National News Notes
GLAAD takes stand for fairness
SAN DIEGO, Calif. — The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) withdrew from a “Pride Rocks” event scheduled to take place this summer at the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego because the property is owned by San Diego businessman Doug Manchester. He has publicly and financially supported a California amendment to ban marriage for gay couples. He has cited his Catholic faith as the reason he opposes gay marriage.
GLAAD has an existing relationship with Global Hyatt Corporation and is continuing to participate in other Hyatt “Pride Rocks” events. However, the group said it will not have a relationship with the Manchester Grand Hyatt due to the owner’s $125,000 donation to Protectmarriage.com, sponsor of the anti-gay amendment.
“Mr. Manchester’s decision to fund an initiative that would hurt loving, committed gay couples makes it impossible for us to continue to be associated with any promotion of his venue,” said GLAAD President Neil G. Giuliano. “GLAAD strongly encourages members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community to speak as one and to withdraw their support from this venue’s event as well.”
Trans workplace guide available
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Human Rights Campaign Foundation has released “Transgender Inclusion in the Workplace,” a guide that aims to provide human resource and other employment professionals with best practices for transgender workplace inclusion as well as the state of legal issues encompassing gender identity in employment situations.
The guide, available for free download at www.hrc.org/issues/1561.htm, covers topics such as appropriate terminology, the creation of policies that protect transgender workers from discrimination, the expansion of diversity programs to include gender identity and expression and steps that employers can take to facilitate peaceful, healthy gender transitions for employees.
“In the absence of a federal law that prohibits workplace discrimination based on gender identity, it is up to employers to take the lead and implement policies that ensure all their employees are protected,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “With this guide, HRC hopes to help managers educate themselves and their workers on these sensitive and increasingly visible issues — as well as the consequences of failing to do so.”
Four-year custody fight drags on
RICHMOND, Va. — At oral arguments Apr. 17 at the Supreme Court of Virginia, attorneys defended lesbian mother Janet Jenkins (pictured) and her relationship with her daughter against Jenkins’ ex-partner Lisa Miller who claims that she is the sole parent.
“I love and adore my daughter and I am going to honor my commitment to be a parent, Jenkins said. “I hope very much that the Virginia Supreme Court will allow me to continue to do that.”
Jenkins and Miller were joined in a civil union in Vermont and had a daughter. After the women ended their relationship, Miller moved to Virginia with the child. She asked a Vermont court to dissolve the civil union and sort out custody. When the court ordered visitation for Jenkins, Miller filed a new lawsuit in Virginia, using that state’s anti-gay marriage law to have herself declared the child’s sole legal parent.
The conflicting court orders led to a decision by the Virginia Court of Appeals to uphold the Vermont court order granting Jenkins visitation rights. Miller then appealed the decision to the Virginia Supreme Court.
Creating Change co-chairs named
DENVER, Colo. — The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force has announced the appointment of four community leaders to serve as co-chairs of the local host committee for the 21st National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change. The conference will take place here Jan. 28-Feb. 1, 2009. Creating Change is the premier national grassroots organizing and skills-building LGBT conference. The 2008 event in Detroit, Mich., drew over 2,000 attendees.
The new co-chairs are Anthony Aragon, director of Boards and Commissions for Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper; Hope Wisneski, deputy executive director of The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center of Colorado; Gus Spheeris, director of Bent Lens Cinema, Boulder’s GLBT film society; and Morris Price, a member of the Gill Foundation’s Movement Building Center.
“We are thrilled with our co-chair team of four skilled and seasoned community leaders,” said Russell Roybal, director of the Task Force’s Movement Building department. “This is the first time that our annual movement gathering has been held in the Mountain State region.”
Open call for documentaries
NEW YORK, N.Y. — Public television’s award-winning gay and lesbian series “In The Life” has a 16-year heritage of producing powerful stories about the people and issues shaping the gay experience, nationally and abroad. Now the show is looking to the independent producing community to help expand and diversify its programming.
In The Life Media, Inc. is seeking documentaries about the LGBTQ experience for the series’ 2008 and 2009 season. Producers will consider for acquisition non-fiction films of all lengths created by independent producers or entities within the past five years. Preference will be given to broadcast premieres.
In a written release, “In The Life” show runners said, “This is a rare opportunity for producers who have either evergreen docs that could be repurposed and given a second or third broadcast window, or unused stories from past projects.” For more information including submission guidelines, go to www.inthelifetv.org.