Tuesday, November 27, 2007

December 1 is World AIDS Day

Saturday, December 1, 2007 is World AIDS Day. This will be a time to remember those who have passed on, but just as important - this is a time of awareness about the impact AIDS has across the world and the "leadership" potential everyone has to continue the fight against this disease. The World AIDS Campaign and many other organizations will recognize this day with events across the world.

The University of Texas at San Antonio has planned events to be held at the 1604 campus on Wednesday, November 28 and at the Downtown campus on Thursday, November 29. For more information, please see the article on the UTSA Today website.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Our day to remember - National Transgender Day of Remembrance

The 9th Annual National Transgender Day of Remembrance was celebrated on campuses and cities across the United States today. There are many ways that people can choose to remember, and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has two posts on their blog to commemorate this day of awareness about the hatred and violence that has led to the death of so many transgender people.

This link will point you to an announcement of an event that HRC participated in, as well as two videos from transgender ministers.

As well, the HRC blog includes this piece by a transsexual Latino man.

Other national organizations such as the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and the Task Force (NGLTF) posted messages to honor transgender persons no longer with us.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

GLAAD Media Fellowships 2008

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, GLAAD, has announced fellowship opportunities for the upcoming year and the deadline to apply is fast approaching!

As an opportunity for current undergraduate, graduate or recently graduated college and university students, being a GLAAD Media Fellow allows you to spend January 7 - December 31, 2008 in either Los Angeles or New York gaining experience in media activism related to one of the following areas:

Transgender Advocacy Initiatives
Spanish-Language Media Awards
Religion, Faith and Values Media
Young Adult Program
Sports Media
Media Programs
Media Advocacy and Accuracy
Communities of African Descent
Communications Research

2008 GLAAD Fellowships run from January 7, 2008 through December 31, 2008. GLAAD Media Fellows are paid a monthly stipend of $1600. GLAAD Media Fellows are responsible for their own housing and living expenses.

For more information, visit GLAAD: Fellowship Opportunities.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

A historic moment for the GLB community

Today provided a historic moment for the gay, lesbian and bisexual members of the GLBT community - after more than 30 years of advocacy promoting inclusion of sexual orientation in the civil rights laws that prohibit employment discrimination based on immutable characteristics such as race and gender, the United States House of Representatives passed the Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA). Democrats and Republicans passionately represented their views and those of their constituents for more than 4 hours during a debate broadcast on CSPAN, and finally voted on an amended version. The United States Senate must now pass legislation as well before it has the chance to be signed into law.

This has been an issue that the Speaker of the House, Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), indicated many months ago would be brought to the floor for a vote, and it has become quite a divisive issue since then. A previous post on the Allies Program blog had a link to an opinion article stemming from the decision of the Speaker and a leader in the ENDA fight for so many years, Representative Barney Frank (D-MA), to remove gender identity and expression from the original bill that could have been voted on and postponed this matter until today. While one Representative, Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), seemed to be making an effort to restore the gender identity language before the final vote, she withdrew her amendment before it could be voted on. During the past two months, many equality organizations at the national, state and local levels have formed a coalition supporting ENDA legislation that is inclusive of gender identity while one of the most prominent GLBT civil rights advocacy groups, the Human Rights Campaign, became a black sheep among some of the community as its leadership refused to take the same aggressive position.

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) released this statement that likely represents the disappointment of many of the organizations that formed the coalition. At the same time, the Human Rights Campaign acknowledged the vote with this statement, and this story was available on the New York Times website. It can be recognized as a bittersweet moment, but no one should deny the progress that this represents just as Speaker Pelosi points out in her comments - “History teaches us that progress on civil rights is never easy,” she said. “It is often marked by small and difficult steps.”

Monday, October 29, 2007

Domestic Violence in the GLBT community

During October, campuses around the nation sponsor events and activities to increase awareness about a variety of issues. Besides GLBT History (Pride) Month, it is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Our Counseling Services office along with the Women's Resource Center and Women's Studies Institute have been the most proactive departments addressing domestic violence education and resources. The overlap of these awareness months - GLBT History & Domestic Violence - is something that the Allies Program and others at the University have not had the chance to focus on, but we hope to provide more education in the future.

Other venues allow for Allies and their constituents to learn about domestic violence issues in the GLBT community:

The Chicago Sun-Times features an article today about the health concerns of partner abuse among men who have sex with men (MSM). The article gives an overview of the findings from the study done by two faculty members of the University of Illinois at Chicago who recognized that there is "growing evidence that intimate partner abuse among gay andbisexual men may pose a significant threat to health outcomes, including sexuallytransmitted diseases and HIV." An article detailing the study can be found on pages 681-690 of the most recent issue of the Journal of Urban Health.

There are also numerous websites that can provide helpful information about what to do when faced with intimate partner violence and education about this subject for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people

The Gay Men's Domestic Violence Project - http://www.gmdvp.org/ has an informational brochure to help a person understand if they are a victim of partner abuse and what to do if so.

The Network/La Red - http://www.thenetworklared.org/ - while it is an organization serving lesbian and bisexual women and transgender persons in the Boston area, The Network/La Red prides itself on the contributions it has made to promoting awareness of domestic/intimate partner violence education and services even more broadly.

The National Coalition of Ant-Violence Programs - http://www.ncavp.org/ - among the many types of violent acts committed against GLBT individuals, the NCAVP addresses domestic violence with GLBT relationships. In July 2007, NCAVP released the 2006 National Report on LGBT Domestic Violence.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Don't miss the Ga(y)la!

This month has been a busy one - with all of the GLBTQ Pride Month events, there hasn't been a lot of time to post to the blog. Poetry readings, movies, and other events have filled the weeks with great opportunities to learn and be with other GLBTQ students and their allies. As the final few days of the month are here, don't miss out on the movies at the Downtown campus from Noon - 4 p.m. on Monday, October 29 and the festive Gayla on Tuesday, October 30 at 7 p.m. in the Laurel Room of the University Center!

For the second year, Lambda Alliance and Student Activities have worked together to prepare a night of music and fun that has been called the "Gayla" (a take off on gala). There will be a DJ along with a competition of talents along with food, dancing and friends. Join members of Lambda Alliance and come dressed as you want - costumes encouraged!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Just like any other Sunday

Today is just like most other Sundays except that it falls 3 days after National Coming Out Day and right in the middle of GLBT History Month. Since Sunday is a day of worship for many Christian faiths, it seemed like this post would fit well.*

In the past days and months (and years), many Christian sects along with other world religions have faced a struggle within their leadership and membership to reconcile their beliefs and teachings with acceptance of GL (there is literally no mention in the media of the B or T persons) people and practices. Most recently, the Episcopal Church of the United States has faced criticism from within and from other parts of the Anglican Communion, about the ordination of gay and lesbian clergy and blessing of same-sex unions. At a meeting in New Orleans last month, the leaders responded by stating they will 'exercise restraint' on clergy and "will not authorize" the blessing of same-sex unions.

The Catholic Church, the Presbyterian Church and others have also faced similar struggles.

Still, there are leaders and members of so many Christian and other world religions who believe that religious teachings encourage their followers to accept and affirm GLBT individuals. In a special section of the Dallas Morning News and an open letter from Episcopal bishop, Gene Robinson, it is apparent that everyone regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity is worthy of acceptance and support.

* As the most widely published information relates to Christian denominations, rest assured there was no intention to purposely leave out any other faith. Some resources that may be helpful include:

Baptists - http://www.wabaptists.org/ - The Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists
Catholics - http://www.dignitysanantonio.org/ - a chapter of Dignity USA
Church of Christ - http://www.ucccoalition.org/ - The United Church of Christ Coalition for LGBT Concerns
Church of Latter-Day Saints - http://www.affirmation.org/ - Affirmation: Gay & Lesbian Mormons
Episcopals - http://www.integrityusa.org/ - advocacy and support for GLBT Episcopalians
Hindus - http://www.galva108.org/ - an international organization for Vaishnavas and Hindus
Jews - http://www.jewishmosaic.org/ - the National Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity
Lutherans - http://www.jewishmosaic.org/ - supporting the inclusion of GLBT Lutherans
Methodists - http://www.rmnetwork.org/ - one independent group supporting GLBT Methodists
Muslims - http://www.al-fatiha.org/ - an organization developing resources for GLBT Muslims
Presbyterians - http://www.mlp.org/ - a network promoting full participation of GLBT people in the Presbyterian Church