No Excuses Demanding More From Congress H U M A N
DUMPING DOMA Repealing Defense Of Marriage Act R I G H T S
E D N
Staceyann Chin “Tell Your Stories. Be Involved. Participate.”
C A M P A I G N
¡Ya Es Hora! Helping Immigrants Get U.S. Citizenship FALL 2009
K aine C m A IN T T A R
s ie l l A & C t Huge R Tide H ig h f ing W h ind’s t e h B ig s rniaLet R o .8 f rce i Fo Cal rop Again P se o Lo
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LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT
HRC SENIOR STAFF Joe Solmonese President Ann Crowley Membership Director Robert Falk General Counsel Andrea Green Finance Director John Greene Human Resources Director Allison Herwitt Legislative Director Anastasia Khoo Marketing Director Don Kiser Creative Director Brad Luna Communications Director Cathy Nelson Vice President for Development & Membership Betsy Pursell Vice President for Public Education & Outreach Jim Rinefierd Vice President for Finance & Operations Marty Rouse National Field Director Susanne Salkind Managing Director David M. Smith Vice President of Programs Christopher Speron Development Director
‘Equality Requires Effort’ Positive political change doesn’t just happen — it is won by individuals who are willing to work long and hard to make the world a better place. As U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor said when asked about securing equal protection under the law, “Equality requires effort.” The recent passage of the Matthew Shepard Act shows why HRC’s persistence is so crucial. The victory capped an 11-year campaign to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans from bias-driven violent crime. This hard-won advance has shown us that relentless pressure can spur Congress to act. Now we’re stepping up our efforts to get lawmakers to move equality off of the back burner. During the congressional August recess, we launched our “No Excuses” grassroots campaign to demand action on key national legislative priorities. In this issue, read how we used innovative online tools and one-on-one trainings to mobilize thousands of HRC members and our allies to directly lobby their members of Congress — to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act that denies recognition to legally married same-sex couples, pass an inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act to bar workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, reverse the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy to enable LGBT service members to serve openly in the armed forces, and more.
being forced out of the armed forces because of who they are. We’re also highlighting its negative effects on national security. Meanwhile, HRC is targeting several 2009 state elections that will have a profound impact on LGBT equality. In Maine, marriage equality is on the line, because anti-marriage forces have collected enough signatures to put marriage rights to a statewide vote. A similar ballot measure in Washington state targets a domestic partnership law there. We’re working nonstop to win these battles, and the continued backing of members like you is essential to our success. We can’t let up for even a second. The forces of intolerance are determined to roll back the progress we have made. In fact, Rick Santorum is back. The former senator, and one of our most vocal foes, has joined forces with the extreme right-wing group, National Organization for Marriage, warning that “soon gay marriage, like a grassfire, will spread across America!” I hope that you will continue to stand with HRC and me to speak out in support of full equality for every American. If at all possible, please go to www.hrc.org/fall now to support HRC’s vital work with a generous contribution, or mail your donation to HRC today. Thank you.
Warmly, We’re also turning up the heat on Congress to overturn “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” through our “Voices of Honor” tour. HRC is bringing LGBT military veterans and their straight allies to 15 cities across the country to focus attention on those Americans
Cuc Vu Chief Diversity Officer HRC EQUALITY STAFF Janice Hughes Publications Director Carolyn Simon Staff Writer Sarah Streyle Graphic Design Specialist Robert Villaflor Art Director CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Jonathan Monteith, Brian Moulton OTHER CONTRIBUTORS Hyacinth Alvaran, Samantha Citron, Tiffany Dean, Justin Giaquinto, Anthony Hayes, Keiko Iioka, Jeremy Kennedy, Anastasia Khoo, Don Kiser, Jamie Kors, Mollie Levin, Tommy Lodge, Mike Mings, Charlie Nordstrom, Jeremy Pittman, Paul Richards, Marty Rouse, Ché Ruddell-Tabisola, Michael Suh, Lindsey Twombly, Tony Wagner
Equality is a publication of the Human Rights Campaign and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. Equality (ISSN 1092-5791) is published quarterly by HRC, 1640 Rhode Island Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036. Copyright 2009. All rights reserved. Subscription rates: Free to members. Printed in the USA. The Human Rights Campaign and HRC Foundation names and Equality logos are trademarks of the Human Rights Campaign and HRC Foundation. To join HRC, call 800-777-HRC3, visit www.hrc.org or TTY at 202-216-1572. Are you an HRC member? Have a question? HRC’s Member Services Team, led by Dana Campbell, works every day to provide HRC’s 750,000 grassroots members and supporters with the best membership experience possible. To contact Member Services, e-mail membership@ hrc.org or call 800-727-4723.
All advertisers in Equality magazine are Human Rights Campaign National Corporate Partners. Because of HRC’s commitment to improving the lives of LGBT Americans in the workplace, all of our National Corporate Partners must demonstrate their own dedication by achieving a score of 85 percent or greater on the HRC Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index. Companies such as these have advanced the cause of LGBT equality through their own policies, and we encourage you to consider them when making purchase decisions. For specific scores, criteria and more information on the Corporate Equality Index, please visit www.hrc.org/CEI.
INSIDE FEATURES Photo: Melissa Mahoney
13 YEARS TOO LONG Repealing DOMA
Under attack in Maine HRC & Allies Fight Right-Wing Tide; National Opponents of Marriage Descend Upon Maine
Staceyann Chin “Tell Your Stories, Sing Your Song, Vote. Participate.”
At the Intersection HRC’s New Report Explores the Junction of Race, Sexuality and Gender
¡Ya Es Hora! HRC Volunteers Help Immigrants Navigate Path to Citizenship
Photo: Cynthia Leigh Lewis
On the Cover: The outcome of the Maine ballot battle in November could have a nationwide impact. That’s why HRC and its allies are urgently calling voters, having face-to-face conversations, gathering signatures, organizing volunteers — working to convince people to vote to defend marriage equality. A special article on p. 17 shows images from a day in the life of canvassers who are working to defend the new law. In the words of HRC Field Organizer Jeremy Kennedy, “We have to give everything we have right now.” (Photo: Corey Perrine for HRC)
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Board of Directors*
HRC’s Joe Solmonese, upon the announcement of the civil rights champion’s death.
“Whatever Congress decides, one thing will not change:
Gays & lesbians will still serve in uniform, fighting for our freedom. Whether or not they have the freedom to acknowledge who they really are.” CBS anchor Katie Couric, in an evening segment about the “Voices of Honor” tour.
America” Several protestors — associated with right-wing extremist Fred Phelps of Kansas — picketed recently outside HRC headquarters, shouting epithets against homosexuals, Jewish people, reproductive rights, President Obama and, well, the entire country.
Board of Governors* Rick Aishman TX, Lacey All WA, Lili Alpaugh LA, Steve Amend NV, Andrew Arnold CA, Karen Aronoff OH, Steve Atkinson TX, Jessica Bair CA, Joel Baldazo TX, Kevin Bass CA, Robert Berry IL, Blake Beyer TX, Dana Beyer MD, Scott Bishop NC, Wendy Blenning OR, Sarah Booth DC, Byron Brady NC, Tim Bresnahan IL, Barbara Browning MA, Brian Browning TX, Charles Buchanan TX, Deiadra Burns TX, Matt Burrus TX, Todd Canon OR, Carlos Carbonell FL, Christopher Carolan NY, Bill Castellani DC, Jeff Caywood OH, Fidel Chavoya CA, Kevin Cheng CA, Luana Chilleli UT, Lisa Conner PA, John Cramer TX, Jeremy Davis TN, Fiona Dawson TX, Robert Dogens NC, Joe Fields TX, Steve Fisher CA, Brian Flanagan NJ, Tom Floyd CA, Allison Ford IL, Jennifer Foster FL, Bruce Franck MN, Ralph Freidin MA, Charlie Frew GA, Tucker Gallagher DC, Jeffery Garofalo NV, William Gautreaux LA, Brian Gilligan MN, Madeleine Goss NC, Amos Gott TN, Deborah Graves MN, Paul Guillory TX, Edward Guzek MN, Kirk Hamill DC, Suzanne Hamilton OH, James Healey NV, Jason Held IL, Miranda Hooker MA, Rich Hurley NC, Doug Kauffman OH, John Kerrigan TX, Tom Knabel MN, Thomas Kovach NV, Christopher Labonte PA, Jason Lambert FL, Steve Lampasso FL, Todd Landis WA, Carolyn Lane AZ, Jon-Eric Lehman CA, Tedd Lesch CA, Billy Leslie TN, John Linder NY, Alex Lindquist CO, Michael Long OR, Jason Lowery GA, John Mancuso MO, John Marez CA, Fred Mariscal CA, M. Mason OH, Johnny McGee NC, Sharlea McMurtry CO, Martha McQuade VA, Lori Megown NY, Andrew Melissinos CA, Ryan Messer OH, Gwen Migita NV, Felicia Miller TX, Patrick Miller LA, John Morrison NJ, Theresa Moschetta NY, Kevin Moser WA, Heather Nevill CO, Jim Newstrom MN, George Page TX, Paul Palmer FL, Peter Pappas DC, Bryan Parsons NY, Darrell Parsons TX, Dee Pennington TX, Steve Pospisil MN, Kevin Powers MA, Jerry Rapier UT, Michael Reiser MO, Susan Reyes LA, Darren Rhinehart GA, Brian Rice CT, Wendy Ringe TX, Mark Robertson NY, Jason Roundy CA, Trent Royster DC, John Ruffier FL, Mark Sadlek TX, Dan Salera MA, Catherine Scalise TX, Elizabeth Schleigh TX, Heidi Schreiber MN, Darren Sextro MO, Jon Shaffer OH, Lynn Shepodd CA, Rebecca Sherrill GA, Robert Sikorski TN, Molly Simmons GA, LaWana Slack Mayfield NC, Catharine Smith PA, Steven Spencer-Steigner CA, Andre St. Pierre AZ, Chuck Stephens GA, Brian Stranghoner AZ, Ken Sugarman DC, Dan Tanner FL, Clare Thomas CA, Andrea Torrence MO, Nathan Treanor AZ, Timothy Walker OH, William Weeks IL, Richard Welch MA, Bruce Wessler MO, Pamela Wheeler TN, Jill Wilcox TX, Julie Wood GA, Kathy Young AZ, Lisa Zellner OH Foundation Board* Kim Allman MD, Gwen Baba CA, Vic Basile MD, Terry Bean OR, Lee Carter NC, Edie Cofrin GA, Lawrie Demorest GA, Anne Fay TX, Garry Kief CA, Marty Lieberman WA, Andy Linsky CA, Jay Oppenheimer TX, Henry Rosales CO, Hilary Rosen DC, Judy Shepard WY, Mary Snider DC * As of August 2009.
Photo: Chantal Dussuel
There was no greater hero for advocates of LGBT equality than Senator Ted Kennedy.”
Kim Allman DC, Steve Atkinson TX, John Barry IL, Bruce Bastian UT, Terry Bean OR, David Beckwith CA, Les Bendtsen MN, Ken Britt GA, Stephanie Carreon TX, Marjorie Chorlins DC, Dan Cochran NY, Jane Daroff OH, Tim Downing OH, Clint Eddy WA, Linda Elliott AZ, Anne Fay TX, Jody Gates LA, Stephen Gilhooly TX, Sandra Hartness CA, Mike Holloman TX, John Isa DC, LeeAnn Jones GA, Barry Karas CA, Jani Lopez TX, Joni Madison NC, Terry Penrod OH, Dana Perlman CA, Steve Reid AZ, Henry Robin NY, Henry Rosales CO, Mirian Saez CA, Linda Scaparotti CA, Tom Skancke NV, Mary Snider DC, Jill Stauffer MA, Rebecca Tillet NY, Alan Uphold CA, Scott Wiener CA, David Wilson MA, Frank Woo CA, Lisa Zellner OH
acebook! Are you friends with the Human Rights Campaign on Facebook? If not, you should be.
Recently, HRC won $10,000 in a Kenneth Cole contest, thanks to its Facebook friends. When the designer offered a donation to the non-profit organization that got the most votes in a Facebook poll, HRC’s friends got active. The result: HRC snagged a whopping 38 percent of the vote — and the top-prize donation. HRC has a huge following on Facebook, and those numbers are growing daily. It currently has 175,000-plus followers, including many from outside the United States.
Photo: Georg Lester
They visit the HRC page to get the latest on LGBT news — local, state and national — and to share videos, pictures, comments and stories with other like-minded, Internet-savvy people. Earlier this year, HRC was part of a coalition campaign to call Congress in support of federal hate crimes legislation. HRC spread the word through Facebook, promoting the national call-in day and hosting an event on the social networking site. HRC’s network of friends then posted the event on their own Facebook pages, helping to generate thousands more calls to Congress ahead of their votes on the legislation. Follow HRC on Facebook at www.facebook.com/humanrightscampaign.
9.3 million Number of full-time employees who work for businesses that earned 100 percent ratings in HRC’s new Corporate Equality Index 2010. This year, 305 businesses scored 100 percent – that’s 45 more businesses than last year’s.
UP FRONT “Obviously, I am a product of what the civil rights movement was able to do in the ’60s. And for me, this is the civil rights movement of my generation. “I was talking to my daughter about it, telling her why I wanted to come and do this today, and she said, ‘Well, what do you mean?’ I said, ‘If two girls wanted to get married, or two boys wanted to get married because they love each other, in New York, they couldn’t do it.’ And she thought about it really hard, and she looked really sad, and said, ‘You mean I couldn’t marry Carina if I wanted to?’ And Carina is her best friend — they’re both 8 years old. I said, ‘No, honey, you couldn’t.’ And she said, ‘Well, that’s terrible.’ I said, ‘That’s right, it’s terrible. But when you grow up, it won’t be the case. You’ll be able to marry whoever you want to marry.’ “So I’m doing it for my daughter — and for the future of the country. That this forward-thinking country does not have civil rights like that is just ridiculous.” — Tony Award-winning actress Audra McDonald, who currently stars in the ABC television show “Private Practice,” speaking at HRC’s Gala Dinner in San Francisco.
Ending the HIV Travel / Immigration Ban 17, 500. That’s how many HRC members and supporters promptly weighed in with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services after it issued a proposal to end the country’s discriminatory ban on HIV-positive visitors and immigrants.
Congress to remove the restriction from federal law and then pressuring the Bush and Obama administrations to change the regulations to end the unnecessary and discriminatory treatment of people with HIV and AIDS.
HRC activists submitted their comments — out of a total of 19,000 received by the department — in support of lifting the ban.
A final regulation lifting the ban is expected by the end of the year.
In the last two years, HRC has played a key role in the effort to overturn the ban, first in lobbying
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Photo credit: Official White House photographer Samantha Appleton.
Number of members who were signed up by HRC volunteers in the Kansas City, Mo., area during pride season last summer.
The HRC Foundation’s Youth and Campus Outreach Program generated a lot of buzz about its new Generation Equality Scholarships recently. Some 1,000 students from all 50 states and the District of Columbia applied. There were so many outstanding applicants that the HRC Foundation found a way to award five instead of the previously announced three $2,000 scholarships, noted Candace Gingrich, associate director of the program. Participants submitted essays, including describing if they were HRC’s president what they would do in their first year. Winners include Ash Fisher, New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts; Marley Hamrick, Colorado College; Alex Morse, Brown University; Arianna Trujillo-Robnett, St. Edwards College in Austin, Texas; and Natalka Wiszczur, University of North Carolina – Asheville. See www.hrc.org/GenEQScholarshipWinners for more.
Stonewall at 40 HRC Associate Director of Diversity Donna Payne speaks to first lady Michelle Obama at the White House’s celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. President Obama spoke to a gathering of several hundred leaders in the LGBT community at the reception.
“Hope is out there and change is coming.” — Judy Shepard, in The Meaning of Matthew, talks about her son and the pivotal event in a small college town that changed everything, and her own path toward activism. Shepard is a member of the board of the HRC Foundation.
Meanwhile, be sure to read Arizona state Rep. Kyrsten Sinema’s book Unite and Conquer: How to Build Coalitions That Win and Last. The longtime HRC ally chaired the coalition Arizona Together in 2006, when it defeated a measure that would have banned domestic partnerships in the state.
“When a state commission found that civil unions were failing to provide the same rights and dignity as marriage, I became a firm backer of marriage equality. We tried ‘separate but equal’ in this country, and history proved it to be a great wrong. We shouldn't try it again.” — New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine in an e-mail interview with Equality magazine. The HRCendorsed Democrat is in a tough re-election battle against Republican Christopher J. Christie, who has said he would veto a same-sex marriage measure. Corzine spoke at HRC’s Greater New York Gala Dinner.
31,000+ The number of people who, in response to an HRC online survey on the Defense of Marriage Act, noted that the most harmful effect of the law was their inability to receive Social Security survivors’ benefits for their spouses. Nearly 50,000 people participated in the poll. See p. 13 for more.
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When we’re all equals, things really start to add up.
rtnership equality and pa The power of er gy . It’ s of hu m an en is th e po we r d it’ s r co m pa ny , an wh at dr iv es ou es s in pr om ot e fa irn th e re as on we ne rt rships e. Through pa th e workplac wn ed -o - an d wo m en wi th m in or ity , we ’re rld wo ou nd th e bu sin es se s ar fo r es iti un op po rt he lp in g cr ea te us at sit vi e, or m le ar n ev er yo ne . To . ch ev ro n. co m
At in-district meetings, HRC members demand more action from Congress
No Excuses By Carolyn Simon
oo many in Congress have dragged their feet on issues that affect the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
Photo: Zachary Bennett
So the Human Rights Campaign and its allies are ramping up the pressure. When members of Congress returned home for recess in August and early September, scores of HRC members and supporters met with their representatives in their district offices to push for federal legislative change as part of HRC’s new “No Excuses” initiative.
Thousands of LGBT people and their allies signed up to schedule face-to-face meetings with their representatives, pressing them on an inclusive Employment NonDiscrimination Act, the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act and more. “Members of Congress need to hear personal stories so as to tie pro-equality legislation to real-life situations,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “And they need to know that HRC and the LGBT community are tired of broken promises.” While it isn’t nearly enough (or quickly enough), we have seen some gains in the 111th Congress. There was a successful
vote on federal hate crimes protections in both chambers of Congress — first in the House of Representatives in April, and then as an amendment to the Department of Defense authorization bill in the Senate in July. Now the Senate and House versions of the bill must be reconciled before being sent to the president’s desk. HRC’s legislative team also worked closely with House and Senate staff to secure introduction of an inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would bar discrimination in the workplace on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. This is the first time the Senate has ever had a fully inclusive ENDA introduced. continued on page 11
(L) HRC ally Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Pa., and other military veterans took part in the “Voices of Honor” tour, calling for the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Murphy will be the lead sponsor in the U.S. House of Representatives of the bill that would repeal this policy.
Your first goal was to be judged on your ideas, not your partner. So, what’s your next goal? At Deloitte, our stance is simple: If you can do the job well, you should be on our team. For us, getting the job done means attracting the best talent from all walks of life. That’s why we: • Support the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community through our business resource group, GLOBE • Were named one of DiversityInc’s Top 10 Companies for LGBT Employees in 2008 • Received a 100% rating in the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index for three consecutive years We know that you’ve always wanted a workplace where you would be judged on your ideas; the question now is — what will you do with it?
As used in this document, “Deloitte” means Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries. Please see www.deloitte.com/us/about for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries. Copyright © 2008 Deloitte Development LLC. All rights reserved.
cont’d from page 9
“The promise of America will never be fulfilled as long as justice is denied to even one among us,” said the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass, a longtime ally. ENDA “brings us closer to fulfilling that promise for LGBT citizens.” House hearings were slated for early this fall. Additionally, progress is under way on other legislative priorities. HRC has worked to include three bills as part of larger reform legislation being taken up by Congress, in hopes that it will increase the likelihood of passage. They are: the Uniting American Families Act, which would end the painful separation of families by recognizing permanent same-sex couples under immigration laws; the Tax Equity for Health Plan Beneficiaries Act, which provides equal tax treatment of health benefits for LGBT families; and the Early Treatment for HIV Act, which would give states the option to provide Medicaid coverage to low-income, HIV-positive Americans. And much work remains to be done on other legislative priorities, said Solmonese. Congress needs to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, which denies legally married lesbian and gay couples more than 1,000 federal protections. “With six states either providing or soon to provide marriage benefits to same-sex couples, it’s really time for Congress to repeal DOMA and to treat all married couples equally,” he said. Also,
Congress must repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” to ensure that service members who contribute to our nation’s security are no longer discharged for who they are. This policy hurts the country by discharging critically needed service members. Nearly 800 specialists with vital skills — Arabic linguists, for example — have been fired under the policy. Recently, HRC organized a “Voices of Honor” tour to highlight the discriminatory policy. Another legislative priority, the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act, would extend employment-sponsored benefits like health insurance to the domestic partners of federal employees. This new legislation would, in fact, bring the federal government in line with corporate America, where 57 percent of Fortune 500 companies provide domestic partner benefits to their employees. “Yes, there are many challenges facing this Congress and this president,” said Solmonese. “But LGBT people often face additional hardship protecting their families, their loved ones and their jobs, and too few in Congress are willing to champion these issues of basic fairness. “Now, more than ever, members of the LGBT community need to make their voices heard.”
That’s why we asked our members, supporters and allies nationwide to meet with members of Congress to let them know that, well, there are no excuses for not moving to enact laws supported by the vast majority of Americans to protect LGBT Americans. The response to HRC’s “No Excuses” campaign? Phenomenal. Sign-Ups: More than 7,500 people signed up to have in-district meetings with their members of Congress. Locations: People came from all 50 states (as well as Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands), representing 432 of 435 congressional districts. Meetings: In the first few weeks of the program, hundreds of HRC members and supporters met with their members of Congress in their home districts. Training: Experienced HRC field organizers have been holding twiceweekly trainings to help participants get comfortable sharing their stories with their members of Congress.
Members of Congress need to hear personal stories so as to tie proequality legislation to real-life situations.
We’re tired of the excuses.
To learn more about meeting with your member of Congress, visit noexcuses.hrc.org
13 Years Too Long Repealing doma
t press time, efforts were under way on Capitol Hill to unveil legislation to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. The 13-year-old law, known as DOMA, bars the federal government from recognizing lawfully married same-sex couples. It also purports to allow states to refuse to recognize marriages between same-sex couples from other states. DOMA denies same-sex couples more than 1,000 rights, benefits and obligations under federal law — including Social Security survivors’ benefits, access to family and medical leave, equal compensation as federal employees, and immigration rights. In August, President Obama said he would continue to seek repeal of the law. He is the first president who supports doing so. HRC and a coalition of groups have been steadily pressing Congress to unveil the legislation and educate and build support for the repeal. Longtime Human Rights
Campaign ally Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., is expected to introduce the bill this fall. It’s long overdue, many people passionately agree. In fact, nearly 50,000 people responded to a recent HRC online survey, asking people to weigh in on how DOMA is affecting their lives. The most harmful effect of the law, according to 31,000 of the respondents, was their inability to receive Social Security survivors’ benefits for their spouses. And 26,000 respondents said the most harmful effect was having to face an unfair tax (that different-sex couples do not pay) which can lead to the loss of a family home. People — lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender and straight, young and old, married and not — shared their stories with HRC. “I want my son to have the same rights as a married person that I do,” said one respon-
dent. “I truly can’t understand people who are opposed the same-sex marriage when it affects their life in no way. Keep up the great work, HRC, and thank you!” HRC recently urged the White House to lead the way on the repeal. HRC took aim at legal arguments made by the Department of Justice in a federal lawsuit challenging DOMA, including the department’s contention that it has a duty to defend the statute. Although the department is generally obligated to defend acts of Congress in court, this duty does not apply when the law is clearly unconstitutional, as HRC and leading LGBT rights groups agree DOMA is. However, understanding that the administration intends to defend DOMA in court, HRC has urged the president to take leadership in repealing the law. “It is not enough to disavow this discriminatory law, and then wait for Congress or the courts to act,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese.
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HRC & Allies fight Huge Right-Wing Tide National foes of marriage descend upon maine
K C A TT A R
e n i a m IN
Long before marriage equality was signed into law in Maine, the Human Rights Campaign began working closely with the statewide group there for what was certain to come next…
one of the country’s biggest battles ever in the fight for fairness. It was absolutely crucial to work early on with Equality Maine to lay the groundwork to defend marriage equality in the state at the ballot box.
Photo: Corey Perrine for HRC
It was a battle that could be a turning point in the national fight for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. Far-right groups are geared up in a big way. After handily gathering enough signatures for the ballot vote in November, they have now shifted their full attention to raising money to overturn the state’s new marriage equality law.
This scenario might sound a bit familiar. It’s the same anti-LGBT groups, the same consultants and the same masterminds behind the 2008 movement to pass Proposition 8 in California, which stripped the right to marry from same-sex couples in the state. “In Maine, we have a chance to show that marriage equality can be successfully defended at the polls ��� and to show that we won’t back down,” said HRC Field Director Marty Rouse. HRC Field Organizer Jeremy Kennedy has
been crisscrossing the state since January, first working with Equality Maine and then with the No on 1/Protect Maine Equality campaign. Day after day, he spends time on the phone, at his laptop, in the street, in homes, at shopping malls, at evening events — organizing volunteers and identifying the people who need to be convinced to vote on the right side of equality in November. “It’s within our grasp,” HRC’s Kennedy recently told a crowd of volunteers at a new campaign office in downtown Lewiston. “We do not want to wake up the day after continued on page 19
When it comes to long-term care, you need a partner who understands. Without the spousal or survivor benefits of Social Security, itâ€™s especially challenging for LGBT couples to protect their retirement assets and personal savings from long-term care costs. At Prudential, we understand. We believe in strong partnerships too. Thatâ€™s why we offer discounted rates for domestic partners. With long-term care insurance issued by The Prudential Insurance Company of America, you could afford to help protect your assets and your quality of life.
Long-term care insurance policy is issued by The Prudential Insurance Company of America, 751 Broad Street, Newark, NJ 07102 (800-732-0416). This coverage contains benefits, exclusions, limitations, eligibility requirements and specific terms and provisions under which the insurance coverage may be continued in force or discontinued. The Prudential Insurance Company of America is authorized to conduct business in all U.S. states and the District of Columbia. All insurance policies/options may not be available in your state. The Prudential Insurance Company of America is a Prudential Financial company. Prudential and the Rock logo are registered service marks of The Prudential Insurance Company of America. This is a solicitation for long-term care insurance. IFS-A154931 Ed. 09/2008
MAINE cont’d from page 17
the vote and wish that we would have given one more hour or dollar … we have to give everything we have now.” HRC has established a Maine Marriage Political Action Committee and will donate 100 percent of the money raised to fight the anti-marriage referendum. In addition, it has pledged a donation of $125,000, most of which has already been delivered. It is also deploying field
staff, hiring consultants to assist with organizing efforts and gathering petition signatures. Like HRC’s Kennedy, they generate phone calls to undecided voters, canvass and mobilize HRC members and supporters nationwide to donate money to protect marriage equality in Maine. “HRC has been a terrific ally and champion from Day One,” said Jesse Connolly, No on 1/Protect Maine Equality campaign manager. “But we need our friends to realize two things — that Maine is winnable,
but we can’t go it alone. That’s why we urge everyone who hasn’t to invest today in this critical fight.” If marriage equality prevails at the polls on Nov. 3, five of the six New England states, except for Rhode Island, will offer marriage to same-sex couples. “It’s a battle we have to win, and can — we’re not giving in,” said Rouse. Join the fight See www.hrc.org/maine for more.
“We do not want to wake up the day after the vote and wish that we would have given one more hour or dollar …” we have to give everything we have now.”
Photos: Corey Perrine for HRC
Clockwise, from top: HRC Regional Field Organizer Jeremy Kennedy canvasses door-to-door in Sanford, Maine; No on 1 organizer Sam Parker looks over her turf before going door-to-door; No on 1 volunteers Leonard and Ann practice before canvassing; Parker talks to a voter; Supporters sign pledges to vote No on 1 at an art fair in South Portland, Maine.
taceyann Chin is a poet, performer and political activist. She has appeared on Oprah, written for The New York Times and racked up awards for her onstage work in one-woman shows and the Tony Award-winning Russell Simmons Def Poetry Jam. She’s smart, funny and fierce. Her life story is an incredible one. Some 37 years ago, Chin was born on the floor of a shack in rural Jamaica, abandoned first by her dad, then her mom, bounced around from one household to another. Fast forward through strict Catholic schools, coming out — barely escaping a brutal attack — and, eventually, finding a safe haven in New York. In her first book, a memoir, The Other Side of Paradise, Chin tells of that survival that seems nearly impossible.
And how her life is, now, so full of purpose. During a recent appearance at a Washington, D.C., bookstore, Chin — onstage, in flip-flops and a sundress — read before a packed room, easily taking question after question from the audience, mostly young African-American women. They ask her about her life, her mother, her ChineseJamaican father, her writing, making a difference. Chin, who has led countless workshops across the country on civil rights, youth and diversity, has also participated in the Human Rights Campaign’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities program. On a recent sunny day, Equality caught up with Chin at home, deep in the heart of Brooklyn. Sitting cross-legged on her couch, with two dogs and a cat nearby, she spoke about her grandmother, growing up, coming out and just being “an activist who happens to write.” Excerpts follow.
staceyann Equality: You
often talk about the importance of being visible.
Chin: I think that coming out and visibility is still the most powerful tool the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community has at its disposal. And I’m not talking about coming out in different groups. I’m talking about ordinary, regular, LGBT people. People who are teachers. People who work in the laundromat. People who work in the pediatrician’s office. People who sit in the choir at church. People who stock the pharmacy shelves. …We need more people to quietly come out to their sister, to take a partner home on a weekend to say, “Oh you know, this is just my girlfriend, I’m gay.”… I find that those stories are often more effective than stories like mine. Equality: Some
of the funniest parts of your book — and certainly, the most violent part — are about coming out.
Chin: First rule of thumb: Be safe. Make your coming out experience a smart one. It can make the difference between you being jumped … and making an impact on having the people who you love understand where you’re coming from. And if you find that you can be safe, and then find a way to be visible. Sometimes we have to navigate it delicately. If there’s some way you can voice it around a shared concern. You say to your aunt, you know, “I’m having a problem but I want your advice on it. OK, I gotta tell you, first things first, I’m a lesbian. And my girlfriend, she wants to live in this other place and I don’t want to be far from you guys. … I wanna stay close and be a part of the family and, you know, if you guys don’t disown me, but we want to be here. And I really don’t know how to do that.” I think relatives are often very flattered when you ask them for advice. It opens conversation. I think that because of the way the world is, our first instinct is to be defensive first. And being defensive puts
us on the offense sometimes. You have to be strategic about coming out. Strategy is the most important thing. Equality: You frequently credit your grandmother for who you are today.
Chin: One of the things she really stood for was that she gave me a good example of how much a person could accomplish, achieve in this life — with so little — and how we can still fully participate in life. … If you are poor or you don’t have access to education, often those factors can become obstacles to living a full life. Every time I read from the book, every time I talk about my grandma, I realize that. The little things she said to me are kind of a reference point. … She never said, “Oh, that’s too hard, I can’t do it.” There was no food, she had no money. She couldn’t work anymore. But we ate. We had plates. And lots of times, she would say to me, “I can’t do something, but you can do it.” You know,
she had a great respect for the power of words, the power of education. Equality: And
you read to her from the Bible. Your other relatives were quite conservative in their religious beliefs, too?
Chin: I was raised as a conservative, fundamental Christian. For the first 13, 14 years of my life. While the jury is still out whether I believed it, I certainly had to adhere to it, and was always bumping up against that kind of fundamental Christian thinking. You know, I wasn’t supposed to have sex before marriage. Homosexuality was wrong. Equality: You
call yourself an “activist who happens to write.” What is activism? How do you describe it?
chin Chin: Anything that you do for the betterment of the community in which you live, in which you work, in which you reside, in which you dance, in which you play and in which you walk, that is activism. And different people do different levels of it. And if everybody did a little bit, we wouldn’t need everyone to do a lot. Sometimes it’s recycling. Sometimes it’s sending your clothes to people who need it. Sometimes it’s helping kids with their homework at the local community center.
Tell your stories, sing your song, vote. Participate. By Janice Hughes
do you talk about racism, homophobia and sexism, and where they meet?
Photo: Melissa Mahoney
Chin: I begin by saying that I am just as vulnerable to all the larger “isms” in society. If you meet a large group of white people in the world, as a black person, for instance, you expect a certain level of racism. Not because they’re bad people but because
continued on page 27
Making Progress Ensuring equality and mutual respect in our society often starts with asserting your own rights as well as your respect for the rights of others. For nearly 30 years, on behalf of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) Americans, the Human Rights Campaign has shown tireless leadership on gay rights and gender identity issues. Recognized as the largest civil rights organization for GLBT Americans, the HRC represents a grassroots force of more than 700,000 members and supporters nationwide. With the success of our own employee networks and our policy of gender identity confidentiality, we recognize the HRC as a great influence in achieving a more responsible energy future for all. www.shell.com/us
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The junction of race, sexuality and gender were recently explored when the Human Rights Campaign released a report based on two years of grassroots outreach, research and polling of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people of color.
In At the Intersection: Race, Sexuality and Gender and in public forums that HRC organized around its release in August, those findings arise again and again. In a series of blog postings and an online town hall meeting, members of the LGBT people of color community — ESPN columnist LZ Granderson, civil rights activist and writer Rinku Sen, U.S. congressional legislative aide Diego Sanchez, TV actor Doug Spearman, Bishop Tonyia Rawls and others — spoke in personal terms about the racism and homophobia they see and experience.
The findings of the groundbreaking report show just how far America has to go. What is sorely needed in this country, according to the new report, is a deep dialogue about race, sexual orientation and gender identity — to promote racial diversity within the larger LGBT communities and sexual diversity within people of color communities. HRC’s new report — called a “must read” by award-winning blogger Pam Spaulding — has two important findings: LGBT people of color experience more racism than discrimination for being LGBT, and they also face challenges in being accepted in their own racial/ethnic communities.
The country is a long way from being “postracial,” many participants noted. LGBT people of color of all ages and walks of life — from Trenton, N.J., to Los Angeles
— took part in HRC’s study, via in-person and online focus groups and a national, online scientific survey, said Ché Ruddell-Tabisola, HRC’s special projects manager. Outreach was done at “LGBT-friendly” coffee shops, bookstores, bars and by word of mouth. “We have to be able to listen to each other and honor and respect where aspects of our community are” on issues of race, gender, sexuality and religion in the context of the civil rights movement, said Granderson, in the online discussion. Granderson, who wrote the widely read op-ed “Gay Is Not the New Black” on CNN.com, praised At the Intersection for helping to move the conversation forward. “Reading through the report and looking at the data, one thing that stood out to me is that LGBT people of color are extremely attached to their racial and ethnic communities, even though they experience homophobia in their communities,” said Sen, who also took continued on page 27
What HRC’s new study Found… sexism among LGBT people as there is > Nearly all LGBT people of color say proamong non-LGBT people, and racially tections from violence and workplace motivated violence and discrimination are discrimination are crucial — issues strong more prevalent than violence or prejudice majorities of all Americans support in based on sexual orientation. opinion polls. Violence and discrimination are the most salient issues that connect > LGBT people of color are serious media three critical groups — non-LGBT people, • • • • • • • • • • • •communities • • • • • • • •of• color • • • •and • •white • • • •LGBT • • • • • • • • • • • •consumers • • • • • • •but • • •don’t • • •find • • •enough • • • • •informa•••••• • • • • • • • • • • • •communities. • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •tion • • •or• see • • •accurate • • • • • •media • • • •representa•••••••••• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •tions • • • of • •themselves. •••••••••••••••••••••• • • • • • • • • • •> • •L•GBT • • •people • • • • •of• color • • • •view • • •the • • world • • • • first •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• • • • • • • • • • • • •from • • • the • • •point • • • of • •view • • •of • •race • • •and • • •gender. • • • • • • •> • •R•eligious • • • • •attitudes • • • • • •are • • a• major • • • • source •••••••• • • • • • • • • • • • •Most • • • •feel • • there • • • •is• as • • much • • • •racism • • • • and • • • • • • • • • •of• •sexual • • • •prejudice. • • • • • • For • • •LGBT • • • •people • • • • of •••• •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••
color, many of whom are regular churchgoers, the conflict is acute. More than half of LGBT people of color interviewed feel treated like sinners by their ethnic and racial communities, and faith communities are among the places LGBT people of color feel least accepted. * Download the report, read the town hall transcript and Equality Forward essays and share your own story about race, sexuality and gender at www.hrc.org/ equalityforward.
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It’s hard for many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans to stand up and demand the rights to which we are entitled. It’s that much harder for people who are not yet U.S. citizens.
Photo: Cynthia Leigh Lewis
To broaden the support for LGBT equality in communities of color, the Human Rights Campaign is part of an initiative known as Ya Es Hora — or “It’s Time” — a coalition of faith, labor, media and community-based groups that is hosting volunteer citizen workshops around the country in an effort to provide Latino/a immigrants with resources to apply for citizenship and to be active participants in U.S. democracy. About 8.5 million immigrants in the U.S. are eligible for naturalization, and even though the number of applicants has increased significantly over the years, only a small percentage of these people seek citizenship. More than half of the immigrants who are eligible for naturalization come from Latin American countries, according to the Pew Hispanic Center.
Dozens of HRC volunteers have helped at Ya Es Hora workshops in locations such as South Florida, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Denver and the District of Columbia. They pitch in wherever needed — taking ID photos, distributing materials for the citizenship test and helping participants fill out citizenship applications. Paul Palmer, an HRC Board of Governors member from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., gave a history and civics lesson at a recent workshop in nearby Hollywood, Fla. Attendees paid close attention throughout the entire workshop, he said, and especially when he pointed out that America’s diversity predates the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
thanked us, and told us that the material we covered allowed them to look at America in a whole new light,” Palmer said. Since 2007, the Ya Es Hora initiative has helped guide 1.4 million Latinos/as to U.S. citizenship, its leaders say. Media network Univison, the National Council of La Raza, Mi Familia Vota and the Service Employees International Union are among some of the national groups involved. The goal for 2009 is to help put an additional 1 million people on the path to naturalization.
To learn how to get involved, e-mail email@example.com
“Quite a few people came up afterward and
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Staceyann chin cont’d from page 21
of the way the world is set up. With the LGBT community, I expect a little less because of the conversations we’re usually engaged in, you know, equality and respect and diversity and all those things. But I don’t imagine that because they are gay that racism is eradicated. And homophobia is something that I need to look out for. … I think that if everybody admitted, “Listen, I am a little bit of a bigot myself. That I struggle with my own bigotry every day. So my pointing out yours is not being kind of judgmental and condescending, but it is dealing with a kind of universal bigotry that we all share, that we all have to look out for.” Equality:
Barack Obama. Thoughts?
Chin: I feel optimistic. A black man is president of the United States of America. That is a huge shift. … This is not just an ordinary black man. Even if he has situations that were extraordinary, and that gave him wings, he still grew up without his father, raised by mostly his grandparents because his mother was busy. All those things make him accessible as a concept to the rest of us.
And if that can happen, then anything can happen. ... But it is important for us to realize that hope is not without substance, that we can’t sit and watch TV and not participate in the world and just hope that things change. Because Obama’s victory was about people getting up, the black community coming out to vote, people designing new ways to reach a new group of people. It had to be revolutionary in its approach to get it done, you know? Equality: In your book, you refer to James Baldwin, how reading his words about New York and its freedoms helped prompt you to come to this country. “Being in a place where you can just be everything you want to be,” you say, quoting him. Chin:
I still feel that way about New York.
It’s still the place where you can engage most of who you are. As a writer, activist, as someone marching in a parade … Your life can keep changing if you so desire in New York. And that’s kind of wonderful, I think, for young people. And artists. Equality: At your book reading, you also mention that the obstacles you’ve faced were not nearly as many as those faced by your grandmother or Harriet Tubman or Audre Lorde, saying that you just try to “hold the line and do your part” and call on others to do so, too.
fight all the time. And so I do what I can. Equality:
Any other advice?
Chin: Well, I tell young people to be involved in the footprint they leave behind. Tell your stories, sing your song, vote, don’t be a bystander in your own life. Participate. If you don’t write your story, somebody else is already writing it. Take up a pen, a guitar. Become an active participant in your life.
Chin: I think it connects to the larger question you’ve asked before about the discipline of activism, where maybe in my lifetime, huge, exciting things like the civil rights movement, like the LGBT movement, like the end of slavery, those big things will happen in the same way in my life. Maybe we won’t get to a place where it would be illegal for someone to pay a woman a substantive salary, but I suspect that somewhere in the lifetime of someone else coming after me that it will happen. The same way that the people who worked for the end of slavery, some of them didn’t see it come to fruition, the way that some people who worked toward an LGBT freedom did not see it before they died. …
Intersection cont’d from page 23
My most important job is to pass the baton to the next person, to inspire young people to pick up this work, to inspire them to want to inspire those who come after them. … Barack Obama being in the American presidency is not the finish line. Sonia Sotomayor being instated as a Supreme Court justice is not the finish line. Women having the right to make a decision about pregnancy and contraceptives and their bodies is not the finish line. Gay people not being put in prison or in mental hospitals is not the finish line. And so there is much work needed to be done. Trafficking of young girls for sex, people who don’t have clean water, the genocides that are happening in the world. I can’t fight every
Cuc Vu, HRC’s chief diversity officer, noted that much work lay ahead for all organizations, including HRC. “Practicing inclusion means that instead of trying to figure out how LGBT people of color ‘fit’ into our LGBT movement and organizations, we have to create a culture that welcomes all people,” she said.
part in the online discussion. “We accept the homophobia within our community but we still want to be a part of that community. …” It is time to look “deeply into how we unconsciously think, feel, and act, and study the way we interact with each other, rather than only debating the issues themselves,” said Howard Ross, one of the country’s leading diversity training consultants and a member of HRC’s Diversity & Inclusion Council. Ross penned one of the 11 Equality Forward essays that were published in conjunction with the release of the report.
In the months ahead, HRC will hold trainings and presentations about the findings around the country as part of HRC’s Equality Forward initiative. HRC also continues to expand its Historically Black Colleges and Universities project and other efforts and step up its new work with the Ya Es Hora citizenship campaign.
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1 In cities across the country, HRC volunteers helped out with ¡Ya Es Hora!, a campaign to incorporate Latinos/as as full participants in the American political process. At the event in Washington, D.C., Jose Gutierrez, Daniel Penaloza, ¡Ya Es Hora! organizer Ana Negoescu and HRC’s Hy Alvaran helped Latino/a legal permanent residents in completing their applications to become U.S. citizens. 2 Daniel Diaz and baby Cooper Megown (son of HRC Board of Governors member Lori Megown) show their support for HRC at New York pride. 3 Liberty Lucken, HRC Twin Cities Federal Club Co-Chair Arouna Phommasouvanh and Beth Mejia at Twin Cities pride. 4 HRC’s Joey Gaskins and Josh King at Los Angeles pride. 5 Los Angeles Steering Committee Political Co-Chair Varo Asorian, left, with HRC’s Harry Knox, who spoke at HRC’s Talkin’ Q Politics in West Hollywood, Calif. 6 HRC Board of Governors member Steve Pospisil, Jenny Lamb, Susan Lamb and Board of Governors member Brian Gilligan at Twin Cities pride. 7 Getting set up for HRC’s first-ever Women’s 3x3 Basketball Tournament in July in Portland, Ore. 8 Shaley Howard (L) and others at the Women’s 3x3 Basketball Tournament in Portland, a daylong event.
HRC’s Upcoming Gala Events Dallas Black Tie Gala, Oct. 3 • Sheraton Dallas Hotel / Dallas, Texas • Co-Chairs: Laurie Foley & Ron Guillard • www.blacktie.org
New England Gala, Nov. 14 • Hynes Convention Center / Boston, Mass. • Co-Chairs: Terri Rutter & Mark Shura • www.hrcboston.org
HRC National Dinner, Oct. 10 • Walter E. Washington Convention Center / Washington, D.C. • Co-Chairs: Tucker Gallagher & Anna Prow • www.hrcnationaldinner.org
New York Gala, Feb. 6 • The Waldorf Astoria / New York, New York • Co-Chairs: Michelle Galindo & Bryan Parsons • greaterny.hrc.org/dinner
St. Louis Gala, Oct. 24 • Hyatt Regency / St. Louis, Missouri • Co-Chairs: Robyn Berkley & Michael Dunning • stlouis.hrc.org Chicago Gala, Nov. 7 • Hyatt Regency / Chicago, Ill. • Co-Chairs: Ashley Fowler & Kyle Jackson • www.hrcchicago09.com Palm Springs Garden Party, Nov. 7 • Garry Kief’s Casa Encanta / Palm Springs, Calif. • Co-Chairs: Kevin Bass, Garry Kief & Michele McKee San Antonio Gala, Nov. 7 • Westin Riverwalk / San Antonio, Texas • Co-Chairs: Eric Alva & Anne Margaret Trujillo
Carolinas Gala, Feb. 27 • Raleigh Convention Center / Raleigh, N.C. • Co-Chairs: Madeline Goss & Joni Madison • www.hrccarolinas.org Los Angeles Gala, March 13 la.hrc.org Austin Gala, March 20 austin.hrc.org Arizona Gala, March 20 www.hrcazdinner.org Atlanta Gala, May 1 www.atlantahrcdinner.org Houston Gala, May 15 www.hrchouston.org Louisiana Gala, June 5 www.hrc.org/neworleans Columbus Gala, June 12 www.hrccolumbus.org To buy tickets for HRC Gala Events, please contact Box Office Tickets, 800-494-8497, or www.hrc.org/boxoffice.
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