Thursday, October 30, 2008

Michigan's Proposal 2 -- It's About Hope

Vote Yes on Proposition 2 and bring hope to many who suffer including my friend Julielyn Gibbons. Here Julielyn and her Mom share their story:

Groups supporting Proposition 2:
Alliance for Aging Research
ALS Michigan
American Association
American Civil Liberties Union
American Diabetes Association
American Federation of Teachers
Americans for Cures
B'nai B'rith International
Biotechnology Industry Organization
Californians for Cures
Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation
Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research
Danny Heumann Foundation for Spinal Cord Research
Detroit Urban League
HIV/AIDS Alliance of Michigan
International Society of Stem Cell Research
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, National and Michigan
Karmanos Cancer Institute
Michigan Environmental Council
Michigan Nurses Association
National Association of Social Workers, Michigan Chapter
National Multiple Sclerosis Society
National Organization of Women, Michigan Chapter
Parkinsons Action Network
Planned Parenthood Affiliates of Michigan
Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice
Research for Cures
RESOLVE, the National Infertility Association
Student Society for Stem Cell Research
Students for Stem Cell Research
The Genetics Policy Institute
United Spinal Association

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Friday, October 24, 2008

David Sedaris on Undecided Voters

David Sedaris writes about undecided voters in the current issue of the New Yorker:

"I look at these people and can’t quite believe that they exist. Are they professional actors? I wonder. Or are they simply laymen who want a lot of attention?

To put them in perspective, I think of being on an airplane. The flight attendant comes down the aisle with her food cart and, eventually, parks it beside my seat. “Can I interest you in the chicken?” she asks. “Or would you prefer the platter of shit with bits of broken glass in it?”

To be undecided in this election is to pause for a moment and then ask how the chicken is cooked."

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Friday, October 10, 2008


October 10, 2008 -- Detroit, MI -- The Connecticut Supreme Court issued an opinion today overturning the state's ban on same-sex marriage. The justices voted 4-3, declaring that, according to Connecticut's state constitution, "same sex couples cannot be denied the freedom to marry."

This historic ruling will provide additional security and protections to the thousands of loving, committed same-sex couples and their children living in Connecticut. Marriage has meaning, both as a word and as an institution. Couples who have been together for years -- in many cases for decades -- will now have access to the dignity and respect that come with being legally married.

Connecticut becomes the third state, after Massachusetts and California, to provide marriage equality for its gay and lesbian citizens. "While Connecticut's civil union law provides many rights and protections for same-sex couples, the Supreme Court today recognized that which has always been true: 'separate but equal' is never equal," stated Bernadette Brown, the Director of Policy at Triangle Foundation. Brown continued, "It is unfortunate that loving, committed same-sex couples and their families in Michigan still live without these important protections."

It is the mission of Triangle Foundation to promote equality and to secure freedom from violence, intimidation, and discrimination for LGBT persons throughout Michigan.

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Monday, October 6, 2008

Matthew Shepard: A Decade of Pain, A Call to Action

Guest Blogger: Melissa Pope, Director of Victim Services, Triangle Foundation

Ten years ago, the nation was stunned, shocked and horrified by the news that a young man, barely alive, was found tied to a fence in Laramie, Wyoming. We learned that this young man’s name was Matthew Shepard and that he had been beaten and left to die because he was gay. While the nation kept vigil, praying that Matthew would live, Matthew succumbed to his injuries and left this earth on October 12, 1998.

Having been actively involved with the social justice movement for several years, I was all too aware of the hatred that infests some in our society, spreading like a disease until the symptoms become fatal – for someone else. This infestation was painfully clear as the hate mongers stood outside the hospital praising the murder of Matthew as a testament to God. I remember tearfully asking my mother what was different now as compared to when lynchings were a part of American life. She replied with prophetic words, “Now, at least, we find it appalling.”

And so this became the quest of so many people and organizations – to make sure that we all found such heinous violence appalling and to oppose it with a message of tolerance. We have seen the formation of the Matthew Shepard Foundation which, through its work, has touched thousands of lives, spreading the message to erase hate. We have seen increased efforts by well-established organizations such as the Southern Poverty Law Center which itself has been the victim of a bombing motivated by hate. And there are statewide organizations, like Triangle Foundation, that provide direct services to victims of anti-lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender violence while working to change laws to protect all of America’s citizens. It is through my work at Triangle Foundation that my heart becomes the heaviest as I search for progress in the decade that has followed Matthew’s murder.

Despite the outrage expressed over and over again regarding Matthew’s murder, we have yet to see The Matthew Shepard Act signed into law. Most in America do not realize that it still is not a hate crime to brutalize a person because they are gay. In Michigan, we have yet to see the Ethnic Intimidation Act amended to include crimes motivated by bias against the gay community. We continue to see individuals attacked throughout the country because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Equally disturbing is the use of the gay panic defense. Put simply, the gay panic defense argues that the accused was so revolted by a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity that they were provoked to violence. This defense is often successful in that assailants are convicted of lesser offenses and receive lighter sentences. These cases are happening all over the country, including here in Michigan. On July 29, 2007, Steven Scarborough beat 62 year-old Victor Manious, placed him in the trunk of his car and left him to die. At trial, Scarborough used the gay panic defense. The fact that the jury found that an alleged sexual advance justified the beating to death of a 62-year-old man by a 21-year old man demonstrates how deeply rooted homophobia is in our American society.

Ten years later, we have yet to pronounce that hate is not an American value. It is far past time to build the foundation for tolerance in America. We must pass hate crime legislation that includes violence against another because of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity or expression. Without the demand that tolerance and acceptance are American values, we will continue to see lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans brutalized. As we remember the murder of Matthew Shepard as well as many others who have been victims of hate, let us make a commitment to banish intolerance and embrace inclusivity so that we may live as a society of humanity where all people are truly created equal and valued as such. Let us come to a time when such violence is not only appalling, but absent from our society.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

From the GLAAD Blog: Triangle Foundation’s Colette Beighley

Triangle Foundation’s Colette Beighley
October 2, 2008 -- In our work at GLAAD, we know the power that personal stories have to shape perceptions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Today we are privileged to have Colette Beighley, the new Director of Communications for the Triangle Foundation, answer some questions and share her story. The Triangle Foundation is Michigan’s oldest statewide LGBT organization. We’ve been lucky to work closely with Colette as we advocate for fair, accurate and inclusive media coverage across the state.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Michigan’s LGBT community has seen you go from PFLAG mom to a full-time organizer for the Triangle Foundation, to now, Triangle Foundation’s Director of Communications. What inspired you to first become an advocate for the LGBT community and what has motivated you to take on these increased responsibilities?

Colette Beighley: There were several events that really propelled me into this work. Continue Reading.