation"

"Lesbian Two Degrees of Separation" is a theory built upon the observation that every lesbian in a given community has dated every other lesbian's ex-girlfriend.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Lift the Ban on Same-Sex Marriage in Scotland

Help the Equal Marriage campaign persuade the Scottish government to recognize marriage for people regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation. Civil partnerships are not equal to the full rights and responsibilities of marriage, and the civil law should not be in the business of discriminating against a segment of the population.

Take action now in the fight to end government sanctioned discrimination against same-sex couples...

Sign the petition for Equal Marriage.

Email the MSP's representing you.

Organization Spotlight: Front Runners

Front Runners International is the hub for GLBT running/walking clubs throughout the world. The organization unites people who are GLBT who have an interest in walking/running for sport and fitness, and is a safe environment as well as a social one.

"Pedro" New Movie About First Openly Gay Real Worlder With AIDS

In 1994 MTV's The Real World San Francisco which brings together different housemates to live together and share their life story had Pedro Zamora an openly gay man with AIDS on the season. He brought the disease to the spotlight and brought a humanizing element to this most feared and misunderstood illness. Pedro became the face of HIV/AIDS activism for the younger generation and his courage to stand up and be counted has made a difference in countless lives and he made a place for himself in history.

Below is a clip of the cast and a bit about the story and Pedro Zamora's life, "Pedro" which is going to debut Wednesday April 1st at 8pm EST on MTV.

Shameless Self Promotion Sunday

Please feel free to share any links to queer or queer related topics of interest. You can post a blog entry you made, a website you found interesting. Anything goes as long as it is queer in nature.

Word of the Gay: "Fag Enabler"

"Fag Enabler" is a term created by the radical anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church AKA the 'God Hates Fags' group. The epithet is directed towards anyone who either supports or isn't actively opposed to homosexuality.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Blog Spotlight: Peterson Toscano’s A Musing

Peterson Toscano's blog is about the "ruminations of a quirky queer Quaker" as he so amusingly puts it. He is an ex-gay survivor, having spent thousands of dollars and 17 years of his life in the "ex-gay" movement attempting to alter his sexual orientation. He is now an out and proud gay Christian who seeks to bring truth to the faulty and dangerous logic of conversion therapy.

Word of the Gay: "Fake Bisexual"

A "fake bisexual" is someone who is believed to be acting as a bisexual in order to bring attention to themselves, in return for ratings, publicity, and/or recognition.

Soulforce Q Camp

This summer, Soulforce Q Camp will unite young adults - LGBTQ and allies alike - who are interested or engaged in creative grassroots organizing.

  • Soulforce Q Camp is an all expenses paid ten day gathering that empowers young leaders to build peer networks, cultivate progressive alliances and connect bold local activism to larger movements.
  • Soulforce Q Camp will focus on skills that sustain grassroots work: anti-oppression training, nonviolence, Scriptural analysis (for faith-based social justice work), media relations, fundraising, effective campaign design and implementation.
  • Soulforce Q Camp will take place July 10-19 in Texas (location TBD). Travel, accommodations, meals, and educational resources will be covered and provided by Soulforce Q.
  • As part of the program, Camp participants are expected to lead an event or campaign in their local community this fall. Soulforce Q will offer stipends and staff support to make this possible.
DOWNLOAD APPLICATION HERE
Application deadline is Sunday, May 8.
All applicants will be interviewed and notified of their status by Friday, May 22.
For more information, contact Q@soulforce.org.

Open Forum: Is Homophobia So Gay?

ABC Network did a little test to see how people would react with a gay couple in a New Jersey sports bar. The scenario was set so the actors, a gay couple would display affection, a straight couple would do the same thing, and one man who was homophobic would react to what he saw.



The results of the video were interesting. Does this indicate that people maintain prejudiced attitudes but that society at large feels it is unacceptable to publicly display these prejudices? Has homophobia become unpopular, and been replaced by the call for tolerance by most sectors in society?

Friday, March 27, 2009

Urge Your Senator to Support the Missouri Non-Discrimination Act

Senate bill 109, the Missouri Non-Discrimination Act (MONA) will be coming to the floor for a vote shortly and our voices must be heard. The new law if passed will update the human rights statute to include sexual orientation and gender identity/expression, address discrimination in housing, employment, and public accommodations.

Please take action by filling out PROMO's online form to contact your state senator.

Rallies/Vigils for Marriage Equality in Vermont

Please attend a vigil in support of equal civil rights and the marriage equality bill. This will show strong support for equal marriage across Vermont, and to the nation at large. It is crucial to act now as the senate passed equal marriage, and the house is set to vote with the Governor threatening to veto.

Rally at State Capital
Friday March 27th

Bennington
Saturday, March 28
1-3 PM
Unitarian Universalist Church
108 School St

Burlington
Sunday, March 29
4-5 PM
Unitarian Universalist Church of Burlington
152 Pearl Street

Rutland
Sunday, March 29
4-5 PM
Unitarian Universalist Church of Rutland
117 West Street, Rutland

Brattleboro
Sunday, March 29
4-5 PM
Wells Fountain

Middlebury
Sunday, March 29
4-5 PM
Town Green

White River Junction
Sunday, March 29
4-5 PM
St. Paul's Episcopal Church
749 Hartford Avenue (Rt 5)

Montpelier
Sunday, March 29
4-5 PM
City Hall

Word of the Gay: "Life Partners"

"Life Partners" are people who have committed to one another in a relationship that is usually romantic but can also signify a close friendship.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Vermont Governor Threatens to Veto Marriage Bill, Act Now!

Vermont Governor Jim Douglas is threatening to veto the marriage equality bill that has sailed through the senate by a 26-4 vote, and now goes on to the house for final approval.

He maintains that civil unions are equal and that Vermont needs to focus on the economy. Yet, when asked if he would trade his marriage for a civil union, he swiftly replies that he would not. What he also fails to realize is that gay marriage is a boost for the economy, and that going against the majority of the people and the legislature is unconstitutional.



Please urge everyone regardless of their home state, to call AND email the governor and tell him to retract his message and support marriage equality.

E-contact form for Governor Jim Douglas

USPS: Governor Jim Douglas
109 State Street, Pavilion
Montpelier, VT 05609-0101

Phone: 802 828-3333
(toll-free in VT only: 800 649-6825)

Word of the Gay: "Molly Dike"

"Molly Dike" is an outdated term used for a passive lesbian.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

LGBT Families Readying for White House Easter Egg Roll Tickets!

In the past few years hundreds of LGBT families have tried to get tickets to the White House Easter Egg Roll as part of an outing by the Family Equality Council. The campaign event is an opportunity for America to come face to face with loving and committed gay and lesbian couples raising children.

This year there are two big differences to note. For starters, Obama has reached out to the Family Equality Council inviting LGBT families to sign up (what a change from the former administration), and 2nd the sign-up for tickets will be done online as opposed to waiting in line.

March 2006 video coverage of LGBT families going to egg roll.


Tickets will be available on March 26th, nobody knows the time, so from midnight tonight start checking, they will run out fast!

White House Easter Egg-roll

If you are chosen for tickets, let the FEC know! Send an email to info@familyequality.org with the subject heading “Egg Roll Tickets” and your family’s contact information.

Demand Wal-Mart Support GLBT Employees

The worlds largest grocery retailer, Wal-Mart has been fairing well in this fragile economy where consumers seek out lower prices. GLBT employees among other groups of workers at Wal-Mart's stores are not being given the fair end of the deal.

While Wal-Mart had been seen as LGBT supportive in the past, they have more recently caved into demands by the anti-gay religious right as evidenced by a Wal-Mart Watch report on GLBT policies at the mega-chain.

  • Wal-Mart no longer funds GLBT groups; stating that "they do not wish to support or oppose highly controversial issues."
  • No same-sex Partner Benefits ie: healthcare, and other benefits.
  • Gender identity/expression not included in non-discrimination policy.
Walmart's major competitors offer these benefits, and it's time Wal-Mart help clean up their image, and promote diversity as well as support their employees regardless of creed.

Take action by contacting Wal-Mart to add protections for gender variant people.

E- Contact Form

Phone: (1-800-WALMART)

Address:
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Attn: Customer Service
702 S.W. 8th Street
Bentonville, AR 72716

Blog Spotlight: Wayward Pencils

Waywardpencils is a cartoon blog for lesbians and other grownups and according to one review "Ms. Marie Davis has given us permission to daydream, allowing our own sexual fantasies room to play along with a passionate diversity of characters.” Check our her blog for info about her novel and cartoons.

Stop the Civil Unions Bill in Hawaii from Dying

Lack of support from a key senator makes it unlikely that a civil unions bill will be revived in the Hawaii legislature today, according to the Honolulu Advertiser.

State Senator Brian Taniguchi, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary and Government Operations Committee, said he likely would not recall the bill from the committee, where it stalled in a 3-3 vote in February.

Although Taniguchi, a Democrat, earlier said he would recall the bill from his committee, recent appeals from the senate leadership reportedly have contributed to his about-face. He also expressed concern about the inability to garner the two-thirds votes needed in both chambers of the legislature to override a veto threat from Governor Linda Lingle, a Republican.

ACTION:
Contact Sen. Brian Taniguchi and tell them to support pulling the bill out of his committee!

Phone: 808-586-6460
Email: sentaniguchi@Capitol.hawaii.gov

Crossposted via Unite The Fight.

New York City Funding Refusal Threatens Welfare of Thousands of Homeless LGBTQ Youth

The following is a press release from Sylvia's Place:

The New York City Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) has failed to consider $253,718 in funding for Sylvia’s Place, a project of MCCNY Homeless Youth Services, thus jeopardizing the welfare of over 1,000 homeless and runaway LGBTQ youth in the coming year who would rely on Sylvia’s Place services.

The refusal follows DYCD claims that all Runaway and Homeless Youth (RHY) Drop-In Center proposals in Manhattan had been eliminated from consideration for funding in fiscal year 2010. DYCD also rejected a continued funding request from Bronx Community Pride Center, who has also been offering DYCD-funded drop-in services to LGBTQ youth for the past four years. DYCD slashed funding by 2/3 for Green Chimneys, which operates a transitional housing program for LGBT youth. DYCD also severely cut funds for Safe Horizon's Streetworks Lower East Side and Streetworks Overnight, which serve 35%-40% LGBTQ youth.

"In 2008, Ali Forney Center, which provides drop-in services to LGBTQ youth from its facilities in Chelsea, was subject to a similar funding refusal by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene," said MCCNY Charities Executive Director William Morán-Berberena.

MCCNY Homeless Youth Services operates Sylvia’s Place, which currently provides 1/3 of the city’s existing beds for LGBTQ homeless and runaway youth, who face harassment, violence and discrimination at mainstream shelters. Without DYCD funding, the LGBTQ youth waiting on transitional beds at the Ali Forney Center and Green Chimneys—a process which can take a long time—will be forced back to the streets.

“Losing contact with at-risk youth will mean that we will be unable to locate them when their names come up on months-long waiting lists,” said MCCNY Homeless Youth Services Director Lucky S. Michaels. “We will also be unable to ensure that the youth receive the services—food, medical care, and shelter—they need, and the assistance they require to avoid future interactions with law enforcement.”

Of the nearly 3.800 youth who are homeless in New York City every night, over 1080 identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, according to a 2007 study by the Empire State Coalition of Youth and Family Services. Sylvia’s Place currently houses 26 of the only 75 beds for LGBTQ homeless youth in the city.

“Without DYCD funding for drop-in centers in Manhattan, all Sylvia’s Place’s programs are at great risk of closing, reducing the LGBTQ bed per client ration to well below 2007 levels.,” said the Reverend Pat Bumgardner, Senior Pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church of New York.

"The recurrence of these city funding refusals to LGBTQ-specific social service organizations brings into question not only the welfare of the City’s LGBTQ community but also the willingness of city agencies to protect LGBTQ New Yorkers," said Morán-Berberena.

Tell the DYCD and City Council that the futures of LGBTQ homeless youth matter! Forward this message to your press and network contacts and get the word out that LGBTQ youth are at risk of losing vital services!

TAKE ACTION:

Daniel Symon, DYCD Chief Contracting Officer
dsymon@dycd.nyc.gov

Jeanne B. Mullgrav, Commissioner DYCD
jmullgrav@dycd.nyc.gov

Word of the Gay: "Other Sex"

"Other Sex" is a term used to refer to anyone who does not neatly fit into the sexes of male or female, ie: intersex individuals.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Amendment 1 Fails, LGBT Protections Remain

It is about time the side for equality win on a referendum. Anti-queer folks in the city of Gainesville, Florida wanted to repeal an ordinance with protections for LGBT people which included housing, and employment, as well as allowing the city's estimated 100 transgender residents to use the bathroom of their choice.

The anti-queer side campaigned to eliminate these protections using their traditional scare tactics, ie: the law will allow men to enter into women's bathrooms.

It is with pleasure to be the first blog to officially call the vote in favor of the NO side as reported by the results page.

With 100% of the 34 precincts reporting the NO side (favoring equality) wins 58.32% versus the yes (anti-gay) sides 41.68%

Blog Spotlight: What Do You Mean By Sex

What do you mean by sex believes that individuals can best describe their respective identities without having to attach any labels to themselves. The blogs author describes themselves as a "polyaffectionate pansensual asexual".

Meghan McCain - Republican Advocate for Same-Sex Marriage!

Meghan McCain the daughter of failed presidential candidate John McCain has been making the airwaves lately for her liberal stance on social issues, like her support for gay marriage. It all started with her post on the Daily Beast which sparked the now media frenzy. A self proscribed "progressive republican" Ms. McCain hopes that the republican party can stop alienating people and come to the center on issues she describes as being a "generational divide".



Contact Meghan McCain and thank her for standing up for change, and speaking out in favor of equality for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. While her words are simply words alone, they offer a great voice for the often silenced segment of the republican party of youth and those who support equality.

Newsom for California Exploratory Committee

San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom has been a true hero and ally to the LGBT community. In 2004 he was on of the first to "break the law" when he ordered the San-Francisco city county clerk to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. He has been a consistent and outspoken supporter of LGBT rights and does so even in the face of his own political risk.

Gavin Newsom has now set up an exploratory committee in looking to become the next Governor of the state of California. The LGBT community owes this man our great support and we must champion his efforts.

http://www.gavinnewsom.com/

Word of the Gay: "Jolly"

"Jolly" is a gay euphemism since the stereotype suggests that all gays are happy.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Web Spotlight: Rainbow Christians

Rainbow Christians is the web's premier devoted gay (LGBT) Christian personals website. This site emerged from the growing need for a place where gay Christians can meet, as most Christian personals sites do not accommodate LGBT Christians. Whether you are looking for a life partner, a Bible study partner, or a new friend, Rainbow Christians is the place for you.

NY Senator Schumer Announces Support for Marriage Equality and Calls for the Full Repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act

The Empire State Pride Agenda has released the following statement:

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) today announced his support for marriage equality for same sex couples and for the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The announcement followed a meeting on Sunday evening in Manhattan, initiated by Senator Schumer, with a group of New York LGBT elected officials and leaders of the city's largest LGBT organizations, including Empire State Pride Agenda Executive Director Alan Van Capelle.

"I want to thank Sen. Schumer for his support of marriage equality and the repeal of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act,” said Van Capelle. “Like a majority of New Yorkers, Sen. Schumer recognizes that only marriage equality provides same sex couples the status, protections and rights afforded to all other Americans. We look forward to working with him to win marriage equality in New York State and around the country."

Van Capelle said that during the meeting, Schumer pledged his support to repeal DOMA and, in the interim, to work to provide federal recognition and portability of benefits to legally married same-sex couples.
Sen. Schumer is Vice Chair of the U.S. Senate's Democratic Conference and the highest ranking member of the Senate to endorse marriage equality.
Among other topics discussed at the meeting were continued HIV and Ryan White Care Act funding, appointment of openly LGBT people to the federal bench, special issues facing LGBT youth and seniors, the U.S. Census, and passage of a trans-inclusive Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA) and hate crimes legislation.


Thank Senator Charles Schumer for his commitment to marriage equality in New York, and for supporting a repeal of DOMA.

E-contact Form

Office:
Washington D.C.
313 Hart Senate Building
Washington D.C. 20510
Phone - 202-224-6542

Pride 2009 Music Video to Celebrate 40th Anniversary of Stonewall Rebellion

"Pride 2009" is a music video by Jon Gilbert Leavitt celebrating our history, victories, and past struggles, and honoring the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots which served as a springboard for the modern gay rights movement.

Urge Maryland's Governor to Push for Transgender Anti-Discrimination Legislation

Governor O'Malley's leadership can make the difference in the House and Senate Committees passing transgender anti-discrimination legislation this year. Transgender people experience bias far too often in employment, housing, healthcare, and public accommodations. When discrimination prevents or hinders a person from gaining or keeping employment, many other problems develop. Rent doesn't get paid, which leads to eviction. Data shows that 42% of transgender people in the DC Metro Area are unemployed and 19% do not have their own living space. Transgender individuals may also be denied access to social services like shelters or rape crisis centers; refused treatment, ridiculed, or denied recognition of their gender identity by health care professionals; or refused service at restaurants or stores.

Tell Governor O'Malley to urge Senate and House leaders to swiftly move SB566 and HB474 out of committee and to a full vote by the Senate and House.

Word of the Gay: "Fallen Star"

A "fallen star" refers to an elderly gay man who has lost his sex appeal.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Advocate News Magazine Becomes More Inclusive

The Advocate is the oldest and most well known LGBT news magazine. Issues come out monthly and feature important updates, interviews, and tips for the community and our allies.

While The Advocate is a vital part of LGBT media, the articles and advertisements have been primarily geared towards gay men, featuring these men on covers and having articles with stories of interest to men. It is with great pleasure to announce that the April 2009 issue has been one of the most inclusive editions. The magazine still has a long way to go, but praise is due when a company commits to diversity. The magazine featured more lesbian couples, muxes (a sub-culture of trans Mexicans), and some other portions which reflect the diversity of our community.

Please join us in thanking The Advocate for featuring other members of the community and let them know you look forward to seeing more lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and intersex people featured in their pages.

Feel free to provide feedback@advocate.com to the editorial team.

Letters to the editor by e-mail
letters@advocate.com

Letters to the editor by regular mail
P.O. Box 4371
Los Angeles, CA 90078
Phone: (310) 943-5858
Fax: (310) 806-6350

General inquiries, news releases, and story ideas
newsroom@advocate.com

"Why Homosexuality Should be Banned!"

This is a clever video mocking arguments against homosexuality. Please watch it and get a good laugh but also share it with your friends. It makes a great point as to how ridiculous our opposition is.

Shameless Self Promotion Sunday

Please feel free to share any links to queer or queer related topics of interest. You can post a blog entry you made, a website you found interesting. Anything goes as long as it is queer in nature.

Word of the Gay: "Chub"

A "chub" is a term used within the bear community to describe a heavier set hairy male.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Blog Spotlight: Gay South Florida - Miami Herald

The Miami Herald's blog - Gay South Florida by Steve Rothaus covers issues relevant to the LGBT community throughout Miami and Fort Lauderdale.

End "Corrective" Rape of Lesbians in South Africa

There is a high and horrific rate of lesbians being raped as part of a "corrective" measure to alter their sexual orientation in South Africa, with little penalty or action on the part of authorities to hold the perpetrators accountable. Reports suggest that there may be as many as 10 "corrective" rapes per week!

Lesbians and gays are recognized under the South African constitution, but crimes against them are not considered hate crimes. 31 lesbian women have been murdered in homophobic attacks since 1998 and in all that time there has only been 1 conviction.

Please sign the petition telling South African President Kgalema Motlanthe to consider "corrective" rape against lesbians a hate crime.

Open Forum: Do Gays Have Different Mannerisms?

If someone paints the gay community with a broad brush they are labeled as being insensitive, ignorant, or worse yet homophobic. To suggest that all gay males are effeminate, or that all lesbians are butch leaves out many people who do not fit these stereotypical behaviors.

But is there some truth to the stereotype? More and more research is coming out to suggest there are some genetic differences among most queer people. Gay men typically have a higher pitched voice, raised eyebrows, bigger lips, and have feminine expressions and mannerisms whereas lesbians tend to be on the opposite spectrum with deeper voices, lower eyebrows, and a more masculine disposition.

While this may not be true for all people who self identify as queer, is it possible there is a feminization and masculinization of the brain that is occurring which alters the way we behave from heterosexual and cissexual people?

Word of the Gay: "Autosexual"

An "autosexual" is a asexual who can experience sexual pleasure but considers it a private and solitary activity.

Friday, March 20, 2009

New Study Shows LGBT Population Suffers Higher Rates of Poverty

The Williams Institute of UCLA has released a new report that undertakes the first analysis of the poor and low-income lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender population. They find clear evidence that poverty is at least as common in the LGBT population as among heterosexual people and their families. This ground breaking study shatters a common stereotype that all gays and lesbians are affluent.

The report discusses various possible reasons for the economic disparity, ie: employment discrimination, lack of access to marriage, higher rates of uninsured, and less financial support from family members.

Main Findings:

  • After adjusting for a range of family characteristics that help explain poverty, gay and lesbian couple families are significantly more likely to be poor than are heterosexual married couple families.
  • Notably, lesbian couples and their families are much more likely to be poor than heterosexual couples and their families.
  • Children in gay and lesbian couple households have poverty rates twice those of children in heterosexual married couple households.
  • Within the LGB population, several groups are much more likely to be poor than others. African American people in same-sex couples and same-sex couples who live in rural areas are much more likely to be poor than white or urban same-sex couples.
  • While a small percentage of all families receive government cash supports intended for poor and low-income families, we find that gay and lesbian individuals and couples are more likely to receive these supports than are heterosexuals.
Resources/Tips for helping out underprivileged queers:

Donate to Queers for Economic Justice or a local LGBT homeless shelter.

"Clothes are for closets" - donate some old clothes, or sheets, to an LGBT homeless center.

Donate some canned goods and products to a Queer community center that serves underprivileged LGBT people.

Web Spotlight: ITPeople

ITPeople exists to provide information and resources for intersexed and transgender people. The name of the website is called "IT" because often gender-variant people are referred to in that fashion. This website boldly reclaims the noun for their own and IT can now stand for intersex and transgender.

Vermont Marriage Bill Headed for Senate!

The Senate Judiciary Committee in Vermont has approved the same-sex marriage bill S.115 by a 5-0 margin. The bill is expected to come before the entire senate for a vote on Monday 3/23 at 3:00PM.

This is our last opportunity to voice our support for the measure before the senate is set to vote on the matter.

Whether you have done so in the past or not, please call and email your state senator to vote in favor of the resolution by going to http://www.vtfreetomarry.org/senate.html.

Companies to Boycott Over Prop 8!

The Human Rights Campaign has created a comprehensive list of dozens of organizations that have contributed to proposition 8, please boycott the businesses on the list below.

Click here for the listing.

Equality and Religious Freedom Act (Omnibus Bill)

eQualityGiving has come out with a blueprint for full federal rights for LGBT people. They have done the preparation and are asking us to call on our representatives to look at it and possibly introduce such a bill in the house and senate.

WHAT THE OMNIBUS BILL COVERS:

1. Employment
2. Housing
3. Public accommodation
4. Public facilities
5. Credit
6. Federally funded programs and activities
7. Education
8. Disability
9. Civil marriage
10. Hate crimes
11. Armed forces
12. Immigration

Some people think that an omnibus bill is too unrealistic to pursue because Congress functions in a very complex way. But the country voted for a new leader who promised major changes to the way our government functions.

We have tried incrementalism at the federal level for LGBT equality for 35 years without any results. Now is the best time to capitalize on the energy of new leadership and propose what we think change looks like.

Word of the Gay: "Genderfluid"

"Genderfluid" is the dynamic mix of male and female attributes that make up ones gender identity. Some "genderfluid" people constantly display characteristics of both genders, while others feel and express themselves differently from time to time.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Web Spotlight: Mormongate

Mormongate is a new website by Californians Against Hate that seeks to expose the LDS Church's involvement in the fight against equal rights for same-sex couples. The website provides documentation and a tip line in order to fully grasp the impact the Mormon Church has had in supporting anti-gay measures.

TAKE ACTION: Urge the Obama Administration to Rescind the Harmful “Provider Conscience” Regulations.

In the final days of the Bush Administration, harmful regulations that could limit LGBT patients’ access to health care services were rushed through the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”). The regulations purport to interpret federal law to allow a health care provider to refuse to provide any health care service or information for a religious or moral reason. These regulations could impair LGBT patients’ access to care services if interpreted to permit providers to choose patients based upon sexual orientation, gender identity or family structure.

Now, the Obama Administration is considering rescinding these regulations and we need everyone to speak out. HRC fought enactment of these regulations and has asked the Administration to rescind these regulations in their entirety.

The Department of Health and Human Services has issued a “proposed rule” that would rescind these harmful regulations. The next step in the rule making process is allowing for public comment. We are encouraging HRC members and supporters to tell HHS that a patient’s access to health care services should not depend on their sexual orientation or gender identity. The public can submit their comments to HHS through April 9 by emailing proposedrescission@hhs.gov

TAKE ACTION: Cut and paste the text of the letter below into an MS Word document (.doc) and email it as an attachment to proposedrescission@hhs.gov.

Here is a sample letter:

March, 2009

Office of Public Health and Science
Department of Health and Human Services
Attention: Rescission Proposal Comments
Hubert H. Humphrey Building
200 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Room 716G
Washington, DC 20201

Thank you for the opportunity to provide comments to the Department of Health and Human Service’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) with regard to rescission of the “Provider Conscience Regulation.” I support the right of all people to access health services without discrimination. Because these regulations could interfere with access to health care and promote discrimination against the very patients that federal funds are meant to serve, I urge the Department of Health and Human Services to rescind these regulations in their entirety.

I am concerned these regulations could limit the LGBT community’s access to services. The regulations state that the existing religious refusal clause allows a health care provider to refuse to assist in the performance of any service with which they have a religious or moral objection. Creating such a blanket right to refuse could severely impair the LGBT community’s ability to obtain health services.

Furthermore, the regulations do not require that patients are informed of their treatment options. Under the regulations, a doctor may refuse to administer an HIV test to a patient because he is gay. In fact, the doctor could not only refuse this service, but decline to tell the patient where he would be able to obtain testing. Clearly, this puts the health of the patient, and potentially that of others, at risk. The regulations allow counselors to refuse to counsel same-sex couples or a pharmacist to refuse to fill a prescription for hormone replacement therapy for a transgender customer.

The regulations clarify that any entity that receives HHS funding must allow this exemption. The regulations cover hundreds of hospitals, universities and public health programs serving millions of citizens across the fifty states. As a result, they preempt state and local anti-discrimination laws. They also preempt individual employer policies protecting against non-discrimination. Consequently, patients could not be guaranteed access to health care.

Protecting the free exercise of one’s personal religious beliefs is an important public policy goal. However, no American should face discrimination in the healthcare system simply because of his or her sexual orientation or gender identity. Because these regulations tip the balance away from patients’ access to health services, I urge HHS to rescind the regulations in their entirety.

Sincerely,

(Name)

Knights Out - Westpoint LGBT Alumni Group Unveils

A courageous group of alumni from the military academy West Point have come out of the closet and formed an organization called Knights Out to support and advocate on behalf of GLBT soldiers.

The group’s activities and goals will include:

  • Financially supporting and providing speakers for AOG and West Point efforts to educate cadets and graduates in sexual diversity
  • Providing a web-based forum (www.KnightsOut.org ) for furthering discourse on this topic among Army leaders
  • Participating in West Point AOG’s upcoming (annual) Diversity Leadership Conference
  • Providing LGBT graduates who have been disenfranchised in the past with a way to reconnect to the AOG
  • Establishing a Knights Out affinity group through the Association of Graduates
  • Serving as positive role models to cadets and graduates
To learn more and to find out how you support their efforts goto Knights Out.

Word of the Gay: "True Gonadal Intersex"

Someone who is "true gonadal intersex" has both ovarian and testicular tissue.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

O Magazine Brings Queer Women to the Spotlight

Oprah's O Magazine has a new article by Mary Fischer discussing queer women, gender identity and sexual fluidity. The article goes into personal stories and brings the general public and even members of the community closer to understanding the sexual continuum and the fluidity of our identities.

Check out the article "Why Women are Leaving Men for other Women" on Oprah's website.

Also, be sure to share your opinion and thank O Magazine for initiating dialogue on a taboo and often misunderstood topic that we are just beginning to scratch the surface on as a community and society as a whole.

H/T to Feministing for the article and analysis.

Demand that Colorado Radio Host Trevor Carey Disavow Remarks Condoning Violence Against Transgender People

GLAAD has put out an action alert to combat the blatant transphobia heard on KNUS radio on March 14. Host Trevor Carey engaged in a conversation with a caller in which both men condoned violence against transgender people, blaming slain Greeley, Colo. resident Angie Zapata, an 18-year-old transgender woman, for her own brutal murder.

CAREY: And what the transgender segment of our society needs to be telling their type is, you don’t commit fraud because –

CALLER: No, that’s exactly what it was.

CAREY: A), you’re at least gonna get your teeth kicked in, and B) — [caller laughs] — here’s a story from Greeley that turned out very tragic, and you should pay attention to this, because -

CALLER: You know, when I was growin’ up in Greeley, I grew up in Greeley, that kind of stuff didn’t ever, you know, surface in this town. And it’s just sad, you know; my heart just weeps for all, everybody that’s concerned. But, you know, we gotta go back to basics. You’re a man or you’re a woman, and, like you said, if you’re fraudin’ somebody, then you deserve to have your teeth kicked in. Not necessarily hung or you’re killed, but it just — they shoulda known better, you know?

TAKE ACTION NOW!

Please contact Trevor Carey and ask him to disavow his remarks that condone violence against transgender people. Call on KFKA and KNUS to hold Carey accountable for his remarks and establish clear standards to ensure their media platforms will not be used to condone or promote violence towards any parts of the communities they serve.

Please forward this link to any of your friends and others who may also wish to take action. When contacting KFKA and KNUS, please ensure that your emails and phone calls are civil and respectful and do not engage in the kind of name calling or abusive behavior that we are expressing our concerns about.

Trevor Carey
Host, KNUS, “Trevor Carey” and KFKA, “AM Colorado with Trevor, Troy and George”
Phone: (720) 434-2714
trevorcareywork@aol.com

Justin Sasso
General Manager, KFKA
Phone: (970) 356-1310
justin@1310kfka.com

Kelly Michaels
Operations Director, Salem Communications (KNUS)
Phone: (303) 750-5687
kelly@salemdenver.com

Gainesville: Vote NO on Amendment One!

Conservatives in Gainesville Florida are attempting to take away protections that have been set out for LGBT people by using a ballot measure.

The ballot initiative says the following:

"Shall the City Charter Be Amended to prohibit the adoption or enforcement of ordinances, regulations, rules, or policies that provide protected status, preferences, or discrimination claims based on classification, characteristics, or orientations not recognized by the Florida Civil Rights Act. The act recognizes, race, color, creed, religion, gender, national origin, age, handicap, marital and familial status. Additionally, this amendment voids existing ordinances concerning sexual orientation, gender identity, and other ordinances inconsistent with this amendment."
This measure if passed on March 24th will take away Gainesville's right to protect groups that are not explicity listed in the Florida Civil Rights Act. Sadly, sexual orientation nor gender identity are protected classes in the states general civil rights protections laws.



Please vote against discrimination and help get the word out by canvassing and phone banking to ensure the defeat of Amendment 1 by going to Equality is Gainesville's Business.

Word of the Gay: "Sticky Mocha"

"Sticky Mocha" is a term used to describe gay latino's who are only into other latino men.