North Texans donate more than $2K to help catch teen lesbian couple’s shooter

Kris Wong of Youth First Texas, left, and Cd Kirven of GetEQUAL Texas, right, are shown with a representative from Tri-County Crime Stoppers, center

North Texans Kris Wong, C.d. Kirven and Mark Reed traveled to Aransas Pass near Portland to deliver two checks to Tri-County Crime Stoppers totaling $2,125 to help solve the shooting of a teenage lesbian couple.

On June 22, 19-year-old Mollie Olgin was murdered and 18-year-old Kristene Chapa was shot in a park in Portland, Texas. A sketch of the shooter has been released, but there are no suspects.

“The exciting thing about yesterday was the Portland City Council approved $15,000 and two police departments committed $5,000 each,” Reed said.

That $25,000 will go toward a Crime Stoppers reward for information leading to an arrest in the case. The money donated by the trio will be used to make a video reenactment of the shooting that will be filmed in two weeks to be published online and shown on local TV news outlets.

“Funds we delivered will be used to advertise the video,” Reed said. “They are very focused on getting this crime solved.

Kirven began the fundraising effort at a vigil held for the couple on Cedar Springs Road on June 30.

Wong, 17, a member of Youth First Texas Collin County, organized a bowling tournament in Plano to raise additional funds for the reward fund. That event exceeded her $1,000 goal.

—  David Taffet

DCCCD adds trans protections

Only 1 community college district trustee votes against change

DCCCD-Main-Photo

CELEBRATION | GetEQUAL activist C.D. Kirven, left, hugs Rafael McDonnell, communications and advocacy manager for Resource Center Dallas, as trans rights activist Pam Curry, right, looks on after the Dallas County Community College District board voted Tuesday, Jan. 3, to add protections for transgender employees and students to its nondiscrimination policies. (David Taffet/Dallas Voice)

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer
taffet@dallasvoice.com

The Dallas County Community College District board of trustees voted Tuesday, Jan. 3 to add gender identity to the district’s non-discrimination policies. The vote came less than three months after the trustees initially declined to add the specific protections, saying the policies were unnecessary.

The trustees approved three measures this week. The first protects transgender employees from discrimination and harassment, while two additional policies cover students — in the student code of conduct and in the district’s nondiscrimination statement.

The policy change was first proposed last spring when Resource Center Dallas Communications and Advocacy Manager Rafael McDonnell contacted DCCCD Trustee Diana Flores, who has supported the policy change from the beginning.

“It wasn’t difficult at all,” Flores said after the board meeting about convincing her fellow
trustees to support the addition. “The LGBT community did a good job of informing the board. Congratulations to the community.”

Only five speakers addressed the board on Tuesday, although another five had signed up to speak.

Dallas County Community College graduate Brad Shankle offered a unique perspective in his remarks. “I struggled with gender dysphoria, although I found a way to deal with it,” he said, adding that having the policy in place while he was a student would have made campus life easier for him.

McDonnell gave the board facts and statistics: In a little more than a year, Dallas Independent School District, DFW Airport, Dallas County and Dallas Area Rapid Transit have all added nondiscrimination protections based on gender identity and expression. Around the country, 410 colleges and universities have protections based on gender identity and expression. And more than half of Fortune 500 companies have these protections in place, McDonnell said, specifically mentioning AT&T.

Earlier in the meeting, Wesley Jameson — who works for AT&T — was sworn in as the newest DCCCD trustee.

When McDonnell asked everyone in the audience who had attended to support the changes to stand, about 20 people responded.

RCD board member and DCCCD student Maeve O’Connor told the board her story. And GetEQUAL North Texas Regional Coordinator Daniel Cates, a student at El Centro College, told the board, “No matter who you are, you deserve a safe place to work and go to school.” He said that a “yes” vote would protect everyone and set an example for other colleges in the state.

DCCCD-story-second-photo

Maeve O’Connor

Lambda Legal Community Educator Omar Narvaez told trustees that a transgender person is twice as likely to be unemployed as the general population and one in four has been fired simply because of gender identity.

Board Chair Jerry Prater then cut off public comments, telling those attending, “We have gotten your message, loud and clear.”

Five trustees were present to vote. Four voted in favor and only Trustee Bill Metzger voted no.

While the board was receptive to the message delivered at the January meeting, passing the policy took more than half a year from the time it was first proposed. And at one point during the fall, it looked like the protections would not even be considered.

When the board was briefed on the policy in October, some members said they thought amending the nondiscrimination statement was unnecessary because it was covered by sexual orientation, and because the city of Dallas prohibits discrimination. Although only two of the system’s colleges are located within the city of Dallas, the school’s attorney argued that the entire system was covered by the ordinance because the district’s headquarters is located in Dallas.

Confusion about the definition of sexual orientation stemmed from the wording in the 2002 Dallas ordinance. The city regulation only lists sexual orientation but the definition of the term within the ordinance includes gender identity.

But the city ordinance specifically exempts other governmental bodies. DCCCD is its own taxing authority and is, therefore, exempt from city regulations.
DCCCD is also not covered by Dallas County laws.

The county Commissioners Court amended its employment policy to include gender identity and expression in 2011. But DCCCD employees work for the community college district, not the county. And that employment policy would not cover students.

When the policy was proposed last spring, San Jacinto College, based in Pasadena east of Houston, was the only community college in Texas with gender identity protections.

In December Houston Community College added trans protections to its nondiscrimination policy.

With more than 81,000 credit students and 25,000 continuing education students enrolled in the fall 2011 semester, DCCCD is the largest community college district and the largest school in Texas. The district includes seven colleges on 13 campuses and employs 7,200 full- and part-time faculty, staff and administrators.
Statewide, there are 55 community colleges or community college districts. Just six of those districts have nondiscrimination policies that include sexual orientation.

In addition to the three with trans protections, those that only list sexual orientation are Tarrant County College with five campuses, Austin Community College with eight campuses in Travis County and Lone Star College System based in The Woodlands north of Houston with 14 campuses in Harris and Montgomery counties.

With passage of protection by DCCCD, more than 39,000 public sector employees in Dallas County are covered by the expanded policies.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 6, 2012.

—  Kevin Thomas

Exxon Mobil hits new LGBT low

Company is 1st with negative score on HRC’s Corporate Equality Index

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HIGH OCTANE | Queer activist CD Kirven participates in a protest organized by GetEQUAL in 2010 outside the Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas, where Exxon Mobil's shareholders held their annual meeting. (David Taffet/Dallas Voice)

JOHN WRIGHT  |  Senior Political Writer
wright@dallasvoice.com

IRVING — Exxon Mobil Corp. has again made history for its anti-gay employment practices.

The Irving-based company, which is No. 2 on the Fortune 500 and has more than 80,000 employees worldwide, last week became the first business to ever receive a negative score on the Human Rights Campaign’s annual Corporate Equality Index.

The 2012 edition of the Index, which marks the 10th anniversary of HRC’s scorecard, includes ratings for 636 major companies based on their LGBT-related employment practices.

Exxon Mobil failed to meet any of the criteria for the 2012 Index, and had points deducted for engaging in activities that undermine LGBT equality. As a result, the company received a score of minus-25 from HRC.

Before Exxon and Mobil merged in 1999, Mobil offered domestic partnership benefits and had an employment nondiscrimination policy that included sexual orientation. However, ExxonMobil did away with both the benefits and the policy after the merger, and has repeatedly resisted shareholder efforts to amend the policy to protect gay employees.

The 2012 Index marks the first year HRC has handed out negative scores, and Exxon Mobil was the only company to receive one.

“For over a decade, HRC has urged Exxon Mobil to re-evaluate its employment practices and policies regarding LGBT employees,” HRC spokesman Paul Guequierre said. “They continue to give us, and the entire LGBT community, the cold shoulder.”

William F. Holbrook, a spokesman for ExxonMobil, sent Dallas Voice a copy of the company’s “Corporate Citizenship Report,” which says it has a “zero-tolerance” policy against “discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.”

However, Guequierre said the Corporate Citizenship Report isn’t an Equal Employment Opportunity statement, and lacks the legal force an EEO statement carries.

Exxon Mobil’s report also says the company offers health benefits to the partners of gay employees in countries where same-sex marriage is legal, but goes by federal law in the U.S., which only recognizes heterosexual spouses.

Holbrook declined to further discuss the company’s negative score on the CEI.

Exxon Mobil was one of three companies to receive the 25-point deduction for undermining LGBT equality on the 2012 Index. The other two were New York-based Verizon Communications Inc. and Milwaukee-based Foley & Lardner LLP.

Deena Fidas, director of HRC’s Workplace Project, said Verizon was penalized for resisting a shareholder resolution to add gender identity to the company’s employment nondiscrimination policy; while Foley & Lardner was docked for representing the National Organization for Marriage in campaigns against marriage equality in the District of Columbia and Minnesota.

Verizon received an overall score of 20, while Foley & Lardner got a 60.

“It is not a designation that we take lightly,” Fidas said of the 25-point deduction for undermining LGBT equality. “These businesses did nothing to rectify these particular situations.”

On a more positive note, Fort Worth-based AMR Corp. (American Airlines) is one of only nine companies that have received perfect scores every year since the Index began in 2002, Fidas said. The others are Aetna Inc., Alcatel-Lucent, Apple Inc., Eastman Kodak Co., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Nike Inc., Replacements Ltd. and Xerox Corp.

Those nine employers all managed to maintain their scores of 100 on the 2012 CEI despite new, more stringent criteria — most notably a requirement to offer comprehensive transgender health benefits, including coverage for gender reassignment surgery.

Lauri Curtis, vice president for diversity at American Airlines, said adding comprehensive trans health benefits was “the right thing to do for our business.”

“We don’t look at it as how difficult it was,” Curtis said. “The bottom line is that we have a very diverse population, both our employees as well as our customers, and that’s really what we true ourselves to. That’s our driving guidepost as it relates to our diversity efforts.

“At the end of the day it’s all about equality and respect for everyone,” she added. “I think it just underscores that this is serious stuff to us, because it’s just part of who we are. It’s been part of who we are for a long time.”

American Airlines and AT&T Inc. were the only North Texas-based companies that satisfied all of the new criteria and received perfect scores on the 2012 CEI. That’s down from nine local companies that received HRC’s top rating on the 2011 index.

Nationally, 190 companies received perfect scores this year, down from 337 last year. But Fidas said comparing this year’s scores to last year’s amounts to apples and oranges. In addition to trans health coverage, HRC added criteria in 2012 related to “soft” partner benefits, organizational competency on LGBT issues, and public support for equality.

“It’s a new standard,” Fidas said. “We raised the bar in these four significant areas, and some businesses are just going to take a little more time to get there. We don’t see that as a drop or a lack of commitment.”

In fact, Fidas said, this year’s Index shows remarkable progress as employers strive to meet the new criteria. For example, two years ago, only 49 employers offered comprehensive trans health benefits, but since then the number has jumped to 207.

Representatives from North Texas-based companies that lost their perfect scores on this year’s CEI said they’re disappointed but committed to working toward re-establishing them.

“Anytime that you were on a list and then you’re not a on a list, it does cause some angst,” said Steve Lyle, chief diversity officer for Dallas-based Texas Instruments, which received a 90 on the 2012 Index after four consecutive years of perfect scores. “We don’t want that segment or our employee population to feel disenfranchised because TI’s no longer on this list, or feel like we care less today than we did last week.”

That’s why the company sent emails to LGBT employees in advance of the Index’s release explaining the reason for the lower score: The company’s insurance provider, Blue Cross Blue Shield, doesn’t consider gender reassignment surgery to be a medically necessary procedure.

Texas Instruments could have overridden Blue Cross’ decision at a minimal cost, Lyle said. However, that would have been unfair to employees who want coverage for other procedures that aren’t considered medically necessary, including growth hormones for children and in vitro fertilization.

Lyle added that TI is interested in working with HRC and other employers to convince insurance providers that gender reassignment surgery — historically regarded as cosmetic — should instead be deemed medically necessary.

“We’re in the business of making electronics, not in determining medical necessity, but we do want to influence the conversation, because it aligns with our values,” said Lyle, who’s openly gay. “We want to be able to offer benefits to our employees that are necessary for them, but we also want to have internal equity of those benefits.”

Plano-based J.C. Penney Company Inc. also lost points for failing to offer comprehensive trans health benefits, and saw its score drop from a 100 to an 85.  Daphne Avila, a spokesman for J.C. Penney, said in an email this week that the company will “continue to explore cost-effective options for improving associate benefits.”

“Given our record of achieving a perfect score three out of the past four years, our current ranking is not where we would like it to be,” Avila wrote. “While the new guidelines present opportunities for advancement across all industries, our score – albeit not poor – does not accurately reflect our overall commitment to inclusion and diversity. … While we are unable to guarantee our future standings, please know that we are already evaluating the 2013 HRC criteria and are looking for opportunities to raise the bar.”

Representatives from Grapevine-based GameStop, which saw its score drop from 100 last year to 75 this year; and Dallas-based Brinker International, which saw its score drop from 100 to 60, didn’t respond to requests for comment this week.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 16, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Top 10: Dallasites helped fuel GetEQUAL

Reed.Mark
SPEAKING UP | GetEQUAL board member Mark Reed-Walkup of Dallas uses a megaphone to get his message across outside Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison’s Dallas office last week during a protest of her vote against repealing ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ (John Wright/Dallas Voice)

No. 9:

View all of the Top 10

Dallas activists have played key roles in GetEQUAL, which has quickly become one of the most influential national LGBT direct action organizations since ACT-UP.

According to its website, GetEQUAL’s mission is “to empower the LGBTQ community and our allies to take bold action to demand full legal and social equality, and to hold accountable those who stand in the way.”

The group was founded on March 11 by Robin McGehee and Kip Williams — organizers of last year’s National Equality March — as an alternative to other groups such as the Human Rights Campaign.

Mark Reed-Walkup, a Dallas business owner who also helped organize the National Equality March, now serves on the board for

GetEQUAL, which gained nonprofit status in June. In May, Reed-Walkup became the third activist from Dallas to be arrested at demonstrations organized by GetEQUAL. He was arrested along with five others for chaining himself to the White House fence in a protest to demand a repeal of “don’t ask don’t tell.”

On March 18, Dallas activists Chastity Kirven and Michael Robinson had been arrested — Robinson in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Washington office and Kirven in Pelosi’s San Francisco office — during protests to demand a vote on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

This same day, Lt. Dan Choi handcuffed himself to the White House fence in his first protest of DADT as part of GetEQUAL’s new direct action campaign. Choi was dischraged from the Army under DADT.

Local members of Get Equal also organized several actions in Dallas.

They held an ENDA rally outside the Dallas office of Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. They also protested outside ExxonMobil Corp.’s shareholders meeting at the Meyerson in June, and at Oak Lawn-area service stations.

Last week, Get EQUAL Texas held rallies outside Hutchison’s offices across the state to protest her vote against repealing DADT.
Reed said GetEQUAL is just beginning to organize chapters in all 50 states and should  become more active in Texas in 2010.

— From staff reports

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 31, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas

WATCH: DADT rally on Cedar Springs


Dozens gathered on the Cedar Springs strip Thursday night for a hastily organized rally in response to a vote in the U.S. Senate blocking the repeal of “don’t ask don’t tell.” More images after the jump. Read our full story on the Senate vote here.

—  John Wright

Local activist C.d. Kirven successfully completes probation after arrest in Speaker Pelosi’s office

C.d. Kirven protests cautiously during her probationary period

“I’m very excited to be free!” said activist C.d. Kirven.

Kirven was arrested and later received probation for participating in a GetEqual sit-in at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Washington offices in March. When her six months of probation ended on Oct. 7, all charges were dropped.

“According to [the] ENDA 4 attorney yesterday, charges dropped and record clean,” Kirven said in an e-mail.

Four activists were arrested in Pelosi’s office protesting the speaker’s failure to bring the Employment Non-Discrimination Act up for a vote in the House. Two of the protesters who live in Washington, D.C. received community service along with their probation.

While on probation, Kirven had to be careful not to get arrested. That didn’t stop her from staging other protests, but she said she’s been careful. Now that her probation is over, she said she won’t tone it down.

“So, I’m planning my next direct action but it won’t be like before,” she said.

Since that time, she and fellow Dallas activist Michael Robinson, who was arrested at the same time in Pelosi’s San Francisco office, have formed their own direct action group, Get Equal Now.

—  David Taffet

LGBT activists to raise money, awareness for female workers who’ve sued Dallas Fire-Rescue

Get Equal Now is planning a “Ribbons and Roses” rally and candlelight vigil for Sunday, Oct. 17, at 7:30 p.m. in front of Dallas City Hall to show solidarity with female employees of Dallas Fire Rescue who say they have faced harassment and discrimination on the job. And to raise money to pay for the rally, some women will become “kings” when they stage the “King for A Night” drag king fundraising show on Friday, Oct. 15, at 10 p.m. at The Brick.

The show will star C.D. “Jaime Fauxx” Kirven, Elizabeth “Julian” Pax, AB aka Twisher, Laura R. aka Prynce, and more. And if you want to be one of the “more,” just e-mail Kirven at cdkirven@aol.com by Tuesday, Oct. 5.

For more information, check out the “King for A Night” Facebook page. Show up with a copy of the flier below and get into the show free. Fliers will be available at businesses along Cedar Springs Road and at Resource Center Dallas.

—  admin

C.D. Kirven: HRC, Dell, and Viacom – history of political contributions to marriage equality foes

This post at LezGetReal is a lot to chew on, and will no doubt generate discussion and perhaps some soul searching inside the Beltway, particularly after we’ve featured Richard Lyon’s series “HRC: Following The Money” here on the Blend over the last few days. C.D. Kirven:

The HRC hasn’t historically been known for making tremendous progress on LGBT legislation and is why I was suspicious about the HRC’s support of Target, Hyatt & Bestbuy boycotts. I hoped if they were talking the talk then surely they were they walking the walk. I began to wonder about the identities of the candidates who benefit from Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) PAC contributions. What about PAC donations by companies rated 100% by the HRC’s Corporate Equality Index (CEI)? I decided to investigate and was very surprised by my findings.

HRC’s PAC has donated thousands to House Republicans over the years. They’ve given political contributions to Mark Kirk, Deborah Pryce & Mark Foley’s campaigns.

Recipients Year HRC Rating Donation Amount

Rep. Mark Kirk 2006 76% 00

Rep. Mark Foley 2006 75% ,000

Rep. Deborah Pryce 2006 38% ,525

Link to check out HRC PAC donations:

http://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/toprecips.php?id=D000000158&cycle=2010

HRC has sworn to support candidate’s who support full equality for LGBT citizens and have gone on record with various media outlets to discontinue financially supporting Rep. Mark Kirk but the LGBT non-profit continued to contribute to his campaign. (Below shows a ,000 contribution in 2010)

Who is watching the watchdog? Rep. Mark Kirk’s opponent Alexi Giannoulias supports full marriage equality. So, why is the HRC financially supporting Rep. Kirk who only supports civil unions when Mr. Giannoulias supports gay marriage?

Is it fair for the LGBT community to boycott Target, BestBuy or Hyatt because of political affiliations when LGBT organizations donate to anti-gay marriage candidates? Why does the HRC continue to finically support a candidate who continues to vote against repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell?

…I guess HRC’s anti-gay marriage contributions are simply a bad business decision but as a representative of the LGBT community the organization should commit to upholding the standards they ask others to uphold. I believe the LGBT community needs an independent oversight board monitoring PAC contributions similar to Tea Party’s PAC monitoring groups.

Well that was a shot across the bow by Kirven. There’s a lot more to read, so surf over and share your thoughts in the comments. BTW, check out who Dell — with a HRC 100% CEI score — gave to:

Dell’s PAC – Political Donations:

* Rep. Virginia Foxx – 00 contribution (She believes Matthew Sheppard’s murder was a hoax and not a hate crime)

* Rep. Lamar Smith – ,746 contribution (He recently drafted amendment to condemn reversal of Prop 8 and plans to introduce legislation in Texas to define marriage as between a man and a woman)


Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

Guest column by CD Kirven: Open Letter to Dr. Alveda King from a Black LGBT Rights Activist

When NOM rolled into Raleigh yesterday, Brian Brown took the opportunity to exploit the reputation of Dr. Martin Luther King by lauding the heinous remarks of his niece, Alveda King (video), who earned Keith Olbermann’s “Worst” the other night for her bigotry. This open letter is a plea for her to stop supporting NOMs notion that LGBTs are second-class citizens. — Pam


My open letter is a request for a one-on-one private meeting or public debate with Dr. Alveda King (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s niece who spoke at a National Organization for Marriage anti-gay rally in Atlanta). My hope is to assist with bridging the gap of misunderstanding between our opposing communities in order to lead to a civil dialogue as well as a public acknowledgement of the 41-year-old civil rights struggle of the LGBT community’s efforts to free themselves of unjust laws that allow religious persecution and in hopes of removing the overpowering thumb of our government’s secular mandates.



Open Letter to Dr. Alveda King from a Black LGBT Rights Activist: “Injustice Anywhere is Injustice Everywhere!”

By C.D. Kirven, Contributing Writer & LGBT Activist

Dear Dr. King:

Good afternoon! I urge you to denounce the National Organization for Marriage’s relentless obsession to derail the LGBT community’s efforts to obtain civil protections for their children and families.  Please understand the same people that requested your presence at their anti-gay rally are some of the same people that fought against a holiday in the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s  tremendous work for human rights.  Please lift the secular veil used to disguise blatant bigotry from a group twisting God’s biblical message of love into monstrous hatemongering.

For me, your comments on Saturday at the National Organization for Marriage’s anti-gay rally were very painful to me as a person and as a parent. It was reported that you stated: “Supporting gay marriage will lead to genocide and the extinction of the human race” and this comment has no sound civil or social foundation. But, your comments do assist in furthering the objective of second class citizenship for LGBT Americans and assist with the persecution LGBT citizens in a culture war waged against my community by groups like the National Organization for Marriage. You can’t defend marriage from love but you can use marriage restrictions as a tool to spread hate.

Unfortunately, this type of prejudicial endeavor has had tragic consequences on my community that include high LGBT teen suicide or vicious hate crimes. The National Organization for Marriage’s use of your lineage as a weapon in their oppression arsenal to set back civil gains made by the queer community in our pursuit for marriage equality is truly disheartening. Your aunt and uncle were apostles of peace and were aware of the spiritual connection required in denouncing hateful rhetoric used to publicly degrade a minority group in order to further a devout political agenda. I must say I’m heartbroken by your words and cut deeply by your association with this mean spirited group. Humanity is bound to love and inhumanity is chained to hate. The truth carries the power to determine the difference between a federally protected personal belief and unjust mandate of law.

More below the fold.

In the words of your uncle, who has inspired my efforts as an activist:

I never intend to adjust myself to the viciousness of mob rule. It may be that the salvation of the world lies in the hands of the proclaimed maladjusted –  in the midst of injustice proclaim; Let judgment run down like river waters and righteous like a mighty stream.  As maladjusted as President Lincoln, who envisioned a nation with no separation of those living freely and those who are oppressed.  That all men are created equal, and are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

In the words of Jesus Christ; “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you and do good to those who hate you and pray for them that despitefully use you.” N.O.M. is using your family’s name in a horribly painful way and members of your family were known to actively fight against discrimination of the LGBT community.  N.O.M.’s requesting your attendance was a transparent effort to weigh down the LGBT civil rights movement. My community’s struggle is a civil rights pursuit because anytime a country allows a majority to use the law to oppress a minority then that is a matter of civil liberty. Our struggle is the same struggle faced by African Americans during the civil rights movement.

Loving vs. Virginia made interracial marriage legal and in that case the bible was used as a tool to bend the law to further discriminate against the African American community. The bible is being used in that same way to oppress my community now.

My plea is that you give me an opportunity to change your heart and open your mind to our plight. You have a rare opportunity to right a wrong and I pray to God that you will take it. As an African American you understand the ugliness of hate and the pain of discrimination. This is not a battle of heterosexual against homosexual, but a struggle of justice against injustice.

Thank you for your time and I look forward to our discussion!

Sincerely,

C.D. Kirven, Co-founder of Get Equal Now

www.getequalnow.org

Related:

* NC: PHB exclusive video of NOM’s Brian Brown at Raleigh rally – plus I am mistaken for a fundie (!)

* NC: NOM’s pathetic stop in Raleigh – another FAIL-O-RAMA
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

GetEqual Now joins protest in Orlando

C.d. Kirven

Dallas activist C.d. Kirven and Get Equal Now joined Stand Up Florida to protest an appearance by National Organization for Marriage in Orlando, Florida.

In the picture, Kirven was leading a prayer and asked “Who would Jesus hate?”

NOM’s recent protests have attracted few people so instead of outdoor demonstrations, they have moved their anti-gay rhetoric indoors, speaking in churches.

The counterprotest outside the church also included Courage Campaign, Come Out Orlando, Florida Together, Human Rights Campaign, Queer Activist Coalition, ISO, Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and Metropolitan Community Church, among others.

Members of Get Equal Now and Stand Up Florida first met in Dallas in June when the group from the Sunshine State traveled to Dallas for the ExxonMobil protest.

Kirven said two NOM supporters were outside the church and about 10 were inside. Courage Campaign counted 150 NOM protesters.

One sign that read “Tradition is a Choice” referred to the accusation by conservative religious groups that homosexuality is a choice. Religion is a choice that is constitutionally protected.

“We had a victory in California and we are standing together for marriage equality today,” Kirven said at the rally. “This is not a battle between homosexual against heterosexual. This is a battle of justice against injustice. I would love to sit down with Dr. King who attended NOM’s Atlanta protest to begin a sisterhood between our communities. We must and will be free. Get Equal Now!”

—  David Taffet