Gay and Lesbian Connection

Support and Acceptance for the Gay and Lesbian Community

Archive for April, 2010

Don’t Ask Don’t Tell

April 29th, 2010 by Admin

On May 11th, Veterans Lobby Day, hundreds of current and former members of the military will deliver a message to Congress: Put an end to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” this year.   For more information go to:  www.VeteransLobbyDay.org

Here’s a story from the first American soldier wounded in Iraq: 

I signed up for the Marines when I was just 19 years old. I served for 13 years, from Somalia to California to Japan, and then shipped out to Iraq. Three hours into the start of the ground war, I stepped on a landmine and almost lost my life.

I was the first American soldier wounded in Iraq; I received a Purple Heart, and President Bush visited me in the hospital. As I slowly recovered, the shame of this policy that forced me, and thousands of other soldiers to hide began to enrage me.

I traveled to Washington and came out with my story, which was all over the national news. The response blew me away. Almost every single Marine I’d served with – gay and straight – called me with support. And I’ve been fighting this fight ever since.

This campaign has been building for the past three years.  Lobby Day is an opportunity to speak out before Congress takes action on the National Defense Authorization Act – the bill that should contain the repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” language.

Let’s hope they listen.

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LGBT Equality Study

April 24th, 2010 by Admin

Some interesting stats from Human Rights Campaign (HRC)’s new report, “Degree’s of Equality: A National Study Examining Workplace Climate for LGBT Employees.”

According to Joe Solmonese, president of the HRC Foundation, the study will help understand LGBT worker’s experiences, as well as reasons workers choose to disclose their identity—or not.  

When working in an environment not considered gay friendly:

     ·      13% of LGBT employees fear actual physical harm

·      17% believe they will be fired 

·      21% searched for a new job 

·      28% believe it will hurt their promotion opportunities 

·      Nearly 50% feel very uncomfortable having conversations about their social lives, relationship status, and the topic of sex (thought to be essential in building productive work relationships)

·      51% don’t reveal their sexual orientation to all their co-workers 

·      62% say someone in their workplace makes jokes or derogatory comments about “minority” groups

·      Most LGBT workers don’t report instances of anti-LGBT remarks 

 

 

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A Tragic Story with a Positive Outcome

April 19th, 2010 by Admin

Janice Langbehn and Lisa Marie Pond were setting sail on a vacation cruise with three of their four children in February 2007.  The cruise was a celebration of their 18 years together as a couple.  But, before the ship left port, Pond suffered a massive stroke and was rushed to Jackson Memorial Hospital (JMH) in Miami.

Because she was not considered “Family” Jackson Memorial administrators refused to allow Janice into Mary’s hospital room.  It was tragic that the hospital’s narrow definition of “Family” kept Janice from her beloved partner of 18 years at such a crucial time when she so needed the comfort of her family. Left alone for eight hours Mary slipped into a coma and died. It’s hard to believe that people could have been so callous and uncaring to allow that to happen.

This tragic incident was the catalyst that changed Jackson’s policies and procedures regarding LGBT families.  In a move that sets a new standard for Florida hospitals, Jackson Memorial Hospital has adopted a comprehensive set policies and procedures that respect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) families.  Thanks go to Equality Florida for their work in helping to ensure that LGBT families are respected, protected, and supported. JMH CEO, staff, and administrative leaders are working closely with the LGBT community to upgrade hospital policies and training procedures with the goal of making Jackson a model for how hospitals should treat gay and transgender families and patients.

Just days ago, President Obama sent out a memo stating in part, “Gay and lesbian Americans are “uniquely affected” by relatives-only policies at hospitals.  They are often barred from the bedsides of the partners with whom they may have spent decades of their lives—unable to be there for the person they love, and unable to act as a legal surrogate if their partner is incapacitated.  In his memo the President asked the Department of Health and Human Services to establish a rule that would prevent hospitals from denying visitation rights to civil partners, effective immediately. 

 …And not a moment too soon.

 “It gives me and my family some comfort to know that by sharing our story we have helped to change Jackson’s policies for the better.”- Janice Langbehn

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Gay Friendly Colleges

April 17th, 2010 by Admin

Looking for a gay friendly college?  Check out “The Gay and Lesbian Guide to College Life,” by co-author Rachel Pepper.  “Students are finding out that not only are they not being discriminated against for revealing their orientation in their applications, it may be an extra,” says Pepper.

There are scholarships and other financial help for GLBT students from such groups as the Point Foundation, the League Foundation at AT&T, and Colage (Children of Lesbians and Gays Everywhere).

Here are some colleges to consider:

New York University had the top ranking of colleges where the gay community is “most accepted.”

The University of Pennsylvania has a new outreach policy: applicants whose essay identifies them as gay are put in touch with gay students and organizations on campus.

Yale is known for its curriculum on gay issues.

University of Southern California reaches out to applicants who identify themselves as gay or transgender.

Indiana University-Purdue University attends some 500 fairs each year, one for gay students to help the university be more open to diversity. 

State University of New York at Potsdam

Dartmouth

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Shower of Stoles Project

April 6th, 2010 by Admin

The Shower of Stoles Project is a collection of over a thousand liturgical stoles and other sacred items representing the lives of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people of faith. These religious leaders have served in thirty-two denominations and faith traditions, in six countries, and on three continents. Each stole contains the story of a GLBT person who is active in the life and leadership of their faith community in some way: minister, elder, deacon, teacher, missionary, musician, administrator, or active layperson.

This extraordinary collection celebrates the gifts of GLBT persons who serve God in countless ways, while also lifting up those who have been excluded from service because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The collection bears witness to the huge loss of leadership that the church has brought upon itself because of its own unjust policies.

The vast majority of the stoles have been sent in by gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people themselves. Some have been sent by family or friends to honor a GLBT loved one. About one third of all the stoles are donated anonymously; in fact over three-quarters of the stoles donated specifically by clergy and other full-time church professionals are done so anonymously.

In some cases, a church has sent a stole inscribed only with the church’s name, or with the names of both gay and straight members, to honor those in that particular congregation who must remain anonymous. All of the stoles, named or anonymous, contain stories, prayers, or other messages.

Straight allies are represented by “signature stoles,” which are covered with the signatures of supportive members of congregations, regional governing bodies, or other organizations. The collection currently contains signature stoles with the signatures of over three thousand straight allies.

To see the Stoles go to:  http://www.welcomingresources.org/sosp.htm

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Straight for Equality

April 1st, 2010 by Admin

From PFLAG Guide to Being a Straight Ally

“I always wanted to be one of those people who would make things change for my gay friends – I just wasn’t sure how or where to do it.”

Sound familiar?

Chances are it does. Across the country, thousands of straight individuals who don’t necessarily have a family member who is gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender (GLBT) are seeing big changes in the way that their GLBT friends and colleagues are treated. If you or someone you know is straight and wants to help the gay community, join in the fight for equality, or just learn more about these issues, you’ve come to the right place. Anyone interested in any of these topics is an ally! Allies, you’ve come to the right place. Straight for Equality is the answer for you.

Straight for Equality is a national outreach and education project created by PFLAG National to empower allies in supporting and advocating for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people by:

Inviting allies to speak up

Educating allies

Engaging allies in the pursuit of equality

 

   We’re not talking about major political protests (although that’s certainly an option) but the tiny everyday changes – like not omitting the fact that your best friend is gay when you’re telling grandma about him – can raise awareness and challenge assumptions and stereotypes. Maybe it means objecting when someone at the office tells that really over-the-top gay joke…again. Or perhaps it is about paying attention to how a candidate stands on equality issues and making your opinion heard with your vote.

 

Basically, if there’s a place where you can talk to someone else, there’s an opportunity for you to put some of the things you can learn from Straight for Equality into action.

To Learn more go to www.pflag.org

 

 

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