88 posts categorized "Action Alerts"

October 28, 2010

Freedom to Marry: Five Reasons You Should Vote

Ftm_logo Evan Wolfson of Freedom to Marry writes:

Make no mistake: The freedom to marry is on the ballot this year.

For the first time in years, there is no statewide attack seeking to ban or overturn marriage on the ballots Nov. 2, but that doesn't mean that we can't cast votes in favor of the freedom to marry. Here's a snapshot of what's at stake for the freedom to marry on Election Day next Tuesday:

  • In Iowa, voters are being pressed to unseat three Supreme Court justices who ruled in favor of the freedom to marry.

  • Close gubernatorial races will help determine whether the freedom to marry becomes a reality in states such as California, Rhode Island, Maine, and Minnesota as soon as 2011.

  • The election will determine the membership and leadership of legislative bodies in states like Maryland and New York that could vote on marriage in the next year.

  • And the makeup of Congress will have huge implications for Freedom to Marry's growing campaign to overturn the so-called "Defense of Marriage Act."

The National Organization for Marriage, their hidden funders, and other anti-gay groups are funneling millions of dollars into these races to oust pro-equality elected officials and replace them with anti-gay candidates. The best way you can counteract their efforts is by making sure that you and your friends exercise your right to vote on Election Day!

Read Freedom to Marry's Five Reasons You Should Vote and share it with family and friends:

http://freedomtomarry.org/5ReasonsToVote

To put it simply, the freedom to marry, like many questions important to America's future, is on the ballot in this election.

A nationwide majority of Americans now support the freedom to marry. We can only turn that public support into legislative victories for gay and lesbian families if we vote on Election Day.

Read and share Freedom to Marry's Five Reasons You Should Vote:

http://freedomtomarry.org/5ReasonsToVote

Thanks for all you do,

Evan Wolfson
Executive Director, Freedom to Marry

Action alert for gay Nigerian Hope Nwachukwu

Nigeria+drag+queens

LGBT Asylum News reports:

Hope Nwachukwu is gay and faces persecution if he is returned to Nigeria. He has already suffered years of attacks and torture by fellow citizens who hold strong views on practicing gay men.

Hope arrived in the UK at the end of 2009 to try and escape his persecutors but since then he has spent six months in detention - where he has suffered attacks by fellow Nigerians who see he is gay. For Hope, the thought of returning to life in Nigeria is terrifying but the UK Border Agency insists that he is not gay.

Update 27 October: Hope's lawyer won at the High Court a judicial review of his fresh claim. This was at the last minute as Hope had been prepared to be removed.

This reprieve means we need your help now if we are to save Hope

See how you can help at the Action Alert.

Texas NBC affiliate stokes homophobia with viewer question/response

A report that President Obama has appointed a record number of openly gay officials has prompted an NBC affiliate in Texas to poll its viewers on an outrageously leading question. Courage Campaign reports:

Demand that NBC Universal take action to end its affiliation with KETK now

KETK-NBC news anchors ask: “Will the acceptance of homosexuality in this society be the downfall of America?”

Yes, that was a question actually posed to viewers by a Texas-based NBC affiliate TV station, both on the air and online. But it didn’t end there. The station then went on to broadcast responses from viewers -- some of the most vitriolic attacks on LGBT people that you will ever hear on a network affiliate.

The video is shocking. But the lack of response from NBC Universal -- KETK's parent network -- is even more shocking. That's why we need you to watch the video now and then sign our petition to NBC Universal executives Jeff Zucker and Steve Burke asking them to end NBC's affiliate relationship with KETK immediately....

Click here to take action.

October 15, 2010

Tell the Washington Post: Stop mainstreaming anti-gay bigotry

Wapo_hate CREDO Action writes:

The Family Research Council is a far-right organization that endorses the work of Paul Cameron--a man who leads a known hate group and once said "the extermination of homosexuals" might be necessary and who called AIDS a "godsend."

Yet earlier this week, Washington Post editors Jon Meacham and Sally Quinn legitimized an anti-gay screed of Tony Perkins, the President of the Family Research Council, by giving it space on the editorial pages of one the nation's leading newspapers.

Shockingly, they thought Perkins would be an acceptable commentator on the recent, tragic spate of teen suicides caused by anti-gay bullying.

Tell the Washington Post: Stop mainstreaming anti-gay bigotry.

Cameron's reports, which are cited by the Family Research Council in justifying its anti-gay positions, rely upon a kind of so-called "science" that the Southern Poverty Law Center said "echoed Nazi Germany." That is why SPLC has labeled the Family Research Institute (the organization Cameron runs) a hate group, which is a designation the Family Research Institute shares with the Ku Klux Klan.

Tony Perkins may claim he does not agree with all the disgusting positions Cameron has taken, but when Perkins and his Family Research Council use the worthless "studies" of bigots like Cameron as a rationale for their anti-gay positions, they are endorsing the fruits of that bigotry.

No matter the facade, Perkins simply cannot ground his argument in irrational hate without lending legitimacy to that hate. And when the Washington Post allows its pages to be used for the repackaging of hate in this way, it becomes an accomplice to it.

Click on the link above to send the Post a message.

October 07, 2010

Latest panic from paranoid bigots: Campbell's makes halal soups

Campbellssoup-cropped-proto-custom_2

TPM reports:

Earlier this year, Campbell Canada introduced a line of halal-certified soups. The 15 soups comply with Islamic dietary regulations which, much like kosher regulations, prohibit certain foods and define the right way to slaughter animals.

The line, which includes low fat cream of broccoli and vegetarian vegetable, was certified by the Islamic Society of North America, which has been certifying halal foods since 1988.

To some people, that's just more evidence that Sharia is coming to North America -- this time, via the grocery store.

"M-m-good for the Islamists. Not so yummy for the rest of us," reads the blog of Scaramouche, which broke the news Tuesday, some eight months after Campbell's launched the line.

Robert Spencer, who writes Jihadwatch.org and has been saying for years that ISNA is tied to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood,* quickly echoed the alarm....

Park51 opponent Pamela Geller is now calling for a boycott of Campbell's.

These ignorant whackjobs need to get a grip. Have these alleged conservatives ever heard of the free market? Estimates of America's Muslim population vary (2.5 million according to the Pew Research Center, 7 million according to the Council on American-Islamic Relations), but a company's decision to serve them has nothing to do with Sharia law. Of course, there are some people who make a scandal out of the marketing of kosher food. We live in a diverse society.

I have eaten at a halal restaurant on Pennsylvania Avenue, about five blocks from the White House. It was nothing fancy, but the food was good. I don't know if that particular restaurant is still there, but I'd love to see the First Couple dine at a halal restaurant on one of their date nights — both to embrace America's cultural diversity and to thumb their noses at the Birthers' Manchurian Candidate nonsense. But you don't have to wait for the President. Google the halal restaurants in your area. Show Campbell's that you appreciate their respect for a diverse customer base by buying their products and giving them some positive feedback.

September 20, 2010

Countdown to Senate vote on DADT repeal

Aaron Belkin at HuffPo writes about the Senate's expected vote this week on the National Defense Authorization Act, which includes repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

Log Cabin Republicans weigh in with a call for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to reach a compromise with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Pam Spaulding interrupts this message to take issue with Log Cabin's plan to give its Barry Goldwater Award to DADT-repeal-opponent Sen. John Cornyn.

The news on Lady Gaga's rally in Portland, Maine today is here.

Alex Nicholson of Servicemembers United comments here.

To contact your U.S. Senators to urge their support for DADT repeal (assuming you have senators, unlike us in D.C.), call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202)224-3121.

Russian gay leader calls for international protests against his abduction

800px-Nikolaialekseevmoscowpride06
(Nikolai Alekseev being arrested at Moscow Pride on May 27, 2006)

Paul Canning at LGBT Asylum News writes:

First call for action after abduction of Russian LGBT leader

Russian LGBT leader Nikolai Alekseev has called for international protests against Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov.

In a Facebook posting he announces that an unauthorised protest tomorrow, 21 September, at 6pm in front of Moscow City Hall calling for Luzhkov to step down will be going ahead.

He also points out that as Luzhkov is in Austria "with his billioneer wife ... It [protests] can especially be effective in Austria!!!" Luzhkov has refused to allow any Moscow Pride public events or demonstrations by LGBT. Moscow Pride is the subject of a case before the European Court of Human Rights.

The Mayor is currently engaged in an internal Russian political battle for survival and is being investigated for money laundering. State television has run a number of stories accusing him of corruption. The Austrian newspaper Der Standard suggested on Friday that the kidnapping of Alekseev "had been staged by the security forces to support Luzhkov or to discredit the views of other analysts". Russian President Medvedev is believed to want Luzhkov removed but he is supported by Prime Minister Putin.

Alekseev was abducted last week and told RFE, "I don't think federal structures would have resorted to such means if they had wanted something from me. I think this is largely linked to Moscow authorities and the actions we have taken against them at the European Court."

In a statement published on the GayRussia.ru website - which mysteriously went down during Alekseev's abduction - organizers have said the ban on their demonstration goes against Article 31 of the Russian constitution, which guarantees freedom of assembly.

Luzhkov has called Moscow Pride "satanic" and said "we think that destructive sects and propaganda of same-sex love are inadmissible."

In January he said: "It is high time to crack down on the parade with all the power and justice of the law, instead of talking about human rights. (...) We need a social whip or something like that."

Update: Pardon me for misspelling "Russian" in the header, now corrected.

Update 2: Please contact the U.S. State Department and ask them to issue a statement of concern and to call for an investigation:

U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520
Russia desk: (202) 647-9806
http://www.state.gov/g/drl/hr/index.htm

September 16, 2010

October 5-6: WBC Coming to Town

The Westboro Baptist Church has announced they will be bringing their show to the Washington area (with a morning show in Hagerstown) on October 5-6, 2010.  They are scheduled to appear for shows at the White House, the Capitol, and Arlington National Cemetary on the first day and at the Supreme Court the next day. They last appeared here to commemorate the beginning of marriage equality in the city. Unfortunately, they can be flakey and they failed to appear at the announced time. However, the counter protesters showed up on time. Here they are giving a rendition by the Lady Gaga.



Traditionally a crowd shows up with silly signs and costumes whenever the WBC makes an appearance. Perhaps there should be prizes for the best sign and the best costume.

Russian gay activist arrested without charge

Nikolai_alekseev_140x140 Pink News reports:

Russia's best-known gay rights campaigner was arrested at Moscow's Domodedovo Airport yesterday.

Nikolai Alekseev was boarding a flight to Geneva and had passed through passport control when he was arrested by Russian border police yesterday evening.

According to UKGayNews, he was taken to a closed room at the airport but was able to contact a friend and news agency Interfax before his phone was taken away.

He was not given a reason for his arrest and his whereabouts are not currently known.

Three of his friends went to the airport to ask where he was, but were told by police he was not there.

One of the policemen apparently suggested that he could be in the custody of the FSB, formally the KGB, headquarters on Lubianska Square in Moscow.

Moscow police say they have no record of Mr Alekseev in their database.

The activist has been a tireless campaigner for equal rights and pride marches and there has been speculation that his arrest may be linked to his work.

Yesterday, Russian gay rights campaigners applied for permission to hold a picket against homophobic Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov.

GayRussia.ru, the country's leading gay website, is currently inaccessible.

Lezgetreal reports here.

Our thoughts go to Nikolai, who has shown remarkable courage and tenacity in the face of constant harassment. Use the following contact information to protest to the Russian Ambassador and to ask the State Department to protest this human rights violation:

HIS EXCELLENCY SERGEY IVANOVICH KISLYAK
AMBASSADOR EXTRAORDINARY & PLENIPOTENTIARY
Embassy of the Russian Federation to the USA
2650 Wisconsin Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20007
Tel:(202) 298-5700
Fax:(202) 298-5735
http://www.russianembassy.org/Embassy_eng/Embassy/index.html

U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520
Russia desk: (202) 647-9806
http://www.state.gov/g/drl/hr/index.htm

Update: The following message was sent from Nikolai's email account:

Dear all, we received a message from him that he is safe and in Minsk, we will know more from him when he can better communicate, probably tomorrow. We wanted to give you this update already and also to thank you for your incredible and huge mobilization and solidarity. It paid off. You can relay this message. GayRussia is attacked all the day so we are posting this update on facebook and here by email. We cannot answer to all your messages now. Today's news were widely covered in the Russian media. The picket against the Moscow Mayor planned in Moscow for Sept 21 is maintained irrespectively of the decision of the authorities to allow it or not.

Update 2: LGBT Asylum News provides more information, including this:

Moscow Times quotes a Moscow airport spokeswoman speaking to RIA-Novosti, Yelena Galanova, saying Alexeyev 'had refused to obey security measures'.

“He refused to remove his shoes during a check. The airport security service informed his air carrier about it, and the company removed him from the flight,” Galanova said. She did not elaborate and could not be reached for comment Thursday afternoon.

September 02, 2010

GLOV to mayoral candidates: restore the GLLU

Our friends at Gays and Lesbians Opposing Violence (GLOV) have written an open letter to D.C. mayoral candidates Adrian Fenty and Vincent Gray urging restoration of the Metropolitan Police Department's Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit (GLLU):

The MPD's Gay & Lesbian Liaison Unit (GLLU) was formed in 2000 to help address the needs of the LGBT community and quickly became an acclaimed program and model for other states. In recent months, this nationally recognized unit has been reorganized into a less effective resource to both the community it seeks to protect and MPD. This, during a time of escalated violence against our community is not only a misappropriation of resources but potentially putting more lives at risk.

THE PROBLEM: In 2009, 85 percent of all bias-related crime in our city was against members of the LGBT community, roughly 5 times the National average when compared with similar statistics compiled by the FBI.

THE SOLUTION: While GLOV is working to address this complex issue, part of the solution must include robust and responsive policing. We have asked that the Mayor and the Chief of Police fully restore staffing of the GLLU to six full time officers and grant the officer in charge with direct reporting to Chief Lanier.

Please follow the link above to take action. A joint letter signed by GLOV, GLAA, and several other groups urging Mayor Fenty to restore the GLLU to its full strength can be found here.

Continue reading "GLOV to mayoral candidates: restore the GLLU" »

July 14, 2010

Ignition

This just in:

July 17 begins the 2 day energetic of the Conscious Convergence. This powerful moment assists with the continuation of the Harmonic Convergence of August, 1987, and is the call to action for those who are ready to assist with the global and personal release of constraint and separation energies. This day also signifies the consecration of the Rainbow Bridge between the Americas, and the ignition of the Universal heart energy. Indigenous Elders worldwide will celebrate ceremonies on this day, and you are invited to ignite your heart, free your soul and stand in the presence of oneness with all. Gather your friends and join us LIVE via the web on July 17 for this rare and beautiful moment.

http://www.livestreamers.com

I wonder if Homeland Security is following this.

June 25, 2010

HRC action alert on anti-LGBT Texas GOP platform

Hrc-logo1 Michael Cole at HRC Back Story writes:

HRC today condemned the Texas State Republican Party for including anti-LGBT language in its 2010 State Party Platform. The language, which goes far beyond the usual conservative talking points on “traditional family values,” sinks to a new low of intolerance and hate. We’re calling on RNC Chairman Michael Steele to publicly repudiate the anti-LGBT language in the State Party Platform and we want you to do the same.

The Platform:

  • Calls for making it a felony to issue a marriage license to, or perform a marriage ceremony for same-sex couples;
  • Calls on Congress to withhold jurisdiction from the Federal Courts in cases involving family law – a clear violation of the separation of powers in the U.S. Constitution;
  • Opposes the recognition of and granting of benefits to domestic partners;
  • Opposes any and all employment protections for LGBT people;
  • Opposes the legalization of private, consensual sex;
  • Indicates possible anti-transgender bias with the terms “natural man” and “natural woman”;
  • States: “Homosexuality must not be presented as an acceptable ‘alternative’ lifestyle in our public education and policy, nor should “family” be redefined to include homosexual ‘couples.’”

Texas has failed to meet benchmark measures to protect LGBT citizens, including: employment protections, hospital visitation rights, protection in housing, joint-adoption, and relationship recognition. In 2003 the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Texas’ anti-sodomy laws. The 2010 State Republican Party Platform advocates violating this decision and puts Texas even further behind the times.

The outrageous platform doesn’t stop with attacking LGBT citizens. It also calls for: Congress to evict the United Nations from the United States, opposing legislation allowing stem cell research, reversing Roe v. Wade, prohibiting more than three years of bilingual education for students, and repealing the No Child Left Behind law and eliminating the U.S. Department of Education.

Take Action Now and tell Chairman Steele to reject this anti-LGBT, anti-family platform.

One suspects that the Texas GOP platform committee members get into a competition to see who can show the most zeal by coming up with the harshest anti-gay plank. Ding ding ding, you're a winner!

June 24, 2010

Low-Down talk from Sherri Shepherd and D.L. Hughley on "The View"

Rob_Smith Rob Smith at HuffPo reports that ignorant talk about men on the "DL" being the main vector of HIV infection in the black community has reared its ugly head again, this time on "The View":

During a discussion regarding the FDA ban on blood donation by gay men, and a controversial article comparing the ban to statistics on HIV/AIDS in the black community, Sherri "flat-earth" Shepherd, who is somewhat sadly one of the few prominent voices of black women in the media, "educated" her fellow panelists on the reason for HIV rates in the black community, stating that "DL Black Men" are to blame for the skyrocketing HIV rates. Never one to shy away from a gay issue that he's not qualified to speak about (see his cable appearances after 2008's erroneously reported "black voters passed Proposition 8" fiasco), comedian D.L. Hughley eagerly backed up her statements.

Please, don't mind that this isn't entirely true. Don't mind that the incarceration rates among African-American males combined with poverty levels and the lack of proper access to condoms in prison create a dangerous cocktail that leads to issues with HIV/AIDS infection among black women and blacks in general. No, don't think about that, just blame it on those evil, sneaky black gay men who apparently live to infect poor, defenseless black women, presumably twirling their mustaches dastardly in the process. In fact, perhaps it's easier to compartmentalize it in that way, since robbing black women of their sexual agency and demonizing the sexuality of black men regardless of their orientation has been one of the primary outcomes of the down low conversation.

The situation on The View was made doubly infuriating and uncomfortable because, like most conversations involving black gay sexuality, there was a complete absence of any black gay voices. The only gay voice on the panel was Advocate On-Air host Thomas Roberts, who briefly mentioned his struggles with coming out at 27 and having dated women before, but when pressed about his sexual activities before he came out, assured the panelists and the audience at home that he remained faithful to his girlfriends, and, hey, he's "not a black man on the Down Low." His words, folks, not mine. Since apparently only black men are on the down-low, we should probably come up with some other term for whatever it was that Ted Haggard, Jim McGreevey, and all of the other upstanding married white men caught with their pants down and a comely young fellow not too far away were doing. Any suggestions?

The three-and-a-half minutes on The View were the source of enough misinformation and stereotyping to damage the conversation regarding blacks, gays, sexuality, and HIV/AIDS for a while to come. ... Here's a thought for the producers and anyone else who chooses to engage in the conversation: How about including the voices of black gays for once? Who knows, perhaps we may even have a little more insight into the pressures of coming out in the black community and the factors that lead men into this kind of behavior.

I couldn't agree more. The "down low" is simply another term for the closet. That's it! Black men have no monopoly. What would be funny if its consequences weren't so terrible is that the hysterical, demonizing response to the "DL" talk in recent years only reinforced the closet, thus making the problem worse. Hey, folks: if you don't want gay men to pose as straight and use women as beards, try overcoming your anti-gay intolerance, which does NOT make the gay go away — it just drives it underground. Someone needs to tell Mr. Hughley in particular to get an effing clue already. He strikes me as someone who's been hit on by guys and didn't know how to handle it. Well, boo hoo! Ask your "sistahs" how they like it. If you can dish it out, you can bloody well take it. At the very least, stop spreading misinformation.

(Photo of Rob Smith. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/robsmithonline)

Update: GLAAD's action alert is here. As they say, "Call on “The View” hosts to issue an on air apology and correct Sherri Shepherd and D.L. Hughley’s misrepresentation of African American gay & bisexual men."

June 02, 2010

Anti-equality candidates seek Democratic State Convention straw poll support

Bishop Harry Jackson's High Impact Leadership Coalition is distributing the anti-marriage-equality flyer below in advance of the 2010 D.C. Democratic State Convention on June 12. Here is the key message:

Saturday June 12, Democratic State Convention & Straw Poll

Send a message in the straw poll! Vote for candidates that support a vote on marriage Wear White and any Marriage Buttons

Howard Univ School of Law, Dumbarton Campus,
2900 Van Ness St NW Washington DC
On site registration 8 to 1:30, Straw Poll Vote 12-4pm.

Ask all Candidates where they stand on a marriage vote.

31 states voted on marriage. 6 out of 10 DC residents support a vote on marriage. DC Leaders denied residents the right to vote on marriage. Now the battle is on in the courts and at elections. Let the People Vote on the Definition of Marriage. Make a statement in straw poll

GLAA as an organization is non-partisan, but if you are a Democrat and want to help counter Jackson's efforts to pack the convention's straw poll with opponents of marriage equality, click here for registration information. GLAA's opposition to putting our rights to a popular vote is spelled out here, here, here, and here.

Anti-equality flyer 02 Jun 2010

DNC seeks Pride Month input from LGBT community

The Democratic National Committee has sent out an email seeking input from the LGBT community. Click here to offer your comments. You could ask DNC Chairman Tim Kaine for support on finishing the job of repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell; passing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act; passing the Uniting American Families Act; and repealing the Defense of Marriage Act. Since they're seeking our input, let's give it to them.

May 20, 2010

Malawi gay couple sentenced to 14 years hard labor

Tiwonge_and_Steven AP reports on the harsh sentencing of Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza, a gay couple convicted under colonial-era anti-gay laws. British human rights activist Peter Tatchell writes:

14 years for Malawi couple is “brutal”

Jailed men could die in squalid prison

Malawi reverts to the mentality of the Hastings Banda dictatorship

Only hope is for Steven and Tiwonge to appeal to the High Court

London – 20 May 2010

“This is an appalling, vindictive and brutal sentence, which tramples on Malawi’s constitution, violates personal privacy and reverses the country’s commitment to human rights.

“Steven and Tiwonge love each other and have harmed no one. Yet they get a sentence more severe than some rapists, armed robbers and killers.

“With so much hatred and violence in Malawi, it is sick that the court has jailed these two men for loving and caring for each other.

“The sentence echoes the era of dictatorship under President Hastings Banda, when personal prejudices determined law enforcement, and when individual rights were crushed and dissenters persecuted,” said London-based human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell of the gay rights group OutRage!.

He was commenting on the 14 year jail sentence for homosexuality, which was handed down today against Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga in Blantyre, Malawi.

Continue reading "Malawi gay couple sentenced to 14 years hard labor" »

May 19, 2010

Frank Kameny's 85th birthday celebrations

Kameny_with_sign Gay rights pioneer Frank Kameny, whose 1971 campaign for D.C. Delegate to Congress led to GLAA's founding, will be 85 years old on May 21. Celebrations to mark the occasion including the following, which we encourage you to attend.

Event 1:

Celebrate the 85th birthday of Frank Kameny, a founding father of the gay rights movement in the US, this Wednesday.

Don Patron Arts will be providing 10 Portraits of Frank Kameny to raise money to support Frank in his later years of life. DJ Shea Van Horn will be providing music as well.

If you can’t attend the event but would still like to contribute, you may make a donation here.

Wednesday, May 19
The Artist Inn Residence
1824 R Street, NW
7:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Minimum donation of $20.

Event 2:

Frank Kameny's 85th Birthday Celebration

Join the Stein Club @ the DC Center as we celebrate our hero, Frank Kameny's, 85th Birthday. Featuring a special presentation by Paul Kuntzler.

Friday, May 21, 2010 (Frank's actual birthday)
6:30pm - 8:30pm
DC Center
1810 14th Street, NW

Update: Lou Chibbaro reports here.

May 12, 2010

May 17: Aryan Nations Counter Protest Planning Meeting

AnThe Gettysburg Times reports that community leaders in Gettysburg, PA have scheduled a meeting to plan  a counter protest coinciding with a possible June 19th, 2010 Aryan Nations event at the Gettysburg National Military Park.  Park management have confirmed that a permit has been requested and will be granted on first amendment grounds provided the group meets certain criteria.

Colonel Gordon Young, northeast director of the Aryan Nations has said they will be in opposition to the economy, homosexuals, immigrants and President Barack Obama's healthcare plan.  Colonel Young attended a September 2006 event at the park sponsored by the Ku Klux Klan.  Community groups schedules a Unity Day in opposition that gathered far greater support than the KKK event did.  Details on the planning meeting are in the article.

May 17: Project Idaho 2010


The International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia is held every year on May 17.  The above video was developed  as a project between the IDAHO committee and Gays.com.  This years event has been expanded to four days from May 14-17, 2010 with the theme of the Great Global Kiss-in.  Participants are encouraged to take videos of themselves kissing, especially in front of national monuments, and to submit them for inclusion of a mash-up of the event.  Anyone who knows of a planned Kiss-In for DC can post details in the comment section.

While locally there is no word of a planned Kiss-in,  an event titled "Here Lies Homophobia: An Action for Awareness" [Facebook] is planned for May 17 in Dupont Circle from 6:30-8:00pm.  This event is affiliated with Equality Across America and is described below.

We will take action and transform Dupont Circle into a burial gound. We intend to pay respect and raise awareness to those that have lost their lives to other's ignorance. There are several ways to help us bring death to discrimination. We invite you to design headstones for a fallen loved one or a general instance in which individuals have lost their life to homophobia. Or join others who will lie in silence and stealth under these headstones. Ultimately, rising in solidarity to honor the story of the fallen and symbolize the strength of survivors. You are also welcome to come and place flowers and candles at the fountain as a sign of respect. If you can do nothing else we are asking that you wear black and a visible bandaid. Please join us as we show the bullies in school and in society that the insecurities of others are not a reflection of who we are but of who they as persecutors are not.
Hopefully there won't be any confusion about planned events, since kissing at funerals is usually thought to be tacky.

May 07, 2010

NOI announces 2010 LGBT BootCamp

Lgbtbootcamp

An announcement from the New Organizing Institute:

LGBT BootCamp

What: NOI's 2010 LGBT BootCamp
Who: 60 champions of equality
Where: Washington, DC
When: August 1st - August 7th, 2010
Cost: We've got it covered. LGBT BootCamp is an all-expenses paid training for those who are accepted.

Application Deadline: Monday, May 31

Apply Now

This summer, the New Organizing Institute is teaming up with the Gill Foundation to put a spin on its signature BootCamp training series to bring LGBT equality activists from around the country to Washington DC for an intensive, six-day new media training.

NOI’s BootCamps are well known for their innovative style, integrating cutting-edge online organizing techniques, political technology, and field leadership. LGBT BootCamp is no different, and will have a focus on building new media skills to help these organizers move LGBT issues forward and achieve unprecedented progressive change.

LGBT BootCamp will place trainees in workshops with the best progressive organizers in the country during the day, and on teams for campaign simulation exercises during the evening. Trainees will master skills for crafting online campaigns, experimenting with everything from email calendars to metrics and testing. Through NOI's campaign simulation, trainees will have a chance to practice and refine their work with mentorship from some of the most experienced online organizers in the progressive movement.

There is an application process for this all-expense-paid training program. Applications are due by Monday, May 31.

We are especially looking for applicants from under-resourced parts of the LGBT movement. Ideal applicants are:

  • Working at state-based LGBT organizations
  • Interested in joining the staff of LGBT state-based organizations
  • Looking to make a major impact on upcoming LGBT organizing opportunities in their state or are willing to move

Apply Now

This training is made possible by a generous grant from the Gill Foundation.

(Hat tip: Michael Crawford)

GLOV Community Advisory on chat-line related attacks

Glovalert1 This came from Todd Metrokin of GLOV:

ATTENTION:
A third chat-line related attack has been reported by police which may prove that gay men usingsocial networking sites and apps are being targeted. One scenario involved inviting the attacker into the victim's home and the others where the parties met up at the assailant's car, in one instance the victim was robbed and the other ended in murder. GLOV urges those in our LGBT community using social networking sites and apps to be extremely careful and follow some basic rules:

  1. DO NOT invite the person into your home without meeting in a safe, public place.

  2. Get as much personal information as possible including a real face photo, phone numbers and a home address and try to verify the information.

  3. Let a friend know your plans and share the information with them.

BACKGROUND:
Two days prior to the tragic murder of Brian Betts, a 28-year old Prince William County man was robbed at gunpoint after agreeing to meet another man through a cellphone chat line. This incident marks the fourth time that a DC-area gay man has been the target of violent crime after agreeing to meet an individual through a website, chat room, or phone app and further confirms a trend – both locally and Nationwide – that gay men who use these methods to arrange meetings are being targeted for violent crime. While this trend has largely gone unreported by local media, GLOV believes that increased awareness and knowledge among the community is a vital component of keeping people safe. Last month a Phoenix man was robbed and murdered by a man he met on the iPhone application Grindr. The New York City Anti-Violence Project documented over 25 pick-up crime incidents in 2009, most of which involved internet dating sites, including adam4adam and craigslist. The types of reported crimes range from theft and drugging, to sexual violence and murder. It has also been reported that some assailants are working in teams.

WHAT WE CAN DO:
GLOV works with the MDP and members of the Department’s Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit (GLLU) as well as concerned members of the community and elected officials to raise awareness regarding the safety issues affecting members of DC’s LGBT community.

Anyone who has experienced an attack or has information about recent violent crime is being asked to contact the police on a special toll-free Crime Solvers at: 1-800-673-2777 or to call the Gay, Lesbian Liaison Unit at 1-877-495-5995. All calls are confidential.

For additional information on how to get involved with GLOV, please visit our website: http://thedccenter.org/programs_glov.html. Please forward this e‐mail to your friends and urge them to stay safe. We urge everyone to report incidents (verbal and physical threats, intimidation, and violence) to the police and let GLOV know as well by emailing us at [email protected] All reports to GLOV will be kept confidential.

Update: Grindr P.R. representative Heather Wilson writes:

Tip: Correction needed in "GLOV Community Advisory on chat-line related attacks" - your reference to Grindr in the May 7 alert needs to be removed as it incorrectly names Grindr as involved with this story.

Please see the following statement from Phoenix Police which states that Grindr nor any iPhone app should be named in this story as neither were involved.

From Phoenix Police:

Hello all. Our detectives have learned through this continuing investigation that it was not the "Grinder" IPHONE application that was used by the victim to make contact with the suspect, it was in fact a different social network.

Because this investigation is continuing, I do not have the information regarding the actual site that was used. I would ask that, as you continue to report this grizzly crime to your viewers readers and listeners, you use "unknown social network" in regards to how the victim and suspect were connected.

I will continue to update you on this investigation as information is received. Thanks as always,

Detective James R Holmes
Phoenix Police Department
Media Relations Unit
(602)534-7370 office
(602)920-3458

April 27, 2010

Send Jason Chaffetz Home

Chaffetz The DCist has alerted us to the efforts of Free and Equal DC to send Jason Chaffetz back to Utah. From their web site we learn
As the ranking Republican member of the U.S. House committee on the District of Columbia, Congressman Jason Chaffetz has made it a habit to meddle in our local affairs...now it's time we return the favor!!

Please join us for an event to support the Free and Equal DC Fund's effort to send Congressman Jason Chaffetz back to Utah for good. Money raised will be used to fund targeted campaign activities and independent expenditures in his home district. We'll make sure his constituents know he's been spending his time in Washington attempting to do the job of the a DC Councilmember, instead of representing the interests of Utah's 3rd district in Congress!!

Help us send Jason packing! The event details are below. We hope you can make it....and bring a friend!

Local 16
1602 U Street, NW
Washington, DC
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
5:30 - 8:00

Chaffetz of course is no friend to the LGBT community.  In January he introduced legislation in Congress to overturn DC marriage equality law. Chaffetz represents a rural section of Utah, the state with the lowest support for gay rights in the country, so his position on the issue does him no harm politically.  His fellow Republicans, who hope to someday return as a majority party, have little taste for the issue.  As the ranking Republican on the House committee with oversight of the District of Columbia he is free to attempt to impose his religious views on the city and thereby gain credence with the Republican fringe.  Tickets to the fundraiser are $25.51 to $151.00

After the jump watch Jason Chaffetz on The Colbert Report.

Continue reading "Send Jason Chaffetz Home" »

Malawi 'gay trial' prisoners speak out

Malawi-men
(Photo by Eldson Chagara/Reuters)

Peter Tatchell reports from London:

Malawi 'gay trial' prisoners speak out

Write to Steven and Tiwonge - Send them a letter

London - 27 April 2010

Two men on trial on charges of homosexuality in Malawi, Steven Monjeza (26) and Tiwonge Chimbalanga (20), have issued a defiant message from their prison cell, affirming their love for each other and thanking their supporters in Malawi and worldwide.

Tiwonge said: "I love Steven so much. If people or the world cannot give me the chance and freedom to continue living with him as my lover, then I am better off to die here in prison. Freedom without him is useless and meaningless."

"We have come a long way and even if our family relatives are not happy, I will not and never stop loving Tiwonge," said Steven.

The two men's messages were relayed from inside Chichiri Prison in Blantyre, Malawi, to Peter Tatchell of the LGBT human rights group OutRage! in London, England.

Tiwonge and Steven have stressed their gratitude for the support they have received from fellow Malawians and from people around the world:

"We are thankful for the people who have rallied behind us during this difficult time. We are grateful to the people who visit and support us, which really makes us feel to be members of a human family; otherwise we would feel condemned," said Tiwonge.

Steven added: "All the support is well appreciated. We are grateful to everybody who is doing this for us. May people please continue the commendable job. Keep sending some small contribution. The money you send to us is so valuable and it makes such a huge difference between life and death, as prison life is very difficult. With the money we are able to buy some extra food to supplement our intake of the much needed vitamins and proteins."

Peter Tatchell expressed his admiration of the two men:

"Steven and Tiwonge are showing immense fortitude and courage. They declared their love in a society where many people - not all - are very intolerant and homophobic. This was a very brave thing to do. Although suffering in prison, they are unbowed. They continue to maintain their love and affirm their human right to be treated with dignity and respect," said Peter Tatchell.

Continue reading "Malawi 'gay trial' prisoners speak out" »

April 26, 2010

Metro DC PFLAG Chapter Takes on PFOX

Pflag

We received this news from Metro DC PFLAG:

Metro DC PFLAG has been battling with PFOX in the Montgomery County, MD schools for several years now. Here is an update from chapter member David Fishback on their effort to keep PFOX’s message of change out of the schools:

"In February, the interestingly-named group Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays (PFOX) distributed fliers in some Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) high schools telling students that people can change their sexual orientation from gay to straight by “therapies.” PFOX was able to distribute these fliers because a federal court decision several years ago required that MCPS not discriminate based on viewpoint in what the court viewed as a “public forum.” The same court also made it clear that MCPS, when speaking for itself, need not present all viewpoints. That is why PFOX lost in its lawsuit in 2007 and 2008 to block the health education curriculum revisions dealing with matters of sexual orientation unless its “viewpoint” was also presented.

The PFOX flyer is dangerous to children’s health.

On April 12, I wrote a letter to the Montgomery County Board of Education on behalf of the Metro DC Chapter of Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians (PFLAG), excerpts of which are copied here."

It is imperative that the Board include material, recommended by its own Advisory Committee, specifically stating that mainstream medical and mental health community recognizes that being gay is not a choice and that so-called therapies to change sexual orientation are opposed by the mainstream health professionals as dangerous. Please contact the Board at [email protected] to urge MCPS to provide this needed improvement to the health education curriculum.

Good for PFLAG. We previously blogged on this subject here and here.

April 23, 2010

Police release photos of suspects in robbery of Nellie's Sports Bar

WaPo reports that D.C. police have released photos of the two suspects in the April 19 armed robbery of Nellie's Sports Bar, obtained from the bar's security cameras:

The first suspect was described as a black male in his mid 20s, about 6' 1" tall, weighing 210 lbs and wearing his hair in dreadlocks. He was wearing a black and red hat with a red brim, a black hooded jacket and tan pants, police said.

Nellies_suspect_1

The second suspect was described as a black male between 30 and 35 years old with a bald head who was about 6' tall and weighing about 200 lbs. He wore a brown fedora, a dark sport coat, light dress pants and dark dress shoes, police said.

Nellies_suspect_2

Anyone with information is asked to call police at 202-727-9099 or 1-888-919-CRIM[E] (1-888-919-2746). Anonymous information can be submitted to D.C. Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-TIPS or texted to the department’s text tip line by messaging 50411.

April 15, 2010

ATTENTION - Veterans Lobby Day - May 11, 2010

Tuesday May 11, 2010 is Veterans Lobby Day on Don't Ask, Don't Tell.  Congress is scheduled to draft the National Defense Authorization Act – the bill that should contain DADT repeal language shortly after this date and it is critical that veterans who support the repeal of DADT visit their representatives if the bill is to be repealed this year.  Veterans Lobby Day is a project of Servicemembers United and the Human Rights Campaign and in partnership with man other veterans organizations.  [GLAA is one of the endorsing organizations.]  The schedule calls for check-in Monday with training on lobby techniques and an evening reception.  There will be a breakfast the next day and then lobbying of Congress, followed by a debriefing and a closing party.  If you are a veteran please plan on coming and pass along the information to you friends and family who are also veterans.  This is the year to repeal DADT.  LET'S GET THIS DONE.

April 12, 2010

Malawi gay prisoner Manjeza seriously ill

Monjeza This just in from LGBT Asylum News:

Urgent action alert: Malawi gay prisoner Manjeza seriously ill

Source: Modern Ghana

By Norman Miwambo

Reports from the notorious Chichiri Prison-Blantyre, Malawi indicate that one of Malawian gay prisoners is in a life threatening situation, this paper can reveal.

Steven Manjeza (26) who is seriously ill and has been detained in Chichili Prison since he was arrested along with Tiwonge Chimbalanga (20) on charges of alleged buggery and indecency after getting into traditional marriage ceremony last December.

“He has been held on remand in an overcrowded, squalid call for over three months, without proper food, sanitation or medical care,” London-based human rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell of OutRage, told this reporter.

Together with his partner, Tiwonge, Mr Monjeza, the gay lovers, were last month declared and adopted as “Prisoners of Conscience” by the Amnesty International which continue to campaign for their release.

Mr Tatchell has been sent an urgent appeal from inside the prison, requesting help to save Mr Monjeza's deteriorating health situation. Tatchell confirmed that eye-witnessses in the prison, Steven has been vomiting, coughing and suffering from pain and pressure in his chest for the last eleven (11) days.

“He looks very ill and has lost weight,” Tatchell quotes a prison source. He says that people who have seen him fear his health and that he needs urgent hospital care.

“The prison authorities have failed to give Steven proper treatment, or even sufficient pain killers. His pain-killers ran out on 10 April,” said Tatchell.

He added: “My informant says Mr Monjeza urgently needs to go to hospital for a full medical examination and treatment. His health is likely to deteriorate further unless he gets swift medical care.”

Tatchell also says Mr Monjeza is being held in a cell with a dozen of other men. There is not enough space to sleep comfortably. Chichiri prison was built for 800 prisoners. It currently holds around 2,000 inmates. All are suffering. “Toilet and shower facilities are deficient. Mr Monjeza receives only two meals a day. It is always the same maize porridge with beans, which has low nutritional value.

“Steven and Tiwonge are being held on remand, they have not been convicted of any offence. Yet they are being treated like criminals and imprisoned with hardened with felons convicted of serious crimes.

“Requests by Mr Monjeza and Mr Chimalanga for bail have been turned down, even though people convicted of violent assaults, even murder, have been previously granted bail. It looks like they are being singled out for special victimisation,” said Peter, adding that: “We ask you [readers] to lobby the Malawian Ambassador in your country. Ask him or her to press the government of Malawi to transfer Mr Monjeza to hospital and provide him with medical treatment.”

Continue reading "Malawi gay prisoner Manjeza seriously ill" »

March 29, 2010

Dialogue on Race, Faith, and Marriage Equality at GU

A discussion titled "Legalized Gay: A Dialogue on Race, Faith, and Marriage Equality at Georgetown University"  will be held on Wednesday, March 31, 2010 from 12:15 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
McShain Lounge, McCarthy Hall
Southwest Quadrangle
Georgetown University
Washington, DC 20007

People of color and people of faith are often charged with blocking lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights. But DC's recent marriage equality victory showed that organizing people of color and people of faith was crucial. This panel, featuring DC Councilmember David Catania, will examine the role race and faith played in securing marriage equality in Washington, D.C.

Other speakers include Cathy Renna, managing director of Renna Communications; Professor Joseph Palacios, assistant professor in Latin American Studies at Georgetown University; and Richard Sincere, co-founder and president of Gays and Lesbians for Liberty. The event will be moderated by Michael Crawford, new media director at Freedom to Marry.

This event is free and open to the public. Food and refreshments will be served.

Update:  There will also be a forum on Tuesday, March 30 7pm at Howard University Music Listening Room, Blackburn Student Center

The Howard panel features Rev. Candy Holmes, a minister at MCC Church who is part of one of the first couples to marry in DC, Freedom to Marry's Michael Crawford, Genesis Nunlee, a Howard University student, and will be moderated by Joey Gaskin, HBCU outreach coordinator at the Human Rights Campaign.

via WCP

March 20, 2010

March with Immigration Equality: Sunday, March 21st in D.C.

ImEq Please join us Sunday in the march for immigration reform. Here's a message from Immigration Equality.

On Sunday, March 21st, Immigration Equality supporters from across the country will gather in the nation’s capital to take part in the 2010 March for America, a massive mobilization to call on Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform this year.

Please make plans to join us in D.C. and send a visible and vocal message that comprehensive reform must include LGBT families, too!

First, sign up on our website.

We will be gathering at the World War II memorial at 11:30am on March 21st. Our staffers will be on hand to distribute signage (and feel free to bring your own!), and answer any questions you might have about the day’s activities. Then, we’ll walk together to the National Mall, where tens of thousands of other immigration advocates will kick-off the March at 1pm.

Together, we can send a strong, unmistakable message that no reform is truly “comprehensive” unless it includes our families, too.

And mark your calendars for Saturday night, March 20th, too. Immigration Equality supporters will be meeting up at Nellie's Sports Bar in Washington for happy hour, from 6-8pm. You'll be able to meet other supporters and learn why others are marching, too. Immigration Equality staff members will be on hand to celebrate with you.

Sign up today, and join us in Washington as we bring our message, and our stories, to Congress and the world.

March 17, 2010

65 British MPs condemn Malawi gay trial

Uganda-gay-marriage_293491s
Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga

This just in from Peter Tatchell in London:

65 British MPs condemn Malawi gay trial

Verdict expected next Monday, 22 March

Male couple face up to 14 years jail on homosexuality charges

Amnesty International adopts Steven and Tiwonge as Prisoners of Conscience

London - 17 March 2010

Sixty-five British MPs have signed a House of Commons Early Day Motion (EDM 564), which condemns Malawi's arrest and trial of Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga, who are accused of a homosexual relationship.

The two men love each other and have harmed no one. But they could be jailed for up to 14 years.

The verdict in their trial is expected next Monday, 22 March.

Amnesty International has adopted Steven and Tiwonge as Prisoners of Conscience:
http://www.amnesty.org.uk/actions_details.asp?ActionID=682

The EDM, tabled by Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming, urges the release of the two men, the dropping of all charges and the decriminalisation of homosexuality in Malawi.

A copy of the EDM and a link to the signatures follows below.

Continue reading "65 British MPs condemn Malawi gay trial" »

Cuccinelli Protest at GMU School of Law

Gmu Virginia Attorney General  Ken Cuccinelli II has garnered quite a bit of protest at colleges in recent weeks following his request that Virginia public colleges and universities rescind policies that ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.  The controversial AG is scheduled to attend a reception at George Mason University School of Law on March 23, and a protest has been scheduled to take place outside the event.
Who: LGBTQ students, alumni, faculty and staff from George Mason University and all public Virginia Universities and their friends and allies (hosted by the George Mason University School of Law (GMUSL) Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Law Association (GALLA) and the George Mason University Alumni Association Lambda Alumni Chapter)

What: Protest and Rally in response to Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's appearance at GMU School of Law re his opinion advising public Virginia Universities to delete sexual orientation from their nondiscrimination policies

When: Tuesday, March 23, 2010, 4-8 p.m. (time will be specified as the date approaches)

Where: Front of GMU School of Law, 3301 Fairfax Dr., Arlington, VA 22201 (Metro: Orange Line to Clarendon or Virginia Square-GMU; white 4 story building with semi-circular façade)

Why: Cuccinelli's opinion is bad for Virginia's economy, is wrong on the law, and threatens the competitiveness, reputation and accreditation status of all of Virginia's public Universities (e.g. all public Virginia law schools could lose American Bar Association accreditation)
You can RSVP for the event on the its Facebook page.  Final details on the time will be announced later.

March 08, 2010

FENDC: LGBTQI Activist Conference Planning Meeting

Full Equality Now! DC has announced a D.C. Metro Area LGBTQI Activist and Educational Conference with a proposed date of April 17.
FENDC envisions the D.C. Metro Area LGBTQI Activist Educational Conference as a fantastic opportunity to:
  • bring together LGBTQI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex) student groups, activists, organizations and allies
  • debate and discuss strategies and tactics to win LGBTQI Civil Rights
  • raise political consciousness and learn about LGBTQI history and struggle
  • plan and coordinate future actions
  • network with local and regional activists
  • be a part of democratically developing a national grassroots strategy to win full federal equality.
The Kick-off Planning Meeting will be held Wednesday, March 17, 7pm Metropolitan Community Church 474 Ridge Street NW with additional meetings each Wednesday through April 14th. Additional information about FENDC can be found on their Facebook page.

February 23, 2010

Petrelis: gay comments needed at State Dept blog

Michael Petrelis writes:

The U.S. State Department needs to hear some pro-gay messages about including gays and men who have sex with men in the Global Health Initiative and PEPFAR campaign, to fight HIV/AIDS globally.

Yesterday I blogged about a recent Dip Note blog post by Dr. Eric Goosby, our top diplomat for AIDS matters, and I also posted a gay-specific comment for all to read. Goosby and the department omitted any mention about gay men. Not a healthy sign for us.Such invisibility bodes ill for addressing gays and HIV issues around the world.

More pro-gay messages are needed today at the State Department blog post. While the official deadline for public comment on the Global Health Initiative, which encompasses PEPFAR, passed yesterday, it is still necessary to use the comment function at Goosby's post to send a gay-specific to him and the department.

Please take a few minutes to visit the Dip Note entry, and leave a good gay comment for our diplomatic corps to read. The fight for gay visibility at the State Department and through PEPFAR is a constant one. Do your part in this fight. Thanks.

February 09, 2010

Community conversation set for 2/18 on GLBT health in D.C.

This just in from Chris Dyer, director of the Mayor's Office of GLBT Affairs. I am posting it at his request.

The Mayor's Office of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Affairs (GLBT) will host a community conversation about GLBT health in the District of Columbia. Join guest speakers Dr. Pierre Vigilance, Director, DC Department of Health and Steve Baron, Director of the Department of Mental Health, for a conversation about improving GLBT health outcomes in the District.

Date: Thursday February 18, 2010
Time: 7 pm
Location: Reeves Center, 2000 14th Street, NW, 2nd Floor, Edna Frazier Community Room.
Nearest Metro: U Street/African-Amer Civil War Memorial/Cardozo
For additional information and to register for this event, please visit www.glbt.dc.gov.

Thanks.

Christopher J. Dyer
Director
Mayor's Office of GLBT Affairs
1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Suite 221
Washington, DC 20004
(202) 442-5143 (direct)
(202) 297-2137 (mobile)
(202) 727-5931
www.glbt.dc.gov

February 02, 2010

NOM-backed bill would force marriage initiative on D.C.

Brian_brown Brian Brown (pictured) of the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage just sent out this action alert:

URGENT ALERT: Urge Congress to Support Bill to Protect Marriage!

Breaking news from Washington . . . .

9 U.S. Senators have agreed to co-sponsor a bill that would guarantee the right of DC residents to vote on same-sex marriage.

The bill will be introduced shortly and will complement a similar bill introduced in the House in January. The House bill is HR4430, and I'll keep you posted when the Senate Bill is introduced and assigned a number.

The next few days are crucial as we meet with legislators and seek support on Capitol Hill! We need your help right now.

Use this link to send an email to your Senators and Congressman. Tell them you want them to join as co-sponsors of the DC Marriage Initiative bill / HR4430, and even more importantly, push to ensure that the bill gets a vote on the Senate and House floors.

Sending Your Letter
The 9 Senate co-sponsors are Senators Robert Bennett (UT), Sam Brownback (KS), Jim Bunning (KY), John Cornyn (TX), Mike Enzi (WY), James Inhofe (OK), Pat Roberts (KS), David Vitter (LA), and Roger Wicker (MS). The 2 House co-sponsors are Representatives Jason Chaffetz (UT) and Jim Jordan (OH).

When you use the link above to send your email message, you'll see two letters. If your senator or congressman is one of the existing co-sponsors to the bill, they will receive the "Letter for Co-Sponsors." Otherwise, your senators and congressman will receive the "Letter for All Others." Either way, your letter will be going to your own elected officials in Washington. Please take a moment to personalize your letter to let your representatives in Washington know how important this issue is.

Continue reading "NOM-backed bill would force marriage initiative on D.C." »

January 26, 2010

Protests set for Jan. 27 over murdered Honduran activist

Walter_trochez Michael Petrelis reports on protests scheduled on Wednesday (including one in D.C.) demanding justice in the murder of Honduran activist Walter Trochez (pictured here), but also protesting the inauguration of President-elect Porfirio Lobo:

On January 27, Honduras will inaugurate Porfirio Lobo as the new President of the country, and gays in three cities will mark the occasion demonstrating on behalf of human rights protections for LGBT people and pro-democracy forces in Honduras. Since the military coup of June 29, 2009, many other transgender and gay people as well as opponents of the coup government have been murdered. Our solidarity and compassion go to the family members and friends of those murdered.

Gay activists are particularly concerned that no has been arrested and charged with the assassination of Walter Trochez, a 26-year-old gay man and HIV/AIDS advocate, killed on December 13, who worked with human rights organizations against the coup leaders.

Follow the link to see the schedule and info on the protests. I will miss the D.C. protest, as I will be at the Board of Elections and Ethics on Wednesday to testify against the proposed referendum on the marriage equality bill. However, I am not sure why defending gay rights requires us to align ourselves with the interests of Manuel Zelaya and Hugo Chavez. The international gay rights movement has long been dominated by leftists who are bothered a lot more by right-wing depredations than left-wing ones. It is easy enough to pick and choose your despots when you live in comfort and freedom in the United States or Western Europe.

Update: Seattle Gay News reported here that the American Embassy has been on the case:

"Ambassador [Hugo] Llorens met on December 17 with members of the Gay community to express his concern about the killing of Mr. Trochez and the U.S. Embassy has expressed concern about the Trochez murder and other human rights violations to the special prosecutor for Human Rights and to the Honduran police," an embassy official said.

"Over the past several years, the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa has maintained a strong and supportive dialogue with the Honduran LGBT community and on a number of occasions has discussed the community's concerns with the Honduran authorities," the official added.

January 13, 2010

Haitian earthquake: news & how to help

Here is video of the aftermath of yesterday's devastating earthquake in Haiti:

Click here for information from the American Red Cross on how to help the communities affected.
Washington Post coverage here and here.
The Associated Press provides extensive coverage:
"Quake devastates Haiti, many casualties feared"
"Many casualties expected from Haiti quake..." (video)
"UN says Haiti headquarters collapsed in earthquake"
"Archbishop of Port-au-Prince dies in Haiti quake"
"US husband saves wife trapped in Haiti rubble"
"The science behind Haiti's quake"
"Obama promises all-out US relief for Haiti"
"Haiti quake new blow for country mired in misery"
"State media: 8 Chinese peacekeepers die in Haiti"
"U.N. Chief pleads for massive aid for Haiti" (video)
"Earthquake means more misery for Haiti" (video)
"Quake-stunned Haitians pile bodies by fallen homes"
"Up to 3 million in need after Haitian earthquake"
"Haitian-Americans worry about devastated homeland"
"US sending rescue teams to Haiti after big quake"
"US sets up toll-free number for Haiti information"
"2 Americans reported trapped in wreckage in Haiti"
"7.0 quake hits Haiti, hospital collapses" (video)

IGLHRC action alert on Malawi

Malawi gay couple

Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga. (Eldson Chagara / Reuters)

The International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission has launched a letter writing campaign to "End Arrests and Discrimination Against LGBT People":

Join the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission in calling upon the Malawi government to release Steven Monjeza (age 26) and Tiwonge Chimbalanga (age 20) from detention and end discrimination against LGBT and HIV/AIDS activists. After their traditional engagement on December 27, 2009, the two were arrested on December 28, 2009 and charged with "unnatural offenses" and "indecent practices between males" (Sections 153 and 156 of the Malawi Penal Code) with a potential sentence of up to 14 and 5 years in prison, respectively. The two were then denied bail, and prosecutors subjected them to internal medical examinations without their consent.

Click on the link above for more background and a sample letter to Malawi officials.

November 20, 2009

D.C. vigil for gay teenager murdered in Puerto Rico

This just in:

DC Vigil and Speakout for Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado and against Homophobia

Sunday, November 22
5 pm
Dupont Circle, NW Washington DC

This past Monday gay teenager Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado was brutally murdered in Cayey, Puerto Rico. In televised remarks, the police investigator on the case suggested Lopez Mercado deserved to be burned, dismembered and decapitated, saying, 'people who lead this type of lifestyle need to be aware that this will happen.'

Please join us for a candlelight vigil and speakout remembering Lopez Mercado and speaking out against the double outrage of the murder and the investigator's disgusting remarks.

Sponsored by Full Equality Now DC, a grassroots organization fighting for LGBT rights in DC and nationally as part of Equality Across America. Please contact us to endorse.

dc.equality at gmail.com
please join our listserve dc-eaa at googlegroups.com

November 19, 2009

Demo at Ugandan Embassy today at 2 p.m.

If you can get away from the office, please join us today at 2 p.m. outside the Embassy of the Republic of Uganda, at 5911 16th Street, NW, for a demonstration of solidarity with Uganda's LGBTQ community in response to an atrocious anti-gay bill pending in that country. Here's the description from the organizers:

STAND IN SOLIDARITY WITH UGANDA'S LGBTQ COMMUNITY

WHAT: Peaceful, lawful, vocal and united demonstration in solidarity with LGBTQ Ugandans, in protest against hate and oppression

WHERE: The Ugandan Embassy to the United States
5911 16th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20011
2 miles north of Columbia Heights Metro on 16TH street
1 mile northwest of the Georgia Ave/Petworth Metro
Also accessible via 16th Street buses (S2, S4)

WHO: All of us, especially all LGBTQ equality and human rights allies

WHY: TO PROTEST BILL NO. 18--THE UGANDAN ANTI-HOMOSEXUALITY BILL.

Uganda's Penal Code Article 145a already criminalizes "carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature" – a charge used to prosecute, persecute and blackmail LGBT people with the threat of life imprisonment. The new bill would specifically penalize homosexuality, using life imprisonment to punish anything from sexual stimulation to simply "touch[ing] another person with the intention of committing the act of homosexuality." It also punishes "aggravated homosexuality" – including activity by "serial offenders" or those who are HIV positive – with the death penalty.

Continue reading "Demo at Ugandan Embassy today at 2 p.m." »