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The Giving Tree: Family Week in Provincetown Day 5

2 Aug

I’m trying to figure out why I’m calling this day The Giving Tree. It’s obviously one of my favorite children’s stories and I’m a fan of pretty much everything Shel Silverstein wrote. I also look at the story as a euphemism for parenting.

This morning, my day started with an emotionally-charged panel featuring kids from Family Equality Council’s “Outspoken Generation.” 7 teen children of LGBT parents were on the panel and it was one of the most heavily-attended events I’d seen all week. The room was packed to overflowing and Dr. Kim Bergman moderated the event. While one of the main draws of the event was Youtube star and author Zach Wahls, all the kids had really poignant and important things to say.

With the recent (and quickly debunked) study from Mark Regnerus has provided a springboard for misinformationists to spread lies and falsehoods about our families. But with these young men and women on the scene, a firsthand experience of being raised by LGBT parents can be told. I’m hoping Family Equality Council lifts up this vital program that’s currently missing from the national dialogue. Every one of the young people on the panel today should be appearing on television wherever we can put them.

Following the panel, Sean and I had scheduled time for some wedding planning and wound up at a tasting at one of the locations we’re thinking of. It seems we have a lot more work to do, but that just means another trip to Ptown this fall! I was also really happy friends Amy, Ty and (an asleep) Declan joined us for a little stroll as well. Wedding advice is always helpful!

The late afternoon and evening activities included a screening of The Muppets, a happy hour for Transgender parents and then a fundraiser comedy night starring Kate Clinton. All were extraordinarily well-attended and Kate’s show was so packed, I got booted from the theatre, so I couldn’t take the photos I was asked to. It looks like Family Equality is having quite a successful week!

The night closed with some drinks with the now-legal Zach Wahls and then a run-in with some old friends from New York. I’m glad the rain seems to be gone as it was one of the most beautiful nights I’ve seen in a long time!

Bullied Bus Monitor to Get Over $400,000!

21 Jun

This is not an LGBT-specific story, but I can’t help but share it.

By now, more than 2 million of you have viewed the crazy viral youtube video, Making the Bus Monitor Cry. If you haven’t seen this horrific video, you can watch it here:

While this isn’t an LGBT-specific story, bullying is. What 78 year-old Karen Klein endured on this bus was probably nothing new for her that day. This just happened to be the time it was recorded. One could easily focus on the severe lack of respect kids today have for adults. But judging from the hundreds of LGBT teen suicides in recent years, kids don’t save their ugliness for their elders. They are undiscriminating in their cruel treatment of others.

Happily, someone started an online fundraising campaign to send Karen on a vacation. Their goal of $5,000 was quickly surpassed, and it seems Karen may not have to work for a couple years since they’ve now raised nearly $400,000.

 

Michigan Anti-Bullying Law Set to Pass Without Religious Exemption

14 Nov

Sen. Gretchen Whitmer

By now, many of you have seen a video that made the rounds last week. It’s an emotional speech by Senator Gretchen Whitmer following the passage of Michigan’s “Matt’s Safe School Law.” The law is an anti-bullying law named after Matt Epling – a gay teen who committed suicide in 2002 after unbearable anti-gay bullying.

Republicans in the Michigan Senate finally agreed to vote for the bill after a special addition was made by Republican Senator Rick Jones allowing bullying so long as it was based on religious or moral convictions. So as long as kids screamed “The Bible says it’s okay to beat the crap out of you for being gay,” bullying was still cool.

Whitmer’s speech was incredible and brought tears to many eyes. She outlines the fact that the law that was passed, which included these religious and moral protections – if it were passed when Matt was still alive, it would not have saved him. The irony of “Matt’s Law” not being able to stop kids from bullying LGBT kids was apparently not lost on thousands of people who made calls this week to the Michigan Senate.

Late last week, the Michigan House passed the bill without the exemption and Senator Jones has agreed that he will vote for the House version of the bill without his religious and moral exemption. The bill is expected to pass and Michigan will no longer be one of the only 3 states without an anti-bullying law.

 

Always on My Mind: Transphobic Tampon Ad NOT the Work of P&G

10 Aug

Procter & Gamble, which consistently earns praise with a 100 rating in the  Human Rights Campaign Equality Index, is being blamed for a trans and intersex-phobic Youtube commercial for their Always feminine pads. But according to an Always representative, P & G has nothing to do with it.

The commercial features several drag artists looking overly distraught and crying to the standard, “Cry Me a River.” The text reads:

“There are some people who’d just love to have a period. Let alone a happy one. Have a happy period. Always.”

Firstly, the “commercial” seems to have confused drag performers with Male-to-Female (MTF) transgender people. Trans women are not men in dresses.

Secondly, mocking the infertility of trans women should not be used as a marketing gimmick by one of the world’s largest corporations.

I spoke with Velvet Gogol Bennet who is the Feminine Care External Relations representative and she was quite adamant that P & G had absolutely nothing to do with this ad. She does not know where it came from, but insists that Always and Procter & Gamble were no part of it.

“This video was made without our knowledge, consent, or permission. Always is a brand that believes in and stands for women.  It is against Always’ deepest principles to denigrate anyone and we would not endorse this kind of advertising”

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