Tuesday, March 30, 2010

News Sweep

A gay New York teenager who said Mohawk Central School District administrators did nothing to address bullying he experienced at school settled a lawsuit on Monday with the district. The district agreed to pay $50,000 to the student's family and implement changes to protect students from harassment in the future.

The Washington Post praises new rules that will make it more difficult to dismiss military under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" as "an excellent interim step" to a full repeal.

is featuring messages and pictures sent in by transgender readers on the iReport section of their website.

Oprah's website has a beautifully written, poignant essay by the fiance of a trans man.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

News Sweep

Marriage equality advocates in New Jersey are trying to bring the issue back to the state's Supreme Court. The Star-Ledger editorializes that none of this would be necessary if NJ had a functional government that had done its job and passed marriage already.

18-year-old Constance McMillen has won her suit against her school district for violating her First Amendment rights for refusing to allow her to bring her girlfriend to the prom, but the district will not be forced to hold the dance.

The ACLU and Equality California have notified U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker that they intend to appeal his ruling that requires them to disclose some internal campaign-related documents to the defendants in the Prop 8 trial.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

News Sweep

In response to the incendiary "bathroom bill" rhetoric sometimes used by anti-gay forces, the Pride Agenda has created a GENDA myth-busting Q&A resource.

A New York mid-level court of appeals has ruled that the state has the power to annul a civil union made in another state. ''This is an important ruling. A different ruling here would leave the persons legally entangled with each other, and people have to move on with their life," said a staff attorney for Lambda Legal.

Last week, Gov. Paterson signed a bill into law that will allow same-sex partners to make medical decisions for their loved ones.

The U.S. Supreme Court will soon hear oral arguments in a case involving the Christian Legal Society at the University of California Hastings College of the Law. The group has challenged to school for denying it official recognition because it is unwilling to accept gay students as members.

Republican leaders spoke out over the weekend against health care reform protesters who yelled racist and anti-gay slurs at some Democratic U.S. Representatives in Washington, D.C.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

News Sweep

Jose Peralta won the Special Election in Queens last night and will become State Senator representing the 13th Senate District in New York. He overwhelmingly defeated Hiram Monserrate, who ran a divisive, anti-gay campaign.

Democratic Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy, who is considering a run for Governor as a Republican, has declared that he now considers marriage to be between "a man and a woman"--a statement completely at odds with the position his aides said he held just a few short months ago.

A hearing has been scheduled in the case of Constance McMillen, the Mississippi teen who is suing her School District to reinstate her high school prom after it was canceled when she asked if she could bring her girlfriend as her date.

Proving that John McCain isn't the worst politician to come out of Arizona, Former State Rep. J.D. Hayworth who is challenging McCain in the U.S. Senate primary, recently said that Massachusetts' marriage equality law could be interpreted to mean "if you really had affection for your horse, I guess you could marry your horse."

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force has launched a "Queer the Census" campaign to petition the U.S. Census Bureau to begin counting LGBT individuals.

UNAIDS said Monday that the rate of new HIV infections is increasing among lesbian and gay people in part due to anti-gay legislation like the bill being proposed in Uganda. Michael Sidibe said "it is unacceptable" that 85 countries have laws that criminalize relationships of lesbian and gay couples.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Drinking for a Change this weekend

It's never too early to start making plans for the weekend--especially when said plans involve a good cause. In that spirit, we invite you to join us in Drinking for a Change this Friday, 3/19 and Saturday, 3/20.

Drinking for a Change is a new nonprofit dedicated to engaging new donors in the LGBT movement through smaller contributions on a mass scale. This weekend, Drinking for a Change has partnered with several NYC bars that will each encourage patrons to donate $1-per-drink on both nights. The Pride Agenda, the Callen-Lorde Community Health Center, and the Ali Forney Center will receive the proceeds from these nights.

So if you’ll be in NYC this weekend, please consider having a drink (or several--but please be responsible) at one of the participating venues listed below. If you are on Facebook, you can also RSVP for the event and spread the news about it to your friends here.

We hope you'll join us--it's not every weekend that contributing to the fight for equality and justice is as easy as ordering a martini.

WHAT: Drinking for a Change

WHEN: Friday, 3/19 & Saturday, 3/20

WHERE: Cubby Hole, Pieces, The Ritz, Stonewall Inn, Therapy, Uncle Charlies, Uncle Charlies LES, Vig 27, XES Lounge (possibly more TBA – click here for additions/addresses)

DETAILS: Patrons can donate a dollar-a-drink on these nights that will go to NYC LGBT organizations including the Pride Agenda. More info at www.drinkingforachange.org

Thursday, March 11, 2010

GENDA Campaign Update

A message from Ejay Carter, our Transgender Rights Field Organizer:

Pride Agenda staff, volunteers and other advocacy organizations have been working together to rally the support needed to pass the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA). GENDA would amend the state's human rights law to ban discrimination in housing, employment, credit and public accommodations. It also expands the state’s hate crimes law to explicitly include crimes against transgender people. GENDA has been passed by the Assembly, and the only remaining obstacle to the bill becoming law is the New York State Senate.

For many months now, we have been collecting letters from constituents in Senate districts across the state in support of GENDA. Our goal has been to collect hundreds of these letters and to deliver them at a crucial moment in the GENDA campaign. Our volunteers rose to the challenge and collected nearly 3,000 letters, and on March 2, dozens of activists from around the state gathered in Albany to deliver packets of them to all 62 Senators.

Transgender rights advocates (pictured at left) from the Capital Region, Buffalo and from our GENDA partner organization Housing Works worked together to deliver the letters and to create a buzz around the Capitol that day—the same day that the NYS Assembly passed GENDA for the third time. Most Senators received 15 or more letters; some received hundreds. Both Democratic Conference Leader John Sampson and GENDA lead sponsor Senator Duane received a full set of 3,000 so they could see the scope of the support for the bill from constituents statewide.

On March 9, we followed up our written messages with hundreds of phone calls on our Statewide GENDA Call-In Day. Dozens of state, national and local organizations spread the message about the Call-In Day to every corner of New York State. Activists and allies called their own Senator and lead sponsor Tom Duane to ask them to support GENDA and bring it to the Senate floor for a vote. Afterwards, advocates sent emails reporting their results to the Pride Agenda. Your feedback gave us vital information and will help us plan the next steps in the GENDA campaign.

Many thanks to the volunteers who helped make these important events happen. For more information about how to be involved with the Pride Agenda and the GENDA campaign to bring the bill to the floor for a vote NOW, call Ejay Carter and 518-472-3330 or email him at ecarter@prideagenda.org.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

News Sweep

Expelled former Senator Hiram Monserrate
is making his "no" vote on same-sex marriage a highlight of his campaign for re-election. The New York Times editorial board highlights this aspect of his campaign that "appears to be growing uglier by the day."

Gay City News
reflects on GENDA's status in the Senate and what Andrew Cuomo's possible run for Governor could mean for LGBT New Yorkers.

Police say that five men attacked another man in Brooklyn, New York last week while yelling antigay slurs.

Same-sex couples have begun to wed in Washington, D.C.

Demonstrating that there's still a long way to go when it comes to changing hearts and minds, more than 25 people have canceled their subscriptions to the Washington Post due to a front page picture of two men kissing after their wedding.

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case on whether whether the father of a Marine killed in Iraq may sue protesters from the Westboro Baptist Church who picketed his son’s funeral with signs that read “God Hates You” and “Thank God for Dead Soldiers.” Members of the church believe deaths in Iraq are God's punishment for homosexuality in America.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Statewide GENDA Call-In Day Today!

Today, March 9 is the Statewide GENDA Call-In Day. The Empire State Pride Agenda is asking New Yorkers across the state to call their Senators and the lead Senate sponsor Tom Duane at their Albany offices to tell them to bring the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) to the Senate floor and pass it. We’re at a crucial moment and it is vital that they hear from their constituents.

GENDA would amend the state's human rights law to ban discrimination in housing, employment, credit and public accommodations. It also expands the state’s hate crimes law to explicitly include crimes against transgender people. GENDA has been passed by the Assembly, and the only remaining obstacle to the bill becoming law is the New York State Senate. The time is NOW to take action and make our final push to get the Senate to vote to end discrimination against transgender New Yorkers.

Here’s how to make your calls:

1. You can find your State Senator’s Albany phone number here and you can reach Senator Tom Duane at (518) 455-2451.

2. Remember to tell your Senator the number of the GENDA bill (S.2406) and ask them to support GENDA and bring it to the floor for a vote.

3. You can use these talking points about the urgent need for GENDA and the broad support it has:
  • Due to difficulty with job discrimination, one-fifth of transgender New Yorkers have incomes below $10,000 a year
  • 28% of transgender New Yorkers have experienced a serious physical or sexual assault motivated by hate
  • 78% of New York voters support GENDA
  • Unions representing 2.1 million working New Yorkers support GENDA
  • 30 Fortune 500 companies based in cities like Rochester, Corning, New York City and White Plains already have non-discrimination policies that include gender identity and expression
  • 547 clergy and lay leaders representing over 20 different denominations support GENDA
4. After your call, please report your results to the Pride Agenda. E-mail us at prideagenda@prideagenda.org and tell us which Senators you called, who you spoke to in their office, and what their response was. Your feedback will help us in our campaign to win GENDA in 2010!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Assembly passes GENDA in 2010: Vote tally

On Tuesday, the NYS Assembly passed the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) for the third time by an overwhelming bipartisan majority of 100-43.

The State Senate remains the only obstacle to passing GENDA. Early next week, the Pride Agenda will be launching a GENDA Call-In Day to State Senators. Click here to receive an e-mail when it's time to make the calls.

The official Assembly vote tally is below. Click here to find out who your Assemblymember is.

Y = yes, N = no, Abs = absent, D = Democrat, R = Republican, I = Independent

N Abbate, Jr. (D)
Y Alessi (D)
N Alfano (R)
N Amedore (R)
Y Arroyo (D)
Y Aubry (D)
Y Bacalles (R)
N Ball (R)
N Barclay (R)
N Barra (R)
Y Barron (D)
Y Benedetto (D)
N Benjamin (D)
Y Bing (D)
Y Boyland (D)
Y Boyle (R)
Y Bradley (D)
Y Brennan (D)
Y Brodsky (D)
Y Brook-Krasny (D)
N Burling (R)
N Butler (R)
Y Cahill (D)
N Calhoun (R)
Y Camara (D)
Y Canestrari (D)
Abs Carrozza (D)
Y Castro (D)
Y Christensen (D)
Y Clark (D)
Y Colton (D)
N Conte (R)
Y Cook (D)
N Corwin (R)
Y Crespo (D)
N Crouch (R)
N Cusick (D)
Y Cymbrowitz (D)
Y DelMonte (D)
Y DenDekker (D)
Y Destito (D)
Y Dinowitz (D)
Y Duprey (R)
Y Englebright (D)
N Errigo (R)
Y Espaillat (D)
Y Farrell, Jr. (D)
Y Fields (D)
N Finch (R)
N Fitzpatrick (R)
Y Gabryszak (D)
Y Galef (D)
Y Gantt (D)
Y Gianaris (D)
Y Gibson (D)
N Giglio (R)
Abs Glick (D)
Y Gordon, T (I)
Y Gottfried (D)
Y Gunther (D)
N Hawley (R)
N Hayes (R)
Y Heastie (D)
Y Hevesi (D)
N Hikind (D)
Y Hooper (D)
Abs Hoyt (D)
Y Hyer-Spencer (D)
Y Jacobs (D)
Y Jaffee (D)
Y Jeffries (D)
Y John (D)
N Jordan (R)
Y Kavanagh (D)
Y Kellner (D)
N Kolb (R)
Y Koon (D)
Y Lancman (D)
Y Latimer (D)
Y Lavine (D)
Y Lentol (D)
Y Lifton (D)
N Lopez, P (R)
Y Lopez, V (D)
Y Lupardo (D)
Y Magee (D)
Y Magnarelli (D)
Y Maisel (D)
Y Markey (D)
Y Mayersohn (D)
N McDonough (R)
Y McEneny (D)
N McKevitt (R)
Y Meng (D)
Y Miller (R)
Y Millman (D)
N Molinaro (R)
N Montesano (R)
Y Morelle (D)
Y Nolan (D)
N Oaks (R)
Y O'Donnell (D)
N O'Mara (R)
Y Ortiz (D)
Y Parment (D)
Y Paulin (D)
Y Peoples (D)
Abs Peralta (D)
Y Perry (D)
Abs Pheffer (D)
Y Powell (D)
Y Pretlow (D)
N Quinn (R)
N Rabbitt (R)
N Raia (R)
Y Ramos (D)
N Reilich (R)
Y Reilly (D)
Abs Rivera, J (D)
Y Rivera, N (D)
Y Rivera, P (D)
Y Robinson (D)
Y Rosenthal (D)
Y Russell (D)
N Saladino (R)
Y Sayward (R)
Abs Scarborough (D)
Y Schimel (D)
N Schimminger (D)
Y Schroeder (D)
Y Scozzafava (R)
Y Silver (D)
Y Skartados (D)
Y Spano (D)
Y Stirpe (D)
Y Sweeney (D)
N Tedisco (R)
Y Thiele (I)
Y Titone (D)
Y Titus (D)
N Tobacco (R)
Y Towns (D)
N Townsend (R)
Y Weinstein (D)
Y Weisenberg (D)
Y Weprin (D)
Y Wright, K (D)
N Zebrowski (D)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Trans Experiences: Why GENDA is Necessary in New York State

Transgender New Yorkers face widespread discrimination, harassment and even violence, resulting in not only great personal harm to themselves but also societal costs to the state as a whole. Still, there is no statewide, comprehensive law to explicitly protect people from discrimination based on gender identity and expression.

The Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) would add gender identity and expression to other protected categories, such as race, religion, and sexual orientation, in New York’s human rights laws. GENDA would make it illegal across the state to fire someone from a job, evict them from an apartment, deny them a loan or refuse them service in a restaurant simply because they are transgender. It would also add gender identity and expression to the state’s bias crime laws to help protect transgender people from violence.

Click here to read Trans Experiences: Why GENDA is Necessary in New York State, the Pride Agenda's new resource sharing the experiences of six transgender New Yorkers from across the state. These stories demonstrate the need for stronger protections for transgender New Yorkers and for increased education on the widespread discrimination they face. After you finish reading, click here to learn more about our upcoming Statewide GENDA Call-In Day, when YOU can make a difference by calling your State Senator to let them know you expect them to support GENDA and bring the bill to the floor of the Senate for a vote.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

News Sweep

Former Congressman Harold Ford, who had declared his support for marriage equality as he weighed a potential run against staunchly pro-LGBT Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, has decided against throwing his hat in the race.

Washington, D.C.'s marriage office has hired temporary extra employees in preparation for an influx of applicants on Wednesday, the first day lesbian and gay couples will be able to marry in the District.

Anti-gay activists on Monday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to prevent gay couples from marrying in D.C., claiming residents should be able to vote on the matter. Local courts have rejected such arguments.

Leading up to the implementation of the marriage equality law in Washington, D.C., LGBT advocates worked with African Americans who were crucial in building support for marriage equality in the District.

Los Angeles' John A. PĂ©rez yesterday was sworn in as the first openly gay speaker of the California Assembly.

Daniel Radcliffe, star of the "Harry Potter" franchise, has come out a strong, straight ally in support of the LGBT community.