Category Archives: Equality

>They Entered To Cheers

>Sarah Lindstrom and Desiree Shelton wore matching black suits with pink ties and held hands as they entered the Snow Days Pep Fest at Champlin Park High School in Minneapolis.

And the crowd cheered.

It was a welcome reaction for the couple, and school, and district administrators, who have been the focus of criticism on their policies toward LGBTQ youth and bullying, after Justin Aarberg killed himself.

Students voted onto the royalty court traditionally enter the Snow Days Pep Fest in boy-girl pairs, but, after Lindstrom and Shelton were elected, school officials modified the policy to allow students to enter alone, or with a parent or favorite teacher.

Not so fast, said Lindstrom and Shelton, who had hoped to enter as a couple. And not so fast, said  two human rights groups, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the National Center for Lesbian Rights, sued on their behalf. And last weekend, after mediation, school officials relented, agreeing that members of the royalty court would be escorted by anyone meaningful to them, regardless of gender or age.

As it should be.

It is stories like these that give me hope for the future. Not only seeing a lesbian couple stand up for equality, but to see their fellow students stand with them. This is the future, and it looks pretty good.

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Filed under Desiree Shelton, Equality, High School, LGBT, Minnesota, Sarah Lindstrom

>A Step Forward

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Last week, new federal regulations regarding patients’ hospital visitation rights–most notably LGBT patients–went into effect, and they affect all of us, for the better. See, these new regulations require all hospitals that participate in Medicaid and Medicare programs–which is roughly, oh, I don’t know, every single hospital in America–to allow the patients to determine who can, and cannot visit them; in addition, the regulations further prohibit discriminating against visitors based on any number of factors, including sexual orientation and gender identity.

Which means the end of the “Only family can visit” bull shiz. 

These new federal regulations have come into being because of the tragic story of one such LGBT family: Janice Langbehn, Lisa Pond and their children. I first posted their story HERE, and followed it up HERE and HERE –but, to recap, while readying for a cruise in Miami, Lisa Pond suffered a brain aneurysm, and was taken to Jackson Memorial hospital in Miami. Janice Langbehn was not allowed to visit her partner as Lisa lay in a coma, except for a few minutes while the priest administered last rites; she wasn’t even allowed to bring their children into see their mother.

Almost instantly after this story broke, President Obama–proving that day that he was our fierce advocate–issued a presidential memorandum which directed the Department of Health and Human Services to develop regulations protecting hospital visitation rights.

So, now, because of Janice and Lisa, and because of President Obama, if Carlos, heaven forbid, is hospitalized, the hospital will not be allowed to refuse me visitation–or vice versa. Now, I won’t hold my breath that every hospital will follow these new regulations, but I do think that after a few lawsuits, maybe they’ll take notice.

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Filed under Discrimination, Equality, Hospital, Jackson Memorial Hospital, Janice Langbehn, LGBT, LGBT Rights, Lisa Marie Pond, Uncategorized

>Did You Ever Know That You’re My Hero?

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Will Phillips’ Acceptance Speech at the 21st Annual GLAAD Media Awards in New York.

An eleven-year-old is my hero. Go HERE and scroll down to see why.

It’s a good thing.

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Filed under Equality, GLAAD, LGBT Rights, Will Phillips, YouTube

>Quote Of The Day: Jason Mraz

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Jason Mraz, his blog, Freshness Factor Five Thousand:

As a straight man I really have nothing to gain by standing up for equal rights for Gays, Lesbians, Bisexual, and/or my Transgender friends. Except for the fact that I have many friends who are still subjected to hurtful comments by a society that hasn’t yet embraced fully the nature of… nature.
Supporting a limiting system of rules for specific people to follow is prejudice. It’s the Antithesis of Christ Consciousness and (like smoking) it’s Soooo last century. Allowing love to freely flourish will only enhance the life experience – For All.
Imagine telling cyclists to stay off the road. “These roads are for cars only! Those who dare to pedal on the shoulder will most likely get hit! Drivers will not expect to see you. It will not be the drivers’ fault if you get hurt.”
Yet, by sharing the road, the same rules get to apply to all of us. And surprisingly, we all get somewhere.
No one has to sit at the back of the bus.
A Marriage is a powerful commitment by any two people who are committed to each other’s lives being great. The God that is present in ceremony is looking itself in the eye in the form of the two worthy participants. Their commitment is the divine expression “love loving itself.” Any interference from the outside world be like a bear coming out of the woods and mauling the two lovebirds in front of the entire wedding party, the family and invited guests. Interference is messy and downright rude.
Hosting closed minded thoughts or making lewd comments about the intimate affairs of someone else does not make life great. In fact, it clogs up the judicial system, diminishes entire communities, and turns the clock backwards to our ultimate realization that we are all One – living in harmony with the Earth, with the cosmos, and with great things unseen. Thinking that others are a ‘particular way’ rather than reinventing them as new everyday makes you separate and disconnected from the really easy, peaceful solution.
Life is too short. The age of interfering with someone’s natural rights (and natural born gifts) are over.
Love is too powerful to resist. I think the whole world would be better if we just got out of our own way. It would certainly be sexier.
I understand many people who stumble onto this blog are already dialed in and ready to transform the world. Much of my community is too. But there are some who still don’t care one way or the other about the ways of being in the world. Thereby, it’s up to us to share our positive outlook on our favorite issues.
To learn more about how you can be a part of the Epic Movement for Equal Rights. Visit The Human Rights Campaign at http://www.hrc.org/ and support the True Colors Fund.

This Year I Resolve to Join the Conversation on Equality.
I will Stand Up and be outspoken about Same Sex Marriage and Let Freedom Sing.

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Filed under Equality, Jason Mraz, LGBT, LGBT Rights, Marriage Equality

>It’s On….And Hiram Will Be The First To Go

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Gay New Yorkers, hell, any New Yorker who supports non-discrimination and equality for all Americans, were a bit furious after the defeat of marriage equality by the New York state legislature. And they were even more irate at some of those Democrats who voted No; like Hiram Monserrate, who said he supported marriage equality and yet voted against it.

Well, now the Empire State Pride Agenda has endorsed José Peralta to replace Hiram Monserrate. Peralta has proven time and again that he is an ally for the LGBT community and that he understands that, as it stands today, not all Americans, or New Yorkers, are treated equally.

For the record, José Peralta has voted three times to pass the marriage equality bill in the Assembly, and has voted twice to pass the transgender civil rights bill. He has also voted many times to seek passage of the Dignity for All Students Act, which combats bias-based bullying and harassment of youth in public schools.
José Peralta is the type of politician we need to see that equality does not continue to fail, in New York, and around the country.
In his own words, Assemblyman José Peralta:

“Civil rights for all of my constituents and for all New Yorkers has always been a priority for me. I have worked towards full equality for LGBT New Yorkers in my seven years as an Assemblymember, and I will be proud to continue this work as a member of the State Senate. I think my record in the Assembly demonstrates that when I take a principled stand on an important human rights issue like marriage equality, I don’t suddenly change my mind when the bill comes up for a vote.”

We need less Monserrate-type politicos who say one thing and then do another, and more like José Peralta, who understand equality for all is what’s right and fair and needed.

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Filed under Equality, José Peralta, LGBT Rights, Marriage Equality, New York, Uncategorized

>Vote

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From Maine to Michigan to Washington state, we are fighting still for equality.

If you live in Maine Vote No on 1, and protect marriage equality!

In Michigan, Kalamazoo to be precise, vote Yes on Ordinance 1856 and keep things equal.

And in Washington state vote Yes on Ref 71, the so-called ‘marriage lite’ bill.

These are the battlegrounds for today, and the the examples for tomorrow, let’s make sure you do the right thing.

Vote!

Dammit!

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Filed under Domestic Partnership, Equality, LGBT Rights, Marriage Equality

>Clorox! Who Knew!?!

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For the fourth time, Clorox has received a 100% rating in workplace equality from the Human Rights Campaign.

Don Knauss, the CEO and Chairman of Clorox:

At Clorox, we believe it doesn’t matter if you’re black or white, gay or straight, tall or short. What matters is the kind of human being you are, your character. Sexual orientation, gender identity, expression or characteristics are not differences that should matter except for the richness and diversity of thought and experience they bring to our company. If people are disenfranchised for these reasons, or any other, it limits the genius of an organization. That’s why Clorox actively promotes an environment that celebrates diversity, that makes it comfortable and safe for each person to bring his or her whole self to work every day. We’re pleased our rating on the Corporate Equality Index reflects this commitment.”

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Filed under Clorox, Equality, LGBT Rights