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Archive for April, 2009

Project Classifieds: Equality Wanted!

Posted by willow On April - 29 - 2009

Want to get the same-sex marriage issue back in the media in a positive way?

Want to make a memorable statement in a way that’s never been done before?
Join us in taking over statewide newspapers on Sunday, May 3rd!
Imagine the look on people’s faces when they open the newspaper and turn to the classifieds section but only see ads like this:

LOST AND FOUND
Lost – my right to marry the person I love. Last seen on November 4th, 2008. If seen, please return to law abiding, taxpaying citizen. It is dearly missed.

LOST AND FOUND
On Nov 4th, 2008 over half the state of California lost their minds! Please return ASAP so that we can start focusing on issues such as the state deficit, ending the war, homelessness, hunger, etc.

WANTED
The right to marry the person I love. If anyone has a right to marry that they are not using, please let me know. This right must be non-revocable and available to all people regardless of their sexual orientation. Please call ASAP if you can help me secure equality for all.

This is a unique and creative way to bring the discussion of marriage equality into people’s homes. Please take part in this historic movement by submitting your own ad to your local newspaper in time for the May, 3rd publishing (most papers have a deadline of SUNDAY 4/30/09 to get your ad in the May 3rd printing). You can create your own unique ad, or use one of the ads found at http://site.equalitywanted.com/Sample_Ads.html.

This idea is the brainchild of some folks in California but it’s already being adapted by people in other states like Illinois, New York, etc. You can bring humor into your state too!
For more information about this great event, visit http://www.EqualityWanted.com.

National Call In Days for Hate Crimes

Posted by willow On April - 28 - 2009

The House is scheduled to vote TOMORROW on a Hate Crimes Bill that includes sexual orientation and gender identity, which if it passes will be the first ever piece of Federal Legislation to include our community!

It is crucial that you call your Representatives TODAY, whether you think they’ll support us or not, and urge them to vote YES!

If you’ve never called Congress, let me assure you, it’s easy.  And even if you have already sent an e-mail or called, please make another call – this is our LAST CHANCE before the House votes!

  1. Before 5 p.m. ET on April 27-29, call 202-224-3121
  2. Most likely, one of the Members interns will answer and ask where you’re calling from and why.  You’re calling to urge the Representative to vote for the Matthew Shepard Act (H.R. 1913).  Most calls end right there. But if you like, you can add:

· Hate crimes against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are on the rise. One out of every six hate crimes is because of the victim’s sexual orientation.

· Hate crimes have more than one victim. They are intended to create an atmosphere of fear and terrorize entire communities.

· The Matthew Shepard Act targets only violent acts – not speech. It does not tell any clergy member what he or she can or can’t preach.

· Mention that Rep. <lastname>’s vote on this bill will affect your future support.

I’ll be joining real people on the hill today telling our stories about why the Hate Crimes Bill is important to us in the largest ever Transgender Lobby Day in Washington, DC. I’ve never met with anyone in Congress before. Am I intimidated? Yes. However, yesterday I spent the day at a training put on by the National Transgender Center for Equality. I worked on my story and I know the importance that my reps hear from the people that voted for them, and not just lobbyists- there is nothing more powerful than our stories.

You can support from home by calling today!

The next piece of legislation being introduced is a Federal Employee Non-Discrimination Act- which WILL include transgender protections as well as sexual orientation. It will protect our jobs EVERYWHERE in the country. Getting ENDA passed would be an IMMENSE win, but your help is needed. We need local action teams nationwide to get this passed- REAL PEOPLE developing relationships with their Congressional Reps. Trainings, talking points, and other resources ARE available FOR FREE through the United ENDA Coalition. Getting started is easy. All you have to do is call Jaan Williams with NCLR who is working hard to develop teams in your area and waiting for you to contact him. Email Jaan at JWilliams@nclrights.org and tell him you want to help get ENDA passed!

This bill needs PEOPLE POWER to pass. WE are the people. We have the power.

Let’s get counted!

Posted by willow On April - 27 - 2009

Action Alert – 48 hr window to call for LGBT health data collection!

As of Fri, only 1 of 100 Senators signed on to support LGBT health data collection! Do you know the Census only has 14 questions but this federal health survey has hundreds? Wanna know what % of lesbians have breast cancer? What heart disease rates are for gay men? What the smoking rate is for bisexuals? Then we need to get the gov’t to ask about LGBT people on their federal health surveys!

We need people to call their Senators now to say we will not be ignored in federal surveys any longer, they need to sign on to the Sen. Whitehouse letter about LGBT health data collection by Tue! This is the springboard to getting LGBTs on the Census +  it’s the single thing that would completely change LGBT health. So please call your Senators now and insist they sign on to this letter! 202-224-3121

Talking points:

  • “I urge you to signon to support the Sen. Whitehouse letter asking for LGBT data collection in the largest federal health survey, the National Health Interview Survey.”
  • “LGBTs have many acknowledged health disparities, but until the federal health surveys stop ignoring us, our hands will be tied in getting the data that’s needed to eliminate these disparities.”

After you call be sure to spread the word!

Dr. Scout, who authored this post, is the Director of Science Policy at the National Coalition for LGBT Health. He is often the only Trans father at his children’s PTA meetings.

International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia

Posted by admin On April - 24 - 2009

Steve Colbert & The Gathering Storm

Posted by amy On April - 19 - 2009

Evan Wolfson, You’re My Hero

Posted by amy On April - 10 - 2009

Even Wolfson, Executive Director of Freedom to Marry and aughor of Why Marriage Matters (great book if you haven’t read it), continues to impress me with his view of this movement as well as his views of those who oppose us.

He wrote an article for the Huffington Post today entitled Winning the Freedom to Marry? Cue the Attack on the Gays.  His writing always seem to fire me up, consistently reminding me of the trite bumper sticker “if you’re not angry, then you’re not paying attention.”  Anger is something that can either defeat us, or it can lead to our victory – if used correctly.  Read his post and channel your anger toward positive actions.  His post gives all of the information necessary to startup important conversations about equality.  Let that anger you feel fuel the passion to have these conversations.

Check out the bullet points in the post if you don’t have time to read it all.  The next time you hear someone say “they’re teaching homosexuality in the schools” or one of those arguments against marriage and equal rights of LGBTQ citizens, remember his words and you will know how to educate that person about what is actually happening.  For instance, the argument that a NJ church was forced to accept gay people sounds strong, but consider the details.  The church was opperating a public facility that had multiple tax breaks from the government.  As a government funded facility, it has to abide by the same laws as all other government funded businesses.  These rules include an inability to discriminate against someone based on race, religion, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation.

I am a firm believer that few people truly hate (and you can feel free to disagree with me on that).  Instead, I feel that many people just do not understand, maybe choose to not understand, or firmly believe one side and have no reason to trust the explanations of another.  The only way to end this is to reach out and educate… but you have to reach out, because few people are going to go out of their way to learn the other side of the story.  This is true of ALL people regardless of sexual orientation.  We remain safest when preaching to the choir and vis versa.  So, reach out… infiltrate.  We can end discrimination in 3 easy steps:

  1. INFILTRATE – initiate the conversation, seek out the conversation, approach it with respect and you will recieve respect if they are willing to listen.
  2. EDUCATE – Tell them personal stories, use your knowledge of history, fact, and the present state to help them see the other side.  Respect their beliefs, because beliefs are something that few people will ever change.  What’s important is that their beliefs do not hurt you.  We must all coexist, and respect is the first step toward this
  3. END HATE

Vermont and DC: Moving Equality Forward

Posted by willow On April - 7 - 2009

Amy and I asked Boston based Lisa Marshall of JTI Massachusetts to contribute today’s post:

“I’m so excited right now I can hardly sit still.  Vermont, in an unprecedented move, has overturned the governor’s veto and voted in favor of marriage equality by one vote.  One vote!  Thank you Vermont, thank you VT Freedom to Marry, thank you everyone who played a part in this victory.  Congratulations to all of us.  I am so optimistic right now about the future of marriage equality.  Vermont, you have fired us up, you have inspired us, and you have shown us that this fight can be won.

I think back to the elections of 2004, when so many states passed laws and amendments banning gay marriage.   Well, 2009 is not 2004.  The tide is turning.  Massachusetts.  Connecticut.  Iowa. and now Vermont.  Plus, as of today, DC will recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere, just like New York does.   Four down.  Forty Six to go.  Today, this feels possible, even inevitable.

I don’t pretend that marriage alone equals equality, but today I feel hopeful that we will advance equality in its many forms.  This morning, I heard the announcement about Vermont while  standing amongst hundreds of people who came to the Massachusetts’s statehouse to lobby their representatives for trans equality.  Byron Rushing, the very eloquent lead sponsor of the trans rights bill we were lobbying for, said it right when he said that it is time for our great nation to protect the life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness for all people.  So, I say hurray for Vermont for bringing us one step closer to this goal!”

JTI MA has been hard at work since they came together to plan JTI’s initial Nov. 15 protest. They’ve since  continually coming up with fabulous ideas working for all aspects of full equality for LGBT people, and recently created an amazing resource that will be used nationally for Tax Day 2009 www.taxday2009.com

Thanks so much to all the folks at JTI MA and every other city’s groups who have continued the grassroots fight!

I Heart Iowa!

Posted by amy On April - 3 - 2009

I’m sure you all know the amazing news: The Iowa Supreme Court ruled in favor of Same-Sex Civil Marriage today!  As someone who is originally from Ohio, I never expected a Midwest state to jump on the marriage equality bandwagon before the coastal states, but Iowa has just proven me wrong!  Thanks to the amazingly hard work of groups like One Iowa and Lambda Legal, we are another great step closer to winning equality for all LGBTQ citizens!

Please take a moment today to celebrate.  Share the story with friends and family.  Tell your co-workers about today’s historic event.  Tell a neighbor.  Send an email.  Change your Facebook/Twitter status.  Or join one of the many celebratory rallies that are springing up around the nation:  MEUSA has planned one in San Francisco, many are happening in Iowa (thanks to One Iowa),  and the Civil Rights Front is holding one in Manhattan.  Check The Impact to see if a local organizer has set something up for your city.  Continue the conversation of equality with this amazing news!

Here’s some links to stories about it:

Finally, on a personal note, since the launch of Join the Impact, I have had the privilege to meet some extremely amazing people who are working toward gaining full equality for all LGBTQ citizens on both the local and national level.  One of those people is a man named Joe Maribella.  Joe organized the Seattle Light Up the Night event, and, since I live in Seattle, I have had many great opportunities to work directly with him as he organizes for Join the Impact in Washington State.  Joe is originally from Iowa and (by shear coincidence), he and his partner (also named Joe… yup, it’s confusing) of 5 1/2 years were home in Iowa visiting this week.  This morning, they woke up and saw their home state embrace their commitment.  They applied for a marriage license an hour ago with a formal proposal outside of City Hall!!  Congratulations to Joe… and Joe :-).  Also, congratulations to all of the amazing couples that will be married in Iowa!  And congratulations to all of you, who are working hard for the LGBTQ community as a whole and know that a win for one state is a win for all of us!