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Join the Impact

Activism Rooted in the Internet

Health care reform and LGBT Americans

Posted by admin On September - 10 - 2009

The following Op-Ed was written by Joe Mirabella. Joe Mirabella is a volunteer for Join the Impact as the Washington State Community Organizer.  Mirabella is a full time writer and content developer. He is engaged to marry his partner of 5 1/2 years in their home state of Iowa.

Last night President Obama addressed the nation about an issue that is important to all Americans. Regardless of any other defining trait or political agenda, our mutual humanity unites us under one common umbrella; we will all at one point in our lives require medical attention. Anyone who has experienced a serious or debilitating medical condition understands that our current system is overwhelmingly flawed.  Even those of us who have had only minor medical problems understand all to well how quickly medical bills can overwhelm us even if we have insurance. Our country is blessed with some of the best medical minds in the world, and yet access is rationed based on economic and social status. Modern societies should care for the weakest among them. The United State’s is fully capable of fulfilling its fundamental promise in the Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Elemental in the pursuit of happiness in our modern society must be access to health care services. Like so many progressive citizens I am dismayed that the debate about one of the most important institutions in our nation was hijacked by a few unstable individuals. It is vitally important that the President knows he has the support of the progressive community as he continues this important debate.   There are currently 5 bills making their way through congress (3 in the house, 2 in the Senate) and we must monitor all of them to make sure the town criers do not intimidate our elected officials from producing a quality and fair bill.

Join the Impact’s mission is to continue the conversation about LGBT citizens and our desire to be treated equally under the law in all 50 states in all matters of civil law. Health care reform fits within that mission. It is vital that the progressive LGBT community insists our families are included in the final legislation. We stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters who do not have basic hospital visitation rights when the person they spend a lifetime with becomes ill. We understand that people die alone in hospitals while separated from their families because of their sexual orientation. We hope that as we stand with the President today on his goal for a health care bill (and his original goal for a public option), that he understands that health care reform is not just about insurance or about money, but about families who in times of crisis should not be separated from each other under any circumstance. When “family” is defined in the health care legislation the LGBT community must be included. Furthermore, Domestic partners and same sex married couples must be able to share health benefits without the current federal income tax burden on their families. Heterosexual families are not taxed on their shared benefits.

We can not forget our transgender friends and family whose needs are almost always left on the cutting room floor. It is all too common for transgender citizens to be denied health care simply because of who they are. Hospitals refuse their admittance, doctors refuse their care, and health insurance policies explicitly deny so-called “transgender care”. We request a strong public option that does not discriminate based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.  A public option is particularly important for our transgender community members because they are fired without recourse and regularly denied work altogether.  Most health insurance policies are provided by employers so if citizens can not find work they need a public option.

We understand the political significance of the health care reform bill.  Conservatives will stop at nothing to smear progressive attempts to reform.  We would like to request that as you construct your spin job you leave our families out of it. It will be easy for you to scare people by presenting our families and our issues. You are well practiced. There have already been attempts to scare people away from health care reform because of our inclusion in some drafts. Instead of creating even more fear about our community it would serve us all if you instead debated the structural content of the bills on a broader honest landscape. And if the conservatives remain steadfast in bullying the LGBT community, I hope the progressive community embraces our humanity and refuses not buckle under the pressure.  No human should be left behind in what could be the most monumental health care reform bill of this century.  The time for outlandish lies from the right is over — the time for swift action from progressives is now.

Equality Can’t Afford to Take a Vacation!

Posted by willow On August - 7 - 2009

Willow Witte, who authored this post, co-founded Join The Impact with Amy Balliett last November. She currently serves as JTI’s Executive Director and has since moved to Washington, DC. Email her at willow@jointheimpact.com or find her on twitter @wonderwillow.

For months many of us have been contacting our Senators and Representatives in Washington, DC urging them to support key pieces of legislation. While phone calls, emails, petitions and letters have been imperative to our efforts to get positive legislation passed, they are relayed to our legislators, through their staff, as numbers for or against an issue. We must continue these contacts, but they do not tell out stories.

August presents an unique opportunity. In August all of our Senators and Representatives will be at home, in their districts, giving us just the opportunity we need to gain their full support and send them back to the House and Senate Floor armed to fight on our behalf- and know what they are voting against if they choose not to support us.

The most effective tool we have is our stories. Discussing how discrimination affects us and our loved ones every day is most effective, and most powerful, in person.

Join The Impact and Equality Across America are joining together for an August campaign called Change Comes Home. The campaign is focused on encouraging grassroots story telling in the offices of our legislators because they are the ones who will design and VOTE on the bills we need for full equality.
It’s a simple campaign in which you need to:

1.    Schedule in-district visits with your Representatives

2.    Meet with the other folks you’re working with ahead of time to prep for your meeting

3.    Have a one-on-one talk with your legislators on the day you’ve scheduled

If you’ve never met with your legislators before, don’t worry! It just takes passion for civil rights and a willingness to speak up for them. We’re providing an informational toolkit found here including a sample letter to send to request your visit, resources on ENDA, DADT, DOMA and other guidelines & information to help make your visit as successful as possible.

Get your toolkit now to get started by clicking here!

Don’t lose this chance to have your voice heard in Congress. You have the power to make change.

Let’s show our legislators that when we say “full federal equality for the entire LGBTQI community in all matters governed by civil law- Now!” We mean it!

Schedule your visits TODAY!

What is Equality Across America?
Have you heard of the National Equality March happening in DC in October? Many people that have organized previously with Join The Impact have already begun organizing to get their district represented at the march. Equality Across America is a network of decentralized organizers growing out of the march to continue the work for full equality in all 435 Congressional districts- as a unified movement. Learn more at http://equalityacrossamerica.org/about

Act NOW to support ENDA!

Posted by admin On June - 24 - 2009

Representative Barney Frank, joined by Reps. Tammy Baldwin and Jared Polis and at least 100 cosponsors, introduced a Federal Inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination (ENDA) bill today.  ENDA will add sexual orientation and gender identity to pre-existing employment non-discrimination laws. ENDA is such a common sense idea that most people believe it is already illegal to fire someone for being Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or Transgender.  While there are already 12 states and 100 localities that protect 40 percent of the population, millions are still at risk.

Can you imagine what it would be like to be approached by your boss and fired for who you were born to be? What would you do? How would you protect yourself and your family?  Many can not without ENDA. THIS CAN’T CONTINUE! This is wrong. This is un-American. We must put an end to it.

Join the Impact is a proud member of the United ENDA Coalition.  Together we have come up with several actions you can do RIGHT NOW:

Call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and have them connect you to your Representative (based on your zip code). Tell them:

I am a constituent and I would like you to please tell Representative _______ that I would like him/her to support the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. ENDA would ban discrimination against all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the workplace. Can you tell me whether or not Representative _______  will support  the bill?

Send a message to Laura Hart with United ENDA with a report of your representative’s response.

Once you make your call, follow up with an e-mail, or even better a physical letter.  You can find contact info here: https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml

Finally, follow up your calls and letters with visits to your representatives during their August recess.  Join the Impact will be rolling out tools in the near future for you to use during your meeting to discuss ENDA and other important goals.  In the mean time call now to make your appointments.

Your personal stories are your most powerful tool.  Have you ever been fired for being gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender?  Please share your stories in the comments section below. Don’t stop there; write a letter to the editor, write a blog, tweet, Facebook, make a you tube video, or even stand on a soap box with a bull horn during lunch. Do anything and everything you can to tell your story.

We need your help and we need it now.  Call your reps and make a stand for equality today!

We count: LGBT Americans and the 2010 Census

Posted by admin On June - 22 - 2009

The following Op-Ed was written by Joe Mirabella. Joe Mirabella is a volunteer for Join the Impact as the Washington State Community Organizer.  Mirabella is a full time writer and content developer. He is engaged to marry his partner of 5 1/2 years in their home state of Iowa.

The AP reported on Sunday:

Married same-sex couples will be counted as such in 2010, Census Bureau official said, reversing a decision of the Bush administration.

The US Census is a Constitutional requirement and is vitally important to our Republic. During the 2000 Census there were not any states that allowed same-sex marriage equality. Now there are five, but many of us resigned ourselves to go uncounted in 2010 because Bush instructed the Census to change data if we identified ourselves as married. Hopes that Obama might correct this problem were initially squashed by reports that the Census Bureau was left so miserably underfunded by Bush that it would be a miracle if the Census occurred at all, and if did it was too late to change anything for 2010. To be left out of the census was not only damaging to our community, but it was un-American. An Editorial from the New York Times accurately pointed out:

The census is vital to democracy — and to American citizens. It is used to decide the number of representatives from each state, draw Congressional districts and allocate federal aid. It and other bureau surveys also supply the underlying data for an array of government statistics on education, crime, health and the economy.

Many thought DOMA was going to give Obama an out to amending this injustice, but the White House announced Friday that its interpretation of the act did not prohibit them from gathering the information.

This news came one short week after the controversial Department of Justice brief that defended DOMA and sent gays and lesbians and their allies into a tail spin of anger, and loss of hope that Obama was going to be the “fierce advocate” he promised us he would be. Thousands of flash activists responded with twitter messages @barackobama and @whitehouse. They also expressed their anger and disappointment on Facebook and blogs. Financial contributions to the Democratic National Committee were withdrawn until legislative action on DOMA or DADT was produced.

The response was so pointed that it prompted President Obama to sign a memorandum granting some Federal benefits to some Federal employees. Weakened by DOMA laws, the memorandum lacked same-sex spousal health care and retirement benefits. Furthermore, military personal will not have access to the expanded benefits because Don’t Ask Don’t Tell prevents them from identifying their sexual orientation without facing discharge. Obama’s attempted olive branch back fired and fueled even more criticism from the LGBT community. The gesture was immediately dismissed by myself and others as a weak attempt to placate the LGBT community. We justifiably demanded lasting action through a bill to repeal DOMA and Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

With that said, we should not diminish the importance of the change in Census policy. It is yet another indication that Obama is trying to reach out to the LGBT community, and it is an important one. Some writers who I have a lot of respect for dismissed the 2010 Census revision as yet another “crumb.” Michelangelo Signorile wrote:

What we need now is real action. Not these crumbs, whether it be the census inclusion or some benefits for federal employees. We need something big, and until then, the DNC fundraisers should continue to be threatened, and nobody among the gay leadership should be partying with this president.

We should not be so dismissive of this very vital change in public policy. The Census is not a crumb. Without this change, 10 or more years would go by before our marriages would be counted. Invisibility is our biggest enemy. I learned that from Signorile himself when I read his book Outing Yourself as a young man yearning for help with my own coming out process.

To be clear, I do agree with Signorile and others who called for a boycott of the Democratic National Committee fundraisers until either DOMA or Don’t Ask Don’t Tell are repealed. Instead of blanket donations to a party that delivers questionable results to our community, we should focus our funds on candidates with a proven track record on equality. We should use our money as a powerful vote, whether it is an election year or not. We can make that point while still celebrating the change in Census policy.

Before the DOJ brief firestorm Jared Polis of Colorado along with 48 other congressional members sent a letter to Office of Management and Budget director Peter Orszag asking that the 2010 Census count same-sex married couples. The Advocate reported the contents of the letter, “We are deeply concerned about the implications of this policy for same-sex couples and for the integrity of the Census as a whole and firmly believe the [Census] Bureau’s primary objective should be to collect data and report it, not collect data and alter it.” This letter was sent well before the DOJ briefing was released.

Unfortunately the Census will only collect data about same sex couples that consider themselves married. We still need accurate data on how many people identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered. The Census would be an excellent resource to gather that information. Since the Census is willing to amend the 2010 questionnaire to include same-sex marriages, they should move forward with plant to include questions about sexual orientation. After all, the majority of LGBT citizens live in states that do not recognize our equality, so it will be difficult to count those of us who still can not marry or choose not to.

Unfortunately it is not very likely additional data about the LGBT community will be collected in 2010. According to the National Center for Transger Equality, the questions were solidfied two years ago. The change to count same-sex married couples is far less complicated than adding additional questions. The questions that exist on the Census as it stands will gather the necessary information to count same-sex marriages without adding addtional questions. The change was merely a policy change to recognize the answers provided by same-sex couples as they were reported rather than augment those answers to reflect a certain political ideology that chose to deny reality. Check out this pdf for more info.

While we should remain persistent about our goals for lasting legislative reform through the repeal of DOMA and Don’t ask Don’t Tell, we should also recognize the important change that the new Census policy represents. We must pressure the administration and our representatives to expand the questionnaire for future Censuses so that all of us can be counted. Once we remove the invisibility vail the country should see us for who we are — a powerful and vociferous demographic throughout the country who should not be discounted.

at home in a crowd of thousands

Posted by willow On June - 8 - 2009

The following post was originally published on Tuesdaysblog.com on May 19, 2009.  It is republished here with the permission of the author, Tony Clements. Tony Clements is a sometimes actor, director, composer, playwright, t-shirt salesperson, former telemarketer (he’s sorry), piano salesman, newspaper ad man, wedding band singer, and kimball organ demonstrator in the local shopping mall (at eight years old.) 28 years ago he was editor of the emerald echo, his school newspaper – experience he’s sure is evident here.

last sunday afternoon, as i stood among the thousands of people corralled into the closed-down southbound lane of 6th avenue between 45th and 47th at new york city’s rally for marriage equality, i glanced around and realized i was experiencing an emotion i hadn’t felt so strongly since i first walked into a gay bar back in the early 1980s. and i’m not talking about an overwhelming sense that my hairstyle is five years out of date.

that first gay bar was actually in san francisco, california. cliché? maybe. but for a small town wisconsin boy, fresh out of high school, that was going some. my good friend kevin and i had finally taken that long-planned trip to california – (was it late 1979?) – something we’d been dreaming about for years. like millions of other kids, we’d told ourselves we would drive across the country in a beat-up volkswagen van, making pit stops along the way to camp-out. as with most “drive a van to california” schemes, reality eventually set in (where were we gonna get camping gear, much less a beat-up volkswagen van?) and we opted to fly.
we stayed with a friend

who’d moved to the west coast from southeastern wisconsin the day after his high school graduation, a couple of years prior. after a long day of travel and a quick dinner, we dropped our bags and our california buddy, eager to show us the town, looked us in the eye and said,“now: do you really want to see san francisco?”

somewhere deep down i knew what he meant. i’m not sure kevin did.

we walked a couple of blocks to a corner bar – nothing special. far from seedy, but certainly not fancy. neighborhoody, like the kind of place my dad hung out after a ballgame. (go ahead, make that leap.) fifteen or so minutes and a beer and a half later, kevin leaned in to me and whispered, “shit tony, i don’t think there are any girls in here.” and he was right. scanning the bar, we sort of giggled to ourselves, finished our beers, and moved on to “safer environs.” kevin was uncomfortable. i pretended to be.
before we left the bar, however, i’d taken notice of a late 20-something year-old man playing a game of pool. by himself. he was dressed modestly – worn-out blue jeans, work boots, a brown hooded sweatshirt – and had an intense, but warm, open face. no one spoke to him, no one approached him, yet he was anything but alone. there was a solace, a confidence. i caught his eye at one point, and something subtle passed between us. nothing sexual, but awelcome, if you will. as if he knew something i didn’t, and was telling me everything was going to be okay. at the time i wasn’t sure what it was, but i remember it vividly to this day.

after his pool game he perched in a corner, still by himself, and pulled out a small, silver harmonica. a harmonica. what a fantastical place this san francisco is, i thought. no one seemed to care or even notice when he began to play. the tune was sweet and simple, but it was a bluesy, haunted sound that filled the echoy openness of that quiet barroom, interrupted only by the muffled whistles and dings of a lone pinball machine in a back room somewhere. and eventually the jukebox playing the stones’ “miss you”.
it wasn’t the absence of straight folk that i found intriguing about that neighborhood bar, or even the mysterious harmonica player in the corner. it was the stunning sense of freedom. of being at home. it’s not something you feel as a gay person growing up in a small, rural town. it’s not something you know enough to miss, either. without realizing it, you carry with you a sense of staying hidden, keeping quiet, no matter who you’re with or where you are. you must never let your guard down, not for a moment, for fear of not only the shame it could cause your family, your friends, you, but of the physical harm that might follow. even in this bar, thousands of miles from home, that new taste of freedom – palpable as it was – wasn’t quite complete because my friend kevin was always present. i couldn’t completely embrace it, savor it. as much as i loved kevin and was enjoying our trip together, i longed desperately for him to leave for a hour or two so i could be completely unencumbered by any fear of judgement or ridicule. not so anything could happen, just so i could…be.

sunday, at the rally, i looked around and took in some of the people near me – three couples in particular. two older men, probably mid-70’s, standing side by side, one gently rubbing the other’s neck. every so often they would share a look that i don’t ever remember seeing between my parents.

behind me were two women standing one in front of the other in an easy, casual embrace. now and again the woman behind would rub her nose in the other woman’s hair, and they would both smile a gentle, peaceful smile.

the third couple was my partner rob and me. look at us, i thought. we are so stronghappy. together. a team.

and then there was a young man, 17 maybe, standing with friends. he glanced at me, our eyes met briefly, and i smiled. he did too. everything’s gonna be okay, i said.

i had to force myself to think, for a moment, about how uncomfortable this scene might make some people feel. to me, we were all beautiful human beings, loving each other, supporting each other, caring for each other. the mystery, the solace, the confidence. it was all quite wonderful.

kevin would still probably be uncomfortable, i thought to myself. thank god i don’t need to pretend to be anymore. we don’t need to pretend.

we are at home.
we are free
.

In my family, our history is a sacred part of our lives.  The stories of my ancestors were the stories I heard at bedtime; not Little Red Riding Hood.  In my mind, I can see the dewey morning that my great, great, great grandparents Frank and Sarah Martin set off from Indianapolis in a covered wagon 160 years ago much more clearly than I can see pigs building houses.  I’m actually embarassed to admit that before last November, I didn’t know who Harvey Milk was.  The tragedy of my generation of LGBT activists is that we have little ties to our roots.  LGBT history is not taught in public schools, or even at a college level unless you very specifically seek it out.  I studied business in college and never sought the history of our community; and so, I embarked on my journey into activism without ever hearing the name of one of our greatest heroes.

Over the course of the last several months, I have sought an education on Harvey Milk.  The movie MILK was gut-wrenching and uplifting at the same time, and formed a basis for my understanding.  Later, I would meet Cleve Jones, one of Milk’s interns during the late 1970s.  I watched The Life and Times of Harvey Milk and gained more insight. Harvey Milk was born 79 years ago today in New York, and before his entrance to activism he was a math geek.  This makes me smile — it’s nice to know that someone else has made the (sometimes rocky) transition from number crunching to community organizing.  What I also learned about Harvey Milk was that he served in the Navy right here in San Diego.  It wasn’t until he was 40 years old and had moved from New York to Texas, and then back to California, that he decided to stay in San Francisco.
If there is one moral that I take away from my new understanding of who Harvey Milk was, it is never too late to make a difference.  Harvey Milk truly lived an active life once moving to San Francisco.  He built coalitions with organized labor and showed that he wasn’t a single-issue organizer.  Milk respected and engaged youth in the movement, showed love and compassion for all of the people he represented (not just LGBT), and remained unphased by the cacophony telling him that he could not succeed.  And he did it all while remaining truly fabulous.  In 1999, TIME magazine honored Harvey Milk as one of the Most Important People of the Century, saying,

“There was a time when it was impossible for people — straight or gay — even to imagine a Harvey Milk. The funny thing about Milk is that he didn’t seem to care that he lived in such a time. After he defied the governing class of San Francisco in 1977 to become a member of its board of supervisors, many people — straight and gay — had to adjust to a new reality he embodied: that a gay person could live an honest life and succeed. That laborious adjustment plods on — now forward, now backward — though with every gay character to emerge on TV and with every presidential speech to a gay group, its eventual outcome favoring equality seems clear.”

(The excellent bio that TIME wrote of Milk can be found in full here.)

Here in California, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger had the opportunity to honor Harvey Milk last year, and declare May 22nd Harvey Milk Day in California.  The legislature overwhelmingly supported this.  Instead, the Governator chose to veto the bill, claiming that Harvey Milk was a historical figure of local importance only.  This year, San Diego was proud not only to recognize Harvey Milk in our city by declaring today Harvey Milk Day in San Diego, but we also hosted the Inaugural Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast.  We recognized Milk for his great contributions not only to the local area of San Francisco but to the broad issue of equal rights.

The genius of Harvey Milk was not that he had any special perception of the problems facing our community. We all – given the time and inclination – can enumerate any number of problems that we would like to see addressed. Rather, what Milk saw differently was the need for new solutions.  He saw that change was coming too slowly when it came at all, identified the need for a new angle on creating that change, and then took the all-important step of acting personally to make it happen.  Milk didn’t just open up the opportunity, he also created a standard against which we can and should measure ourselves.  By refusing to accept the establishment position on slow, plodding, non-disruptive “progress,” he set the bar to which our entire movement ought to be holding itself.

Tonight, as I light a candle in honor of the 79th birthday of our great hero Harvey Milk, I am thankful for the way in which he lived his life without apology, and the legacy he left for each of us to follow: a legacy of hope, of coalition, and of not being afraid to be who we are.

Sara Beth Brooks, who authored this post, is the Western Regional Liason for Join the Impact.  She helped organize San Diego’s November 15th protest which had 25,000 people in attendance.  She is the Executive Chair of the San Diego Equality Campaign.  In her day job, she is a bookkeeper.  You can contact her at sarabrooks@gmail.com.

Tell-Three.org

Posted by amy On February - 3 - 2009

Some of you may have heard rumblings about JTI partnering with some AMAZING orgs like the ACLU to roll out a new initiative… well, here’s confirmation in Press Release form:

Join the Impact has partnered with other national LGBT groups to develop a web based public education campaign, www.tell-three.org, to encourage LGBT people and their supporters to have three conversations with friends and family to help build support for LGBT equality.

“The passage of Prop 8 in California has motivated LGBT people and their supporters like never before,” said Amy Balliett of Join the Impact, a grass roots organization with more than 15,000 regular members and millions of world-wide participants, that has helped to organize massive demonstrations throughout the U.S. since the November elections. “Now that we’ve had some time to get over our anger and sadness, we’re ready to act. And the single most important thing we can do to guarantee we don’t find ourselves on the losing side of another political campaign is to have conversations with our friends and family about what it means to be LGBT.”

Other organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union; Equality California; the Equality Federation; Freedom to Marry; The National Lesbian and Gay Task Force; the National Center for Lesbian Rights; and Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, will be rolling out their own versions of the campaign on their websites. The goal of the campaign is for all LGBT groups and individuals to seize upon the momentum that has been generated since the passage of Proposition 8 in November and work together to tell their stories to build support for all of the issues affecting LGBT people.

“Harvey Milk was right on the money to encourage everyone to come out to their friends and family, but we know now that coming out alone isn’t enough,” said Matt Coles, Director of the ACLU LGBT Project. “To persuade others to support LGBT equality we need to have personal conversations with people that explain what its like to be LGBT. We need to talk about our relationships, the struggles we face as LGBT people, the ways our lives are the same and the ways they are different.”

Visitors to www.tell-three.org can find additional information on who to talk with and how to start these important conversations. There are also resources for those who want to learn more about the issues affecting LGBT people. But, as the website notes, the most important thing is for people to have personal conversations. The website encourages LGBT people to talk about their relationships, about growing up, and about how being LGBT has made them feel different from others in some respects and the same in others. Straight allies are encouraged to talk about their relationships with LGBT people and to speak up when they hear others make homophobic or transphobic comments.

The groups are encouraging everyone – members of national and local LGBT groups, individuals and couples supportive moms and dads, and allied friends and colleagues – to join the campaign and get people talking. The site makes it easy to spread the word to others to send an e-mail to their friends. Eventually there will also be opportunities for people to share their experiences on the site.

The campaign is also calling on bloggers and videographers to help spread the word by sharing their experiences of having these important conversations. “After Prop 8 passed, we spoke through demonstrations and we made ourselves heard. We need to take our voices beyond the streets into every home in America, and to do that we need to use every avenue available to sparking conversations,” added Balliett.

We Need Your Voice

Posted by amy On January - 14 - 2009

We need your help! When Join the Impact began, it was simply a blog post asking people to come together on a national level to join in one united voice against Proposition 8. In that first week, a great deal of things were asked of Join the Impact, one of which was a 3 month calendar. We put together the calendar as fast as we could and were not aware of the months of learning that laid before us. Now, Join the Impact is a little over 2 months old and we want to make the most out of it. From now on, we need YOU to help us plan what to do next. Light Up the Night was a success because one of our members suggested the idea. Since then, we have had many suggestions come our way and we want our community to have a say in what happens next, what our goals should be, and how we want to accomplish these goals.

Here’s what you can do to help:

  1. Offer up an idea by creating a thread on our event ideas page
  2. People will reply to that specific idea thread to help lend their support and constructive criticism.
  3. Every idea that reaches 100 votes (in the “was this comment valuable to you” tool of the thread), will get it’s own page and members will be asked to create a task force to help make that idea a reality.
  4. We will work with you to help your idea take flight and truly ensure that Join the Impact is your platform for YOUR voice!

Today is Transgender Day of Rememberance

Posted by amy On November - 20 - 2008

About 4 years ago, I moved from Cleveland, Ohio to Seattle, Washington. In the cross country drive, I stopped in Lincoln Nebraska to pay my respects to Brandon Teena. For those of you who don’t know, Brandon Teena, was an FTM who was brutally raped and murdered on December 31st, 1993 because he was transgendered. This horrific act constitutes one of the most infamous hate crimes of the 1990’s. Yet, when I approached Brandon Teena’s grave, it seemed like all had been forgotten. Ignoring the facts of who he was, it was decided that his tombstone say his birth name: Teena Ranea Brandon. As I stared at the tombstone, there was a group of men from the military practicing the traditional call to arms burial a few hundred feet behind me. Because this was a practice and not an actual funeral, the sargent screamed obscenities at the men telling them how to properly hold their weapons. Words like Faggot and Dick Fucker were towering from behind me. This moment, was one of utter sadness and brutal irony. Read the rest of this entry »