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number 454 a publication of the gay alliance of the genesee valley

MENY/USA, Rochester Marriage Coalition: Keep our eyes on the prize





It’s LGBT Health Month: Take pride in your health! By Christina Miller, AIDSCare March once again marks an exciting time for the Rochester LGBT Health Coalition and the Rochester community: NY LGBT Health Month. Every year the National Coalition for LGBT Health sponsors a weeklong recognition of LGBT health in late March; its goal is to support LGBT people in living happy and healthy lives while raising awareness of health disparities facing the LGBT Community. However, in 2010 the Rochester LGBT Health Coalition joined a number of other organizations and groups throughout New York state in taking the celebration of LGBT health from a weeklong program to a monthlong initiative. This year’s theme is “Taking PRIDE in Our Health.” In keeping with this theme, the coalition has planned a variety of exciting events to reinforce that as LGBT communities, when we cultivate a sense of pride and (Health continues page 3)

NERP conference brings regional Pride organizers together to share


By Susan Jordan Rochester will host the North East Regional Pride conference on March 10. The conference will include a community dinner, show and dance. Organizer Michael Hardy told The Empty Closet, “NERP is important for Prides of all sizes to share their success stories.” The conference is part of InterPride, an international group which exists to further global (NERP continues page 3)

Elders, youth to speak out at SAGE panel on March 18


On March 18, Rainbow SAGE will host its ninth annual Intergenerational Panel, with a theme of “The Importance of LGBT Allies.” The panel, which will consist of elders and members of the Gay Alliance Youth Group, will share personal experiences and describe what straight allies have meant to them. The event starts at 3 p.m. at the First Universalist Church, 150 S. Clinton Ave. downtown. It is free and open to all. Everyone is invited to stay on after the discussion and join Rainbow SAGE and the panelists for food and conversation. ■

By Ove Overmyer On Feb. 16, over 80 people attended a community gathering at the Downtown United Presbyterian Church, 121 Fitzhugh St. They came to hear the latest on the fight to repeal the anti-gay federal legislation called the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and to meet two movers and shakers who are trying to make that a reality. Marriage Equality Rochester Chapter President Jo MelecaVoigt was the host for the evening. Brian Silva, Executive Director and Cathy Marino-Thomas, Board President of Marriage Equality NY/USA, told the crowd that our volunteerism is key to overturning DOMA. They also challenged Rochester area residents to ramp up our fight for equal rights in other states and on the federal level. Brian Silva spoke in detail about a strategic national plan to keep pressure on the federal and state governments when it comes to equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. “We never go into a community and tell them how to handle their business. We just offer them support and ask, how can we help?” (More information on page 7.) The Rochester meeting ironi-

March 24 Legal Expo offers free information By Susan Jordan Concerned about legal issues, finances and your health coverage? Not sure how to deal with name change forms, or if you qualify for public assistance? The Gay Alliance will sponsor a Legal Expo on March 24, in partnership with the Monroe County Legal Assistance Center and LGBT Health Month. The free event will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Gay Alliance Youth Center, first floor, 875 E. Main St. Kelly Clark, Wellness and Safety Director, told The Empty Closet, “We are doing this as part of Health Month. As you are thinking about the health of yourself and your family, come and get your legal and financial check-up too.” Clark points out that many legal and financial issues are connected with our physical and emotional health. Clark says, “It’s an important part of how we think about the health and wellbeing of our families.” For instance, attorneys will provide information on healthcare proxies, legal forms that determine who will make medical decisions on your behalf – will it be your life partner, or possibly an estranged member of your biological family? Clark says, “We are partnering with Monroe Co. Legal Assistance Center. They will (Legal continues page 3)

Cathy Marino Thomas, Board President of Marriage Equality NY/USA and Brian Silva, Executive Director. Photo: Susan Jordan

cally came on the same day the New Jersey Assembly passed a marriage equality bill, sending the legislation to Republican Gov. Chris Christie, who vetoed it as expected. The measure’s supporters say that over the next two years they will work to override the expected veto with a referendum. “We’re going to take the time we need, assisted by a changing world. Look at how the world has changed from two years ago,” said Silva. Recent polls show a slight majority of New Jersey residents favor allowing same-sex couples to marry. Cathy Marino Thomas reminded the attendees that their advocacy and financial support are critical if we are going to overturn DOMA and create a better America. “We have to focus on every state where marriage legislation is up for a vote or being battled in the courts, and make sure we respond accordingly. We have to keep our eyes on the prize.” The evening also included honors for two of Rochester’s most energetic and tireless activists, Denise Finnerty and Courtney Michie. The couple was presented with a Certificate of Appreciation by the Rochester Marriage Coalition. The Rochester Marriage Coalition is composed of Marriage Equality New York, Equality Rochester, Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Pride at Work, AFL-CIO and the Empire State Pride Agenda (ESPA). Denise Finnerty’s and Court-

Photo: ove overmyer

Partnerships The Gay Alliance appreciates the continuing partnership of businesses within our community who support our mission and vision.

march 2012

Denise Finnerty and Courtney Michie with Jo Meleca-Voigt

ney Michie’s records of accomplishments are truly stunning. They have provided help to virtually every LGBT rights organization that has operated in the Rochester region, starting many years ago when they were trained by longtime activist Todd Plank and ESPA as “Marriage Ambassadors.” In addition to receiving a Certificate of Appreciation, the women were presented with a handmade “Pride” afghan by Equality Rochester’s Anne Tischer, which reflects the warmth that they have generated in changing so many people’s hearts and minds. In a joint statement sent to the Rochester Marriage Coalition partners, Sheila Sable of ESPA and David Turley of HRC also praised the women for their outstanding efforts. They said, “For more than eight years, the couple became increasingly involved in the Rochester campaign for marriage equality and were the backbone of the Rochester volunteer support that led to success in gaining the first ever GOP legislator to publicly support marriage equality legislation last year.” ■

Contents Newsfronts................................... 4 Interview: Cathy Marino Thomas & Brian Silva................. 7 Making The Scene.....................10 Opinion........................................12 Columnists.................................22 Community ................................25 Entertainment: Rainbow Theatre Festival........................27 Gay Alliance News.....................30 Calendar.....................................34 Classifieds..................................34

Queen of Hearts See page 10

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the empty closet • the gay alliance of the genesee valley • number 454 • march 2012

Gay Alliance of the Genesee Valley

Perspectives From the Empty Closet Editor Susan Jordan

ther federal funds nor Planned Parenthood’s funding from Komen are used for abortions. But Stearns’ politically motivated harassment served as an excuse for Handel (who resigned on Feb. 7 claiming to be a victim “bullied” by Planned Parenthood) to join the Right’s war on women. Most of the wouldbe Republican candidates have signed pledges affirming that a fertilized egg is a person with citizen rights – like corporations – but unlike the subhuman birthing vessels (women) who carry the eggs. The Right also has a war on children underway – poor children of course. Newt Gingrich’s outrageous suggestion that poor children should replace “unionized” adult janitors in schools and learn “the dignity of labor” by scrubbing toilets has been followed by calls from other wingnut politicians to end child labor laws. Of course, child labor already exists all over the world. Right now children are toiling in Third World factories to provide the American consumer with cotton, computer parts, etc. These children spend their childhoods in appalling conditions, essentially working as slaves to produce profits for factory owners and multinational corporations. Now some conservatives want to see this happen in the U.S.A. After all, you can’t beat slavery for low overhead, and children aren’t likely to form unions to call for safe working conditions, health coverage, a five-day working week of eight-hour days, etc. Komen reconsidered its decision due to the social media firestorm. Political attacks on social media and Internet freedom have failed – for now. If a Republican is elected in November, that could change. And Republicans are restricting voting rights in 14 states with 20 new laws, so that anyone likely to vote against conservative candidates will be turned away from the polls for lacking “correct” identification. The Right has declared war on democracy too. ■

The Right’s war on gays, women & children For decades the Right has waged war on gay Americans (we’re “evil”; our families aren’t “real”), and on workers, women, the poor and people of color. The recent Komen scandal has made the conservative war on women more visible than ever, thanks to social media. Conservative, anti-gay Komen Foundation V.P. Karen Handel tried to justify the decision to defund Planned Parenthood as “not political” but rather as a response to the Congressional investigation of the organization that provides health care to millions of poor women. According to a Komen staffer quoted on The Huffington Post, Handel said, “If we say it’s about the investigation no one will blame us.” The “investigation” is spearheaded by Fla. Rep. Cliff Stearns, a Republican trying to end poor women’s access to healthcare because some women choose abortion – which is their legal right. His investigation is supposed to “determine whether the organization is using federal funds for abortions.” And who cares if poor women die of breast cancer because Planned Parenthood is gone? This “investigation” is as phony as all the other rightwing ploys to force the social conservative agenda on America. Nei-

Many things

From the Gay Alliance Executive Director sue cowell

Big Gay Prom & Ride for Pride Please consider supporting these two events by visiting the first giving pages at: http:// “Big Gay Prom is way better than my school’s prom! I can really be myself at Big Gay Prom.” – 2011 Big Gay Prom attendee Do you remember your high school prom?  Many adults have fond memories of formal dresses and tuxes, dancing, fancy hotels and friends.  Others recall first love and the beauty of high school romances.  But for some, prom can be bittersweet.  For lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth, prom be a battleground.  While students legally must be permitted to bring a same-sex date to prom and wear gender-non conforming attire, schools do not always make this easy, let alone a foundation for a fun and memorable night.  LGBT students can face controversy from administration, peers and their community. It can be overwhelming and emotional, leading some students to forgo prom completely. At the Gay Alliance Youth Program, we are committed to providing LGBT students and allies the opportunity to attend prom without fear, anxiety, or physical harm. Since 2005,

the Big Gay Prom has allowed all students to celebrate young love and friendship, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. The event has grown substantially from the 100 attendees in 2005.  Last Spring, the 2011 Big Gay Prom saw 295 students from 56 different schools and 7 separate counties.  Gay Alliance staff, board members, and volunteers brought their own partners to chaperon and give LGBT youth the opportunity to see LGBT adults in healthy and happy same-sex relationships.  Ride For Pride came to life in 2010, one night while two friends were hanging out and griping about wanting to get in shape and make their efforts count for something.  A bike ride fundraiser was agreed upon, and the organization they chose to support was the Gay Alliance, which was a surprise to some because the two friends did not identify as Gay, Lesbain, Bisexual or Transgender. For more information, see: rideforpride.html The 2012 Ride For Pride fundraiser will take place on Saturday, June 16 and will feature two routes (a 100k/63 mile road ride and a 65k/40 mile towpath ride) Forty riders will bike and bring in a minimum of $100 in donations per rider.  All of the money donated goes to the Gay Alliance (minus a small percentage that Firstgiving charges to process your credit card, which they give you the option of covering.).  Your support helps to make it possible for the Gay Alliance to continuing providing lifesaving programs and services. Your donations help keep the costs affordable for our youth. Thank you to all of our donors who have supported these events in 2011. With your help in 2012, we can continue our work for the LGBT community. ■

Name Address City/State/Zip






Phone r ster p



The Empty Closet • Youth Program • Rochester Pride Education Program & Speakers Bureau Community Safety Program & Anti-Violence Project InQueery • CampusOUT • Library and Archives Gay Alliance Resource Directory Shoulders to Stand On • Rainbow SAGE • SafeZone The Gay Alliance plays a central role in advocating for the fair and equal treatment of all people, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

E-mail Membership levels: ❏ $30-99 Advocate ❏ $100-999 Champion ❏ $1,000-4,999 Triangle Club ❏ $5,000+ Stonewall ❏ Enclosed is my check in the amount of _________ (check #______) Please charge my credit card in the amount of: __________ To: ❏ American Express, ❏ Discover, ❏ MasterCard, ❏ Visa Credit card # _____________________________ Exp. Date: _______ ❏ I would be proud to have my donation publicly acknowledged. Benefits include: a subscription to The Empty Closet mailed to home or work, plus privileges at each level. Phone: 585 244-8640 or mail to: Gay Alliance, 875 E. Main Street, Suite 500, Rochester, New York 14605. Home delivery of the Empty Closet is free with your annual membership in the Gay Alliance. 3/12

to Many people

The Empty Closet is published by the Gay Alliance of the Genesee Valley 875 E. Main Street, Suite 500 Rochester, New York  14605 © 2011, All rights reserved. Editor-in-Chief: Susan Jordan Staff Reporters: Ove Overmyer Graphic Design: Jim Anderson Staff Photographer: Jim Wilkins 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. (www.emptycloset@ 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 gay-related 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: emptycloset@gagv. us. Online edition of EC available at www.

march 2012 • number 454 • gay alliance of the genesee valley • the empty closet

NewsFronts Local and State

Straight couples are backing marriage equality on Facebook.

Allies can show support for marriage equality

ESPA offers GENDA training webinars

Derek Forgie of Toronto started HSSE, Heterosexuals for Same Sex Equality, a group whose mission statement is to advocate for LGBT issues from a heterosexual angle- and to get the message out that human rights are everyone’s rights. HSSE has already organized a successful campaign called “Straight Not Narrow,” selling T-shirts and organizing community involvement including participation in the Pride Parade in Toronto. The new HSSE project is centered around an ad campaign that shows real couples holding a sign that reads “Gay marriage doesn’t threaten our marriage”. Derek would like to ask heterosexual married (or engaged) EC readers to send him (on Facebook) a photo of them holding up the sign in the photograph. The sign could be hand written, or printed using a computer and it doesn’t have to be the same font as the one in the photo. If you like, you could add the Facebook address that is written on the sign as well. Each photo should be uploaded to So to make this easy: 1. Make a sign that says, “Gay marriage doesn’t threaten our marriage” and feel free to add “ TheHSSE” 2. Take a picture of you and your husband/wife (and kids?) holding the sign. 3. Go to and upload the photo to their wall.

The Empire State Pride Agenda is offering multiple statewide Community Ambassador Training webinar sessions with the focus on the Gender Expression Non Discrimination Act (GENDA). All you need is a computer with internet connection and a phone. The sessions are an hour long and can be an update for experienced activists, or a starting place for folks who want to learn more. Please note an RSVP is required so that Lead Organizer Kate McDonoguh can send you instructions. Check out the Facebook event page:!/ events/368898153140180/

page one (Health from page 1) identity, we make ourselves healthier both as individuals and a community. There are a number of exciting highlights to this year’s Health Month activities in Rochester. One of them will be the Queer Girls Night Out at the Devil May Care boutique, that encourages queer women to socialize in a sex positive setting. Another exciting event is the LGBT Community Health and Wellness Fair, boasting nearly 20 vendors offering services ranging from blood pressure screenings to fun health-related swag. In a similar vein, the Out for Justice Legal Expo will provide a variety of legal services ranging from information on name changes in New York State to guidance on preparing healthcare proxies. If dancing’s more your thing, we

NYS joins HUD to fight housing discrimination The New York State Division of Human Rights (DHR) announced a partnership with The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to fight more than 60 cases of housing discrimination pending across the State. The partnership will provide DHR with $448,000 to ensure New York protects the rights of its residents. “New York State has proven it is a national leader on civil rights issues,” said Alphonso David, New York’s Deputy Secretary for Civil Rights. “This year, among other achievements, we enacted the toughest rent regulation laws in 30 years. We will continue to identify innovative ways to keep

encourage you to check out Come Out Dancin’s socials or Ballroom 101 (for youth only) at the GAGV Youth Center. Finally, if you missed the beautifully done, inspirational film We Were Here, about the AIDS epidemic in San Francisco at ImageOut last fall, we encourage you to join us for another free screening. These events only represent a few of our Health Month activities. For more detailed information about LGBT Health Month and a full list of events, check out our advertisement in this issue of the Empty Closet, contact Christina Miller of AIDS Care at (585) 210-4178, or visit our online listing at ■ (Legal from page 1) offer free screenings for people to see if their households qualify for public assistance, i.e. food stamps, Medicaid

our promise and ensure equal rights for all New Yorkers. The administration thanks HUD for its support and looks forward to continuing this strong partnership.” “I am delighted that the New York State Division of Human Rights was a major grant recipient under our Fair Housing Assistance Program,” said HUD Regional Administrator Adolfo Carrión. “These funds will serve to both assist New York State in ending all forms of housing discrimination, and help its communities and housing providers to better understand their fair housing rights and responsibilities, including those related to HUD’s new Equal Access to Housing regulation.” The funds will be used to finance the legal staff required to prosecute cases in State court. New York State’s Human Right Laws ensure fair housing practices by making it unlawful for anyone to be denied public and most types of private housing, be harassed or treated unequally in their home based upon age, disability, creed, race, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, marital or familial. DHR’s program is the second largest Fair Housing Assistance Program in the country.

Save the date: Equality & Justice Day is May 8 Equality & Justice Day is an annual Empire State Pride Agenda event providing a unique opportunity to show the strength and support of the LGBT community in Albany, and featuring a rally at the Capitol, workshops, caucuses and visits with elected representatives. It will take place on Tuesday, May 8. It is also the largest statewide gathering of the NYS movement, helping LGBT activists strengthen ties and build the coalitions so critical to advancing the goals of justice and equality. Early Bird registration is $15 and ends on March 9. In years past, thousands of activists have converged on Albany to lobby and rally for passage of the Marriage Equality Act, Dignity for All Students Act and Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA). ESPA executive director Ross Levi says, “As we gather for the first time since the historic passage of marriage, this year we’ll thank legislators who voted the marriage bill into law and focus on building support for transgender non-discrimination and the essential health and human services our community needs.”

Health Organ Donation: It’s OK to be Gay! By Dr. Christopher Barry I am not one to actively hold on to many resentments in my life, but I do resent that, since 1985, I have been pro-

and childcare assistance. They also assist seniors with Medicare issues and Social Security, and will speak with people about fair housing issues, and advise about unemployment insurance benefits.” Expo participants will include financial planners, life insurance professionals and representatives of the Rochester Police Department and the local chapter of the NYCLU. For transgender people, a lawyer will be present to teach about completing online applications for name changes. “We will have at least one defense attorney who can speak to DWI, divorce and other legal issues,” Clark said. “All of these things are important pieces of our well being. We think of Health Month in a very broad way – that’s why ImageOut will be showing a film – so people will be encouraged to get out and be active! “Throughout the day we’ll have 25 to 30 minute presentations on various topics such as why life insurance is important and how it can be used to pay for

3 hibited from donating blood because I am gay. My risk of having HIV, Hepatitis B, or Hepatitis C is not defined by who I am as a human being, but rather what high risk behaviors I may or may not engage in. Whether or not I have one of these viruses in my bloodstream is easily detected by highly sensitive tests that can not only show an immune response due to exposure (antibodies) but also show the presence of the virus itself (nucleic acid testing). So given that highly sensitive and specific tests exist today (and have existed for quite some time) that can prove that a person actually has one of these viruses floating around in their bodies, a sweeping ban on an entire group of men because they might be infected just seems rigid, shortsighted, and mean. I’ll step off that soapbox and get on another one that is near to my heart and is much more positive and hopeful. That is, if you’re a gay man and you want to donate one of your kidneys or a part of your liver to a loved one or dear friend, or if you wish to become an organ donor after you die, then it’s okay. Why the apparent disconnect between blood donation and organ donation? It’s because solid organ transplantation these days is so remarkably successful. (For lesbians reading this, the US government doesn’t have an issue with lesbians donating, but please read on because my overall message is to everyone, LGTBQI and straight!) People who would otherwise die from a failing heart or liver, or be burdened with constant dialysis treatments in the case of kidney failure can undergo a life saving and life transforming transplant with remarkably good success rates. The vast majority of organ transplant recipients (over 80 percent) enjoy long term survival and are able to return to their completely normal lives. This is because our antirejection medicines, our antiinfection medicines, and our surgical techniques have improved to the point where organ rejection is not nearly as common as before and even the sickest of patients can make it through the most complicated of surgeries. This miraculous success has resulted in transplantation’s number one problem: the donor organ shortage. There are far more people waiting on the list to receive organs than there are suitable organs available and many people die each day waiting on the list. Because donor organs, both from living and deceased individuals, are such precious resources, transplant professionals are, for the most part, quite willing to accept organs from “high risk” individuals (read: gay men and intravenous drug users) as long as there is no evidence of HIV infection. It’s actually illegal in this country to transplant an organ from an HIV+ individual, but that’s yet another soapbox and I’ll spare you stepping up on that one for the moment. So if the donor’s HIV antibody test (Organ continues page 6)

children’s college educations,” Clark continued. “There will be a presentation on housing discrimination which will include a role play showing how landlords sometimes treat different kinds of tenants differently. Sometimes it’s subtle, and it’s important to know what you’re dealing with. Someone will give a presentation on domestic violence issues and how to seek an order of protection.” For more information, call Clark at 244-8640 ext 19. ■ (NERP from page 1) recognition of Pride and increase understanding of the necessity for Pride events. Hardy said that the North East region is one of 10 InterPride regions around the world, and is number six on the list. He expects around 70 representatives from North East Pride groups to attend. Some of the larger Prides which are sending (NERP continues page 6)


the empty closet • the gay alliance of the genesee valley • number 454 • march 2012

NewsFronts national and international Maryland is third state to pass marriage in Feb. In a historic move, the Maryland House of Delegates on Feb. 17 approved marriage equality legislation introduced by Governor Martin O’Malley (D) that would allow committed gay and lesbian couples to marry. The vote was 70 to 67. By a vote of 7-4 on Feb. 21, Maryland’s Senate Judiciary Committee passed its marriage equality bill. Then the State Senate voted on Feb. 23 to pass the bill by a vote of 25 to 22. It goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2013. Opponents have pledged to it up for a popular vote before then. Last year, the same-sex marriage bill died on the House floor; a vote was not taken. “We could not be more grateful to the delegates who today voted to make all Maryland families stronger,” said Joe Solmonese, President of the Human Rights Campaign. “Today, we took a giant step toward marriage equality becoming law – and we are in this position due to the unwavering leadership and resolve of Governor O’Malley, Speaker Busch and our legislative allies.” The Civil Marriage Protection Act allows committed gay and lesbian couples to obtain a marriage license, while providing religious exemptions for churches and other religious institutions. Clergy, for example, do not have to perform any marriage they do not agree with. This legislative win for marriage equality comes at a historic moment: in February, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled California’s discriminatory Proposition 8 to be unconstitutional; Governor Christine Gregoire signed marriage equality into law in Washington State and a marriage bill passed the New Jersey legislature (and was promptly vetoed by Republican Gov. Christie; pro-equality groups have two years to override his veto). Six states and the District of Columbia recognize marriage equality, with Washington State’s law set to go into effect in June – unless anti-gay groups are able to get enough signatures on their referendum, in an attempt to overturn the bill in November.

Wash. governor signs marriage bill; opponents want Nov. referendum Gov. Christine Gregoire signed the Washington marriage equality bill at 11:30 a.m. on Feb. 13 and Washington becomes the seventh state to allow gay and lesbian

couples to marry, joining Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire and New York, as well as the District of Columbia, on the roster of freedom to marry jurisdictions. Or, almost -- as Laurel Ramseyer commented on Under normal circumstances the law would go into effect on June 7, with wedding celebrations starting immediately. However, if Washington, D.C.-based National Organization for Marriage is able to qualify a referendum for the November ballot by June 6, they will strip that joy and right from loving Washington couples until the results of the November, 2012 election are known. “So tomorrow we begin the business of carrying the bride of equality over the referendum threshold,” Ramseyer wrote. “But today, we CELEBRATE the passage of the bill by bipartisan votes of 28-21 in the Senate and 55-43 in the House, and the awesome leadership of Gov. Gregoire! Washington United for Marriage has a list of places around the state to celebrate Monday night. Don’t miss this opportunity to celebrate this hard-earned victory and enjoy the company of others who believe that all Washington families should be treated equally under the law.” “We thank Gov. Gregoire for her tremendous leadership in passing this landmark legislation,” said Lacey All, Chair of Washington United for Marriage. “From her moving remarks endorsing the legislation to her unwavering courage and commitment throughout the legislative process, the Governor has been a key ally in forming the bipartisan coalition that passed this bill. Without her years of dedication to equality, Washington’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community would not enjoy antidiscrimination protections, domestic partnerships or marriage equality. We owe her our heartfelt gratitude and sincerest thanks.” “We’re so excited to see this day finally come in Washington state,” said Lisa Brodoff and Lynn Grotsky, longtime partners from Olympia. “We’ve been watching for years as the momentum for marriage equality has spread across the country, and now we’re able to experience the overwhelming joy that so many others have felt. We know this fight is not yet over, but we’ll stand with our friends, family and neighbors to make sure that marriage equality is defended at the ballot in November.” “With the advancement of equality symbolized by the Governor’s signature today, I truly believe that God is smiling on the people of Washington state,”

said Rev. Mark Travis of Congregational Church on Mercer Island. “For too long, faith has been used as a means to divide us as a community, state and nation – a proposition I patently reject. My faith leads me to believe, as the Governor does, that we are One Washington, a state where everyone is treated with equal dignity and respect despite any differences we may have.” Opponents wishing to challenge the new law would have until June to collect 120,557 valid signatures – the amount required to place a referendum on the November 2012 ballot. Failure to do so would result in lesbian and gay couples being able to legally marry immediately following the passage of the deadline. If the referendum qualifies for November’s ballot, same-sex couples would not be permitted to marry until the outcome of that vote is known.

N.J. passes marriage equality; Christie’s veto may be overridden On Feb. 16 the New Jersey Assembly passed A. 1, the freedom to marry bill that could make New Jersey the eighth state in the nation to end the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage. On Feb. 13, the state Senate approved the legislation by a bipartisan vote of a 24-16. Republican Governor Chris Christie has vetoed the bill. Supporters of LGBT families have until Jan. 2014 to gain enough votes to override his veto. Evan Wolfson, founder and President of Freedom to Marry, stated, “Today’s win in New Jersey is a joyous advance for committed gay and lesbian couples in the Garden State, for their families, and for the entire community. In 2006, the New Jersey Supreme Court unanimously held that the constitution’s command of equality meant that the protections and responsibilities of marriage could no longer be denied to gay couples. After experimenting with a separate civil union mechanism, today the Legislature took note that marriage matters, and equal means equal, and voted in favor of the freedom to marry. “Sadly, Governor Chris Christie has planted his feet on the wrong side of history, and the wrong side of the majority for marriage in New Jersey and nationwide. If the governor sticks with his threat of a veto, Freedom to Marry will work throughout the entire remainder of the legislative session, supporting local families, leaders, and advocates as they make the case and win the extra handful of votes needed to override the veto and do right by these families. “We would not be here without the powerful leadership of Senate President Steve Sweeney, Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver, and Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg; and our partners and colleagues at Garden State Equality, led by Steven Goldstein, who have all worked tirelessly to end marriage discrimination in New Jersey.” Advocates and legislative leaders will

have until January 2014 to make the case to override the veto, as was done in Vermont in 2009. A Rutgers-Eagleton poll shows that 54 percent of New Jersey voters support the freedom to marry, and the momentum reflected in the vote is clear, given that just two years ago, on January 7, 2010, the State Senate rejected a marriage bill by a 20-14 vote with three abstentions. Rea Carey, Executive Director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, said, “This victory is a victory for New Jersey families. It affirms what millions of people across the country already know — loving, committed same-sex couples and their families should be able to join in the celebration and responsibilities of marriage. This marks an important step in the Garden State’s march toward marriage equality. It has been a long journey of changing hearts and minds, of breaking down walls, and of shining a spotlight on our common humanity. Gov. Chris Christie should take a stand for families by signing this bill. Thank you to the Legislature for its support, and congratulations to Garden State Equality and all those working so hard for marriage equality in New Jersey.” American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) Board President Chad Griffin issued the following statement: “New Jersey has taken a momentous step in defending the fundamental constitutional freedom to marry for all Americans. Separate is never equal – and the New Jersey Legislature recognized that today, setting an important example for the rest of the nation.” “Trenton’s two-year evolution from just missing the opportunity to give couples the freedom to marry to enthusiastically sending it to the governor’s desk this week has been remarkable, but we are far from achieving our ultimate goal: getting the bill signed into law,” said Deborah Jacobs, executive director of the ACLU of New Jersey. “Even if it takes until the end of this legislative session, we have faith that enough legislators will recognize a piece of themselves in the stories of gay and lesbian couples who simply want the chance to fulfill their lives together without their love declared ‘second-class.’” “The fact that this is the second legislature in a week to grant marriage protection to all couples is a profoundly welcome sign that Americans support fairness for all families,” said James Esseks, director of the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Project. “Committed couples deserve the security and dignity of knowing their families will have the same kind of protections that can only come with marriage.” NY City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn said, “The New Jersey legislature today sent the clear message that bigotry has no place in the laws that govern us. I applaud the State Assembly’s courage for supporting marriage equality, even in the face of opposition from Governor Chris Christie. I want to thank Garden State Equality and everyone who fought for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality in New Jersey.

march 2012 • number 454 • gay alliance of the genesee valley • the empty closet “Make no mistake: There is growing national momentum for marriage equality in this country, and we will not stop fighting for justice until every LGBT person is granted the right to marry the person they love. I urge Governor Chris Christie to stop playing politics and start following Governor Cuomo’s lead by putting equality first.” National Center for Lesbian Rights Executive Director Kate Kendell, Esq. stated, “It is a testament to the hard work of our New Jersey friends and the arc of justice that the New Jersey legislature has passed a marriage bill. Governor Chris Christie has said he will veto the bill, suggesting that the voters should decide the civil rights of their neighbors. This position is a thinly veiled dodge of his responsibilities as governor. We urge Gov. Christie to demonstrate the courage his office demands and sign the bill that the elected representatives of the people of New Jersey support. By doing so he will strengthen the families, culture, and future of his state.” helps same-sex couples find coverage, best options Americans are now able to use to search specifically for insurance plans that include coverage for domestic partners, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced Feb. 7. The Health Plan Finder tool on allows consumers to compare the cost sharing and benefit choices of health plans and choose the best option to meet their needs. As a part of the plan finder update, domestic partners, including same-sex couples, can now filter plans that offer coverage for all members of their family. “Last year, as part of our commitment to work with the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and be more responsive to the needs of these populations, we promised to improve the Health Plan Finder tool to give these individuals the ability to search for health plans that provide same-sex partner benefits.” said Secretary Sebelius. “Today we have delivered on that promise.” Consumers looking for information on same-sex partner coverage can also access\’s regular features, such as sorting based on enrollment, out-of-pocket expenses or other key categories. The same-sex partner filter is also available for small businesses looking for coverage for their employees. Studies have shown that a portion of the LGBT community is disproportionately uninsured, including those without access to coverage through a spouse, domestic partner or employer. This new filter helps address that issue by linking same-sex couples to carriers that provide benefits for their partners. “In the past, many same-sex couples have faced challenges searching for health coverage that suited their needs,” said Steve Larsen, director of the Center

for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight. “This tool will eliminate the guesswork, providing an enhanced resource for exploring insurance coverage.”, created by the Affordable Care Act, is the first of its kind to bring information and links to health insurance plans to one place, and to make it easy for consumers to learn about and compare their insurance options. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services worked to define and collect detailed benefits and premium rating information from insurers across the country to develop the site. New benefit specific information has also expanded its information on plan benefits. Previously, the website gave consumers information on a variety of benefits, including primary care office visits, specialist visits, X-ray/ lab work, hospitalization, emergency room visits, prescription coverage, mental health and substance abuse coverage, and maternity coverage. With this new update, consumers will have access to a more comprehensive list of benefits each plan offers along with the level of coverage provided. The benefits will be listed as covered, not covered, covered with limitations, or available for an additional premium. The new benefits include such things as home health services, in- and out-patient rehabilitation services, skilled nursing facilities, hospice services, dental care, infertility treatments and weight loss programs. In addition, provides extensive information about consumer rights, tips for how to navigate the market\’s complexities, and details on how the Affordable Care Act provides new protections for beneficiaries. To access the Insurance Finder, go to the home page of this website: www. and click on the blue tab “Find Insurance Options” at the top of the page. For more information on how the Affordable Care helps LGBT Americans have better access to stable, affordable health insurance and high quality health care, visit

Senate committee OKs inclusive Violence Against Women Act The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP), the nation’s only coalition of LGBTQ-specific anti-violence advocates, applauds the Senate Judiciary Committee for passing the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) on Feb. 2. For the first time, the Act includes specific protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. These provisions acknowledge the specific needs of LGBTQ survivors as underserved populations, create non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ sur-

vivors and increase state funds to address LGBTQ survivors’ safety and support. This bill recognizes that all survivors of violence deserve the same protections – and that LGBTQ people face barriers because of their sexual orientation and gender identity that must be addressed to move forward from violence and increase safety. When faced with violence, many LGBTQ survivors have nowhere to go. Only 1.5 percent of all victim services organizations in the U.S. are LGBTQ-specific. In a 2010 report with the National Center for Victims of Crime, NCAVP found that the vast majority of mainstream service providers and law enforcement do not have the programs or expertise they need to reach LGBTQ survivors of violence. The study showed that more than 90 percent of all mainstream providers were not engaged in outreach to the LGBTQ communities, lacked the cultural competency to effectively work with LGBTQ survivors or did not have relationships with LGBTQ-specific organizations. Even when LGBTQ survivors do reach out for support, they face widespread discrimination. In a 2011 NCAVP survey, 85 percent of service providers working with LGBTQ survivors reported that their clients were denied services such as shelter, crisis intervention, police or legal response, because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. VAWA, a bipartisan reauthorization bill, was introduced by Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Mike Crapo (R-ID). The inclusive VAWA will address the needs of LGBTQ survivors – as well as women survivors (lesbian, bi or straight) of the outof-control epidemic of heterosexual male violence against women.

Uganda, Russia consider or pass anti-gay bills Human Rights First condemns legislative efforts introduced last month in Uganda and Russia that aim to discriminate against and persecute lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) individuals. The group notes that from Kampala to Saint Petersburg, lawmakers around the world are trying to limit the rights of their own citizens who are gay. “While gay rights are generally advancing globally, more efforts must be made to push back against new restrictions that represent a backlash from those on the side of bigotry and intolerance,” said Human Rights First’s Paul LeGendre. “Our partners on the ground are telling us that the Ugandan bill was reintroduced in Parliament (on Feb. 7), and (on Feb. 8) legislators in Saint Petersburg passed a widely supported ‘Anti-Propaganda’ Bill targeting the LGBTI community.” LGBTI persons face very different realities in Russia and Uganda. Homosexuality is already illegal in Uganda and new legislation pending there would introduce life sentences for a range of homosexual acts and would penalize the vague notion

5 of “promotion of homosexuality” as well as require all known homosexuals to be reported. (The death sentence for “aggravated” homosexuality has not been ruled out, according to Box Turtle Bulletin, contradicting BBC reports.) In Russia, the proposed bill is discriminatory because of its serious restrictions on freedom of expression and assembly. Despite those differences, the parliamentarians who champion and support both bills – and others like them around the world -- are often driven by comparable political goals. They also voice a similar narrative, using homosexuality as a scapegoat for societal ills and economic struggles. “Even though Secretary Clinton announced in her landmark speech last year that LGBT rights are human rights, these pieces of legislation show that there is still a lot of work to be done to protect the LGBTI community internationally,” concluded LeGendre. “The simple coincidence of these two bills resurfacing in such different places is a signal that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex persons still face widespread violence and discrimination. We applaud the Secretary’s leadership and attention.”

Victory: 9th Circuit Court rules Prop 8 is unconstitutional After three years of Prop 8 weaving its way through the federal and California court system, on Feb. 7 the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals panel upheld Judge Vaughn Walker’s August 2010 ruling that Prop 8 is unconstitutional. Judge Stephen Reinhardt’s ruling stated that Prop 8 serves no purpose except to lessen the status and human dignity of LGBT Californians: “The Constitution simply does not allow for laws of this sort,” the judge wrote. The Court affirmed the ruling of former Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn R. Walker that Prop 8 discriminates against same-sex couples in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The court also rejected Prop 8 supporters’ argument that Judge Walker should have refused to preside over the case because he is gay and in a relationship with a man. The court ruled that Proposition 8 violates the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution because it “serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California, and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples.” The supporters of Prop 8 have 15 days to ask the Ninth Circuit panel to reconsider its decision or to ask for reconsideration by a larger panel of judges on that court. Alternatively, they have 90 days to request that the Supreme Court of the United States review the case. The proponents of Prop 8 are likely to appeal this decision to the Roberts Supreme Court. A ( Victory continues page 6)


page one (NERP continued from page 3) representatives include New York City, Pittsburgh, Ottawa and Boston, and other areas include Connecticut, New Jersey, Long Island and Rhode Island. Workshops and presentations will take place on Friday and Saturday, with the dinner, show and dance on Saturday night. All events take place at the Rochester Radisson Riverside. City Council member Matt Haag will speak on Friday and NYS Assemblymember Harry Bronson will also address the conference. Organizers plan three Pride “Triages” or roundtables, each of which will deal with three topics. Michael Hardy said, “Basically a triage is a sharing session among people at different levels of planning Pride.” Questions might include “Who is your best volunteer and why?”, “What processes are working for you?” and “How do you book entertainment?” Hardy added, “We will also have local people like Dresden Engle doing a workshop on PR and marketing, and Margaret Reichart from the City of Rochester, leading a panel discussion with a Rochester police officer and an EMT on public safety issues.” To register for the workshops, people are asked to apply on the day; the cost is $50 for the entire conference. The dinner, show and dance cost $45 and will run from 6-11:30 p.m., also at the Radisson. The show and dance only are $20. All proceeds will benefit Rochester Pride 2012, July 6-15. The dinner begins with a reception and cash bar from 6:30-7:15, and the dinner will run from 7:30-8:30, with the show starting at around 8 p.m. Jessica Sutta, former Pussycat Doll, is the headliner, and the show will also include the Rochester Gay Men’s Chorus and Buffalo’s hilarious Dykes of Hazard, featuring former GAGV staffer Rebecca Newberry, who has just come out with her first CD. DJ Chuck Argento will provide music for the dance, from 8:30-11 p.m. What do attendees hope to gain and share at the conference, and why is Pride still important to the LGBT rights movement? The Empty Closet questioned several people who will be attending. Sherri Rase of Jersey Pride, and director of InterPride Region 6, told The Empty Closet, “First, it is important to attend NERP conferences to take advantage of other people’s experiences. There is no substitute for experience, but if someone has had success with a particular way of doing things, or if they have discovered that approaching a task a bit differently would yield a better result then most of us would rather learn from someone else’s success. In this day and age of internet interaction, there is still no substitute for the face-to-face networking and the chemistry of personal interaction. “Second, while I’ve been working to

the empty closet • the gay alliance of the genesee valley • number 454 • march 2012 organize Pride celebrations for 20 years now, there are still new perspectives for me to learn that help me come from what Buddhist friends call ‘the beginner’s mind’. Anything you do for a long period of time could lead you to become jaded. Seeing organization tasks freshly is a huge benefit. What I hope to teach is the strategies that have worked for me in working with people and tasks and share the ways that I would do things differently with the benefit of hindsight. We are all on a continuum and we always have opportunities to learn and to teach. “Pride is as important today as it has been since the first men and women discovered they loved along gender lines. It is as important as it will be once people in the United States and around the world have all the same rights as our heterosexual counterparts. While our sexuality is one part of who we are, it is a part that deserves as much honor as all of our talents, interests and desires. While “Pride” means one thing to us, the human trait of being fully everything you are is not only intoxicating, it is necessary.” Keri Aulita of Boston Pride commented, “The Regional Conferences of InterPride provide the opportunity for organizers to network, share best practices, and socialize with their colleagues, three very important ingredients to staying engaged, educated and supported in the business of Pride planning. “Delegates coming for the first time will be amazed at how similar the challenges are and will find solidarity and enlightenment by engaging with their peers. Folks who have been on the Pride planning and conference scene for a while will catch up with old friends, be re-energized and learn a new trick or two. These are all learning and teaching moments. “While there are many places, especially in the Northeast corner of the United States, that are increasingly more accepting of the LGBT community having a place at the table, until we can replace ‘increasingly’ with ‘unequivocally’ and use that term to describe every town, city, school, church, office building, supermarket, public accommodation, all places, everywhere, then we are not truly free, and there is no true justice. And we must still march and demonstrate until that time comes.” More information is available at www. ■

health (Organ continued from page 3) and the HIV nucleic acid test (the ultrasensitive molecular test that looks for the actual presence of virus in the blood) are negative, we will routinely accept these organs and offer them to patients willing to accept the extremely low chance that these tests were wrong. Many people awaiting transplant accept these organs after thorough and thoughtful conversations with

their transplant doctors and the results are uniformly excellent. There are very rare, horribly unfortunate instances when a transplant recipient becomes infected with something (HIV, Hepatitis C, rabies, parasites, and even prions) after receiving an organ that was supposedly thoroughly tested. These isolated cases get a lot of press. Sensational press, because it’s not supposed to happen. But the vast majority of these cases happen as a result of human error and, yes, we doctors are human. For example, a kidney transplant recipient at an experienced and prominent transplant center in New York City became infected with HIV after receiving a kidney from a living donor who had previously tested antibody negative for HIV, but became infected immediately prior to the transplant. This tragedy could have been avoided by performing HIV nucleic acid testing on the donor the day before surgery so that the new infection would have been detected and the surgery aborted. We always perform nucleic acid testing on deceased donors and, now, everyone does this with living donors too. That’s a hard way to learn a lesson, but it emphasizes the humanity of our profession. Nothing is 100 percent certain and no one is 100 percent perfect. Not even transplant surgeons. The point is that with careful consideration of all variables, meticulous testing to minimize risk, and open and honest communication between patient and caregiver, the potential benefit of using an organ from a “high risk” donor far outweighs the risks. So what if you’re thinking about becoming an organ donor but you’re not quite sure? I submit to you that we don’t just die; we live on in our actions and deeds. We can be remembered by what we did in our lives and the gifts we left after our passing. You have the opportunity to share your life when you pass by being an organ donor. Leaving such a legacy not only directly touches the recipients of your organs, but all of the family members and loved ones surrounding the recipients of your gifts. You have the power to participate in the cycle of life. Also to consider is organ donation from a living person to a transplant recipient. What if your friend, loved one, or family member needed a kidney transplant or a liver transplant? Would you be willing to donate one of your kidneys or a part of your liver? This is a difficult question to consider and takes courage to address. The answer may be no, but taking the time and energy to seriously consider such a question is in itself an act of compassion and maturity. There is a small part of me that considers my registering to become an organ donor a political act: I’m a gay man, I’m worthy, I can contribute to society and do good things just like everyone else thank you very much. But the bigger part of me considers the spiritual aspect of organ donation: it is the ultimate way of sharing my life with others and honoring the sanctity of life. What is the most important thing you can do when you leave this earth? You can save someone else’s life. You can BE life, you can BE the miracle of organ donation. Talk to your family and loved ones. Register to become an organ donor. Leave a legacy. facebook: web:

national and international ( Victory continued from page 5) stay on resumption of legal same sex marriages is in place until these matters have been resolved. Background In response to a 2008 decision by the California Supreme Court ending marriage discrimination in the state, anti-equality forces succeeded in placing a constitutional amendment on the November ballot. Despite over 18,000 same-sex couples having married, California voters adopted

the amendment, known as Proposition 8. After the California Supreme Court determined in 2009 that the adoption of Prop 8 did not itself violate the California Constitution, two plaintiff couples -- Kris Perry and Sandy Stier and Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo – filed suit against the State of California in federal court, represented by attorneys Ted Olson and David Boies and supported by the American Foundation for Equal Rights. The proponents of Prop 8 intervened in the case to defend the constitutionality of the amendment. Judge Walker held a historic trial in January, in which the plaintiffs presented substantial testimony and evidence to show that Prop 8’s only purpose is to discriminate against same-sex couples. His historic decision in August 2010 was appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Partner of 40 years dies just before ruling When the California Supreme Court decided it would take six months to offer its advice to the 9th Circuit, thus adding nearly a year to the process, the Courage Campaign asked members to submit their stories on what the delay meant to them and their families. Three hundred stories came in, including one from Ed Watson and Derence Kernek in Palm Springs, a couple for over 40 years. Ed had Alzheimer’s and his health was quickly deteriorating. A video of their story prompted a front page Los Angeles Times story. Ironically, Ed died on the eve of the last Prop 8 hearing in the 9th Circuit. “The decision made by the 9th Circuit, to be honest, is a bittersweet one for me,” said Mr. Kernek, who still lives in Palm Springs. “I know that my partner of 41 years, Ed, would’ve been thrilled to have heard the news. He missed it by less than two months because he passed away in December. Even as he took his last dying breaths, Ed spoke of wanting to marry me. Even though he did not get his last wish, I am heartened to know that other gay couples who love each other will be able to take sacred vows and fully commit their lives to one another. And that makes it a glorious day for gay people in California.” Evan Wolfson, founder and President of Freedom to Marry, stated, “Today’s powerful court ruling striking down the infamous Prop 8 affirms basic American values and helps tear down a discriminatory barrier to marriage that benefits no one while making it harder for people to take care of their loved ones. The Ninth Circuit rightly held that a state simply may not take a group of people and shove them outside the law, least of all when it comes to something as important as the commitment and security of marriage. We salute the American Foundation for Equal Rights, which brought this challenge to Prop 8. “This monumental appellate decision restores California to the growing list of states and countries that have ended exclusion from marriage, and will further accelerate the surging nationwide majority for marriage. As this and other important challenges to marriage discrimination move through the courts around the country, Freedom to Marry calls on all Americans to join us in ensuring that together we make as strong a case in the court of public opinion as our legal advocates are making in the courts of law.” Ross D. Levi, Executive Director of the Empire State Pride Agenda, said, “It is very heartening that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in California agrees that all loving committed couples should be able to marry and their families offered the same legal protections as others. In New York State, more than a decade of work resulted in our marriage win, and we have seen only positive effects from loving samesex couples being able to marry - from the income generated by their weddings to the legal protections afforded to these families to the outpouring of joy as New Yorkers have seen their friends, family and neighbors publicly declare their love and commitment to each other. We must be vigilant in defending our victory here in the Empire State. All of the New York State legislators – Democrats and Repub-

march 2012 • number 454 • gay alliance of the genesee valley • the empty closet licans, Senators and Assemblymembers -who voted for marriage are up for election this November. As a community, we must flex our political muscle in standing by those who stood by us. “We also must remember that while our win here in New York has given us access to over a thousand protections and responsibilities for our families, we need to be treated as married by our federal government as well in order to access the important protections it provides, from Social Security benefits to immigration to equal federal taxation. Today’s decision is an important step in achieving that equality, not only as New Yorkers, but as Americans.” Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman said, “Today’s decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirming the unconstitutionality of Proposition 8 is a victory for equal justice under law. Despite the many barriers to full equality, this decision represents a major step forward for couples seeking the freedom to marry. My office will continue to stand up for the fundamental guarantee of equal protection under law for all New Yorkers, and lead the path to fairness and equality for all Americans.” “This is a wonderful victory not only for same-sex couples, but for everyone who

values fairness and dignity for all families,” said James Esseks, director of the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Project. “Same-sex couples want to marry for the same reasons others do – to make a solemn commitment to their partners and to protect their families. It’s cruel for any state to bar them from marriage, and today’s decision confirms that it’s unconstitutional as well.” “The best thing we can do to support this case is to continue working for greater protections for LGBT families in as many additional states as possible,” said Elizabeth Gill, staff attorney for the LGBT Project at the ACLU of Northern California. “We’ll celebrate this ruling, and then put that momentum toward important battles we’re facing this year.” The ACLU is working in coalition with other organizations to secure the freedom to marry across the country, including passing marriage bills in Maryland and Washington state, passing a voter initiative in Maine that would allow same-sex couples to marry and defeating proposed anti-marriage amendments in Minnesota and North Carolina. Mayors Michael Bloomberg of New York City, Annise Parker of Houston, Jerry Sanders of San Diego, and Anto( Victory continues page 12)

The Empty Closet is seeking a reliable, energetic self-starter to sell advertising for a rather generous commission.

Quite simple actually: Sell ads, make money. For information, phone Susan Jordan at 244-9030 or e-mail:



Cathy Marino Thomas and Brian Silva. Photo: Ove Overmyer

Brian Silva and Cathy Marino-Thomas of MENY and MEUSA By Susan Jordan Most LGBT New Yorkers realized, even in their joy at last summer’s victory in New York State, that the victory was only a partial one, and that homophobic bigotry, funded by millions of dollars, still blocks national recognition of our legal marriages. Marriage Equality New York (MENY) is now merging with Marriage Equality USA (MEUSA), as part of a national coalition seeking to overthrow the “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA) – the rightwing legislation that was created to prevent federal recognition of our families. Brian Silva, the new director of MENY/MEUSA, and Cathy MarinoThomas of the Board came to Rochester on Feb. 16 to meet with local activists and the LGBT community (see page 1). They talked to The Empty Closet about the ongoing struggle and the heartening progress marriage equality is making all over the country, with recent victories in Washington, Maryland and New Jersey (although marriage there is being delayed by anti-gay forces), and the progress being made in states like Colorado and Illinois, where equality bills are pending. Brian Silva said, “We’re part of the new federal marriage coalition – the Respect for Marriage Coalition – that includes the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Freedom to Marry, the Human Rights Campaign and around 50 organizations, including labor groups. “The goal is obviously the repeal of DOMA and federal recognition of marriage, and each organization in the coalition will bring its own strengths and focus.” The coalition formed in February and the process of merging and working out specifics is still ongoing. “What’s clear now,” Silva said, “is that a broad spectrum of national organizations are in agreement to dedicate resources to federal marriage equality. We just had a series of national events on Valentine’s Day – mostly local couples asking for marriage licenses and being refused, which brought visibility to the issue. Also we’re working in New Hampshire (where Republicans have dropped their drive to repeal that state’s marriage equality law, for the time being) and in New Jersey, where we’re cooperating with groups like HRC.” Cathy Marino Thomas said, “I think the struggle is moving in a positive way, with states moving in that direction, legislators signing on to marriage equality acts. But we know never to take anything for granted! You have to keep the pressure on, both in the state-by-state fight and in federal repeal of DOMA. “We’re way ahead of the curve on civil rights. But if you want to be equal you have to take action. It won’t happen unless we get out there and let everyone know what’s going on. This is not the time to

stay in the closet. Come to events and bring your friends and family, bring your clergyman! If we don’t put all our efforts into this, we may be heading into another Dark Age. Enough of saying ‘I can’t do this’! The work’s not over.” Brian Silva said, “We have a plan to galvanize the grassroots, so they can help their brothers and sisters in other states. The first thing is, we work in partnership. It’s not about ‘the MEUSA plan’ – we’ve seen here in New York that isn’t successful. You have to work together as part of a larger team. Our job as MEUSA is, as always, to educate on why marriage is important. “New York started it by pulling Republican legislators into seeing that this is about civil rights. There is Republican support in New Hampshire, New Jersey and Washington – all had support from Republicans – although not as many as we would like.” What can members of the Rochester community do to gain federal recognition for their own families and help LGBT people in other states? Silva said, “There’s work you can do in your own community to help others. We will also go into communities across the country which don’t have gay organizations, or don’t have the resources to be successful. And we go with the attitude, ‘It’s not about us telling you what to do – we’re asking, what do you need?’ “We have a sign up sheet for people to do phone banking, which they can do at home, or in groups at local community centers. We have a national all-volunteer staff around the country. And although we are an all-volunteer group with little overhead, we do have expenses, so we also ask folks to give what they can.” Cathy Marino Thomas said, “Every dollar that comes in goes to the cause. We have expenses, but nothing frivolous. Brian and I paid for this trip to Rochester ourselves.” All MEUSA volunteers also hold jobs of their own and fit intense activism into their already crowded lives. Marino Thomas emphasized, “We won in New York, but we still have a fight ahead of us. If you want it you have to go out and get it! Brian can build it, but people have to come.” The two described the situation in New Jersey, where the Right has brought in “ex-gays” to testify that they “got over homosexuality” and therefore gays don’t need civil rights – they can just choose to become straight. “We’re fighting for our very lives,” Marino Thomas said, “and we need to keep our eyes on the prize and keep going forward. We’re winning – we will have 10 states with legal marriage by 2013. I’m making that leap of faith.” Brian Silva noted, “The argument in favor of equality wins in the end. There is no easy or quick answer and that’s frustrating at times, but the road ahead is promising.” ■ (More at


the empty closet • the gay alliance of the genesee valley • number 454 • march 2012

march 2012 • number 454 • gay alliance of the genesee valley • the empty closet

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the empty closet • the gay alliance of the genesee valley • number 454 • march 2012

Making the Scene

Red Ball: The Gay Alliance’s Red Ball on Feb. 11 was a huge success. It was held in the Cathedral Room at the Auditorium Center. Above right: Youth group members Elaine, Richele, Alyssa, and Mary. Photos: Karen Wilkins

Queen of Hearts: Scenes from the Queen of Hearts pageant at One Restaurant, 1 Ryan Alley, on Feb. 12. Photos: Jeff Mills

march 2012 • number 454 • gay alliance of the genesee valley • the empty closet


Bill Schaefer.

THANK YOU TO OUR DONORS: GAGV Board president John Altieri speaks at the Gay Alliance donor event on Jan. 26. The party took place at the Memorial Art Gallery. Photos: Gerry Szymanski

KaeLyn and Waffle at their June 2011 wedding ceremony at the First Unitarian Church.

My Own Private Rochester: KaeLyn Rich and Zach Waffle By Susan Jordan KaeLyn Rich is Genesee Valley Chapter Director of the NYCLU. She is married to Zach Waffle, who works for Wegman’s distribution center (warehouse) as a case picker. When asked why Rochester is special to her, KaeLyn says, “Being a super feminist, I am, of course, thrilled to live in the city that Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglas called home. We have an amazing civil rights and activist legacy in Rochester that is echoed in the fight for rights today.” Waffle chimes in, “We both love Planned Parenthood of the Rochester/Syracuse Region, not only because Kae worked there, but because they provide vital services. Reproductive justice and LGBTQ rights are strongly con-

nected and we care about both a lot.” They also both love the First Unitarian Church, where they are members. “Neither of us has ever described ourselves as religious, but when we first came to Rochester, we checked out the church on a whim (actually, because we wanted to use it for an activist event) and just got sucked into their social justice philosophy. They do amazing work locally and have helped us connect with our deeper selves.” Waffle adds, “Oh, and we love ImageOut. It’s our ministaycation every October.” ImageOut tops their list of favorite local events. KaeLyn says, “I joined the board in 2008 for one term, then took a break, and am back on this year. But we have been patrons of the festival since we moved here. Waffle adds, “In fact, I came to Rochester with friends when I was in college (at SUNY Oswego) to see ImageOut films years before we moved here.”

They also love musical theatre. “Geva is a really great theatre,” Waffle said. “We’ve been so impressed with the shows they put on — especially the musicals.” KaeLyn adds, “And the NextStage shows, too. I love that Geva brings quality work to Rochester and also supports the local theatre scene. There are so many talented and interesting theatre companies in Rochester.” As far as restaurants, Waffle says, “We like to eat. We eat out a lot. Food is definitely something we waste a lot of money on.” KaeLyn adds, “Yeah, and being vegan, there are lots of options that cater both to me and my meat-eating spousal unit.” Some of their favorite places for cheap eats are Dogtown, Sticky Lips, Aladdin’s, California Rollin’, Sol Burrito and India House, for their lunch buffet. Waffle says, “And of course, Wegmans food bar with the ridiculously cool Coke machine. In general, we spend a lot of time in the Southwedge and Upper Monroe neighborhoods. Our fav park is definitely Highland.” KaeLyn says, “I’m a WNYer for life. I grew up in Sheridan, N.Y., which is a tiny blip of a town in rural Chautauqua County.” Waffle grew up in Phoenix, just outside of Syracuse. “Not Arizona. We moved here mostly because KaeLyn accepted a job promotion at Planned Parenthood that included a move to the Rochester office.” KaeLyn: “Yeah, Waffle was the traveling spouse. But we both grew attached to Rochester soon after moving — which was surprising. I grew up near Buffalo and Waffle grew up near Syracuse, so we didn’t think Rochester would be much different, but we were totally surprised.” Waffle says, “There’s just a lot more going on in Rochester and a much healthier queer community.” Asked what they do for

L-R: Ove Overmyer, Harry Bronson, Bruce Woolley, Garnetta Ely, Jason and Erik Libey.

amusement on a Saturday night, Waffle replies, “Honestly, we are probably eating a huge meal somewhere, then coming home and catching up on reality TV.” KaeLyn adds, “Or we get together with friends for potlucks or game nights or coffee or whatever. We’re pretty low-key these days. We do like to go to the movies or see theatre shows on the weekends when we have the time.” Waffle: “If we’re both home. We both work two jobs, so finding time when we’re both available is a challenge in and of itself.” Waffle would take out of town visitors to “the Strong Museum of Play — hands down. There is no shame in playing in the life-size Sesame Street with a bunch of adults.” KaeLyn, on the other hand, would take people first of all to Pittsford Wegmans. “I’m one of those people.” The two live in the Lock 66 neighborhood right now, having just moved there last June. “Our first and most beloved apartment was on Laburnam Crescent in the Upper Monroe neighborhood. We love the Upper Monroe and Swillburg area,” Waffle says. KaeLyn adds, “In fact, we are buying a house very soon and moving back into the Swillburg/ Upper Monroe area. It’s our

favorite neighborhood because it is in the city limits — it’s close to everything — but it feels like a real residential area. There is a nice mix of single family and multi-family homes and lots of small families, couples, and young professionals. And dogs! Lots of cute dogs.” The couple has had lots of “furkids” over their seven years together. “Kitty, our spoiled cat, is the eldest,” KaeLyn says. “She’s been with Waffle since college. We’ve also had lots of small animals.” Waffle adds, “We have two guinea pigs and two bunnies right now. We’ve had a handful of rats over the years — which are really smart, social pets.” Both partners believe in volunteering and contributing to causes and groups they support. Waffle says, “We give to ImageOut, the First Unitarian Church, the New York Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood of the Rochester/ Syracuse Region, mainly. And other small donations, but those are the four we focus on.” KaeLyn serves on the founding board of Connect & Breathe (a locally-based national nonjudgmental afterabortion talkline) and ImageOut. “We volunteer for different things from time to time, especially LGBTQ-related stuff,” she says. ■


the empty closet • the gay alliance of the genesee valley • number 454 • march 2012

Opinion Taking Financial Responsibility: What’s Your Game Plan? By Michael Stephens How’s your financial strategy coming along? That old adage, “People don’t plan to fail, they fail to plan,” can be especially true when it comes to finances. And, given the current economy, the best time to start taking control of your finances is today. Being financially responsible doesn’t just happen. It’s a conscious decision you make to live within your means. Slowly, U.S. consumers may be catching on. A nationwide survey on the financial state of U.S. households, conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers, found only 13 percent of households are currently saving seven percent or more of their disposable income, although fully 36 percent of households expect to save at this level in 5 to 10 years.1 While that trend may be encouraging, there remains ample room for improvement. It’s Never Too Late to Plan No matter what stage of life you’re in, you should have a strategy that helps meet your current financial needs while creating a path to help you reach longterm financial goals. Whether you’re just starting out or nearing retirement, a strategy is necessary, and the good news is no matter what your age, it’s never too late to start. A proactive approach now can help avoid heartaches and disappointments later on. Consider the following scenarios: If you’re single and just starting out, it’s never too soon to start a savings plan. By just saving a small amount

national and international

today, you can make a huge difference later on. What financial goals can you set today to help make your dreams a reality? If you’re the head of a new household, perhaps with a new baby, how do you protect your family’s standard of living in case anything happens to you or your spouse? If you died today, how would your family manage financially? If you have young children, it’s never too early to start saving for their college expenses. How can you start a college education fund so they won’t be burdened with student loans and can attend the college of their choice? If you’re thinking about retirement, consider what amount of your current income you can allocate into retirement savings vehicles, such as 401(k) plans, IR As and other investments. With retirement possiblylasting 20 or 30 years, the more resources you have the more likely you’ll be able to enjoy it. Do you want to just get by or be financially comfortable so you can enjoy life with your family and friends? No matter where you are in life, a financial strategy is a necessity. With a proper strategy, you’ll always be in a better position to help achieve your financial goals, whether it’s buying a home, driving a new car or retiring. This educational third-party article is being provided as a courtesy by Michael Stephens, New York Life Insurance Company. For additional information on the information or topic(s) discussed, please contact Michael Stephens at mstephens@ft.newyorklife. com or (585) 641-6829. ■

( Victory continued from page 7) nio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles, who are all Chairs of Mayors for the Freedom to Marry, the bipartisan group of more than 130 mayors from across the nation who have pledged their support for ending marriage discrimination against gay and lesbian couples, released the following statement: “As Mayors for the Freedom to Marry, we know how important marriage is to our neighborhoods, our cities, and our nation. When committed couples are able to pledge their love to one another and share in the responsibilities and protections of marriage, our communities flourish and our cities are more competitive. Today’s decision by the 9th Circuit reaffirms that the American Dream is possible for everyone and brings us one step closer to ending marriage discrimination once and for all. We look forward to a day when all of our citizens will be able to share fairly and equally in the freedom to marry.” Rochester Mayor Tom Richards is also a member of the Mayors for the Freedom to Marry group. Interfaith Alliance praised the decision of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals declaring California’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. Interfaith Alliance President Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy issued the following statement in response to the ruling: “Today’s decision by the 9th Circuit declaring that California’s ban on samesex marriage violates the U.S. Constitution is good for marriage, it is good for religion and it is good for the people of California. How the government defines marriage must be rooted in the Constitution – as is this decision. Doing so in no way inhibits the right of a church or other house of worship to base its definition on religious doctrine. “To the religious institutions that would attempt to redefine the inherent concept of religious freedom by arguing that today’s ruling somehow diminishes religious freedom, Interfaith Alliance holds that in fact, the ruling makes very clear that legalizing same sex marriage has no impact whatsoever on religious freedom. A church that opposes same sex marriage is under no more legal pressure to perform such unions now than it was before the ruling. In fact, no religion would ever be required to condone samegender marriage, and no member of the clergy would ever be required to perform a wedding ceremony not in accordance with his or her religious beliefs. While I hope that those who oppose same sex marriage will eventually change their position, they are under no legal requirement to do so, but neither should they stand in the way of those of us who embrace marriage equality. “While we are sure that supporters of Proposition 8 will appeal the ruling, we hope today’s decision will be upheld, enshrining marriage equality for same-sex couples in the State of California – and paving the way for the rest of the country to follow its lead.”

200 honor slain trans woman in D.C. More than 200 people turned out for a candlelight vigil Feb. 7 at the site of a Northeast Washington bus stop where transgender woman Deoni Jones, 23, was fatally stabbed on Feb. 2 while waiting for a bus. Surrounded by family members and friends, Jones’ stepfather, Alvin Bethea, made an emotional appeal for witnesses to come forward to identify a male suspect that police believe stabbed Jones in the face about 8:15 p.m. at the bus stop at East Capitol St. and Sycamore Rd. N.E. Police said that a video they released Feb. 3 showing the suspect crossing a street from a distance prompted several people to contact investigators with infor-

mation that is helping the department’s Homicide Branch in its investigation of the murder. The video, which has been posted on YouTube, doesn’t clearly show the suspect’s face. But police said they were hopeful that someone who knows the person in question would recognize him in the video and reveal his identity to police homicide investigators. A makeshift memorial for Deoni Jones has been set up by loved ones at the bus stop where her murder took place. A police spokesperson said, “At this time we are still investigating if it is or is not a hate crime. And as the investigation proceeds we should probably get a better idea of whether that was a factor in the assault.” Police issued a statement on Feb. 3 saying a citizen flagged down a Metro transit police officer about 8:15 p.m. on Feb. 2 to report an assault at a bus stop on the 4900 block of East Capitol Street, N.E. “Upon arrival, the officer located a transgender female who was unconscious and unresponsive suffering from a stab wound,” the statement said. “Units from the Sixth District and D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services personnel responded to the scene. The victim was transported to a local hospital and admitted in critical condition,” the statement said. “On Friday, Feb. 3, 2012, at 2:35 a.m., the victim was pronounced dead,” the statement said. The D.C. Trans Coalition released a statement on Feb. 3 saying it had learned through its own sources that a third person was at the bus stop when the stabbing took place and chased after the attacker. The statement said the attacker escaped when the witness realized that Jones was in need of immediate medical attention and abandoned his pursuit of the attacker. -The Washington Blade

Sweden will end trans sterilization On Feb. 18 the conservative Christian Democrats. members of the governing coalition in Sweden and the primary obstacle to ending the policy of forced sterilizations of trans people, went public with a decision to reverse their position. “It’s time to abolish the requirement for sterilization at sex change,” leaders of the Christian Democrats wrote in an opinion piece published in the Swedish press. The current law forces transgender persons in Sweden to undergo sterilization before legally changing their gender. The surgery renders a person permanently infertile and unable to have children. “This is an incredible news for Sweden: it means that anyone will be able to have their true identity recognized without having to be sterilized,” says Ulrika Westerlund, President of the Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights. “It’s crucial that the new law comes into place as soon as possible.” The announcement come after several years of mobilization in Sweden, followed by a massive international outcry coordinated by, a global alliance of over 850,000 straight, gay, lesbian, bi and trans people. The global campaign to stop forced sterilization in Sweden was the largest online campaign in history supporting human rights for transgender people. Since January, the international campaign coordinated by generated incredible energy on an issue that rarely receives coverage in mainstream media outlets. After 50,000 Europeans called on Swedish Prime Minister Reinfeldt to take a clear stand against forced sterilization, one news article rose to the top of, a popular social news aggregator, receiving more than 150,000 views and generating thousands of comments.’s video of Love, a young Swedish transgender man directly impacted by the law has also become an international sensation, generating more than 50,000 views in a few days. ■

march 2012 • number 454 • gay alliance of the genesee valley • the empty closet



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the empty closet • the gay alliance of the genesee valley • number 454 • march 2012

march 2012 • number 454 • gay alliance of the genesee valley • the empty closet

Shoulders to Stand On From Bob Osborne to John Altieri, Gay Alliance Leadership remains strong By Evelyn Bailey In 1970, Bob Osborne, Larry Fine, Patti Evans, RJ Alcala, Karen Hagberg, Marshall Goldman, Rosanne Leipzeig, Debbie Lestz and others came together around LGBT issues and our community. These individuals were the movers and shakers of the Gay Liberation Front at the University of Rochester. In 1973, Whitey LeBlanc (first President of the Gay Alliance of the Genesee Valley), Jay Baker (first editor of The Empty Closet), Mark Hull (owner of the Brown Street property), and the Coordinating Council oversaw the transition of the organization from the U of R Campus to Brown Street. In 1974, the first elected officers of the GAGV were installed: Michael Robertson, Robert Crystal, William Glave, Vince DiSchino, Phil Garbus, John Cook, Howard Cullen, and Tim Mains. Today, 42 years later, the GAGV’s Board is larger in size, diversified in experience, and comprised of LGBT people and straight allies alike: John Altieri, President; Bruce Gorman, Secretary; Carrie Vernon, Treasurer and Co-Chair of Pride; Evelyn Bailey, Chair of Shoulders to Stand On and Membership; Jason Barnecut, Chair of Finance Committee; Ralph Carter, Chair of Operating Policies and Procedures Committee and IT consultant; Sue Cowell, Executive Director; Nan Fry and Brian Hurlburt, Rainbow Sage; Michael Hardy, Chair NERP 2012; Chris Hildebrandt, Finance Committee; Emily Jones, Chair Development Committee and responsible for the 2011 $25,000 Challenge Grant and 2011 Annual Report; Jeff Markarian, Co-Chair

ger Lakes Region. Throughout our history, the volunteer shoulders of the Board have stood up to the challenges of hatred, bigotry, discrimination and inequality, and to the challenges of our changing economic

21 climate. The volunteer shoulders of the Board have also stood up for our rights as a community to be free and equal under the law. This remains the case today. Shoulders To Stand On is proud to recognize the members of the 2012 GAGV Board for their energy, talent, time, and unwavering dedication and commitment to the mission of the Gay Alliance. ■

History Corner: In Honor of Women’s History Month

Pride Picnic; Peter Mohr, Pride Committee and Sponsorships; Jessica Muratore, Co-Chair Strategic Planning Committee; Tom Privitere; Bill Schaefer, Co-Chair Pride Parade, Membership Committee; Joseph Searles, Co-Chair Strategic Planning Committee; Julia Green Sewruk, communications and our newest members, Steve Santacroce and David Zona. In 1970, the shoulders of leadership created the Gay Liberation Front. In 1974, the shoulders of leadership created the GAGV. Today in 2012 the shoulders of leadership are creating a more financially stable, economically viable, and community-supported agency that continues to meet the unique needs of the LGBT community of Greater Rochester and the Fin-

Excerpts from March, 1977 Calendar of the New Women’s Times (feminist newspaper published in Rochester by local women from 1975-1984) March 15-17, Tuesday–Thursday: The Loves of Betsy Ross, by Arlene Brent Fanale, winner of 1976 GeVa Playwriting contest. Lunch time theatre at 12:15 p.m. March 16, Wednesday: • “Lesbian Oppression & Anger,” an open discussion for women. Lesbian Resource Center, 713 Monroe Ave., 7:30 p.m. • Rochester N.O.W. Open rap on discrimination against minorities. “Divorce, Separation, and the Single Parent Family”, Sponsor Rochester Mental Health, open to the public at Rochester General hospital, 7:30 – 9:30 p.m. • Women in Media,” Genesee Valley NOW program with Virginia Bacheler, Cheryl Gould, & Wyoma Best; Unitarian Church, 8 p.m. “The Eleanor Roosevelt Story,” WXXI Channel 21, 9:30 p.m. March 19, Saturday: • “Portrait Of Women,” vignette series dealing with biblical & historical women, performed by the Bat Kol Players & presented B’nai B’rith Hillel & NTID. NTID Theatre, RIT Campus, 7:30 p.m. March 24, Thursday: Coalition for Battered Women meeting, YWCA, 175 N. Clinton Ave., 12 noon.


the empty closet • the gay alliance of the genesee valley • number 454 • march 2012

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 The Best Part of Being Sick By Eric Bellmann Tuesday I worked out with my trainer at the gym. I have no hope that any of this effort will ever have a visible effect. Wednesday and Friday I went to my Body Pump class, which I like a little more since I can do it mindlessly, on automatic. Friday afternoon I went to the movies: “Albert Nobbs”, a major yawn. Friday evening, the Lords of Destruction visited me. I have never been so sick so suddenly in my life. Every part of my body ached. My nose ran. Horrible phlegm kept rising from my chest. My throat felt raw. I managed to call and cancel the breakfast plans I had for Saturday. Traditionally, when I feel a cold coming on, I race to the market and buy one of everything unhealthy, as if my next meals will be my final ones. No capacity for that this time. Saturday was scary horrible. I could barely stand. I staggered to the bathroom to pee. I shivered under extra blankets, dozing, then waking to flip on the TV which seemed annoyingly blurry, only to turn it off minutes later, rolling and re positioning myself, trying to find some modicum of comfort. The very idea of eating turned my stomach. Mercifully I had orange juice and seltzer. I drank and pissed and worried, then worried some more. Who can I call? I have no friends. What if it snows? In any kind of snow, from flurry to storm I shovel compulsively, sometimes every hour. Now I can’t even stand up. What the hell is wrong with me? I should have burned all my porn, trashed all the Art I saved and cannot sell. I’ve been an executor once. I know what it’s like to go through a dead person’s leavings. With no answers to any of my worries, I slump back and nap, not really sleeping for long. Then flip on the TV, turn it off, riffle through a magazine. My bed looks like a hoarder’s nest. This is not an attractive picture. On one trip to the bathroom I decided to weigh myself, normally one of my very least favorite things to do. I am down four pounds! I staggered back to bed. Sunday was four degrees less awful. I could read. I could watch TV. But no more news. I had recently, rather oddly, fallen in love with Newt Gingrich. He is the most outrageous troll of all time, pinch faced and flabby and magnificently mean spirited, an utter delight to a radical lefty like me. He says so much to me about the creepiness of heterosexuality, but enough is enough. I switch to movie channels and finally figure out how to access HD. I start canceling things I’m supposed to do Monday, then Tuesday. I’m supposed to leave for New York on Thursday. I have ten days of theater, opera and dinners tightly scheduled. This is really unfair. Monday morning my body no longer aches. I’ve slept through the night. No more phlegm. Unattractive to dwell on that except when you are a smoker, every little hawking up reverberates. Hey, I haven’t had a cigarette in three days. Not even wanted one. I often thought if I had to choose between Salem Lights and Prince Charm-

ing, it really wouldn’t be a contest. Most addicts never level with you. Why should they? More TV. God Bless TCM. I find an old MGM movie with Claire Trevor and Ricardo Montalban and he is shirtless for endless scenes. God is merciful. It’s a wonderful movie. On a pee run I weigh myself. Down eight pounds! There is going to be a good part of being sick. I can fit into the jeans I like once again. It dawns on me I’m not sick any more. I didn’t die. I did, however, cancel a third of my life and now I have to play catch up. I need to get the haircut I cancelled three days earlier. Three times in six years I’ve had my hair cut in New York. Each time I went to a Hispanic barber based on my deep conviction that only Puerto Rican barbers know how to give great clipper cuts. In New York, they suck. My guy is Baby, yes, that’s what I have erroneously understood his name to be, it’s actually Bebo. What the hell, he can squeeze me in. Not only will I go to New York eight imperceptible pounds lighter in jeans still a little too snug, but with a slick buzz cut. Life is so good. It’s sunny. It’s warm. What little snow has shown up has burned off. I zip north on Clinton Ave., towards Auto Finishers Plaza, a name I just love saying. I’m listening to a Billie Holiday CD. She is so very, very fine. An addict. Like me. Though maybe I’m not quite like her. I did cut out a few of the worst things. I wonder if she enjoyed being an addict. Because it crosses my mind, as I light a cigarette, that once again, after having sworn off men three days ago when the Lords of Destruction struck me down, in fact I not only like men, I love them. And cigarettes. I’m ready to dance again, so to speak. So, mighty Lords of Destruction, if this is what it takes to get me to lose nine pounds, could we at least just do it every other year? Email:

Cleaning My Closet PIGGY BANKS By Meredith Elizabeth Reiniger I have noticed that the Business Section is now a serial horror story. At this rate, “a penny for your thoughts” is pretty insulting. And so is a 0.089 percent interest rate on my savings accounts. Factor in the Wall Street Swindlefest and the Foreclosure Implosions, and we have ample proof that we are going to hell in a basket. If we could only afford the basket. Where did the love go? Where is Rochester Community Savings Bank? In 1951, they encouraged second graders to open accounts. Imagine that. They demanded no minimum balance. They willingly paid clerks to process our meager wealth. My stars! I was thrilled to hand over my deposit slip and my penny. Years later, when I was teaching, pennies were unloved. High school students expressed their loathing for such a paltry sum by throwing pennies on the floor. And any kid caught stooping to pick up a copper coin was mercilessly ridiculed. Too bad, because these days they could use those pennies to buy Kodak stock. Poor Kodak! Once upon a time, in prosperous old days, Kind Kodak estab-

lished a free school district for its workers’ children and generously guaranteed a job to any relative of a Kodak employee. Kodak was “the Big Yellow Mother.” Now Bankrupt Kodak is stooping to pick up the pieces. And quite frankly, all those losses worry me. Money Eaters haunt my dreams. Oh, how I long for the security of my mommy’s piggybank. Its chubby ceramic belly promised jingling wealth. An old-fashioned piggy bank like that did not a have cork bellybutton. Its solid form represented a commitment to save. Unless mommy needed some cash. Then she would hand me her long, metal nail file. I was quite talented at jabbing, shaking, and extricating her “spending money.” Now that I think of it, perhaps this is how I learned to ignore the future, to finance the present. In 1966, my first teaching job paid 6,600 dollars, a year. My check came every two weeks for ten months. Some teachers cleverly spread their money over the whole year. Me? Take smaller monthly pay checks? No way. During no-paychecksummers, I relied on my version of the piggy bank… my credit cards. No nail file required. Similarly, I rejected saving for retirement. Deduct money? When I was 22? For retirement? MY retirement? I couldn’t even imagine a wrinkle. Of course, I did reach retirement age. Could I handle a cut in pay, with no yearly raises? Of course. Was $125 a month for health insurance manageable? Of course. See? I couldn’t even imagine inflation. Nonetheless, I have stayed in the black all these years. Admittedly I teetered on the brink every now and then. But at least I never had to move into my parents’ basement. And surely I have far exceeded the expectations of my family of origin. Their goals: have a nice mortgage, buy a decent car, and pay bills on time. Their system: My mother managed her weekly costs by tucking quarters into white envelopes labeled groceries, milkman, newspaper boy, insurance man. My father paid Dr. Vetter on an informal installment plan, did all the house maintenance himself. My family did not save for the future; weekly they struggled to just scrape by. My budget system was kind of freestyle. Earn a dollar; spend two and catchup later. Never thought about the cost of living index or the cost of groceries. I have no idea what I paid yesterday or last week or in 1966 for baked dough. My wyfewomyn, on the other hand, likes to recall used-to-be prices. Aghast, she regularly announces “Back in the day, I paid 20 cents for a loaf of bread. And now? Nearly four bucks! Always use coupons,” she grumbles. I sigh loudly. I hate coupons… all that snipping and sorting… those “good until” dates… restrictions about weight and quantity. More infuriating, the annoying things are all different sizes. So I use greenbacks; they make a tidy pile. And they never expire. To coupon or not to coupon… it occurs to me that it might have been smart to have a discussion about money before moving in with another person. Never have. Just jumped into domiciling, five times, with no information about the other’s income, expenditures, or budgeting style. Lived with one person who kited checks when “amount due” exceeded income. Sent the gas and electric bill to the telephone company; sent the right check to the right creditor, but left the signature off. Thus it would look like a mistake instead of a scam, and he would cleverly avoid late payments. I had no say because, I am embarrassed to admit, I was a victim of stereotypes. Yes, in my straight days, I was the little woman who turned her paycheck over to The Husband. He paid or kited to his heart’s content. There was no voting about expenditures. He wanted; he got. She wanted; he decided. That imbalance of power cracked The Happily Ever After

Piggy Bank. Eventually I legally married another financially impaired spouse. He had, as my mother would say, “a champagne appetite on a beer budget.” We lived like carefree adolescents, traveled to amazing places and owned some funky vehicles. I did, however, suffer frayed nerves on the first of the month for thirteen years. And at the end, we had no savings in our Marital Piggy Bank. Certainly, Coming Out of the Closet did not make me desire a financial partner. Indeed, first dates never included a review of recent pay stubs or last year’s income tax statement. Basically, hooking up with a cute lesbian was not a cash deal. It was butterflies in the stomach and the desire to sing loudly in cars, stores, and parking lots. All was right with the world. I owned a cozy house, a snazzy Buick, and spiffy clothes. And so Pick a Partner was negotiated by my heart, not my piggy bank. I knew each of us could take care of herself. What more could I need? Today my family of two has more abundances than our parents, more possibilities than we could ever have imagined. We don’t have to keep the same mattress our whole lives. We can go to restaurants for convenience and random fun, not just anniversaries. We can buy fruit out of season. And we can afford to buy four piggy banks… just in case times get tough. I will label them Food, Clothing, Shelter, and Contentment.

A Few Bricks Short CONFESSIONS OF A TRASH PICKER! By David Hull My friend, Bonnie, finds wonderful things in other people’s trash. Every time someone has a pile of unwanted garbage sitting in front of their house, she has to stop and look. On garbage day she travels around town, picks up any trash treasures she finds and throws them in the back of her pick-up truck. Sometimes she finds really good stuff She has found lovely lawn chairs, beautiful bookshelves, fabulous frames and luscious lamps. Bonnie has completely furnished her entire patio; chairs, table, flowerpots, benches, with stuff she has picked up in trash piles – and it’s beautiful. “All it takes is a scrub down with the garden hose and a fresh coat of paint,” she explained to me one evening when we sat on her patio sipping margaritas. “And all this furniture was free. You should join me sometime on trash day, David.” “Not me,” I replied. “It would be embarrassing taking someone else’s garbage. Don’t people see you?” “We’ll go out early this coming Saturday morning,” Bonnie said. “No one will see us – and so what if they do.” I refused her offer and that very Saturday morning, she found a cherry wood coffee table in great condition. I would have loved that table, but how could I tell her that when I had refused to join her. Honestly, a cherry wood coffee table would be worth a little embarrassment if I could get it for free. I had learned my lesson. From then on I had a new motto: No trash is too good for David. I’m not sure if it really made sense, but having a motto made me feel a little bit better about missing that cherry wood coffee table. Now one of Bonnie’s favorite places to pick through trash just happened to be at our neighbor’s house; he lives at the end of our road. Almost every Friday evening he rolls his loaded wheelbarrow down his long, winding driveway and out to the curb to leave piles of trash to be

march 2012 • number 454 • gay alliance of the genesee valley • the empty closet taken away – furniture, children’s toys, old appliances, boxes of books and much more. One time I asked our neighbor about the amount of trash he seems to generate and he replied: “After having six kids, four dogs and three ex-wives, I have an attic, basement and garage full of crap to get rid of.” Finally, one Friday evening it happened. Our neighbor put out two maple wood end tables at the curb. They were buried under some boxes of old clothes and drapes, but I could clearly see them from our front window. And from the kitchen window. And if I leaned way over and pressed my face against the glass, I could even see them from the bathroom window. They were just sitting there, taunting me. My motto kept repeating in my head: “No trash is too good for David. No trash is too good for David.” I called Bonnie. “They’re beautiful,” I told her about the end tables. “They’re just sitting out there.” “Well, go and get them!” she ordered. “Hurry! Before someone else gets them or the garbage men take them away!” “Can’t you just come over and get them for me?” I asked. “No,” Bonnie replied, sternly, her voice sounding like Yoda. “Do this yourself you must. Growth experience it will be.” “Everyone on the whole street will see me bringing trash back home,” I insisted. “Don’t be ridiculous,” she laughed. “Just run down the street, grab the tables and bring them home. No one is going to pay any attention to you. Remember your motto.” Damn that motto! But she was right, of course. I hung up the phone and stepped out on the front porch. I yawned and stretched and looked nonchalantly down the road at my prey. I walked to the end of our driveway. No traffic, no one even out walking their dog. The coast was clear. It was now or never. Those tables were so close I could almost smell them. I took a deep breath, tucked my hands into my pockets and strolled casually down the road to the neighbor’s driveway. I lifted the boxes of clothing off the end tables and set them to the side. The tables were perfect. Even through the coating of dust I could see they were in great shape. And now they were mine! I lifted one of the tables. It was heavy – this was going to take two trips. I grabbed one table and quickly headed back along the road and put it on our front porch. Half of my mission was accomplished. I went down the road again and picked up the second end table. That is when I heard the horn honk. It was the family from across the street – all six of them – loaded up into their minivan and backing out of their driveway; each one of them happily waving to me as I stood there with someone else’s trash in my hands. I quickly started for home, but two more cars came from the other direction. One was the Avon lady who lives nearby (she just had to honk and wave) and the

other was our mail carrier who cheerfully called out a greeting. As I continued walking, head down, shoulders hunched over, angry at myself for not wearing a hood, a school bus passed by carrying the junior high soccer team, all of them cheering with enthusiasm. “Hey, Uncle David!” shouted my nephew from his open window. Finally as I reached my own driveway, eight members of the town’s bicycle club came peddling past, all smiling and nodding at me while I held the end table in my arms. As I stood in front of our house, swallowing my embarrassment, my husband stepped out on to the porch and shouted for me: “Hey, David, put the neighbor’s garbage down and get over here! You have a phone call. It’s Bonnie.” “Well, how did you make out?” she asked. “Did you get the end tables?” “Yeah,” I said. “Completely free, except for the cost of the humiliation. Bonnie groaned. “Someone saw you?” “No. Half the county saw me,” I replied. “And waved to me.” “Don’t worry,” Bonnie assured me. “It only hurts the first time.” I reached down and rubbed my hand over the smooth finish on the end tables. “Actually, when I look at these tables, it doesn’t hurt much at all.” “Great,” said Bonnie. “Should I pick you up on Saturday morning?” “Yes, indeed,” I said. “I think this is the beginning of a beautiful and trashy friendship.” You can contact David at

Inspiritual choosing to agree or not By Rev. Dr. Sharon Jacobson So here is my question for this week. What are you choosing to agree to and what are you choosing not to agree to any more? I have been spending a lot of time the last several months, well maybe years now, reflecting on what I agree to and what I used to agree to and no longer do and what I don’t agree with. Perhaps what got me thinking about this recently was conversations with my students, who, even at the beginning of the semester, are comparing themselves to others in the class and assuming that they are inferior to their peers. What I have been saying, well actually typing, as this is an online class, is that you have to agree you are less and that someone else is more to feel inferior. Others may treat you as if you are inferior, but unless you agree that you are inferior, you are not. How many times in your life have others tried to make you feel inferior? Ok, now how many times have you agreed with them in your mind? How many

times have you told yourself that you are not enough of something or too much of something? From the day we are born, it can feel as if we are exposed to messages of inferiority on a daily basis. You are too short, too tall, too thin, too fat, not smart enough, too smart, not fast enough, too fast, and the list goes on. We contribute to so much suffering in our lives by agreeing that we are inferior for these and/or other reasons or comparing ourselves to someone else. I know lots of people who are taller than I (at 4’11” that is not a hard thing to do). I know people who are thinner than I (again not a hard thing to do). I know people who have more education, less education, are more outgoing, less outgoing, and the list goes on. However, none of that makes us inferior to each other. What it makes us is unique and precious, just as we are. We can no more compare ourselves to others than we can compare apples to oranges. Apples are awesome and oranges are awesome, but apples are not oranges and oranges are not apples. If I compared myself to those in my life and internalized all those messages, I would be severely depressed. I am who I am and you are who you are. It is that simple. Love you for who you are and stop comparing yourself to anybody who is not you. If others say you are too much or too little of something, you do not have to agree with them. They can say what they want, but it is only true if you agree it is true. I once wrote a poem about all the things people had said I was too much or too little of, which I had allowed to make me feel inferior. I had to learn to no longer agree with those things others had said, or even the negative things I had begun to say to myself. Learning to agree that we are unique and precious individuals just as we are can take practice for some. Some of us have become so accustomed to agreeing to our own inferiority. So just for today, agree to not agree to anything which makes you

23 feel inferior, regardless of who is saying it. Just for today, celebrate you for who you are and remember that you are unique and incomparable to anyone else. Just for today, tell yourself you are special just as you are. Can you agree to that?

NY Gay Wedding Consultant making a budget By Eve Elzenga This NY Gay Wedding Consultant is hearing from a lot of overwhelmed couples. I use the word “overwhelmed” because it’s gentler than “panicked”. But the truth is, I can hear the panic in their voices. They had no idea there was so much involved in planning a wedding and just how expensive it can become. Did you know that the average cost of a wedding in the U.S. is $28,000*? YIKES! So I say, do your homework and start with the basics. Get a budget down on paper. Yes, you have to have a budget. Make a realistic budget. That way you won’t wake up in a cold sweat, realizing that your wedding spending is out of control. How do you plan a budget? You can go on line for a planning tool like Easy Wedding Budget Worksheet, by Nina Callaway, blbudgetworksheet.htm or pick up a local wedding guide at the supermarket, restaurant or store. Look for the wedding checklist. Make two copies of the list – one for you and one for the love-of-your-life. Give your fiancé(e) the list and ask her/him to honestly fill it out. Then make a date for the two of you to go over both your lists together. Be realistic, become clear on your priorities -- the ceremony,


Columnists ( Wedding continued from page 23) your families, the number of guests, the reception venue, flowers, photography – it’s a long list. You will have a lot to discuss. You may want to do this over several sessions. Flesh out everything. Are you planning on having a rehearsal and a dinner the day before the wedding? Make sure you add that to your budget. Do you want your invitations addressed in calligraphy by a professional? Research the cost by calling stores that provide that service like the Paper Box on Monroe Avenue in Rochester. When you add that cost to the invitations, don’t forget the postage too. Think through the entire process of a wedding. What will you wear? Do you have rings? Do you want them engraved? What about hair and makeup for you, your attendants and family members; transportation on the wedding day for you and your guests, and do you want a videographer in addition to the photographer? And don’t forget the fees and tips for the license, officiant, the caterer/ venue, etc. Every little piece of this wedding process has a cost involved. One of the ways to ease this process is to work with a wedding consultant. They can save you money, headaches and heartaches – walking you through the planning process, whether that’s budget, the wedding timeline, venue selection, décor, menus and coordination on the day of the wedding. Professionals are there to help. There is no denying it – wedding planning takes time and effort. But you have been waiting for this for a long time. Have fun. Remember to laugh. And then remember to compromise, compromise, compromise. * For an estimate of costs in your zip code, go to ■

the empty closet • the gay alliance of the genesee valley • number 454 • march 2012

march 2012 • number 454 • gay alliance of the genesee valley • the empty closet

Community Find the friends and fun you need Find the friends, fun, and common interests you’re looking for through in your neighborhood of the LGBT the various groups listed below. community.

Dignity-Integrity D-I Rochester meets weekly at 5 p.m. at St. Luke’s and St. Simon’s Church, 17 S. Fitzhugh St., corner of Broad St. We have the following services and activities for the month of March, 2012. First Sunday: Episcopal Mass/Healing Service, with music; second Sunday: Roman Catholic Liturgy of the Word, with music; third Sunday: Quiet Episcopal Mass in the Chapel; fourth Sunday: Evening Prayer, followed by a Potluck Supper. March Pot Luck Theme: Since it is the liturgical season of Lent, we tend to lean toward more simple fare. The theme this month is simple: Soups and Breads. No time to cook? Don’t worry; join us with or without a dish to pass. There is always plenty of food and fellowship! We are going to have a simple Bible study/reflection during the Lenten and Easter seasons. On Saturday, from March 3 through April 14, we’ll be gathering for coffee and reflection at various members’ homes or at local coffee shops (host choice). Time will be 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Someone can let you know where we are meeting, if you are interested in joining us, by calling the DI Hotline at 585-234-5092. As always you can check for more information about any of our activities or worship services at our website ( http:// )

dYke picnic & womyn’s festival 2012 In celebration of womyn from all identities and walks of life, a group of friends has gathered to host the first annual dYke picnic and womyn’s festival in Rochester, New York! While others host events like Dykes on Bikes, and the Dyke March, we thought it would be nice to start something a little different, something more family oriented, womyn centered, for our community. This event is planned, paid for, and organized by womyn for the womyn’s community. We are going to start a new annual tradition for womyn that will be celebrated and attended by straight, queer, and questioning womyn, from all over the state of New York! This year’s entertainment will showcase talent from our own womyn’s community. Female musicians have volunteered their time and talent for the event! Musicians include Deborah Magone, Amanda Ashley, Mz Behavin, Cammy Enaharo, and Suzi Willpower! The picnic features Rochester’s own dynamic duo Frankie & Jewels, and New York City’s hottest female comic Kelli Dunham. We will also have a Drag King Show and we will showcase the Fire & Spice Belly Dancers from Goddess Hour. For the children, we will have a balloon artist, face painting, games, races and lots of fun! dYke picnic is also providing space to host a Womyn’s Bazaar and Vendors’ area. This area will honor womyn owned businesses, and womyn crafted and made products. We will also host a workshop area and information tables for other womyn related groups and non profits! dYke picnic 2012 takes place from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, June 30 at the Hazelwood Lodge & Roadside & Old Meadow Shelters located in Ellison Park, 395 Rich’s Dugway. Ellison Park has charcoal grills available for picnic use. Attendees should bring their own food and drink. Limited food vendors will be available, providing items like snow cones and lemonade. For more information or to volunteer, please visit our website at www.dykepicnic.

org or email or call Cathie at 585-313-3037.

EMPIRE BEARS March is here. Spring is almost around the corner, even in Rochester. Winter wasn’t bad this year, and we’re ready to get outside and have some fun. The Empire Bears love summer camping. Have you made your reservations at Jones Pond yet? We’ll have a great time in Erie the last weekend of this month at Drenched Fur; over 200 men, a pool, good food, a night at the water park. Grrrr! We’re at the Wintonaire for supper every Wednesday at 6. We’re at the GAGV Youth Center on second Saturdays for a potluck that starts at 6:30, followed by cards. We’ll be with the RGMC on March 24 to enjoy their country concert. We’re at the movies and out for dinner. We’re playing mini-golf or bowling. Board games and brunch are also pastimes we enjoy. We might be found at the Forum, or line dancing. Join us. You can check our new website yes, that’s com. See ya. WOOF!

JUST US GUYS Tuesday, March 13 is our first Pot Luck Dinner this year. We gather at 6 p.m. in the lower level break room of AIDS Care at 259 Monroe Ave. Our Pot Luck meals are an ideal time to socialize with members in addition to enjoying some good food. If you have been interested in learning more about the group, these functions make for an excellent introduction. Give it some thought! Just Us Guys has been an ongoing supporter of the GAGV Shoulders to Stand On Committee efforts. We are proud to have one of our members on the Shoulders Committee. In support of fundraising for documenting, preserving and celebrating our gay heritage, envelopes for the “Queer as a $3 bill” campaign have been passed along to members. We will also be spreading the word about the project to others who are not a part of our group. Members and prospective new members should know that JUG is establishing an updated membership list. Yearly dues of $10 cover communication and meeting expenses. For more information about the group, contact Ron at 729-2259 or email

Rochester Butch Femme Connection The Rochester Butch-Femme Connection will have two supper events in March 2012. On Saturday, March 10 we will meet at New Wasabi Restaurant on Empire Blvd./ Ridge Rd. in Webster at 7 p.m. On Tuesday evening March 20, we will meet at Tandoor of India Restaurant, 376 Jefferson Rd. (across from Southtown Plaza) for their weekly Indian Buffet at 7 p.m. For further information on the Connection, contact Kerry/Max at (585) 2887208, email or check out our Facebook page at http://

Rochester Rams M.C.

Once again, the Rams have invited our brothers in the west to come and host our Bar Night. On Saturday March 17 the Buffalo Bull Dogs will be hosting Latex Night. We will kick off The Rams’ monthly Leather-

Fetish bar night on Saturday, March 17 from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. at the Forum. The wonderful men from the Bull Dogs will be doing a Liquid Latex Demo during March’s bar night; come watch it, it will be interesting. Please come in and enjoy time with our brothers in the west and let’s show them we do know how to party here in Rochester. The Rochester Rams M.C. is Rochester New York’s foremost gay motorcycle and leather club as well as being one of the oldest clubs of its type in the country. All who are interested in the leather club scene are invited to check us out. Our general meeting is open to the public and we meet the Wednesday before bar night at 7:30 p.m. Meetings are held at our home bar, the Bachelor Forum, 670 University Ave. Our next general meetings will be held on April 18, May 16 and June 13. For more info, visit our website:

Rochester Trans Group The March Rochester Trans Group meeting (RTG) will be taking place on Saturday, March 24 from 3-5:30 p.m. (changed from March 31). In April we will return to our regularly scheduled meetings on the last Saturday of the month. On March 24, AIDS Care Rochester will use the Trans Group as a focus group to get our ideas about starting an LGBT clinic here. At our Jan. 28 meeting, several new people joined us, some from as far away as Waterloo! Scott Fearing of the GAGV led our group in an open discussion. One of the first items that came up was who should be at our meetings. It was unanimously decided that allies (family and friends) are always welcome. Among the questions Scott asked was, “What would you want your mom to hear at these meetings?” (Since someone’s mother was actually at the meeting.) One answer was: “Being trans doesn’t mean a life of misery and lack of love; and how appreciative I am of her support.” A question came up about why dad wasn’t included in the question. It was suggested that possibly fathers weren’t as supportive. This was quickly denied by a number of members, who said that their dads are even more supportive than their moms. Finally the question of “normal” came up and who or what is “normal.” We decided that normal was what everyone else was (or seemed) and we were not. Only how do you really know what other “normal” people are really like? We meet in the Gay Alliance Youth Center, which is located in the Auditorium Center, 875 E. Main St., on the first floor. Parking is available in the back of the building off Prince St., on College Ave. Note: if there is a guard in the booth, just say you’re here for either GAGV or Gay Alliance and they have instructions to let you in without paying the parking fee, charged when there is an event going on in the theatre.

25 Finally, two thank yous: first to Kayla for providing holiday related and other rich “chocolatistic” sweet treats at each of our meetings! Second to Perette, for the job she did cleaning up and cleaning out the RTG website, which has a number of links to all kinds of trans-friendly resources in health care, beauty, legal issues and so much more. It looks and works great. So thanks again Perette! The website address is www. We hope to see you at March’s or April’s or …? meeting. Come on, take a chance, it’s a new year! Come to a meeting – you might be surprised at how comfortable you feel and you may even learn some new things (that aren’t on the web!)

ROMANS ROchester MAle NaturistS (ROMANS) is a social organization of gay naturists who enjoy camaraderie in the nude. Our affiliations include Gay Naturists International (GNI) and International Men Enjoying Naturism (IMEN). If you have thought about social nudity but were apprehensive about being nude the first time, there are several clothed events, such as eating out as a group at restaurants or going to concerts and movies, where you can meet other members of our group in a clothed environment. Our nude swims are the first Saturday of every month and our social dinner meetings are on the third Saturday of every month. Membership is open to men over 21 years of age who have an interest in social nudism. Most members come from the greater Rochester area, though Buffalo, Syracuse, Utica and the southern tier are also represented. ROMANS do volleyball in the nude! Do you love to play volleyball? Have you ever thought it would be fun to play a friendly game in the nude? Romans (Rochester Male Naturists) will be having a nude game Saturday evening, March 3 and Saturday evening, April 7. This is a fun, friendly game for all levels of skill from beginners to pros. If this sounds like something you would like to try, even if for only once in a lifetime to say you did it, call the Romans at 585-2814964 or email for the details. The evening also offers nude swimming, a hot tub, sauna, and steam room, along with workout machines and free snacks. First time attendees get in for free! The Romans group has been hosting clothes-free social activities for men in the Rochester and Western New York area for over 20 years. The group is open to all gay-friendly men ages twenty-one and over who respect men in all colors, sizes, shapes, ages, and textures. Visit the Romans web site where an application for membership and information about the club are available. http:// or, or write ROMANS, PO Box 92293, Rochester, NY 14692, or calls 585-281-4964. ■


the empty closet • the gay alliance of the genesee valley • number 454 • march 2012

march 2012 • number 454 • gay alliance of the genesee valley • the empty closet

Arts & Entertainment

John Preston

Rainbow Theatre Festival kicks off this month The Rainbow Theater Festival, an event produced by Bread & Water Theatre, will feature productions of “The Mirror of Love” by Alan Moore (MarchApril), “She Said/She Said” by Rebecca Gingrich-Jones (April) and “Franny, the Queen of Provincetown” by John Preston (April-May). An original BWT adaptation for the stage, “The Mirror of Love” by Alan Moore was an epic poem recounting the history of same-sex love, revealing a hidden side of Western culture through the lives of its greatest artists. Sappho, Michelangelo, Shakespeare, Emily Dickinson, Oscar Wilde, and many others are woven into this visceral piece. Originally written over 14 years ago, “The Mirror of Love” sprang from writer Alan Moore’s activist heart as a reaction to Britain’s anti-gay law, Clause 28. Moore is best known for his graphic novels “Watchmen,” “V for Vendetta,” “From Hell” and “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.” (Performance dates: March 30 and 31 at 8 p.m.; April 1 at 2

p.m.) In “She Said/She Said” by Rebecca Gingrich-Jones, a mother renounces her homosexuality and attempts to keep her ex-wife from seeing their child. Flashing between the courtroom, conflicting memories of the marriage, and an evangelical church, “She Said/She Said” asks us to redraw the boundaries of faith, justice, and love. Inspired by true events. (Performance dates: April 13, 14, 20 and 21 at 8 p.m.; April 15 and 22 at 2 p.m.) “Franny the Queen of Provincetown” by John Preston is adapted directly from the novel, a book of gay heroism and camaraderie in the shadow of the burgeoning AIDS crisis. Franny is a proud, protective friend to the gay men of Provincetown, Massachusetts as they fight their battles against self-hatred and ostracism. Haunted by the loss of his first love, Franny vows never to let fear and anger consume those who are treated differently for who they are. It’s Franny’s goal to ensure that there is a place in the world for everyone who feels they do not belong. Acknowledged as one of the first writers to tackle gay themes, Preston died in 1994

Take a chance on Monte Carlo Night It’s time for Monte Carlo Night again, the fabulous Pride fundraiser that was a big winner last year. The casino event is March 25 at 140 Alex, which is co-hosting this fun evening with the Gay Alliance. There will be four tables and a cash bar, from 3-6 p.m. DJ Len will provide music to gamble by, as everyone has fun and also contributes to a great Pride next July. ■

of complications due to AIDS. (Performance dates: April 27, 28, May 4 and 5 at 8 p.m.; April 29 and May 6 at 2 p.m.) BWT will conclude its season next fall with “Hermes” by Bennett Fisher. Inspired in part by Goldman Sachs’ role in the current Greek economic collapse, Bennett Fisher’s new play is about four derivative traders seeking to benefit from the Greek financial meltdown. Their acts of greed and deceit bring unforeseeable consequences and an unexpected visitor -- Hermes, god of commerce and thieves, the physical manifestation of fraud, who goads the group into bolder action through slippery logic, tantalizing visions of immense wealth, and the occasional punch in the balls. (Performance dates: Oct. 26, 27, Nov. 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, 17 at 8 p.m.; Oct. 28, Nov. 4, 11, 18 at 2 p.m.) Founded in 2000, Bread & Water Theatre is committed to making the arts accessible and affordable to a broad-based audience and acting as a positive agent of change in its community. Under the artistic direction of J.R. Teeter, BWT develops theatre that speaks to our living, evolving and dramatically changing world through new and rare works of drama and aspires to be a major force in American theatre, providing audiences with challenging contemporary drama and innovative community outreach programs. Bread & Water Theatre’s season will be presented at 243 Rosedale St. (at the corner of Monroe Ave. and Rosedale St.) running through Nov. 18. Single tickets range from $6-$12 and season tickets range from $25-$35 and may be purchased in person or at For more information, call (585) 271-5523. ■

The cast of the “Little Dog Laughed”

Blackfriars stages “The Little Dog Laughed” “The Little Dog Laughed,” a comedic drama, opens at Blackfriars March 3 and runs through March 17. This recent Broadway hit follows the adventures of young Hollywood heartthrob Mitchell

27 Green, who could hit it big if it weren’t for one teensy-weensy problem: his agent, Diane, who can’t seem to keep him in the closet. Performances are March 3, 9, 10, 16 and 17 at 8 p.m.; March 4 and 11 at 2 p.m.; March 7, 8 and 15 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $27; contact the Blackfriars Box Office at 585454-1260 or visit thewww.bftix. org. “Devastatingly funny, with dizzy, irresistible writing that brings down the house.” - NY Times The play was written by Douglas Carter Beane, is directed by David Runzo and stage managed by Jackie Amigon ,and stars Kerry Young as Diane, Marc D’Amico as Mitchell, Jamal Abdunnasir as Alex and Mary Tiballi as Ellen. ■

The cast of “Angels in America”

Angels in America runs at Geva March 22 to April 1 Tony Kushner’s great play approaches Rochester. Geva Theatre Center’s 2012 Nextstage Season features Tony Kushner’s Angels in America: Millennium Approaches staged by Method Machine, in the Fielding Nextstage March 22 – April 1. The March 29 performance (7 p.m.) offers $3 off the ticket price with the coupon on page 19 in this issue. Angels in America: Millennium Approaches was commissioned and first performed as a workshop in May 1990 at the Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles. It had its world premiere in San Francisco in May 1991 and its

Broadway debut in 1993 at the Walter Kerr Theatre. The cast of Angels in America: Millennium Approaches features Darlando Bailey (Belize/ Mr. Lies), Carl Del Buono (Prior/ Man in the Park), Peter J. Doyle (Roy/Prior II), David Jason Kyle (Louis), Judy Molner (Hannah/ Rabbi/ Doctor), Joshua Radford (Joe/Prior II, Eskimo) Jill Rittinger (Emily/Angel), Marcy J. Savastano (Harper/Martin). Angels in America: Millennium Approaches is directed by David Henderson. The creative team includes Andrew Sloane (Scenic Design), Zebulon Hounslea (Costume Design), Kate Sweeney (Lighting Design), John Wilcox (Sound Design), Monica Duncan (Video Design) and Eric Evans (Dramaturg). ■

O’Neill art show opening is April 6; will benefit AIDSCare Brian O’Neill’s one-man art show at The Arts & Cultural Council for Greater Rochester will host an opening reception on Friday April 6, from 5-9 p.m. at 277 N. Goodman St. This fine art event, titled “The Bridge Between Two Worlds,” will showcase a broad range of O’Neill’s styles and will be a benefit fundraiser for AIDS Care Rochester, with 100 percent of the proceeds from one special painting and 10 percent of total proceeds being donated to AC. ■


the empty closet • the gay alliance of the genesee valley • number 454 • march 2012

RGMC goes country western on March 24

tained that the trial videotapes should be unsealed based on the strong presumption of access to judicial records under the First Amendment and common law. On Sept. 19, 2011, United States District Chief Judge James Ware ruled that the tapes should be released, emphasizing, “Transparency is pivotal to public perception of the judiciary’s legitimacy and independence.” The American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) is the sole sponsor of the Perry lawsuit. “We think Chief Judge Ware had it right, but we are looking at the big picture and hoping for a ruling soon on the merits affirming the district court’s judgment that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional,” said Plaintiffs’ attorney Theodore J. Boutrous, Jr. “It speaks volumes that the proponents of Proposition 8 are so insistent about concealing the videotaped record of this historic trial. They know the videotape would expose their baseless campaign of fear and let the public see the powerful evidence we submitted showing that Proposition 8 flatly violates the United States Constitution. That’s why they fought so hard to keep the tapes secret.” A coalition of media companies and organizations that includes the Los Angeles Times, CNN, The New York Times, Fox News, NBC News, Dow Jones & Co. and The Associated Press filed a brief in support of the plaintiffs’ effort to release the trial tapes. Their argument was elaborated in a Los Angeles Times op-ed by Lucy Dalglish, Executive Director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. “The anti-marriage proponents of Proposition 8 will spend millions on a political campaign to publicize their views, yet they are doing everything they can to stop the public from seeing the weak case they put on at trial,” said AFER Board President Chad Griffin. “In a court of law, only the truth and facts matter. And the facts are that the Proponents have no case. AFER will do everything we can to make sure that the American people see what happened at trial.” Prop 8 was again ruled unconstitutional on Feb. 7, this time by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the same court that declined to release the tapes. The case may now go to the Supreme Court.

Lassos and chaps and spurs, oh my! The Rochester Gay Men’s Chorus goes country western for their spring concert on March 24. The hoe-down starts at 8 p.m. at Hochstein Performance Hall, as RGMC does their take on Dolly Parton, Patsy Kline, the Dixie Chicks et al. Tickets are available at Parkleigh, Equal=Grounds, Outlandish and through See you there if God’s willin’ and the crick don’t rise.

RIT to stage “8” next September In order to ensure that the public is able to experience what happened at California’s Proposition 8 trial, the American Foundation for Equal Rights has teamed up with Broadway Impact to produce “8,” a play chronicling the historic 12-day trial, tapes of which have not been released to the public. Written by Academy Award-winning screenwriter and AFER Founding Board Member Dustin Lance Black, “8” had its much-heralded Broadway world premiere in September 2011. The production brought in over one million dollars to support AFER’s efforts to achieve full federal marriage equality. In addition to its Broadway and Los Angeles productions, AFER and Broadway Impact are licensing “8” to colleges and community theatres nationwide in order to spur action, dialogue and understanding. RIT is one of the universities where the play will be presented, in September 2012. The play is being produced in a collaboration between four areas of the university: the Vice President for Diversity; the NTID Performing Arts; the RIT Players and the Gay, Lesbian Bisexual and Transgender Center. Gerald S. Argetsinger will direct. “8” had its West Coast premiere at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre in Los Angeles on March 3, for an exclusive, one-night-only fundraiser to benefit AFER. The production featured Academy Award-winning actor, producer, screenwriter and director George Clooney along with an all-star cast, and was directed by acclaimed actor and director and AFER Founding Board Member Rob Reiner. Background The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a decision on Feb. 2 not to unseal the video record of the historic twelve-day public trial in Perry v. Schwarzenegger (now Perry v. Brown). The Perry case is a federal constitutional challenge to Proposition 8, which stripped gay and lesbian Californians of the fundamental freedom to marry. In a landmark August 2010 ruling, Proposition 8 was found unconstitutional by the Federal District Court. Plaintiffs have steadfastly main-

Tara’s Reunion 3 is coming up March 25 Abilene Bar and Lounge will again celebrate the late, great GLBT club Tara’s Cocktail Lounge by holding Tara’s Reunion 3 on Sunday, March 25. “The first two Tara’s reunions were such special great events and seemed to mean so much to so many people that we figured it’s time for another party,” Abilene owner Danny Deutsch says. Tara’s Reunion 3 will be held from 1-8 p.m. on Sunday, March 25 and will feature “Tara’s Era” drink specials and a Bloody Mary bar from 1-3 p.m. Food, including the finest in pulled pork, will be served up by the award-winning Fett

Svin barbecue crew. Abilene, a popular music club that showcases local and national talent and is the official Roots/Americana Club Pass venue for the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival, opened in the former home of Tara’s at 153 Liberty Pole Way, across from the Harro East, on March 21, 2008, a year after Tara’s ended its long and illustrious 28- year run. For further information on Tara’s Reunion 3, call Abilene at 232-3230, or check the Abilene Web site,, and Facebook page: Lounge/189238104475924.

Cher “Female Force” comic sells out The latest biography comic offering from Bluewater Productions, “Female Force: Cher,” has sold out in one day after its release from their distributors. This extends its record to 12-biography comic book titles sold out in the past six months. Stores that ordered the comic book might have it in stock. According to Bluewater, a second printing is forthcoming. The $3.99 32-page comic book biography is written by New York Times best selling author Marc Shapiro and drawn by Zach Basset with a cover by DC Comics artist Joe Phillips. “There was a lot of buzz regarding this particular title outside the traditional comic book buying demographic,” said Darren G. Davis, president of Bluewater. “We really hope people try to pre-order the titles in advance to make sure they get a copy.” The “Female Force” comic series offers a broad examination of strong and influential women who are shaping modern history and culture. In past issues, the monthly series has featured Madonna, Britney Spears, JK Rowling, Ellen DeGeneres, Selena Gomez and others.

You can order the second printing from a comic book store or Amazon. To find a comic book store near you go to To order it on Amazon click here rpK3EI The comic books will also be available online at sites like Amazon and Barnes & Noble. “Female Force: Cher” is also available digitally on the NOOK and Kindle.

march 2012 • number 454 • gay alliance of the genesee valley • the empty closet


Lgbt Legal Expo March is LGBT Health Month Get your legal/financial check-up!

10am-3pm – Saturday, March 24 Gay Alliance Youth/Community Center 875 East Main Street, Rochester, NY 14605 ☛ Talk to lawyers, financial planners and insurance professionals about your family’s needs. ☛ Free legal screenings.

Educational Presentations: Time 10:30 am 11:00 am 11:30 am 12:00 am 12:30 pm 1:00 pm 1:30 pm 2:00 pm

Title Getting Ready for Medicare The ABCs of Life Insurance Mediation: What? Why? When? What the ACLU Can do for You Domestic Violence Orders of Protection Adoption Prep Anti-LGBT Housing Discrimination Marriage Issues Update

☛ Help with name change forms and health care proxies. ☛ Free and open to the public. ☛ Parking in rear is always free for Gay Alliance programs.

Housing Discrimination • Medicare • Public Housing • Nursing Home Issues • Health Care Proxy • Trans Name Change • Food Stamp Eligibility • Wills • Life Insurance • Eviction • Medicaid Eligibility • Adoption • Power of Attorney • Orders of Protection • Civil Rights • Marriage • Public Assistance • Bullying • ReEntry • Financial Planning • Divorce • DUI • Estate Planning • Mediation • Long Term Care • Investments • Tenant Rights • Health Insurance Sponsored by the Gay Alliance Out For Justice program with support from the Monroe County Legal Assistance Center


the empty closet • the gay alliance of the genesee valley • number 454 • march 2012

The Gay Alliance plays a central role in advocating for the fair and equal treatment of all people, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

Gay Alliance of the Genesee Valley www . g a y a l l i a n ce . o r g

Lore McSpadden.

Goodbye and thanks to Lore McSpadden

Jess Cohen and Dontaee Williamson went to Baltimore for Creating Change.

Jess and Dontaee attend Creating Change 2012

Thank You! Jess & Dontaee with other GLSEN leaders.

Photo: Karen Wilkins

By Susan Jordan Jessica Cohen, GAGV Youth Services Director, and Dontaee Williamson of the Youth Group attended the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s Creating Change conference in Baltimore in late January, as representatives of Rochester GLSEN. The conference draws hundreds of LGBT activists from all over the country each year to share experiences and compare notes on their regional work for equality and change. Dontaee co-facilitated two workshops, including one about organizing the Day of Silence, the annual observance honoring youth who have been silenced by bigotry and hatred, when participants remain silent all day and then attend a “Breaking the Silence” rally. This year DoS will take place in Rochester on April 20 (see the April Empty Closet). Dontaee also attended a masquerade dance, and Jess says, “He had fun!” She herself was most impressed by a workshop she attended called “The Art of Schmoozing.” “As an introvert,” she said, “I found it very helpful!” Also helpful was meeting other Youth Program Directors from all over the country, Jess said. “I’d like to model the Kalamazoo, Mich. Triangle mentoring program. It’s realistic and effective in

It is with much sadness that the Gay Alliance staff and board say goodbye to Lore McSpadden, our Office Administrator. Lore worked devotedly for the Gay Alliance for over two years. Ze was often the community’s first contact with the agency, answering the phone and the door with a kind greeting and helpful manner and getting people the information or connections that they needed. Lore’s technical abilities, literary skills, and aptitude at office management and book keeping were a great asset to the agency. We wish Lore much joy in her new career as cook and baker at Lori’s Natural Foods in Henrietta and we look forward to seeing Lore back at the Gay Alliance as a volunteer Speakers Bureau member, and reading her Transgustatory column and maybe her Beyond the Binary column in future issues of The Empty Closet. Lore, thank you for your hard work and dedication. You will be missed. ■

The Gay Alliance extends a heartfelt Thank You to all the people and businesses that helped to make the 2012 Red Ball a success Dontaee and Jess

pairing youth with LGBT and straight adults,” she noted. “The adults commit to one hour a month at least, and four special events during the year.” As far as bringing that kind of mentoring program to Rochester, Jess said, “We have enough community interest, but it would take time to implement – and then there’s the funding question!” ■

thank you Anne Tischer thank you Jean Thibodeau, CPA thank you Dr. John Paris, DDS thank you Bess Watts, thank you Pride at Work AFL-CIO thank you Heveron & Heveron CPA thank you Tuxedo’s K9 Training Camp, Inc. thank you Lisa K. Willis, PhD thank you Gate House Restaurant thank you Genesee Brewing thank you Kittelberger Floral and Gifts and thank you Fascinations by SJS Designs

The Gay Alliance of the Genesee Valley: is a non-profit agency, dedicated to cultivating a healthy, inclusive environment where lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans-gender (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. • Address: 875 East Main Street, Rochester, New York  14605 Hours: Mon.-Fri., 9 am-5 pm • Phone: (585) 244-8640 • Fax: (585) 244-8246 • Web: Board President: John Altieri • Executive Director: Sue Cowell • Education and Outreach Director: Scott Fearing Wellness and Safety: Kelly Clark • Outreach: Jeanne Gainsburg • Youth Program Director: Jessica Cohen The Empty Closet: Editor: Susan Jordan • Designer: Jim Anderson Phone: (585) 244-9030 • Fax: (585) 244-8246 • Advertising: (585) 244-9030 • E-mail:

march 2012 • number 454 • gay alliance of the genesee valley • the empty closet

Program Notes Legal Expo The Gay Alliance will sponsor a Legal Expo on March 24, in partnership with the Monroe County Legal Assistance Center and LGBT Health Month. The free event will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Gay Alliance Youth Center, first floor, 875 E. Main St. Attorneys and others will be present to advise on everything from healthcare proxies to name changes to wills to whether you and your family qualify for public assistance. Kelly Clark, Wellness and Safety Director, told The Empty Closet, “We are doing this as part of Health Month. As you are thinking about the health of yourself and your family, come and get your legal and financial check-up too.”

Youth Update On March 31, the Gay Alliance will host the Safe Schools conference, in the Cathedral Room, 875 E. Main St., fourth floor, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Registration required: call Jess at 244-8640 x 13. Youth HIV testing and a sex and health chat will take place March 28 in the Youth Center, 3-6 p.m. On March 21, the youth will experience “Ballroom 101” from 5-7 p.m. in the Youth Center. This event is for youth only! Save the date! The 2012 Day of Silence rally will take place at Tilt, on Friday, April 20. More info in the April EC. Also, the Big Gay Prom 2012 donation page is now live. Help our LGBT youth have an unforgettable night! The link is:

Rainbow SAGE update By Brian Hurlburt Hi everyone and welcome to March. Still a bit early, but Rainbow SAGE is beginning to think spring. Our program committee is working on a lot of events and two for spring are Senior Day at this year’s Lilac Festival in May and Red Wings baseball with fireworks in June. If either of these events interests you, let us know by leaving us a message at 585-2448640 X15 so we can put you on our list to get all the details when they come available. Speaking of spring, don’t forget about our spring dance coming up on Saturday, April 28, 5:30 – 10 p.m. at the Roger Robach Center, 180 Beach Ave. at Ontario Beach Park. Check out our ad in this month’s Empty Closet for ticket information. Going back to March, we have euchre on Sunday, March 4 at 3 p.m. for both beginners and advanced. The location is South Wedge Planning Committee Building, 224 Mt. Hope Ave. For more information, directions and to RSVP, contact Ginny at 585-473-4765. In March, we will not have our usual potluck, but we will be having our 9th Annual Intergenerational Panel on Sunday, March 18 at 3 p.m. The location is the First Universalist Church, 150 South Clinton, corner of Court St. Our theme for this year is the importance of allies in our LGBT lives. Some of our speakers will be LGBT and some are allies, all with great stories to tell, letting us know that there is support in the community. There will also be a time for Q&A and afterwards a time for food and fellowship. Be sure to join us! For information on our men’s group, contact Tony at and for our women’s group, Eileen at ebrophy@ SAVE THIS DATE: Sunday, Aug. 26 for our annual Rainbow SAGE picnic. The purpose of Rainbow SAGE is to provide a safe and nurturing place for LGBT older adults in our community to build relationships, talk about their experiences, gain emotional support and overcome isolation. Rainbow SAGE is open to all ages. ■

Alliance Youth The Gay Alliance offers Youth Services for Rochester area LGBTQ and allied youth ages 13-25 Check out what’s happening at: or contact: Monday thru Thursday: Drop-in hours: 2-6pm Tuesday Teen Group: Ages 13-18: 6-7:30pm

Speaking Engagements/ Tabling for February 2/7 Healthy LGBT Relationships at RIT 2/15 Personal Story Training at the Gay Alliance 2/16 LGBT 101 and Ally Workshop at Hobart and William Smith 2/21 Respectful Language at SUNY Brockport 2/20 Tabling at SUNY Brockport Health Fair 2/22 LGBT Anti-Violence Workshop at Nazareth College 2/28 LGBT Youth Issues at Hillside Young Mothers 2/29 SafeZone Training at Nazareth College Evaluations of the Month: “Enlightening. Energizing. There is hope after all!!!” “It was inspiring and gave me a sense of hope. It made change seem possible and gave me tools to be effective in situations that could lead to teachable moments. Thank you!!!” “They just seemed really cool, chill and open. I think I’m gonna ask my dad if I can do stuff with the Gay Alliance.”

Special Interest: Transgender Youth, Arts/Crafts, Movies, Writing Special Events: Youth Dances, Day of Silence, Big Gay Prom, Pool Table, LGBTQ Youth Library, and Internet Access Fun, friendly, safe adults are needed to volunteer their time and talents, providing positive role models, maybe sharing a talent or skill. Contact Jeanne Gainsburg, Outreach Coordinator for an application: or 585-244-8640, ext. 14.


On-line Resource Center The Gay Alliance On-line Resource Directory (GARD) The on-line community tool providing local, statewide and national resources, 24/7 at



SpeakOUT Training SpeakOUT training is a great experience for someone new to LGBT issues or someone who has lived or worked with the issues for years. Think of it as professional development for your life, a training-of-trainers that is open to everyone. The class is appropriate for all ages, all identities and will prepare participants to successfully advocate for and address the challenges to full LGBT inclusion. Next class: Fri., March 2, 6 to 9pm & Sat., March 3, 8:30am to 5pm Class held in the Gay Alliance Youth Center, 875 E. Main Street, Rochester, New York 14605 Facilitators: Jeanne Gainsburg, Gay Alliance OutReach Coordinator and Scott Fearing, Gay Alliance Program Director, draw upon their 25 plus years of LGBT training and education experience to facilitate the class. A dynamic mix of interactive exercises and lecture make for a fast-paced, intense and valuable learning experience. Fee: $35 Scholarships available. (Please call or e-mail requests) Space is limited to 30 participants. For questions: 585-244-8640 or

Library & Archives Do You Need Internet Access? The Gay Alliance Library has two computers with internet access available during library hours: Monday & Wednesday: 6-8pm Computers are part of our David Bohnett Cyber Center


the empty closet • the gay alliance of the genesee valley • number 454 • march 2012


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.

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).

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. <


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. Regular meetings: Third Sunday of the month, Open Arms MCC, 740 Marshall Rd. 14624. 1-3pm. PFLAG@; 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.


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: AIDS Care AIDS Care 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. AIDS Care satellite offices in Geneva and Bath. AIDS

Care 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: 585-545-7200, Health Services After Hours: 585-258-3363; Case Management After Hours (Lifeline): 585275-5151; 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 607776-9166. The Health Outreach Project: 416 Central Ave., Rochester, NY 14605; 585-4545556. 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 9625063. 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

Anthony L. Jordan Health Center Prevention & Primary Care Program Provides Medical Case Management, Mental Health, Primary Care, HIV Counseling and Testing using the Orasure Rapid Test, Education presentations, and access to other Jordan services. Prevention & Primary Care is a walk-in program; no appointments necessary. Office hours: Mon.– Fri., 8:30am– 5 pm: extended hours on Monday until 8pm. (585) 423-2879; fax (585) 423-2876. Website: For more information, call Program Director Patrick M. Trevor, (585) 423-2879. 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 Gay Alliance of the Genesee Valley See Resource Directory under “Health” for Gay Alliance referrals to physicians and service agencies.


Rochester Trans Group Social/educational group for gender variant people and friends. Last Saturday, 3-5pm, GAGV Youth Center, first floor, 875 E. Main St. 244-8640. Youth Trans Group First Thurs. 6-7pm GAGV Youth Center, ages 13-23.; 244-8640, x 13 Genesee Valley Gender Variants Thurs. 7-9pm, Equal Grounds, 750 South Ave. Transgender online:;;; www.transgender-; International Foundation for Gender Education Gender Education and Advocacy; FTM Information Network; Transgender at Work; PFLAG Transgender Network page.aspx?pid=380; TransActive http://www.; The Transitional Male; National Center for Transgender Equality; New York Association for Gender Rights Advocacy; Transgender Aging Network; Transgender Law Center; Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund; The Self Made Men http:// (please send us your favorite sites/groups) Guys Night Out Social group for transmen. Third Saturdays, 1pm, Equal Grounds, 750 South Ave.


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. The Breast Cancer Coalition also provides information about breast cancer, a lending library, and a monthly educational program. All BCCR programs and support services are 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. GAGV Anti Violence Project 585-244-8640 ext 17. For women and men. 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.

march 2012 • number 454 • gay alliance of the genesee valley • the empty closet

Ongoing Calendar Monday

Rainbow SAGE Women’s Group Last Mondays, 11am-12:30 pm, GAGV Library, 1st floor next to Youth Center, 875 E. Main St. Occupy Rochester M-F, 4-6 pm, at the Liberty Pole. Born That Way Formerly 3rd Presbyterian LGBT Support Group. First, 3rd Mondays, 7:30-9:30pm, 34 Meigs St. Carol, 482-3832 or Kaara, 6547516. Lilac Squares Gay Square Dance Group, Mondays, 7pm, 140 Alex Bar. To reserve space: 467-6456; Free syphilis testing AIDS Care, 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, AIDS Care Center for Positive Living, 259 Monroe Ave. Gay Alliance Youth Drop-In Hours Mondays, Wednesdays, 2-6pm, Gay Alliance Youth Center, 875 E. Main St. Prince St. entrance, first floor. 244-8640, x 13. Frontrunners/Frontwalkers Mondays, 6pm, George Eastman House parking lot. Steps Beyond Stems Crack Support Group, Mondays, 7-8pm, 289 Monroe Ave. Gay Alliance Library & Archives, David Bohnett Cyber Center Every Monday. 6-8pm. First floor, 875 E. Main St. 244-8640. Equality Rochester 2nd Mondays, 7-8:30 pm, Equal=Grounds. 426-0862;


Just Us Guys Gay men of all ages. 2nd Tuesdays, 6:30pm, AIDS Care, 259 Monroe Ave. 223-2629 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. AIDS Care, 259 Monroe Ave.

Wednesday Country Line Dancing/Two Stepping Every Wednesday, 140 Alex, 7pm. Lessons followed by dancing until 10pm, Beginners to advanced. U.R. Pride Network 7:30pm, Gamble Room in Rush Rhees Library. Rainbow SAGE Ruby Slippers Wednesdays, 5:45 pm, Callan-Harris Physical Therapy, 1328 Universty Ave. 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. AIDS Care, 259 Monroe Ave. Gay Alliance Youth Drop-In Hours Mondays, Wednesdays, 3-7pm, Gay Alliance Youth Center, 875 E. Main St. Prince St. entrance, first floor. 244-8640 x 13. Frontrunners/Frontwalkers 6pm, Eastman House parking lot. Gay Alliance Library & Archives, David Bohnett Cyber Center Every Wednesday. 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. Trans Action Group (TAG) Information: Peter Vaillancourt, sk8forether@ gmail; list serve at 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, AIDS Care, 259 Monroe Ave. 442-2220 MOCHA/Gay Alliance Youth Trans Group First Thursdays, 5-7pm, Gay Alliance Youth Center, 875 E. Main St., 1st floor (Prince St. entrance). 244-8640 ext 13. Second Thursdays Social/business networking, 5:30-7:30pm. Changing venues. E-mail:


Gay Men's AA meeting Fridays, 7:30-8:30pm, Closed meeting. Emmanuel Baptist Church, 815 Park Ave. GLBTQI Motorcycle Group Second Fridays, 5:30pm, Various locations.; 4676456; L.O.R.A. Potluck & Games Night Fourth Fridays. GAGV Youth Center, 875 E. Main St., 1st floor 6-9:30pm, 585-313-3037; E-mail: Facebook: http://; Website: Womyn’s Drum Circle Fourth Fridays. 6-9:30pm, GAGV Youth Center; E-mail:; Website:


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 pm, GAGV Youth Center, first floor, 875 E. Main St. Frontrunners/Frontwalkers 9am, George Eastman House parking lot.www. Empire Bears Potluck 2nd Saturdays, Gay Alliance Youth Center, 875 E. Main, first floor, Prince St. entrance. 6:30pm greet; 7pm dinner. Bring dish to pass. www. Cross Dresser Support Group First Saturdays, 6-9pm, call for location: 251-2132; Guys Night Out Third Saturdays. Social group for transguys. 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. rcoaster@rochester. Sophia’s Supper Club First and third Saturdays.


Parents Families & Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) Third Sundays, 1-3 pm. Open Arms MCC, 740 Marshall Rd. 244-8640 ext 27; Gay Alliance Library & Archives, David Bohnett Cyber Center Sunday hours ended. First floor, 875 E. Main St. 244-8640. Come Out Dancin’ First, Third Sundays. 3-5pm, Friends Meetinghouse, 84 Scio St., entry on Charlotte St. $5. 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. 8:30pm, 232-6720, Weekly. Closed meeting Rainbow SAGE First Sundays: Euchre Club, 3-6pm. Third Sundays, Potluck at First Universalist Church, 150 S. Clinton Ave., 4pm. 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 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 empty closet • the gay alliance of the genesee valley • number 454 • march 2012



Image Out screening. “We Were Here.” 7:30 pm, Little Theatre. Health Month event. Angels in America. Opening at Geva Nextstage


SpeakOUT training. 6-9 pm, GAGV Youth Center, first floor, 875 E. Main St. $35. Info at 244-8640 or SpeakOUT@ Also Sat., March 3, 8:30 am- 5pm; lunch included.


ROMANS nude volleyball. For time, location, call 585-281-4964 or email Queer Girls Night Out. Devil May Care Boutique. 2-4 pm. For location: Health Month event. Dignity Integrity Bible study/reflection during Lenten, Easter seasons. Saturdays through April 14, coffee, reflection at members’ homes, coffee shops. 10:3011:30 a.m. DI Hotline at 585-234-5092; website The Little Dog Laughed. Opens at Blackfriars. Tickets $27. 454-1260.


Comeoutdancin’ at Friends Meetinghouse, 84 Scio St. 3 pm-5 pm. Admission $5. or call 585-244-8640. Rainbow SAGE Euchre. South Wedge Planning Committee Building, 224 Mt. Hope Ave. For info and to RSVP: Ginny, 585-473-4765. Dignity Integrity. Episcopal Mass/ Healing Service, with music. 5 pm at St. Luke’s and St. Simon’s Church, 17 S. Fitzhugh St. DI Hotline at 585-234-5092; website


Meet-up for studs & bois. MOCHA Center, 107 Liberty Pole Way, 4-6 pm. Health Month event.


International Women’s Day Out & Equal Networking. 5:30-7:30 pm, Hyatt Regency, 123 E. Main St.

Radisson Rochester Riverside. Health Month event. Butch Femme Connection. Meet at New Wasabi Restaurant on Empire Blvd./ Ridge Rd., Webster, 7 pm. Kerry/Max at (585) 288-7208, email DressyFemme@ or Facebook page at http://www. Erotic Night at Equal=Grounds, 8 pm. Free. Reserve seats at 242-7840. Produced by CSWA (Culture Starts with Art).


Dignity Integrity. Roman Catholic Liturgy of the Word, with music. 5 pm at St. Luke’s/St. Simon’s Church, 17 S. Fitzhugh St. DI Hotline at 585-234-5092; website


Gay Bowling. Clover Lanes, 7 pm. Health Month event.


Just Us Guys potluck at AIDS Care, 259 Monroe Ave., 6 pm in lower level break room. Ron at 729-2259 or email

Pride at Work AFL-CIO True Colors Recognition Dinner, 5:30-8:30 pm, Diplomat Banquet Center, 1 Diplomat Way (at Lyell exit off 390) Gates14606. Honoree: Linda Donahue of Cornell ILR. Tickets $35 online at https://www.wepay. com/tickets/truecolors2012 or contact Bess Watts Empty Closet deadline for April issue. 244-9030;


Rainbow SAGE Intergenerational Panel. “The importance of LGBT allies.” 3 pm, First Universalist Church, 150 S. Clinton downtown. Free, open to all. Rochester Rams bar night. Hosting Buffalo Bull Dogs. 9 pm-2 am, Bachelor Forum, 670 University Ave.




NERP conference. North East Regional Pride. Workshops/roundtables March 9, 10 (register on the day); dinner, show, dance at Radisson Rochester Riverside, 6-11 pm March 10. All three: $45; show and dance only: $20. Tickets, info at Benefits Rochester Pride 2012, July 6-15. LGBT Health Fair. 10 am-2 pm,


Rochester Trans Group. Meeting 3-5 pm, GAGV Youth Center. Returning to last Saturdays in April. Out for Justice Legal Expo. Hosted by Gay Alliance, Monroe Co. Legal Assistance Center, LGBT Health Month. 10 am-3 pm in GAGV Youth Center, first floor, 875 E. Main St. 244-8640 ext 19.


Dignity Integrity. Evening Prayer, followed by Potluck Supper. 5 pm at St.


Community forum. HIV Vaccine Trials 101. 4-6 pm, Highland Family Medicine, 777 S. Clinton. Health Month event.


Youth HIV testing, sex & health chat. GAGV Youth Center, 875 E. Main St., first floor. 3-6 pm. Health Month event.


Safe Schools conference. Cathedral Room, Auditorium Center, 875 E. Main St., fourth floor. 10 am-3 pm. Registration required: call Jess, 244-8640 ext 13.




Prayer Service for Week of Hope and Healing of AIDS. 6:45-8:30 pm, Unity Fellowship Church. Health Month event. L.O.R.A Potluck & Games Night. GAGV Youth Center, 875 E Main St. 6-9:30 pm. 2nd Fridays. Cathie, 585313-3037; email:; Facebook: L.O.R.A.14464; website:

Womyn’s Drum Circle, GAGV Youth Center, 875 E Main St. 6–9:30 pm. 4th Fridays. Contact: Cathie at 585-313-3037; Email:; website:

Luke’s/St. Simon’s Church, 17 S. Fitzhugh St. DI Hotline at 585-234-5092; website Tara Reunion. 1-8 pm at Abilene, 153 Liberty Pole Way. Featuring Bloody Mary bar 1-3 pm, BBQ. 232-3230. Monte Carlo Night. 3-6 pm at 140 Alex. Benefits Pride 2012.

Dignity Integrity. Quiet Episcopal Mass in the Chapel. 5 pm at St. Luke’s/ St. Simon’s Church, 17 S. Fitzhugh St. DI Hotline at 585-234-5092; website http:// ComeoutDancin’ at Friends Meetinghouse, 84 Scio St. 3-5 pm. Admission $5. or call 585-244-8640.

Butch Femme Connection. Meet at Tandoor of India Restaurant, 376 Jefferson Rd. (across from Southtown Plaza), 7 pm. (585) 288-7208, email or Facebook page at


Ballroom 101. For youth ages 13-23 ONLY. GAGV Youth Center, 5-7 pm.

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, NY 14605. Paying by check: checks must be made out to Gay Alliance or GAGV. 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.


Politically progressive Lesbian Women Seniors interested in RPO concerts, Erie Canal walks, bird watching; news and current affairs conversation, call C at 585-732-7149. Smoker-Lesbian Butch needs Fem 52 to 65 for companionship, etc. 585-924-1826.


Rochester’s Best Man to Man Rubdown. Unwind with this degreed, employed, fit, friendly, healthy, Italian GWM. Middle aged, 5’8”, 165 lbs., 32” waist, nonsmoker, d & d free, HIV negative. My 10-plus years experience guarantees your relaxation and satisfaction. Hotel visit, in call in my home or out call in your residence. Reasonable rates. Discretion appreciated and practiced. Don’t delay, call me today at 585-773-2410 (cell) or 585-235-6688 (home) or e-mail me at: Interior painting/wall repair by John Walsh. 25 years experience, neat, clean, efficient. Booking now for spring/summer. Call to arrange estimate. 585-454-2808. Martin Ippolito master electrician. Electrical work, telephone jacks, cable TV, burglar alarm systems, paddle fans. 585-266-6337. World renowned weddings. 42 years performing same sex commitments, now marriages (it’s about time!). Nancy BB Meyer minister, God is Love-Animals are Angels ministry. 585-733-6213. Man to Man. Offering a relaxing body-rub by a masculine bodybuilder, age 38. $80. Text/call 585-295-3055.


Tenant wanted. Available April 1. Clean, private, quiet one-bedroom. Rent includes heat, off street parking, private laundry, porch. Super landlords, owner-occupied, great neighbors. One year lease. Non-smoker, pets OK. 585-752-4704.

march 2012 • number 454 • gay alliance of the genesee valley • the empty closet

Bed & Breakfast

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

Need to Talk?

I work with individuals and couples on a variety of issues including anxiety, depression, relationship concerns, sexuality & coming out. Maryellen Meleca, LCSW • 14 years experience 585-905-4589 •



the empty closet • the gay alliance of the genesee valley • number 454 • march 2012

Community Health Fair Saturday March 10 10am-2pm Radisson Hotel Rochester Riverside Free and open to the public as well as the North East Regional Prides Conference attendees. As of press time, the organizations that will be exhibiting and offering products, services, information and opportunities are: University of Rochester Medical School’s Club Spectrum, Center for Youth, Threshold, Victory Alliance, Terry Schwartz, Greater Rochester Chapter of the New York Mental Health Counseling Association, ImageOUT, Planned Parenthood of Rochester, Rainbow SAGE, The MOCHA Center, Compeer Rochester, Gay Alliance of the Genesee Valley, AIDS Care, Unity Fellowship Church of Rochester, Lifeline, and many more!

JOIN US… North East Regional Prides Conference Dinner Show & Dance Saturday, March 10 Radisson Hotel Rochester Riverside Advance tickets only (online) No tickets at the door $45 Dinner, Show and Dance 6:30-7:15pm: Cash Bar & Reception 7:30-8:30pm: Dinner and Show Rochester Gay Men’s Chorus, Dykes of Hazard Comedy Troupe Pussy Cat Doll Jessica Sutta as well as other surprise guests. 8:30-10pm: Dance and Door Prizes Jessica Sutta will be at TILT after the NERP Conference Performance $7 admission for 21+, $15 cover for 18-20 Hours 10pm-2:30am; 10-11pm ~ every single drink (even top shelf) $2.50!

Rochester Pride July 6–15 Breaking News 2012 Pride Theme: Pride: Power, Superheroes Confirmed Events to date: July 6: Flag raising at City Hall, Sassy in the Southwedge immediately following flag raising. July 13: Kick-Off Party to Pride Weekend at the Holiday Inn Airport July 14: Pride Parade on Park Avenue and Goodman Street July 14: Pride Festival at the Auditorium Theatre’s parking lot on College Ave July 15: Pride Picnic at Genesee Valley Park Pride Committee: Carrie Vernon – Chair Michael Hardy – Past Chair & Marketing Zayne Austin – Picnic Co-Chair Jeff Markarian – Picnic Co-Chair Bill Schaefer – Parade Co-Chair Joe Murphy – Festival Co-Chair Alysa Stryker – Sassy in the Southwedge Peter Mohr – Sponsorship & Events Lyjha Wilton/Louis Mistrette – Festival Phil Rawleigh – Events

Empty Closet, March 2012  

A monthly publication of the Gay Alliance of the Genesee Valley, Rochester, NY.

Empty Closet, March 2012  

A monthly publication of the Gay Alliance of the Genesee Valley, Rochester, NY.