Help Vicki Marlane

via Susan Stryker:

Michelle Lawler is producing a documentary film about Vicki Marlane, a 74-year-old transsexual woman who is an amazing drag performer, and who still puts on two shows a week at Aunt Charlie’s Lounge in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood. Drag performance, particularly the traditional “record pantomime” style that Vicki does, is a joyous, subversive, heart-warming art form. Vicki has been doing professional theatrical drag for 50 years. She is a total inspiration to me, and an honored elder of my community.

Michelle and her editor Monica Nolan have completed a final cut of the film, titled “Forever’s Gonna Start Tonight,” (so-called after a line in Vicki’s signature number, “Total Eclipse of the Heart”). We expect the film to premiere at Frameline’s San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival in June 2009–look for the official press release on May 19!

We’re still trying to raise the last few thousand dollars we need to pay for music rights and the final audio mix to finish the film. I’m writing to ask you to make a donation that will help us complete this important film.

You can watch a short clip from the film at our page on the BAVC web site (our fiscal sponsor). Check out Vicki’s performance, too, while you’re at it.

You can make a tax-deductible contribution online from that page or you can make a non-tax deductible donation by sending a check made out to the film’s Executive Producer, Kim Klausner, at 1541 Alabama Street, San Francisco, CA 94110.

All donations — $5, $25, $100, $500 or whatever — will help. Feel free to forward this email to people who might be interested in supporting this project.

Us in Milwaukee This Weekend!

What we’ll be up to:

So do come to whatever you can if you’re in the Milwaukee area, & do spread the word. All the links are to Facebook pages, since that’s how the kids are doing it these days.

We’re Gonna Make It!

Sorry, I couldn’t help it. I’m going to Milwaukee for the first time, & for me, Milwaukee is always going to be Laverne & Shirley’s city.

What I’ll be up to:

So do come to whatever you can if you’re in the Milwaukee area, & do spread the word. All the links are to Facebook pages, since that’s how the kids are doing it these days.

Fed’l Hate Crimes Bill Trans-Inclusive

From NCTE:

Last night, Representative John Conyers of Michigan re-introduced The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009, H.R. 1913. This would be the first-ever federal law to provide protections for transgender people. It is identical to the hate crimes bill passed by the House of Representatives in 2007 and includes the language that transgender advocates requested. It is also the first transgender inclusive bill to be introduced during this Session.

In his comments introducing the bill, Rep. John Conyers stated, “Hate crime statistics do not speak for themselves. Behind each of the statistics is an individual or community targeted for violence for no other reason than race, religion, color, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or disability. Law enforcement authorities and civic leaders have learned that a failure to address the problem of bias crime can cause a seemingly isolated incident to fester into widespread tension that can damage the social fabric of the wider community. The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 is a constructive and measured response to a problem that continues to plague our nation. These are crimes that shock and shame our national conscience. They should be subject to comprehensive federal law enforcement assistance and prosecution.”

Representatives are heading home to their districts for spring recess from now until April 21st. It is vital that you call them in their district offices to urge their support for this critical piece of legislation. Those who oppose this legislation will be active during this time-we need to be as well so that members of Congress are hearing from those directly affected by this legislation. Please take this important step to help address the violence faced by transgender people.

To find your Representative, visit our webpage or go to the House of Representatives webpage at and enter your ZIP+4 to find your member of Congress.

The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act, H.R. 1913, would:

  • Extend existing federal protections to include “gender identity, sexual orientation, gender and disability”
  • Allow the Justice Department to assist in hate crime investigations at the local level when local law enforcement is unable or unwilling to fully address these crimes
  • Mandate that the FBI begin tracking hate crimes based on actual or perceived gender identity
  • Remove limitations that narrowly define hate crimes to violence committed while a person is accessing a federally protected activity, such as voting.

The Hate Crimes Prevention Act is supported by nearly 300 civil rights, education, religious, and civic organizations. The bill is also endorsed by virtually every major law enforcement organization in the country-including the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the National District Attorneys Association, the National Sheriffs Association, the Police Executive Research Forum, and thirty-one state Attorneys General.

For more information:

  • Read the specifics about this legislation from the Library of Congress, go to their website and search by bill H.R. 1913
  • View our fact sheet about the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act and read additional information about hate crimes on our website.

& That’s exactly why I love NCTE: all the info you need to do what you need to do.

Foster Pets

April 1st kicks off Prevention of Cruelty to Animals month. I don’t think there’s anything I hate more than the abuse of the goobers who trust us & depend on us. I know there are plenty of people out there “avenging Dusty” but I’d like to suggest we do that in a cool & groovy, pay it forward kind of way instead of in vengeance. (There is definitely a lot of animals out there that need your attention more than that kid does)

During these crap economic times, a lot of people are having to give up their animals, or, at the very least, can’t take care of them for a while in order to pay other bills.

If you have the space, think about fostering an animal or two; our local fostering organization will actually pay you per day to foster, and has a page of other useful information.

You can check in with North Shore Animal League as well, who are another favorite of ours, or the ASPCA (so maybe they can take those heartbreaking ads off TV).

Thanks, NYC

I’m very proud of my hometown for being kick-ass in an emergency, as always. I’ve lived through more than one in NYC – 9/11, the blackout – but those shoes of those people lined up on the plane’s wings in the Hudson – which had to be downright frigid yesterday – is remarkable. They didn’t have a lot of time with the water at 32 degrees and the air at 20; hypothermia would have happened pretty damn fast.

Go ferry operators, coast guard, the NYPD & the FDNY, as usual. The crew of USAir rocked especially.

& I also think it rocks that Mayor Bloomberg gives the news in his stilted Spanish.

& No, this does not inspire confidence in me to fly. I still hate flying.

Don’t Let Him Get Away With It

On May 16, 2007, Sean Kennedy, a 20-year old gay man, was attacked on the streets of Greenville, South Carolina. He died of his injuries later that night. Yet, because of the lack of hate crimes legislation, his attacker may be eligible for parole in February!

Sean was a brave young man with a bright, infectious smile. But his life was cut short and justice left unserved.  Now, PFLAG is joining with Sean’s mother, Elke Kennedy, and asking all of our members to write to the parole board and urge them to rule that Moller must serve his complete sentence for this heinous, anti-gay crime.

Because South Carolina – and many other states- lack protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, Moller was able to plea-bargain to involuntary manslaughter charges (considered a “non-violent crime”) and received a suspended five to three years sentence for his crime. Because of the credit he received for time served before sentencing, his full sentence means that he will be free in September 2009. And he is also eligible for parole in February, which means that he will have served only 8 months of his full sentence for Sean’s death.

The parole board is currently conducting a review on whether to grant Moller parole. It is critically important that they hear from our community, and that we each send a strong message that it is unacceptable to grant such early parole following a brutal anti-gay murder!

Please join us in writing a letter to the parole board, and ask them to deny Stephen Moller’s parole. If you have the time, please write a personal letter by hand or by computer, as those will be the most effective, and if you knew Sean or his family personally, please include that information.

Continue reading “Don’t Let Him Get Away With It”

Gainesville’s Fight

Allyson Robinson posted this message about Equality Florida’s fight for a gender-inclusive non-discrimination law in Gainesville, Florida on our message boards, & I thought it deserved a larger audience:

Many of you are aware of the fight brewing in Gainesville, Florida over their trans-inclusive non-discrimination law, passed by the city council last year. Gainesville’s non-discrimination ordinance had covered sexual orientation for years, but when gender identity was added last year, opposition was activated. The opposition group collected a huge number of signatures–over 10% of the projected voting population–to get the anti-discrimination ordinance placed on the ballot in a special election. That’s tremendous for this kind of municipal issue; more people signed the petition against these protections than voted for the mayor or any sitting city council member in recent elections.

Though the charter amendment the opposition group is pushing would eliminate protections for the whole LGBT community, their messaging is focusing on transgender people–the “bathroom diversion.” Their flyers state, in letters a inch tall, “KEEP MEN OUT OF WOMEN’S RESTROOMS.” As we’ve seen all over the country, and writ large in California last fall, this kind of fear-based messaging is very, very difficult to dislodge from voters’ minds. The special election is scheduled for March 24.

This fight has national significance. The “bathroom diversion” is quickly becoming our opposition’s weapon of choice. They used it successfully in Hamtramck, Michigan, it might have succeeded in Montgomery County, Maryland had the courts not intervened, it’s getting drug out in Kalamazoo, Michigan and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and it’s already being raised at the state level in places like Connecticut that are considering inclusive non-discrimination bills this year. We must show both our opponents and our supporters that we can consistently defeat this tactic. If we don’t, municipalities or states considering trans-inclusive non-discrimination laws may become gun-shy, preferring not to deal with costly ballot initiatives in response to pro-equality laws.

Continue reading “Gainesville’s Fight”