BLOG | Archive for the ‘Equality Roundup’ Category

Equality Roundup: Flying to Milk

January 18, 2013 By Josh Steichmann

sfo milkWe were behind making Harvey Milk Day official, and his nephew Stuart Milk is on our board, so it’s not a huge surprise that we’re all ’bout it ’bout it with the proposal for SFO airport to become Harvey Milk Airport. The objections are all a bit silly — it’s not THAT much money to change forms and et cetera, the idea that people will be confused and not know where they’re going is goofy (where else is going to have a Harvey Milk Airport?) and it would be a huge beacon for all the LGBT folk around the world to see that we can honor a proudly out man.

We’re also out in San Bedoo today (our favorite city nickname in the state), presenting our Reducing Disparities report on LGBT people and mental health care. It’s the first of a series of town halls that will take place throughout the state, reporting back on what we found and what we can do about it. Everyone is welcome; snacks will be served.

Prop. 8′s architect, Frank Schubert, has a proudly LGBT little sister, and she’s running for Sacramento County district attorney. We’ve got no position on her candidacy, but we’re always amazed at people who can advocate against the equality of their family members. Wonder if she ever asks him about his ongoing fight against the freedom to marry?

ABC News is asking Obama why he hasn’t filed an amicus in the Prop. 8 case yet. You know, we asked him the same thing, and you can help by contacting him through our online petition.

In national news: The Army says that even though they can’t discriminate against LGBT soldiers, they can still discriminate against their spouses. This is apparently because the Marines did something right, and the Army wants to make it clear that they’re not the Marines.

In local, but not here, news: Cranks in Utah got an LGBT family book removed from school libraries; ACLU got it back.

Rhode Island is getting closer to voting for the freedom to marry.

Equality Roundup: Farewell, Huell & Welcome Back, Advocate

January 7, 2013 By Josh Steichmann

huell howser the advocate print magazineIs It 2013 Already?

What with a new Executive Director, HanuKwanzMas and New Years, we’ve been a little bleary around the edges, but there’s already news worth recapping in 2013:

Our new ED John O’Connor is hard at work.

AFER sent us a save-the-date invite to oral arguments in Hollingsworth v. Perry (Prop. 8) for March 26. Clear your calendars and save us room on your dance card.

In sad California news, Huell Howser, the good-golly host of California Gold, has died at 67. Howser was not publicly out, but was well known to be gay, and unfortunately his passing ends speculation of an imminent declaration from him.

The Advocate is coming back to print. For the journos and oldos amongst us, the idea of a seminal mag returning to print after a couple year sojourn brings a tear to the eye.  Read the rest of this entry »

Equality Roundup: National Exhalation Day

November 8, 2012 By Josh Steichmann

Whew. We made it. And we won!

Slate talks about the freedom to marry strategy. The short of it? A vindication for the campaign mode of appealing to reluctant voters emotionally. Heart cooks brain, essentially, and we finally made it work for us.

Ta-Nehisi Coates puts it in a hopeful context of a more representative America.

L.A. Times on Maryland and Maine, first to call freedom to marry. (We heard about Washington from a little birdie, maybe you saw it on Facebook.

Sally Ride was the first LGBT woman in space (that we know about); hopefully her successors kept that in mind when they voted.

A handy primer for those still muddled by federal versus state issues in the freedom to marry.

Check out all those LGBT freshmen (and women — freshmembers?) heading to Washington, DC.

The NY Times reminds us that sometimes equality happens by leaps.

Ohio could be up for overturning their odious law banning the freedom to marry.

Of course, Maggie and Brian say that just because they’ve lost, doesn’t mean they’ve lost.

With the defeat of Prop. 32, California rejected an elaborate money-laundering scheme from the Koch Bros. and other opponents of equality.

Equality Roundup: Gender-Bending Lesbian Surrealist Writes & More

October 25, 2012 By Shaun Osburn

We got a new executive director this week. We’re excited to have John O’Connor join us officially on December 3.

It’s LGBT history month, and the New Yorker has a great story on Merle Miller coming out in the New York Times, crediting it with helping spawn Dan Savage’s “It Gets Better” campaign.

You’re all voting, right? Frying Pan News on why Prop 32 is bad for the LGBT community.

Orange Coast magazine on how small indignities mean progress is still too slow in Orange County.

Buzzfeed on eight families fighting for the freedom to marry.

One of the Wachowski sibs is a trans woman, and she talks about what it means to be visible and trans.

Is Adam Pally TV’s least stereotypical gay guy?

It’s Claude Cahun‘s birthday! Cahun was a gender-bending lesbian surrealist writer and photographer who fought against the Nazis. Her work dealt with fluid sexuality with playful verve and political punch, especially in images like “Don’t Kiss Me, I am in Training,” where she appropriates macho boxing myths for a cartoonish revision, presaging “identity artists” like Cindy Sherman.

Finally, philosopher and author John Corvino makes witty, smart videos about what marriage and other rights mean.

Equality Roundup: Legislative Victories

October 5, 2012 By Josh Steichmann

Big huge couple weeks for Equality California. We got all six EQCA-sponsored bills passed and signed!

The one that’s been getting the most attention is SB 1172, a bill to end dangerous psychological abuse of minors. Already, anti-equality groups have filed lawsuits; here’s EQCA pro boon counsel David Codell on KPCC discussing the lawsuit and where things stand.

The field team is transitioning into PAC work — making sure that pro-equality candidates are elected throughout the state. Volunteer here to help out!

Next Thursday, at the CAA Screening Room in LA, we’re proud to present a screening of Wish Me Away, a documentary about country star Chely Wright’s coming out. Here she is talking about the movie and her journey with Kentucky Public Radio. She’ll be at the screening, answering questions. For more information and tickets, click here.

Two days later, we’ll be out in Palm Springs, honoring Speaker of the Assembly John A. Pérez, Senator Barbara Boxer, and many more. For tickets and more information, the Palm Springs awards page.

It’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender History Month, and we’ll be delving into that further later in the month. For the moment, get your whistle wet with Queer Music Heritage, a 12-year archive of radio shows about queer music, as well as a wealth of information about Stonewall protest songs, camp records and gay folk music.

For a more modern queer music, Macklemore, Ryan Lewis and Mary Lambert have a video for “Same Love”, which was made in response to Maryland’s current struggle for the freedom to marry.

Two more brief links: Orlando Cruz is the first openly gay boxer! and the new Catholic bishop in San Francisco doesn’t like the gays and they don’t like him.

Equality Roundup: Equality Wrap-Up

September 12, 2012 By Josh Steichmann

john perez at dncAs the late Jim Anchower said, it’s been a while since we rapped atcha. We’ve been busy! We were at Oakland Pride, FYF Fest in LA, the governor’s office and across the state having Breakthrough Conversations.

Oh, and we were watching Assembly Speaker John A. Perez at the DNC (video). Money quote: “Opportunity is why we fight. Across the country there are parents who want nothing more than the opportunity to have a job and the ability to put food on the family table. We fight for them. In too many states, even folks who have jobs wake up every morning worrying that they may lose their job simply because they’re gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. We fight for them.”

We’re also bracing for September 24, when the U.S. Supreme Court could certify Hollingsworth v. Perry, the Prop. 8 case. If they decline to grant certification, then the freedom to marry is restored in California. For Californians, it’s a bit of a bittersweet moment: If the Supremes don’t grant cert, we’ve won and all the volunteer ministers down at the EQCA offices can start just officiating willy-nilly. But that means that Hollingsworth v. Perry won’t be a binding precedent for the rest of the country — some other brave couple will have to win marriage for everyone. Not to get too much into sports metaphors, but it’s the old dilemma of taking the (sure) extra point kick or going for the two-point conversion.

Maybe we’ve just got football on the brain: Brandon Ayanbedejo of the Baltimore Ravens came out in favor of the freedom to marry, since Maryland’s going to vote on it come November. Which led to Maryland Delagate Emmett C. Burns Jr. to write a very silly letter denouncing Ayanbedejo. To which Minnesota Vikings kicker Chris Kluwe responded with a very silly, swearing letter back, calling Burns out. For those of you who would prefer a non-swearing, but still very silly letter, Kluwe wrote this version that you can share with gramma. Ayanbadejo “thanks” Burns for bringing the whole thing more attention.

In other traditionally macho pursuits: One year study on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeal finds absolutely no negative impact. You can read the full study here (PDF).

Finally, while we’ve been keeping up the pressure on Governor Jerry Brown, we’d like your help too: Do you tweet? Join us — and fabulous leaders like actress Jane Lynch – as we ask California Governor Jerry Brown to protect LGBT youth from dangerous psychological abuse by signing Senate Bill 1172 into law. Tag @JerryBrownGov in your tweet, and don’t forget to use the #SB1172 hash tag.

If you don’t tweet, please go to and send a letter in. We can make this happen with your help!

Equality Roundup: Awards Redux

August 27, 2012 By Josh Steichmann

This Saturday, Rev. Canon Albert Ogle accepted the Pride Award from Equality California at the San Diego Equality Awards, in honor of not just his California equality work, but also his global commitment to LGBT equality. Check out the slideshow above for pictures from the San Diego Equality Awards.

Next up: Palm Springs in October!

One of our honorees from the LA awards spoke with us a little on being honored: “Fabulous event with great energy. Our staff and young patients that attended felt overwhelming support that was heartwarming to all,” said Dr. Marvin Belzer, head of the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles Division of Adolescent Medicine, and Extraordinary Service Honoree. “We enjoyed hearing about EQCA and your efforts to support the needs of youth, especially your working on reducing bullying. The highlight of the evening was when Aly spoke about her personal experiences facing her transition to living as a young women, how she experienced prejudice during middle school and how the support of our staff and her family helped her overcome her fears.”

“The heartwarming acknowledgements and support from all who attended the gala means the world to us as we struggle to find the resources to meet the needs of GLBT youth and their families. Since returning to work this week, our entire division, including those whose work doesn’t focus on GLBTQ youth, report feeling energized to hear of all the wonderful support we received at the EQCA Gala,” said Dr. Belzer.

We were totally touched by Aly’s bravery and amazing story: “Thank you for giving me the chance to speak today. I’ve been seeing a therapist since 2007 since I was 12, which was the age I came out to my parents. I went through a few different therapists and psychiatrists. One told me I had social anxiety disorder. Another said I was gay. And another told me I had ‘daddy issues.’ I wanted to say, ‘Shut Up, please!’ My main problem was that I wanted to get on hormones.” Read the rest of this entry »

Equality Roundup: One Big Weekend

August 21, 2012 By Josh Steichmann

sj pride la equality awardsWe’re a little bleary-eyed this morning; call it a hangover from the big weekend.

San Jose Pride was a blast — we sent interns from San Francisco to build support and collect postcards in favor of SB 1172 and they did a great job. The rest of the field staff was out in Boyle Heights having Breakthrough Conversations about marriage.

Then we had the Los Angeles Equality Awards (see some photos here) where we got to hang out with folks like Jane Lynch, Jonathan Capeheart and a (shirtless!) Wilson Cruz. Because we’re great big nerds, it was just as much fun to see people like Assemblymember Betsy Butler and State Senator Ted Lieu. Oh, and Dolores Huerta “just happened” to be wearing her Congressional Medal of Freedom.

We’ve got an exciting week ahead of us too, not least because SB 1172 is likely to be voted on sometime in the next few days: A little background here, and Towleroad has some of the opposition, while The Examiner focuses on the precedent that banning this damaging and deceptive so-called “therapy” could have.

Other briefs: San Francisco approves largest LGBT low-income senior housing in America; Madonna speaks out against homophobia in Russia and is sued by nine homophobes, a Nevada hospital reminds us again why domestic partnerships aren’t the same as the freedom to marry, and MetaFilter covers Baltimore’s FemmeCon.

And for fun, a new season of Husbands is up, about an accidentally-married couple of guys determined to make it work.

Equality Roundup: LA, OC, GOP, JLAC and Other Acronyms

August 15, 2012 By Josh Steichmann

awards advocacyWe can’t wait for the Los Angeles Equality Awards on Saturday. We’ve got Jonathan Capeheart of the Washington Post, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Grammy-winning singer Thelma Houston. A few tickets are still available.

Over the weekend, we rocked OC Pride and brought in around 300 postcards to end harmful Sexual Orientation Change Efforts and raised almost $2000!

On Friday, the Joint Legislative Audit Committee approved our request for an audit of schools to protect students.

Romney finally picked a running mate, Representative Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) and gay conservatives praised the pick based on the fact that Ryan once voted for ENDA. And while Daily Kos points out that vote wasn’t even that great, with the HRC pointing out every other vote he’s ever taken is against equality, it’s hard to take GOProud and the Log Cabin too seriouslyRead the rest of this entry »

Equality Roundup: Eyes, Bis And Food That’s Fried

August 7, 2012 By Josh Steichmann

eyes bis chick fil etJust under two weeks until the EQCA Equality Awards Los Angeles, so buy your tickets now. We’ve got Jonathan Capeheart from the Washington Post and MSNBC as host, and it promises to be a great night.

Three new bits of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender science: Public Library of Science (PLoS One) has just published a peer-reviewed take on eye dilation and arousal that further supports the idea of a biological underpinning to sexual orientation, and gives more depth to the common depictions of arousal patterns. Part of that is finding a subset of men who have “true” bisexual arousal patterns, something too often debated in LGBT science.

That ties in with a new study being conducted in Canada about the negative health outcomes of the ways bisexual people are treated. That exclusion can come both from the heteronormative population, as well as the social services set up in the LG(b)T community, where further rejection can impact things like mental health and substance abuse counseling.

Finally, the Hastings Center’s Bioethics Forum has a piece on the dangerous off-label use of a steroid during pregnancy to prevent the babies from becoming lesbians, or exhibiting “masculine” behavior. Basically, while the hormone has some legitimate use in preventing (very rare) defects, some quacks are giving it “off-label” (read “untested”) in order to prevent the presumptive little Suzy from wanting to play with cars instead of cupcakes. The problem isn’t the hormone per se, but rather the unethical way it’s sometimes used based on assumptions about gender norms by some quacks. Biologist PZ Meyers goes at the quacks with both barrels.

While we at EQCA knew Chik-Fil-A was against the freedom to marry from way back when — they’ve given over $1.1 million toward the dangerous conversion “therapy” — we thought everyone else knew too. Still, Noah Michelson makes a good case for why this isn’t about free speech and Michelangelo Signorile wonders where we go next.

Despite sturm und drang from critics of Obama’s recent turn for the freedom to marry, support of marriage for same-sex couples hasn’t hurt him with African Americans, and the GOP is keeping mum. You can see how your current senators and reps do on LGBT rights here.

Another nice moment from Obama: Obamacare will ban discrimination against trans folk.

Finally, hello Hanoi! Welcome to the global Pride parade, Vietnam!