Tuesday, October 06, 2009

San Francisco Pride selects out bisexual
as new executive director

San Francisco, CA – 6 October 2009 – The San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration Committee announced today that Amy Andre will be the next person to head the organization as its executive director. The announcement concludes a national search that began in March of this year.

Andre takes the position following the departure of the organization’s previous Executive Director Lindsey Jones who stepped down in July. The organization has been under the leadership of Interim Executive Director Joshua Smith who left the board of directors to assist Pride in the transition of its top staff position.

Board President Mikayla Connell stated,

We are absolutely thrilled to welcome Amy Andre to the Pride team with her wealth of talent, experience, and history of activism as we continue planning and preparing for the fortieth anniversary San Francisco Pride Celebration and Parade in June of 2010. In the capable hands of Amy Andre and our Board of Directors, San Francisco Pride will continue to build on the momentum that this organization has achieved with the dedicated support of our members, volunteers, and community over the past decade.

Interim Executive Director Joshua Smith stated, “Amy brings together a unique mix of skills, which builds upon our past while preparing us for a bright future.”

Along with an MBA, focusing on nonprofit management, from UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business and a master’s degree in sexuality studies, focusing on LGBT community issues, from San Francisco State University, Amy Andre has over a decade of experience working in various capacities with local and national LGBT nonprofit organizations.

As a Point Foundation Scholar, Andre earned her MBA this past Spring. Prior to that, she worked at Out & Equal Workplace Advocates, criss-crossing the nation to educate thousands of employees and executives at Fortune500 companies such as Wal-mart, Hyatt, and Motorola about LGBT rights. Before coming to Out & Equal, she served as Vice President of the Board at Open Enterprises, a cooperative where she worked for almost seven years.

The co-author of Bisexual Health: An Introduction and Model Practices for HIV/ STI Prevention, a book published by the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force, Andre has articles in Curve Magazine, Alternet.org, and The Bilerico Project, among dozens of other publications. A film afficionada, she is also the director of the internationally-screened documentary On My Skin/En Mi Piel, about a mixed-race transgender man and his family, and volunteers annually to curate the Bi Request program at Frameline’s San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival.

A lifelong bi and LGBT activist originally from the East Coast, Andre has lived in San Francisco since 1997. She currently resides in the Castro with her fiancée, filmmaker Kami Chisholm, PhD.

Regarding her selection, Andre commented,

I’m honored and delighted by this opportunity to be a part of Pride. Celebrating ourselves is one of the most important, courageous, affirming, and, yes, even political, things we as an LGBT community can do. This year’s theme is Forty and Fabulous. But, of course, Pride has always been fabulous, and we’ve got even more wonderful things in store! I’m really looking forward to working with the incredible staff and Board.

Andre will begin her position as the new Executive Director on October 15.


About San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration Committee (SFLGBTPCC):
The San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration Committee (SFPride.org) is a non-profit membership organization founded to produce the annual San Francisco Pride Celebration & Parade. San Francisco Pride is dedicated to education, commemoration of LGBT heritage and celebration of LGBT culture and liberation. A world leader in the Pride movement, San Francisco Pride is also a grant-giving organization through its Community Partners Program. Since 1997, SFLGBTPCC has granted over $1.6 million dollars from proceeds of the Pride Celebration and Parade to local non-profit LGBT organizations and those organizations serving the HIV/AIDS and breast cancer communities.

About the 2010 San Francisco Pride Celebration & Parade:
2010 marks the 40th anniversary of the San Francisco Pride Celebration and Parade. The theme for the 40th anniversary event will be, “Forty and Fabulous.” The Pride Celebration & Parade will be held over the weekend of June 26 and 27, 2010. With over 200 parade contingents, 300 exhibitors, and more than twenty community-run stages and venues, the San Francisco Pride Celebration and Parade is the largest annual gathering of LGBT people and allies in the nation. The two-day celebration is free and open to all. For more information please visit our website at SFPride.org.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Happy V-Day from Suze!

If you were out with your sweetie on Saturday (like I was) and didn't catch Suze on her weekly CNBC show...she sent the LGBT community and our allies a Valentine for marriage equality.

Thank you Suze!!!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Newark, Delaware city councilman comes out

Newark, Del. City Councilman Ezra Temko publicly came out as bisexual in an an interview with the Newark Post today. He spoke to the paper about his relationship with his boyfriend Drew.

Since his election to the city council, Temko has pursued city ordinances prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.

“When we started dating, it struck me how many rights we don’t have,” he said. “I’ve always been very family oriented, so the limitations on our future made me recognize the level of privilege I had been assuming in my life, which motivated me to step up my advocacy in this area.”

Temko, who spoke about his relationship with his boyfriend Drew, made no efforts to conceal the fact that they were dating.

“Nobody ever asked me about my sexual orientation and I don’t believe it has any bearing on my ability to serve,” he said. “When I was running for council, I was single, so it really didn’t come up. Drew and I go to public events together and our relationship is fairly obvious on Facebook. I think everyone who would normally know I’m dating someone knows I’m dating Drew.”

The article reports:

Temko, who grew up in Newark and graduated from Cab Calloway School of the Arts, said he came to a greater understanding of sexual orientation while attending Oberlin College in Ohio.

“During college, I was in a very inclusive environment that embraced everyone, instead of accepting norms as legitimate on face value,” he said. “I was able, in this environment, to explore who I was and realize that I’m bi-sexual. I always assumed I would end up with a girl; then I met Drew.”

Temko said he first began by getting involved with organizations that advocate for gay, lesbian and transgender rights in Delaware.

“From that, I began to see what states and municipalities around the country are doing and I asked myself, ‘Why isn’t Newark doing this,’” he said. “I also was approached by a Newark resident who asked me to pursue a city ordinance prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Those two things led me to introduce my proposals on Monday.”

In addition to an anti-discrimination ordinance, Temko this week also proposed and won City Council support to add “gender identity and expression” to the nondiscrimination clause in its personnel policy.

Council also unanimously agreed to research a pair of substantially more progressive measures including the extension of city health care benefits to municipal employees’ domestic/life partners and the creation of a city domestic/life partner registry, which would serve as a legally verifiable database. The registry, Temko said, would allows same-sex couples to prove their committed status, thereby qualifying for any domestic/life partner benefits offered by their employer or visitation rights at certain health care facilities.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Suze says vote No on California and Florida marriage equality bans Prop 8 and Prop 2

I love Suze Orman! Suze came out today against Prop 8, the right wing’s attempt to legalize discrimination in California’s constitution by defining marriage as only between a man and a woman.

"I am urging every single person in the Bay Area, do not let Proposition 8 happen here, people," Orman told the
San Francisco Chronicle. "I am begging you, don't send us back to the Dark Ages. If anyone can turn that around, it is the Bay Area."

She also voted no on a similar proposition in Florida (she’s a resident there and owns a home in Pacific Heights in San Francisco) that is an attempt to do the very same thing Prop 8 is trying to do.

"I am a resident of Florida where they have a proposition which would make (same-sex marriage) unconstitutional," Orman said in the same interview with the Chronicle. "On Monday I flew there to stand in line for 3 1/2 hours and vote, so I knew it could be counted. Obviously, I voted no on that."

So, with only a little over a week left to go, I urge you to vote No on Prop 8 (if you are a Californian), talk to anyone you know who is a California voter to vote no on Prop 8, and if you can please
donate to the campaign or make some time to get on the phone (you can now do it from home!).

Orman was in San Francisco to speak at the
O You! daylong event at the Moscone Center sponsored by O, the Oprah Magazine and featuring many of its contributors, but not Oprah Winfrey herself. The event sold out, but video seminars of the sessions will be posted online at www.oyouonline.com.

Today's San Francisco Chronicle:
Q&A with personal financial guru Suze Orman.
Shameless self-promotion…my interview with Suze: No closets for Suze Orman.

Photo: Courtesy of Suze Orman

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Close your windows and shut your curtains girls
You never know who is watching or recording

Rosanne Strott and Emily Niland, Massachusetts College of Art and Design students didn’t know they were allegedly being filmed by two male Wentworth Institute students while the young women were in bed together. The young women discovered the video in April, four months after the video had been in circulation on a Wentworth college Web site, reported ABC News “
Video Voyeurs Under Fire for Taping Lesbians” June 13.

The young women are now taking judicial action against Wentworth Institute juniors David Cunha and David Siemiesz, who are suspected and charged by Boston police of filming the two young women while they were having sex and uploading the video on the college’s Web site, who recently appeared at Roxbury District Court.

It is alleged that the young men were able to film the scene from their dorm room, located directly across an alley from Strott’s dorm room, in September.

"When I found out, I immediately vomited," Strott told ABC News. "It was a really strange thing for me. I had never felt so violated without being touched before."

Sunday, June 08, 2008

18 million cracks

It was hard listening to Hillary Clinton (D-New York) on Saturday when she finally conceded the Democratic nomination to Senator Barak Obama (D-Illinois). Up to this point in time I was slowly letting go of the hope that she would make it to the White House as the first female president of the United States of America. I cried and I've been mourning ever since Tuesday when it became certain that Hillary wasn't going to make it to the Oval office. By the time I shed my tears, my friends had already cried and were painfully moving on to either begrudgingly vote for Obama in November or just taking time off from what has already been a dramatic and dually historic Democratic primary race.

Yet, being the ever optimistic "you can do it" girl that I am, I still hold out hope that Obama will select Hillary as his running mate so that for the first time in history a black man and a woman can enter into leadership together. I can't bare the thought of being told, "You will get your turn," one more time. If history has taught us nothing with the abolitionist and civil rights movements where women stepped aside for black men is that we've been told to be "good girls" and wait patiently for generations for far too long. Can't we step through the doors of the White House together?

Hillary knows this well and finally, finally as she stepped down she drew on those historic roots not only to support Obama's candidacy as the Democratic president, but also with the 18 million cracks, referring to the voters who cast their ballots for her, in the highest glass ceiling in the nation—the Oval office. Why, I wonder, couldn't she have been more candid about gender and race and about the history that was being made during these past 18 months? Was it so bad, her tears being shed in New Hampshire, to use her feminine attributes a bit more in her race for the Democratic nomination? Why did she have to fall back on the clichéd and out of fashion--just as much as big hair and padded shoulders--pantsuit and "woman operating in a man's world" toss back to second wave feminism? Couldn't Chelsea have given her clues as a third wave feminist that it is okay to be feminine and lead as a woman in the modern age?

The realization comes all too late, but as I mentioned before I hope with Hillary's realization of history, girl power, and shedding the mechanical cloak that weighed her down throughout her campaign that Obama will see that in spite of her outdated campaign tactics that she is a modern girl who has been a trend setter for change for 40 years. Hillary's experience is invaluable and should definitely be seriously considered as an asset to the vice presidency.

Photo credit: courtesy and copyright AP.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Sexual and gender harassment still prevalent part of teen girls’ lives

This shouldn’t come as a surprise, but 90 percent of teen girls experience sexual harassment and sexism a new study reported earlier this week.

study that will appear in the May/June issue of the journal Child Development surveyed 600 California and Georgia girls between the ages of 12 and 18 from various socioeconomic backgrounds found when girls were asked about sexual harassment that included receiving inappropriate and unwanted romantic attention, hearing demeaning gender-related comments, being teased about their appearance, receiving unwanted physical contact, and being teased, bullied, or threatened with harm by a male that sexism and sexual and gender harassment are still alive and well.

"Sexism remains pervasive in the lives of adolescent girls," said Campbell Leaper, professor of psychology at the University of California, Santa Cruz and co-author of the report in a
May 15 news release. "Most girls have experienced all three types of sexism--sexual harassment, sexist comments about their academic abilities, and sexist comments about their athletic abilities."

Leaper conducted the study with Christia Spears Brown, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Kentucky.

In spite of the advancements girls have made since Title IX passed 35 years ago, girls continue to report common discouragement about their abilities due to their gender, particularly in traditional subjects such as athletics, math, science, and technology. Seventy-six percent of the girls said they received discouraging comments about their abilities in sports, and 52 percent said they received discouraging comments related to their academic abilities in science, math, or computers. In most cases the sources of the negative comments were from male peers, which Leaper said, “is both understandable and sad. Parents, teachers, and coaches weren’t perfect with their lack of encouraging remarks either, according to the release.

Leaper focused on these areas because traditionally there has been a persistent gender gap, according to the release.

"Our findings on sexual harassment are, sadly, consistent with previous research," said Leaper. "But on the other hand, most girls said they experienced sexual harassment at least once, as opposed to several times."

The fact that girls are experiencing less sexism and harassment and hearing fewer discouraging remarks based on their gender is encouraging, but as other studies have revealed sexism and sexual and gender harassment often go unreported. Age, race, lower socioeconomic backgrounds and exposure to feminism also made a difference in how many girls reported sexism and sexual harassment, according to the release. Feminism, the report found, aided the girls in being able to recognize sexism and sexual and gender harassment.

But being aware of sexism doesn't predispose girls to overreport it, noted Leaper.

"We know from previous studies that people tend to underreport discrimination," said Leaper. "After Anita Hill, reports of sexual harassment increased dramatically in the United States, because it gave people a label for their experience. So, if anything, sexism is probably occurring more than the girls in this study are saying it is. Our research suggests that parents, teachers, and the media can help girls to learn about discrimination and recognize when it occurs."

To learn where girls can get tools to fight sexism and sexual harassment, visit the Third Wave Foundation, a volunteer young feminist organization for girls between the ages 15-35.