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The Empty Closet local, state and national news, newsmaker interviews, opinion, entertainment, columnists , event calendars, comics, and health resources

number 472


a publication of the gay alliance of the genesee valley with a number of community partners who have offered to provide us with the space to continue our work. For our Friday Night Youth Group and our regular weekly SAGE meetings, we have arranged for meeting space at Open Arms MCC. They have moved into a new facility at 707 East Main, about two blocks away. The location is on the bus line and actually provides better parking and access. EC: What about the other Youth events like the long running after-school drop-in and Prom? SCOTT: That’s a great question. Our Friday nights have become the most popular of our regular Youth events and draw youth from school districts all around the region, so that is why we first focused on finding a home for that activity. Our after-school drop-in program has changed dramatically in recent years and we are now working to create a youth program that recognizes the many changes that have occurred in LGBT lives. At this point all Rochester City Schools as well as many schools in the region have a GSA (Gay Straight Alliance) and so school-aged youth have access to resources and safe places, and the City Recreation Department is gay-friendly and is another safe after school space. (At Forty continues page 8)


Empowering pride for 40 years

of the Genesee Valley

By Susan Jordan The Empty Closet sat down with Gay Alliance Acting Executive Director Scott Fearing to have a frank conversation about the organization and what he sees for the Gay Alliance’s future. The Empty Closet requested this conversation because of rumors that are circulating about the changes taking place within Rochester’s oldest LGBT organization. EC: Scott, let’s start with a very direct and immediate question. We understand that you have closed the large meeting room, known as the Community Center, on the first floor of the Auditorium Center, as of Oct. 1. Why was it necessary to close that room? SF: As I explain in my monthly column (page 2) there were a number of contributing factors that led to giving up the space as the most sensible course of action for us and for the community. It was not an easy decision, but one that was necessary.  When I examined the room

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use and looked carefully at the numbers the room sat unused 85% of the time. Dropping our lease at this time will help us to become fiscally sound as we focus our energies on developing a long-term solution to providing LGBT Community space. EC: Where will the Youth Group and SAGE meet? SCOTT: We are working


The Gay Alliance at 40: Who are we and where we are going? A talk with Scott Fearing

Dawn Balsis is new Youth intern; youth to meet at Open Arms MCC By Susan Jordan Dawn Balsis is coming onto the Gay Alliance staff as the new Youth Group intern. She will welcome the Out Loud Out Proud youth to their first meeting at the new youth space at Open Arms MCC, 707 E. Main St., on Oct. 4. The group will meet on Fridays 7-9 p.m. at Open Arms. Dawn is a social worker who completed her masters at Boston University in 2011 and has worked at a rape crisis center and domestic abuse shelter. She has been researching youth programs around the country to discern best practices. “I like youth,” she said. “They’re fun to hang out with and creative. Sometimes we don’t give them the credit they deserve.” She hoped to meet with many youth before Oct. 4. “I’m really excited to meet the youth and work with them,” she said. “I want to learn what they think and what they need.” Gay Alliance Executive Director Scott Fearing said that additional youth programming and staff will be added as the school year continues. ■

Low voter turnout marks local Primary Election By Ove Overmyer The underbelly of one of the city’s biggest election upsets in history was highlighted by the lowest-ever voter turnout for a mayoral primary -- seen most dramatically on the city’s tony east side. At midnight on election night, with 166 total districts reporting, Lovely Warren amassed 8,515 votes (58.24%) compared to Mayor Richards’ 6,060 votes (41.45%). City Council President Lovely Warren managed to beat Mayor Tom Richards convincingly, winning in parts of Rochester that previously went for Mayor Richards and winning bigger in areas he had lost. Both campaigns told the EC Warren ( Voter continues page 3)

ImageOut... page 27

octoBER 2013

Darren Manzella Lapeira

Heroic veteran dies in accident; challenged DADT By Susan Jordan Darren Manzella Lapeira, 36, an Army vet who served two tours of duty in Iraq and spoke out against the military’s anti-gay “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, died in a car accident in Pittsford Aug. 29. Darren was a brave, powerful and important voice in the battle to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, speaking out about his sexuality when it was forbidden to do so. His interview with Leslie Stahl on “60 Minutes” led to his discharge. He later moved to the Rochester area where he had many close friends. He had married Javier Lapeira only a few weeks before his death. SLDN wrote at the time of his discharge, “The Iraq war veteran was the first openly gay active duty service member to speak with the media while serving inside a war zone.... Manzella, 30, enlisted in the U.S. Army in 2002 and was twice deployed to the Middle East in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. While under fire on the streets of Baghdad, he provided medical care to his fellow soldiers, Iraqi National Guardsmen and civilians. He was awarded the Combat Medical Badge, and also received several other awards recognizing his courage and service.” John Altieri, former Gay Alliance Board President, said, “As we celebrate the release of our own Rochester LGBT history documentary, Shoulders to Stand On, we need to celebrate the life of Staff Sgt. Darren Manzella Lapeira as a truly courageous individual whose shoulders countless

LGBT Military Service Members and Veterans now stand on. Even after discharge from the US Army, Darren continued his efforts and the support of his fellow Veterans as a well loved and respected National Veteran Crisis Line Responder at the Canandaigua VA Medical Center. “We have lost a truly heroic young man who put service to community and country before self, fighting on the frontlines for freedom and equality. My thoughts and prayers go out to Darren’s husband, Javier, his parents, Nancy and Michael and his extended family.” Kevin C.A. Elphick said, “Darren was a much-beloved and respected colleague. Given the public manner in which he confronted ‘Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell’ as an Active Duty soldier in Iraq, I cannot help but think of him as a hero. He respectfully challenged his country at the same time he was serving to protect its freedoms. He collaborated with peers to sensitize providers of services to veterans about the unique needs of LGBT veterans and their loved ones. Darren was dedicated and professional in his advocacy and support of veterans, as well as those serving in Active Duty. When he told me of his upcoming marriage, I was immediately impressed with the realization that Darren was riding the cutting edge of historic and positive changes for the LGBT community. With his death the LGBT community has lost a significant leader and an important role model.” ( Vet continues page 3)


Editorials....................................... 2 Local/State News........................ 3 National/International News..... 4 Interview: Molly Clifford.................. 7 Candidates to Watch................12 The Marrying Kind.....................15 Shoulders To Stand On ...........21 Columnists ................................22 Community ................................25 Entertainment: ImageOut..........27 Gay Alliance: History Exhibit......30 Rainbow SAGE News................31 Calendar.....................................34 Classifieds..................................34 Comics................................ 34, 35 Proud Publisher of New York State’s Oldest Lgbt Newspaper


the empty closet • the gay alliance of the genesee valley • number 472 • octoBER 2013

Gay Alliance of the Genesee Valley

Perspectives The Empty Closet Editor Susan Jordan

Thank you, Bob Osborn By Susan Jordan It’s Gay History Month, and the Shoulders To Stand On documentary is out as well. This editor is remembering the late Bob Osborn, the founder of the Gay Liberation Front at the University of Rochester. He formed the group shortly after his experience at the Stonewall Riots in 1969. The fire sparked by Stonewall resulted in the creation of GLFs in New York City, Ithaca (Cornell) and here in Rochester. Bob, a grad student at U.R., started GLF as an on-campus group; it eventually became the Gay Alliance of the Genesee Valley. He organized the first political actions for gay rights in this city. Bob was among the brave pioneers (including Larry Fine, Marshall Goldman, AJ Alcala, Patti Evans, Bob Crystal, Karen Hagberg, etc.) who challenged what was then taken for granted by society – that LGBT people were pariahs, subhumans and heartless sexual predators who not only didn’t deserve civil rights, but did deserve death, either by murder or by suicide. It is hard to imagine the courage and resolve it took in 1969 to face this bigoted hate that has festered for centuries -- and still exists. If the injustice and violence have now started to go away, it is because people like Bob Osborn were dedicated to social change and were brave

and stubborn enough to resist. Patti Evans says in her Shoulders To Stand On interview that she got involved with activism for gay rights because Bob mentored her at U.R. She said, “I was mostly responding to Bob Osborn’s taking me on as someone he should tutor and help grow, you know? And I want to point out with him, the man was a bona fide genius and he was [a] PhD physicist. But he was also… a member of Mensa, which is like the people with high IQs in the country…. And it wasn’t that he had a big ego about it at all, you know? In fact – Mensa, he took it seriously only because he really enjoyed correspondence with other people in it because they operated on the same level he did….” About Bob Osborn’s committed activism, Patti commented, “Well he… all his life believed in human rights, civil rights. So he was active in the Civil Rights Movement... you know the famous march with Martin Luther King? He was there, you know.” Thanks, Bob. We are all better off here in 21st century Rochester because you were there. ■

Bob Osborn (right) at the march to City Hall from Xerox in 1972.

W. Bruce Gorman, Co-President and Secretary Emily Jones, Co-President, David Zona, Treasurer, John Altieri, Chris Hilderbrant, Jeff Markarian, Peter Mohr, Jessica Muratore, Steve Santacroce, William Schaefer 

Gay Alliance Executive Director Scott Fearing

All together now By Scott Fearing As the Gay Alliance prepares for its fortieth year to wrap up, we are laser-focused on our future and the future of the Rochester LGBT Community. Each month in this space I attempt to provide you with information about the many changes that are happening at the Gay Alliance. The change that is getting the most attention right now is the fact that we have cancelled our lease on the large Community Room that we have been renting on the first floor of the Auditorium Center. I would like to explain the reasons why we took this action and a little about our plans to provide uninterrupted services. I feel that transparency and honesty are critical elements of any relationship, but when it comes to a community agency, it is critical. You donate your time and money to the Gay Alliance, you attend our community events, you read our newspaper. That means that we must keep you informed about what we do. I take the responsibility of being a good steward of your support very seriously. For your financial support you can expect that we will use your gift wisely. The Community Room that we have rented on the first floor of the Auditorium Center has been a wonderful commu-

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nity resource for many years. In this room we have hosted many activities including some as diverse as our after-school drop-in programs, training and education programs, SAGE lunches and programs, and a variety of community forums. The room has also been a meeting place for other organizations such as Equality Rochester, the Rochester Bears, PFLAG, LORA and the Rochester Transgender Group. However, despite this diverse use, when I examined the space closely and ran some numbers it was clear that renting the room was not a good use of our funds, or more accurately, your funds. For instance, there is no air conditioning, which makes summer use very uncomfortable. Likewise, there is no way for us to control the heat, and on occasion our after school activities were held huddled next to a space heater. It turned out that the space sat empty and unused over 80 percent of the time. So we were paying to rent a space that was used for less than two hours a day. There are better ways to use your donations. As we explore what space we may occupy in the future, we are partnering with other organizations in Rochester to help host our programs. For instance, the Board and staff at MCC-Open Arms, in their new location at 707 East Main, has offered to provide meeting space for our popular Friday evening Youth Group, as well as for our SAGE group. We are working hard to build a strong foundation on which, together, we can build the Gay Alliance of the future. As the oldest, strongest voice for the LGBT Community in Rochester we will be here with you, and the LGBTA people yet to come out. By working together we can ensure that the future looks very bright. ■


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octoBER 2013 • number 472 • gay alliance of the genesee valley • the empty closet

page one (Vet from page 1)

Advocate op/ed salutes Manzella

By David Stalling http:// Perhaps it’s the marine in me, but I don’t use the term hero lightly. It should be reserved for those who boldly go above and beyond by taking extraordinary risks to do what’s right against tremendous odds despite real and potential negative consequences. Darren Manzella was a hero. On August 29, 2013, Darren died in a traffic accident in western New York. He was 36. A bright and beautiful flame has been extinguished. He left our world too soon, but he left our world a better place. But before this, I had the honor and privilege of working with and getting to know Darren during my short time as a grassroots organizer for the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (now OutServe-SLDN), which led the battle to repeal the archaic “don’t ask, don’t tell.” In the winter of 2009 we traveled to Boston together to meet with folks working on the repeal of DADT. It was the first time I watched him give a speech he frequently gave to groups, to the media, and in front of congressional committees to change people’s hearts and minds about gays serving in the military. He was persuasive. Not just because he lit up the place with his smile, charm, and charisma, but because he spoke honestly, humbly, and sincerely from his heart based on his own experiences, which were impressively significant. He enlisted in the Army in 2002, was trained as a medical specialist, and served two tours in Iraq. Among many other distinctions, he was awarded the Combat Medical Badge. While witnessing the brutalities of war he wondered, like most combat soldiers do, if he would ever return home. But unlike most combat soldiers, he was saddened by the thought that those he loved most may never know all of who he was. So he came out to his friends and family. “I had kept myself in the closet for years,” he said, “and I didn’t want to live like that anymore.” He started dating. A few photos and videos circulated of him enjoying time with his boyfriend. In some they were kissing. Word gradually got out, rumors spread, and he started receiving threatening, anonymous emails. “Turn down the flame,” said one. Every day he wondered if and when military police might show up to arrest him. He described it as a time of “fear and deep insecurity.” Knowing he risked being stripped of rank — which would cause him to lose money by being booted out of the Army — he nevertheless met with his commanding officer to discuss his struggles and reveal his true self. “I didn’t know what else to do to keep my sanity,” he said. It was the right thing to do; individual emotional distractions can affect everyone in a combat unit. An investigation was launched and concluded there was “no proof

of homosexuality.” Darren was told he was “not gay.” That was an order. It was wartime, and the Army needed him. During his second tour in Iraq, he was asked to be interviewed by 60 Minutes as part of a special report about DADT. He knew the risks but knew it was time to take a stand and help make a difference. He was the first openly gay soldier to be interviewed from a combat zone. The report was aired in December 2007, and it led to his eventual discharge in 2008. After his talk in Boston, Darren and I walked the Freedom Trail on a brutally cold day and talked with respect and admiration about those colonial-era rebels who risked everything to stand up against tyranny and fight for liberty and equality. We stopped to warm up at a bar and swapped war stories. I shared my own struggles of coming to terms with my sexuality and coming out. I served before “don’t ask, don’t tell,” when the unofficial policy — at least in the Marine Corps — was “anyone finds out and you’re dead.” I was envious yet hopeful when he told me how most of his comrades in arms didn’t care. They fully accepted him. One even invited Darren and his boyfriend to her wedding. The only soldiers within the ranks still holding on to the wrongs of the past were the older ones. Times were changing, and Darren was on the front lines. When he was warned to “turn down the flame” he instead piled on the fuel and fanned flames of change. At a Washington, D.C., press conference, he once said, “This is who I am. This is my life. It has never affected my job performance.” Once, when asked if repeal of DADT would negatively affect the military, he responded, “I was an openly gay man in the Army, and the Army’s still standing.” The Army is not only still standing, it’s stronger — as are all branches of our military; as is our nation — thanks, in no small part, to Darren Manzella. This is who he was. This was his life.

(Voter from page 1) got her supporters to the polls. She connected with voters where Richards didn’t and promised change for a city she said is in crisis, as violence swelled in recent weeks. The Sept. 10 election turnout was unofficially just 22.6 percent, which compares with 36.4 percent in the 2005 mayoral primary and 44 percent in the prior mayoral primary in 1993. In each instance, the party’s endorsed candidate lost. What seemed to bother most party operatives was not who won the election — it was the fact that Democratic Party leaders are seeing a steady drop in voter turnout, which says very little about a true representative government. It was the east side that carried Mayor Thomas Richards to victory just two years ago. The east side also was the difference maker in the 2005 mayoral primary. Compared with that election, more than a third fewer east-side voters cast a ballot this time around. “I’m taking it all in before we get back to work again tomor-

row,” Warren told a slew of reporters on election night; if elected she will become the city’s first female mayor. “I take nothing for granted. I am going to campaign until all the votes are counted in November.” Richards announced on Sept. 17 that he will not run for reelection. Mayoral candidate Alex White has the Green Party line. Warren’s unofficial vote total closely mirrored that of Wade Norwood, the endorsed candidate in the 2005 mayoral primary. He lost to eventual mayor and now lieutenant governor Robert Duffy by 10 percentage points. Warren bested Richards by 16 percentage points. To complicate matters, there were the errant polls that showed Richards with a sizable and widening advantage. But both sides say the result could have been to suppress their turnout, as supporters either guessed it was in the bag or a lost cause. Warren now has the advantage, the Democratic nominee in a city where enrolled Democrats outnumber all others 3 to 2, and now eligible to receive party support. Haag keeps ballot seat on City Council There were no big surprises in the Rochester City Council At-Large race, with all incumbents winning enough votes to appear on the Democratic Party ballot line for the November general election. Loretta Scott lead all primary vote-getters receiving 19.07% of the tally. Carolee Conklin (14.03%), Jackie Ortiz (13.63%), Dana Miller (13.21%) and Matt Haag (10.12%) rounded out the nominated candidates. Haag told the EC on Primary Election night, “I am thankful to the citizens of Rochester for their support in the Democratic primary. I’m honored to continue to represent the many voices of our City. This campaign season we spent time knocking on doors, ringing phones, and engaging with Rochesterians in every neighborhood. The spirit and enthusiasm of Rochester is inspiring. That being said, the turnout at this year’s primary was extraordinarily low, and we need to remember that there are still many big elections coming in November. We will vote for our Democratic judicial candidates and our council race is still not a done deal. Now as always it is important that everyone exercise their right to vote.” NYC sees record number of gay candidates advance Democratic voters in the big apple sent a record number of LGBT candidates to the city council, electing three incumbents and three newcomers in the Democratic primary. Historic wins came in the outer boroughs, where Brooklyn’s  Carlos Menchaca upset incumbent Sara Gonzalez in the District 38 race with 58% of the vote. In the Bronx, voters in District 15 elected  Ritchie Torres  with 36% of the vote in a 6-way race. Both Menchaca and Torres will become the first openly gay Councilmembers from their respective boroughs. Incumbents  Danny Dromm  of District 25 and Jimmy Van Bramer of District 26 were unopposed in the primary elections, while District 2 Councilwoman  Rosie Mendez  fended off a primary chal( Voter continues page 6)


NewsFronts Local and State Pride Agenda launches trans resource guide The Pride Agenda has officially unveiled the first comprehensive New York State Transgender Resource Guide. Its home at is the culmination of a months-long project of finding, vetting and procuring a wide range of transgender resources across the state. The user-friendly guide is categorized by topics and includes Ally Resources;  Anti-Violence, Self Defense and Survivor Resources;  Disability Resources; Elder Resources;  Employment Resources; Health Services (By Region);  HIV/AIDS Service Organizations;  Housing and Shelter;  Immigration and Services for Immigrants;  Intersex/DSD Resources;  Legal Services (Name Change/Other Legal Needs);  Mental Health Services (By Region);  Partnership, Parenting and Families (By Region);  Prison and Reentry Services;  Religious Organizations/Communities (By Region);  Substance Use and Recovery Services;  Transition Resources and Youth Resources. Prominently outfitted on the site is a “Do you need support right now?” link that takes the visitor to a page with crisis resources, including a list of local hospitals, mental health services, and crisis lines. The guide is the first to provide information for transgender and gender non-conforming New Yorkers throughout the state in one easy-to-use space.

69-year-old man stabbed to death in NYC; blew kisses Steven Torres, a 22-year-old Bronx man, has been charged with second-degree murder as a hate crime for stabbing 69-yearold Edward Orozco of Queens to death under the elevated 7 train subway station at 90th and Roosevelt in Queens on Sept. 16. Initially it was thought that the motivation for the attack was the victim’s cell phone, but NBC New York now reports that it was because the victim was perceived as gay. Witnesses said the knife was nearly eight inches long. NBC New York reports: A 22-year-old man is accused of stabbing a 69-year-old man to death on a Queens street because he thought he was gay, police said... Orozco was stabbed near Roosevelt Avenue and 90th Street in Elmhurst as he was feeding a parking meter, witnesses said. Witnesses ran after Torres and held him for police until he was taken into custody. “There was a lot of screaming, and all I could see was the guy was stabbing him -- stabbing him and stabbing him,” said Eddie De Jesus, who was

in his locksmith shop on 90th Street when he heard the commotion. A law enforcement official initially told NBC 4 New York that Orozco was attacked over his cell phone. The NY Daily News reports on what set Torres off: “He (Torres) said the victim was blowing kisses to him. That’s what set him off,” a source said. “This is what he is claiming.” ABC News adds: Police say Torres tried to run from the scene before they apprehended him. Torres reportedly struggled against his cuffs minutes after the brutal crime that left eyewitnesses speechless. “I really don’t know what to think,” witness Julio Lobaton said. “I’m just shaken because what happen to this poor guy... He was screaming, ‘Help me help me.’ I tried to intervene, but then he pulled a knife and started stabbing the guy on the floor. Then he went up about three steps came back.” Torres led good samaritans on a chase through the neighborhood before police caught up to him. The assailant reportedly said nothing as he brutalized his victim, but laughed when he was finally caught. “He was laughing, yes,” Lobaton said. “He was laughing like nothing.” Read more: NYC homocides rise This is the third anti-LGBT homicide in New York City so far this year, following the homicides of Mark Carson in May and transwomen Islan Nettles in August. “We rarely see multiple antiLGBT homicides in New York City in one year,” said Sharon Stapel, Executive Director of the Anti Violence Project. “Since May, we have seen homicides in the West Village, Harlem and Jackson Heights and we know that any neighborhood in New York City can be impacted by anti-LGBT violence. We are extremely concerned about this disturbing trend of violence against our communities.” According to the NYPD, Torres has also been charged with the stabbing of a second man, which occurred on Sept. 12 inside 9 Stanton Street near Bowery, because, reportedly, Torres believed that a 47 year old unidentified man was making sexual advances toward him. The second man Torres claimed was gay survived the injuries. AVP is reaching out to Make the Road NY and other community based partners, the NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force and the Queens District Attorney’s Office’s, which are currently investigating this incident, and Council Members Danny Dromm and Jimmy Van Bramer. AVP organized a Community Safety Night for Sept. 20 in Jackson Height, Queens. More information about the Community Safety Night updates about these incidents will be posted on AVP’s Facebook. ■


the empty closet • the gay alliance of the genesee valley • number 472 • octoBER 2013

NewsFronts national and international Oklahoma refuses equal benefits for gay National Guard spouses By Andy Towle on Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin has ordered the state’s National Guard to stop processing military benefits for same-sex couples, the AP reports. Last month, the Pentagon issued new orders offering partner benefits to troops with same-sex spouses. Fallin spokesman Alex Weintz told The Associated Press that the governor was following the wish of Oklahoma voters, who approved a constitutional amendment that prohibits giving benefits of marriage to gay couples. Because of that prohibition, Weintz said the governor’s legal staff advised the Oklahoma National Guard not to process requests for benefits from gay couples. With the order, Fallin has joined Texas, Mississippi and Louisiana in refusing to comply with the order and process the spousal benefits, based on state laws banning same-sex marriage. Florida may also decide not to comply. The American Military Partner Association (AMPA), the nation’s premier resource and support network for LGBT military families. released a statement in response: “Since the governor of Oklahoma has decided to join Texas, Mississippi, and Louisiana in playing politics with our military families, we need immediate and decisive action from the Administration and the Defense Department in affirming that all military spouses, regardless of sexual orientation, will be treated equally. Our military families should not be left vulnerable to the prejudice of state governors, and the Defense Department must use its control of federal funds to stop this discrimination.” A spokesman for the Oklahoma National Guard says that they will now direct applicants to nearby federal facilities. He adds, “We want our soldiers to have all the benefits to which they’re entitled.”

a basis for denying custody. Other grounds include alcoholism, drug use, and abuse. Alexei Zhuravlev, the author of the bill, referred to the earlier law and said that homosexual “propaganda” had to be banned not only in the public space “but also in the family.” Zhuravlev’s bill hopes to amend Article 69 (Termination of Parental Rights) of the Family Code with a measure that says that having gay parents can do “great harm” to a child’s mind. Said Zhuravlev: “The bill is for those whose families have broken up due to non-traditional contacts of one of the spouses, or parents who do not hide sexual relations with persons of the same sex.” Zhuravlev went on to tell the paper that if a spouse suspects her husband is a practicing homosexual, “We have a court and the Investigative Committee....” Attorneys expressed skepticism, noting that it is difficult to prove certain relationships and the bill would be used speculatively and create many fraudulent and provocative custody lawsuits. In the documents submitted with the bill, Zhuravlev referred to the flawed, misleading, and scientifically unsound report on gay parenting conducted by UT-Austin professor Mark Regnerus and sponsored by U.S. religious right-wing hate groups. On Sept. 4, in an interview with the AP, Russian President Vladimir Putin denied the existence of anti-gay laws in Russia, and said athletes and activists would not be punished for expressing support for gay rights at the Sochi Olympics. RELATED: Last year Russia’s official state news agency reported that Zhuravlev, a member of the ruling United Russia Party, had been unanimously elected to run a reinstated rightwing nationalist party. A nationalist party that once called itself “Putin’s political spetsnaz,” or special force, was reinstated in Moscow on Aug. 31, six years after the Kremlin had it canceled. Rodina (“Fatherland”) will remain staunchly loyal to President Vladimir Putin because of his “patriotic stance,” which is also at the core of the party’s ideology, said new Rodina leader Zhuravlev.

Proposed Russian bill would take children from gay parents

San Antonio adopts nondiscrimination ordinance

Gay parents would lose custody of their children under the terms of a new bill proposed in Russia, the AP reports: The draft bill, published on parliament’s website on Sept. 5, would make the “fact of nontraditional sexual orientation”

San Antonio, Texas passed an LGBT non-discrimination ordinance in a vote of 8-3 on Sept. 5. The ordinance includes protections for trans citizens in spite of many attempts by conservative opponents to demonize trans people and many hys-

terical references to “bathrooms.” The measure’s passage follows months of public debate, public prayer against it, and headlines over City Councilwoman Elisa Chan’s remarks on the bill, in which she called LGBT people “disgusting”. ( Human Rights Campaign statement San Antonio is the nation’s seventh-largest city... Today’s vote added sexual orientation and gender identity protections into ordinances governing city employment, contracting, housing and public accommodations. The City Council passed the updates despite an ugly smear campaign mounted by anti-LGBT activists that included harmful propaganda directed particularly at transgender San Antonians. “The San Antonio City Council did the right thing today in updating their ordinances to reflect the basic value that all city residents deserve to be treated equally under the law,” said Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin. “Mayor Julian Castro’s support and leadership on getting this done shows his real commitment to making San Antonio a world-class city where all citizens are treated with dignity and respect. Today’s vote is a victory, but the attacks we saw from our opposition in the run-up to this -- particularly the transphobic messaging -- remind us of the ruthless tactics they use to promote discrimination against LGBT people. “HRC was proud to partner with the Community Alliance for a United San Antonio (CAUSA) in bringing the updates to a successful council vote. San Antonio Councilman Diego Bernal was the sponsor of this bill, and the ordinance updates also enjoyed the strong backing of Mayor Julian Castro. Mayor Castro’s LGBT Liaison Adam Greenup was instrumental in the success of this ordinance.” In addition to CAUSA, a number of other groups contributed to the victory, including Equality Texas, GetEqual Texas, the San Antonio Gender Alliance, Transgender Education Network of Texas, and the Esperanza Peace & Justice Center. San Antonio scored 48 out of 100 points on the HRC Foundation’s 2012 Municipal Equality Index, and HRC expects that score to improve dramatically this year as a result of Mayor Castro’s leadership. The MEI is a nationwide evaluation of municipal laws affecting the LGBT community. It examines the laws, policies and services of municipalities from across the country and rates them on the basis of the inclusivity of LGBT people in the city’s laws and policies.  GetEqual statement GetEQUAL Texas -- a statewide grassroots social justice organization working toward the full equality of all LGBT Texans -- celebrated the passage of the citywide non-discrimination ordinance. GetEQUAL Texas -- members of the CAUSA coalition that has been working for years to gain these protections – stated that the organization is thrilled with the

passage of the non-discrimination ordinance. Over many months, GetEQUAL Texas has told the stories of those who would be most directly impacted, and has refused to accept the compromise of an exemption that would have disproportionately impacted transgender residents. Through intensive grassroots organizing and direct action, GetEQUAL Texas has worked deeply with the CAUSA coalition to ensure that a fully inclusive ordinance passed. Jennifer Falcon, lead San Antonio organizer with GetEQUAL Texas, stated, “Today San Antonio made great strides in the worldwide movement for LGBT equality. I am proud today to thank our Councilmembers and the CAUSA coalition for their hard work, and I’m proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of San Antonio who supported this ordinance after months of debate and long hours of testimony. Today is a very, very proud day.” “Today our community took a bold stand in demanding that all be protected,” said Jay Morris-Spriggs, a lead organizer with GetEQUAL Texas. “The united voices of our community could not be silenced and we stand not only with a new city ordinance protecting all of the LGBT community, but with a new-found sense of community that will continue forward on the path to full equality.” David Cisneros, a San Antonio organizer with GetEQUAL Texas, stated, “We are filled with pride in our city, its leaders, and those who poured countless hours, weeks, and months into working toward this ordinance. As someone who is descended from the founding families of San Antonio, I can honestly say I’ve never been prouder of this city and its people.” “Texas is on the front lines of a national movement for civil rights and social progress,” said Heather Cronk, co-director of GetEQUAL. “From immigration to LGBT equality to reproductive justice, all eyes are on Texas. As a native Texan, I’m proud that GetEQUAL Texas has put a stake in the ground there, ensuring that the Lone Star State will become the home of an intersectional movement for justice. Though the work ahead of us continues, today I’m proud of the innumerable LGBT and allied Texans who came forward, shared their stories, and created an unceasing drumbeat for justice.”

New Calif. bill will simplify transgender legal issues The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force applauds the signing by Gov. Jerry Brown of a bill to make it safer and easier for transgender people to access legal name changes and identity documents that reflect their gender identity. The legislation (AB 1121) was recently approved by the state senate and was approved in the state assembly on May 9. “This vital law does justice for transgender people in California,” says Rea Carey, executive director of the Nation-

octoBER 2013 • number 472 • gay alliance of the genesee valley • the empty closet al Gay and Lesbian Task Force. “Our national transgender discrimination survey shows pervasive bias against transgender people when trying to access basic services due to an inability to update their official documents. This law makes it easier for transgender Californians to freely live the lives we all have the right to have.” California previously required a court hearing as a prerequisite to changing the gender marker on a birth certificate. Now individuals will be able to avoid going to court and apply directly to the Office of Vital Records to amend a birth certificate. Additionally, transgender people will no longer have to pay to publish a notice of the intended name change in the local newspaper for four weeks. AB 1121 will make this process easier, more private and more affordable. The Task Force and National Center for Transgender Equality’s groundbreaking study, Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, revealed that only 24 percent of transgender respondents were able to change the gender marker on their birth certificates. Only 59 percent were able to update their driver’s license. Presenting incongruent documents is a serious risk for transgender people. Forty-four percent of respondents reported being harassed, assaulted, or asked to leave an establishment when doing so. California joins Oregon, Vermont, Washington State and the District of Columbia in modernizing birth certificate statutes and policies, as well as the federal government’s consular reports of births abroad issued to citizens born outside the U.S., in the last five years.

Engage, Mr. Sulu: Takei wins Task Force award The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force has announced that famed actor, author and social justice activist George Takei will receive the 2013 National Leadership Award at the 17th Annual Miami Recognition Dinner, presented by Wells Fargo, on Saturday, Nov. 9 at the

Fontainebleau Miami Beach. “I am deeply honored to be recognized by this wonderful organization that has been fighting for LGBT equality for the past four decades,” said George Takei. “It is a privilege to be part of an event like the 17th Annual Miami Recognition Dinner that raises money for multiple organizations serving our community.” This annual fundraising event honors individuals for their outstanding contributions to the social, cultural, political and humanitarian needs of the LGBT community. George Takei has appeared in more than 40 feature films and hundreds of television guest-starring roles. He is best known for his role as Hikaru Sulu, helmsman of the USS Enterprise in the television series Star Trek. Takei also portrayed the character in six “Star Trek” feature films and in an episode of “Star Trek: Voyager.” An outspoken advocate for civil rights, Takei has used his unmistakable baritone in several satiric PSAs, including one in response to Tennessee’s infamous “Don’t Say Gay” bill that encourages viewers to say, “It’s OK to be Takei.” In April 2006, Takei embarked on a nationwide speaking tour called “Equality Trek” in which he talked about his life as a gay Japanese American. He married his life partner of more than 25 years, Brad Takei, in 2008 at the Democracy Forum of the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles. In 2009, George and Brad made television history when they became the first gay couple to be invited to appear on “The Newlywed Game,” the long-running show now airing on GSN cable network. They won the game, earning a $10,000 donation for the Japanese American National Museum. In 2012, he starred alongside Martin Sheen and Jamie Lee Curtis in a performance of Dustin Lance Black’s play “8,” a staged reenactment of the federal trial that overturned California’s Prop 8 ban on marriage for same-sex couples. The production was held at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre and broadcast on YouTube to raise money for the American Foundation for Equal Rights. For more information on George Takei, please visit His current projects include the musical “Allegiance,” drawn from his experience of growing up in Japanese American internment camps during World War II, and the recently published, Oh Myyy! There Goes the Internet. The Miami Recognition Dinner will include a cocktail reception followed by a sit-down dinner, awards ceremony and dancing. Attendees will also have the opportunity to bid on a variety of silent auction items. Over the years — through the Dinner and its sister event the Winter Party Festival — the Task Force has contributed approximately $1.65 million to South Florida grassroots LGBT organizations through the Miami Foundation GLBT Community Projects Fund.

Tickets to the 17th annual Miami Recognition Dinner are $250 for general admission and $350 for VIP admission (which includes a private VIP cocktail reception and a meet and greet prior to the dinner). Tickets are available online at and by phone at 305.571.1924. Become a fan of the Miami Recognition Dinner on Facebook by visiting MiamiDinner and follow on Twitter and Instagram at @SparkleMRD.

Media display ignorance, bias on Manning, trans people The media has a long and poor track record of reporting on transgender people, and the coverage surrounding Private Chelsea Manning has brought that lack of fair and accurate coverage into sharp focus. According to GLAAD, “The coverage that we have seen thus far has relied on stereotypical images, contrived confusion over names and pronouns, and an obsession with surgery.” Examples include: USA Today displaying a graphic that outlines several of the surgeries transgender women may elect to undergo, overemphasizing and sensationalizing the role of surgeries in the life of a transgender person. A transgender identity is not determined by medical procedures. The New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, NPR, NBC, Fox News, Reuters, and a host of other outlets wrote articles that outlined the “struggles” that media outlets faced in referring to Private Manning as Chelsea or choosing a pronoun. The Washington Post, Fox News, and CNN, still refuse to honor Private Manning’s preferred name and pronouns. CNN’s Jake Tapper conducted an interview with a close friend of Manning, continually referring to Manning as Bradley, and also referring to his guest as a “gay man” when she is a transgender woman. The media disrespected and insulted all transgender people by using phrases like “choose to be a girl,” and by CNN panelist Richard Herman saying that Manning will “get good practice” as a woman in prison, presumably referring to rape as a joke. Fox News offended with a broadcast segment on Private Manning by playing Aerosmith’s “Dude (Looks Like A Lady).” Transgender people face tremendous levels of discrimination and violence. According to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP), 53% of anti-LGBT homicide victims in 2012 were transgender women—most were transgender women of color. According to the report “Injustice at Every Turn”: Transgender people experience unemployment at twice the rate of the general population, with rates for people of color up to four times the national unemployment rate. Ninety percent of transgender people report experiencing harassment, mistreatment or discrimination on the job; 22 per-

5 cent of respondents who have interacted with police reported harassment by police, with much higher rates reported by people of color; Almost half of the respondents (46 percent) reported being uncomfortable seeking police assistance; 41 percent of respondents reported attempting suicide, compared to 1.6 percent of the general population. Private Manning issued a public statement, read by her lawyer, which explicitly and unambiguously stated that she should be referred to as Chelsea and to use female pronouns. The Associated Press and the New York Times have both announced that they will refer to Chelsea as she requested, and other media outlets should do the same. The Associated Press Style Guide states that when referring to a transgender person, to “Use the pronoun preferred by the individuals.” When this guideline is not observed, one can assume a political agenda, bias or ignorance. The following are commonly accepted guidelines for covering a transgender person: Always use a transgender person’s preferred name; Whenever possible, ask transgender people which pronoun they would like used; Do not put quotation marks around either a transgender person’s preferred name or the pronoun that reflects that person’s gender identity; Avoid pronoun confusion when examining the stories and backgrounds of transgender people prior to their transition. In Private Manning’s case, she may simply be referred to as Private Manning. GLAAD says, “Private Manning’s story presents an opportunity for the media to do a better job of telling the story of everyday transgender people who are simply trying to live their lives. The media has an opportunity -- and the responsibility -- to improve its reporting and accurately reflect the lives of transgender people.”

Last month in hate: a homophobic news roundup for September “Christian” radio show host says gays should be told to die at their wedding ceremonies; a Biblical death threat could be written in icing on the cake you considerately make for the wedding, he suggests. Anti-gay pastor and host of “Generations Radio” Kevin Swanson stated last month on his radio show that attending gay weddings is fine... as long as you quote the bible calling for their execution. In his own words: “[...]attend the wedding and hold up the sign Leviticus 20:13 word for word: ‘If a man sleeps with a man as he sleeps with a woman the two of them have committed an abomination and they shall both be put to death.’ You could attend a wedding and hold up that sign[...] If you bake a cake for a homosexual wedding you can put Leviticus 20:13 on the cake.” This is nothing new coming from (Hate continued page 6)


page one ( Voter continued from page 3) lenge and secured a third term with 81% of the vote. Finally, Corey Johnson  won the District 3 primary with 63% of the vote to succeed Council speaker Christine Quinn. Chuck Wolfe, president and CEO of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund and Institute, praised the outcome. “By electing these candidates tonight, New Yorkers took a major step toward a Council that truly reflects the incredible diversity of this city.” All six candidates competed in heavily Democratic districts, making them virtually assured of victory in November. Quinn bid for Mayor falls short New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who is openly lesbian, finished third in the city’s Democratic mayoral primary, falling short in her bid to become the city’s first woman and lesbian mayor. With 95% of precincts reporting just before midnight on Sept. 11, Quinn had secured about 15% of the citywide vote. She finished behind public advocate Bill de Blasio, who led with 40% of the vote, and 2009 nominee William C. Thompson, who placed second with 26.4%. If de Blasio’s margin holds, he will narrowly reach the 40% threshold needed to avoid an Oct. 1 runoff with Thompson. “There’s no sugar-coating what a tough loss this is for Christine, her supporters, and all of us here at Victory,” said Chuck Wolfe, President and CEO of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund and Institute. “But she gave this campaign her all, and we were proud to stand with her.” Some commentators say her defeat was more a rejection of outgoing Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who was seen as Quinn’s mentor, than a rejection of Quinn herself. Bill De Blasio’s wife, who formerly identified as lesbian, attacked Quinn during the campaign as being unconcerned and uninformed about families because she is a lesbian. The Democratic nominee will face Republican nominee Joseph J. Lhota in the November general election. ■

national and international (Hate continues from page 5) Swanson. The man has page after page of his antics listed on Right Wing Watch and has declared such insane things as Mark Twain was possessed by demons, the Colorado floods were caused by homosexuality and the Boy Scouts will have merit badges for sodomy and cannibalism; he’s even earned a mention from the Southern Poverty Law Center for his hate (sort of like an Oscar for the bigot crowd). ( Senegal’s new Justice Minister Sidiki Kaba said he’s not yet ready to decriminalize homosexuality, AFP reports: As head of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), Kaba fought to reform a law outlawing gay relationships, but he told reporters in Dakar on Sept. 5 that on second thought he had dropped his opposition to prosecuting gays… Senegal’s punishment for homosexuality is five years in prison. Oman’s government is suing the tabloid TheWeek after suspending it from publication following a story it ran about gays in Oman. It seems there are no gays

the empty closet • the gay alliance of the genesee valley • number 472 • octoBER 2013 in Oman. And if there are, they get three years in jail. According to Reuters, “It included a number of interviews with gay men and women, including Omanis and expatriates. One expatriate argued that it was not difficult to be homosexual in Oman compared to other conservative Gulf states.” Oman’s ministry of information charged the publisher with “harming society, its principles, religion, values, the dignity of its people or public manners through publishing what goes against media laws and regulations.” The first week in September, the newspaper published a front page apology, reading: “TheWeek places on record that there was never any intention to knowingly or unknowingly cause harm, offend or hurt the sentiments of the people.” The maximum penalty for homosexuality in Oman is three years in prison. Russia’s “gay propaganda” law doesn’t affect gays… so suppress Olympic protests. Dmitry Chernyshenko, the organizing chief of the Sochi Games, begged the International Olympic Commitee to “do something” about all the building outrage over Russia’s anti-gay laws, concerned about the fallout possible demonstrations would cause, the AP reports: “It’s very important to have your support to stop this campaign and this speculation regarding this issue,” Chernyshenko said at an assembly of members of the IOC. Marketing commission chairman Gerhard Heiberg added: “Especially the American sponsors are afraid what could happen. This could ruin a lot for all of us.” Reuters adds that Chernyshenko claimed that the law banning “gay propaganda” does not affect gays. And because Putin recently gave an award to a gay person, Russia respects homosexuals. (Just ignore all those bashings and murders. Think MARKETING!) – Rightwing alternative to Boy Scouts says no rainbows allowed The Washington Times reports: At the opening session, John Stemberger, chairman of the board of antigay Trail Life USA, teased the crowd of 1,200, saying he would not be surprised if there were “spies” from Grapevine, Texas — BSA’s home base — in the audience. That would make sense, since everyone from supporters to the curious want to know what’s being planned, he said, adding that Trail Life USA will not be “anti-BSA.” The conference’s theme was “Honoring the Legacy, Raising the Standard.” Trail Life USA’s name, drawn from more than 300 options, was carefully vetted and is intended not to be political or controversial, organizers said. “Trail” refers to a pathway and being outdoors, but also symbolizes the passage of life, where there are moral choices, and right and wrong paths, said Mr. Stemberger. Not that gay scouts wouldn’t be admitted. They would just need to stay closeted – “no rainbows” allowed, Mr. Stemberger says. And under the benevolent influence of Trail Life they will soon get over their little gay phase and get on the right (wing) path.

Congolese police, mob attack gay youth shelter Police and a mob of neighbors, wielding hammers and machetes, in July raided the house of a Congloese lesbian who was sheltering LGBT young people, Gay Star News reported Sept. 9.

Hardware store proposal comes as big surprise Not your normal trip to the hardware store: Dustin arrived at the Home Depot in Salt Lake City thinking he was there to help his roommate pick out some lighting for a party. When he was taken to the lumber aisle, what he found waiting for him was a mob of friends and family as his marriage proposal unfolded to the song, “Somebody Loves You” by Betty Who. Read more: The couple said, “Spencer and Dustin would like to thank all of our amazing family and friends for their continued love and support!” Points for choosing gay-friendly Home Depot, of course. –

Once inside the property in Bukavu, in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), they assaulted Léonie Bitorwa, 40, a lesbian activist who sheltered gay youth in her home. Details of the raid in the early afternoon of 22 July have just emerged. A crowd of approximately 20 neighbors and ‘polices de l’hygiène et l’assainissement’ – a branch of the DRC’s national police responsible for enforcing sanitation, building, and municipal codes – forced their way into Bitorwa’s house wielding machetes and hammers. Moments before the attack took place, she heard the irate throng coming. “I thought I was going to die,” she said. According to Bitorwa, someone from the group proclaimed at her door: “It is here that the dirty girl destroys the morality of our brothers and sisters by establishing a home for homosexuals in our neighborhood, we don’t want that in our neighborhood.” Bitorwa said she called the head of her district (Nyalukemba), who told her that he would arrive within minutes but he only arrived two hours later, during which time individuals from the crowd climbed to the top of her house and began to remove roof tiles, while others forced the door open and broke the windows. At this point, Bitorwa said she started to scream, which attracted even more attention and caused the crowd’s menaces to intensify. When she finally opened the door, they started verbally and physically attacking her and destroying her property. As the crowd destroyed Bitorwa’s furniture, they threatened her saying “if you do not tell us the truth, we will kill you because we already know that you too are a lesbian and that you do things that are against nature and against Congolese culture.” Damage to the house includes broken dishes, glasses, chairs, burned mattresses, and a gaping opening facing the rest of the city where a wall used to stand.

A few days prior to the attack, Bitorwa, one of the executive members of Rainbow Sunrise Mapambazuko, a Congolese organization that promotes the equal rights of LGBT people, had received a series of homophobic threats both on the phone and on the streets of her neighborhood. Bitorwa’s residence provided temporary shelter to 21 gay, lesbian, and transgender young people who were rejected by their families, either while they were pending reconciliation or when the family mediation efforts of Rainbow Sunrise Mapambazuko did not succeed. The former residents would otherwise have had to resort to prostituting themselves in brothels for livelihood, due to lack of sufficient means. “I don’t know where the kids went after the attack,” said Bitorwa, visibly distraught, “I’ve tried to contact them, but most of them have dispersed.” Two months after the attack, only one of house’s original residents, a withdrawn young lesbian, continues to sleep in what remains of the house – a lean-to with one half exposed to the outside. Meanwhile, Bitorwa still lives in relative homelessness and convalescence. She has been staying with friends and says her attempt to return to her house following its destruction has resulted in more injury. Apparently, someone applied poison to her bedroom doorknob. “It’s crocodile poison,” claimed Héritier Makiwa the traditional herbologist and neighbor who treated her. Bitorwa’s injuries include chest pains and a bloated stomach, but she has yet to seek medical treatment. “It only cost me $20 US [€15] to get treatment from him [Makiwa]. I would like to see a doctor, but it is much more expensive.” Due to her lack of financial means, Bitorwa was unable to hire a lawyer and was thus prevented from filing complaints against the police agents and neighbors who assaulted her and destroyed her

octoBER 2013 • number 472 • gay alliance of the genesee valley • the empty closet house. Just two months earlier, in May 2013, her colleague Joseph Saidi, the president of Rainbow Sunrise was illegally imprisoned and raped with wooden sticks while police watched. The Congolese penal code neither condemns or condones homosexuality. - See more at: http://www. dpuf

Antigay Exxon wins highest profits, lowest HRC score ever The most profitable corporation the world has ever known, Exxon is the quintessential Goliath to many a struggling David. In 2012, Exxon posted the second-highest annual corporate profit in history (surpassed only by its own 2008 record): $45 billion—more than the combined profits of Royal Dutch Shell and Wal-Mart Stores, the world’s No. 1 and 2 largest companies that year. For its October/November 2013 cover story by acclaimed investigative journalist Antonia Juhasz, The Advocate examines why Exxon has refused to join other corporations in supporting its LGBT employees and families. In 2012, and again in 2013, the Human Rights Campaign gave Exxon Mobil a negative 25 out of 100 possible points on its annual Corporate Equality Index. It is the lowest score ever received by any corporation. No other company has ever received a negative score. On the contrary, in 2013, the HRC found nearly 90 percent of Fortune 500 companies had adopted written nondiscrimination policies prohibiting harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation, as had 94 percent of Fortune 100 companies. With the exception of (Exxon continues page 13)

Interview Molly Clifford, City Hall LGBT liaison By Ove Overmyer At Rochester Pride’s Flag Raising ceremony on July 19 at Manhattan Square Park, soon to be officially re-named as the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Park, Rochester Mayor Tom Richards and City Councilman Matt Haag announced two initiatives that will no doubt improve the quality of life for LGBT folks here. First, the city has added “gender identity and gender expression” to its list of protected classes. Secondly, Mayor Richards announced the appointment of Molly Clifford, friend and ally, as the newly created LGBT liaison to the Mayor’s Office. The goal of this position is to create a platform to keep the discussion concerning LGBT rights as a main focus of municipal public policy. Rochester has long been a leader in civil rights and Haag says this was an important step to make our practice our policy. Haag says as we move forward, this position can and will evolve with input from LGBT community stakeholders. He told the EC, “I am committed to equality and will keep working to ensure we make progress on these very important issues.” Molly Clifford has held many significant titles throughout her professional career. Since 2010, she has been the Director of Fire Administration for the City of Rochester. Other positions held in city government include the title of Director, Neighborhood Empowerment Teams under the Duffy administration. Molly also served as Chairman of the Mon-

roe County Democratic Committee and Campaign Manager for Friends of Bob Duffy. Before her public employment, Molly was employed as the Marketing and Public Affairs Manager for Rural/ Metro Medical Services and also worked for the University of Rochester earlier in her career. Asked what expectations she might have for this appointment, she told the EC, “I expect to assist with issues that are important to the LGBT community.” She added, “I also hope to be able to assist members of the LGBT community negotiate City government when they need it and to work on changing City


“I was raised in a family that was deeply committed to equality and civil rights; it’s a part of who I am. I believe that politics and government can be a force for positive change…” policies as identified by LGBT leadership and the Mayor. Most of all, I want to be a conduit to bring issues of importance to the LGBT community to the administration for awareness and resolution. Clifford went on to say that the role of government plays an extremely important part in improving the lives of its residents. She said, “I was raised in a family that was deeply committed to equality and civil rights; it’s a part of who I am. I believe that politics and government can be a force for positive change, and that it is our responsibility to make sure that this community is a place of equal opportunity for all.” Molly is encouraging area LGBT folks to contact the Mayor’s Office at City Hall (585-428-7045) or her office if they have any concerns with city government. Scott Fearing, Interim Executive Director of the Gay Alliance, says he plans on hosting a LGBT community-based meet and greet with Molly in the next few weeks. You can contact her office by calling Molly Clifford at: 585-428-3673, or via email at: . ■

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page one (At Forty continued from page 3) We hope to announce our new afterschool programs by the end of the year. We acknowledge that while many things have changed, that doesn’t mean that all is bright rainbows, but the needs are different and our programs need to reflect the times. The Big Gay Prom, which attracts over 250 youth from dozens of school districts around Western New York, will definitely continue. EC: Where will the Alliance hold larger gatherings, like the organization’s Annual Meeting (coming up in November), or the Town Hall Forum with RPD Chief Sheppard that occurred last summer SCOTT: I believe that the event will drive the venue we use. I have been very pleased with the responses that I have received as I ask our community partners for places to hold meetings and special events. Open Arms, The Red Cross. Empire State College, Trillium Health and HCR Home Care our examples of our community partners who have offered to host events with us. For a while our special events will be “on the move” which I think is actually a good thing, for it will help The Gay Alliance to be out and visible in the broader Rochester community. EC: Is it true that the Gay Alliance lost NY State funding? If so, what other changes will the agency make in the coming months? SCOTT: Yes, that is true. In June we were notified that the State of New York was not renewing a grant that we had for the previous five years. The end of this grant is a $130,000 cut in our annual budget. I am calling the gap in our budget “The NY Gap.” We are working hard to make up the gap by turning to community members, donors and business partners. So far the community has been very responsive. Year to date the number of individuals who have donated and the support from our business partnerships have increased. However, we still have a ways to go to make up the lost funding. So our fundraising is now focused on repairing the NY Gap, so that as we restructure our programs we can continue our forward movement. I understand that as a community organization we need to be accountable to the community and provide services and programs that community members value and financially support. When we begin to roll out even more of changes, I think people will be very pleased. EC: Gossip has it that the Gay Alliance will soon go out of existence. Do you have any response? SCOTT: For community organizations there is no escaping gossip and rumors. That is the reason that I want-

the empty closet • the gay alliance of the genesee valley • number 472 • octoBER 2013 ed to have this conversation with the Empty Closet, I wanted to address these rumors. Simply, NO we are not going away. We are currently celebrating our 40th Anniversary, and I can Fearing say, with some confidence, that we will be around to celebrate our 80th anniversary. Rochester Pride 2013 began our current changes and it was incredibly successful! Next year’s Pride will bring even more changes.  Last month we had the premiere of the amazing Shoulders To Stand On feature length documentary. These two successes have set the stage for more changes to come. As you know, the Mayor of Rochester recently created a new position in city government, a Liaison to the LGBT Community. I have met with the current Liaison and look forward to continuing our work with the person in this position under a new Mayoral administration. Together we will enhance and expand the Gay Alliance’s presence as the critical Rochester resource that it is. Lastly, I would welcome anyone who hears a rumor about The Gay Alliance to pick up the phone or drop me an email and know that I will honestly tell you what is happening. EC: Thank you for your answers. Do you have any last comments that you would like to add? SCOTT: I am very privileged to work with the Staff and the Board of Directors as we navigate transition. It is an exciting time for LGBT people and the Gay Alliance will continue to adapt and adjust to meet the changing realities. We are creating a very exciting future and I look forward to sharing more about it with Empty Closet readers in the future. ■

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octoBER 2013 • number 472 • gay alliance of the genesee valley • the empty closet



the empty closet • the gay alliance of the genesee valley • number 472 • octoBER 2013

Photo: James Wolk

Making the Scene

My Own Private Rochester: Paul Allen By Susan Jordan Paul Allen is chair of the ImageOut Film Festival board, and has held the position for the past three seasons. He was co-chair with Deanna Baker in 2010 and has been on the board since 2005. Born in Perth, Australia, Paul lived there until he was 11 and then moved to Denmark with his mother and sister. He returned to Australia for high school and college, and arrived in Rochester on March 3, 2000, to study at the University of Rochester. “I came with two suitcases and that was it,” Paul says. He wasn’t out before coming here. “I remember being in Perth and googling ‘gay in Rochester NY,’ and found the Gay Alliance. So I knew it was a community where being gay is OK.” Paul is a research assistant professor at URMC in the department of neurobiology and anatomy. He and his partner David Quick live in a 1911 house in the Park Avenue area with their standard poodle, Breaudy. “It has really good construction and hundred-year-old windows, which is great,” Paul said. But sometimes things need fixing, such as the time when a water main broke while Paul and his partner were out of town. “The flooding wasn’t bad,” he added, “but it was unexpected!” ImageOut is of course Paul’s favorite local LGBT organization and event. He says, “For me, it’s not so much about film as it is arts and culture and community-building. I’m not a film buff, but I love ImageOut movies.” Paul also volunteers for the Hearing Loss Association of America’s Rochester chapter. He said, “They’re wonderful and are having their 30th anniversary this year.

It’s a remarkable group of people. They got together at a time when there was no support for the hard of hearing community, sort of like the history of the LGBT community. Hard of hearing is not the same as the deaf community. For instance they don’t sign. It’s an invisible group as compared with the very well known deaf community in Rochester. The group has had some big successes, like getting Geva, the Auditorium Theatre and now the Dryden to put in induction loops, which broadcast sound directly to hearing aids.” Paul’s favorite Rochester places include the Erie Canal trail, where he rides his bike. He adds, “Like Barb Turner, I love Washington Grove near the reservoir on Cobbs Hill. I try to walk there once during each season. It’s about a half hour walk from my house. And it’s spectacular in the fall. I also like skiing at Bristol Mountain. It’s easy and great.” Paul finds living in Rochester to be easy and great as well. “Going to the RPO, for instance,” he said, “it’s so easy. Where else can you get downtown and park 10 minutes before a show? There’s such a wonderful quality of life here. Rochester has an amazing arts scene.” A typical Saturday night for Paul and David usually involves dinner with friends. Paul said, “I’ve got a great network of friends here. I don’t go to events so much but a typical Saturday night would be at a restaurant or my house or a friend’s house. As for bars, the Bachelor Forum is my first stop. Then if we’re feeling crazy we go downtown to 140. And the Avenue Pub is right around the corner from where I live.” Paul says he has many favorite restaurants, including Good Luck near Village Gate, Rocco’s on Monroe Ave. (Paul recommends the porchetta sandwiches at Friday lunch), Orange Glory by the Little Theatre and White

Photo: Susan Jordan

TRILLIUM WHITE PARTY: The White Party at the Century Club on Sept. 7 benefitted Trillium Health. Above left: Dr. Bill Valenti tries x-ray vision on Diane Chevron.

Paul Allen in front of the Little Theatre Cafe.

Swan on Clinton; of the latter he said, “It’s cheap and cheerful with really great food.” He added, “Sundays when we don’t want to cook we get Sunday Sauce from Tony D’s (at Corn Hill Landing) or Vietnamese food from Dac Hoa on Monroe. In summer we walk the dog on Park Avenue and eat outside at the Park Avenue Pub, which is fabulous.”

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IMAGEOUT FESTIVAL FAIR: Tickets went on sale Sept. 12 at the Fair, held at the Museum & Science Center. Ticket sales were up 40 percent from last year. Photos: Jill Frier



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Candidates to Watch Dick Beebe Supervisor Town of Greece Candidate By Ove Overmyer If you ask Dick Beebe, the Democratic candidate for Greece Town Supervisor, he would tell you right up front he brings a wealth of knowledge and life experience to any task at hand. Dick is not a newcomer to politics and this is not his first run for public office — he has made a lifetime commitment to volunteering for his community and says he completely understands the ins and outs of running local governments. Mr. Beebe was the Mayor of Homer, NY, where he previously served as Village Trustee, Fire Chief, President of the Homer Fire Department, and Deputy Police Commissioner. After moving to Monroe County in 2003, Dick was elected to the County Legislature and represented Greece in the 6th District from 2007 to 2011. He currently serves on the New York State Democratic Committee, representing Greece, Parma, and Ogden.

Dick Beebe

As a legislator, Dick received widespread bipartisan praise in the Monroe County Legislature, especially for his efforts to win support for his bill to restrict protests at military funerals. Beebe says he knows there is a bright future for the Town of Greece. He envisions a town government that’s open, where everybody knows what is going on and is held to the highest standards of accountability. Dick’s vision for town operations would include more transparency, fair taxes and honest accounting. He says he’ll welcome suggestions for reducing wasteful spending, and the town’s annual budget will be presented to the public before Election Day. Beebe often reminds Greece residents that their town has been subjected to one scandal after another, brought on by decades of questionable one-party rule. He says the incumbents show no interest in making local government more transparent or accountable to the people. In an October 2011 EC interview, Beebe talked candidly about being a parent of a gay daughter. He said, “Our daughter told us she was gay a long time ago and we just wanted it to not interfere with her career or happiness.” Beebe went on to say, “Tammy and I have had the chance to talk to and work with parents of gay children. Living in a small rural village of 3,000 people it was tough, but we took a stand and defended our daughter and her rights, as well as many others.” In addition to his public service accomplishments, Dick’s thirty-year private sector career in computer operations included major companies such as SmithCorona and Chicago Pneumatic. He is currently employed at Iberdrola USA in Rochester. Dick and his wife Tammy relo-

cated to Greece when his employer Iberdrola USA’s predecessor company, Energy East, transferred Dick’s department to Monroe County. Dick proudly served his country in the New York State National Guard for six years. He is a valued participant in several community organizations, including the Greece American Legion, Charlotte Community Association, Harbor Merchant’s Association and Dewey Corridor Neighbors, and he worships at Greece United Methodist Church. He also serves as the Democratic representative on the Board of Monroe Security and Safety Systems. Dick and Tammy live on Dorsey Road in Greece. They have two grown children, Rick and Danielle. ■

Drew Langdon Rochester City Council Candidate By Susan Jordan Drew Langdon is running for City Council on the Green Party ticket. The Party’s ideas on workplace democracy, neighborhood assemblies and participatory budgeting are unfamiliar to most Rochestarians; Langdon said, “People are very used to the way things are.” He explained, “The worker cooperative and participatory budgeting (PB) are similar in that it’s ordinary people who should have a say over how our community is run. A worker cooperative instead of a top-down corporate structure would mean that the workers own the company and make the decisions that affect them.” He continued, “The average CEO makes around 350 times what the lowestpaid worker makes, which I don’t find acceptable. The other significant factor where the workers vote on company policy is that companies would no longer be outsourcing jobs. We need to have community conversations on these issues.” Langdon believes that transition to this model would have major effects on the Rochester community and economy, for instance lowering unemployment rates and levels of poverty. American politics are heavily influ-

Drew Langdon

enced now by which candidate and party have the most money, and which corporations and other entities that candidate will be accountable to if elected – as opposed to being accountable to his or her constituents. Langdon said, “Neighborhood assemblies and PB would increase people’s control over the political process. Currently we have a city government which operates downtown and most people don’t know their Council members. Even if people want to give Council members feedback, it’s very difficult because of our structure. “One way to deal with this is to create neighborhood assemblies rather than the current neighborhood associations – which City Hall can ignore. Assemblies would have the power to make cer-

tain decisions that affect their own area. Neighborhoods should at least have more say.” Langdon said that PB means that a certain amount of the city budget would be set aside for each neighborhood’s residents to decide how the money is to be spent. Langdon said, “Mayor Richards set aside $200,000 for crime reduction, but in a full PB process this amount would be much higher and not be limited as to what it could be used for. “The first city that did this is a city in Brazil which has done this for almost 30 years. They started with small amounts but now distribute 27 percent of the city budget. Applied to Rochester’s budget, that percentage would amount to $54 million. We’re not calling for this immediately, but we need at least a million for each quadrant, which could be divided up further.” Langdon suggests that such funds could be used for needs like a grocery store in the southwest part of the city, improving traffic control, more parks, etc. The Green Party is deeply concerned about environmental issues. Langdon said, “We’re a long way from a car-free city. But we need massive investments in the public transport system. Not just buses, but light rail and subways. We have to make our public transport systems more convenient. As a Council member, I would not have much control over this. Our public buses are run by the state, although they act like a private for-profit. I would lobby the bus authorities to expand service and stop saying there’s no money, which is not true. We currently give millions in corporate welfare, which we could use for other projects.” The Green Party refuses money from corporations, which Langdon says “puts us at a disadvantage, but if we are elected we won’t be indebted to corporate interests instead of the people’s interests. Money in politics is a huge issue. We need public financing of our elections, not corporate interests. There was a low turnout for the primary partly because people tune out because they don’t see another option.” Langdon said that the Green Party supports LGBT rights and is concerned about poverty in the LGBT community. The myth that the LGBT community is wealthy is just that – a myth. Langdon said he feels there is a need for community conversation on the issue of LGBT poverty, citing a recent Williams Institute study, which says that poverty hits LGBT families first. He said, “We have to eliminate homophobia and also the causes of poverty.” Langdon said, “One of our Green Party mayors in NYS was the first in the state to marry same sex couples before it was legal, which really pushed awareness of the issue. We support passage of GENDA.” The November issue of The Empty Closet will include interviews with Alex White, Green Party candidate for Mayor, and Democratic candidate Lovely Warren. ■

Bill Moehle Supervisor Town of Brighton By Susan Jordan Bill Moehle is running for re-election as Brighton Town Supervisor. The Republican Party has not put up a candidate to oppose him. Bill Moehle told the EC, “Even though I don’t have an opponent, I’m out knocking on doors and going to block parties and that’s a great way to learn what’s on people’s minds.” He said one issue he hears a lot about is open space. “I’m proud that we closed on the purchase of 72 acres of land, from behind Brith Kodesh to Westfall Road,” he said. “A large part of that is woodlot

and there’s significant wetland. The plan is to keep it in its natural condition, We will have a trail which will be a connection between the 12 Corners to Buckland Park and the canal trail. “A lot of people bike or walk to work. Last year we accomplished the creation of a bike/pedestrian master plan – a road map for us as a community. We had a tremendous amount of community involvement. This means we’ll become a more bicycle and pedestrian-friendly community.” Another big concern in Brighton, as in most towns, is taxes and financial issues. “Brighton finances are very strong,” Moehle said. “Last year we had a tax increase of only about one percent – an indication that we’re providing quality services in a cost effective way. It’s not cheap to have a good police department

Bill Moehle

– but people in Brighton overwhelmingly support the police department. We have a diverse police force, including LGBT officers.” Moehle said that education has always been important to the town. “I’m also proud of Empire State College moving their regional headquarters to Brighton,” he said. “They originally thought of buying land on Clinton Avenue which was taxable, and that would have taken the land off the tax rolls. We asked if they had looked at land that was already tax exempt, and with help from Democratic Party chair Joe Morelle, we started a dialogue. They will now move to land that’s owned by the state and was formerly occupied by Finger Lakes Community College. Now it will be Empire State College. That will be one more educational focal point for Brighton.” Sustainability is an issue important to Brighton residents, Moehle said. “In keeping with the goal of sustainability, we have banned fracking.” No one has actually started to apply for fracking rights in the town, and New York State has not yet ruled on the fracking issue, but Bill Moehle said, “This is important for other industrial-related activities related to fracking (like waste storage).” Brighton has had pro-LGBT policies for some years. Moehle said, “I’m the ONLY Town Supervisor in New York State that the Pride Agenda has endorsed. That’s unfortunate! I was endorsed for a lot of reasons, including my record. We developed a policy years ago providing health care coverage for domestic partners of town employees – long before marriage was legalized. That’s a policy I wrote as Town Attorney. I’ve been actively engaged in rallies for marriage rights and ENDA, which I feel strongly about. “I’m an elected official and attorney, and also consider myself an activist. Gay rights is a basic civil rights issue, so it’s a combination of all those things that makes up my record.” New York State has yet to protect transgender citizens. Moehle noted, “I’ve

octoBER 2013 • number 472 • gay alliance of the genesee valley • the empty closet directed our Town Attorney Ken Gordon to draft a basic anti-discrimination protection that would include transgender people. We’ve long had a broad anti-harassment and anti-discrimination ordinance – our harassment law covers any form of harassment, whether against transgender employees, or for people’s political views, or for sexual harassment. “The state legislature has not approved GENDA, though, so we feel it is important to include protections against all forms of discrimination. We keep urging our state officials to support GENDA, and we will keep doing that.” Moehle said that the anti-discrimination ordinance will include public accommodations. Discrimination against gay men, lesbians and bisexuals is covered by state laws such as SONDA and marriage equality, but trans people are not included. Moehle said, “I believe trans people need equal protection. I expect that before long, state laws will be expanded to include trans New Yorkers. I really believe that as a community, when anyone’s basic rights are in jeopardy, ALL of our rights are in jeopardy. You are dehumanizing people, and that’s not right. “One thing that makes Brighton stand out is our diversity, including our significant LGBT community. That has a positive impact economically – that LGBT people, residents or in business, know that this is an LGBT-friendly community.” Bill Moehle believes that there are many Republicans who oppose their party’s views on LGBT rights and other issues. He said, “This week, you could have knocked me over with a feather – two people active in Republican politics asked me for a lawn sign! One said he was embarrassed by his party.” He added, “The question I’m asked most is, ‘are you enjoying the job?’ The answer is a resounding YES! I love Brighton and working to make it a better community.” ■

national and international (Exxon from page 6) Exxon, all of the Fortune 10 companies have adopted such policies, as have Exxon’s largest oil company competitors. Over 62 percent of Fortune 500 companies had domestic partner health benefits. Over 70 percent of the Fortune 100 prohibited discrimination based on gender identity or expression. Exxon not only failed to meet a single one of these or the other HRC criteria for an LGBT-inclusive workplace, it has also actively worked for 15 years against annual shareholder resolutions calling for such inclusion. And Exxon isn’t simply stuck in the early ’90s — it has actually erased nondiscriminatory and partner benefit policies in place in companies it has purchased: Mobil Oil Corporation, in 1999, and XTO Energy, in 2010. It is the only company known to have ever permanently done so. “It was a slap in the face,” says Tom Allen of the reversal of Mobil’s LGBT policies. “We worked so hard to get them, and this took us back 30 years.” Allen went to work at Mobil when he was 23 years old and stayed with the company through the Exxon merger until his retirement in 2010, after 35 years of service. “I find myself embarrassed today that I have to defend where I work,” Allen continues. “And the bigger slap in the face is that it just keeps going. Every single year at that [expletive] stockholders’ meeting, they slap us in the face again.” A gay former employee of XTO Energy and Exxon, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of retribution, says of the change in policy, “I feel that [Exxon is like that] racist old aunt, that racist grandfather figure, that person completely out of touch with the times. I don’t see the upside to the company for continuing [the discriminatory policies].

Someone must think there’s an upside. I don’t know what it is…. So, now I’m like, ‘OK, how much longer are you going to be out of step with the rest of us?’” “Exxon is just such a rogue outfit,” says Congressman Alan Lowenthal of California, a cosponsor of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and the sponsor of an amendment barring Exxon from winning future government oil and gas leases until it changes its LGBT policies. “You don’t have to be progressive just to join the rest of the human race and not discriminate. I don’t get it.” President Barack Obama indicated as a candidate in 2008 that he would sign an executive order banning federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Exxon is a leading recipient of government contracts and would be heavily impacted by such an order. Even more impactful, of course, would be passage of ENDA. But Exxon rarely sits by and waits for government action to affect it. More often than not, it is Exxon instead that changes government policy. Since 2008, Exxon has spent nearly $90 million lobbying the federal government and almost $6 million in federal campaign contributions. CEO Rex Tillerson has personally visited the White House a minimum of 13 times since 2009. Exxon’s publicly available disclosure forms do not indicate that its lobbyists have addressed LGBT-related employment issues with the federal government. Tillerson, however, is not a registered lobbyist and does not have to disclose the contents of his meetings. In an email, White House spokesman Shin Inouye writes, “Regarding Mr. Tillerson’s visits to the White House, we routinely meet with a wide range of stakeholders, including business leaders, on a variety of issues.” The Advocate has filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the details of those visits. Read The Advocate’s full cover story and essays now at:

13 current-issue/2013/09/03/whats-wrongexxon Journalist Antonia Juhasz is a Fellow of the Investigative Reporting Program, specializing in oil and energy. She is the author of several books on the oil industry, including Black Tide. She lives in San Francisco. Follow Juhasz on Twitter @ AntoniaJuhasz.

Pope says church must end obsession with gays, abortion Pope Francis has given a wide-ranging interview to America magazine in which he gives his most extensive remarks to date on the role of the church with regard to homosexuality, as well as abortion and contraception. Says Francis: “We need to proclaim the Gospel on every street corner,” the pope says, “preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing, even with our preaching, every kind of disease and wound. In Buenos Aires I used to receive letters from homosexual persons who are ‘socially wounded’ because they tell me that they feel like the church has always condemned them. But the church does not want to do this. During the return flight from Rio de Janeiro I said that if a homosexual person is of good will and is in search of God, I am no one to judge. By saying this, I said what the catechism says. Religion has the right to express its opinion in the service of the people, but God in creation has set us free: it is not possible to interfere spiritually in the life of a person. “A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality. I replied with another question: ‘Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?’ We must always consider the (Pope continues page 14)


national and international (Pope from page 13) person. Here we enter into the mystery of the human being. In life, God accompanies persons, and we must accompany them, starting from their situation. It is necessary to accompany them with mercy. When that happens, the Holy Spirit inspires the priest to say the right thing.” He later adds that the Catholic Church needs to end its obsession with abortion and gay marriage: “We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible. I have not spoken much about these things, and I was reprimanded for that. But when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context. The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.” However by Sept. 20 the pope was again attacking abortion rights. Reactions Michael Signorile commented, “By saying that ‘it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time,’ Francis is slamming people like Maggie Gallagher, former president of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), who has made it her life work to constantly talk about gay marriage -- touting her Catholic beliefs -- and stop marriage equality by pitting groups against one another. Francis is slapping at blowhards like Bill Donohue of the Catholic League, who, if he didn’t talk about gay marriage and abortion all the time, would not be invited onto TV talk shows to discuss much of anything. [snip] “And in saying ‘I have never been a right-winger’ in the same interview in which he’s criticizing the church for being too ‘obsessed’ with gay marriage and abor-

the empty closet • the gay alliance of the genesee valley • number 472 • octoBER 2013 tion, Francis is hitting at those Catholic leaders who use gay rights and abortion to wield political power, putting them on notice. Again, his comments don’t change the church’s doctrine, but they do a lot to change its focus. That can only be seen as a huge shift.” - Michelangelo Signorile, writing for the Huffington Post. From the Human Rights Campaign: Human Rights Campaign (HRC) president Chad Griffin wrote to the head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the CEO of Knights of Columbus – an affiliate of the Roman Catholic Church – calling on them to follow Pope Francis’ message of welcome and mercy for gays and lesbians. In a wide-ranging interview released in a publication of the Jesuit order, Pope Francis expanded dramatically on his recent comments that “if a homosexual person is of good will and is in search of God, I am no one to judge”—making clear that he intended that tolerant message to apply to all lesbian and gay people, not just priests and members of the Roman Catholic Church hierarchy. “This is a remarkable moment,” wrote Griffin. “In the past, the pronouncements of some leaders in the Church hierarchy have given license to those who discriminate, hate and even commit violence against LGBT people. “So today, in light of the Pope’s remarkable interview, I urge you to end your organization’s public opposition to legal equality for LGBT people immediately. Doing anything less will put you in direct conflict with Pope Francis’ message of welcome and mercy — and create an even greater gulf between you and the broad majority of the American Catholic laity, who support their LGBT neighbors’ freedom to marry the person they love in a civil ceremony.” As HRC has previously noted, the vast majority of lay Catholics in the United States support LGBT equality. A recent poll from New York Times/CBS News found that more than six in ten American

Catholics support equal marriage, compared to 53 percent of the country as a whole. Despite this broad support among the laity, last year the Church hierarchy was one of the biggest investors in antiLGBT campaigns in the United States— spending nearly $2 million in the failed attempts to write discrimination into the Minnesota constitution and stem marriage equality in Maine, Maryland, and Washington. Griffin’s letters are available online here: resources/Letters_to_Catholic_Hierarchy_Leaders.pdf

Bishop Tutu: gay rights most pressing issue for Christians today “It isn’t that it’s questionable when you speak up for the right of people with different sexual orientation. People took some part of us and used it to discriminate against us. In our case, it was our ethnicity; it’s precisely the same thing for sexual orientation. People are killed because they’re gay. I don’t think, ‘What do I want to do today? I want to speak up on gay rights.’ No. It’s God catching me by my neck.” – Retired Anglican Archbishop and Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu speaking with Charisma News on “the most pressing issue in which Christians need to relate their faith to power and injustice.” Full story here: http://www.queerty. com/archbishop-desmond-tutu-mostpressing-issue-for-christians-is-gay-rights20130918/#ixzz2fFXOodRz

Openly gay Anglican priest heads Canada’s military chaplains An openly gay Anglican priest. Brig.Gen. John Fletcher, has been appointed to head the chaplaincy of Canada’s military. His recent appointment is in sharp contrast to past military policy, which allowed discrimination against gays and lesbians. Fletcher said he came out not long after a landmark court decision struck down the rule in 1992, alleviating his fears about what could happen to his career if he did come out. Fletcher acknowledges that some may find it odd, or even scandalous, that he is a career military man, a priest and homosexual. “I equally understand that some people will be excited and encouraged by the openness of my own church, to allow me to exercise this ministry and certainly encouraged that I’m free to work within a Canadian military that simply doesn’t discriminate on (the basis of) these things,” he said.

Senior couple marries in veterans’ home A gay couple together for 20 years has gotten married at their senior living home for veterans in a first for the facility. John Banvard, 95, and 67-year-old Gerard Nadeau, who served in Vietnam, said they wanted to have their ceremony among friends, so they chose to have it at the Veteran’s Home, where they’ve lived for the last three years. They decided to get married after the Supreme Court’s actions earlier this year, which allowed same-sex couples to marry. “We were waiting on the Supreme

Court to make that decision,” said Banvard. Many of the couple’s friends who live at the veteran’s home attended the small and simple ceremony. “The world is changing, we have to go along with it,” said one guest. Facility director Neal Asper said news of two men getting married at the VA home wasn’t well received by everyone. A town hall meeting was held at the VA home to address concerns from other residents.

Project asks pro-gay Christians to affirm support publicly The NALT Christians Project ( was launched Sept. 4, giving Christians everywhere an opportunity to publicly proclaim their unconditional love and support for their gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender friends and family members. This new movement, inspired by Dan Savage’s “It Gets Better” project, encourages LGBT-affirming Christians to upload videos that unapologetically express their full acceptance of LGBT people. This project was created by Christian author John Shore and Truth Wins Out, a non-profit organization that counters religious extremism. It will be an online platform that directly challenges the idea that anti-gay Christians represent all or even most of the Christian faithful. The project kicks-off with a promotional video from author and advocate Dan Savage. Co-sponsors of the project include the Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists, Auburn Theological Seminary, Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry, Covenant Network of Presbyterians, The Evangelical Network, Faith in America, GLAD Alliance, Many Voices, Methodists in New Directions, and Reconciling Ministries Network. “We are playing a symphony inspired by Christ’s Great Commandment that all of his followers love our neighbors as we love ourselves,” said NALT co-founder John Shore. “If you’re an LGBT-affirming Christian, there is a seat waiting for you in the orchestra of The NALT Christians Project.” “The NALT Christians Project aims to inspire Christian LGBT allies to move their support from the shadows into the public square,” said Wayne Besen, Truth Wins Out’s Executive Director. “Through their NALT videos, Christians will put their values into action, and lead the clarion, Bible-based call for freedom and justice for all people.” This project will also send a powerful message of encouragement to LGBT youth who are growing up in unsupportive environments. “This project is designed to reach people like myself when I was sixteen and growing up in a conservative religious community,” said NALT Christians Project co-founder and Truth Wins Out Associate Director Evan Hurst. “I wish I had known about the millions of loving Christians who take Jesus’ teachings seriously, and if this project can help keep LGBT youth from the spiritual turmoil of being convinced they are hell-bound simply for being who they are, then we’ve done our jobs.” Frequently, well-intentioned progressive Christians approach LGBT people to say high-profile fundamentalist Christians who dominate the airwaves do not speak for them, because they believe in equality for their LGBT brothers and sisters. Dan Savage has dubbed these folks “NALT Christians,” because they often say that they are “not all like that,” meaning they are not anti-gay.

Report finds wage, health inequities for trans workers A new report  released Sept. 6 offers the most comprehensive analysis to date of the inequities facing transgender work(Report continues page 16)

octoBER 2013 • number 472 • gay alliance of the genesee valley • the empty closet


The Marrying Kind: senior couples wed legally after many years together By Susan Jordan Karen Monast and Barb Bonin met in 1993 and have been together for 20 years. On Oct. 14, 2008, they married legally in Chicopee, Mass. Barb told The Empty Closet, “We met through a mutual friend. She was having a game night and invited a couple of people. We were from two different backgrounds. Karen was out and I wasn’t, for various reasons – mainly my job.” Karen said, “We decided we would get married early in our relationship, but it wasn’t legal. Barb wasn’t out to her family, so out of respect to them we didn’t wed while her parents were alive.” Karen was at the 1993 march on Washington and has been out since she was 27. She talked about her activism at the Rainbow SAGE Intergenerational Panel last spring. The overturn of DOMA was the crucial factor in their decision to marry legally. Now retired, the two were concerned that if one died or had to go to a nursing home, the other would lose their house. Karen commented, “We protected ourselves as best we could, but when our lawyer said that marriage would show our full intent, we decided to go ahead and marry in Massachusetts.” The couple does not plan to wed again, now that marriage equality is legal in NYS. The 2008 wedding in Massachusetts was “no frills,” but Karen and Barb say the Justice of the Peace and his assistants went out of their way to make the ceremony special. People in Chicopee asked why they were in town, and when they said they were there to get married, “they were all so friendly and congratulatory.” They did not have a honeymoon then, but a year later, for their first-year anniversary, Karen took Barb to Hawaii. Karen

said, “I hated it! Too hot and humid!” Barb said, “I loved it!” The disappearance of DOMA means that the couple can now file joint tax returns, as the IRS is treating same sex couples the same way that heterosexual married couples are treated. Karen said, “You can amend your taxes back three years, so we should try to do an appeal to get back the money that we had to pay before we could file jointly.” Barb explained, “I had health coverage through Karen’s job, and she had to pay taxes on my health insurance, which was regarded as extra income for her.” “So I had to pay tax on that,” Karen said. “I worked for a large company and was fortunate to have been offered health insurance at all. But that was because I was represented by the United Auto Workers (UAW) and unions are very beneficial to people! The health benefits were negotiated through my union.” Barb said, “But the federal government didn’t recognize the company’s health insurance for unmarried partners. It was easier for me to retire knowing that I had full coverage – otherwise I’d still be working.” The couple credits the strength and durability of their marriage to the fact that they share the same values, although they have completely different personalities. Then there are the separate bank accounts! Barb said, “Karen and I have the same core values and that’s very important in a relationship. We’re close in age and we trust each other completely.” Karen added, “She was blindly trusting at the beginning of our relationship! (Laughs) Although Barb was an accountant, I take care of the joint accounts. We also have separate bank accounts, which is helpful! We have joint accounts for joint things and separate accounts for our personal use. So if she wants to spend a lot of money on something, I don’t care!” About their different personalities, Barb said, “You have to allow the other person freedom. I’m an extroverted, social person. I like to play golf and go out to dinner.” “Whereas,” Karen said, “I’m on the computer or reading or watching TV. When I worked I had the night shift, so I never got to be at home and watch TV in the evening! But we do have some things in common: we’re both Miami Dolphins fans – I’m a convert!” The couple lives in Parma and has a dog (Rosie Marie, a two-year-old Cavalier King Charles spaniel/Shi Tzu) and a cat (Cali, a 12-year-old calico). “When we were first together, we had five cats and two dogs,” Karen said. “Because we were young and stupid, we threw them all together – but everything was fine.” She summed up, “We handle things with a sense of humor – that helps our marriage too!” Ralph Carter and Van Van Zanten Ralph and Van are newlyweds, having married on July 20, 2013 – Pride Parade Day – at Third Presbyterian Church. They have been together for 33 years. Ralph works at Xerox, and is active in Galaxe and Out & Equal, while Van, born in the Netherlands, is retired from his job with a steel company. The couple lives on Highland Ave. – a compromise between city and suburbs. Actually, July 20 was the second ceremony for Ralph and Van, who had been officially married by Rev. Deborah Hughes at a small ceremony at Third Presbyterian in 2012. Since not all of their families could be present at that time, they scheduled a second wedding. The two met on Oct. 21, 1980 at Dignity Integrity. Van said, “Our first date was racquetball at JCC.” Van said the couple decided to marry after New York legalized same sex marriage in 2011. Ralph said, “I had asked Van. But during our whole relationship, the topic of marriage has been a roller

Barb Bonin and Karen Monast. Photo: Susan Jordan

coaster. At first I thought marriage was Van added, “We go to the same a patriarchal institution, so we rejected it church. We’ve met a lot of friends through altogether.” the church.” Van added, “We didn’t really discuss He continued, “We’re very lucky to it.” have great support from our families, Ralph continued, “We were in a couwhich a lot of people don’t have. I had ples group of about 20 couples and it was four brothers and when my father passed wonderful to get to know women socially, away, my mother set the tone – that they and other couples, as a way to support our would accept us.” relationship. Some couples we met had “She was quite the matriarch,” Ralph been together for 50 years!” said, and Van added, “She lived to be So once marriage equality was a fact 102.” in our state, Ralph and Van re-considered. Ralph said, “My family was very difThe small 2012 ceremony took place in ferent. My mother never visited Rochester the chapel at Third Presbyterian, where because she thought if she accepted us she Ralph and Van are devoted members of would have to reject her religion. But after the congregation. About the second marMom passed away, Dad came to visit. The riage ceremony, when more of their famfirst day we went to Jines – a neutral place. ily attended, Ralph said, “We knew it was Well, there was a Tuesday night gay group something that would take some planof guys there; we go to cheap restaurants ning.” on Tuesday nights. They love to tell jokes Ralph’s family holds an annual reunion and my father does as well. They hit it off in the summer, so Ralph and Van’s wedand we had to drag him away from the ding became the reunion for 2013. He restaurant because he enjoyed our friends said, “About 40 people from both families so much.” came. We ended up asking our siblings to One of Ralph’s sisters is a Mennonite be our wedding partners. So our brothers missionary in Africa. He said, “Her husand sisters and their spouses preceded us band Mark is a Mennonite missionary down the aisle.” too. She told him about us and how trouVan said, “We went into the church and bled she was, and Mark said, ‘Angela, you people started applauding. I’d never been don’t need to play God. Let God be God. at a wedding where people applauded.” Your job is to love your brother.’ It was Ralph and Van were not as affected like a burden lifted off her, and when she by the overturn of DOMA as Karen told me, I was struck by – how profound and Barb, because both had separate and how simple. health insurance. Ralph commented, “I “The other thing that happened was do appreciate the fact that the IRS has that my nieces and nephews call Van issued a decision that federal tax filing is ‘Uncle Van.’ Most significant to me was based on where your civil marriage conmaking up the invitation list for the wedtract was signed, not where you live. So if ding and realizing how blessed we are to we move to Florida, or Xerox moves me to have these wonderful friends. Reading all another state, for federal purposes we are their responses was an amazing thing.” ■ still considered married.” What accounts for the durability of their relationship? Van said, “Good friendship. We enjoy each other’s company, even though we have different interests. He’s a rabid movie-goer and I’m not. I prefer sports and gardening.” Ralph said, “Part of it is that there’s a difference in our ages…. We early on developed a routine – during the week I have my committees and Van has his, and of course we check in with each other. But we reserve the weekends to be together. When a couple does that you give each other space. What I really like is that our personalities complement each other. I can get obsessed with a problem on an emotional level, and Van will suggest a solution – like a family conference on where we should live. Instead of digging in our heels, we figured out what we both liked.” Van Van Zanten and Ralph Carter on July 20.


national and international ( Report continued from page 14) ers in the American workforce — from finding and keeping good jobs, to having equal access to job-related benefits, to obtaining adequate health insurance coverage. “A Broken Bargain for Transgender Workers” is a companion to the recently released report, “A Broken Bargain: Discrimination, Fewer Benefits and More Taxes for LGBT Workers.” The report also offers specific recommendations for policymakers and employers to reduce and eliminate inequities for transgender workers and help restore America’s basic workplace bargain of fairness and equality. “A Broken Bargain for Transgender Workers” is co-authored by the Movement Advancement Project, or MAP; the National Center for Transgender Equality, or NCTE; the Center for American Progress, or CAP; and the Human Rights Campaign, or HRC, in partnership with Freedom to Work, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Out & Equal Workplace Advocates, and SEIU. Transgender workers at high risk of unemployment, poverty Recent CAP polling shows that 73 percent of voters support protecting transgender people from discrimination in employment. Despite this strong public support, no federal law provides explicit legal protections for transgender workers based on gender identity/expression, and only 17 states and the District of Columbia offer these protections. As a result, transgender workers face higher rates of unemployment and are at greater risk of poverty. “A Broken Bargain for Transgender Workers” reveals that: Transgender workers report unemployment at twice the rate of the population as a whole (14 percent versus seven percent at the time the workers were surveyed); More than 4 in 10 transgender people (44 percent) who are currently working are underemployed; Transgender workers are nearly four times more likely than the population as a whole to have a household income of less than $10,000 (15 percent versus four percent at the time the workers were surveyed). “This new report underscores the harsh reality of what it means to live and work as a transgender person in this country,” said Mara Keisling, executive director of NCTE. “Like other workers, transgender Americans deserve to be judged by our work and contributions and not by one aspect of who we are.” How Americans’ basic bargain is broken for transgender workers “Unfair laws and policies impose real, everyday burdens on transgender workers across the country,” said Ineke Mushovic, executive director of MAP. “It’s shocking that in this day and age, federal nondiscrimination law still does not explicitly protect a high-performing worker from

the empty closet • the gay alliance of the genesee valley • number 472 • octoBER 2013 being fired just because he or she is transgender.” Among the burdens and inequities faced by transgender workers: Pervasive misunderstanding, hiring bias, and on-the-job discrimination. Many Americans have very little understanding of what it means to be transgender. As a result, for transgender people seeking work, the entire job search and hiring process is full of challenges, particularly if a legal name or gender on an identity document (for example, a driver’s license) does not match the outward appearance of the applicant. Once a transgender employee is hired, he or she may face many forms of harassment and discrimination, including denial of promotions or unfair firing. Wage inequities.  In addition to job discrimination, transgender employees face wage disparities that make it harder for them to provide for themselves and their families. Lack of explicit legal protections.  Transgender workers facing discrimination may seek recourse by filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or EEOC, for sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. The EEOC will work to mediate a settlement on the worker’s behalf and has done so successfully. However, EEOC rulings are not binding on private employers, furthering the need for explicit nondiscrimination protections for transgender workers under federal law. Inability to update identity documents. Intrusive and burdensome requirements can still make it difficult or impossible for many transgender people to obtain accurate and consistent identification documents. Unequal access to health insurance benefits.  Exclusions in health insurance often deny transgender workers access to both basic health care and transitionrelated care. Denial of personal medical leave.  Employers may deny transgender workers leave for necessary transition-related care, incorrectly stating that such care does not constitute a “serious medical condition.” As a result, transgender employees may face a difficult choice: put their jobs at risk to care for themselves, or make do without the necessary health care and put their health in jeopardy.

SMUG v. Scott Lively: status of the crime against humanity case On March 14, 2012, SMUG (Sexual Minorities Uganda) filed a federal civil lawsuit against Scott Lively, the president of Abiding Truth Ministries, in a United States federal court in Springfield, Mass. The suit alleges Lively’s active participation in a conspiracy to persecute LGBTI persons in Uganda. It further alleges that this persecution has been widespread or systematic, and thus constitutes a crime against humanity under international law. Persecution is defined in international law as the intentional and severe depriva-

tion of fundamental rights on the basis of a group’s identity. The complaint names some prominent Ugandans as Lively’s co-conspirators, not as co-defendants in the case, including Stephen Langa, Martin Ssempa, James Buturo, David Bahati, and Simon Lokodo. Since they are not parties to the lawsuit, the Court cannot issue any judgments against them. Put another way, SMUG has not sued anyone but Lively in this particular case – despite claims by antigay minister Ssempa that he is being sued. SMUG seeks damages for the harms it and its members have suffered as a result of the persecution conspiracy; a declaration stating that Lively’s conduct has violated international law; and an injunction preventing Lively from undertaking further actions, including plotting and conspiring with others, to deny fundamental rights to SMUG and the LGBTI community in Uganda. The Court’s August 14, 2013 Ruling: In mid-2012, Lively sought to dismiss the case on a multitude of grounds, all of which the Court denied in its ruling this past August. Significantly, the Court found that many international legal authorities support the principle that widespread, systematic persecution of individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity constitutes a crime against humanity that violates international law. Another significant finding by the Court was that SMUG’s complaint did not attack Lively’s speech but his participation in the conspiracy to bring about the denial of fundamental rights of the LGBTI community in Uganda. The Court explained that speech is often a method of aiding and abetting a crime, or participating in a conspiracy to commit a crime, and in such situations freedom of speech is not protected by the U.S. Constitution. Furthermore, the Court recognized that SMUG’s allegations go beyond mere speech; they describe Lively’s management of actual crimes, including repression of SMUG’s freedom of expression through intimidation, false arrests, assaults, and criminalization of peaceful activity and of simply being LGBTI. Next Steps The Court ordered that the parties develop a plan for the taking of evidence in order to prepare for trial. This phase of the case will take 6-12 months (or longer), and will require the parties to produce evidence – in the form of documents and testimony – to one another. This evidence will then be used by SMUG to support the allegations it made in the complaint. It will also be used by Lively to attempt to show that SMUG’s allegations are not true or to support his defenses against the claims. If the Court believes there is enough evidence to support SMUG’s claims, the case will proceed to trial. The judge’s ruling is not normally appealable at this point in the case. However, Lively’s attorneys have recently sought special permission to take an appeal. SMUG will oppose that effort and continue preparing for the evidence-gathering phase.

Same sex spouses of vets will get equal benefits, Holder says In the Obama administration’s latest step to ensure equal treatment for samesex married couples following the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down a key section of the Defense of Marriage Act, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced Sept. 4 that President Obama has directed the Executive Branch to take steps allowing for same-sex spouses of military veterans to collect federal benefits. The new policy means that the administration will no longer enforce statutory language governing the Veterans Administration (VA) and the Department of Defense (DoD) that restricts the awarding of spousal benefits to opposite-sex marriages only. The language, contained

within Title 38 of the U.S. Code, has, until now, prevented the Executive Branch from providing spousal benefits to veterans — and in some instances active-duty service members and reservists — who are in same-sex marriages recognized under state law. In a letter to Congressional leaders, Holder stated that the President’s decision was consistent with the Court’s decision in Windsor in June. “Although the Supreme Court did not directly address the constitutionality of the Title 38 provisions in Windsor, the reasoning of the opinion strongly supports the conclusion that those provisions are unconstitutional under the Fifth Amendment,” Holder wrote. The decision not to enforce Title 38 aligns with the Obama administration’s determination last year that two provisions of Title 38 that govern benefits for veterans and their families were unconstitutional as applied to legally married same-sex couples. At that time, the Attorney General informed Congress that the Department would no longer defend the Title 38 provisions, but that the Executive Branch would continue to enforce them. The announcement makes clear that enforcement of the provision in Title 38 defining marriage as between a man and a woman will now cease. The announcement comes after the House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG) recently decided to stop defending the Title 38 provisions in pending cases. In addition, late in August, a federal district court in California held the Title 38 provisions unconstitutional on equal protection grounds. After consideration of these developments and a recommendation by the Attorney General, the President directed the Executive Branch to cease enforcement of the Title 38 provisions. Texas, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Louisiana are nonetheless refusing to give equal benefits to same sex spouses of National Guard members and other military personnel.

Hate group NOM goes after Calif. trans youth By Andrew Potts on The anti-gay National Organization for Marriage (NOM) group that put same-sex marriage on the ballot in California in 2008 is now seeking to do the same to California’s AB 1266 law which allows transgender teens access to the facilities of their choice and to play on the sports teams of their choice. NOM are hoping to gather 504,760 voter signatures against AB 1266, which would be enough to place its repeal on the November 2014 ballot, and would suspend the law until Californians can vote on it. NOM president Brian Brown claimed the law was part of a wider conspiracy to end traditional gender roles in the United States. “AB1266, the co-ed bathroom law, is a horrible attempt by activists to strip society of all gender roles and uses children as a weapon in their culture war,” Brown said. “Opening our most vulnerable areas at school including showers, bathrooms and changing rooms to members of the opposite sex is politically-correct madness that risks the privacy and security of our children and grandchildren. They are forcing our school children to be exposed in showers and bathrooms to members of the opposite sex who claim a gender identity with that sex,” Brown said…. NOM and the anti-trans coalition Privacy for All Students, seeking to enlist the support of minority groups, have produced versions of their petition in Russian, Spanish, Chinese, and Korean. AB 1266 states, “a pupil shall be permitted to participate in sex-segregated school programs and activities, including athletic teams and competitions, and use facilities consistent with his or her gender identity, irrespective of the gender listed on the pupil’s records.” ■

octoBER 2013 • number 472 • gay alliance of the genesee valley • the empty closet



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the empty closet • the gay alliance of the genesee valley • number 472 • octoBER 2013

octoBER 2013 • number 472 • gay alliance of the genesee valley • the empty closet


Shoulders to Stand On TM

The financial shoulders of the Gay Alliance: our sponsors By Evelyn Bailey The Gay Alliance sponsors play a critical role in maintaining and growing the agency. All are listed in The Empty Closet. Because they appear every month, our sponsors get repetitive visibility, but who are they really? Our Platinum Level Sponsors ($10,000 +) Excellus BlueCross BlueShield is a non-profit health insurance company headquartered in Rochester. It is part of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. Excellus BCBS is upstate New York’s largest nonprofit health plan offering coverage

for those on Medicare, for individuals and families, and for business. Excellus’s competent staff helps clients explore services to meet their individual needs and get the most for their health care dollar. Excellus has been a strong community partner for the City of Rochester and has provided the Rochester community with excellent health insurance services for over 75 years. For more information go to or call 454-1700. Logical Operations is the dominant learning solutions provider in instructorled training. For over 30 years, Logical Operations has provided the highest quality business training curriculum designed to meet the specific needs of its clients. They develop and publish the most widely used and respected business training courseware available today providing clients with the best value for their dollar. Logical Operations drives industry innovation. They are committed to offering the most relevant training solutions that completely transform today’s classroom with quality professional training programs with flexible delivery platforms. For more information go to or call 1-800-456-4677. Trillium Health is a community of medical and social service professionals who meet patients in a beautiful, healing environment where they can feel supported, and receive integrated personalized primary and continuing care for all their medical needs. Trillium Health model of treatment has become a benchmark in long-term HIV care. Patients and clients are offered an expansive array of medical, prevention, and social services, making it easier for patients and clients to receive the comprehensive range of cutting-edge medical care and support services they

The Elton St. Gay Alliance Community Center opened in 1990.

need. Trillium Health is the cutting edge for health care in the Rochester Community. For more information go to www. or call 545-7200. Our Gold Level Sponsors ($5000+) Reed Eye Associates, City of Rochester, Absolut/Malibu Our Silver Level Sponsors ($3000+) Bacardi, Bachelor Forum, Barefoot Wine, Hedonist Artisan Chocolate, John’s Tex Mex, Lake Beverage, Nixon Peabody, Professional Tutoring Service, Xerox Our Bronze Level Sponsors ($1000) Ameriprise, Avenue Pub, Canandaigua National Bank & Trust, Corning Inc., Equal Grounds Coffee House & Gift House, Harter Secrest and Emery LLP, ImageOut, Jaegermeister, Kittleberger Florist and Gifts, Labor Federation, Macy’s, New York Life, Out and Equal NY Finger Lakes, Outlandish, Skyºy Vodka, St. John Fisher, Tompkins Enterprise, Victory Alliance, Wegmans, Woods Oviatt Gilman LLP. Our Champion Level Sponsors Mass Mutual of Buffalo, Park Avenue Merchants Association, Pride@Work, Third Presbyterian Church, The Woolbright Group, HCR Home Care. Shoulders to Stand On THANKS all of our Gay Alliance sponsors for their past and continued support. The Gay Alliance could not do this vital work without you. Shoulders To Stand On challenges you to invite others to be part of our Financial Shoulders.

ImageOut presents world premiere of Shoulders to Stand On documentary By Evelyn Bailey Over nine years in the making, “Shoulders To Stand On,” the documentary on the history of the Rochester LGBT community will have its world premiere on Saturday, Oct. 12 at 11 a.m. at the Dryden Theatre at the George Eastman House. “Shoulders To Stand On” captures the stories, struggles and achievements of our LGBT pioneers, who often made important sacrifices to make Rochester and Upstate New York a better place to live. The documentary highlights many events that put Rochester in the local and national spotlight, and celebrates the spirit of a community that is bound together with a steadfast sense of pride. Shoulders to Stand On is an archival and documentary project exploring and safeguarding the history of Rochester’s LGBT community. The project goes back to as far 1897, when Rochester kept a watchful eye on the trial and sentencing of the gay British writer Oscar Wilde. It explores the involvement of the LGBT community and its support of the movement for a woman’s right to vote. The project uncovers underground

subcultures and organizations, forced to hide from social hostility beginning in the 1930s through 1950s. In the ‘60s and ‘70s, influenced by the civil rights movement and the women’s rights movement, a parallel movement -- “gay liberation” -- stepped into the national arena, becoming more visible through protests against discriminatory employment practices and police harassment. Rochester’s LGBT community has always been part of a region that has been a powerful voice for dignity and civil rights: a region built on the quest of people seeking to better their lives with opportunities to express free thought, innovation, education and worship. Today, we “stand on the shoulders” of many people who made Rochester a city that celebrates diversity and has often set benchmarks for civil liberties throughout the nation. Shoulders to Stand On shows that Upstate New York is socially and economically viable because of a strong LGBT community. But even as history is being made, it remains fragile and can be quickly lost. The archival and documentary project will safeguard Rochester’s LGBT history so that it will be available to teach and inspire future generations. Be proud and join hundreds of your friends, brothers and sisters in celebrating 40+ years of Rochester’s gay liberation! Together, all of our “shoulders” will create the next 40 years of gay liberation in Rochester! Come share in the sense of pride and accomplishment our early pioneers set in motion.

History Corner A monthly newsletter of the Gay Alliance of the Genesee Valley, October, 1973: MON 1 OCT; GAGV CENTER OPEN TO PUBLIC. Press, politicians, interested professionals, professors, and straight public invited to tour the center and meet GAGV officials and non-closeted members. An out-of-the-closet night for the GAGV. 7:30 pm GAGV Center, 8l2 Brown St. (rear). SUN 7 OCT: BUSINESS MEETING/GAY TOWN MEETING, Your chance to compliment, complain, suggest, demand etc. An open forum for directing the organization. For members and nonmembers. 7:30 on (Town Meeting 8:30). THURS 11 OCT; (Tentative) MEETING OF AREA GAY ORGANIZATIONS. GAGV Center, 7:30 pm. SUN 14 OCT: PROGRAM: “GAY AWARENESS” An analysis of our feelings towards each other. 7:30 pm. Center. SUN 21 OCT: SOCIAL: “ COFFEE HOUSE EVENING” An unstructured evening of conversation, congeniality, low key entertainment, and fun and games. 7:30 pm. SUN 28 OCT: “NYSCGO CONFERENCE SUMMARY” and relaxation after the conference. 7:30 GAGV Center. (NYSCGO – New York State Coalition of Gay Organizations) ■


the empty closet • the gay alliance of the genesee valley • number 472 • octoBER 2013

Columnists The opinions of columnists, editorial writers and other contributing writers are their own and do not necessarily reflect the collective attitude of the Gay Alliance of the Genesee Valley or The Empty Closet.

Growing Up Straight Friends By Eric Bellmann “I don’t know why you like me?” Marilyn says this matter-of-factly as we are driving to lunch. I’m surprised, I hardly know what to say. “Well, you are a good person”, is what I come up with. We’ve known one another for more than 40 years. Now she asks? In terms of trajectories of life, in truth we have little in common. She a great-grandmother now with no idea, she laughingly says, of how many descendants she has. I’m relative-free. We rarely talk on the phone, get together maybe three or four times a year. I met Marilyn through her brother, a co-worker on my first teaching job and I had a life consuming crush on him. He faded, she remained. We saw each other more often back then. Marilyn is a remarkable, stoic, private person with the usual share of miseries: a divorce, a return to employment with a physically arduous job, a bout of cancer, perhaps a lapse of faith, a stressful relationship with a parent, the turmoil of her children finding their way. She dislikes cats although for years she owned a wonderful, mellow gray cat that often sprawled on the kitchen table. I adore cats. “Here kitty, kitty” I’d croon. She likes dogs, vulgar annoyances they seem to me, far too eager. What binds us is honesty and concern, values and ideas. House bound during years of child rearing, she read voraciously. Several years ago I gave her a subscription to The New Yorker. She’s given me plants for my garden. And she has paid attention as only a thoughtful mother could to my struggles, including my evolution as an out gay person. She has, from a distance, lived through the social and legal changes that have enhanced my life. She has never judged me. Even when I once flashed at her a terrifically juicy polaroid of a conquest! How’s that for acceptance, the bottom line of what every gay man craves? And so we continue. Richard is another matter altogether. We met in an aerobics class twenty-odd years ago. He’s short, muscular, bald — well he has a shaved head to be more precise. He has a real old-time butch tattoo. One day, in class, I said, “Hi, girlfriend!” We’ve been friends ever since. And that has been at times a trial. Richard is a whiner. Oh my God, you don’t want to know. But when a dozen years ago I hit an emotional bottom over yet another failed romance, the one I thought was God’s answer and when I entered a phase of prolonged grief and behaved very, very badly, Richard would sit for hours outside Park Avenue coffee shops as I sobbed and rehashed my heart-ache. He was always there for me. I can never, ever repay him. He thought the bozo was a shit head and he was right. Richard is also a cancer survivor, to say nothing of having been at Kent State when the state police opened fire. Now and then, blessed boy that he is, Rich says he thinks he’s found a knockout hunk at his very macho gym, someone

he thinks he could snag for me to draw. He hasn’t pulled this off but I appreciate the concern. Richard loves cats. And while I want always to be there for him, when his adored 20-year-old Spike goes off to pussy cat heaven, I’m moving to the Sahara. Richie is a whiz with the internet and endlessly forwards me items about gay rights or things he knows will amuse me, like clips of Freddie Mercury, who had he lived would be 67. I have steady ongoing contact with Richie. He’s a once a week bartender and occasionally I visit him and perch at the end of the bar sipping a Shirley Temple. He calls me Ma. I like that a lot. He loathes the Wegmans’ rooster even more than I. That’s kind of gay. I met Linda eons ago when she worked as a travel agent. She booked flights when I went to visit my sister and quickly got me to New Mexico when my mother was close to death. Linda likes to travel and does lots of research, keeps files of interesting places. When I complained I was bored by my annual trips to relatives in Germany, she told me of a woman starting a tour business in Turkey. I signed on. That changed my life. I would never have begun the odyssey of twice a year extended visits to Turkey that ultimately totaled 18 trips over 11 years without her help. She waters my plants, collects my mail even now when I go to New York. I return the favor when she and her husband leave town. Linda is an avid New York Times reader and saves me interesting articles. Our taste in movies could not be more dissimilar, but what the hell at least she gets out of the house and into a theater, the only way, I maintain, to see a movie. Netflix is TV, sorry. In her rather restrained way she is always concerned. We also have in common aching bodies from too much exercise. It’s the little things that form a lasting bond. These folks are part of my daily life. I think, too, of Judy, now living in France for more than twenty years. I’ve been there three times. Judy encouraged me to buy my house. While driving around Rochester she would point out places that would be suitable, including the very house I now live in. Judy, also an artist, is an ardent Liberal and I think sitting in her kitchen talking with her and her husband about politics and culture helped me understand that I was an intellectual. I look forward to her twice a year visits here. Then there is Sally, my BFF, the woman who lets me stay in her guest room in New York. We have similar enough tastes in theater and films. She’s opened me up to the world of better restaurants and chamber concerts. I went with her to the hospital before she had knee replacement surgery and I’ve been at her side after she got a diagnosis of breast cancer. We’ve watched “The Wire” and “Breaking Bad”. Last year she went with me to Gay Pride and each Halloween we put on our Mickey Mouse hats and wander 8th Avenue. Could I ask for more? Gay friends seem to materialize and then evaporate. I don’t know why. I am not an easy person to love, that’s for sure. I could speculate that we sometimes don’t love ourselves very much, maybe that’s part of the reason. I ‘m not sure what would be gained by figuring that one out. For the time being, I’ll just count my blessings. Email:

Faith Matters Harlem LGBTQ residents at risk By Rev. Irene Monroe Gentrification of neighborhoods always disrupts existing  communities within them. Sometimes the  disruption  brought on by  gentrification  is expressed in anger and violence toward not only  the transitional group  ushering  in the change, but also toward its existing denizens of the community. In the pre-dawn hours of a Saturday in August, Islan Nettle, 21, who also went by the names Vaughn Nettles and Alon Nettles, was strolling and lollygagging with a group of her sister-friends on Frederick Douglas Boulevard between 147th and 148th Streets in Harlem. When she and the girls were recognized as transgender women, Paris Wilson, 20, began spewing homophobic epithets. Enraged by the sight of the women Wilson crossed the street to where the women were and savagely pummeled Nettles, resulting in her death, for allegedly being teased for flirting with a transgender woman. Nettle’s death has shaken parts of Harlem, especially the Hamilton Heights community where Nettles was killed. Hamilton Heights in the last decade has  gradually  emerged as an LGBTQ community. A clear example of a new queer Harlem was in April 2010 when the Harlem Stage premiered the new documentary short film,  “Marriage Equality: Byron Rushing and the Fight for Fairness,” allowing the largest public dialogue on same-sex marriage by LGBTQ people of color in the country. New York native and award-winning African American gay filmmaker Thomas Allen Harris directed the film, sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign. In June 2010, Harlem saw its first Pride. But Harlem still remains as a complicated both open and closeted queer social hot spot.  Harlem’s transgender community wrestles more than any of us LGBQs with Harlem’s homophobia. “In Harlem, it can be dangerous for transgenders to approach men. Some of the men are very aggressive and closeminded. You have to be careful who you approach,” Ms. Jennifer told DNAinfo New York. The struggle of Harlem’s transgender community dates back, at least on record, to the early 1900s. By the time of the Harlem Renaissance, roughly from 1920—1935, LGBTQ African Americans carved out for themselves a queer space of self-expression. Its transgender community during this era was notoriously cheered and despised for their drag ball extravaganzas. Langston Hughes depicted the balls as “spectacles of color.” George Chauncey, author of  Gay New York, wrote that during this period, “Perhaps nowhere were more men willing to venture out in public in drag than in Harlem.” But the visibility of Harlem’s entire LGBTQ communities for the most part was forced to be on the “down low.” With a new black and visible LGBTQ face emerging in Harlem in the last decade, so too is a white one. When rents became prohibitive, especially in Greenwich Village — NYC’s gay mecca — many Manhattan LGBTQs took either a bridge over to Brooklyn or a train up to Harlem.  “Gays have often been at the forefront of gentrification in New York City and elsewhere in the nation, said Charles Kaiser, author of “The Gay Metropolis, a History of Gay Life in New York,” who is quoted in  “Harlem Journal: Gay White Pioneers, on New Ground.” And the number of whites in Harlem in the last decade has nearly doubled from 9.9 percent to 16.6 percent. These new LGBTQ residents in pre-

dominately poor communities and communities of color have brought unimaginable improved services to the area the city has long forgotten, like police protection, Starbucks, Whole Foods, and boutique shops, to name a few. But their presence has also created great resentment by those who were not forced to relocate from these communities, but rather are left to see the uncomfortable changes. I’m told the resentment of white queers taking up residence in Harlem has oddly been expressed more openly toward black LGBTQs in the form of homophobic and transphobic slurs and attacks. Asha Greene, a trans woman, and Maureen Ryan, a lesbian, are recent graduates from NYU. While attending NYU they lived in one of school’s leased apartments, but moved uptown when they realized they couldn’t afford the rents in the area. “My neighbor who has lived in this building for over 20 years never speaks to Maureen and barely speaks to me. When she, on this rare occasion, spoke to me, it was because I helped her with her groceries. Expecting a thank you she said instead that she hated seeing the sight of me and my partner move in. She said to me ‘see what you bringing up in here’ referring to my girlfriend being white. ‘And she’ll be bringing more of her kind,’” Asha said. Transphobia in black communities leave members of our community especially vulnerable, like Nettles. And our communities must be held accountable.  While Harlem has always had a transgender community, it has never had to take seriously public charges of a hate crime perpetrated against one of its transgender residents.  Nettle’s mother along with several Harlem LGBTQ groups are contesting Wilson’s low bail set at $2,000. Such a low bail sends no meaningful message about the crime and the value of the lives of its transgender residents. In 2013 Harlem is unquestionably a community in transition — and not only with its new residents. The up tick of insults and assaults on Harlem’s predominately black LGBTQ communities, some contest, is largely because of gentrification — a community’s feelings and frustrations wrongly expressed in both homophobic and transphobic ways. Homo and trans phobia are forms of bigotry. Long-term residents of Harlem know bigotry all too well as recipients. Hopefully they won’t become experts on the other side, too.

A Few Bricks Short You Need Therapy By David Hull Over this past summer my shoulder starting hurting; just a little at first, but then as the yard work season progressed, the pain increased. By the beginning of autumn, it wasn’t just an ache anymore, but a real “ouchy”. I have no idea how I injured it, but my husband Bernie insisted that I go see my doctor. My doctor referred me to an orthopedic specialist. I was shocked -- an orthopedic specialist? That’s a doctor for old people! I wasn’t going to any orthopedic specialist! “Keep an open mind,” said my doctor. “Would it help you feel better if I mentioned that this orthopedic specialist works at the office of sports medicine and his patients tend to be injured professional and college athletes?” I smiled and shrugged. “Well, if young, muscular athletes can give it a try, then I suppose I can too.” So I went to see the orthopedic specialist, who diagnosed me with tendonitis and prescribed therapy. “Oh, no,” I said. “No therapy for me! I’m fine. I don’t need to be on some doctor’s couch while he evaluates my childhood and analyzes my nightmares and

octoBER 2013 • number 472 • gay alliance of the genesee valley • the empty closet asks me what I think a bunch of ink blots look like. I’m not going for therapy.” The orthopedic specialist sighed. “I meant physical therapy,” he said. “Just keep an open mind; it’s therapy for your shoulder.” That got my attention. “Oh! Is that the place where you send all the injured athletes?” I asked enthusiastically. When I arrived at the physical therapy center the next day, I was anxious to see all the athletes, sweating and straining at the exercise equipment. Instead, I saw three other old people just like me: a pair of overweight, gray-haired guys riding exercise bikes and a middle-aged woman stretching giant rubber bands that were attached to the wall. And the big TV in the corner was tuned to The Price is Right. If I wanted to look at an old person watching The Price is Right, I would have stayed home and looked at my husband. This was not the physical therapy that I wanted! “Hi, you must be David, right?” I turned to the desk around the corner. And there they stood. Two of them. Their name tags identified them as “Therapist: Shawn” and “Therapist: Mark”. The name tags could also have labeled them as: “Therapist: Yummy” and “Therapist: Yummier”. Therapist: Shawn was tall, thin and very handsome with short, trimmed blonde hair. Therapist: Mark was tall, tan, muscular with dark hair, a scruffy chin and he was wearing a tight T-shirt that showed off his biceps. Now this is what I thought physical therapy was all about. “I’ll show you our equipment,” said Therapist: Shawn. “Then every time you come to therapy, Mark and I will take turns working on you.” Holy Naughty Talk, Batman – my husband was never going to be believe this! And so, for the next 45 minutes, Therapist: Shawn showed me how to work my sore shoulder on some exercise equipment and then he put me on a table and had me lie still as he massaged and stretched my… well, it was just my shoulder, but it felt really good. Although Therapist: Shawn didn’t seem to notice the double entendres when I mentioned to him that he could: “pull it a little harder for me.” Straight guys are so oblivious! But, here’s the weird thing – even though I never saw any injured athletes at the therapy center, just usually those same two guys on the bikes and that woman with the exercise bands, her name is Florence by the way, my shoulder got better. And from watching The Price is Right, I learned that the actual price of a John Deere EZ Trac residential lawn mower is 2,999.99! All through my therapy sessions, as Therapist: Shawn and Therapist: Mark refused to cooperate with my special requests because they claimed it was against the therapy center policy to work with their shirts off, or they felt it would

be unprofessional if they let me wet down their T-shirts with my water bottle before I started my session, I slowly got better; the pain decreased and my strength improved. So, I guess the point is – who would have thought that physical therapy actually works? My grandmother used to say, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans”. I can put my own spin on that because I now believe that “recovery is what happens when you’re busy sexually harassing your handsome therapist”. Obviously, you just have to keep an open mind. Contact David at davidhull59@aol. com

Cleaning My Closet Picture this By Meredith Elizabeth Reiniger There are drag queens in the ocean. Obviously, Mother Nature loves flashy. And obviously, Mother Nature adores gayness. Who are these nautical drag queens? Certainly not Homo sapiens. Certainly not Homo-LGBTIQQT-S. They are cuttlefish. Which are not fish. In fact, cuttlefish are mollusks, outrageous lavender mollusks with green blood. The star of the show is Flamboyant Cuttlefish. He flaunts his broad mantle and blade-like arms. And when he has a hissy fit… just marvelous. He flashes a pattern of dark brown, black, and white through his flesh. Accessorizes with yellow patches around his oval mantle, yellow patches around his three eyes, and red tips on his eight arms. No doubt about it, The Bachelor Forum needs a Flamboyant Cuttlefish in their aquarium. Furthermore, GAGV will need cuttlefish floats in our 2014 Pride Parade. Here is more proof that gods created cross-dressing. Cuttlefish mate face to face. An 8-armed male grasps a 6-armed female in his tentacles and inserts his sperm packet into her pouch. Then he stands guard for a few hours, waiting for mama cuttlefish to lay her eggs in a row, at which point she will select only one sperm packet. However, because the female cleverly mates with several potential fathers, the big guys have to hang around (they are, in fact, buoyant) challenging each other, tussling for domination and the best den. Meanwhile, enter stage right: a runt guy. In disguise. He tucks in his extra two arms, folds his mantle under so he looks like a female carrying an egg sac, and then he displays female mottled-color patterns. Thus in camouflage, he glides his drag queen self right by his wrestling rivals. Undetected, he faces his woman and adds his sperm packet into the competition.

After the female lays her eggs, she selects the winning sperm packet, tosses the others. Well, guess what? Most of the time cuttlefish females select drag queens’ sperm packets, opting for genes of cleverness, not brawn. Speaking of tossing. On September 25th, methodically I went through the sturdy pages of our… my 2004 wedding album. Editing. Removing photographs of ex-wife’s family. Of her friends. Her former lovers. (Which makes me wonder about Lesbians and their penchant for keeping Formers. A kind of perpetual care?) Of course I, one of the brides, had been caught in many shots. Tossed those into a to-go-envelope. But first, with surgical precision, I cut a tidy, triangular shape… decapitated myself. I refused to remain in that once-upon-a-time fiction. Then I decided, as long as I had all my albums out, I might as well do a different kind of sorting: my Get-Serious Discarding. Been-there scenery shots, done-that flower close-ups. Kittens’ every cute move; ditto dogs. Beloved but deceased four-leggeds: in blizzard-deep snow, mud, flower beds, ponds. Stretching, jumping, running, sitting. Curled… on chairs, clothes piles, my pillow. Next to… each other, my shoes, stuffed animals, plants. In bathtubs, bowls, food dishes. Adored pets, their sleeping so precious that I have ten… thirty-three… many… too many pictures of slumber positions. I knew my work was not done. Attacked every album. Removed slice-oflife photos. Smiles caught by a butterfly collector. A predator who snatched a living creature. Chloroformed it. Pierced it with dainty pins. Fixed it to a card. The dignity and soul of beauty captured. Filled my wastebasket. But could not empty my brain. Ravaged albums were scattered at my feet. I turned page after page, staring at blank spaces where once there was a story of our Us. I did not want empty. I felt compelled to sacrifice chronology. Compulsive and slightly frenzied, I was driven to remedy. Mechanically: slide out a picture; shove it in a vacant spot. Slide; shove. Slide; shove. Until finally I held, albeit disorderly, fully-filled albums. Not to worry. I found solace when I remembered that winter was inevitable. Days with no gardens needing my attention, no kayak jaunts, no geo-caching safaris. Days of snow-quiet. Endless minutes to rearrange all my photographs. Into topics. Yes. Calendar consistency is no longer my need. No, I told myself, I do not really care when I did thus and so. I treasure who. Yes, people sections will make me happy. I will make a COUSINS section: Ginger, Elaine, Kathleen, Bill, and Bob. Re-united with my paternal cousins, I am again a part of their lives. I get to share their children and grandchildren, which is a rather large number of fantastically fascinating persons. And surely I will make a part for my WOMYN wonder: Donna. We have

23 a long-standing wacky tradition. We play disguise-a-celery-keeper. (How she acquired that green plastic, 1960s vessel, minus its white cover, is too long to print.) We pass Tacky Celery back and forth. Tacky has been: a witch, ghost, rabbit, duck, cornucopia; trees: apple, Christmas, Easter. Such a laugh. We have been doing this for thirty-four years. Such a challenge. Fear not, I will save spaces for the 2014 Pride parade pictures. Floats with Flamboyant cuttlefish and other bachelors. Floats showcasing drag queens, drag kings, and drag cuttlefish. And when I hear some curbside heckler rave about two by two on Noah’s purported ark, I plan to toss previously-enjoyed cuttlebones at his feet. And on and on…. Sections of my sister, my sons, my faithful friends. But I need my old-fashioned faces-book. I do not want Facebook and DVDs to store my life. Because I need to hold pictures in my hands. I will never forget the days following Ginger’s funeral. We all gathered at her kitchen table to celebrate her life. Sharing snapshots, we elders told the stories behind each picture, passing on our family history to the next generation. I cannot imagine gathering around an electronic screen. And yes, I still have my head shots, those 223 excised triangles. My liberated heads are tucked into a plush velvet box. Someday I will want to hold those pictures in my hands. MeredithElizabethReiniger@gmail. com

What’s Bothering Brandon? Trouble in the Necropolis By Brandon W. Brooks I am so glad I am from the East Coast. For one, I don’t have to deal with as many fad diets and all that feigned positivity. Secondly, and most importantly, everything here on the East Coast is older. Older things, as I have noted in earlier columns, appeal to me because of their history and deep resonance, and because everything “new” it seems is made out of pure and utter crap. The old interests me greatly, especially when it conveys some semblance of the past to my very own present. One of the many gems of Rochester plays testament to this idea that the old is better than the new, and that is Mt. Hope Cemetery. Mt. Hope Cemetery, located on Mt. Hope Avenue in The South Wedge, is America’s first municipal rural cemetery. Covering more than 190 acres of wooded drumlins and eskers, Mt. Hope Cemetery showcases some of

24 the finest graves and grave monuments in New York State. There are a few Colonial-era graves, but a vast majority of the graves are from the middle of the 19th century (some may casually refer to this time as Victorian even though we are in fact, American) onward. With Rochester being part of the “Burned-Over District” of Upstate New York, Mt. Hope Cemetery contains the remains of numerous abolitionists and civil rights workers, most notably Susan B. Anthony and Fredrick Douglas. Even more interesting is Mt. Hope’s fabled catacomb system, with mysteriously sealed-off entrances in The Sunken Garden of neighboring Warner Castle. Mt. Hope Cemetery, with its beautifully sloping hills, hidden grottos and idyllic scenic vistas, is one of my own resting places of choice; I come here to read and roam, occasionally picnic and even sun-bathe in the hot months. It’s the perfect spot for a quiet morning jog, a leisurely afternoon promenade, and because of its amazing selection of memorial artwork, Mt. Hope presents the rare opportunity to collect some great grave-rubbings. Nowadays, death is so far removed from society and our minds. Advances in medicine have allowed us to live longer and healthier lives, while cosmetics and surgeries cater to our fear of even looking old. Death has been put into the corner, removed to the outskirts of society’s psyche much like the cemeteries that were removed from town centers and church-yards. A very visible consequence of this is the current trend with gravestones and grave monuments; they’re boring and square, created quickly after-the-fact in order to hasten the grieving process. Most modern cemeteries showcase graves of this fashion, overstating the loss of this truly forgotten art form. Mt. Hope’s graves (at least in the old section), are anything but boring, and truly speak to the idea that graves are not about the past, but in fact the future.

the empty closet • the gay alliance of the genesee valley • number 472 • octoBER 2013 Gravestones are made for the living, to be read and remembered. Cemeteries once served a very important social function for towns and cities, including Rochester. Everyone to be seen, alive and dead, could be found at the cemetery of your town. In fact, Mt. Hope Cemetery was one of the first cemeteries specifically crafted with a parklike design, including established paths and walkways, ponds and benches, and exotic imported trees. Mt. Hope Cemetery is truly a gloriously beautiful place in Rochester, if not my personal favorite. So, you may ask, what exactly bothers Brandon about Mt. Hope Cemetery? No, it’s not the fact that Friends of Mt. Hope vehemently denies the existence of its catacombs, or that Barnabas Collins (à la Jonathan Frid) does not reside here. What has been bothering and genuinely disturbing me is the steep increase in vandalism that the cemetery has incurred over the past few years, this summer especially. Beautiful mausoleums have had their genuine Tiffany-glass smashed in, while stone crosses lie strewn across the grass, having been freshly pulverized into bits. Countless gravestones, no longer majestic and timeless, have been pushed over and dislodged from their respectful foundations and namesakes. The slate roof of the old crematorium, built with ornate stonework of the Gothic Revival style, has been spray painted with common graffiti tags. Why not at least with the artful graffiti one sees throughout The South Wedge or the abandoned subway system, one may wonder. I think it’s because the individuals responsible for those murals are real artists, aware and observant of respectful slumber, and not mediocre vandals with a bone to pick. The repairs needed to bring Mt. Hope back to what it was at the beginning of this very summer are countless, and would require a terrific amount of intensive hands-on labor, not to mention a large monetary donation; a very large

monetary donation. The respectfully untouchable of Mt. Hope Cemetery have been defiled and molested, and I’m pissed off. Is this perhaps another result of death being so far removed from society? Is there no respect for the dead any longer? If only the dead could speak beyond the words engraved on their own stones. I’m certain they would have some choice words to share indeed. Ouija Board or not, I’d like to think that I would be able to find a way to voice my disapproval of these vandals. Besides trying to contact the dead, there are some very concrete ways that we as community members of Rochester can indeed make an impact or improvement upon these cowardly and disgraceful acts of vandalism. Friends of Mt. Hope, an agency devoted to maintaining the cultural and historical potency of Mt. Hope Cemetery in the Rochester area, is one of those ways. Friends of Mt. Hope offers many informative services such as tours and guided walks, as well as volunteering opportunities with their landscape committee, adopt-a-grave programs, gatehouse captains, and tour guides. One can even become a member through a small and reasonable (truly) donation. What’s more, they even offer thorough genealogical services. What more to ask? Mt. Hope Cemetery is a rare sight to see in comparison to today’s grid-like cemeteries, and as such must be treasured and maintained fiercely. And before you think that Mt. Hope Cemetery has nothing to do with you, just remember these wise words: “Remember me as you pass by, As you are now, so once was I, As I am now, so you will be, Prepare for death and follow me.” Questions, comments or critique? Please feel free to e-mail the author at

Inspiritual Love Letters By Rev. Dr. Sharon Jacobson I have a dear friend, who I may never meet, who lives in Australia. I love Jane because it seems as if whenever I am thinking about her I get an

email from her. The other day was no different. I was thinking about what I wanted to share about empowerment and how you can empower yourself, when up pops an email from Jane. She was at fair where her daughter-in-law had a booth when she came upon a booth “run by Ben Lee. He is a very famous Australian musician but resides in the US.” Ben’s booth was about Handmade Postcard Making: The purpose of this booth was to help “combat spiritual amnesia. Send yourself an important truth that you forget too often. A friend-

ly reminder from your Self to your self.” He invited people “to take stock, think about your truth and what needs some work? Whatever it is, own it. Write it down. Make a postcard and send it to yourself as a reminder of what you have decided to let go of.” She thought this sounded like me and something we could do here at Inspiritual. Jane was right; it does sounds like something I would do. I have been doing something similar with several of my clients. I have them write themselves love letters for forty days. After all who knows better what you need to hear than you. Who better understands how to parent and nurture you than you? I am not talking about those hot, steamy, passionate letters, although that might be what you need to hear, but letters that nurture your soul, telling you what you most need to hear. So what do you need to hear? What do you need to tell yourself to feel loved? Rather than wait for someone else to tell you what you need to give you or tell you what you need to feel loved, give it to yourself. Anytime you need to feel loved, sit down, and write yourself a love letter. Tell yourself exactly what you need to hear at any moment of your life. One of my clients got quite creative with this and had different stationary and writing supplies for different days. On the days she needed to nurture her inner child, she had very bright, cheerful children’s stationary and wrote in crayons and markers. On the days she needed to remind herself that she was an awesome person just as she was, she had scented stationary that was very tranquil and peaceful and wrote in pens. On the days she needed to remind herself that she was worthy of being loved by someone else she would write herself love letters from her spouse to be. Sometimes she would include tickets to a play, or a gift certificate to her favorite restaurant, and one time her letter came with a dozen red roses and a box of gourmet chocolates, which she had delivered to her at her workplace. Sometimes we need those reminders of what we need to let go of in our lives. Nobody can help us let go of something. Our friends and family can support us, but only we can take the action to transform our lives and let things go. Who better knows how to inspire or remind ourselves what we need to let go of in our lives than ourselves? What if you created a series of postcards about what you need to let go of and gave them to friends to mail out to you periodically throughout the year? Transformation in our lives requires action. Any action, which we take in our lives to enhance the quality of our lives, is an action of love, whether it is an act of giving ourselves an affirmation, writing a love letter, sending a postcard, or performing a random act of kindness for ourselves. Take a moment to do something loving for you. If for no other reason, because you are worthy. ■

octoBER 2013 • number 472 • gay alliance of the genesee valley • the empty closet

Community Find the friends, fun, and common interests you’re looking for through the various groups listed here.

Butch Femme Connection The Rochester Butch-Femme Connection supper club will have two events in October 2013. Our Annual Fall Potluck will be held Saturday, Oct. 12 at the home of one of our members in Fairport. Bring a dish to pass and join us! Our second event will be a dinner night out on Saturday, Oct. 26 at Peppermints Diner on West Henrietta Rd. (Rte. 15) in Henrietta at 7 p.m. For further information on both events, please contact Kerry/Max at or (585) 2887208.

Dignity Integrity D-I Rochester meets weekly at 5 p.m. at St. Luke’s and St. Simon’s Church, 17 South Fitzhugh St., corner of Broad St. We have the following services and activities for the month of October 2013. 1st Sunday: Quiet Episcopal Mass/ Healing Service in the Chapel. 2nd Sunday: Roman Catholic Liturgy of the Word, with music. 3rd Sunday: Episcopal Mass with music. 4th Sunday: Evening Prayer, followed by a Potluck Dinner! Our Potluck theme for October is “Trick or Treat”. I don’t know about you, but this theme makes me think of foods like Liver and Lima Beans (trick) and

Chocolate Cake (treat). Maybe it just has a tricky name, like Moldy Jello? Whatever it is, bring it along and, while you’re at it, ask a friend or two to join us for food and fun. There is always plenty to share! Calendar Keepers: Save Sunday, Oct. 20 and plan to join us for our 38th Anniversary! Following our service we’ll be going to a local restaurant for dinner. All are welcome to join us at the service. You’re welcome to join us for dinner as well, but we’ll need a head count. Call the D-I Hotline at 585-234-5092 to reserve a seat at dinner. You’ll want to be sure to visit us in November to see the redesigned worship space upstairs at St. Luke’s and St. Simon’s. We’ve been watching the progress, worshipping in the chapel while the work is being done. The changes are remarkable! You can always call the D-I Hotline at 585-234-5092 or visit the website at for updates on services and other activities.

EMPIRE BEARS BRRRRR! It was a chilly summer, it’s a brisk fall, and a cold winter is coming. The Empire Bears love to get together for fun, warm times. Every Wednesday evening at 6, we’re at the Wintonaire having supper with our favorite waitress and den mother, Becky. We’re at the GAGV (fifth floor) on second Saturdays having a potluck. It starts at 6:30. Bring a dish, and we provide pop, paper, and plastic. Supper is followed by

cards and games. October is ImageOut month, so many members will be at the film festival. We encourage everyone to attend the movies. The Bears also get together to bowl, play games, and meet new friends. We’d be glad to meet you. WOOF!

Let’s Meet The Lesbian singles group Let’s Meet will be meeting on Friday, Oct. 25 at Trata, in the former Armory at 14 Culver Rd., at 6:30 p.m. Let’s Meet stands for Lesbians Evolving Their Singleness (by) Meeting (and) Eating Enthusiastically Together. To RSVP, call Ramona at 585-490-1424.

Open Arms MCC Open Arms MCC has moved to its new location: 707 East Main St. in Rochester. Wedding space and a children’s ministry are available. Services are Sundays at 10:30 a.m. For more information about the church, call 271-8478.

Out & Equal Out & Equal’s October Second Thursdays Networking event will take place on Oct. 10 at Constellation Brands, 207 High Point Dr., Building 100, in Victor. The event will be from 5:30-7:30 p.m

Rochester Trans Group Our next RTG meeting is on Saturday, Oct. 26 from 3 to 5:30 p.m. We will be celebrating our second anniversary! Fall is here, a time of transitions, so come on, come to a meeting and find out you are not the only one and you are NOT alone! We meet in the Gay Alliance’s office on the fifth floor located in the Audito-

25 rium Center, 875 E Main St., on the last Saturday of each month between 3–5:30 p.m. Parking is available in the back of the building off of Prince St. and College Ave. Note: if there is a guard at the booth, just say you’re here for the Gay Alliance and they have instructions to let you in without paying the parking fee. Once in the door, walk down the hall to the main lobby, turn right just past the guard’s booth and the elevator is right there. On the fifth floor just follow the signs to the meeting. Also if you’re coming by bus get off at the Prince St. stop, walk up the sidewalk to the first set of doors at the main entrance (they have the number 875 in large letters over them). Once you’re in the lobby head toward the elevator and go up to the fifth floor and follow the signs. Our website is: or on Facebook at: https://www.facebook. com/RochesterTransGroup. .


The ROMANS resumed its regular monthly meeting in September and the October meeting will be held in Rochester. Members will be able to enjoy the hot tub after the meeting.  Rochester Naturists’ monthly nude swim has also resumed on the first weekend of  each month (except January) until April 2014. ROMANS members support and enjoy the swim and traditionally meet for a clothed dinner before the event. In addition, there are two scheduled Men Only swims in November 2013 and February 2014. These swims take place in the basement of a home and the facility includes a swimming pool, sauna and hot tub. Information on  ROMANS activities can be found on our  website at http://, via email or by calling 585-2814964. ■ 

Glenn Zermeño, LCSW Individual, Couple & Group Psychotherapy LGBTQ Concerns, Youth & Adolescents, HIV/AIDS, Relationships, Dealing with Conflict, Effective Communication, Anxiety, Depression, Body Image, Self-Esteem 25 Canterbury Road, Suite 311 • Rochester, New York 14607 Phone: 917-309-7508 • Email:


the empty closet • the gay alliance of the genesee valley • number 472 • octoBER 2013

The Avenue Pub 38 Year Landmark in the Gay Community



Administrative Offices 360 East Ave. Rochester NY 14604

Huther Hall 801-803 West Ave. Rochester NY 14611

Huther Health Clinic 360 East Ave. Rochester NY 14604


Esperanza Latina 235 N. Clinton Ave. Rochester NY 14605

The Avenue Pub 522 Monroe Avenue 585-244-4960

octoBER 2013 • number 472 • gay alliance of the genesee valley • the empty closet

Arts & Entertainment

From “G.B.F.”

ImageOut is back: will screen 63 films in 10 days Attention movie buffs: it’s that time of the year again! The 21st annual ImageOut Film Festival, New York State’s largest LGBT film festival, has announced its 2013 program lineup, running Oct. 11 to 20. Featured will be 63 films from 21 countries screened over 10 days. The three Rochester venues hosting the screenings are The Little Theatre, Dryden Theatre at George Eastman House, and Ingle Auditorium at the Rochester Institute of Technology. With annual attendance of more than 10,000, ImageOut continues to draw diverse audiences regionally and beyond. To pre-screen and secure the best available films, ImageOut members attend several festivals throughout the year, including Sundance, Cannes, and Berlin. This year’s Festival includes a North American premiere, a U.S. premiere, and three East Coast premieres. ImageOut will also screen the official world premiere of “Shoulders To Stand On,” the Gay Alliance’s documentary film project about the LGBT history of Rochester. “This is the movie to bring your family and friends to,” said Paul Allen, ImageOut Board chairman. “It’s the story of our community, and it’s perfect for anyone who wants to learn what it was like in Rochester through the decades, during the fight for equality and recognition.” Evidence of anticipated success for the upcoming festival is the ticket-sales report from the Festival Fair held in early September, the first opportunity to purchase tickets. Ticket sales at that event were 40 percent above last year’s sales and the sale of festival passes is running 50 percent above last year. The festival will feature

From “Free Fall.”

opening and closing parties, as well as public discussions with guest artists affiliated with the showcased films. The full lineup is online at Ticket prices range from $7 to $15, with $2 in-person discounts for young adults age 24 and younger and seniors age 65 and older. Tickets for the festival can be purchased online now through Oct. 10 at The ImageOut Next Generation Series, a focus on LGBT youth, includes seven feature-

one holding a ticket stub to the Opening Night Screenings. For those just looking to chat, grab a drink, and enjoy appetizers, both venues will have relaxed areas reserved exclusively for ImageOut patrons and members to mingle with visiting special guests and stars. Following the Friday Oct. 18 screenings The Bachelor Forum (670 University Avenue, Rochester) will be hosting an ImageOut Second Friday (of the Film Festival) Party from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. with drink specials all night and pizza from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. ImageOut ticket stub holders can get a free drink at The Bachelor Forum throughout the 10-day festival. ImageOut’s Closing Night Party on Saturday, Oct. 19 will be at the Village Gate Atrium (274 N. Goodman St., Rochester) from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.). ImageOut fans will close out the 21st festival with complimentary food and a cash bar with signature ImageOut cocktails, with a DJ providing the soundtrack for dancing and discussion of the movies screened during the festival.

Steven Grant Douglas haunts the Auditorium Theatre in “Ghost” By Susan Jordan Steven Grant Douglas stars as Sam in the musical “Ghost,” coming to the Auditorium Theatre Oct. 8-13. Tickets are available at the box office, at 800-745-3000, or from Steven told The Empty Closet, “I grew up in a very small, rural community in Northwestern Minnesota where theater is barely a hobby. However, I had been singing Disney songs with my mom since birth, and decided to pursue a career in theater around the age of 16. At that time, I had the opportunity to play Harold Hill in ‘The Music Man’ and Marius in ‘Les Miserables’. I’ve never looked back since.” His career started with the usual struggles. “I traveled to NYC once a year in college and gradually dampened my feet into the performing industry,” he said. “This included the common activities of crashing on a friend’s couch, waiting in a room all day to (sometimes not) be seen, and trying to sing my face off before noon o’clock. After graduating from the University of Minnesota Duluth with a BFA in Musical Theatre, I worked in a couple of regional circuits, one in Upstate New York, and another in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis/St. Paul) of Minnesota.”

Meet “Me and Jezebel” this month at Blackfriars From “Reaching for the Moon.”

length films, including Sundance selection VALENTINE ROAD. All programs in this series are free to anyone under the age of 21. Tickets can be obtained in advance and at the box office before each screening. Festival Parties The 2013 ImageOut Opening Night Celebrations on Friday, Oct. 11 will be twice as fun this year with two venues: 140 Alex Bar & Grill (140 Alexander St., Rochester) from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. The second party ramps up at 11 p.m. at Tilt Night Club and Ultralounge (444 Central Ave., Rochester). Admission to each venue is free for ImageOut members and any-

Accessibility ImageOut remains committed to keeping the Festival accessible. Single ticket prices, prior to young adult or senior discount, will range from $7 to $15. Discounts for In-Person Ticket Purchases: a $2 discount is available to individuals over the age of 65 or under 25 for most films shown during the Festival. The Next Generation Series, featuring films for and about LGBT young people, is free to anyone under 21. Quick-Response (QR) codes give festivalgoers access to ImageOut’s Mobile website. This website will have the entire program lineup, film descriptions, trailers, and other information to help those on the move take advantage of all the festival has to offer. Look for QR codes in the ImageOut printed program as well as at festival venues. ImageOut Tickets On Sale Wednesday, Oct. 2: In-Person Ticket Sales at ImageOut Office 6-8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5: In-Person Ticket Sales at ImageOut Office 12:30-4 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 8: Final In-Person Ticket Sales at ImageOut Office 6-8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10: Online Ticket Sales end at 5 p.m. EST. ■


“Me and Jezebel”, the comedy by Elizabeth L. Fuller, is coming to Blackfriars Theatre this month. The show, based on the true life account of Fuller, recounts

Steven Grant Douglas

When asked which performers have inspired him most, Steven said, “Truthfully I grew up admiring Ashton Kutcher’s boyish charm and hopeless romanticism. Shifting more into musicals though, I would say Norbert Leo Butz is a huge inspiration. He’s great at what he does, with very little effort. He’s both strong and sensitive at the same time. It’s amazing.” What are the biggest challenges to playing a ghost? Steven responded, “Sam is an enormous role to take on, and that’s even if you eliminate the fact that the late, incredibly talented Patrick Swayze brought him into existence. In our musical, Sam’s songs are sky high, his physical journey is aggressive and exhausting, and on top of that, he has to live in the world of the play with everyone else onstage. My take on this role has been (Steven continues on page 28)

events during the summer of 1985 when the legendary Bette Davis came to stay in Fuller’s family home in Connecticut for what was only to be one night, but instead turned into an entire month. After dinner with a mutual friend of Davis’ at Fuller’s home, and a friendly phone call from Davis herself, Elizabeth agrees to let Bette Davis ( Meet continues on page 28)

Ed Popil and Tom Smalley in “Me & Jezebel.”

28 (Steven continued from page 27) to make big, confident choices, right or wrong, and truly trust my director(s), designers, and fellow cast mates to help steer me in a better direction. I really think we’re on this journey together. All of us.” What can audiences expect from this production, especially those who have only seen the film? “They can expect to be blown away by its rockin’ music, stunning choreography, and unforgettable stage illusions. We have the thrilling responsibility to fuse together a brilliant drama with some of the most magnificent special effects. And deep down, the love story is truly touching. Plus, those who have seen the movie will see a few iconic moments right before their eyes (no spoilers here).” What lies ahead for the actor, and what would he do if he could choose anything? Steven says, “At this point in my career, it would be live onstage in a musical, because that is where my ultimate passion lies. I’d love to play Andrew Jackson in ‘Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson’. I’ve never seen it, but I love the soundtrack, and the idea of combining history with rock music and ridiculous comedy is unbelievably awesome.” What would a successful young actor tell young people who dream of a Broadway career? “Wow... This is a hard one,” Steven said. “I would say definitely sing, act, dance (all that good stuff ), but also don’t forget to live a life of variety and excitement. Take on hobbies that aren’t theater related, travel to see other parts of our world, surround yourself with positive energy, and always listen to the people who are trying to support you (example: teachers, parents, older siblings, etc.)  You never know when that knowledge could come in handy. Never stop dreaming, #believe.” ■

the empty closet • the gay alliance of the genesee valley • number 472 • octoBER 2013 ( Meet continued from page 27) reside with her during the course of a New York hotel strike. Throughout her month-long stay, Davis controls what is for dinner and when the family goes out, shares her thoughts on spiritualism and childrearing, and recounts her stories about Paul Newman and Joan Crawford. Feeding on the tension she creates, Davis makes the most of her time with Fuller’s family, controlling them until her departure at the end of the strike. The play is strangely reminiscent of a classic film in which Davis starred – “The Man Who Came To Dinner.” “Me and Jezebel” stars Ed Popil and Tom Smalley, who are also known around Rochester as their alter egos, Kasha Davis and Aggy Dune, a.k.a. The Big Wigs. They will bring their incredible talents as female impersonators to the stage by bringing Elizabeth Fuller and Bette Davis to life. The production will be designed and directed by Blackfriars Artistic Director John Haldoupis. “I’m thrilled to work with these two gifted performers in a play that explores -- just what is it like to meet your favorite movie star? We are going to have a ball. It’s such a funny play,” he commented. “Me and Jezebel” will be performed at Blackfriars Theatre (795 East Main St., Rochester 14605) beginning Oct. 18 and running through Nov. 2. Performances are Friday, Oct. 18 at 8 p.m.; Saturday, Oct. 19 at 8 p.m.; Sunday, Oct. 20 at 2 p.m.; Thursday, Oct. 24 at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, Oct. 25 at 8 p.m.; Saturday, Oct. 26 at 8 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 27 at 2 p.m.; Friday, Nov. 1 at 8 p.m. and Saturday, Nov. 2 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $28.50-$36.50 and available in person at Blackfriars Theatre, online at, or by calling 585-454-1260. If available, tickets can be purchased at the door beginning one-hour prior to performance. Seating for this production is reserved. Box Office

hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Saturdays, noon to 4 p.m. MasterCard, Visa, and Discover are accepted at no additional charge. Blackfriars Theatre, a professional, not-for-profit theatre, is located on Rochester’s “Theatre Row,” at 795 East Main St. Parking is available on site. Handicapped seating is available. For more information regarding Blackfriars Theatre, visit their website at

Halloween reading: kickass supe heroes part II By Susan Jordan Last April, The Empty Closet explored the wildly popular genre of kick-ass supernatural (supe) heroes. This pulp genre has flooded the shelves of libraries and bookstores since the start of the new millennium. Ideal beach reading, this reviewer suggested. It is now October, time for occult light reading, and the genre is livelier than ever. Dozens of new eldritch titles have been spawned since last spring. The genre is officially described as “urban fantasy” – which is strange, since many of the books take place in northern forests or the steamy bayous of Louisiana – but the books are still labeled “urban.” Funny how words lose their meaning. Last April this reviewer noted that the female heroes (“heroine” is outdated) of these books, almost all by female authors, include “witches, vampires, werewolves, half-fae, half-demons, half-sirens or you name it. They hang out, cast spells, have sex and/or engage in mortal combat with witches, wizards, vampires, werewolves, elementals, demons, maenads, dryads, ghosts, elves, fae, dragons, zombies, bonewalkers, pixies, mer-people, gargoyles, goblins, and the historic non-vampire undead (like pirate Jean Lafitte).” Now add to that list golems, trolls, Grim Reapers, Gray Walkers, dwarves, mummies, ghouls, manticores, leprechauns, ancient goddesses and gods, sprites, half-serpent women, snarky talking cats, unicorns, extraterrestrial aliens and were-everything you can imagine – and some things you probably can’t. The novels by the late L.A. Banks (“Conquer the Dark,” etc.) involve, among other beings, a group of mostly black warrior archangels who have been stranded here on earth for 26,000 years opposing evil demons, and who have evolved into a rowdy, fun-loving crew of Jack Daniels drinkers living in Philadelphia. There are some amusing books about male and female supes, by male authors and by male and female collaborators. However, the female supe hero genre, as written by women, is interesting because it represents a very 21st century view of womanhood. No longer the passive princesses who need rescuing, many of the females in urban fantasy are leather-clad martial arts experts with super powers who are more likely to cause others to need rescue. Usually their task is to protect the innocent and save the world from

Bad Guys (or Girls) who seek global or even cosmic domination. Often the Bad Guys are demons, but in some books, the hero is a demon, or part demon. In the well-written and funny Rachel Morgan books by Kim Harrison (“Ever After,” etc.), Rachel is a (good) part-demon who is trained by and befriends (be-fiends?) a demon called Algaliarept, Al for short, who isn’t such a bad guy after all. For a demon. Rachel also has a lesbian vampire ex and business partner named Ivy and another business partner named Jenks, a pixy with major attitude and 37 children, who keeps swearing “Tink’s thong!” and shedding pixy dust. The latest Yasmine Galenorn “Otherworld” book will be published in January. “Crimson Veil” is the further adventures of the three D’Artigo sisters, all halffae, who travel between the Otherworld and Earthside, fighting the usual Bad Demons. This installment focuses on Menolly, the vampire sister, who is now married to her gorgeous lesbian girlfriend, a werepuma. Menolly is actually bi, but her lesbian bride is the love of her life (or afterlife). The Otherworld series is one of the few with a queer hero, but many of the books feature lesbian, bi and gay male characters. Another lesbian supe hero is found in Tanya Huff’s “Long Hot Summoning,” in which Diana Hansen, a Keeper or “sort of wizard,” falls in love with a female mall elf (don’t ask). Still waiting for a trans hero; since there are so many existing characters who can transform into different genders or species at the drop of a witch’s hat, a specifically trans, intersex or genderqueer protagonist wouldn’t be that hard to create! In fact there are so many of these books that there could be a genderqueer kick-ass supe out there already – lurking, shambling, flying with the Moon Mother and generally saving the multi-dimensional universe.

ImageArt’s “I do?!” looks at marriage issues ImageArt’s 14th annual exhibition, “i do?!”, will exhibit 16 works of art by 13 artists that address the diversity and weight behind the word “marriage” from multiple points of view. The national and international debate over marriage equality remains hot, as supporters of equality continue to win victories as well as see setbacks. This political debate has spurred much conversation on the social institution of marriage. The artists selected by the ImageArt jury address a range of topics, including love and commitment as well as gender roles and stereotypes. Traditional media like watercolor, acrylic paint and photography join forces with sculptural works, digital printing and some not-so traditional media to tell a variety of stories. Some works address the feelings of incompleteness or invisibility that are sometimes felt by those in same sex unions not backed by the law or accepted by society, while other works stir stereotypes, gender and ethnicity into the marriage pot (or is that bed?). Several works have been inspired by traditional marriage related phrases, such as how a couple can get through rough times or how one might disparagingly refer to a spouse. Other pieces celebrate love, commitment, and family in an open and straightforward manner. “This is an exciting show! The messages conveyed by these works will get viewers thinking,” said committee member Randall Cook. The opening reception is Oct. 4, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Visual Studies Workshop Bookstore Gallery, 31 Prince St. The exhibition and opening reception are free and open to the public. The exhibition will run from Oct. 4 to Oct. 26. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sundays Oct. 6 and 13, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Accompanying the exhibition, ImageArt and Visual Studies Workshop

octoBER 2013 • number 472 • gay alliance of the genesee valley • the empty closet have organized a panel discussion addressing marriage equality and the role of activism in art lead by moderator Dr. Jonathan Katz. Visual and cultural theorist Dr. Douglas Crimp, artist Scott McCarney and activists Anne Tischer and Bess Watts will join the discussion. The program will be held Oct. 25 at 6 p.m. at Visual Studies Workshop and is free and open to the public. ImageArt is also presenting the annual postcard show and benefit sale, “Wish you Were Queer 4,” which will run concurrently with “i do?!”. Artists submit a postcard sized original work of art, which will be for sale for $10 each during the exhibition. Proceeds benefit ImageArt. ImageArt is a program of ImageOut Film Festival.

“This Old Cat”: Joanne Shenandoah sings for animal welfare Grammy® award winning singer-songwriter Joanne Shenandoah will be performing at 7 p.m. on Oct. 5 at Asbury First UMC (1050 East Ave.). The concert benefits 15 different local animal organizations in Monroe, Wayne and Livingston counties. For this event Shenandoah, an Oneida Iroquois, will be joined on stage by her sister, Diane, and her daughter, Leah, a recent graduate of RIT. Shenandoah is one of America’s most celebrated and critically acclaimed musicians. Her music has been used in soundtracks on the likes of HBO, PBS and The Discovery Channel and she has appeared locally at the Ganondagan Native American Dance and Music Festival. Shenandoah has been able to channel her love of pop, folk and classical into her ancestor-inspired music. An evening with Shenandoah is a cultural and celebratory experience, combining original inspirational compositions with the stories behind the music. She takes time to

explain the songs sung in her native language. “People will walk away from this event with a renewed hope and energy from the healing gift of music,” Shenandoah says, “for our planet, those yet unborn and those who continue to care for the animals which bring such joy and happiness.” Benefiting not-for-profit organizations include Pitty Love Rescue, Inc., FourLegged Friends Animal Adoptions, Inc., Caring Hearts for RIT Homeless Cats, Animal Service League, Inc., Nuts for Mutts Rescue, Inc., Rochester Hope for Pets, Greece Residents Assisting Stray Pets (GRASP), PAWS (Providing Animal Welfare Services) of Rochester, Rescued Treasures Pet Adoptions, Habitat for Cats – all of Rochester – and Lollypop Farm, Humane Society of Greater Rochester (Fairport), the Humane Society of Wayne County (Lyons), Barn Cat Outreach (Springwater), the Humane Society of Livingston County (Avon) and SusieQ Dog ResQ (Conesus). Shenandoah, a supporter of women’s rights, world peace, child advocacy and environmental responsibility, also feels animal welfare is an integral part of the world in which we live. “It is said that we all have a place here upon the earth and each comes with them – including animals – a responsibility, “Shenandoah says. “It is said within Iroquois culture that we are to respect one another and the natural world.” This event will bring music lovers, animal lovers and Native American culture together. Event attendees also will be able to browse the information tables for the participating animal organizations and learn more about ways to help homeless animals. Tickets are available from any of participating organizations for a $20 donation per person, and 100 percent of the ticket price will go directly to that organization. To reserve tickets online visit the event’s official web page: For information (585)369-4687. ■

Travel Quincy is a mass of history part 1 By Merle Exit Travel five miles south of Boston, Mass. and you will be in the historic city of Quincy, the birthplace of two presidents, John Adams and his son John Quincy Adams. Add the birthplace of John Hancock and you have the makings of the Declaration of Independence. One great way to get there is via Megabus taking you into Boston. A one-way trip can cost as little as one dollar! www. I first visit the Quincy Historical Society that takes me through over 400 years of historic highlights. Granite workers and ship builders were much of the start. There is also information on John and Abigail Adams, Anne Hutchinson and two particular companies: the first Dunkin’ Donuts (still at the same location) and Howard Johnsons. Here, the celebration of the Declaration is held on July 3 in the town of Hough’s Neck. It begins with a bonfire on the beach and culminates with fireworks in both Hough’s Neck and across the waterway. It is July 4th and what better way to celebrate the Declaration than attending a reenactment of the Continental Congress’s finalization? I am taken to a place called The House, located at 65 Adams Street, the residence of the Adams family for four generations. The grounds are known as “Peace field” and include the gardens and Carriage House where we meet “Abigail Adams” and become one of 56 delegates. I am given papers with information on William Paca from

29 Maryland along with his opinions and how he voted. Actors are included, one of whom will portray Thomas Jefferson. We go to the front of The House (after signing our names) where the reading of the Declaration of Independence takes place. Each of us is given a few lines to read out loud. I have, of course eaten. Burke’s Seafood is both a market and small restaurant. The house special is a seafood chowder with clams, haddock (local fish), scallops, lobster and shrimp. Lobster roll had a good portion of meat and little filler. Fuji Group is the company that Jimmy Liang runs with other partners. Since I love sushi, I dined at Fuji 1546. Salmon Wonton Chips was a sort of tartare-chutney texture using the raw salmon, tomatoes, onion, cilantro and spicy mayo atop wonton chips. I then chose five of Jimmy’s signature maki rolls, all of which were outstanding. www. In a letter from John Adams to his wife Abigail, he wrote, “The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.” The tradition in Quincy is to celebrate the evening of the 3rd as I ventured to the town of Hough’s Neck to view the long tradition of a bonfire on the beach and fireworks coming from across the way at Weymouth’s Wessagusset Beach. Hough’s Neck residents were barbecuing all about. Stay tuned for the July 4th celebration and more. ■


Gay alliance news for september 2013

the empty closet • the gay alliance of the genesee valley • number 472 • octoBER 2013


Gay Alliance Youth Program The Gay Alliance Youth program empowers today’s teens to meet today’s challenges! It provides a safe space to explore their identity, make friends, build community, gain life skills, become a leader and have fun! Out Loud Out Proud Youth meet 7-9pm on Fridays at Open Arms MCC, 707 E. Main St.

“Forging Alliances,” the GAGV Library & Archive exhibit, was seen by 800 people at the Pride Festival on July 20.

GAGV Archives history exhibit from Pride is now available for rent By Susan Jordan Now people all over WNY (and all over the country for that matter) can bring “Forging Alliances: Rochester’s LGBT Story” to their college, company, church or other group. The exhibit highlights some of the key people, places, issues, actions and events that make up our Rochester LGBT story over the past 40-plus years. It drew 800 people last summer during Pride, when it was on display at Manhattan Square Park. “Forging Alliances” consists of 23 three by six foot vinyl panels, which can be suspended from wires or pipes by loops – the exhibit is “pipe and drape ready”. The panels will also have grommets, which will enable them to be attached to hooks on walls. The whole exhibit takes up 66 running feet, but the panels can also be attached to each other and become double-sided. The exhibit also includes

books, magazines and display cases full of political buttons and other artifacts. The Rochester history traced by the materials dates back even before Stonewall. The catalogues were created by Library & Archive team members Jamie Allen (George Eastman House photo curator) and Alice Carver-Kubik (RIT archivist). Jamie Allen told The Empty Closet, “We’ve tried to make the exhibit adaptable.” Now that the exhibit has been created, Library and Archive team member Gerry Szymanski said, “We’re going to make sure that people find out about it.” Jamie Allen noted that it can be rented for a weekend or a month. It would be ideal for “Gay Days” or “Weeks” at local schools and colleges, for national or state LGBT conferences, and also for companies or churches interested in the history of Rochester’s LGBT community. Gerry Szymanski said, “I think the value is that it is an example of what a particular place can be and do. Rochester is not a big city but this shows what a typical American city or town can accomplish

Speaking Engagements & Tabling, September 9/9 ............Sharing Our Stories at the Gay Alliance 9/21...........Tabling at LORA’s End of Summer Bash 9/24...........Tabling at St. John Fisher’s Health and Wellness Fair 9/29...........Transgender Inclusion at Dignity-Integrity Some comments: “They were so open and accepting of our questions. I wish it was longer!  How can I get more involved?” “I learned it’s not necessary to know all the terms in order to provide a safe place.” “The openness and willingness to be as open as possible was great. I loved the overall energy of the presenters.” “The presenters were comfortable and really funny. I love it!” “They knew their stuff!”

4 of the Genesee Valley

Empowering pride for 40 years

in preserving its history. The Stonewall activists are passing away and their papers and archives are being preserved by major institutions like the Smithsonian, which took Rochester’s Helping People with AIDS and Empty Closet archives into their collection last year. The fact that we have a high quality documentary film and a high quality archive shows that we are a part of national LGBT history.” For information on how to rent the exhibit, contact Scott Fearing at the Gay Alliance at 585-244-8640, or

For information: 585 244-8640 or www. Gay Alliance Auditorium Theater Bldg, 875 E. Main Street, 5th Floor Rochester, New York 14605 Phone: 585 244-8640

The Gay Alliance Library & Archives Hours: Every Monday & Wednesday: 6-8pm. 875 E. Main Street, (off Prince St. lobby) First Floor 585-244-8640

Gay Alliance Volunteerof-the-Month: Kellie Ronald Congratulations to Kellie Ronald for being chosen as the Gay Alliance Volunteer-of-the-Month. Kellie and her husband Craig first came on the scene in 2010 as extremely generous donors to the very first Ride For Pride, the Gay Alliance bike ride fundraiser. By 2012 Kellie and Craig had opened up their home as “base” for Ride For Pride, managing the kick off and hosting the end party for Ride For Pride 2012 and 2013. In the fall of 2012, Kellie accepted the role of DinesOUT Coordinator, donating many, many hours to visiting local restaurants and arranging the best DinesOUT ever!  In the winter of 2012, Kellie became a Pride Chair and active member of the Pride Development Committee, donating

countless hours towards the planning of Roc Pride 2013. The weekend of Pride, Kellie and Craig both rode in the opening ceremony Rainbow Ride on Friday, spent the entire day from early in the morning to very late at night helping with the Festival on Saturday (Craig’s band Grancrew donated their performance time and equipment as musicians at the Festival!), and then they were up again bright and early on Sunday helping to break down the Festival site and working at the Pride Fundraiser Picnic. They also donated a dozen tickets for low-income individuals who could not otherwise enjoy the Festival! Kellie has trained as a Gay Alliance Speakers Bureau member and has been out to speak about being an ally at the Wegmans School of Pharmacy at St. John Fisher College. Thank you to Kellie and her husband Craig from the staff and board at the Gay Alliance for all of your hard work, commitment and generosity. You are the best! ■

The Gay Alliance of the Genesee Valley: is a non-profit agency, dedicated to cultivating a healthy, inclusive environment where lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people are safe, thriving and enjoying equal rights. We are a coalition of individuals and groups working to empower LGBT people, to affirm their identities, and to create an atmosphere where the diversity of our community can thrive both collectively and separately. We educate and advocate for civil rights for all and for the eradication of homophobia. 875 East Main Street, Rochester, New York  14605 Phone: (585) 244-8640  Fax: (585) 244-8246  Web:  E-mail: Hours: Monday-Friday, 9 am-5 pm   Board Co-Presidents: Emily Jones, Bruce Gorman  Acting Executive Director: Scott Fearing Outreach: Jeanne Gainsburg  Database: Kat Wiggall Youth Intern: Dawn Balsis Book keeper: Christopher Hennelly   The Empty Closet: Editor: Susan Jordan Graphic Designer: Jim Anderson   E-mail:  Phone: (585) 244-9030 Fax: (585) 244-8246 Advertising: (585) 244-9030

octoBER 2013 • number 472 • gay alliance of the genesee valley • the empty closet

Gay alliance news for september 2013


SAGE PAGE It’s in the air… Rainbow Sage News

Can you feel it? Change is in the air! Welcome to the month of October. We are now in autumn, a season of change for both the earth around us and for us at Rainbow SAGE. Due to state budget cuts, we no longer have a space for our senior center to meet. BUT we are NOT going away! Like colorful leaves coming off of a tree, we too are looking for a new place to land. During the month of October we will be meeting at various coffee shops and restaurants as we look for a new space (see Calendar on this page). The best way to find out where we are going and what we are doing is to come to the coffee shops or restaurants each week and stay connected. You can also call The Gay Alliance at 585-244-8640 to find out our happenings. This will be a great opportunity for us to explore a lot of what Rochester has to offer the LGBT senior community. So here we go… ready for change, knowing that everything will be fresh, new and green on the other side, just like the coming spring.

Yoga is on hold; not your breathing! During our yoga sessions we have learned how to take a deep breath in and a deep breath out as we stretch and exercise to relieve stress and get us ready for the day. It is our hope you continue this practice as we look for a new location to have yoga. We want to say thanks to Thomas Somerville for being our instructor and hope he will continue on with us when we are ready to go again.

Euchre continues on in October Yep, euchre is a done deal… See how I did that… deal, oh never mind. Our next euchre club date is Sunday, Oct. 6 at 3 p.m. The location is always South Wedge Planning Committee Building, 224 Mt. Hope Ave. It’s a great time and sometimes afterwards the group goes out for a meal. Many thanks Barb and Karen for being our euchre hosts each month. Program Partner

Audet Price comments, “Sage returned to Artisan Works again on Sept. 8, several years after our last visit there. Always so many wonderful art works and antiques; the firehouse is just amazing. The Frank Lloyd Wright room is amazing too. If you have not been to the Artisan Works, folks, you really need to go. It is a place no one should miss if you are into Art and Surprises. We all had a great time being together.”

Join SAGE for coffee and conversation It is coffee, dessert, conversation and games. Be sure to join us for our new get-togethers – at Crossroads Coffee House, 725 Goodman St., at 11:30 a.m. on Oct. 8 and 27, and at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 15 at Equal Grounds, 750 South Ave. Come and have a great time. For more October get-togethers, see the Calendar!

It’s a Halloween Party Rainbow SAGE is getting ready for a spooktacular time. We are having a Halloween party on Saturday Oct. 26 from 4-8 p.m. at a member’s home. Meet at 3:30 p.m. at McDonalds Restaurant, 820 Culver Rd. The cost is $5 to help with food and supplies. There will be food, fun and monsters. Please bring a bag of treats to share. Boo!

October facts and fun The month of October is the tenth month of the Gregorian year, but it is also the first full month of fall in the year. The early nights and breezy temperatures of October perfectly capture the spirit of autumn. As the month ends, children are given one of their most loved holidays, as they dress as their favorite frightful characters on Halloween. October is also home to numerous other national and international holidays, including Leif Erikson Day, Columbus Day, Canada’s Thanksgiving and Free Thought Day. Here are some other dates of interest in October: National Fire Prevention Week (United States and Canada) - October 7–13 World Animal Day - October 4. National Coming Out Day – October 11. Apple Day – October 21

Mole Day – October 23 (yep, you heard that right) Navy Day (United States) – October 27 National Stamp Collecting Month (United States) National Arts & Humanities Month (United States) Domestic Violence Awareness Month National Squirrel Awareness Month The two signs associated with the month of October are Libra and Scorpio. People born from October 1st to October 22nd are members of the Libra sign. As a Libra desires security and harmony above all else, those born under the sign can be identified by the organization applied to all aspects of their lives. For those born from Oct. 23 to Oct. 31, they are members of the Scorpio sign. The Scorpio is resilient and opinionated, which explains why they are amongst the most driven of the zodiac signs. ■

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The Gay Alliance On-Line Resource Directory (GARD) The online community tool providing local, statewide and national resources, 24/7 at:

SAGE Calendar for October Oct. 1..... Meet at Antoinetta’s Restaurant, 1160 Jay St., for lunch. 11:30am. Oct. 3..... Meet 11:30am at American Red Cross, 75 Prince St., for lunch. Bring dish to pass; Audet will give zucchini bread demonstration. Oct. 8..... Meet Crossroads Coffee House, 725 Goodman St., 11:30am. Brown bag or buy lunch. Oct. 10... 11am, meet at Library downtown: 115 South Ave. Oct. 15... Meet 11:30am at Applebee’s, 3349 Monroe Ave., Pittsford. RSVP to 244-8640 by Oct. 10. 6:30pm meet at Equal Grounds, 750 South Ave., for coffee and conversation. Oct. 17.... 10:30am breakfast at Friendly’s, 2425 Henrietta Rd. To Audet’s afterwards for movie or games! Oct. 22... Meet at Crossroads Coffee House, 725 Goodman St., 11am. Brown bag or buy lunch. Oct. 24... Meet at Starry Night Café, 696 University Ave., 11am. Euchre or scrabble. Oct. 26... Halloween Party at member’s house. Meet at McDonalds restaurant, 820 Culver Rd., around 3:30pm. Oct. 29... Meet at Golden Corral, 400 Jefferson Rd., 11:30am RSVP at 244-8640 by Oct. 24. Oct. 31... Meet 11:30am, Sugar Mountain Bake Shoppe, 258 Alexander St.


the empty closet • the gay alliance of the genesee valley • number 472 • octoBER 2013

Resources Check our monthly and ongoing calendar as well as the community section for more groups and events. For further information, call the Gay Alliance at 244-8640 or visit: And send us your information.


AMBI Los Angeles; American Institute of Bisexuality (Journal of Bisexuality); Bay Area Bisexual Network; Bi Café; Bi Definition: Milwaukee; BiNet USA; Bisexual Organizing Project (BOP); Biversity Boston; Boston Bisexual Women’s Network; ComBIne - Columbus, Ohio; Dallas/ Fort Worth Bi Net; Fenway Health’s Bi Health Program; Los Angeles Bi Task Force; New York Area Bisexual Network; Robyn Ochs’s site; Seattle Bisexual Women’s Network; The Bi Writers Association; The Bisexual Resource Center (email


Rochester Women’s Community Chorus 234-4441. (See Ongoing calendar). Rochester Gay Men’s Chorus

deaf services

Advocacy for Abused Deaf Victims Mailing address: c/o ASADV, P.O. Box 20023, Rochester, NY 14602. 24-Hour Hotline:; VP: 866-936-8976; TTY/ FAX : 585-232-2854. Lilac Rainbow Alliance for the Deaf (LRAD) Meets second Saturdays, 6-9pm. For location, information: Spectrum LGBTIQ & Straight Alliance RIT/NTID student group. <


Gay Alliance Rainbow Sage Many monthly get togethers, 244-8640;


CNY Fertility Center Integrative Fertility Care. Support meetings, webinars, workshops. Information:; Rochester Gay Moms’ Group Support group for lesbian mommies and wannabe mommies in Rochester and surrounding areas. Subscribe: Lesbian & Gay Family Building Project Headquartered in Binghamton and with a presence throughout Upstate NY, the Project is dedicated to helping LGBTQ people achieve their goals of building and sustaining healthy families. Claudia Stallman, Project Director, 124 Front St., Binghamton, NY 13905; 607-7244308; e-mail: Web: Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) PFLAG’s threefold mission: supporting parents and family members in coming out process; educating the community; advocating on behalf of LGBT family members.; 585-244-8640 x27. Adoptive Parent Support Group Monthly potluck lunches. For information, location, call Shari, 350-2529. Angel Food Ministry Box of fresh/frozen food for $30 in advance. Menu changes monthly. For information and distribution sites, call 585 861-4815.

HIV/AIDS Free testing for HIV exposure is available from New York State Department of Health: call Rochester Area Regional Hotline at (585) 423-8081, or 1 800 962-5063 for pay phones or calls outside Rochester. Deaf or hearing impaired people should call (585) 4238120 (TDD.) New Rapid HIV Testing now available in 30-40 minutes! Statewide information can be obtained by calling 1 800 541-AIDS. Other organizations which provide AIDS-related services are as follows:

Volunteer Legal Services Project (585) 232-3051; 1 West Main St., Suite 500 Rochester, NY 14614. Free legal services for low-income HIV positive clients. No criminal cases. Appointments are scheduled at area medical provider locations or by calling 295-5708. Trillium Health Trillium Health is the leading provider of HIV/ AIDS services in Rochester and the Finger Lakes. On-site services include HIV testing and limited STD screenings, Primary and HIV Specialty Medical Care, Pharmacy, and many more. Satellite offices in Geneva and Bath. Trillium Health is also a leader in providing services and education to members of the LGBT community. Contact Information: Website: Main Office: 259 Monroe Ave., Rochester, NY 14607; Main Phone: 585-5457200, Health Services After Hours: 585-2583363; Case Management After Hours (Lifeline): 585-275-5151; Fax: 585-244-6456. Finger Lakes Office: 605 W. Washington St., Geneva, NY 14456, 315-781-6303. Southern Tier Office: 122 Liberty St. Box 624, Bath, NY 14810 607-776-9166. The Health Outreach Project: 416 Central Ave., Rochester, NY 14605; 585-454-5556. Gay Alliance of the Genesee Valley Referrals to physicians and service agencies. (585) 244-8640; Victory Alliance University of Rochester Medical Center. One of several research sites worldwide that comprise the HIV Vaccine Trials Network. Rochester site conducts research vaccine studies sponsored by National Institutes of Health (NIH). 585-7562329; Threshold At The Community Place, 145 Parsells Ave., third floor, 585-454-7530. Provides confidential HIV, STD testing and General Health Care, ages 12-25. Sliding fee scale, no one denied, most insurances accepted. Mon., Wed., Fri. 9am-5pm; Tues., Thurs., 9am-7pm; Sat. 10am-2pm. Center for Health and Behavioral Training of Monroe County 853 Main St., Rochester 14611. Collaboration of Monroe County Health Department and U.R. Provides year-round training in prevention and management of STDs, HIV, TB and related issues, such as domestic violence and case management. (585)753-5382 v/tty. Planned Parenthood of the Rochester/ Syracuse Region 114 University Ave., Rochester, NY 14605; Tollfree Helpline: 1 866 600-6886. Offers confidential HIV testing and information. When you make your appointment, be sure to ask about our sliding scale fees. No one is turned away for lack of ability to pay. Rochester Area Task Force on AIDS A collection of agencies providing a multiplicity of resources and services to the upstate New York community. Their offices are located through the Finger Lakes Health Systems Agency, which also provides medical literature and newspaper clippings, as well as demographic and statistical data for use in developing health care services. (585) 461-3520. MOCHA Center of Rochester Our mission is to improve health and wellness in communities of color through intervention and service, with emphasis on LGBTQ programming. Youth drop-in center, HIV testing, peer education, support groups, computer lab, referral services and more. 107 Liberty Pole Way (corner of Pleasant). (585) 420-1400. Monroe County Health Department at 855 W. Main St., offers testing and counseling for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. (585) 753-5481. Strong Memorial Hospital provides a complete range of HIV medical care, including access to experimental treatment protocols, and HIV testing. Also provides individual and group psychotherapy. Training of health care professionals also available. Infectious Disease Clinic, (585) 275-0526. Department of Psychiatry, (585) 275-3379. AIDS Training Project, (585) 275-5693. Planned Parenthood of Rochester and Genesee Valley Offers testing and information (585) 546 2595. Rural HIV testing Anonymous and confidential, in Allegany, Livingston, Ontario, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Wayne or Yates Counties, call 1 800 962-5063.

Action Front Center (Action for a Better Community.) Provides HIV prevention education and case management services. Training and technical assistance to service providers. Resource library open to public. All services free and confidential. Multicultural and bilingual staff. 33 Chestnut St., second floor. Hours 8:30-5pm, Monday-Friday. 262-4330; fax 262-4572. Free anonymous HIV testing on walk-in basis, Tuesdays, Wednesdays 1-4pm, provided through NYSDOH. Thursdays 1-4pm at Aenon Baptist Church, 175 Genesee St. Anthony L. Jordan Health Center, Prevention and Primary Care. Provides Medical Case Management, Mental Health, Primary Care, HIV Counseling and Testing (using rapid testing) Hepatitis C rapid testing and services, Educational Presentations, and access to other Jordan Services. Prevention and Primary Care is a walk-in program; no appointment necessary. Office Hours are Monday thru Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information call (585) 423-2872; fax (585) 423-2876. Website For more information, call the Program Manager Charlie Lytle,(585) 423-2872. CDC National STD and AIDS Hotline 1-800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) 24 hours a day. TTY service: 1-888-232-6348. E-mail address: Fair Housing Enforcement Project of Monroe County 585-325-2500; 1-800-669-9777. Deals with housing discrimination on basis of race, orientation, HIV status, etc. Public Interest Law Office of Rochester 80 St. Paul St., Suite 701. Free legal services to HIV positive persons, families. Spanish bilingual advocates available. All civil cases except divorce; no criminal cases. Ask to speak to someone in PILOR. 454-4060. Evergreen Health Services, Buffalo Primary care, HIV and family care, HIV testing and counseling. (716) 847-0328 Westside Health Services Brown Square Health Center, 175 Lyell Ave. (254-6480); Woodward health Center, 480 Genesee St. (436-3040). HIV/AIDS services, support, more. McCree McCuller Wellness Center at Unity Health’s Connection Clinic (585) 368-3200, 89 Genesee St., Bishop Kearney Bldg., 3rd floor. Full range of services, regardless of ability to pay. Caring, confidential and convenient. Catholic Charities AIDS Services A multicultural and bi-lingual staff providing services to a diversity of people infected and affected with HIV. Coordinates HOPWA (Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS) short term emergency assistance with rent/mortgage/utility payments and limited subsidized housing. 1945 E. Ridge Rd., Suite 24, Rochester NY 14622. (585) 339-9800. Huther Doyle 360 East Ave., Rochester 14604. Offers drug, alcohol prevention, education, treatment. Risk Reduction Plus Team offers services to HIV positive and those at risk through substance use. Programs include outreach, transitional case management, free cconfidential testing (OraQuick Rapid Testing). NYS Dep’t. of Health offers free on-site confidential and anonymous testing. (585)325-5100, M-F 8am-9pm, www. Geneva Community Health 601 W. Washington St., Geneva. Provides HIV testing, HIV specialty and primary care for residents of Ontario and surrounding counties. Mon.-Thurs. 9am-5pm; Fridays 9am-noon. 315-781-8448.

lgbt health

For a list of LGBT-friendly and competent health and human service providers in the Rochester and Finger Lakes area, visit the resource directory page(s) at Trillium Health See

HCR Home Care

We provide a full multidisciplinary team consisting of nursing, social work, physical, occupational, and speech therapies as well as home health aides who have completed the eight-hour cultural competency program provided by the Gay Alliance. For more information, contact us at 585-272-1930 or visit us online at Gay Alliance of the Genesee Valley See Resource Directory under “Health” for Gay Alliance referrals to physicians and service agencies.

CNY Depression Bi-Polar Support The Depression Bi-Polar Support Alliance of Central New York Support Group Adult Group meets the third Thursday of every month from 6 p.m.-7:30 p.m. at SAGE Upstate, 431 E. Fayette St, Syracuse, NY 13202. The Youth Group meets the second Monday of every month from 5 p.m.-6:30 p.m. at Transitions Living Services, 420 E. Genesee St., Syracuse, NY 13202.


Rochester Trans Group Social/educational group for gender variant people and friends. Last Saturday, 3-5pm, GAGV 5th floor, 875 E. Main St. 244-8640. Volunteer Legal Services Project (585) 232-3051; West Main St. Suite 500, Rochester, NY 14614. Free legal services for low-income clients seeking a name change. Other legal services for low-income clients include family law issues, bankruptcy, unemployment insurance hearings, wills and advance directive documents for clients with serious illnesses. Gay Alliance Youth Gender Identity Support Group Thursdays 5:30-6:30 GAGV Library, 1st floor, off Prince St. lobby 875 E. Main St., Ages 13-18. 244-8640 Genesee Valley Gender Variants Thurs. 7-9pm, Equal Grounds, 750 South Ave. Guys Night Out Social group for transmen. Third Saturdays, 1pm, Equal Grounds, 750 South Ave.


lesbians of color The first social networking site for lesbians of Black, Asian, African American, Latina, Native American, Pacific Islander, Chicano, Biracial & other lesbians of color, launched 2009. OurSistaCircle the first free social networking site to offer Skype mental health counseling. No nudity policy on member profiles. Currently 10,800 active members. Highland Hospital Breast Imaging Center 500 Red Creek Drive, Rochester 14623; 585487-3300. Specializing in breast health, diagnostic breast imaging and treatment and mammography outreach and education. Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester 840 University Ave.; 585-473-8177; www.; email: Breast Cancer Coalition provides support services that include programs designed to help those coping with a recent breast cancer diagnosis and those coping with an advanced breast cancer diagnosis, such as the Advanced Breast Cancer Support Group to support women living with metastatic breast cancer. Information about breast cancer, lending library, a monthly educational program. All BCCR programs, support services free. Monroe County Women’s Health Partnership 111 Westfall Rd., Rochester NY 14692; (585) 274-6978. Comprehensive breast cancer screening services for uninsured and underinsured women. Elizabeth Wende Breast Clinic 170 Sawgrass Drive. 442-8432. Dr. Wende Logan-Young and an all-woman staff provide mammograms. Self Help for Women with Breast or Ovarian Cancer (SHARE) 1-866-53SHARE or 1-866-537-4273. Alternatives for Battered Women 232-7353; TTY 232-1741. Shelter (women only), counseling. Lesbians, gay men welcome. Victim Resource Center of Wayne County Newark N.Y. Hotline 800-456-1172; office (315)331-1171; fax (315)331-1189. Mary Magdalene House Women’s outreach center for HIV positive women and women at risk. 291 Lyell Ave. Open Mon-Fri. 6:30-9:30pm 458-5728. Planned Parenthood of the Rochester/ Syracuse Region 114 University Ave., Rochester, NY 14605; Tollfree Helpline: 1-866-600-6886. Planned Parenthood has led the way in providing high quality, affordable reproductive health care since 1916. All services are confidential. Accept most insurances; including Medicaid. You may qualify for low- to no-cost family planning services. When you make your appointment, ask about our sliding scale fees. No one turned away for lack of ability to pay. Women’s Resource Center YWCA, 175 N. Clinton Ave. 546-7740.

octoBER 2013 • number 472 • gay alliance of the genesee valley • the empty closet

Ongoing Calendar Mondays

L.O.R.A. – Coffee Special Monday Nights – 7 pm, Equal Grounds. Family, Friends & Allies Welcome! Contact Person: Cathie Timian. More info:; Email:

Gay Alliance Library & Archives, David Bohnett Cyber Center. Every Mon./Wed. 6-8pm. First floor, 875 E. Main St. 244-8640

Born That Way Formerly 3rd Presbyterian LGBT Support Group. First, 3rd Mondays, 7:30-9:30pm, 34 Meigs St. Carol, 482-3832 or Kaara, 654-7516. Free syphilis testing Trillium Health, 259 Monroe Ave., 5-8pm. 4422220. Rochester Historical Bowling Society 7:15pm, Mondays. Clover Lanes, 2750 Monroe Ave. (Group is full.) HIV Positive Men’s Support group Every Monday, 5pm, Trillium Health Center for Positive Living, 259 Monroe Ave. Frontrunners/Frontwalkers Mondays, 6pm, George Eastman House parking lot. Steps Beyond Stems Crack Support Group, Mondays, 7-8pm, 289 Monroe Ave. Equality Rochester 2nd Mondays, 7-8:30 pm, Equal=Grounds. 426-0862;


Charlie’s Group 2nd Tuesdays. Monthly peer-facilitated support group for married men who have sex with men. Confidential, free. For time, place: email: MOCHA Youth Drop-In Tues.-Fri., 1-9pm, MOCHA Center, 107 Liberty Pole Way, 420-1400; 244-8640 MOCHA Hepatitis Clinic Free Hepatitis A & B vaccinations, third Tuesdays, 5:30-7pm, 107 Liberty Pole Way, 4201400 Women’s Community Chorus Rehearsals each Tuesday, 6:30-9pm, Downtown United Pres. Church, 121 N. Fitzhugh Street. 234-4441, Free HIV Testing 9am-7pm. Trillium Health, 259 Monroe Ave.

Wednesdays L.O.R.A Knitting Group Now meeting on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of the month from 7 to 9:30 p.m. at Cross Roads Coffee House, 752 South Goodman St. Identity Group The Identity Group is for LGBT identified individuals who have a developmental disability diagnosis. The group meets Wednesdays 3-4 pm at ARC Health Services (2060 BrightonHenrietta Townline Rd. 14623). The goal of the group is to provide a safe space to discuss

identity issues, share personal experiences and increase self-esteem. The group is facilitated by Delaina Fico. LMSW. For more information, please contact Delaina Fico at or 585-271-0661 ext. 1552.

Gay Alliance Board of Directors Meets Third Wednesdays, 6pm, 875 E. Main St. 244-8640 New Freedom New Happiness AA Gay meeting, 7pm, Unitarian Church, 220 Winton Rd. Men and women. Open. Support Group for Parents who have lost Children First, 3rd Wednesdays, 11am-12:30pm, Third Presbyterian Church, 4 Meigs St. Genesee Region Home Care. Free. 325-1880 COAP Come Out and Play. Wednesday game nights. 8-11 pm. Equal=Grounds, 750 South Ave. 7pm, Rochester Rams General Meeting 2nd Wednesdays, 7:30pm, Bachelor Forum, 670 University Ave. Brothers Keeper Support group for men over 30. Third Wednesdays, 5:30-7:30pm, MOCHA Center, 107 Liberty Pole Way. 420-1400 HIV+ Mixed Men’s Group Wednesdays, 11:30 am-12:30 pm. Trillium Health, 259 Monroe Ave. Frontrunners/Frontwalkers 6pm, Eastman House parking lot. Gay Alliance Library & Archives, David Bohnett Cyber Center. Every Mon./Wed. 6-8pm. First floor, 875 E. Main St. 244-8640 Empire Bears Every Wednesday. 6pm dinner at The Wintonaire.


Presbyterians for Lesbian and Gay Concerns 6:30pm, first Thursday. Ralph, 271-7649 Queer Radical Reading Group First and third Thursdays, 7pm, Equal=Grounds, 750 South Ave. Pride at Work First Thursdays, 5:30pm. 167 Flanders St. off Thurston Rd. 426-0862. GLOB&L (Gays & Lesbians of Bausch & Lomb). Meets every third Thursday in Area 67 conference room at the Optic Center. Voice mail: 338-8977 Rochester Gay Men’s Chorus Downtown United Presbyterian Church, 121 N. Fitzhugh St. 6:30-9pm, 423-0650 Free confidential walk-in HIV testing Every Thursday night, 5-8pm, Trillium Health, 259 Monroe Ave. 442-2220 Out & Equal Second Thursdays Social/business networking, 5:30-7:30pm. Changing venues. E-mail:

Genesee Valley Gender Variants 7-9pm, Equal=Grounds, 750 South Ave. GV


Gay Men's AA meeting Fridays, 7:30-8:30pm, Closed meeting. Emmanuel Baptist Church, 815 Park Ave. Gay Alliance Youth Fridays, 7-9pm, Open Arms MCC, 707 E. Main St., 244-8640 GLBTQI Motorcycle Group Second Fridays, 5:30pm, Various locations.; 4676456;


Rochester Rams Bar Night Third Saturdays, 8pm-2am, Bachelor Forum, 670 University Ave. 271-6930

Rochester Trans Group Social/educational group for gender-variant people, friends. Last Saturdays, 3-5:30pm, GAGV fifth floor, 875 E. Main St. Frontrunners/Frontwalkers 9am, George Eastman House parking lot.www. Empire Bears Potluck 2nd Saturdays, GAGV, 875 E. Main, 5th floor, Prince St. entrance. 6:30pm greet; 7pm dinner. Bring dish to pass. Cross Dresser Support Group First Saturdays, 6-9pm, call for location: 251-2132; Guys Night Out GNO, social group for transmen, now meets on the second Saturday of the month, @ 1pm @ Equal Grounds, 750 South Ave. Saturday Night Special Gay AA 7pm, Unitarian Church, 220 Winton Rd., S. Men and women. Open meeting. Lilac Rainbow Alliance for the Deaf (LRAD) 2nd Saturdays, 6-9pm. Sophia’s Supper Club First and third Saturdays.


Parents Families & Friends of Lesbians And Gays (PFLAG) For location: 244-8460; pflag@gayalliance. org.

Rochester General Assembly Sundays, Flying Squirrel Community Center, 285 Clarissa St. Unity Fellowship Church Sundays, 1:30 pm, Lutheran Church of Peace, 125 Caroline St., 14620. 520-6188. Dignity-Integrity 1st Sunday: 5pm Episcopal Eucharist with music; 2nd Sunday: 5pm Roman Catholic Liturgy of the Word with music; 3rd Sunday: 5pm Episcopal Eucharist (quiet); 4th Sunday: 5pm Prayers to start the week, followed by potluck supper. Open Arms Metropolitan Community Church 740 Marshall Rd., Chili, 10:30am, 271-8478

Gay Men’s Alcoholics Anonymous St. Luke’s/St. Simon Cyrene Church, 17 S. Fitzhugh St. 8pm, 232-6720, Weekly. Closed meeting Men’s Cooking Group Third or fourth Sundays, 355-7664. Civil Rights Front Every Tuesday, 5pm, Equal=Grounds, 750 South Ave.


Rochester AA/NA Meetings Every week there are four regularly scheduled GLBTI AA and two inclusive NA meetings in Rochester.


Narcotics Anonymous 6-7:30pm. AIDS and Recovery 1124 Culver Road (Covenant United Methodist Church) This is an NA meeting that is open to all addicts who have a desire to stop using. Although it is not specifically a gay-oriented meeting, it is welcoming to people of all sexual orientations and gender identities, as well as to anyone who is affected by HIV and AIDS.


New Freedom/New Happiness Group 7pm. First Unitarian Church, 220 S. Winton Rd. Bus riders: Take the last #18 University bus to 12 Corners. Use the stop just past the top of the hill at Hillside Ave. and before Highland Ave. Or take the #1 Park Ave. to the corner of East and Winton, then walk five minutes south (uphill) on Winton. This is an open discussion meeting. All issues – as they relate to our alcoholism/addiction and recovery – are fair game.

Fridays Gay Men’s 7:30pm. Immanuel Baptist Church, 815 Park Ave. • Closed meeting, restricted to alcoholics and addicts • Men’s meeting • Handicapped accessible This is a round-robin discussion meeting. If you are shy about meeting people or speaking up in a group, you will find this meeting particularly warm and inviting because everyone gets their turn to speak (or pass). As a result, this meeting often runs long, so plan on more than the usual hour.

Saturdays Saturday Night Special 7pm. First Unitarian Church, 220 S. Winton Rd. Bus riders: The #18 University Ave. bus does not go by the church on weekend evenings. Take the #1 Park Ave. bus to the corner of East and Winton, then walk five minutes south (uphill) on Winton. • Open meeting, all are welcome, “straight friendly” • Mixed men and women • Handicapped accessible, take elevator to basement Meeting begins with a speaker, followed by open discussion.

Sundays Step in the Right Direction 7:30-9pm. 1275 Spencerport Road (Trinity Alliance Church) This is an NA meeting that is open to all addicts who have a desire to stop using. Although it is not specifically a gay-oriented meeting, it is welcoming to people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. Each week features a reading from NA literature, followed by discussion. Rochester Gay Men 8pm. St. Luke/St. Simon’s Episcopal Church, 17 S. Fitzhugh Street. Bus riders use the Fitzhugh Street stop on Main Street at the County Office Building and walk south one block. • Closed meeting, restricted to alcoholics and addicts • Men’s meeting • NOT handicapped accessible Meeting begins with a speaker, followed by open discussion.

The Gay Alliance Annual Meeting is coming up in November. See the November EC for details!


the empty closet • the gay alliance of the genesee valley • number 472 • octoBER 2013


Classifieds SATURDAY 12

Shoulders To Stand On: the LGBT History of Rochester NY. World premiere. 11 am, Dryden Theatre. Butch Femme Connection. Annual fall potluck will be held at home of member in Fairport. Bring dish to pass. Kerry/Max at or (585) 288-7208.


Dignity Integrity. Roman Catholic Liturgy of the Word, with music. 5 pm, St. Luke’s and St. Simon’s Church, 17 S. Fitzhugh St.


Empty Closet deadline for November. 244-9030;



Legacy Women Institute International’s Women Week End. Mother Of Nations Tour ($99). Private bus tour to Ganondagan, Seneca Falls Women’s Rights National Park, Women’s Hall of Fame, Susan B. Anthony House. 7:30 am–4 pm: leaving from the Academy of Medicine, 1441 East Ave. Reservations via


Image Art’s I do?! opening reception from 6 -9 pm at Visual Studies Workshop Bookstore Gallery, 31 Prince St. Free and open to public Oct. 4-Oct. 26. Gallery hours: Tuesday through Saturday 10 am to 4 pm, Sundays Oct. 6 and 13, 11 am to 5 pm. Legacy Women Institute International’s Women Week End. Workshops (free with $59 weekend conference registration). Reservations via Bear Auction Benefit, Oct. 4-5, Bachelor Forum, 670 University Ave. 10 pm. To benefit Gay Alliance. Hosted by Mr. NYS Bear and Cub 2013, Chris Thornton and Chris Phillips.


Legacy Women Institute International’s Women Week End conference. 8am-9pm, Weekend Conference Price $59; Concert: $35 adults/ $20 ages 13 and under. Ticket packages viewed online. Keynote speakers, live entertainment: throughout conference: The Spirit of Thunderheart, all-women Mohawk drum band; Evening concert 7-9 pm: Songs of Legacy – special tribute to women vocalists performed by Cinnamon Jones, special guests. Reservations via Margo Gomez: A Night of Comedy. Corning Museum of Glass, Corning NY, 7:30 pm. Free. Sponsored by Spectra, Corning Incorporated’s group for LGBT employees. Email SPECTRA@ or call (607)438-5297.


Dignity Integrity. Quiet Episcopal Mass/Healing Service in the Chapel. 5 pm at St. Luke’s and St. Simon’s Church, 17 South Fitzhugh St. Rainbow SAGE Euchre. 3 pm. South Wedge Planning Committee Building, 224 Mt. Hope Ave. Bachelor Forum 40th Anniversary Party. 670 University Ave. 4-9 pm.


Out & Equal’s Second Thursdays Networking event. 5:30-7:30 pm, at Constellation Brands, 207 High Point Dr., Building 100, Victor.


Coming Out Day. ImageOut Film Festival opening night. “Reaching for the Moon,” 6:30 pm, Little Theatre 1. “Free Fall,” 9:30 pm, Little Theatre 1. Opening night celebration, 140 Alex, 9 pm; Tilt Night Club & UltraLounge, 11 pm. Festival runs through Oct. 20. Full listing of films:

Women’s Alliance 25th Anniversary celebration of diversity and leadership. Xerox diversity caucus groups invite local colleagues to join professional & personal development event Oct. 18-19 at Radisson Rochester Riverside. Xerox International Women’s Conference & GALAXe Prideat-Work pre-conference and workshop Silver Sponsorship; includes speakers, workshops, executive networking. https:// com%2Feventmanager%2Fonlineregistra tion.asp%3Feventcode%3D7ED Pride Shabbat 2013. 6 pm, Temple Sinai, 363 Penfield Rd. Temple Sinai’s Annual Pride Shabbat Service: Affirming and celebrating Temple Sinai’s commitment to LGBTQ members. Public welcome.


ImageOut Closing Night. “GBF,” 7:30 pm, Dryden Theatre. Closing night party: Village Gate Atrium, 274 N. Goodman St. 10 pm-1 am.


Dignity Integrity. Episcopal Mass with music. 5 pm, St. Luke’s and St. Simon’s Church, 17 South Fitzhugh St. Celebrating 38th anniversary; dinner at restaurant follows service. Call D-I Hotline, 585-234-5092, for reservations.


Marriage Equality and Activism in Art. Panel discussion, 6 pm at Visual Studies Workshop, 31 Prince St. Free, open to public. Sponsored by ImageArt and Visual Studies. Moderator Dr. Jonathan Katz. Panel: visual and cultural theorist Dr. Douglas Crimp, artist Scott McCarney, activists Anne Tischer and Bess Watts. Let’s Meet. Lesbian singles group dines at Trata, 145 Culver Rd., at 6:30 pm. To RSVP, call Ramona at 585-4901424.


Rochester Trans Group. Meeting 3-5:30 pm, GAGV office lounge, upstairs on fifth floor at 875 E. Main St. Open discussion support group. Butch Femme Connection. Dinner night out at Peppermints Diner on West Henrietta Rd. (Rte. 15) in Henrietta, 7 pm. Contact Kerry/Max at or (585) 288-7208. Rainbow SAGE Halloween Party at member’s home. Meet 3:30 pm, McDonalds Restaurant, 820 Culver Rd. $5 to help with food and supplies.


Dignity Integrity. Evening Prayer, followed by Potluck Dinner -- theme for October is “Trick or Treat”. 5 pm at St. Luke’s and St. Simon’s Church, 17 South Fitzhugh St.


Halloween, Samhain. Ancient Celtic Fire Feast marking the death and rebirth of the year. Sacred tree: ivy.

Classified ads are $5 for the first 30 words; each additional 10 words is another $1. We do not bill for classifieds, so please send or bring ad and payment to: The Empty Closet, 875 E. Main Street, Suite 500, Rochester, New York 14605. Paying by check: checks must be made out to Gay Alliance. The deadline is the 15th of the month, for the following month’s issue. We cannot accept ads over the phone. Pay when you place your ad. We will accept only ads accompanied by name and phone number. Neither will be published, but we must be able to confirm placement. The Empty Closet is not responsible for financial loss or physical injury that may result from any contact with an advertiser. Advertisers must use their own box number, voice mail, e-mail or personal address/phone number.


Children’s Ministry thriving at Open Arms Metropolitan Community Church for toddlers to ‘tweens. Join us for vibrant, inclusive, progressive worship on Sundays at 10:30am. 707 E. Main St. info@ (585) 271-8478. Cash paid for CDs, DVDs & BluRays. Highest prices in Rochester. Free pick up. Call 465-8643.


Man to Man Rubdown. Relax with this experienced, fit, healthy. middle-aged, non-smoking GWM. Central location. Private home. Incalls/outcalls. Reasonable rates. cell#585-773-2410 or home#585235-6688 or Ask questions. Established life coach opens your direction about goals, questions, issues using classic tarot symbology and fascinating, confidential discussion. $65/hour in your home/office. Wedding Space and clergy services available. Celebrate your special day

at Open Arms Metropolitan Community Church 707 E. Main St. info@ (585) 271-8478 Handyman: Simple repairs or full renovations, no job is too large or small. Carpentry, Plumbing, Electrical, Interior & Exterior. 35 years experience. Call Alan & Bill 585-204-0632 or cell 304517-6832. Martin Ippolito master electrician. Electrical work, telephone jacks, cable TV, burglar alarm systems, paddle fans. 585-266-6337. Hate to paint or clean gutters? I have tall ladders! Dale’s Pleasure Painting and Gutter Cleaning has very reasonable rates for painting year round and gutter cleaning in spring or fall. 585-576-5042. Email


Seeking employed housemate to share large suburban home. Off street parking, internet, cable, telephone, furnished private bedroom. Rent includes food (you cook or I cook or together). Call 266-4582.

octoBER 2013 • number 472 • gay alliance of the genesee valley • the empty closet

The Empty Closet is published by the Gay Alliance of the Genesee Valley 875 E. Main Street, Suite 500 Rochester, New York  14605 © 2013, All rights reserved.

Bed & Breakfast

Editor-in-Chief: Susan Jordan Staff Reporter: Ove Overmyer Graphic Design: Jim Anderson Advertising policy: The Empty Closet does not print advertisements that contain nude drawings or photographs, nor does it print advertising that states that the person pictured in the ad is for sale, or that you will “get” that particular person if you patronize the establishment advertised. Advertisements that are explicitly racist, sexist, ageist, ableist or homophobic will be refused; advertisements from organizations that are sexist, racist, ageist, ableist or anti-gay will also be refused. All political advertisements must contain information about who placed them and a method of contact. Additionally, The Empty Closet does not print negative or “attack” advertisements, whether they relate to a product or politics and no matter in whose interest the ad is being produced. A negative advertisement is defined as one that focuses upon a rival product, or in the political area, a rival election candidate or party, in order to point out supposed flaws and to persuade the public not to buy it (or vote for him or her). The Empty Closet maintains, within legal boundaries, neutrality regarding products, political candidates and parties. However, “attack” ads that fail to provide undisputable evidence that the information in the ad is true do not further in any way the objectives and policies of the Gay Alliance or The Empty Closet, including the primary tenet that The Empty Closet’s purpose is to inform the Rochester gay community and to provide an impartial forum for ideas. Submissions: For publication, submit news items, ads, photos, letters, stories, poetry, ads, photographs or art by mail or in person to The Empty Closet office by the 15th of the month. Design services for non-camera ready ads are available for a fee. ( Publication Information: The Empty Closet is published 11 times a year (December and January combined) by The Empty Closet Press for the Gay Alliance of the Genesee Valley, Inc. Approximately 5000 copies of each issue are distributed during the first week of the month, some by mail in a plain sealed envelope. The publication of the name or photograph of any person or organization in articles is not an indication of the sexual or affectional orientation of that person or the members of that organization. For further information, please write to The Empty Closet, 875 E. Main St., Rochester NY. 14605, call (585) 244-9030 or e-mail The Empty Closet is the official publication of the Gay Alliance of the Genesee Valley, Inc., as stated in the bylaws of that organization. Its purpose is to inform the Rochester gay community about local and national gayrelated news and events; to provide a forum for ideas and creative work from the local gay community; to help promote leadership within the community, and to be a part of a national network of lesbian and gay publications that exchange ideas and seek to educate. Part of our purpose is to maintain a middle position with respect to the entire community. We must be careful to present all viewpoints in a way that takes into consideration the views of all – women, men, people of color, young and old, and those from various walks of life. The opinions of columnists, editorial writers and other contributing writers are their own and do not necessarily reflect the collective attitude of the Gay Alliance of the Genesee Valley or The Empty Closet. The Empty Closet shall not be liable for any loss or expense that results from the publication (whether correctly or incorrectly) or omission of an ad. In the event of non-payment, your account may be assigned to a collection agency or an attorney, and will be liable for the charges paid by us to such collection agency or attorney. Letters to the editor: The opinions of columnists, editorial writers and other contributing writers are their own and do not necessarily reflect the collective attitude of the Gay Alliance of the Genesee Valley or The Empty Closet. We will print letters at the editor’s discretion and on a space available basis. Only one letter by the same writer in a six-month period is allowed. We will not print personal attacks on individuals, nor will we be a forum for ongoing disputes between individuals. We reserve the right to edit for space and clarity. We will print anonymous letters if the name and phone number are provided to the Editor; confidentiality will be respected. Submissions are due by the 15th of the month at: The Empty Closet, 875 E. Main Street, Suite 500, Rochester, NY 14605; e-mail: The online edition of EC is available at

PFLAG meets the 3rd Sunday of each month Meetings are at Open Arms Metropolitan Community Church, 740 Marshall Road, Rochester, NY 14624 from 1 to 3pm. Questions? Call: 585-244-8640 and leave a message, or e-mail: - Join us!



the empty closet • the gay alliance of the genesee valley • number 472 • octoBER 2013

H&R Block would like to celebrate with you and your family! The IRS has made their determination on how they will handle Same Sex Marriage Returns and our Tax Professionals are ready to assist you with this joyous occasion! Please join us at the following locations on the dates specified as our Tax Professionals will be there to assist Same Sex Couples with amending their returns.

Stone Ridge Plaza October 11, 1pm-6pm           1512 Ridge Rd. W Rochester, NY 14615 (585) 225-7868   South Avenue  October 12, 10am-5pm 696 South Avenue Rochester, NY 14620 (585) 506-9940

Monroe Avenue October 17, 11am-7pm 891 Monroe Avenue Rochester, NY 14620 (585) 473-3072 Stone Ridge Plaza October 18, 1pm-6pm 1512 Ridge Road, W. Rochester, NY 14615 (585) 225-7868

We will have refreshments and look forward to enjoying this wonderful occasion with you. Please call ahead to schedule an appointment that works best for you as times will fill up quickly!

Empty Closet, October 2013  
Empty Closet, October 2013