Starbucks art auction to benefit homeless youth charity

There are times in life when the strangest ingredients can come together to make something wonderful: wasabi and chocolate, curry and cranberries, peanut butter and pickles… That’s the case with Montrose Grace Place, a charity serving homeless youth in the Montrose area. Take one part 90 year old Lutheran Church willing to help without preaching, add a desire to serve homeless youth regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression, mix with a passel of volunteers of all religious backgrounds (Christian, Jewish, Buddhist and more than a few Atheists), let steep in a community desperate to help queer homeless youth and voilà, a vibrant charity that has provided food, clothing and, most importantly, interaction with adults who give a damn to dozens of kids over the last two years.

Of course all that doesn’t happen without expense. Despite Grace Lutheran Church donating space and volunteers donating hundreds of hours of labor Grace Place still has some expenses. The employees of the River Oaks Starbucks (the one at 2050 West Gray, not the one at 2029 West Gray or the one at 2030 West Gray) wanted a way to pitch in so they organized an art auction tomorrow evening, January 1 starting at 6 pm. The auction features donated works by local artists as well as works by the Grace Place kids themselves. Stop by for a latte and some art to go.

—  admin

Twelfth Night celebration is in the pink

In the liturgical calendar of the Christian church twelfth night is the last day of the Christmas season. (Remember the 12 days of Christmas? They start on December 24 and end December 5) Twelfth night also kicks off the carnival season that culminates in the celebration of Mardi Gras. The Krewe of Olympus, Houston’s own predominately gay Mardi Gras Krewe, welcomes the season in style with “Pretty in Pink:” a twelfth night fundraiser benefiting the Montrose Counseling Center. The festivities are Saturday night, January 7 (’cause who wants to party on a Thursday?) starting at 7 pm at the Counseling Center (401 Branard) and include traditional king cake as well as an open bar, hors d’oevres and a Mardi Gras mask auction. In keeping with the theme guests are invited to wear their best outfits in shades of pink (be it blush or bashful).

The Krewe of Olympus started in New Orleans in 1970 before moving to Houston. According to their website:

We are one of the largest predominately gay Krewes in the United States, although our membership is open to all. Our principal aims are to present theatrical and educational events that perpetuate and continue Mardi Gras traditions and to raise money for community charities. Since moving to Texas, we’ve donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to Houston and Dallas Charitable Organizations. We are a 501(c)(3) non profit organization.

Tickets for the event are $35 and are available at the door.

—  admin

Hundreds Gather to Push for Marriage in Maryland

Equality Maryland Exec. Director Morgan Meneses-Sheets and Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler

Over 400 supporters of marriage equality from across Maryland came to Annapolis on Valentine’s Day to lobby in support of the “Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act.” 

As a Maryland resident it was especially moving to see so many supportive legislators bear the strong winds and address the enthusiastic crowd. 

Attorney General Doug Gansler was also on-hand and was greeted with cheers as he predicted a legislative victory.

The full Senate is expected to vote next week.  With two Senators announcing their support for the bill earlier in the day, the bill has 23 of the 24 votes needed to pass.  Four Senators remain undecided.

If the bill passes the Senate next week, it moves onto the House of Delegates where the vote count is also very close.

To help in our efforts working alongside Equality Maryland, please contact sultan.shakir@hrc.org.


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  David Taffet

Hundreds Gather in NY to Remember Slain Ugandan Activist David Kato

 

The following comes from HRC Greater New York Steering Committee Diversity Co-Chair Pete Webb:

I represented the Human Rights Campaign yesterday at the New York City Memorial Service to honor the Ugandan LGBT Activist, David Kato.  Kato was the advocacy officer of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG).  Only a few short months after his picture was published in a national magazine outing LGBT Ugandans under the headline “hang them,” someone broke into Kato’s house on January 26, 2011 and beat him to death with a hammer.  Right-wing U.S. extremists have fueld a climate of hatred in Uganda.  Click here to learn more and send a message to the most outspoken extremists whose words may have led to Kato’s death.  

A moving memorial service, alive with soul and spirit, was held for Kato in the historic setting of Abyssinian Baptist Church.  Over 225 people attended to mourn David’s murder and show their solidarity with LGBT Ugandans.  Various dignitaries participated in the service including a UN Senior Adviser to the High Commissioner, New York City Councilmember, and clergy from various faith communities. Frank Mugisha, Executive Director of SMUG, also shared his testimony and friendship with David Kato.

The Rev. Joseph Tolton, who was the lead organizer of the vigil, talked about racism, homophobia, hatred and bigotry within society and the church. He passionately extolled everyone to “do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with your god.” He challenged the church to welcome all of god’s children including the LGBT community. The Rev. Calvin Butts of Abyssinian Baptist Church continued this theme declaring that we must open our hearts and minds to erase hate and affirm human dignity.

It is my hope and prayer that David Kato’s legacy will birth a movement of understanding; empowerment and liberation.


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  David Taffet

Colorado: officer resigns – posted hundreds of racist, homophobic comments on news sites on the job

It must be really difficult for someone to handle their own racism and homophobia that is so intense that you can’t think straight, as it were. A 13-year member of the Douglas County (Colorado) Sheriff’s office resigned for posting bigoted statements on public news sites while on duty and on a county computer.

Lt. Jeff Egnor resigned Tuesday after Douglas County officials confronted him about hundreds of postings on the 7NEWS website, www.thedenverchannel.com, and the KUSA-TV website, according to Undersheriff Tony Spurlock.

Posting under the screen name “Abu Mybutt“, Egnor commented on various stories from police shootings to the elimination of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy that will let gay soldiers serve openly in the military. “New miltary slogans: The few, the queer, the Marines! Butt Rangers lead the way! Be as gay as you can be! Aim for a high hard one, Air Force! Join the Navy, see naked men!” Egnor posted on Dec. 20, 2010, misspelling military.

Two similar posts: “Now we have a new weapon against our enemies: the sissy slap! :-P ” and “I hear the Army is forming a new division: The Rump Rangers! :-D .” Egnor also made comments about religious figures and attacked liberals, saying Democrats are ruining the United States.

Egnor made it clear that he worked in government and when other readers of TheDenverChannel.com complained, 7NEWS filed an open records request to determine who was using the Douglas County Internet Provider address linked to the postings. After the 7NEWS request, Spurlock said superiors confronted Egnor Tuesday morning. He resigned that afternoon.

He also commented on stories about sports figures like the arrest of Parrish Cox for sex assault.

“Another member of the ‘thug’ culture that the NFL promotes. You can take the player out of the hood, but you can’t take the hood out of the player! Hey I’ve got a great idea, let’s take a gangbanger from the hood, throw millions of dollars at him, worship him as a god, kiss his butt night and day, let the media slober all over him! Then they are all suddenly shocked when the thug acts like a thug!”

I think this shows you that many news sites (that often times are not moderated), are  havens for some of the most, um, unbalanced extreme commenters, who like to hide under the cloak of anonymity. That this ass disclosed that he worked for the taxpayers in Douglas County, saved everyone the trouble of purging Abu Mybutt/former Lt. Jeff Egnor from the comments. For now. Abu can now look for work.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  David Taffet

Watch: NYC Gay Couple Receives Hundreds of Letters to Santa, Opts to Perform Christmas Miracles

Santa

Miracle on 22nd Street. This is a beautiful story. Just watch it.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP


Towleroad News #gay

—  admin

NEW YORK: Hundreds Stage “Homophobia Kills” Die-In At Grand Central Terminal

Paul Schindler reports at Gay City News:

Several hundred LGBT New Yorkers gathered at Grand Central Terminal during evening rush hour on Friday, October 8 to conduct what organizers called a “Flash Mob: Homophobia Kills Die-In” in the center of the main concourse of the nation’s busiest transit hub. Several minutes after 6, activist Alan Bounville brought his fingers to his mouth to issue a loud whistle signaling the start of the action. A crowd of at least 300 immediately laid down on the floor, as Bounville and others unfurled a 12-foot by 12-foot yellow banner reading: END HOMO/ TRANSPHOBIC APARTHEID IN AMERICA.”

The crowd created a blockade for thousands of commuters rushing to and from the subways and Metro North commuter trains in the terminal. Police ordered participants to disperse or face arrest, while Todd Fernandez and Eugene Lovendusky read the names of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender victims of murder or of suicide prompted by bullying and violence. As the men called out each victim’s name, those on the floor shouted back the first name. As planned, after about three or four minutes on the floor, participants got back on their feet, and for several more minutes Fernandez, Lovendusky, and other organizers led the crowd in shouts of “Civil Rights Now.”

Two of the protest’s organizers from Queer SOS! were arrested and released shortly after with desk appearance tickets.

Joe. My. God.

—  John Wright

AMSTERDAM: Hundreds March In Protest Of Rise In Anti-Gay Violence

Led by well-known drag performers, hundreds marched in Amsterdam today in protest of the city’s recent rash of violence against LGBT citizens. The rally was organized by the LGBT group Right To Feel Safe. Posters with the details of each of the attacks were affixed to street poles at the incidents’ locations along the march route. A fuller account of today’s action can be found in Dutch here.

(Tipped by JMG reader Tim)

Joe. My. God.

—  John Wright