Activists disrupt anti-gay summit
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Members of GetEQUAL, a national direct-action LGBT equality group, were dragged from a Sept. 15 protest inside the “Values Voter Summit” at the Omni Shoreham Hotel. Activists marched into the conference carrying a mock coffin draped in a rainbow American flag, reading anti-LGBT quotes from Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, the main organizer of the event, and projecting the names and photos of youth who were driven to suicide by anti-gay bigotry.
The Summit featured an array of high profile anti-LGBT leaders, including Michele Bachmann, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum and Paul Ryan, as well as seminars and plenary sessions on such topics as how to deny equal rights to LGBT Americans.
Following the protest, GetEQUAL organizer Erica Keppler said, “The ‘values’ promoted at this summit alienate millions of LGBT Americans from full and equal citizenship; deny us our dignity; seek to prevent us from enjoying the basic joy and security of marriage; create an unsafe environment that leads to suicide, violence and hate crimes; and, too often, results in violence toward and even the murder of our LGBT brothers and sisters.”
49ers to LGBT youth: ‘It Gets Better’
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — The San Francisco 49ers have become the first NFL team to join the It Gets Better Project, an online video campaign where thousands of videos condemning anti-gay bullying are curated. The 49ers’ video comes after a successful petition drive by fan Sean Chapin, who collected more than 16,000 signatures encouraging the 49ers to make a video. Last year, Chapin successfully petitioned the San Francisco Giants to become the first Major League Baseball team in the country to make an “It Gets Better” video.
In the video (available at itgetsbetter.org/#z4glWjcbAbY), 49ers Safety Donte Whitner says, “The San Francisco 49ers are proud to join ItGetsBetter.org, to let all LGBT teens know that it gets better. On behalf of the entire 49ers organization, we are on your side, and we promise it gets better.” Also participating in the video are Defensive Tackle Ricky Jean Francois, Defensive Tackle Isaac Sopoaga and Linebacker Ahmad Brooks.
“Let’s hope this is only the beginning, and that more NFL and professional sports teams around the country take this opportunity to speak up on behalf of LGBT fans and kids,” said Chapin. Following the Giants lead, nine more baseball teams have made It Gets Better videos, including the Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers and Boston Red Sox.
HRC issues disaster responder guide
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has released a guide for local, state and federal organizations detailing how they can best serve LGBT people and their families during disasters or forced evacuations. In an emergency or disaster situation, vulnerable populations like LGBT people are at heightened risk for trauma and may be less likely to have access to emergency services.
“Many LGBT individuals and families fear discrimination in shelters or when seeking other emergency services during natural disasters or other forced evacuations,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “Emergency responders and volunteers need to be aware of the needs many in our community have, and should be sympathetic to the fact that families come in all shapes and sizes. Our families deserve to be treated with respect and should never be separated due to a lack of legal recognition.”
HRC Legislative Counsel Robin Maril added, “LGBT families seeking assistance may experience unnecessary, intrusive questions from shelter volunteers and workers. After a disaster or evacuation, many people enter a shelter with very little personal identification or documentation. For LGBT families, who often rely on a number of documents to prove their relationships to each other, or their children, this increases their vulnerability to discrimination.”
View the guide online at hrc.org/files/assets/resources/EmergencyResponders_-_LGBT_Competency.pdf.
U.N. head pushes for equality
GENEVA, Switzerland — On Sept. 10, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon addressed the opening of the XXI session of the United Nation’s Human Rights Council, making LGBT equality a point of emphasis in his remarks. During his speech Ki-Moon highlighted the first debate the council held on sexual orientation and gender identity this past spring.
“I welcome the groundbreaking, first-ever intergovernmental discussion, in March this year, on discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity,” he said. Adding, “This should not be a one-time event. I urge you to deepen your engagement on this issue so that protection and dignity truly reach all members of the human family.”