Articles in Take action!
An update of news about Anchorage’s highly problematic April 3 election since our story of yesterday morning. Bent Alaska urges Anchorage voters to attend tonight’s Anchorage Assembly meeting; Bent Alaska will also be livetweeting from that meeting @bentalaska.
Bent Alaska reader Christina Logan asked us to share this alert. If you have complaints about being unable to vote, contact the Municipal Clerk’s office (info given below). If you are support an independent investigation into the election irregularities, write to the people included in Christina’s alert.
Researchers at Colorado State University investigating LGBTQ persons’ perceptions of their primary care providers. They’re reaching out to the broadest, most diverse group of LGBTQ study participants possible, which includes reaching out to community groups in understudied parts of the United States — like Alaska!
Please consider helping them out — full info below.
Participant Recruitment Notice:
Perceptions of GLBT Health Care
We are conducting an on-line study at Colorado State University to assess gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender persons’ perceptions of their primary care medical providers. The only requirements for participation in this study are that you are at least 18 years of age or older, self-identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender, and currently have a primary care physician.
Participation in this research requires only that you complete a brief survey that asks questions about you and your perceptions of your primary care physician. We do not ask questions that require you to provide any personally identifying information, or to provide any information about the identity of your primary care physician. Your responses will be kept strictly confidential, and all data will be encrypted using the same standards that businesses use for handling credit card information.
If you are interested in participating in this research, please click on the link below for more information.
Principal Researcher: Dr. Jennifer J. Harman
Co-Investigators: Dr. Justin J. Lehmiller and Michael Ioerger
This project has been approved by the Colorado State University Institutional Review Board (Protocol #11-2944H).
The open-minded people of Anchorage are invited to join us downtown to create a human Pink Dot this Saturday, in a fun and visual demonstration of support for LGBT people that began in Singapore and has spread worldwide.
“Come out and show your support for everyone’s Freedom to Love through the formation of a Huge Human Pink Dot!
Find your nicest pink (or pink tie-dye) and let’s stand together and express our support of the Freedom to Love.
Everyone should have the freedom to love, regardless of sexual orientation. But fear, ignorance and prejudice often stand in the way. We believe the first step to overcoming these barriers is for open-minded segments of society to come together. If you believe that Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender people deserve to express their love just like any other Alaskan, come join us to form a giant PINK dot on June 18, and help us make this statement!”
Watch the inspirational video from Pink Dot Singapore:
“The Online Citizen: A Community of Singaporeans” posted their event and noticed that we’re doing Pink Dot in Alaska:
“Pink Dot 2011 will be held on the 18 June, Saturday at Hong Lim Park. The event which celebrates the freedom of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered (LGBT) people to love is now in its third year and seeks to continue its mission in making Singapore a more inclusive and cohesive society. Last year, the event saw a record turnout of over 4000 people.
With less than two weeks to go, the hype for the event has been steadily rising with its official video going viral worldwide and reaching 180,000 views within just three weeks.
The campaign has also inspired the sprouting of Pink Dots across the world in places like New York, London, Montreal, Alaska, Taiwan, Malaysia and the Philippines.”
So come to the Anchorage Town Square on Saturday at 3pm to create a human Pink Dot and show that Alaskans support the freedom to love.
Pink Dot [Anchorage, Alaska]: Supporting the Freedom to Love
When: Saturday, June 18 from 3:00pm – 4:00pm
Where: Anchorage Town Square (downtown)
WHAT IS EXPECTED OF ME AT THE EVENT??
Just show up, mingle, have fun and smile for our cameras – an aerial photograph has been planned to commemorate this symbolic event. Bring yourself, family, and friends… Along with Your Fabulous Pink!!!
DO I REALLY HAVE TO COME DRESSED IN PINK??
You don’t have to, but if you’re going to come down to show your support, you might as well go all the way!
IS THIS EVENT A PROTEST??
It is NOT a protest. It is a congregation of people who believe that everyone deserves a right to love, regardless of their sexual orientation. Fear and bigotry can get in the way of love – between friends, family and other loved ones – so this is an event for everyone who believes that LGBT individuals are equally deserving of strong relationships with our family and friends.
BUT I AM STRAIGHT. WHY SHOULD I GO??
Many LGBT Alaskans around you are not easy to identify. They may be amongst your sisters and brothers, sons and daughters, colleagues and bosses, teachers and schoolmates. Though more LGBT individuals are slowly emerging into the mainstream, prejudice and bigotry in present societal attitudes keep many LGBT individuals from coming out of the closet. Many of them fear that in coming out, they might lose their family, friends and even their jobs. Yet, by not coming out, their lives are shrouded in secrecy.
Relationships should be built on love, not fear and secrecy. Unfortunately, most LGBT individuals in Anchorage are denied this basic freedom to be who they are in front of their loved ones. Your presence at the Pink Dot [Anchorage Alaska] event can change that. The gathering on June 18th may be a small gesture, but it goes a long way.
For more information, visit the Pink Dot [Anchorage, Alaska] event page.
A new coalition of organizations has started a petition calling on the Southern Baptist Convention to apologize for the harm its teachings have caused the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. The coalition includes the Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists, Believe OutLoud, Faith in America, GetEQUAL, Soulforce and Truth Wins Out. Sign the petition!
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is the last word defining “mental illness” to mental health, medical, and legal professionals — despite its many flaws and biases. It has a long record of being used to label gays and lesbians as “deviant.” It’s still being used that way against trans people
This Mother’s Day, Believe Out Loud is inviting mothers and children everywhere to break the silence.
Determined to give voice to the millions of Christians who believe in equal rights for all, including the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) community, Believe Out Loud is launching a campaign to get one million Christians to break the silence and join the burgeoning chorus for full LGBT equality in the church.
Progressive Christians across numerous denominations believe that Jesus’ message of justice, compassion and love compels them to be fully welcoming of all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. Now is the time to speak up and remind the world that it is possible to be Christian AND believe in LGBT inclusion.
Simply believing that LGBT individuals ought to be welcomed into our church communities is not enough. The time has come to break the silence. Believe Out Loud. Express your compassion by welcoming and supporting the gay and lesbian members of our communities. Join us, and raise Christian voices around LGBT issues.
How can you make your beliefs real? Be active. It can be as simple as starting a conversation. Lending a hand. Offering a seat. Kind gestures are the first step down the road to inclusion.
Watch their new video and be inspired to break the silence around LGBT equality in your church:
Caleb Pritt writes opinion pieces for Bent Alaska. His opinions are his own.
This post concerns an attack on a transgender woman in a Baltimore McDonalds, the attack video that went viral over the weekend, Caleb’s response to the incident, and suggestions for taking action.
Update: Please see Caleb’s post “Words do matter….” for a follow-up on issues about race brought up in comments to this post.
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I want you to watch this video before continuing with the article. [warning for violence]
Chrissy Lee Polis is just like you and I. She has a brain, a heart, and she is an American who expects the benefits of a nation that promises LIFE, LIBERTY, & THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS. But in the words of one of this nation’s modern fathers, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., from his famous “I Have a Dream” address at the Lincoln Memorial, we now echo for the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, TRANSGENDER, Ally community, the following:
“When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens are concerned….a bad check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.” But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation.”
Chrissy Lee Polis was spit upon, attacked, beaten, and dehumanized by sadly two African-American women who forgot Dr. King. Forgot about the sacrifices and the lives that allowed these two women to walk into a McDonalds and order their food. Even more insulting, McDonalds, which is a symbol of America as much as Sunday football or the American flag, had employees that looked on and watched this display of hatred and did nothing to intervene.
The question has to be asked, when do we say enough is enough? I say today is the day we say enough is enough. When the day has come, which is now, that ANYONE cannot enter a McDonalds and be served, but rather savagely treated like a dehumanized choice to be viciously assaulted with no regard, enough is enough.
Shall we as a society continue to fund a corporation that allows this hatred and violence to happen? If it doesn’t stop now….WHEN WILL IT?!
McDonalds needs to institute policies for ALL of its employees teaching them sadly how to be humans. This means no violence, no sacrificing of liberties, and no allowing the idea of some or any violence or disrespect is allowed.
As Dr. King also said, “An injustice somewhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
What happened in Baltimore can tomorrow be in Anchorage, in Honolulu, in Salt Lake City, in Boston, in Fayetteville, N.C., or yes even in Washington, D.C.
We need to remember the words of Dr. King and re-echo them today. We need to stand up and tell McDonalds, THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE.
Here are 3 ways to do it:
Starting Monday at 4:00 p.m. for twenty-four hours, I ask you to make your Facebook profile pic a picture of a simple candlelight. The candle is for Chrissy Lee Polis and to let her know, while we are not at the vigil in Baltimore, a candle of hope burns bright all across this nation and she is loved.
Secondly, the phone number for McDonald’s Corporate is 1-800-244-6227, open 7 days a week from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. CST. Let them know you are horrified and that you demand nationwide training in transgender issues for ALL McDonald’s franchise owners and employees.
Thirdly, and finally, if you want to sound off, join Aunty Anita and I in two places. Join on Facebook, the group named BOYCOTT McCRUELTY. And also join us on the radio at Aunty Anita on Tuesday, April 26 at 7p.m. Alaska Time/ 8pm Pacific. The studio hotline is toll free (619) 393-6513. Please call in or listen on demand.
In the words of Reverend Jesse Jackson, who I hope will join us in this fight for civil rights, “Red, Yellow, Black, and White….WE ALL are precious in His light.”
Two equality bills were reintroduced in Congress today: Uniting American Families Act (UAFA) and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). ENDA sheds light on workers fired for being gay or trans, and UAFA raises awareness of bi-national couples torn apart by the ban on same sex marriage. (A repeal of DOMA was introduced earlier this session.)
Bi-national couples have one partner who is an American or a legal permanent resident, and the other partner is from another country. Several bi-national same sex couples were in the news lately when a partner was about to be deported, sometimes to a home country where they may be targeted for being gay. Because of DOMA, Americans cannot sponsor same sex spouses for citizenship.
Tom works with Immigration Equality, an organization fighting to end discrimination against gay and lesbian Americans and legal permanent residents in our nation’s immigration laws. He is working on building support for UAFA from Alaska’s members of Congress, and looking for more bi-national LGBT couples to share their stories.
When UAFA was introduced last year, Tom (working on the same issue but for a different group) explained the importance of UAFA to Bent Alaska and asked us to contact Senators Begich and Murkowski. Recently, Tom wrote to us again, about his current project sharing our stories for UAFA:
Judy and Karin are spending their retirement traveling among 4 countries – missing family birthdays, hospital visits, and weddings – so that they can be together.
Although Edward started a business in the United States and cares for his ailing partner, he could be deported at a moment’s notice because John, an American citizen, can’t sponsor him for residency.
Jaylynn and Shirley have been together for over two decades, and are raising twin boys – but even as an American citizen, Jaylynn worries every day that her wife will be sent back to the Phillipines.
Do you have a story like these, or know someone who does? We are working with Immigration Equality to pass the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA), which would allow gay and lesbian Americans to sponsor their foreign born partners for residency in the United States – and we need your help.
Stories like yours, and those you’ve just read, are the most powerful weapons our community has – whether we are fighting for marriage equality, non-discrimination laws, or immigration rights. Your story makes a difference to members of Congress, to the media, and to other couples fighting for equality. Please take a moment to visit Immigration Equality’s website and submit your story.
If you would like to find out other ways that you can help pass Uniting American Families Act, please contact Tom Tierney of Immigration Equality, at email@example.com
Thank you for all you do for equality.”
UAFA finished the last Congress with 162 co-sponsors in the House and Senate. That was a record, and they want to set another record this year. Neither of our senators is a co-sponsor of UAFA.
Please call Senator Begich and Senator Murkowski at the Capitol switchboard: (202) 225-3121 and ask them to co-sponsor the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA) this year.
Nobody should have to go through what happened to Cody: coming out gay only to be rejected, bullied and even assaulted – which is bad enough – and then the police let the attacker go free after only one night in jail, with no further investigation or charges, free to attack again.
Senator Bettye Davis introduced a state hate crimes law this year that includes LGBT Alaskans. It was considered and approved by the Judiciary Committee, and sent to Finance. But a second hearing was not scheduled, although all of the documents that were requested were delivered.
It’s time for the Finance Committee to hold a hearing on SB 11, the Alaska Hate Crimes bill. How do we get them to schedule a hearing and vote? You know the answer to that: We contact them. All of us.
Fred Traber of Anchorage wrote to the legislators in support of SB 11. He told the Finance Committee:
“With less than three weeks left in the session, thousands of constituents around the state are concerned about the fate of SB 11, the Hate Crimes Bill.
Two weeks ago in Geneva, Switzerland, the United Nations Human Rights Council issued a joint statement co-sponsored by 85 countries – YES – 85 countries – calling for “Ending Acts of Violence and Related Human Rights Violations Based On Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.”
And SB 11, the Alaska Hate Crimes Bill, has been held in the Senate Finance Committee since February 28.
Is there support for SB 11? Are your fellow legislators so much busier than the delegates from those 85 countries that they can’t find time for SB 11? Or don’t they care? Or maybe issues like the personalized pro-life license plates and designating the pre-1964 Winchester Model 70 caliber .30-06 caliber rifle as Alaska’s state gun are just more popular issues. Or is there another agenda here?”
Traber also notes that “SB 11 is one of the least complicated, non-financial issues before the legislature this year.”
Senator Ellis is the only committee member who replied:
“I am a cosponsor and have requested movement on the bill, as has the prime sponsor [Senator Davis]. I will continue to push. More Alaskans need to speak out for hate crimes bills to pass.” [emphasis mine]
It’s your turn to speak out.
Please contact the senators today and tell them to approve SB 11, the Alaska Hate Crimes bill.
Don’t let what happened to Cody – or worse – happen to other LGBT Alaskans.
– Thanks to Fred for being an active citizen and sharing his letter with us.