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Happy Anniversary, Harvey! Let’s Make Him Proud.

7 Nov

November 8, 1977. On this day, 34 years ago, Harvey Milk became the first openly gay man to be elected to office in a major U.S. city. His assassin, Dan White was also elected that day.

While Harvey inspired many while he was alive, it wasn’t until the Academy Award-winning film was released a few years ago that he became a household name. Since then, dozens of openly-gay elected officials have followed in his footsteps. Organizations like the Victory Fund have helped to see LGBT leaders elected all over the country – from bluer states like Rhode Island to the reddest of states like Texas.

Harvey understood that by electing gay people to office, it would give young people hope. He understood that by seeing openly-gay people in positions of power and leadership would know that they could too, succeed.

Tomorrow, dozens of LGBT candidates will face voters. One of those candidates (though a longshot at unseating an incumbent) is Bevan Dufty, a San Francisco City Supervisor who is sitting in the very same seat that Milk served in 34 years ago. Victory Fund highlights “10 Races to Watch” for those interested in seeing more LGBT candidates make history.

Not to pick any one of these out as I’m sure they are all wonderful candidates, but openly-gay 22 year-old and Point Foundation scholar Alex Morse is running for Mayor of Holyoke, Massachusetts. As a Mass. native, I’m especially proud to see this going on. Daniel Hernandez Jr. – the young gay man who saved the life of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is also running for office in his local school district.

Please check out Victory Fund’s full list of “10 Races to Watch”:

Zach Adamson, Indianapolis City Council – Adamson could become Indianapolis’ first openly LGBT city council member.  Learn more here.

Caitlin Copple, Missoula, Montana City Council – Missoula has become a focal point of the Montana debate over LGBT non-discrimination laws.  Copple’s election would add an authentic voice from the LGBT community to this discussion and many others concerning her community.  Learn more here.

Bevan Dufty, San Francisco Mayor – A former San Francisco Supervisor who represented the same district as Harvey Milk for 8 years, Dufty is prepared to continue Milk’s legacy and serve as the top elected official in the city.  A victory in this race would make him San Francisco’s first openly LGBT mayor.  Learn more here.

Patrick Forrest, Virginia State Senate – If he wins, Patrick would become the only openly LGBT Republican state legislator in America, and one of the first openly LGBT members of the Virginia Senate.  Learn more here.

Daniel Hernandez, Jr., Sunnyside Unified School District Board of Governors, Tucson, Ariz. – When his boss, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, was shot along with numerous others at a district event in Tucson, Hernandez sprang into action and is credited with helping to save Giffords’ life.  The world marveled at his quick thinking and leadership qualities on display that day, and many have urged him to consider a career in public service.  Learn more here.

LaWana Mayfield, Charlotte, N.C., City Council – Mayfield’s primary victory made national news because Charlotte has never elected an openly LGBT city council member.  She’ll finish the job and join the council if she wins her general election.  Learn more here.

Pam Miller, Savannah, Ga., City Council – Miller could become the first openly LGBT candidate in Georgia to win outside the Atlanta metro area.  Learn more here.

Alex Morse, Mayor, Holyoke, Mass. – At just 22, Morse already has a public service record to rival candidates twice his age.  In the primary he bested the incumbent mayor by a single vote.  He could make history this November as the city’s youngest and first openly LGBT mayor.  Learn more here.

Rory Neuner, Lansing, Mich., City Council – Neuner has already worked to make Lansing a better city, and her door-to-door campaign for city council could make her the only openly LGBT city council member.  Learn morehere.

Chris Seelbach, Cincinnati, Ohio, City Council – Seelbach has already been instrumental in making Cincinnati a more welcoming place for all families.   Now he could become its first openly LGBT city council member.

If voting is taking place in your state, town or district, please make sure you vote. Staying home is not an option. Obviously support the candidate who best speaks to you and your family’s needs, but above all, do not stay home. Our futures depend on it.

PHOTOS: Will New York’s Next Mayor Be Openly Gay?

2 Feb

While the race for Mayor of New York is still a few years off, many members of NYC’s LGBT Community showed up tonight to put their money on the city’s first female, first openly-gay Mayor-to-be, current NY City Council Speaker, Christine Quinn.

The event, hosted by country music’s first openly-gay performer, Chely Wright, Broadway and 30 Rock’s Cheyenne Jackson, The Real Housewives’ Andy Cohen, the legendary David Mixner, Thom Filicia and New York’s #1 Nightlife Photographer Patrick McMullan was packed with supporters. Christin Quinn’s former LGBT Liaison and TalkAboutEquality friend, Erik Bottcher received an especially touching tribute from Quinn, having just been appointed to newly-elected Governor Andrew Cuomo‘s cabinet.

Among the excited crowd was Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese, Living Beyond Belief‘s Bari Zahn, The Edge‘s William Kapfer, The NY4Marriage Campaign’s Brian Ellner and  the New York City Council’s LGBT Caucus including Rosie Mendez, Daniel Dromm and Jimmy van Bramer.

These are some of the people who have been fighting hardest for marriage equality in New York and Speaker Quinn promised to see it passed here before she finishes her term as Speaker. Let’s hope she’s right.

Please enjoy some photos from tonight’s event. There are many more at EqualityPhotography.com

Brian Ellner and Joe Solmonese

Erik Bottcher and Jon Reinish

Chely Wright

NY City Council Members Rosie Mendez, Daniel Dromm, Speaker Christine Quinn and Jimmy von Bramer

Cheyenne Jackson

Bari Zahn and friend

Broadway's Jose Llana and friends

Andy Cohen

NY City Council Speaker Christine Quinn

Chely Wright and William Kapfer

Anthony Hayes, Joe Solmonese, Brett Osmond and Erik Bottcher

Chely Wright



All I Want for Christmas is EQUALITY, EQUALITY, EQUALITY!

7 Dec

We want to implore all of you to join us in using our holiday spending to help some of our organizations stay afloat in this current economic environment. Each of these organizations is having trouble with funding. We need to make sure that they continue on so that our rights are won!

The Ali Forney Center for Homeless LGBT Youth is an incredible organization that is currently under attack by those who oppose us, including New York’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The Mayor has proposed unbelievable cuts that would close several help centers for these kids -many of whom have been kicked out of their homes for being Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender. NYC has just cut their support of the Ali Forney Center greatly and they need your help. These kids are OUR responsibility. Help them out.

The American Foundation for Equal Rights is doing incredible work on our behalf and will most certainly be responsible for Marriage Equality coming to this country through their court challenges to California’s Proposition 8.

Friendfactor is reaching out to our allies in ways we never thought possible. The new organization is focused on activating our straight allies. Very few groups are reaching outside our own community to find support, but we here at Talk About Equality believe that Friendfactor holds a special key to finding our equality. We cannot do this without our allies. We are a minority and without the help of our friends and family, we are lost.

The National Center for Transgender Equality is one of the leading organizations fighting (uphill at times) for the Employment Non-Discrimintation Act (ENDA). Though this seemed like an easy fight, ENDA has seen several setbacks, essentially from our realization that our country fails to see Transgender people as equals. The National Center for Transgender Equality is doing incredible work to educate our government and our citizens on our equality. And make no mistake, this movement would be years behind without the T in LGBT.

The Victory Fund is responsible for more than 106 LGBT candidates being elected to public office in 2010. More than any other electoral period in our country’s history.Harvey Milk once said “…you’ve got to keep electing gay people…to know there is better hope for tomorrow. Not only for gays, but for blacks, Asians, the disabled, our senior citizens and us. Without hope, we give up. I know you cannot live on hope alone, but without it life is not worth living. You and you and you have got to see that the promise does not fade.” Make a contribution if you can.

GetEQUAL is doing incredible work in activism. We may not all be cut out for cuffing ourselves to the White House fence, but this organization is getting notice. One of this organization’s leaders, Robin McGehee was arrested one day at the White House and the next day was invited to a meeting there. One of the ideas that GetEQUAL embraces is that all of us can make a difference, no matter what our tactic – just keep the pressure on, and we can make a difference.

There are dozens of other organizations out there that need our help. Please take a moment to research what is important to you and encourage your friends and family to make contributions to these groups in leiu of your holiday gifts this year. When our kids live in a world with equality, they’ll thank you for it.

Bigoted Radio Host Attacks Joel Burns’ Message to Gay Teens

12 Nov

Joel Burns, attacked for message to bullied teens

As we discussed here a few weeks ago, Fort Worth City Council Member Joel Burns has been called a hero for making a brave and impassioned speech at a meeting last month.

Joel has since appeared on talk shows and news programs around the country, introducing his husband to the world and telling his story. He’s inspired thousands by sharing what happened to him and encouraging young people with his own personal “It Gets Better” message.

Today, the Dallas Voice shares with us the backlash that Joel is receiving in

Chris Krok made bigoted attacks against Joel Burns

the form of a hateful, bigoted radio host on KLIF. Chris Krok expounds about how Joel should not have told his story because it was about “me, me, me.” Using a fake lisp, Krok mocks Joel saying “Look at me! I Thuffered!” He goes on to argue that Joel doesn’t have a husband because it’s not legal in Texas. “You’re a man. You do not have a husband” he says.

Krok personifies the intolerance and ignorance that LGBT kids face on a daily basis. Please call and email KLIF and tell them that Chris Krok’s attack on LGBT people was harmful and ignorant and that Krok must answer for his public bigotry. We will be investigating this further and finding out the advertisers associated with this show and asking people to make calls to the show’s supporters as well. If anyone here listens to KLIF from 4-7pm and recognizes the numbers or names of any of the show’s advertisers, please reply here.

214-526-2400 Is the Main Office number of KLIF

or email the Operations Director, Jeff Catlin at  jeff.catlin@cumulus.com

Catlin said in an email to TAE reader, Bob Witeck:

It is corporate policy that we do not share internal disciplinary matters with the general public. I wouldn’t expect your boss to share with me when you get in trouble at work.

I would say I would challenge you or any other complainants to find another incident of Chris Krok addressing this topic or issue after the original airing. It didn’t happen.

Catlin fails to explain whether Krok was dealt with in any way, just notes that he only made the diatribe once and not a second time. He also fails to mention if he or the station believed what their on-air representative said about Joel and the LGBT community.

WARNING: This audio is rather upsetting.

Thanks TAE Reader Jason Kane for the heads-up!

Openly Gay Man Elected to Public Office

8 Nov

Photo (c) Danny Nicoletta

On this day 33 years ago, after several unsuccessful attempts, the first gay person in US history was elected to a public office.

On November 8th, 1977, Harvey Milk was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Most of us have heard about Harvey and many of us saw the incredible Academy Award-Winning Film from 2008. And many of us had no idea who he was before that film, but now we know a little more. Harvey’s murderer Dan White, was also elected to office that same day.

20 years to the day after Harvey won his office, Bill Clinton became the first sitting US President to address the Gay & Lesbian Community directly in a fundraising speech.

We spend so much time getting frustrated over how far we have to go, but we ask that you take a look at where we’ve been and how quickly we have moved forward. We have come this far because those before us have talked about who they are. Harvey Milk spoke clearly about who he was and the fact that we had to come out to create change. That truth remains. 33 years later. Talk About Equality.

What Will You Lose?

27 Sep lose650

Our friend Mark Anthony Dingbaum at The Victory Fund sent us this incredible video unveiling their new campaign today.

Many of us have spent a great deal of time feeling disappointed in our elected representatives when they don’t follow through on promises or perhaps aren’t the “fierce advocate” they claimed they would be. But this November, we can’t let our frustrations make us complacent.

We need to hold our elected officials accountable, this is an absolute. But we also need to make sure the elected officials we put in office are those who will listen to us. Check out this video and find a way to get involved.

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