Tuesday, April 24, 2007

ENDA to be introduced today

Press release from Barney Frank's Office:

Washington, DC--Reps. Barney Frank (D-MA), Deborah Pryce (R-OH), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Christopher Shays (R-CT), along with representatives from the religious, corporate and advocacy community, will hold a press conference to announce the reintroduction of the bipartisan Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) on Tuesday, April 24 at 1:00 p.m. Every year, qualified hard-working Americans are denied job opportunities because of who they are. Countless others live in fear of losing their jobs. In 33 states, it is legal to fire someone who is otherwise qualified simply because of his or her sexual orientation; the same is true in 42 states based on gender identity. The proposed legislation will extend important federal employment protections to gay men and lesbians and will prohibit employment discrimination based on gender identity.

Monday, April 23, 2007

GLBTube #3

This and that….

1. I found this video really inspiring and encouraging. Religious leaders rally with HRC in support of the “Matthew Shepherd Act” and ENDA in Washington D.C. This clip's about thirty-five minutes long.

2. This is a recent episode from an amazing video-blog, “Transgender in New York.” Erin has been chronicling her life and transition in short video clips for just over five months. She talks about having her name changed, work and money issues, shopping, her voice, her family, and her Morman upbringing, and everything else with wit and grace and humility. I think this is such an excellent example of someone from our community reaching OUT. It’s so important for our community to find ways to be honest and upfront about our lives. Erin's made a lot of friends on YouTube. It’s amazing. Check out some of the fascinating response videos Erin has received.

3. This very well produced clip has been floating around the Texas, political blogosphere, so I thought I’d promote it here as well. Kuff and BOR have more details about this appalling attempt at voter suppression.

4. Man! San Francisco politics are really different… This is S.F. mayor Gavin Newsom talking about same-sex marriage live on The Woody Show.

What do you think of these clips? How could the Caucus use YouTube? I’d love to hear some of your ideas.

"The Art of the Possible:" Gay Marriage in New York

The New York Times has the complete story:

Gov. Eliot Spitzer will introduce a bill in the coming weeks to legalize same-sex marriage in New York, his spokeswoman said Friday, a move that would propel New York to the forefront of one of the most contentious issues in politics.
Spitzer acknowledges the up hill battle GLBT advocates will face once this legislation is introduced, but marriage equality was an issue that he championed throughout his thoroughly covered '06 election campaign. It seems that Elliot Spitzer's a bold leader, who keeps his word. I imagine he also remembers exactly who helped win last November.
"I am focusing now on politics as the art of the possible."
This is just terrific. This is why we work to win elections. Even when equality seems so unreachable, progress can be accelerated by excellent leaders, like Governor Spitzer. I'm really curious to see how a certain junior Senator from New York reacts to this development.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Support for Gay Adoption Surging

cross posted at Burnt Orange Report.

For the past twenty-six years, Rice University sociology professor Stephen Klineberg has been recording the opinions of Houstonians on a wide variety fascinating socio-economic issues in his report, The Houston Area Survey. Some new numbers from the most recent report are coming out, and it's amazing how dynamic and diverse our city is. Since the survey was founded, the views of our city population have changed in dramatic ways. Most significantly for our community, support for gay adoption is surging. In the last decade, public opinion has shifted in a positive direction by over ten percent. Even as views on other issues, such as the death penalty and immigration, fluctuate up and down from year to year, the trend towards majority support of gay families seems amazingly consistent.

Unfortunately, supporters are still in the minority, but these statistical movements are extremely consequential. At this moment in Texas, adoption is one of our most tenuous rights. Each new session of the state legislature brings renewed fear that adoption and foster parenting will be limited to heterosexual couples. Even today, as the 80th legislature holds it hearings and floor debates, it's a very scary possibility, but as public opinion shifts in our favor, close-minded, right-wing legislators have less leverage on these controversial issues. Of course, for GLBT foster parents and hopeful adopters, tolerance couldn't come too soon.

How can we cultivate greater public acceptance? We must be more outspoken in our activism. We must make ourselves increasingly relevant in the political world.

We're already making a significant impact, both locally and nationally. Just last week, presidential candidate John Edwards announced, with a great deal of fanfare on his website, a long list of significant LGBT endorsers. Admittedly, Edwards' announcement received little press coverage, but it's clear that Edwards is actively seeking LGBT support, because he knows it can make huge difference on election day. Similarly, just yesterday in the U.S. Senate, Senator Kennedy (D-MA) and Senator Smith (R-OR) introduced the "Matthew Shepherd Act." (This is the federal hate crimes legislation I detailed in a previous post). When leaders, like Kennedy, Smith and Edwards, work on our behalf, knowing that it will benefit their reelection efforts, we receive invaluable public exposure. When we have the opportunity to share our issues, present our families, and highlight our common humanity, public opinion shifts in exponential measure.

It seems to me that we're right at the tipping point, and the Caucus has an incredible opportunity to accelerate progress. We are the political voice for our community, and leaders are starting to listen, because they know how consequential our support can be on election day. Join the caucus, and speak OUT.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

GLBTube #2

This week I tried to find recently posted videos that are excellent examples of grassroots marketing and outreach for the GLBT community. Tracy Gary’s presentation at last night’s general meeting emphasized the need for our community to be upfront and honest about our issues. I think that all of these examples illustrate how effective personal appeals can be.

1.) The Victory fund is getting into youtube. I really, really liked this video. It’s a very intimate look at an openly gay politician, Iowa State Senator Matt McCoy. The interviews with his parents are so poignant. I think this clip is an excellent example of what effective outreach can look like.

2.) New Jersey holds first lesbian and gay wedding expo! This is very cool, as it demonstrates exactly what some researchers have been talking about. Marriage equality is very good for the economy. Even the car salesman is excited about marrying gay and lesbian folks.

3.) This is another good example of an activist group using youtube. The Community Clinic is working hard to get good healthcare for transgender people in Los Angles.

If you want to get involved in progressing equality right here in Houston. Join the Caucus. It takes a lot of money to win elections, but the cost of defeat is much, much higher. Help us raise money!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

General Meeting This Wednsday, April 4th

Tracy Gary, philanthropist and non-profit expert

The Houston GLBT Political Caucus (HGLBTPC) is pleased to announce that Tracy Gary, philanthropist and nonprofit expert, will speak at the Wednesday, April 4, 2007 meeting. A fundraising reception at 6:30 is scheduled before the April 4 meeting, which begins at 7:00 p.m. The monthly HGLBTPC meeting is held at the Havens Center, 1827 W. Alabama St.

Tracy Gary has been transforming communities all her life. She moved to Houston for love (to be with Tori Williams) and is a philanthropic and legacy advisor as well as a nonprofit entrepreneur. She is working in Houston on Inspired Legacies, her 18th nonprofit start up. Tracy began working on GLBTQ issues in the 1970's working out of San Francisco as co-producer of the documentary, Word is Out: Stories of 28 Gay Men and Lesbians, and as a community and donor activist. She has played a key roll in launching or supporting what is now called Funders for Gay and Lesbian Issues, The Horizon's Foundation, The Outgiving Funders conference, and many of the over 200 social change and women's funds that now exist. She was a key partner in the Briggs Initiative win back in the 1970's in the “No CA” campaign and now offers her advice to HERA and the Caucus on key strategies for future wins for our community in Houston.

“Tracy is a nonprofit guru whose expertise in community development and donor activism guarantees real change in our society. I think our political community will learn a great deal from her, and I invite everyone to join us for a stimulating discussion with Tracy on Wednesday, April 4,” said Jenifer Pool, President of the HGLBTPC.

The Caucus will hold a wine reception, where donations will be accepted, and an informal gathering starting at 6:30 pm, just before the meeting. The HGLBTPC meets the first Wednesday of every month at 7:00 p.m. The monthly meeting is held at Havens Center, 1827 W. Alabama St. Visitors are encouraged to attend the monthly meeting to learn more about the HGLBTPC.