Upstate NY newspaper runs trans-tastic series

A view of Downtown Albany from the Hudson River

My college town newspaper, the Albany Times Union, is running an awesome series of articles about the transgender community this week that I wanted to share.

When I was in school, the Times Union was the conservative newspaper and the now-gone Knickerbocker News was the liberal paper. But the surviving paper knows its audience and Albany is liberal. No, that should read LIBERAL.

This whole series is worth a read. But not only are the articles good, so are the comments. The biggest complaint is that the LGBT community is getting too much coverage. Imagine that in the local Dallas newspaper. I expect more negative comments right here in a Texas LGBT newspaper than an Upstate New York mainstream paper is getting.

Here’s an article filled with statistics. They claim more than 8 million LGBs in the U.S. and 700,000 transgenders. There’s no census count so I’m not sure where the numbers come from.

Here’s the main page — Transgender: A Special Report. The online version begins with 75+ photos.

People just know me as Pat

The long, difficult journey of how a man became a woman

Surgery, pain, humor and no turning back

Going from Kenny to Kym was no easy road

For Drew, nothing is written

‘I like my fluid identity’

A little about Albany

Albany is a small city of about 100,000 people. The capital of New York, it’s about 150 miles north of New York City, north of the Catskills, south of the Adirondacks and where the Mohawk River empties into the Hudson River. Where the northbound New York State Thruway makes a sharp left turn to head west to Buffalo — giving the city its nickname — the armpit of New York.

Oh, and Albany is a very liberal city. So it’s not surprising they’d run this series. I just don’t know when another mainstream daily has devoted this much space at one time to transgender issues.

Albany is home to the first LGBT community center ever created in the country. Located in a brownstone a few blocks the Capitol, it’s now called the Capital Pride Center. The building was purchased in 1974 by a professor at my school and a group of us helped renovate the building. That was the first time I ever helped build stairs. Hopefully they’ve been rebuilt since then.

And Sen. Gillibrand — who represented Albany before becoming senator — was a leader in getting rid of “don’t ask, don’t tell” and pushed for marriage equality along with Governor Andrew Cuomo.

—  David Taffet

Dallas gets $1.28M HUD grant for HIV/AIDS

Officials with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development have announced the allocation of nearly $9 million in grants to projects in seven states that provide permanent and transitional housing and support services to people with HIV/AIDS.

Of that total, $1,287,500 will be allocated to the city of Dallas’ Housing and Community Services Department, the only city or agency in Texas to receive one of the seven HUD grants. The money will be used to provide transitional housing support to 60 ex-offenders over the next three years. According to the HUD press release, the Housing and Community Services Department will be working with the city’s Project Reconnect and the Department of Justice’s Second Chance Act in providing the housing and services.

And the city has committed to “creating an Integrated HIV/AIDS Housing Plan through a comprehensive community planning effort that involves 20 local partners operating in the eight county Dallas Metropolitan Statistical Area,” according to HUD. No word yet on whether those partners will include AIDS Services of Dallas, which is located in Oak Cliff and provides housing for as many as 225 men, women and children impacted by HIV/AIDS through 125 units in four complexes.

The largest of the grants, $1,375,000, is going to the Los Angeles County Commission on HIV. The city of Portland, Ore., gets the second-largest total with $1,365,900. River Region Human Services Inc. in Jacksonville, Fla., is getting $1,353,743, and the Corporation for AIDS Research Education and Services Inc. in Albany and Rochester, N.Y., gets $1,344,375.

Dallas is next on the list, followed by Justice Resource Institute Inc. in Boston, which gets $1,223,377. Rounding out the recipient list is the Frannie Peabody Center, a statewide organization in Maine, that is receiving $930,909.

The seven recipients were chosen “through a national HOPWA competition to identify special projects of national significance that will help advance understanding and improve the delivery of housing and care for persons with HIV,” according to HUD.

—  admin

Marriage Equality Day in Albany

The following is from HRC Regional Field Organizer Shirin Khosravi:

On February 8th the Human Rights Campaign partnered with Marriage Equality NY to sponsor their 3rd annual Marriage Equality Day in Albany.  With the help of HRC, the Empire State Pride Agenda, and other coalition partners, MENY organized buses from across the state to travel to Albany so that New Yorkers had the opportunity to tell their stories and tell their Senators face-to-face why we must have marriage equality now.

My colleague David Turley and I met at the Empire State Plaza in Albany around 9:30 to greet the hundreds of supporters arranging from all corners of the state. I was especially impressed to see over 100 of our friends from Western New York, traveling 5 hours by bus ride in both directions. Over the course of the day, pro-equality constituents met with Senators and Assembly members, telling them their personal accounts of how the denial of equal rights has affected their lives, and the lives of their families I sat and spoke multiple community members from my regions in the Hudson Valley, including police officers, small business owners, teachers and couples who want to see a marriage equality bill passed in 2011.  I am very excited to have met such amazing people from my home state and am looking forward to working alongside all of them in the field.

David, local HRC members and I had the pleasure of sitting down with Senator Greg Ball (R) from Patterson, NY and his staff to discuss the future of marriage equality in the Empire State. I was especially moved by HRC member Dan Cullen from Senator Greg Ball’s district that proudly represented his lesbian daughter and their family’s story. We greatly appreciate the Senator taking the time to meet with us and hope that we will have his support when the historic vote takes place this year. 

Growing up in the Hudson Valley, I was proud to be a part of such a well organized and successful equality day.  HRC, MENY, ESPA and a broad coalition of LGBT groups from across the state are working together closer than ever to ensure that our efforts to obtain equal marriage rights are as organized and effective as possible.  2011 will be the year that marriage equality will become a reality for New Yorkers and we are going to do everything in our power to make sure of it.

To get involved in HRC’s New York Campaign for Marriage, please contact me at 914 466-6058 or email or email

Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  David Taffet

New Yorkers are Bringing Change to Albany!

The following post comes from HRC Field Intern Maggie Campbell:

New York Senate District 58 is buzzing with support for state senate candidate Tim Kennedy, who was recently endorsed by the Human Rights Campaign. Kennedy is a strong progressive candidate who promises to bring the voice of Western New York’s LGBT community back to Albany and cast his vote for marriage equality!

Regional Field Organizer David Contreras Turley, along with Field Intern Jacob Smith and myself, are in Tim’s hometown of South Buffalo energizing HRC members in Western New York. Last night was the grand opening of the Kennedy field office in West Seneca and we saw an outpouring of support from the community. The volunteers are excited to see HRC at work in New York, and we are honored to be working with such a dedicated team, not to mention eating some fantastic Buffalo wings!

If you live in the Buffalo area and are interested in volunteering for a great pro-equality candidate, contact David Turley at or call him at 202-330-3790.

Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  John Wright