10/20/08

ACTIVISTS UNITE IN PROTEST OF HRC GALA

This just in from Queers with Out Borders

Boston - Over 60 LGBTQ activists from throughout New England have signed up to attend the protest of national gay-rights organization Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) annual Gala to be held in Boston on October 25th. The protest, organized by local QueerToday.com activists Trevor Wright and Ethan St. Pierre, is in response to HRC’s lack of support for the Trasngender community and their consistent alignment with conservative candidates like Joe Lieberman, a staunch supporter of McCain for president, and Susan Collins of Maine who supported all of George Bush’s Supreme Court Nominees.


“HRC has a long history of ignoring human rights by betraying the trans community and dividing the progressive movement. It’s time to stop giving them your money,” said Arturo Meneses. “When you give to HRC you are supporting transphobia and endorsing pro-war, anti-choice, and anti-labor candidates.”

Transgender activists from around the country have been protesting HRC for over a year in response to their short-sighted support of a version of the Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA) that did not include protections for transgender people. During that time HRC’s only Transgender board member resigned. In New York City last year, every single LGBTQ elected official boycotted the dinner. And in San Francisco this summer the scheduled keynote speaker Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa decided to boycott the dinner in response to queer labor protests.

Labor activists are upset that HRC continues to use non-unionized venues and supported anti-labor candidates. The New England HRC Dinner venue was changed at the last minute due to pressure from Unite Here! Hotel Workers, an ally of QueerToday.com, who have been protesting the Hynes Convention Center and Aramark Catering. Anti-war activists are upset with HRC because of their support of candidates like Joe Lieberman, who celebrate the occupation of Iraq. Ironically, Lieberman who only supports civil-unions was endorsed by HRC over Ned Lamont who supports full same-sex marriage rights. Women’s rights activists note HRC’s endorsements of several ant-reproductive justice Republicans including Al D’Amato (R) who voted to repeal abortion rights. Mary Bono (R), also endorsed by HRC, received a 20% rating from NARAL on women’s rights, a 27% rating from ACLU on Civil Rights, and a 36% rating from the NAACP. This year HRC criticized the Log Cabin Republicans for their endorsement of John McCain but they continue to sponsor the Log Cabin’s annual dinner and give them and other Republicans tens of thousands of dollars. QueerToday.com activists believe such endorsements and donations divide progressives who we need to act in coalition to enact human rights reforms.

Activists from around the country have endorsed the protest including The Massachusetts Chapter of The Transgender American Veterans Association (TAVA), Know Thy Neighbor, Queers Without Borders, The World Gender Coalition, Dallas Transgender Advocates, What Queer!, and TransFM.org,

The protest of the New England HRC Dinner will be held on October 25th at 5pm at the Sheraton Boston. All are invited to join a sign making party to be held at the conference room at 14 Beacon Street at 3pm. An after party, the “Left Out Party,” will be held at Spontaneous Celebrations in Jamaica Plain located at 45 Danforth St.Ethan St. Pierre
radicalguy@gmail.com
978.518.1835

Trevor Wright
Trevor.william.wright@gmail.com
781.985.3800

QueerToday.com is an activist group that uses the internet to organize campaigns and protests. It was founded in Boston in 2000 and has garnered headlines worldwide for organizing direct-action protests including the largest ever protest of James Dobson’s Focus on The Family. The organization recently transitioned its website to a platform that lets activists create blogs and profiles, and allows for national organizing and networking. For more information about QueerToday.com contact Mark Snyder at markdanielsnyder@gmail.com or 617.416.0552

Three Equality Riders Arrested at Heritage Christian University

National Tour of Christian Colleges Advocates Safety for Gay and Transgender Students
******************************************
SOULFORCE PRESS RELEASE: October 17, 2008
For Immediate Release
Contact: Caitlin MacIntyre, Equality Ride Media Director
Cell: 612-715-6138
caitlin@equalityride.com
******************************************

(Florence, AL) -- At 10:30 am today, three Equality Riders walked onto the campus of Heritage Christian University (HCU) to deliver letters that described their personal experiences and advocated for the safety and acceptance of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students. The young women were arrested for trespassing before they reached the end of the driveway. Prior to the arrests, an HCU administrator read a letter stating that the university was officially declining their request for dialogue.

Yesterday, Equality Riders met with one student from HCU who described the climate on campus as a "homophobic panic." He explained that students and staff were discouraged from speaking to members of the Equality Ride.

"The way we were treated today is a clear indication that gay and transgender people are not welcome at this institution. The school's choice to arrest us shows just how far they will go to suppress the message we bring," said Jarrett Lucas, Equality Ride Co-director. "HCU trains missionaries to go beyond the walls of their school to spread the inclusive gospel of Christ, but today they chose not to uphold the principles they preach."

This visit to HCU is the sixth Equality Ride stop this year. Now in its third year, the Equality Ride has visited over fifty schools, most of which have been welcoming. At other schools, participants have hosted public forums, participated in panel discussions, and taken part in worship services and Bible studies. The goal is to inspire further conversation and to empower students, faculty, and administrators to make their school welcoming to all students. The organizers of the Equality Ride use a collaborative approach, writing to college administrators months in advance and inviting them to work together to design programming that examines diverse points of view -- including points of view that affirm gay and transgender students.

The three women arrested were Caitlin MacIntyre, 19, of Houston, TX, Katie Higgins, 26, of Charleston, SC, and Taueret Manu, 21, of the Bronx, NY. The remaining Equality Riders are standing vigil in hopes that students will come out for conversation. They will remain there until 4pm CST.

Soulforce Q is the young adult division of Soulforce, a social justice organization that works to end political and religious oppression of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people through relentless nonviolent resistance. For more information, go to www.equalityride.com.

Equality Ride to Visit Three Texas Colleges

National Tour of Christian Colleges Advocates Safety for Gay and Transgender Students
******************************************
SOULFORCE PRESS RELEASE: October 20, 2008
For Immediate Release
Contact: Caitlin MacIntyre, Equality Ride Media Director
Cell: 612-715-6138
caitlin@equalityride.com
******************************************

(Dallas, TX) On October 24-29, the third annual Soulforce Equality Ride, a national bus tour to faith-based colleges, will bring a message of inclusion and safety to three area schools: Dallas Baptist University, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, and Southwestern Assemblies of God University in Waxahachie. The Equality Ride advocates safe educational settings for all students, including those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT).

The schools' responses to the Ride demonstrate the diversity of contemporary evangelical cultures. Dallas Baptist University (DBU) is collaborating with the Equality Ride to create a full day of dialogue with faculty, students, and administrators. Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS) has offered the Riders time to make a presentation about faith and fairness. In contrast, Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) has informed the Equality Riders that they are unwelcome on campus and has refused further communication.

The third annual Equality Ride comes to Texas at a moment when research suggests that young white evangelicals are diverging from previous generations on social justice issues. A September 2008 poll commissioned by Religion and Ethics Newsweekly found that 58% of 18-29 year old white evangelicals support some form of legal recognition of civil unions or marriage for same-sex couples; a quarter (26%) support the full right for same-sex couples to marry.

However, in spite of these indications that significant numbers of 18-29 year olds support equality, more than 200 U.S. colleges and universities have explicit policies that discriminate against LGBT students. The DBU student handbook expressly prohibits "student organizations which are homosexual/bisexual in nature." Southwest Baptist lists " homosexual behavior" as grounds for unspecified disciplinary action. The SAGU student handbook lists "homosexuality" and "lesbianism" as grounds for disciplinary action, including "termination from the university."

"It's very difficult to learn in an environment where you don't feel safe," said 22-year-old Jarrett Lucas, Co-director of the Equality Ride. "When students can be punished just because of who they are, it's very difficult for them to speak up about their quality of life on campus. That's where we come in. We can speak up for a community where everyone can learn without fear."

Since 2006, the Equality Ride has visited more than 50 schools, hosting public forums, participating in panel discussions, and taking part in worship services and Bible studies. The goal is to inspire further conversation and to empower students, faculty, and administrators to make their school welcoming to all students.

Equality Riders invite students at all three schools, as well as members of the Dallas/Fort Worth community, to a community gathering on Saturday the 25th at Reverchon Park in Dallas.
The young adult organizers of the Equality Ride use a collaborative approach, writing to college administrators months in advance and inviting them to work together to design programming that examines diverse points of view -- including points of view that affirm gay and transgender students.

PRELIMINARY SCHEDULE FOR WEEK OF 10/20-10/26
Dallas Baptist University
Friday, October 24th, 2008
11:30 am, Press conference outside DBU
12:00 noon, Riders enter campus

DFW/Equality Ride Community Gathering
Saturday, October 25th, 2008
2:00 pm, at Reverchon Park in Dallas

Soulforce Q is the young adult division of Soulforce, a social justice organization that works to end political and religious oppression of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people through relentless nonviolent resistance. For more information, go to www.equalityride.com.

Queers United Asks :WTF? Tyra Banks Show Seeking "Ex-Gays"

Transgender people be aware. We are not immune or isolated from dangerous groups such as "NARTH" which advocates the discredited use of "aversion therapy" to "cure" homosexuality. Being "cured" of a natural sexual affinity by making normal=intolerable translates to depression and suicides.

Queers United asks us to let Tyra Banks please do not air any shows that cause harm to GLBT people.

Palin breaks with McCain on gay marriage amendment

Just in, in case you wondered Palin will campaign as vigorously against gay rights on a national level as she did in Alaska.


… NEW YORK – Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin says she supports a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, a break with John McCain who has said he believes states should be left to define what marriage is. In an interview with Christian Broadcasting Network, the Alaska governor said she had voted in 1998 for a state amendment banning same sex marriage and hoped to see a federal ban on such unions.

"I have voted along with the vast majority of Alaskans who had the opportunity to vote to amend our Constitution defining marriage as between one man and one woman. I wish on a federal level that's where we would go. I don't support gay marriage," Palin said. She said she believed traditional marriage is the foundation for strong families.

McCain, an Arizona senator, is supporting a ballot initiative in his state this year that would ban gay marriage. But he has consistently and forcefully opposed a federal marriage amendment, saying it would usurp states' authority on such matters.

As governor, Palin vetoed a bill that would have denied benefits to the partners of gay state employees. In a debate with Democratic rival Joe Biden, Palin said she was "tolerant" of gays and said she supported certain legal protections for same-sex couples, like hospital visitation rights.

In the CBN interview, Palin also said she would speak out if she heard a supporter at a rally yell violent or threatening comments about Barack Obama, the Democratic presidential nominee.

"What we have heard through some mainstream media is that folks have hollered out some atrocious and unacceptable things like 'kill him,'" Palin said, referring to a Washington Post story two weeks ago about angry supporters at a Palin rally in Florida. "If I ever were to hear that standing up there at the podium with the mike, I would call them out on that, and I would tell these people, no, that's unacceptable."

CBN released excerpts of the interview Monday and planned to broadcast it in its entirety Tuesday.

Palin also claimed religion and God had been "mocked" during the campaign, although she offered no evidence to support that.

"Faith in God in general has been mocked through this campaign, and that breaks my heart and that is unfair for others who share a faith in God and choose to worship our Lord in whatever private manner that they deem fit," she said.

Palin is a conservative Christian who was baptized and grew up attending Pentecostal churches. In September, Obama defended Palin's religious beliefs and said it would be "offensive" to portray her faith as strange or wrong.

Palin also reaffirmed her view that Obama had been "palling around with terrorists" because of his association with Bill Ayers, a 1960s-era radical who helped found the violent Weather Underground group to protest the Vietnam war. The group was responsible for bombings of several government buildings.

"I would say it again," she said.

Ayers and Obama live in the same Chicago neighborhood and have served together on charity boards. Ayers also hosted a house party for Obama when he was first running for the Illinois state Senate.

___

On the Net:

Christian Broadcasting Network: http://www.cbn.com

McCain-Palin: http://www.johnmccain.com

Obama: http://www.barackobama.com