Archive for August, 2008

Del Martin – A Pioneer in Lesbian Rights Dies at 87
August 29, 2008

Del Martin died Wednesday.

Del Martin, life partner of Phyllis Lyon for 55 years, co-wrote the book Lesbian/Woman in 1972. For me, at age 22, this book was the proverbial life preserver tossed to me in turbulent seas. Although I knew I was a Lesbian much earlier in my life, being comfortable with that fact was another story.

When I found Lesbian/Woman and began reading it, I laughed, I cried, but most importantly, I gained a new perspective of myself as a Lesbian: I was OKAY! I was not an abomination, nor crazy, nor perverted. I simply loved women.

I devoured that book from cover to cover. I can still see that bright purple paperback cover, dog-eared from repeated use, that I wrapped in a brown grocery bag cover to hide from my parents. Years later, I managed to acquire a special 25th anniversary hardbound edition. It’s something I treasure.

Del Martin’s “outness” gave me courage. She inspired me with compassion and intellect. By the example of her own very public relationship with her Lesbian partner, Phyllis Lyon, she inspired us all to know that we did indeed deserve all the happiness, fulfillment, and rewards of a healthy relationship, just like anybody else!

She got to marry her beloved two months ago courtesy of California’s new Law approving gay marriage.

As a pillar of Lesbian activism, she will be sorely missed. My heart goes out to Phyllis and all of Del’s close friends and family.

We celebrate her accomplishments in her time with us. We celebrate the freedoms we enjoy today because of staunch Lesbian and Gay Rights advocates such as herself.

In Loving Memory, -MsQueer

©2008 MsQueer.com and Deborah Adler. All rights reserved.

NEWS AND TRIBUTES FOLLOW:

 

Lesbian rights pioneer Del Martin dies at 87

Thursday, August 28, 2008

(08-27) 14:57 PDT SAN FRANCISCO — Lesbian rights pioneer Del Martin, whose trailblazing activism spanned more than five decades, most recently in the battle for same-sex marriage, died Wednesday, just two months after she made history again by wedding her longtime partner in San Francisco City Hall.

Ms. Martin, an author and organizer, died at UCSF Hospice after a long period of declining health. She was 87 and was admitted to the hospital nearly two weeks ago with a broken arm.

Ms. Martin’s crusading began in 1955, during an era in America known more for social conformity than for rebellion, when she co-founded a lesbian social-turned-political organization, Daughters of Bilitis, named after a 19th century book of lesbian love poetry.

This year, on June 16, she and her partner of 55 years, Phyllis Lyon, were legally wed. San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom officiated. Theirs was among the first same-sex nuptials in California.

“Her last act of activism was her most personal – marrying the love of her life,” said Kate Kendell, a longtime friend of the couple and executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

“Ever since I met Del 55 years ago, I could never imagine a day would come when she wouldn’t be by my side,” Lyon, 83, said in a statement. “I am so lucky to have known her, loved her and been her partner in all things.

“I also never imagined there would be a day that we would actually be able to get married,” Lyon said. “I am devastated, but I take some solace in knowing we were able to enjoy the ultimate rite of love and commitment before she passed.”

‘We’re not getting younger’

Ms. Martin had been in failing health for some time, weakened to the point where she was pushed in a wheelchair to her wedding ceremony. In an interview in her hillside Noe Valley home just days before she took her marriage vows in the mayor’s office, Ms. Martin described as fortunate the timing of the California Supreme Court decision that gave gays and lesbians the right to marry.

“We’re not getting younger,” she said.

Ms. Martin and Lyon were plaintiffs in the lawsuit that got the state ban on same-sex marriage lifted. They were married at 5:07 p.m, just minutes after the ruling took effect.

Four years ago, when San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom allowed marriage licenses to be issued to gay and lesbian couples in San Francisco in defiance of state law, Ms. Martin and Lyon were the first of about 4,000 same-sex couples to wed and made news internationally. Those marriages were later nullified by the state’s high court but paved the way for the successful legal challenge.

“We would never have marriage equality in California if it weren’t for Del and Phyllis,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the San Francisco Democrat. “They fought and triumphed in many battles, beginning when they first bought a home together in San Francisco in 1955.”

Pelosi called the death of Ms. Martin “a great loss for me personally and for our entire community.”

Newsom, who said Ms. Martin “laid the groundwork for all those who want a life of dignity,” ordered the flags at City Hall and the rainbow gay-pride flag at Market and Castro streets to be flown at half-staff until sunset today.

Ms. Martin’s activist reach extended into the feminist movement when she became the first open lesbian to serve on the board of directors of the National Organization for Women, and she helped spearhead a successful campaign to get the American Psychiatric Association to remove homosexuality from its roster of mental illnesses.

In 1995, Sen. Dianne Feinstein named her as a delegate to the White House Conference on Aging, where she and Lyon, a delegate appointed by Pelosi, focused attention on the needs of aging gays and lesbians.

Feinstein said Wednesday, “Del and Phyllis were a loving couple, cherished by an entire community. They inspired so many, young and old.”

Ms. Martin, whose given name was Dorothy but who went by Del, was born in San Francisco in 1921. Her first marriage, at age 19, was brief but produced a daughter, Kendra Mon, who lives in Petaluma. She also is survived by two grandchildren.

Together for almost 60 years

She and Lyon met in Seattle in 1950 while both were working as journalists for a trade publication. Their friendship turned into a romance two years later. In 1953, on Valentine’s Day, the couple moved into a Castro district flat in San Francisco.

After helping found the Daughters of Bilitis, they started a newsletter, called the Ladder, which grew into a magazine focused on lesbian politics and culture.

In the first issue, Ms. Martin set the tone for how she would lead the rest of her life when she wrote: “Nothing was ever accomplished by hiding in a dark corner. Why not discard the hermitage for the heritage that awaits any red-blooded American woman who dares to claim it?”

Cleve Jones took that message to heart when he met the couple in 1972. He was a student at Arizona State University, and the duo went to speak to a gay liberation organization.

“For a kid just out of high school, listening to them was a life-altering experience,” said Jones, who later moved to San Francisco, where he worked as a student intern in the City Hall office of gay Supervisor Harvey Milk and founded the Names Project AIDS Memorial Quilt. “They were so confident, so unapologetic, so radical.”

And, added Kendell, from the National Center for Lesbian Rights, “so fearless. In every social movement, political movement, there’s someone who transcends their time. For lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, Del Martin was one of those people.”

Friends and family plan to hold a public tribute to Ms. Martin in the near future. Details have not been set.

Del Martin

— 1921 – Born on May 5 in San Francisco

— 1950 – Met the love of her life, Phyllis Lyon

— 1955 – Co-founded groundbreaking lesbian organization Daughters of Bilitis

— 1960 – Took over as editor of the Ladder, a monthly lesbian magazine

— 1964 – Helped found the Council on Religion and the Homosexual, formed to overturn laws that criminalized homosexual behavior

— 1972 – Co-wrote with Lyon the book “Lesbian/Woman”

— 1972 – Co-founded with Lyon the Alice B. Toklas Democratic Club, the first gay political club in the United States

— 1976 – Published the book “Battered Wives,” which focused on domestic violence

— 1976 – Appointed chairwoman of the San Francisco Commission on the Status of Women

— 1995 – Served as a delegate to the White House Conference on Aging

— 2004 – Wed Lyon in the first of about 4,000 same-sex weddings sanctioned by San Francisco but later ruled invalid by the California Supreme Court

— 2008 – On June 16, married Lyon again, this time with the blessing of the state Supreme Court, which found the state ban on same-sex marriage illegal

E-mail Rachel Gordon at rgordon@sfchronicle.com.

This article appeared on page A – 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle

NOW Mourns Passing of Longtime NOW and Lesbian Rights Activist Del Martin

Statement of NOW President Kim Gandy

August 27, 2008

 

Along with NOW activists everywhere, I am terribly saddened at the passing of longtime NOW and lesbian rights activist Del Martin. We extend our love and condolences to Del’s wife, Phyllis Lyon, who was her partner in life and in activism for more than half a century.

Del was truly an inspiration to me and to countless others who fight every day for Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender rights. Marriage equality was a passion for Del and Phyllis, and they were married not once but twice in California — most recently this June, when they became the first couple to wed after same-sex marriage became legal in the state.

Del authored the groundbreaking book Battered Wives, among many impressive accomplishments during her 87 years. Together with Phyllis, Del founded the first national lesbian rights organization, the Daughters of Bilitis, in 1955 and wrote another pivotal book, Lesbian/Woman.

At NOW’s Lesbian Rights Summit in 1999, I was honored to present Del and Phyllis with Woman of Courage Awards. They stood before a standing-room-only crowd and noted how far we’ve come as a movement; Del emphasized the need “to unite as never before and face the grip that the extreme right wing holds over our country.”

We owe a great deal to Del. She was a true pioneer who never tired, never gave up on her mission to secure full equality for each of us. Del’s work will continue to touch the lives of future generations, and her spirit will live on in the work of NOW and our allies.

NOW encourages women’s rights and LGBT advocates to submit tributes to Del Martin on our website.

 

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force mourns death of
pioneering community hero Del Martin

WASHINGTON, Aug. 27 — The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force mourns the death of Del Martin, 87, who died today in San Francisco, Calif. Martin married Phyllis Lyon, her partner of 55 years, on June 16, 2008. In 1955, the couple joined six other lesbians in founding the Daughters of Bilitis in San Francisco, the first lesbian rights organization in the nation. In 1997 and 2004, the Task Force honored Martin and Lyon for their decades of community service.

Statement by Rea Carey, Executive Director
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
“The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community has suffered a devastating loss today with the passing of Del Martin, who was one of our movement’s most courageous and extraordinary figures. We extend our deepest sympathies to Del’s family and, especially, to her life partner and, most recently, legally wedded spouse, Phyllis Lyon.
 
“Del Martin, with Phyllis Lyon always at her side in a remarkable relationship that spanned more than five decades, dreamed a world in which sexual orientation and gender identity and expression would be accorded full dignity and respect. They spoke the unspeakable, wrote the unthinkable, and lived their lives as few before them ever had: open and proud lesbians in 1950s America.

“Del and Phyllis were inspiration in action, living openly and proudly as a loving couple long before many others felt safe to stand with them. Their love for each other gave them strength and sustained them; that same love, courage and grace have left an indelible mark on our movement, and in each of our hearts.

“Del and Phyllis have personally been an inspiration to me since I came out when I was 16 years old. In my office, a picture of the two of them looks over me as I work to carry on their work and their vision for living our lives in truth. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force will honor Del’s life by using our uncompromising voice and fighting for justice and equality — a voice made louder and stronger by her 87 years of life. Thank you, Del, for showing so many of us the way.”
More about Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon

Founding the Daughters of Bilitis in 1955, Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon launched the world’s first organization dedicated to improving the lives of lesbians. When they published The Ladder in 1956, the first magazine by, for and about lesbians, the couple created the means for lesbians to know themselves and each other and to break out of the stultifying isolation that marked many lesbian lives, inviting thousands of women to join a nascent but growing lesbian community.
 
Throughout their decades of activism, Martin and Lyon made the vital connections among communities and movements, engaging in social justice advocacy projects that included anti-war, civil rights, anti-poverty, HIV/AIDS, and women’s health and empowerment. In 1964, they participated in the Council on Religion and the Homosexual, the first organizing in this country to forge a wider space and a welcoming place for LGBT people in faith communities. 
 
In 1972, the couple published their groundbreaking book, Lesbian/Woman, named by Publisher’s Weekly in 1992 as one of the 20 most influential women’s books of the past 20 years. Lesbian/Woman spoke to a new and hungry generation of women, eager to answer their clarion call to sexual liberation and freedom. Martin was an early leader in the battered women’s movement, again breaking new ground with the publication of Battered Wives in 1976, a book that inspired grassroots organizing to end domestic violence and the establishment of shelters for battered women. 
 
Lyon-Martin Health Services, founded in 1979 in San Francisco and named in honor of Martin and Lyon, is the only free-standing community clinic in California with a specific emphasis on lesbian/bisexual women and transgender health care, delivering quality health care services regardless of ability to pay.
 
In 1995, they were appointed to the White House Conference on Aging; they continued to advocate on behalf of older lesbians through Old Lesbians Organizing for Change.
 
The valuable lives and good works of Martin and Lyon are the subject of the 2003 award-winning documentary, No Secrets Anymore: The Times of Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon, by filmmaker Joan E. Biren.
 
Martin and Lyon made history again, becoming the first same-sex couple to be married in the state of California on June 16, 2008.
 
In 1997, at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s 10th annual Creating Change Conference in San Diego, Calif., Martin and Lyon received the Community Service Award for their organizing work and political involvement. At the 2004 conference in St. Louis, Mo., they were honored with the Creating Change Award, which read, “You spoke the unspeakable, you wrote the unthinkable. You lived openly and proudly as a loving couple long before a movement would stand with you.”

The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the grassroots power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. We do this by training activists, equipping state and local organizations with the skills needed to organize broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.
© 2008 National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. 1325 Massachusetts Ave NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20005. Phone 202.393.5177. Fax 202.393.2241. TTY 202.393.2284. theTaskForce@theTaskForce.org.

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Weighing In On Hallmark’s Gay Marriage Cards
August 27, 2008

BRAVO HALLMARK CARDS! Congratulations on your BOLD step! It took courage to roll out Gay Marriage greeting cards! But alas, your announcement fell a little short of the social significance category when included in the annoucement was the admittance, “the move is a response to consumer demand, not any political pressure.”

Sooo, It’s really “Congratulations on a Smart Marketing Strategy.”

Maybe they read my post, “Gay Buying Power: A Force To Be Reckoned WIth”

see: https://msqueer.wordpress.com/2008/08/24/gay-buying-power-a-force-to-be-reckoned-with/

After all, what company in their right profit-seeking minds wouldn’t want to snag a share of the $600 Billion combined buying power of an estimated 15.3 million lesbian and gay consumers? (2006 survey)

But whether the “when you care to send the very best” company intended to or not, it has set itself down right in the middle of right-wing conservative Americans’ vehement anti-gay campaign with a backlash of opinions and proposed boycotts hitting the internet minutes after the initial announcement.

Ya gotta give them conservatives some points for vigilance. They don’t miss a beat – not a moment – no matter how fleeting – when it comes to monitoring the “spread of the gay agenda” in America.

Gay Agenda – now that’s an interesting concept, too. I wonder what it would take for all of us to agree on one specified agenda? Let’s not spill the beans, since they think we’re so organized. Paranoia has been known to affect judgement, not to mention eyesight and the other senses. I have to admit I feel for them sometimes. Living under all that constant stress of feeling threatened by the “Gay Plague” has got to be exhausting. I bet they spend alot of their consumer buying power on high blood pressure medicine.

Anyway, Kudos to Hallmark – regardless of their motivations. They may not have meant to jump into the deep end, but they’re certainly in the swim now! 

Hope you guys have good life preservers and can tread water for a reasonably long time – at least long enough to outlast all the clammer that has and will arise from this somewhat bold move. Take a page out of Proctor and Gamble’s playbook. Zealots thought they were in cahoots with the devil because their logo was supposed to be “satanic symbology.”  P&G outlived them and you’ll do just fine too. -MsQueer

©2008 MsQueer.com and Deborah Adler. All rights reserved.

Here’s the story from AP as reported by CBS News:

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/08/21/business/main4369335.shtml 

Hallmark Introduces Gay Marriage Cards

Largest U.S. Greeting Card Company Says It’s Responding To Consumer Demand

 

Most states don’t recognize gay marriage – but now Hallmark does.

 

The nation’s largest greeting card company is rolling out same-sex wedding cards – featuring two tuxedos, overlapping hearts or intertwined flowers, with best wishes inside. “Two hearts. One promise,” one says.

 

Hallmark added the cards after California joined Massachusetts as the only U.S. states with legal gay marriage. A handful of other states have recognized same-sex civil unions.

 

The language inside the cards is neutral, with no mention of wedding or marriage, making them also suitable for a commitment ceremony. Hallmark says the move is a response to consumer demand, not any political pressure.

 

“It’s our goal to be as relevant as possible to as many people as we can,” Hallmark spokeswoman Sarah Gronberg Kolell said.

 

Hallmark’s largest competitor, Cleveland-based American Greetings Corp., has no plans to enter the market, saying its current offerings are general enough to speak to a lot of different relationships.

 

Hallmark started offering “coming out” cards last year, and the four designs of same-sex marriage cards are being gradually released this summer and will be widely available by next year. No sales figures were available yet.

“When I have shopped for situations like babies or weddings for gay friends I have good luck in quirky stores,” said Kathryn Hamm, president of the Web site gayweddings.com.

“But if you are just in a generic store … the bride and groom symbol or words are in most cards,” she said. “It becomes difficult to find some that are neutral but have some style.”

The Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law estimates that more than 85,000 same-sex couples in the United States have entered into a legal relationship since 1997, when Hawaii started offering some legal benefits to same-sex partners.

It estimates nearly 120,000 more couples will marry in California during the next three years – and that means millions of potential dollars for all sorts of wedding-industry businesses.

Hallmark, known more for its Midwest mores than progressive greetings, has added a wider variety lately. It now offers cards for difficulty getting pregnant or going through rehab.

It pulled a controversial card that featured the word “queer” in the punch line after it was criticized by some customers and gay magazine The Advocate last year. At any given time, Hallmark has 200 different wedding cards on the market, including some catering to interracial or inter-religious marriages and blended families.

The Greeting Card Association, a trade group, says it does not track how many companies provide same-sex cards but believes the number is expanding.

“The fact that you have someone like Hallmark going into that niche shows it’s growing and signals a trend,” said Barbara Miller, a spokeswoman for the association.

Rob Fortier, an independent card maker who runs his company, Paper Words, out of New York, added same-sex wedding cards to his mix after thinking about what he would want to receive.

“A lot of people think a gay greeting card needs a rainbow on it,” Fortier said. “I don’t want that.”

But for some time, it was difficult to even find the words for what anyone wanted to say, he said.

His first card poked fun at the challenge. On the outside it featured lines that had been scratched out: “Congratulations on being committed!”, “Congratulations on being unionized!” and, finally, “Congratulations on being domestically partnered!” The inside wished the couple congratulations on choosing to be together forever.

“It really comes down to language,” he said.

John Stark, one of the three founders of Three Way Design in Boston, which makes gay-themed cards for occasions from adoption to weddings, has several new designs sketched out and ready.

But he has hesitated adding more wedding cards to his mix until after the November election, when California voters will decide a constitutional amendment that would again limit marriage to a man and a woman in the state.

“What is scary is to produce a marriage line and then November comes and it’s recalled, then we have thousands of dollars of inventory waiting,” he said.

The gay-friendly business can be challenging, companies said.

Hamm said although she has found many vendors willing to work with her company, some have asked to be removed from the Web site because of hate mail or some other backlash.

Hallmark says all of its stores can choose whether they want to add the latest offerings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

© MMVIII The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

 This photo provided by Hallmark shows a same-sex wedding greeting card. Hallmark added the cards after California joined Massachusetts as the only U.S. states with legal gay marriage. (AP PHOTO)

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A Personal Hero Celebrated
August 25, 2008

Billie Jean King helped to change the face of American culture when she defeated Bobby Riggs in a “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match in 1973.

For backround to this historic event, as well as commentary on an interview with NPR’s Renee Montagne, see

http://debadler.wordpress.com/2008/08/25/billie-jean-kings-victory-for-womens-equality/

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Gay Buying Power: A Force To Be Reckoned With
August 24, 2008

Consider that with the political climate still being somewhat less than accepting today, the number of “out” LGBT persons is merely the tip of the iceberg. 

Now consider this: In 2006, an estimated 15.3 million Lesbian and Gay consumers had a combined buying power of over 600 Billion Dollars

According to source Harris/Witeck-Combs, 72% of LGBT consumers prefer to buy from companies that advertise to them directly; 

89% are highly likely to seek out brands advertised to them, and a majority will pay a premium for quality products and services (source: Simmons). 

The median combined household income of gay couples is 60% higher than opposite-sex couples (source: OpusComm Group);

Compared to the national average, gay people are three times more likely to choose to live in racially, ethically and culturally diverse communities (source: Gertler and Vinodrai);

Creative and innovative people driving the tech economy seek places high in cultural, racial and ethnic diversity, including gays and lesbians (source: Gary Gates and Brookings Institute).

Reference article: http://www.expressmilwaukee.com/article-2374-the-gay-and-lesbian-market.html

Here are some additional facts from the Outlook Media 2007 Media Kit. (Outlook Weekly is “a lifestyle and advocacy publication for the Ohio queer community.” )

“Gay Americans are twice as likely to have graduated from college, twice as likely to have an individual income over $60,000 and twice as likely to have a household income of $250,000 or more!”

“According to Harris Interactive Research, gay purchasing power is expected to top $690 Billion Dollars in 2007!”

That’s a lot of purchasing power, not to mention, a lot of potential influence. Today, more than ever, LGBT people need to look at how to wield our “buying power.”  How, where, when and why we focus our dollars needs to be about more than choosing a car, vacation, or beer…

There are gay philanthropists making the news this election year for their work in helping to support candidates and issues that are lgbt-friendly. We need more of this on a local and national level. 

I found an excellent article on Bettys’List – LGBT News and Services titled, “The Rising Tide: Philanthropy & Volunteerism in the LGBT Community” 

Ref= http://www.bettyslist.com/rising-tide.php?a=1569  -MsQueer

©2008 MsQueer.com. All rights reserved.

Philanthropy and Political Advocacy

By Jeff Lewy

Philanthropy, as we’ve noted in earlier articles, is a way to support and promote social change.  That change is lasting when it transforms the attitudes of individuals, one at a time, until society as a whole is transformed.

However, philanthropy by itself cannot ensure the implementation of social change.  We need to promote political change as well, so that the attitudes and ideas of the public are implemented widely and promptly.

As someone with philanthropic and charitable feelings, you are probably thinking: “It’s common knowledge that philanthropy is tax-deductible – and that political action isn’t.  So I can’t do anything about politics, because the IRS won’t let me, since political contributions aren’t tax-deductible.”  However, that “common” knowledge has two serious flaws.  

The first flaw is failing to fully participate in the political process, beyond voting.  And you ARE voting, aren’t you?   Remember – political giving is a vital element in electing political candidates who are in tune with current social attitudes and will support the changes you desire. Even though giving to candidates isn’t tax-deductible, it is an important way to see that the changes you value come to pass.  So give to the political candidates and organizations of your choice.  It can be money wisely spent to create and promote social change.

The second flaw is a common misunderstanding about what nonprofit organizations are allowed to do.  It is true that these organizations may not directly support or contribute to political candidates.  But they can engage in political advocacy to promote the social changes they espouse.

What does political advocacy mean?  Plenty!  A short list of activities in political advocacy includes:

  • Lobbying to influence legislation
  • Lobbying to influence decisions by administrative agencies
  • Litigation
  • Research and study
  • Nonpartisan analysis
  • Legislative comment (without a specific call to action)
  • Polling
  • Public education

These activities cover a lot of ground.  Many nonprofits work hard and successfully in all these areas, within the rules and limitations that govern their activities.  These organizations understand their limitations and will be glad to explain what you and they can (and can’t) do to help in the important work of political advocacy.  

In recent years, attitudes held by individuals throughout the country have become more favorable to LGBT people and our rights.  A majority now believes that LGBT couples should have many of the same rights as married couples, even if they don’t want to call it “marriage.”  A majority sees the benefits to society of allowing adoption and foster parenting by LGBT couples, preventing employment and housing discrimination, and ensuring hospital visitation, end-of-life decisions and inheritance by LGBT partners.

However, even if individual attitudes are changed, public institutions must change as well, if those new attitudes are to truly prevail.  Many public institutions are governments, so political activity is required to bring needed changes to reality.  Public acceptance must be translated into laws and administrative procedures before it becomes fully integrated and effective.

In these times when politicians on the right use the LGBT community as a wedge issue to distract voters from the important issues presented at the ballot box, we need to respond strongly to protect ourselves and to educate others not to impose restrictions on us that fly in the face of this country’s long and sometimes halting progress toward justice and equality.

In this sense, “politics” includes all branches of government – executive, legislative, and judicial, and all levels of government, from national to local.

Progress has occurred in many ways.  LGBT rights have made significant strides in the judicial arena; just think of the effect of Lawrence v. Texas, which decriminalized sodomy and affirmed our rights of privacy and sexual activity.  And the courts in Massachusetts have affirmed same-sex marriage in that state.

But there are many situations where public acceptance is thwarted by public officials – here in California, San Francisco’s action to affirm same-sex marriage was overturned by the state courts (although that battle isn’t over).  In 2005, the California Legislature passed a bill to make same-sex marriage legal in California – but the Governor vetoed the bill.

We can all think of many examples where the public’s acceptance of social change is not implemented.

So get involved, with your money and your volunteer time.  Consider donating to politicians, political organizations AND to nonprofit organizations that are doing the work for our rights.  And vote, every chance you get – in every local, primary, and general election!

2006 is an election year.  Elections make a huge difference in creating and implementing social change.  Get involved – as a citizen, and as a philanthropist.  Your future depends on it.

-MsQueer

©2008 MsQueer.com and Deborah Adler. All rights reserved.

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www.gayteens.org
August 19, 2008

HERE IS ANOTHER RESOURCE WEBSITE FOR LGBT TEENS AND YOUTH. It is a comprehensive site that includes news from countries around the globe. It is a site written by and for young people. This is a great source of information, answers to common questions and is a wealth of resources 

taken directly from the home page: 🙂

From the editor

Welcome to the oldest, largest and established online LGBT International youth site. To interact with our community web site you will need to register. It’s free to join GTR all you need is a valid email address so that we can process your registration. With 11 years of service an incredable achievement when you think of it. That is dedication for you. As the founder I know the work is never complete and many of my aims and objectives have yet to be completed. The main purpose of the site is for young people to get involved and if they can put something back. This can be very simple from submitting local gay news or information that local members may benefit. Remember this is a global site. What is most important is that we publish information that will be helpful at a local, National or International level. The system in place can provide local information through our topics and Categories very easily and quick. Therefore gather some local information on your nearest gay youth group or even start a GTR streetmeet where local members meet up in a mass group one Saturday afternoon. The forums are a great way to start.

 


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Gay Homeless Youth, An OurChart Special Report featuring Katherine Moennig
August 14, 2008

In 2006 the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, together with  the National Coalition for the Homeless, issued a report on “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Youth: An Epidemic of Homelessness.”

The Executive Summary of this report stated the following: 

“The U.S Dept of Health and Human Services estimates that the number of homeless and runaway youth ranges from 57,000 to 1.6 million per year. Our analysis of the available research suggests that between 20 percent and 40 percent of all homeless youth identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT). Given that between 3 percent and 5 percent of the U.S. population identifies as lesbian, gay, or bisexual, it is clear that LGBT youth experience homelessness at a disproportionate rate.”   (http://www.thetaskforce.org/downloads/HomelessYouth.pdf)
-MsQueer   

The following series of videos is a special original series on www.ourchart.com entitled 

“My Address: A Look at Gay Youth Homelessness”

featuring actress Katherine Moennig, who portrays Shane in the popular ShowTime series The L Word.

Part 1

Part 2

 

 

Part 3

 

Part 4

 

Part 5


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Annual Holiday Gala Fundraiser for The Trevor Project
August 13, 2008

“The Trevor Project is a nonprofit organization established to promote the acceptance of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth, and to aid in suicide prevention among that group.”

The Trevor Project Cracked Xmas 11
The Trevor Project Cracked Xmas 11

 

 Some highlights from Cracked Xmas 10, The Trevor Project’s annual December gala event, honoring Ellen Degeneres and Clear Channel Radio Los Angeles.

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APPROVING OUT-OF-STATE GAY MARRIAGE MAY BOOST STATES’ TREASURIES
August 11, 2008

Below are a series of articles covering the recent bill passed in Massachusetts to recognize out-of-state gay marriages. -MsQueer 

http://www.ourchart.com/content/its-not-just-california-anymore It’s Not Just California Anymore

July 31, 2008 – 12:01pm – Grace Moon (reprinted by permission)

Today at noon, the Governor of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick, signed a bill allowing out-of-state gay couples to marry there. This overturns a 1913 law that blocked marriages to couples whose home state did not recognize their unions. Democratic Gov. Patrick has an 18year-old gay daughter.

Both California and Massachusetts expect an economic stimulus from out-of-state gay couples getting married in their states. Massachusetts projects $111 million while California expects $692 million.

After the dismal 1.9% economic growth from the Bush Administration stimulus package, guess who has the potential to stimulate the economy? The times they are a changin’.

 

http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/07/31/america/NA-US-Gay-Marriage.php

US state’s new law allows more same-sex marriage

The Associated Press

Published: July 31, 2008

BOSTON: Massachusetts on Thursday began allowing any gay couple to get married there as the governor signed a bill repealing a 1913 law that had blocked most weddings for out-of-state same-sex couples.

The old law barred couples from marrying in Massachusetts if their union would not be legal in their own states.

Gov. Deval Patrick said the repeal shows that “equal means equal” in Massachusetts, which in 2003 became the first U.S. state to rule gay couples had a right to marry. California recently legalized gay marriage, without a residency requirement.

“In five years now … the sky has not fallen, the earth has not opened to swallow us all up, and more to the point, thousands and thousands of good people — contributing members of our society — are able to make free decisions about their personal future, and we ought to seek to affirm that every chance we can,” Patrick said.

Supporters of repealing the measure said the old law had the taint of racism because it was passed 95 years ago as states tried to prevent interracial marriages. The exact reasons the Legislature approved it remain unclear.

Opponents said it prevented Massachusetts from interfering with the decisions of other states — the overwhelming majority of which specifically bar same-sex marriage.

Out-of-state gay couples can marry as soon as Thursday because lawmakers included a provision to make the repeal effective immediately.

“We’re being recognized as a married couple,” said Joy Spring, of Middletown, New York, who planned to marry her partner of seven years, Carla Barbano, in Provincetown on Friday.

“It’s extremely important. If something happened to one of us she’d always be taken care of,” said Spring, who joined Barbano in a civil union in 2006 in New York.

The couple is from one of the few states that will recognize their impending union: New York Gov. David Paterson said earlier this year that state law requires recognition of legal marriages performed elsewhere.

A state study estimates that more than 30,000 out-of-state gay couples — most of them from New York — will wed in Massachusetts over the next three years. That would boost the state’s economy by $111 million and create 330 jobs, the study estimated.

The California Supreme Court ruled this year that same-sex marriage is legal, and Rhode Island law is quiet on the subject. Other states specifically forbid it, though a few allow same-sex civil unions.

Opponents of same-sex marriage have said repealing the 1913 law would sow confusion and lawsuits in states that have chosen — by public vote in many cases — to bar the practice.

Kris Mineau, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute, has said lawmakers’ “arrogance and folly” in repealing the law “are doing terrible harm to marriage laws across the country.”

AP reporter Nancy Kelsey contributed to this report.

 

 http://www.365gay.com/news/out-of-state-gay-couples-now-can-wed-in-mass/

 

Out-Of-State Gay Couples Now Can Wed In Mass.


07.31.2008 1:00pm EDT

(Boston, Mass.) Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick signed legislation Thursday allowing out-of-state same-sex couples to marry in the Bay State. 

“The law could draw thousands of couples to Massachusetts.” 

The bill, repealing a 1913 law that said marriage licenses could not be issued to couples whose weddings would not be recognized in their home states, cleared its final hurdle earlier this week in the legislature.

Patrick signed the legislation at a noon ceremony at the State House.

The old law was originally passed when interracial marriage was legal in Massachusetts, but not in most other parts of the country.

When the U.S. Supreme Court overturned state bans on interracial marriage, the Massachusetts law fell into disuse.

However, when the Massachusetts high court struck down the state ban on same-sex marriage in 2003, then-Gov. Mitt Romney (R) dusted off the old law, threatening to charge local clerks if they issued marriage licenses to out-of-state same-sex couples.

In a 2006 challenge to the out-of-state ban, the Supreme Judicial Court upheld the law, but noted that since Rhode Island did not have a specific law defining “couple” in its marriage law, gays and lesbians from that state could marry in Massachusetts. Rhode Island is believed to be the only state without a definition of what constitutes a couple.

The court also said that the Massachusetts legislature could repeal the 1913 law. For the past two years, LGBT rights groups and gay-friendly lawmakers worked to gather support for repeal.

Laws usually go into effect 90 days after they are signed, but the repeal bill contained a clause stating that it would go into effect as soon as the governor put his pen to it.

California, the only other state to allow same-sex marriage, has no out-of-state limitation, so gay and lesbian couples from across the country have been going there to wed.

With same-sex marriage opening up in Massachusetts it is expected a large number of couples from Eastern states will opt for Massachusetts.

An analysis by the state Office of Housing and Economic Development found repealing the law would draw thousands of couples to Massachusetts, boosting the economy by $111 million, creating 330 jobs and generating $5 million in taxes and fees over three years. 

 

The study assumes New York would provide the largest number of gay couples – more than 21,000 couples – with New Hampshire, New Jersey, Connecticut, Vermont, and Maine bringing the total to more than 30,000 in the first three years after the ban was lifted.

 

 

 

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Federal Judge Rules in Favor of Florida High School’s Gay-Straight Alliance
August 7, 2008

THIS ARTICLE IS REPRINTED DIRECTLY FROM THE GLSEN WEBSITE AT:

http://www.glsen.org/cgi-bin/iowa/all/news/record/2317.html

 

Federal Judge Rules that Florida High School Must Allow Gay-Straight Alliance

Media Contact
Daryl Presgraves
646-388-6577
dpresgraves@glsen.org

Jul 30, 2008

Decision Follows Judicial Precedent on GSA Cases, Rejects Claim of Sex-Based Club

NEW YORK, July 30, 2008 – In yet another judicial decision upholding the right of students to form and participate in Gay-Straight Alliances, a federal judge ruled Tuesday night that Okeechobee High School in Florida must allow a GSA the same access it allows other non-curricular clubs.

The ruling also stated that GSAs do not interfere with abstinence-only education and that schools must take into account the well being of non-heterosexual students.

“We applaud this decision rooted in judicial precedent for recognizing not just the legal right of students to form GSAs, but also that schools and students will benefit by having GSAs on campus,” said GLSEN Executive Director Kevin Jennings. “While it is important to note the courage of the students who came forward to claim their legal right to work to make their school safer, the real victors are all the students at Okeechobee High School.”

Okeechobee High School had sought to mischaracterize the purpose of the GSA. Judge K. Michael Moore reaffirmed his earlier ruling that GSAs are not sex-based clubs, but clubs designed to foster tolerance on school campuses.

About 4,000 GSAs are currently registered with GLSEN, including 155 in Florida.

A 2007 GLSEN research brief on the benefits of GSAs found that students in schools with GSAs are less likely to hear homophobic remarks in school on a daily basis than students in schools without a GSA (57% compared to 75%).

The report’s major findings:

  • The presence of GSAs may help to make schools safer for LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) students by sending a message that biased language and harassment will not be tolerated.
  • Having a GSA may also make school more accessible to LGBT students by contributing to a more positive school environment.
  • GSAs may help LGBT students to identify supportive school staff, which has been shown to have a positive impact on their academic achievement and experiences in school.
  • Most students lack access to GSAs or other student clubs that provide support and address issues specific to LGBT students and their allies.

About GLSEN
GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students. Established nationally in 1995, GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. For more information on GLSEN’s educational resources, public policy agenda, student organizing programs, research, public education or development initiatives, visit http://www.glsen.org.

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Helping Schools Address Bullying and Harrassment of LGBT Youth
August 7, 2008

THIS ARTICLE IS REPRINTED DIRECTLY FROM THE GLSEN (Gay-Lesbian-Straight-Education-Network) WEBSITE, NEWS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS PAGE:
http://www.glsen.org/cgi-bin/iowa/all/news/record/2263.html

Four Steps Schools Can Take to Address Anti-LGBT Bullying and Harassment

Media Contact:
Daryl Presgraves
646-388-6577
dpresgraves@glsen.org
Feb 19, 2008
To Find a Vigil in Memory of Lawrence King: http://www.rememberinglawrence.org/

NEW YORK – As communities across the country hold vigils in memory of Lawrence King, a 15-year-old from California whom classmates say was killed because of his sexual orientation and gender expression, GLSEN is calling on schools to honor King’s memory by using this as an opportunity to address violence and harassment directed at lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students.

“While we are all still numb to the reality of this horrible tragedy, it is important that we begin to look at ways we can make sure something like this never happens again,” said GLSEN Executive Director Kevin Jennings. “Schools can take steps to ensure that all their students are safer, regardless of sexual orientation or gender expression/ identity.”

GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, recommends four approaches that schools can begin implementing now to address anti-LGBT bullying and harassment.

Adopt a comprehensive anti-bullying policy that enumerates categories such as race, gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation and gender expression/identity. Enumeration is crucial to ensure that anti-bullying policies are effective for LGBT students. Policies without enumeration are no more effective than having no policy at all when it comes to anti-LGBT bullying and harassment, according to GLSEN’s 2005 National School Climate Survey.

Require staff trainings to enable school staff to identify and address anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment effectively and in a timely manner.

Support student efforts to address anti-LGBT bullying and harassment on campus, such as the formation of a Gay-Straight Alliance or participation in the National Day of Silence on April 25.

Institute age-appropriate, inclusive curricula to help students understand and respect difference within the school community and society as a whole.

While lethal violence like Lawrence’s murder is rare, anti-LGBT bullying and harassment are pervasive problems in our schools, and effective responses are crucial to prevent escalation.

In the 2005 National School Climate Survey, nearly a fifth (17.6%) of LGBT students reported being physically assaulted at school in the past school year because of their sexual orientation and over a tenth (11.8%) because of their gender expression.

Nearly two-thirds of LGBT students (64.3%) said they feel unsafe in school because of their sexual orientation and two-fifths (40.7%) because of their gender expression

“Only 10 states and the District of Columbia protect students from bullying and harassment based on sexual orientation, and only five and the District of Columbia protect students based on gender identity/expression,” Jennings said. “We can make our schools safer, and every child deserves to know that we care enough about them to try.”

About GLSEN
GLSEN, or the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students. Established nationally in 1995, GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. For more information on GLSEN’s educational resources, public policy agenda, student organizing programs, research, public education or development initiatives, visit www.glsen.org.


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