Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Kramer says "This is not Freedom"

"We must never forget that everything we have won can very quickly be taken away from us. We have seen this time and again. Presidents come and go ignoring us. This president is no different. Once again he is not doing it for us and once again we are letting him get away with it. This President is another loser for us and I predict he will remain this way."

"We must remember that we do not have the freedom to marry, to inherit, to adopt, to share our health insurance, to learn about our history in our schools. To learn that our two greatest presidents, Washington and Lincoln were gay. We do not have the freedom to live as straight people have the freedom to live. We do not have the freedom to have our bars not raided by police and officers beating us up with such fury that we land in hospitals."

"We have not learned to fight back with the same fury with which they fight us. You do not get more with honey than with vinegar. There are over one thousand benefits from our government that straight couples get that we are denied. This is not freedom. This is not equality. America’s Bill of Rights says we are meant to be equal."

SUNDAY, SEPT. 20, 2009

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Cleve Jones Urges Pressure on Representatives to Repeal DOMA

Dear Friends:

It has been over 30 years since my friend and teacher, gay rights activist Harvey Milk, was assassinated. Today, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people have won limited rights in a handful of states, but we are still second class citizens throughout the United States.

Harvey once said, "It takes no compromising to give people their rights."

This morning, Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) introduced a bill in Congress to repeal the so-called "Defense of Marriage Act." If passed by the Congress, Rep. Nadler's legislation would be a real step forward in the march for full equality and we applaud his efforts, but LGBT people must stop settling for compromises and half measures.

Send a message to your Representative demanding full equality now!

Equal rights are not a "gay" issue. They are about our shared human rights: safety in our schools and jobs, equitable healthcare and housing, and protection for our families, to name a few.

Like all other Americans, LGBT people are guaranteed equal protection under the law by the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution. Free and equal people do not compromise, and that's why we're marching on Washington next month with one simple demand: Equal protection for LGBT people in all matters governed by civil law in all 50 states. Now.

Please ask your Representative to co-sponsor this legislation as an important first step, and remind them that there are no fractions of equality.

When Harvey spoke at Gay Freedom Day at San Francisco City Hall in 1978, he invoked the words of the Declaration of Independence: "All [people] are created equal. No matter how hard you try, you can never erase those words."

No more compromises. We are equal.

-Cleve Jones

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Momentum Builds at Mobilization for Metro NY Meeting at LGBT Center

NYC LGBT Community REVS UP for March On Washington –OCTOBER 10-11, 2009

Diversity was the hallmark as a remarkable group of activists, from high school students to veterans of the famous ACT-UP Cathedral days, and everyone in between, joined in coalition to deliver NYC to DC on October 10-11th.

After affirming the purpose – Full Equality Now -- news was delivered about the flurry of buses already organized with r/t options starting at $20, and others with hotel packages. Participants then swung into action to coordinate a range of activities including media, flyering, fundraising, and organizational outreach. The mood was exhilarating as strangers leaped to coordinate cross-organizationally.

A highlight was the unveiling of a new banner by Gilbert Baker - the originator of the Rainbow Flag – that captured the spirit: Equal « Justice « Under « Law. Drawn from the west pediment of the Supreme Court Building – but derived originally from the 14th Amendment – this Constitutional Principle is the movement’s greatest legal promise, and the activists holding it – the next great political force.

A new website – www.equalityNYC.org – is being launched any moment with all the information needed to launch from NY and arrive in DC fully prepared to deliver the demand for Full Equality Now! There are opportunities for everyone to plug in – this is a grassroots revolution – by the busloads. Come check it out and join the March at www.nationalequalitymarch.com.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Podcast of National Equaity March Organizer Kip Williams

Bilerico's Alex Blaze Interviews Kip Williams - Director of the Equality Across America

The Best Advocacy Advertisement on Marriage Equality!

Hattip: Marriage Equality Ireland

Rainbow Sash Movement Schedules Christian Service on Saturday Before National Equality March

Ecumenical Prayer Service for LGBT Rights In Washington, DC for the March On Washington

The Equality March on Washington is an opportunity for Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender Catholics to say no to homophobia that would deny us our most fundamental rights. The Rainbow Sash Movement (http://www.rainbowsashmovement.com/) is calling for an Ecumenical Prayer Service to be held outside of the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle at 11AM on October 10, Saturday the same weekend as the march.

After the Ecumenical prayer service members and supporters of the Rainbow Sash Movement will enter the Cathedral for the noon Liturgy wearing Rainbow Sashes. This is a symbol of self identification, and to remind our fellow Catholics that our human dignity counts, and that we will no longer be invisible in the face of hierarchal homophobia.

Archbishop Wuerl of Washington DC has shown that he is insensitive to heritage of homophobia that is alive and well in Church as exampled by his recent actions in opposing Gay Marriage.
The Rainbow Sash Movement will no longer be silent because this will only embolden other Catholic Bishops to further distort the debate around Gay Marriage and further dehumanize the intrinsic worth of each Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender person.

Our letters and words of love are meaningless unless we are ready to stand shoulder to shoulder with those who promote not only our human rights but also our civil rights such as Equality March On Washington. For further information or to get involved please email us at contact@RainbowSashMovement.Com.

Long Live the Everyman

Cleve Jones: The Man Behind the Curtain
Bil Browning Editor-In-Chief of The Bilerico Project
From Huffington Post - 09.02.2009

I had the opportunity to meet veteran activist Cleve Jones Sunday during his recent visit to Chicago. Bilerico Project readers left questions for Jones in the comment section and sent in more via Twitter, Facebook, and e-mail, and I did the interview on their behalf. The response was overwhelming.

I read the questions from my iPhone to keep their voices intact. It was their interview, so I simply asked what was submitted and tried to get through as many questions as possible. We'll be paraphrasing the questions in the videos, but there will be a full written transcript of all questions and answers soon.

This isn't the interview I'd have done, obviously; Projectors' questions ranged from supportive to almost hostile. Instead, I wanted to share my reflections about meeting Jones and spending time watching him interact with Chicago activists -- a prologue, if you will, for the Q&A we're prepping.

One outstanding impression was simple and all encompassing. Cleve Jones is no gay God; he has feet of clay.

I've met many of the LGBT big wigs through the blog -- heads of big national organizations, entertainers, and lifelong respected activists I can only hope to emulate. With the exception of my first time meeting Kate Clinton, I'm never really starstruck or, honestly, in awe of their Super Queer powers.

For all the massive egos and self-importance, they're people just like you or I. They put on their socks one at a time like everyone else.

The Man Behind the Curtain Is Just a Man
We met Jones at a Join The Impact Chicago meeting held in a young straight couple's home. By the time we arrived, the official meeting had ended and people were milling about and socializing. Jones was in the back yard swinging the couple's tow-headed toddler up in the air and smothering him with kisses.

Many people only know Jones because of the movie Milk, but he stands out in my head because of the AIDS Quilt. I've sewn panels for the Quilt; I have friends and a former lover who's lives are represented on a small square of fabric decorated with my needlework and tears. Most of the young activists in the home's yard, however, knew the veteran activist solely from his relationship with Harvey Milk as portrayed on the big screen.

Both glimpses of Jones' life, however, are simply shades of the entire man. As with anyone who's dared to step into a leadership role within our community, he has been both praised and denigrated. I was there to ask him Projector's questions, but I also wanted to satisfy my own curiosity about which role was more accurate -- Wealthy Dilettante or Super Gay.

Maybe I imagined something more Christ-like. Would I walk into a half circle group of wide-eyed acolytes worshiping at the feet of their chosen celebrity? Or perhaps I expected yet another older activist who'd survived the AIDS crisis and insisted on being held in high esteem for the length of time he'd outlived his friends and peers.

Instead of a wannabe demigod, the man I met was entirely human. He laughs often, smokes cigarettes, talks too much and stops to play with children. He is charming, middle-class and disorganized.

Who Speaks For the Everyman?
It becomes quickly obvious that the diverse group of young people weren't hanging around to idolize a celebrity activist; they were there to learn how to effectively organize their community. The group didn't want fundraising pitches or bumper stickers; they wanted knowledge on how to change the world. They meant business.

They're not your usual armchair activists that make a small donation to a national or state-level group and click a mouse button a few times a year to send an e-mail to a member of Congress. They're opinionated, racially and gender diverse, and active in many progressive issues. They also feel alone and unsupported by the community in general.

These young men and women don't feel connected to the national movement. Some of them don't feel like they're a part of their local equality organizations either. They shared their frustrations at local community members lack of motivation and team building.

They're radicals looking for a slot to slide into; they have a role to play in the fight for justice but it hasn't been clearly defined. These future leaders are fending for themselves. They're not connected to the power brokers and LGBT old guard who tend to be more cautious and calculating.

Who speaks for them? They do.

Enter Cleve Jones

Like the young activists, he's not wealthy, he's not on a first name basis with all the members of the queer royalty, and he's not a professional political wonk -- either inside or out of the LGBT community. He's a labor organizer now who helps to negotiate union contracts for hotel staff and other workers.

Jones is over 50, not in the best health, and still seems a little in shock at both his recent celebrity status and the vociferousness of some of the attacks launched his way after he became the march's public face. His years leading the NAMES Project hardened him to the challenges of working inside the LGBT community, but his decade out of the spotlight allowed him to recharge and refocus.

His experiences -- whether the time spent at Harvey Milk's side, his years as the head of the AIDS Quilt and the subsequent battle for control of it, or his semi-retirement to the California desert -- have shaped Jones into the gay community's Rodney Dangerfield. He's always been around, wears his heart on his sleeve, talks constantly, and gets no respect from the establishment.

"My only gift worth anything is my ability to talk," he says and the truth of it is soon self-evident. "There seems to be an overwhelming belief that I'm fabulously wealthy and hang out all day by the pool with celebrities and gay leaders. I don't. They say I'm trying to position myself to be the new gay leader, but I'm not. I just want our community to see us we're entitled to equality. We don't have to ask for our rights; they're in the Constitution."

Jones, with all of his flaws and baggage, is not King of the Gays. He's an everyday foot soldier with name brand recognition.

Like the group of young people meeting in Chicago, he feels the need to step forward and demand equality on his own timeline instead of a pre-determined time table established by Gay Inc. He doesn't feel the community has reached out to those like him and isn't willing to wait for the crumbs the establishment drops occasionally -- like cocktail parties at the White House -- while stalling on issues of importance like employment and housing protections, Don't Ask Don't Tell, or relationship recognition.

Accepting Responsibility For Our Own Leadership
As more and more members of the LGBT community grow impatient with the slow advances we've gained, the ranks of disaffected - and imperfect - activists will continue to swell. This ragtag army of eager volunteers are straining at the leash society has put around their necks.

They're not satisfied with incrementalism and platitudes. Promises without end do not interest them.

America's sea change on LGBT rights hasn't happened in a vacuum. The call to "come out" has been answered and LGBT people are regularly portrayed in the media, given positions of authority, and accepted by their families and friends without prejudice for who they are.

Harvey Milk started the clarion call to come out. Thousands of us have continued that mantra and the results have been overwhelmingly positive.

One man's idea has turned into the largest benefit the LGBT community has ever had. A man who smoked pot, had multiple sex partners, and tilted at windmills pointed us in the right direction despite his flaws and inconvenient timing for the power establishment.

Is it the right time to have another march on Washington? Of course not. There's never a "right" time; there's always going to be a reason to stick with the status quo.

There will never be a gay Martin Luther King. Even Harvey Milk was a simple man who stood up for his own rights and ours. There is no LGBT royalty.

It's just us. If we want what we're entitled to, we have to demand it. We have to stand up and challenge authority and tradition. We can't count on allies and celebrities to do our work for us.

When we have the full equality to which we're entitled, it will be because of the work of the average, the poor, and the flawed. It will be achieved by the work of the many and the everyday citizen.

And Cleve Jones, for all his flaws, is one of us. He has feet of clay -- as do we all.

The King is dead. Long live the Everyman.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Cleve Jones Web Interview - On The Importance of the National Equality March

Hattip: Bil Browning of Bilerico

Cleve Jones Web Interview - On Various Criticism and LGBT Activism

Hattip - Bil Browning of Bilerico

Cleve Jones Web Interview - On The Origin of the National Equality March

Hattip - Bil Browning of Bilerico

NGLTF Endorses National Equality March

The Task Force will engage and support people taking action in pursuit of full equality and justice for LGBT people.

WASHINGTON – September 3 – The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, a leader in building grassroots lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) political power, endorses the National Equality March, which will be held in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 10-11. Thousands of people from across the country will march and rally in front of the U.S. Capitol demanding equal protection under the law for LGBT people and their families in all 50 states.

At the march, the Task Force will engage new activists, support fair-minded clergy and other people of faith, and mobilize volunteer activists to return home engaged and energized.“For the past 30 years, LGBT people and our allies have come together in Washington to be inspired, to engage in political action, and to go home geared up to create change. The National Equality March will bring together those of us who have never marched, those who want to renew their passion for action, and those who demand their voices be heard. When we mobilize for LGBT equality, for racial and economic justice, for a transformed society, and to make our love and lives visible, the Task Force is there.

The Task Force will be there at the march to support the voices of new activists, LGBT people and our allies who push and push for the end to hatred, discrimination and unjust laws,” says National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey.

As part of its commitment to support march participants in fighting for local, state and federal change, the Task Force will:
· Utilize technology to connect people to concrete actions they can take on the local, state and national levels.
· Lend its faith organizing expertise in helping to plan an interfaith worship service.
· Work to connect state equality organizations and community centers with march participants the Task Force identifies from their states so they can further engage them to be active at home.
· Engage march participants in ballot campaigns under way in Maine, Washington state and Kalamazoo, Mich.

· Engage and support new activists in honing their talents and grassroots skills after the weekend of the march.

Consistent with the march goal of seeking equality in all 50 states, the Task Force will maintain its longstanding commitment to provide organizers, expertise and money for key ballot measure fights under way in Maine, Washington state and Kalamazoo, Mich. The Task Force will reach out to march participants from these states to channel their energy to create change back home.March attendees who want to further develop their skills and strategize with other activists will be encouraged to attend the National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change just a few months later in Dallas, Texas.

“The Task Force is excited to support a new wave of activists and advocates. Whether you come to D.C. to march or stay at home to create change in your city, town, school or place of worship, the Task Force has the tools and know-how to help. Let’s march in Washington and step it up at home,” says Carey.

Standing on the Side of Love Website Relaunches with A Call to Participate in the National Equality March


Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations Becomes a Sponsor of the National Equality March

The Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations is a proud sponsor of the National Equality March & Rally that will take place in Washington, D.C. on October 11. People from all of our nation's 435 Congressional Districts will converge on Washington with one simple demand: Full equality for BGLT people in all matters governed by law in all 50 states. The Rev. Peter Morales, newly elected President of the UUA, will preach at All Soul's Church, Unitarian in Washington, DC that morning and lead the UUA's delegation to the March.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

NYC Fundraiser for October March

Benefit for The National Equality March on Washington
Thursday, September 24, 2009
156 7th Avenue
between 19th & 20th Streets
New York City
9:00 PM until midnight
Two Floors & DJ’S Scott Jones & David Serrano
Guest Hosts Sherry Vine and Mistress Formika
Complimentary Grey Goose Cocktails
Tickets are $30 in advance, and $35 at the door
Click to purchase tickets on-line.
Due to the generosity of ELMO and Barracuda, your entire ticket will go towards the funding of the National Equality March.