WATCH: Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns makes another video, this time for GLSEN

Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns’ “It Gets Better” video has more than 2 million views, but it’s good to know that his advocacy for safe schools won’t end there. Burns has followed up by filming the above PSA for the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network’s Safe Space Campaign, which aims to place a GLSEN Safe Space Kit in every middle and high school in the country. What’s next, a YouTube reality show?

—  John Wright

GLAAD forces Barney the dinosaur into advocacy, whether he likes it or not

A new GLAAD effort:

WEAR PURPLE ON OCTOBER 20 FOR SPIRIT DAY

Screen Shot 2010-10-18 At 5.22.43 PmHow can you help show your support for the teens who took their lives because of anti-LGBT bullying?



-Wear purple on October 20!

-Click here to turn your Twitter profile pic purple now through October 20

-Click here to turn your Facebook profile pic purple now through October 20 – then click on the new photo and click “Make Profile Pic”

-On Wednesday, post this tweet: I’m wearing purple to end anti-LGBT bullying – make your profile pic purple today #SpiritDay http://glaad.org/spiritday

-On Wednesday, post this Facebook status: I’m wearing purple today to support LGBT youth – make your profile pic purple today for Spirit Day at http://glaad.org/spiritday

-Help promote by downloading this graphic for your blog or website

On Twitter? Use the hashtag #SpiritDay in your tweets – let’s make #SpiritDay a trending topic!

WHAT IS SPIRIT DAY?

The idea behind Spirit Day, first created by teenager Brittany McMillan earlier this month, is a simple one, not dissimilar to the idea of “Spirit Week” held in many high schools, and can be summed up in three words: Everyone Rally Together.

Spirit Day honors the teenagers who had taken their own lives in recent weeks. But just as importantly, it’s also a way to show the hundreds of thousands of LGBT youth who face the same pressures and bullying, that there is a vast community of people who support them.

Purple symbolizes ‘spirit’ on the rainbow flag, a symbol for LGBT Pride that was created by Gilbert Baker in 1978.

As one of the event’s Facebook pages says: “This event is not a seminar nor is it a rally. There is NO meeting place. All you have to do is wear purple.”

Wearing purple on October 20 is a simple way to show the world that you stand by these courageous young people and a simple way to stand UP to the bullies. Remember those lives we’ve tragically lost, and show your solidarity with those who are still fighting. ‘Go Purple’ today!

WEAR PURPLE ON OCTOBER 20 FOR SPIRIT DAY [GLAAD]

Or, alternately, you can sleep with someone from an opposite-colored state than yourself (Red+Blue = Purple). Whatever tickles your pickle eggplant.




Good As You

—  John Wright

Laura Bush: It wasn’t my role to defend the gays

Laura Bush

Former first lady Laura Bush, who recently said she supports equality for same-sex couples, tells The Texas Tribune she didn’t speak out publicly about the issue while her husband was in office because she was not the elected official and it wasn’t her responsibility. In her recent book, Laura Bush said she asked George not to make gay marriage “a significant issue” and that she “could never have imagined what path this issue would take and where it would lead.” In the interview with the Tribune, she responds to criticism that she didn’t speak up publicly about the matter:

TT: … You found yourself back in the headlines not so long ago for taking positions on gay marriage and abortion that appeared to be at odds with your husband and with the GOP. What do you say to the critics who argue you had a responsibility to come forward sooner, or who suggest you maybe hid those opinions from view?

Bush: Well, I didn’t hide them from view. They were very well known from the first day George was elected, when Katie Couric asked me the question. I’m not elected. I was not elected. George is. He’s the one who’s elected. I was not the elected official. It was not my responsibility, I didn’t think, to speak out in ways to get in some sort of debate with him. I just didn’t see that as part of my role.

Apparently Bush still doesn’t see advocacy on behalf of the LGBT community as part of her role, because she ignored an invitation to attend Dallas’ gay Pride celebration this year. Meanwhile, despite her focus on education, Bush hasn’t said anything about the national teen bullying suicide crisis. Asked at the end of the TT interview about the governor’s race, Bush says, “Absolutely we’re supporting Gov. Perry.”

—  John Wright

WashPost profiles the new activism of GetEQUAL and the advocacy of GOProud

The groups profiled by the Washington Post are on opposite ends of the political spectrum, but both are trying to shake up the status quo. No surprise, I prefer the perspective of GetEQUAL:

It’s been a big, loud gay year, and a pair of young gay rights groups on opposite ends of the political spectrum have tried to be heard above the noise in Washington: GOProud, from its basement office in Capitol Hill, and GetEQUAL, a nationwide, direct-action network of activists co-captained by Managing Director Heather Cronk, 32, who lives in Maryland. The groups are not analogous in size, strategy or mission, but each aspires to commandeer the causes championed by the establishment — embodied by the Human Rights Campaign on the left and the Log Cabin Republicans on the right.

“We intend to agitate from the outside,” says Cronk, who joined the protest group four months ago. “Not just because we’re angry but because agitation will give the people at the table more power. They’ll be able to say, ‘Hey you’ve got all these angry people outside the White House.’ “

It’s been a busy gay week, too. On Tuesday, Democrats failed to break a Republican filibuster of the defense authorization bill, which included a repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Both GetEQUAL and GOProud support repeal, but they reacted differently to defeat.

GOProud ripped Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) for refusing to extend debate on the bill, then headed to New York for Homocon, a 0-to-,500-a-plate dinner at the home of billionaire and GOProud donor Peter Thiel, the libertarian co-founder of PayPal, with conservative instigator Ann Coulter as the group’s keynote speaker.

GetEQUAL retrenched by pulling 80 people onto a conference call Wednesday night, soliciting the tactical ideas of supporters from Montana to Arkansas to Connecticut. Suggestions mirrored the actions that have already garnered publicity: sit-ins, walkouts and traffic blockades.

We’re not getting our equality through the usual routes. That’s not working.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  John Wright

Congressional candidate Suzan DelBene endorsed by leading LGBT advocacy organizations

Washington voters in the 8th Congressional District have a golden opportunity this fall to replace the anti-LGBT incumbent U.S. Representative Dave Reichert (R) with the highly-qualified, pro-equality challenger Suzan DelBene.  Suzan DelBene, a champion of civil rights for all Washingtonians, has pledged “In Congress, I will work to ensure equal rights for all Americans at work, home and in their communities”.

The incumbent Reichert has voted for the federal marriage amendment and against the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.  Reichert is out of step with the people of CD-8; last year 53.8% of the CD-8 electorate demonstrated their respect for their LGBT neighbors by ratifying Washington’s comprehensive domestic partnership expansion law via Referendum 71.

Suzan DelBene, like the fair-minded majority in her district, has taken strong pro-choice and pro-equality positions.  On her campaign website she clearly states:

Protecting choice for women:

I firmly believe that medical decisions should be made between a woman and her doctor, and not by politicians.

Ensuring civil rights:

Every one of us has equal rights under the law.  It’s that simple.  Therefore, we need to end “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and repeal the Defense of Marriage Act.  I support government-sanctioned civil marriage and believe that churches can decide for themselves whether to recognize same sex couples.

Suzan DelBene has been endorsed by Equal Rights Washington, Stonewall Democrats of Washington and Human Rights Campaign.

“I’m honored to have the support of these organizations,” said DelBene. “I don’t believe the government should be in the business of discrimination, and I will work to ensure equal rights for all Americans at work, home and in their communities.”  

The DelBene campaign’s press release announcing these endorsements is below the fold.  Here’s what ERW’s Executive Director Josh Friedes had to say:

Equal Rights Washington, the state’s largest LGBT civil rights organization, is delighted that our first ever endorsement in a United States Congressional race is Suzan DelBene. Suzan exemplifies the commitment to civil rights that we know typifies the voters of Washington’s 8th Congressional District. Congressman Reichert’s vote against the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is unacceptable and out of step with the people he represents. The people of the 8th Congressional District have long treated their LGBT family members, neighbors and co-workers with dignity and respect. The 8th Congressional District deserves a representative who will work to ensure that the civil rights of all Washingtonians are respected. DelBene, not Reichert, represents the values of the 8th Congressional District.

Suzan DelBene has also been endorsed by Governor Chris Gregoir, the Seattle Times, The News Tribune, a solid list of other press, labor, health and democratic and organizations and legislators.

Please join Suzan DelBene on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.  And of course if you live in CD-8, please cast your ballot for Suzan DelBene for U.S. Representative.
Press release from the Suzan DelBene campaign announcing endorsements by LGBT advocacy organizations.

For Immediate Release

August 12, 2010

Scott Whiteaker, 206-303-9716

Suzan DelBene endorsed by leading LGBT advocacy organizations

(Renton, Wash.) – Today Suzan DelBene’s campaign for Congress is announcing three major endorsements from leading LGBT advocacy organizations – the Human Rights Campaign, Washington Stonewall Democrats and Equal Rights Washington.

The contrast between DelBene and her opponent, incumbent Congressman Dave Reichert, could not be clearer when it comes to fighting for the rights of LGBT individuals and families. Reichert voted against the amendment to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) is the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights organization with more than 750,000 members and supporters.

“Suzan DelBene understands the importance of equality for all Americans, including those in the LGBT community” said Joe Solmonese, President of the Human Rights Campaign. “The fight to give all Americans equal rights is far from over, and representatives like Suzan will help lead that fight in Congress.”

Equal Rights Washington Executive Director Josh Friedes had this to say:

“Equal Rights Washington, the state’s largest LGBT civil rights organization, is delighted that our first ever endorsement in a United States Congressional race is Suzan DelBene. Suzan exemplifies the commitment to civil rights that we know typifies the voters of Washington’s 8th Congressional District. Congressman Reichert’s vote against the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is unacceptable and out of step with the people he represents. The people of the 8th Congressional District have long treated their LGBT family members, neighbors and co-workers with dignity and respect. The 8th Congressional District deserves a representative who will work to ensure that the civil rights of all Washingtonians are respected. DelBene, not Reichert, represents the values of the 8th Congressional District.”

“As the voice of the LGBT community within the Washington Democrats, we’re going to do all we can to help Suzan win the 8th Congressional District,” said George Pieper of the Washington Stonewall Democrats. “Suzan strongly supports the rights of LGBT individuals and families and our members are going to work tirelessly so she can represent us in the other Washington.”

“I’m honored to have the support of these organizations,” said DelBene. “I don’t believe the government should be in the business of discrimination, and I will work to ensure equal rights for all Americans at work, home and in their communities.”

Cross-posted at Washblog.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

Andy Towle on Fierce Advocacy and marriage

TowleRoad:

The White House’s statement on the Prop 8 victory, as I noted yesterday in the “reactions” post, delivered by spokesman Ben LaBolt:
“The President has spoken out in opposition to Proposition 8 because it is divisive and discriminatory. He will continue to promote equality for LGBT Americans.”

An odd statement from a President whose official position on marriage is not equality, and whose Justice Department continues to aggressively defend DOMA in the courts.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  John Wright