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NY Senator Tom Duane Arrested in AIDS Protest

9 Nov

Senator Tom Duane Arrested Today at City Hall. Photo:Cindy Rodriguez

Earlier today, NY State Senator Thomas Duane joined the heads of several HIV/AIDS Organizations in an act of civil disobedience which wound up with Duane and others getting arrested.

The action was in protest of a bill that was vetoed earlier this year by Governor David Paterson. The bill would insure that people living with HIV/AIDS wouldn’t be required to spend more than 30% of their income on their rent. The bill would effect 10,000 New Yorkers living with HIV/AIDS. According to WNYC:

“Gerald Deyounge from Brooklyn is one of them. He attended Tuesday’s protest and says he’s about to be evicted from his current apartment because he can’t afford his rent. Deyounge says he lives off a disability payment of just over $1,000 a month and about $700 of that goes to housing. Deyounge says right now his life is stable, but he’s not sure where he’ll go if he loses his apartment.”

Openly gay and openly HIV+ Duane has long been an outspoken advocate for our community and has fought tooth and nail for marriage equality in New York. If you don’t know who he is, please give this video a watch. he is easily one of our most passionate elected officials we have. Thanks Senator, for everything you are.

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One Nation?

28 Sep

It’s always a good thing when progressive organizations can work together towards equality. This Saturday, October 2nd, the new coalition calling themselves “One Nation Working Together” will be marching on Washington.

The coalition includes more than 300 organizations and their website lists 11 different goals with everything from full equality for women to energy independence to creating jobs. Among the endorsers are at least 25 LGBT-specific groups. Yet out of 11 reasons to march, there’s no focus on LGBT-issues – no mention of DADT, ENDA, transphobia, school bullying, marriage equality, hate crimes, nothin. In speaking to one of the Steering Committee members this evening, he sadly couldn’t confirm any LGBTQ representation among the speakers at the march, but not all decisions have been made yet.

With that being said, it’s vitally important that we build coalitions that will work together – and to stand up for all our allies in the fight against oppression. We have spent far too much time being splintered and it is only when we work together that things are accomplished. But we must make sure that we have a real place at the table – we must stand up and tell our stories.

So go to the march this weekend, and find someone to tell YOUR story to. If we have to change this world one person-one story at a time, we will. Hopefully this will be the start of something good.

Building and Crossing Bridges

26 Sep

Today I had the unique opportunity to take part in Marriage Equality New York’s 7th Annual Wedding March. Around 2000 LGBT people, their families and allies rallied downtown and then marched with a rainbow of solid-colored umbrellas over the Brooklyn Bridge. We were joined by The Real Housewives of New York, and Claire Buffie – Miss New York, 2010, who is the first Miss America contestant to run on a platform of LGBT equality.

I was reminded of former Miss America Kate Shindle, who spoke at a marriage equality rally right after Proposition 8 passed. Kate is a straight, Republican Broadway performer who is for equality for all people. When she spoke at City Hall back in 2008, she reminded us that we can’t count people out. Our allies come in all shapes and sizes and we never know where we are going to find someone sympathetic to our cause – so keep building those bridges by talking about equality – you may be surprised what you find.

Enjoy some of our photos from today’s events!