Monday, April 19, 2010

LGBT Activist Dr. Dana Beyer Speaks OUT

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson Host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with Dr. Dana Beyer, a well-known advocate for public health, coherent government and an activist for women’s and gender rights. Currently Dr. Beyer is a candidate for Maryland State Delegate in District 18 in the upcoming elections.

The federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) is again being considered in Washington D.C. When asked what her feelings are about finally having a transgender inclusive bill being presented, Beyer stated, “This is something we worked for. Again it points out how the political process works. It doesn’t happen overnight. We didn’t get civil rights in 1964 overnight. That took over 300 years of American history and people fighting and dying until we got to that point. We moved a little faster on gay rights and we’ve moved a lot faster on trans rights…The vast majority of Americans that are covered today, I think we’re up to 41% of the population, have been covered in laws that were passed in the last decade. So we’ve made huge progress in the most aggressive administration in American history for the most part. So we’ve done a lot of good. We’ve had the (ENDA) battle in 2007, it was a worthwhile battle, it was very educational, it was hard to go through. Some of it was very painful. Some of the language was hurtful and cruel but we got through it. We’re going to get a bill, it will not be perfect. It will have some language that might be better not having in it. I would imagine as for the trans part of this bill goes, to the best of my knowledge and this is an ongoing issue, it hasn’t been marked up yet so I can’t say for sure, but there will be nothing in this bill that will make anyone’s life more difficult and it will for the most part improve the lives of the LGBT community.”

Beyer is Vice President of Equality Maryland, former Executive Vice President of Maryland NOW, she's a founding member of Maryland’s Progressive Working Group and an HRC Governor. Dana recently co-authored The Dallas Principles. She is currently on leave from her post as Senior Adviser to Councilmember Duchy Trachtenberg of the Montgomery County Council.
She lives with her two sons in Chevy Chase, Maryland.
For More Info: danabeyer.com

Monday, April 12, 2010

GLAD's Lee Swislow Speaks OUT on DOMA

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson, Host of OUTTAKE VOICES™, talks with Lee Swislow, Executive Director of the Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD), about their case Gill v. Office of Personnel Management that challenges Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) which is set for oral arguments May 6th. The case will be heard by U.S. District Judge Joseph L. Tauro in the Federal District Court in Boston. The plaintiffs are seven legally married Massachusetts gay couples and three surviving spouses who have been denied federal benefits under section 3 of DOMA. Section 3 states, for the purpose of federal benefits, marriage is defined as between a man and a woman. What GLAD is targeting is the exclusion of over eleven hundred federal rights, benefits and responsibilities for legally married gay couples.

Swislow stated, “We feel this lawsuit it crucial because people are getting hurt. We’ve been hearing stories from hundreds of Massachusetts gay couples who have been hurt by their exclusion from federal benefits and we felt it was our duty to bring this suit forward and highlight for people throughout America the real harm that (legally married gay) couples face.”

The real tragedy is LGBT seniors who are not receiving survival benefits and are devastated by not having social security benefits. One of the plaintiffs is Dean Hara, the widower of former U.S. Rep. Gerry Studds, who was the first openly gay member of the House of Representatives. Hara has been denied any portion of Studds' $114,000 pension after the Democratic Congressman died in 2006. The two married in 2004 after being together for 14 years. "I am not being treated the same as any other surviving spouse of any other federal employee or public servant who has served this country for 27 years, though we were legally married." Hara stated.
For More Info: GLAD.org

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Gay Activist Jarrett Barrios Speaks OUT

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson, Host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with Jarrett Barrios, President of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. GLAAD is dedicated to promoting and ensuring fair, accurate and inclusive representation of people and events in the media as a way of eliminating homophobia and discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. At the upcoming L.A. GLAAD Media Awards on April 17th Constance McMillen the gay student that was not allowed to bring her girlfriend to the Prom in the Mississippi Prom-gate will be presenting the Stephen F. Kolzak Award to Wanda Sykes. This award is given to an openly gay member of the entertainment or media community for his or her work toward eliminating homophobia.

LGBTQ teens are four times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers. When asked about the current climate of bullying and homophobia in our schools Barrios stated, “You can certainly legislate aspired-to behaviors but you can’t legislate fairness. You can’t legislate the way people treat their lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender families, friends and neighbors. What gets people to change their minds is seeing (LGBT) people in the community and understanding them as siblings, as neighbors, as friends and understanding the barriers they face. The aspirations we have are exacting what everyone else wants out of life. To be accepted, respected and understood for the work that we do in our community. That’s not something unfortunately which everyone agrees with or everyone appreciates. The visibility that we try to promote with the GLAAD Media Awards is really about holding out those best examples of our visibility in entertainment, in media, so we can encourage other outlets like newspaper cover stories, visual media, television, movies to continue pushing forward with these sort of images and raising the bar because these images are transforming America and making it easier for the Constances of the world who want to go to the prom because classmates and parents will have a better understanding of who we are. Not that we’re the antithesis of America, we are in fact the heart of what the American experiment was about in the very beginning. ‘Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness’, that’s our goal.”

Barrios also commended Ricky Martin for coming out which provides a positive role model for LGBT youth. In addition to Wanda Sykes, Drew Barrymore will be honored with the Vanguard Award. Singer Adam Lambert will perform and cast members of Glee are scheduled to attend the Los Angeles ceremony. The San Francisco GLAAD Media Awards are on June 5. Here Media will be televising the edited version of the events combined with the New York GLAAD Awards that we covered on the Red Carpet last month.
For More Info & Tix: glaad.org