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President Obama Appoints Amanda Simpson, First Transgender Woman To Commerce Post

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Amanda Simpson, Senior Technical Adviser to the Commerce Department

Amanda Simpson, Senior Technical Adviser to the Commerce Department

HP/Nick Wing—President Obama has appointed Amanda Simpson, a transgender woman, to be the Senior Technical Adviser to the Commerce Department.

I’m truly honored to have received this appointment and am eager and excited about this opportunity that is before me,” Simpson said in a statement. “As one of the first transgender presidential appointees to the federal government, I hope that I will soon be one of hundreds, and that this appointment opens future opportunities for many others.

Simpson — a former test pilot and 2004 YWCA “Woman On The Move” — has been active in the aerospace and defense industry for the past 30 years. She most recently served as Deputy Director in Advanced Technology Development for Raytheon, where she transitioned from male to female.

In the past decade, Simpson has been highly active in GLBT issues. In 2005, she successfully worked to have Raytheon adopt gender identity into its Equal Employment Opportunity Policy. That same year, she ran unsuccessfully for the Arizona House of Representatives.

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Houston Swears In First Openly Gay Mayor Annise Parker

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Houston Mayor-elect Annise Parker, center, celebrates with her partner Kathy Hubbard, left, Parker's runoff election victory at a campaign party on December 13, 2009 in Houston.


Annise Parker leads supporters at a campaign event

Annise Parker (born May 17, 1956, Houston, Texas) is a Houston-area politician, the Mayor-elect of Houston, and the current Controller of the City of Houston, which is a position second only to that of Mayor. Previously, she served as an at-large member of the Houston City Council since 1997. Parker was victorious in her run for controller in 2003. She ran unopposed in 2005 and 2007; as of December 2009, she is into her final term.

Parker placed first in the November 2009 mayoral election, but failed to capture a majority of the vote. She decisively defeated attorney Gene Locke, the second-place candidate, in the December runoff. Upon taking office as mayor in January, Parker will be the highest-ranking municipal official in the LGBT community of the United States. (from Wikipedia)

Annise Parker sworn in as Mayor of the city of Houston – January 4, 2010. Houston becomes the largest American city with an openly-Gay Mayor

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Houston Is Largest City to Elect Openly Gay Mayor

Posted by Audiegrl

Houston Mayor-elect Annise Parker, center, celebrates with her partner Kathy Hubbard, left, Parker's runoff election victory at a campaign party on December 13, 2009 in Houston.


New York Times/James C. McKinley Jr.—Houston became the largest city in the United States to elect an openly gay mayor on December 13, 2009, as voters gave a solid victory to the city controller, Annise Parker.

Cheers and dancing erupted at Ms. Parker’s campaign party as her opponent, Gene Locke, a former city attorney, conceded defeat just after 10 p.m. when it became clear he could not overcome her lead.

Twenty minutes later, Ms. Parker appeared before ecstatic supporters at the city’s convention center and then joked that she was the first graduate of Rice University to be elected mayor. (She is, by the way.) Then she grew serious.

Tonight the voters of Houston have opened the door to history,” she said, standing by her partner of 19 years, Kathy Hubbard, and their three adopted children. “I acknowledge that. I embrace that. I know what this win means to many of us who never thought we could achieve high office.”

With all precincts reporting, Ms. Parker, the city controller, had defeated Mr. Locke 53 percent to 47 percent.

Annise Parker, the city controller, arriving at her election night party.

Throughout the campaign, Ms. Parker tried to avoid making an issue of her sexual orientation and emphasized her experience in overseeing the city’s finances. But she began her career as an advocate for gay rights in the 1980s, and it was lost on no one in Houston, a city of 2.2 million people, that her election marked a milestone for gay men and lesbians around the country.

Several smaller cities in other regions have chosen openly gay mayors, among them Providence, R.I., Portland, Ore., and Cambridge, Mass. But Ms. Parker’s success came in a conservative state where voters have outlawed gay marriage and a city where a referendum on granting benefits to same-sex partners of city employees was soundly defeated.

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Statement by Mayor-Elect Parker:

To my Friends, Supporters and all Houstonians,

In this campaign, I met many Houstonians.

I met fathers worried about finding a good job. I met mothers worried about crime. I met young men and women who only want a chance for a good education. Families worried about taxes. Homeowners who just want to protect the neighborhood they love. Hear me: the city is on your side.

I learned about the problems and the needs and the hopes of our city at the neighborhood level, where families work and live. This election has changed the world for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities, just as this election is about transforming Houstonians’ lives for the better.

Let us begin from this moment to join as one community, united in the goal of making Houston the city it could be, should be, can be and will be. That’s what this city will be about under my administration.

Houston is a city that invites entrepreneurs – and shelters evacuees. A diverse city. A city built on dreams powered by hard work, creativity, common sense and cooperation.

Public service is a noble calling, and I appreciate that Gene Locke was willing to answer this call. He is a man who has been deeply involved in our community for many years and I hope he will continue to serve Houston. I wish for him and his family the very best.

Let me close by saying that while this is an exciting night, it is also a humbling experience. Our citizens deserve our best effort and I pledge to give them an administration that values honesty, integrity and transparency above all else. My administration will be concerned with only one interest: the public good.

Thank you so much. Together, we will make a difference.

Annise Parker leads supporters at a campaign event

Annise Parker (born May 17, 1956, Houston, Texas) is a Houston-area politician, the Mayor-elect of Houston, and the current Controller of the City of Houston, which is a position second only to that of Mayor. Previously, she served as an at-large member of the Houston City Council since 1997. Parker was victorious in her run for controller in 2003. She ran unopposed in 2005 and 2007; as of December 2009, she is into her final term.

Parker placed first in the November 2009 mayoral election, but failed to capture a majority of the vote. She decisively defeated attorney Gene Locke, the second-place candidate, in the December runoff. Upon taking office as mayor in January, Parker will be the highest-ranking municipal official in the LGBT community of the United States. (from Wikipedia)

Note: Though the race for Houston mayor is strictly non-partisan, she identifies as a Democrat, as did her opponent, Gene Locke.

Annise Parker sworn in as Mayor of the city of Houston – January 4, 2010. Houston becomes the largest American city with an openly-Gay Mayor

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Maine Question 1: We’re Working too Hard to Lose …

posted by GeoT

by Paul Hogarth‚ Nov. 02‚ 2009 SOUTH PORTLAND – I’m writing this on Monday, November 2nd at 2:00 a.m., and will get up early so I will be brief. This weekend has been intense, as myself and Jay Jonah Cash have placed “No on 1” campaign volunteers from New Hampshire, New York, Boston, Vermont and 20 Yale students in a South Portland hotel for our Drive for Equality program. It’s inspiring to see the passion as we sense this election’s national implications for marriage equality. And we’re still on the phones and sending out e-mails, asking folks to make spur-of-the-moment plans to drive up to Maine. Sign up at our website, and we’ll stuff as many committed volunteers into hotel rooms as we can.

We have a better ground game than our opposition, but it will be close. Literally before going to my bedroom for the night, a new poll came out with us down by 4 points. “We expect there to be almost twice as many voters over 65 as young voters,” said the pollsters, “but if that gap narrows so would the vote on Question 1. With a race as close as this, it all comes down to which side can get its people out to the polls. It could go either way depending on who actually shows up to vote.” We’re working too hard to lose this …

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2020 Census: Gays Could Be Included In Count

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gaymarchonwashington1

Gay March on Washington 10/11/09

AP/Lisa Leff—The U.S. Census Bureau is making an unprecedented effort to include same-sex couples in next year’s national population count, but legally married gay couples won’t show up as such in the official once-a-decade tally, bureau representatives said Thursday.

Statistical problems related to the development of the 2010 census form and the evolving legal state of same-sex relationships led Census officials to conclude that trying to include married gay couples in the overall snapshot of household marital status could yield an inaccurate number, said Gary Gates, a University of California, Los Angeles demographer who has been advising the bureau on gay issues.

Instead, same-sex married couples will be added into the category for unmarried partners, just as they were for the 2000 census. But in a marked policy departure, the agency plans to make the data on same-sex couples who described themselves as married available on a state-by-state basis.

The Bureau has decided to give us the information, but be a little cautious,” Gates said.

gaycensusmap2000The decision to develop separate sets of numbers was a compromise position that was “less about politics and more about accurate data,” he said.

Gates stressed that it was important for gay couples to participate in the census, noting that information drawn from the last one had been used in lawsuits dealing with same-sex marriage and to lobby congressional representatives who may wrongly assume they do not have many gay constituents.

Because same-sex marriages were not legal in any U.S. state a decade ago, the 2010 census is the first for which the bureau has wrestled with how to count married same-sex couples. In June, census officials announced that they would make the attempt, reversing an earlier decision made under the Bush administration.

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Gary Gates

Gary Gates, is a Distinguished Research Fellow at the Williams Institute. He co-authored The Gay and Lesbian Atlas. His doctoral dissertation included the first significant research study of the demography of the gay and lesbian population using US Census data. His work on that subject has been featured in many national and international media outlets. He is also co-author of a study examining the interplay of diversity and the location and growth of the technology sector. He holds a PhD in Public Policy from the Heinz School of Public Policy and Management at Carnegie Mellon University along with a Master of Divinity degree from St. Vincent College and a BS in Computer Science from the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown.

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86 Year Old, Life-long Republican and WWII Vet on Gay Marriage- “What Do You Think I Fought For?”

Posted by Audiegrl

votenoon1maineIn this poignant video below, 86 year old Philip Spooner, who is a life long resident of Maine and a Republican, speaks out on the reason we need marriage equality in this country. The fight for marriage equality in Maine is coming up in two weeks. If the “No on 1” campaign is successful, Maine will become the first state in the nation to successfully defend marriage equality in the voting booth.

Get this video out to as many people as you can.

Transcript: Good morning, Committee. My name is Phillip Spooner and I live at 5 Graham Street in Biddeford. I am 86 years old and a lifetime Republican and an active VFW chaplain. I still serve three hospitals and two nursing homes and I also serve Meals on Wheels for 28 years. My wife of 54 years, Jenny, died in 1997. Together we had four children, including the one gay son. All four of our boys were in the service. I was born on a potato farm north of Caribou and Perham, where I was raised to believe that all men are created equal and I’ve never forgotten that. I served in the U.S. Army, 1942-1945, in the First Army, as a medic and an ambulance driver. I worked with every outfit over there, including Patton’s Third Army. I saw action in all five major battles in Europe, and including the Battle of the Bulge. My unit was awarded Presidential Citations for transporting more patients with fewer accidents than any other ambulance unit I was in the liberation of Paris. After the war I carried POW’s back from Poland, Hungary, and Yugoslavia, and also hauled hundreds of injured Germans back to Germany.

I am here today because of a conversation I had last June when I was voting. A woman at my polling place asked me, “Do you believe in equal, equality for gay and lesbian people?” I was pretty surprised to be asked a question like that. It made no sense to me. Finally I asked her, “What do you think our boys fought for at Omaha Beach?” I haven’t seen much, so much blood and guts, so much suffering, much sacrifice. For what? For freedom and equality. These are the values that give America a great nation, one worth dying for.

I give talks to eighth grade teachers about World War II, and I don’t tell them about the horror. Maybe [inaudible] ovens of Buchenwald and Dachau. I’ve seen with my own eyes the consequences of caste systems and it make some people less than others, or second class. Never again. We must have equal rights for everyone. It’s what this country was started for. It takes all kinds of people to make a world war. It does make no sense that some people who love each other can marry and others can’t just because of who they are. This is what we fought for in World War II. That idea that we can be different and still be equal.

My wife and I did not raise four sons with the idea that three of them would have a certain set of rights, but our gay child would be left out. We raised them all to be hard-working, proud, and loyal Americans and they all did good. I think it’s too bad those who want to get married, they should be able to. Everybody’s supposed to be equal in equality in this country. Let gay people have the right to marry. Thank you

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Why I’m Optimistic About Maine by Paul Hogarth

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Why I’m Optimistic About Maine by Paul Hogarth

Posted by Audiegrl

gay_rights_sign_by_Beyond Chron/Paul Hogarth—I’m back home in San Francisco, after spending 10 days on the ground in Maine with the “No on 1” campaign. After my time there, I truly believe that – with our help – Maine will become the first state in the nation to successfully defend marriage equality at the ballot box, providing a roadmap for California to repeal Proposition 8. Maine activists have been working hard for five years to pass gay marriage, but events in the last few days now point to what should be an historic victory on November 3rd. With only 19 days left, what I’m seeing from the “Yes on 1” campaign reminds me of where “No on 8” was at this point last year – outgunned by the opposition, unable to control the message and at a loss about what to do. If Question 1 passes, it will be our fault for not having done more. But if Question 1 fails, those of us who get involved will have made history – which is why I hope to go back for the last four days. Here are the reasons for my optimism …

An Early Fundraising Advantage

votenoon1maineOne reason why I got involved in this effort was that “No on 1” said they only needed $3 million dollars for the entire campaign – a pittance compared with California efforts. “We’re a cheap date,” said campaign manager Jesse Connolly at this year’s Netroots Nation Convention. New fundraising totals that came out this week show that “No on 1” has already raised $2.7 million (with most of the money coming from Maine residents) – and bloggers are planning a big fundraising push for today that should keep them on track with their goal.

The bigger news, however, is that “Yes on 1” reported only raising $1.1 million – with a campaign debt of $400,000 (our side has no debt.) This provoked their spokesman Marc Mutty (who is on loan from the Portland Archdiocese) to send out an urgent message on October 13th that their cause was under “financial assault.” In the mass e-mail, which can be reviewed in full here, Mutty says they had known from the opposition’s superior ground game that our side had been raising more money. But they had “never dreamed the situation was as dire as it is,” and are now urging their supporters to make a “sacrificial contribution” to pass Question 1.

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More @ Beyond Chron, San Francisco’s Alternative Online Daily

Paul Hogarth

Paul Hogarth

Paul Hogarth is the Managing Editor of Beyond Chron, San Francisco’s Alternative Online Daily, where this piece was first published.

To find out more about Beyond Chron, click here.

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New Justice Official: I’ll Fight Anti-Gay Discrimination

Posted by Audiegrl

Justice Dept. Seeks Action vs. Gay Discrimination

Gay March on Washington 10/11/09

Gay March on Washington 10/11/09

Associated Press/Devlin Barrett—The Obama administration’s point man on civil rights said Wednesday he will seek to fight discrimination against gays, an area in which the Justice Department has had only a small role in the past.

Tom Perez, the assistant attorney general in charge of the department’s Civil Rights Division, said pending legislation in Congress will allow the department to attack discrimination against lesbian, gays, bisexuals and transgender people, a group often referred to by the acronym LGBT.

That would be new territory for the division that has historically gone after discrimination based on race, gender or religion. It would also be a major shift from the division’s work during the Bush administration, which opposed expansion of the federal hate crimes law to prosecute those who attack gays.

Tom Perez

Tom Perez

Perez on Wednesday he gave his first speech to division employees, saying the division must be transformed “so that we are capable of tackling the civil rights challenges of the 21st century,” include issues not historically addressed by the department.

We must fight for fairness and basic equality for our LGBT brothers and sisters who so frequently are being left in the shadows,” he said, and to “ensure that there’s a level playing field in which our LGBT brothers and sisters are judged by the content of their character.”

Allison Herwitt, legislative director for Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest gay rights group, called Perez’s words “fantastic.”

What’s so different between this administration and the last is that we have people who want to have these protections in place and to enforce these protections, and you have the top of the Civil Rights Division willing to openly talk about these protections,” said Herwitt.

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Gay rights advocates march on DC, divided on Obama– + Obama Gives Human Rights Campaign Keynote

Posted by Audiegrl

WASHINGTON – Thousands of gay and lesbian activists converge for a march from the White House to the Capitol, demanding that President Barack Obama keep his promises to push for civil rights protections from the federal government.

Rainbow flags and homemade signs dotted the crowds as people chanted “Hey, Obama, let mama marry mama” and “We’re out, we’re proud, we won’t back down.” Many children were also among the protesters.

A long journey-  1979

A long journey- 1979

Some participants in the National Equality March woke up energized by Obama’s blunt pledge to end the ban on gays serving openly in the military during a speech to the nation’s largest gay rights group Saturday night. The president also said he would work to ban workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and to give same-sex couples the same civil rights as straight couples.

“I’m here with you in that fight,” Obama said. He acknowledged some had grown impatient that he wasn’t pushing for changes faster but urged advocates to continue pressing him and Congress to act.

Obama’s political energies have been focused on two wars, the economic crisis and health care reform, though he pledged “unwavering” commitment even as he wrestled with those problems.

March organizer Cleve Jones, creator of the AIDS Memorial Quilt and a protege of gay rights pioneer Harvey Milk, said he had initially discouraged a rally earlier in the year. But he and others began to worry Obama was backing away from his campaign promises.
“Since we’ve seen that so many times before, I didn’t want it to happen again,” he said. “We’re not settling. There’s no such thing as a fraction of equality.”

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For details on today’s march click here:

“Obama Says He Will End ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell'” (source)


President Barack Obama pledged to end the ban on Gays serving openly in the military in a speech Saturday, but acknowledged to a cheering crowd that the policy changes he promised on the campaign trail are not coming as quickly as they expected.

Click here for a full transcript of his remarks.

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gayrights365Gay.com/—The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, announced today that President Barack Obama will deliver the keynote address at the 13th Annual National Dinner on Saturday, October 10th, in Washington, D.C.

U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy will also present the first-ever Edward M. Kennedy National Leadership Award to Judy and Dennis Shepard. The award is named in honor of the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA), a champion in the fight for LGBT equality.

gayweddingsmallWe are honored to share this night with President Obama, who has called upon our nation to embrace LGBT people as brothers and sisters,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. “It is fitting that he will speak to our community on the night that we pay tribute to his friend and mentor Senator Edward Kennedy, who knew that as president, Barack Obama would take on the unfinished business of this nation – equal rights for the LGBT community, and for every person who believes in liberty and justice for all.”

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Nominee David Huebner

Nominee David Huebner

Obama Nominates Openly Gay Ambassador

Washington Blade—President Obama is preparing to nominate his first openly gay ambassador, according to a knowledgeable source.

David Huebner, who serves as the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation’s general counsel, will be nominated to become the administration’s ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa. A formal announcement was expected Wednesday evening.

Huebner, who currently works at Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton, specializes in handling international arbitration and mediation cases. Formerly a resident of California, Huebner is now based in Shanghai.

Long active in non-profit and community organizations, Huebner has chaired the California Law Revision Commission and served as president of the Los Angeles Quality & Productivity Commission. He’s also guest lectured on international topics at several schools domestically and abroad.

More @ washingtonblade

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Wanda Sykes: I’ma Be Me: Behind The Scenes

Posted by Buellboy

Emmy® Winner Wanda Sykes Returns to HBO for Her Second Stand-up Comedy Special

wanda-sykes_283HBO—Longtime HBO favorite Wanda Sykes will return for her second solo special on the network, it was announced today by Nancy Geller, senior vice president, HBO Entertainment. To be taped before a live audience at the Warner Theatre in Washington, D.C. this August for October debut, the special will feature the outspoken comic performing material featured in her current national stand-up tour.

Wanda Sykes is one of the sharpest, smartest comics around, and we can’t wait to hear what she has to say in this provocative new special,” noted Geller.

Sykes has been an HBO mainstay for many years. The Emmy®-nominated “Wanda Sykes: Sick and Tired,” her first solo special on the network, debuted in 2006. As one of the writers on “The Chris Rock Show,” she shared a 1997 Emmy® for Outstanding Writing for a Variety or Music Program and also won Emmys® in 2002 and 2004 for her humorous commentaries on “Inside the NFL.” Her first book, “Yeah, I Said It,” was published In 2004.In addition, she has appeared frequently on Larry David’s hit HBO series “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” and will be featured on the new season of the show, which kicks off Sept. 20.

Named one of Entertainment Weekly’s “25 Funniest People in America,” Sykes recently hosted the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, and will launch her own late-night network show this fall.

Go behind the scenes on Wanda Sykes new comedy special. The special premieres Saturday, October 10 at 10pm. For more information, log onto HBO.com.

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Meet RhythmDB…

RhythmDB

RhythmDB

RhythmDB wrote and produced the original song “I’ma Be Me” for Wanda Sykes HBO special. He also wrote and produced the first full length Solo CD “LushTECH” which will be released and available for purchase in October. This collection of original electronic, dance & chillout songs will take you around the world featuring seven different vocalists singing in languages including Arabic, Spanish, Hebrew, French, Portuguese, Hindi, & Engllish. RhythmDB’s writing and producing the original music and theme for an upcoming FOX TV show coming in November.

If you get a chance, check out his music @ www.RhythmDB.com

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