Leading the Way at Brooklyn Pride!
LID co-Presidents Gary Parker and Christopher Murray were honored to get a letter from Jean Amboise, Co-Chair of Brooklyn Pride, Inc, asking if they and the club would accept the honor of being Grand Marshals for the 10th Annual Brooklyn Pride Celebration on June 10, 2006. According to the letter, Gary, Christopher and LID were “nominated for this prestigious honor because of your involvement in the community.” Gary and Christopher are gratified by the recognition and hope all LID members will participate in the Grand Marshal ontingent at this year’s parade. See the calendar on page two or www.brooklynpride.org for details.
LID Endorses Spitzer for Governor, Maloney for Attorney General
On Wednesday, April 26, LID held its endorsement meeting for Attorney General and uncontested New York State races. We also revisited the gubernatorial endorsement, which had been tabled in March after neither Attorney General Eliot Spitzer nor Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi appeared before the club. The no-shows by the candidates and LID’s decision to table the endorsement were noted in papers including The New York Sun, Park Slope Courier, and Gay City News.
The second time around, Spitzer appeared before the club to make the case that he deserves the support of the LID and LGBT voters in part because of his support for gay marriage. After making prepared remarks and answering questions, Spitzer easily captured the clubâs endorsement over Suozzi, who again failed to appear. Several incumbents running unopposed were endorsed as well: Comptroller Alan Hevesi, State Senator Velmanette Montgomery (18th SD), Assemblymember Joan Millman (52nd AD), and Assemblymember James Brennan (44th AD).
In the most competitive race of the night, Sean Patrick Maloney, an openly gay former aide to President Clinton, won LIDâs Attorney General nod. With five opponents, Maloney faces a difficult challenge getting on the ballot and will probably need to collect thousands of signatures beginning une 6th. To volunteer, please contact Erika Danford at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit Maloney's
website www.seanmaloney.com In other endorsement news, at the March Executive Board Meeting, LIDâs own Debra Silber was unanimously endorsed for Supreme Court. One of LIDâs founding members, Debra was elected to the Civil Court county-wide in November 1997 and was appointed an acting justice of the Supreme Court, Kings County, in 2004.
Congressional Endorsement Meeting May 25; Statewide and Civil Court June 8
On Thursday, May 25, at 7:30pm, LID will hold its endorsement meeting for the House of Representatives and U.S. Senate. The meeting will take place at the Brooklyn YWCA, 30 Third Avenue (at Atlantic Avenue), 1st Floor Community Room. Hear from the candidates in the hotly contested 10th and 11th CDs and vote on whom LID should endorse. Two weeks later, on Thursday, June 8, at 7:00pm, LID will hold its endorsement meeting for State Legislative and Judicial seats. The meeting will take place at Camp Friendship, 339 8th Street (between 5th and 6th Avenues) in Park Slope. Pizza and refreshments will be served.Endorsement rules: All LID members who are Kings County residents and have joined by paying their membership dues no later than 45 days prior to the meeting (April 10 for the May 25 meeting and April 24 for the June 8 meeting) are eligible to vote. Memberships that have expired in the last year can be renewed at the door, and those members are immediately eligible to vote. Members who live outside the county or join too late are welcome to participate in the discussion. We will have a list on hand of all current members and those that have expired in the last year.
Guilty Verdict in Trial of Dwan Prince's Attacker
In late March, the NYC Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project (AVP) announced that Steven Pomie was found guilty on all counts for the brutal anti-gay attack on Dwan Prince last June. Prince was savagely beaten by three men screaming anti-gay slurs outside his apartment in Brownsville. Pomie was found guilty of five charges, including Assault in the First Degree and Assault in the First Degree as a hate crime, and was sentenced by Brooklyn State Supreme Court judge Deborah A. Dowling to a maximum of 25 years in prison. Just after Prince was assaulted, AVP sent staff and volunteers into Brownsville to flyer the neighborhood to solicit information and witnesses and held a City Hall press conference to raise visibility around the case. AVP also had staff monitoring the trial, which lasted about a week. AVP Executive Director Clarence Patton said, “We are pleased with the excellent work of the police investigators and the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office in bringing some justice to Dwan; so often the perpetrators of anti-LGTB hate violence are never apprehended, let alone tried and found guilty.” Nonetheless, he added, “We do have some additional questions about why some of the individuals who were involved in the attack with Pomie were not or have not been brought to trial or charged, and do plan to follow up with the District Attorney’s Office on that issue.”
Lunch with Lambda Draws a Whoâs Who of the New York Political World
The 28th Anniversary Lunch with Lambda on Saturday, April 8, was a resounding success. Honorees Bishop Zachary Jones of the Unity
Fellowship Church (pictured below with LID Exec Board member Jesse Alick); the LGBT community-based organization Rainbow Heights Club; City Councilmember Letitia James; and LID Executive Board member and community activist Jonathan Lovett drew a huge crowd of politicians, activists and community members. Those in attendance included Speaker of the City Council Christine Quinn, New York City Comptroller William Thompson, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz (pictured at left with LID Co-President Gary Parker and VP Julie Bolcer), Congressmember Major Owens , Councilmembers Bill de Blasio , David Yassky, Yvette Clark and Lew Fidler; Assemblymembers Adele Cohen, Joan Millman, Nick Perry and James Brennan; State Senators Velmanette Montgomery, Martin Connor and Carl Andrews . Also present were several Brooklyn Civil Court judges, including LID’s own Debra Silber, Karen Rothenberg, Ellen Spodek, Shawndya Simpson, Delores Thomas , Jack Battaglia, Loren Bailey Schiffman, Betty Williams and Michael Gerstein, and leaders of other political clubs, including Harry Weider and Pamela Bates from 504 Democratic Club. Courier Life newspapers not only covered the event but also ran a profile of the Rainbow Heights Club, which noted the role LID and local politicians played in restoring the club’s funding.
ESPA Launches âNew Yorkers for the Freedom to Marryâ
On March 21, the Empire State Pride Agenda announced that Attorney General Spitzer, Comptroller Hevesi and 44 other elected officials from across New York State voiced their support for marriage equality in an initiative that brings together local and state leaders from many different backgrounds to speak out in support of marriage for same-sex couples. Brooklyn has four elected officials on the list: ongressmember Jerrold Nadler (8th CD), State Senator Velmanette Montgomery (18th SD), State Senator Kevin Parker (21st SD), and Assemblymember Adele Cohen (26th AD).
Nadler Introduces Equal Access to Social Security Act
In mid-April Congressmember Nadler introduced the Equal Access to Social Security Act, H.R. 5152, which would amend the Social Security Act to afford same-sex couples the same benefits, responsibilities, and obligations as others who pay into Social Security. Nadler explained, “Same-sex couples are denied more than 1,000 federal benefits that other taxpayers are entitled to.” His bill, which adds the term “permanent partner” to the Social Security Act, addresses this inequity. So far 17 members of Congress have co-sponsored Nadler’s
resolution, but no one else from the Brooklyn delegation. LID has written to our borough’s Representatives and urged them to sign on to H.R. 5152 now.
Friday, May 5, 7pm
Children of Lesbians and Gays Everywhere (COLAGENYC) will host a variety show, “Family Values,” in the performance space of the Berkeley Carroll School, 181 Lincoln Place (between 7th and 8th Avenues.), Park Slope. The cost of admission is $10 for adults, $5 for children under 10 years old, payable only at the door. For more information, contact Dori Kavanagh at email@example.com.
Thursday, May 25, 7:30â10pm
LID Congressional Candidates Endorsement Meeting at the Brooklyn YWCA, 30 Third Avenue (at Atlantic Avenue), 1st Floor Community Room.
Friday, June 2 ,7â9pm
Celebrate nine years of The Audre Lorde Project at “The Power We Have: An Evening of Cultural Resistance,” at the Quaker Meeting House, 15 Rutherford Place (entrance on 15th Street), Manhattan. To purchase tickets contact Mark A. Reyes, Development Coordinator, at 718-596-0342 x11.
Saturday, June 3, 11am
Marriage Equality New York’s 3rd Annual Wedding March across the Brooklyn Bridge, co-sponsored by LID among others. Assemble at Cadman Plaza to march across the bridge. On the other side, marchers are invited to gather in Battery Park for a picnic and performances by various artists.
Thursday, June 8, 7:30â10pm
LID State Senate, State Assembly and Brooklyn Civil Court Endorsement meeting. Camp Friendship, 339 8th Street (between 5th and 6th Avenues) in Park Slope.
Saturday, June 10, Festival: 11am â 5pm, Parade: 8pm
Join LID as Grand Marshal at the 10th Annual Brooklyn Pride. The Festival takes place at Bartel Pritchard Square and along Prospect Park West from 15th Street to 9th Street. The Parade begins at Bartel Pritchard Square (Prospect Park West at 15th Street) and travels along 15th Street to Seventh Avenue, continuing north on Seventh Avenue to Lincoln Place.
Gubernatorial Forum March 21, Attorney General Forum on March 28
This is an important statewide election year, and in the months ahead LID will be making endorsements in the Gubernatorial and Attorney General races, among others. Gubernatorial candidate and current Attorney General Elliot Spitzer has been confirmed to speak at LIDs gubernatorial endorsement meeting on Tuesday, March 21, at 7pm at the Old First Reformed Church, 126 Seventh Avenue at Carroll Street, Park Slope. Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi has also been invited. Our community will have a chance to hear the Democratic candidates in the AG race at a Greater Voices Candidates Forum on Tuesday, March 28, at 6pm at the LGBT Community Center, 208 West 13th Street, in Manhattan. All the announced Democrats are being invited to attend: Assemblymember Richard Brodsky, Clinton administration housing secretary Andrew Cuomo, former New York City public advocate Mark Green, two-time candidate for lieutenant governor Charlie King, former aide to President Clinton Sean Patrick Maloney, and former United States attorney for the Western District of New York Denise ODonnell. Please join us. A separate LID-only endorsement meeting in this race will be held this spring.
Annual Meeting /11th Congressional District Forum Draws Crowd and Controversy
More than 150 people turned out for LIDs 2006 Annual Meeting and 11th Congressional District Forum, in which all five announced candidates in the race to succeed retiring Congressmember Major Owens participated. Pictured from left to right, they are State Senator Carl Andrews, Assemblymember N. Nick Perry, City Councilmember Yvette Clarke, former School District 13 School Board member Chris Owens, and City Councilmember David Yassky. The forum was cosponsored by OutPOCPAC and District Leaders Alan Fleishman and Joanne Simon from the 52nd Assembly District.
Topics addressed ranged from gay marriage to the war in Iraq, from President BushÂs job performance to the Permanent Partner Immigration Act to Establish Equality in Immigration for LGBT people. Certainly the comments that generated the most discussion among LID members were those of Assemblymember Perry. He suggested he was both anti-choice and anti-gay marriage despite a legislative record of support for both womenÂs and LGBT rights and equality. The forum drew a whoÂs who of the Brooklyn political world and generated a front page story (and candidate score card) in Brooklyn Papers as well as reports in Gay City News, New York Blade, and the Park Slope Courier,Â among other publications.
At the business part of the meeting, LID elected its 2006 officers and executive board: Co-Presidents Gary Parker and Christopher Murray, Vice President Julie Bolcer, Treasurer Scott Klein, Corresponding Secretary RenÃ©e Cafiero, Recording Secretary Harley Diamond and at-large executive board members Jesse Alick, Lisa Badner, Gerard Cabrera, Ken Diamandstone, Peter Fleming, Juliet Howard, Gregory Huang- Cruz, Terrance Knox, Norma Jennings, Sandra Lara, Jonathan Lovett, Kay Mackey, Carol Marker, Seth Slade, Joseph Tanzi, James Whitty, Dan Willson, Miriam Yeung and Bob Zuckerman. LIDÂs executive board is now 48% women and people of color and therefore more representative of the mighty borough of Brooklyn.
Celebrating Council Speaker Christine Quinn
LID couldnt be more excited about the election of our communitys own Christine Quinn as Speaker of the New York City Council. LID issued a press release applauding her selection, took out an ad in Gay City News to publicly congratulate her, and sent her a personal letter of congratulations as well. LID was also among many co-sponsors of a community celebration in Christines honor hosted by the LGBT Community Center on January 25. Hundreds of people from across the city joined in the celebration of Christines and our communitys success. Those who missed the event can read about in the January 26 Gay City News online at www.gaycitynews.com/gcn_504/acommunitycelebrates.html.
Help Honor Our CommunityÂs Finest at 28th Annual Lunch With Lambda
On Saturday, April 8, from noon to 3:00pm, LID will host the 28th annual Lunch With Lambda. The 2006 Honorees are the Rainbow Heights Club, New York States first and only government-funded, peer-based mental health organization specifically for the LGBT community; City Councilmember Tish James, who represents Clinton Hill, Fort Greene, and parts of Crown Heights, Prospect Heights, and Bedford Stuyvesant; Bishop Zachary Jones of the LGBT Unity Fellowship Church in Brooklyn; and Community Activist and LID Board Member Jonathan Lovett.
Green, Maloney Meet and Greet
In the hotly contested Attorney General race, a couple of the candidates havent waited to come before the club to start making their case. Openly gay candidate Sean Patrick Maloney made the first overture back in November, when he invited leaders from Greater Voices, the coalition of New York Citys progressive LGBT political clubs, to his home so he could introduce himself and talk about his candidacy. Mark Green followed suit in January with a similar event in his home. Clearly the LGBT communitys support is highly coveted and not taken for granted.
LID Members on the Op-Ed Pages
A speech made by LID executive board member Jesse Cameron Alick at the LGBT Center on World AIDS Day ran as an op-ed article in the Courier-Life publications on December 3, 2005. A poet, playwright, actor and Zen master, Jesse illustrated the struggles of a young man with AIDS through poetry and prose, writing, One day youre a teenager, the next day youre middle aged. Health insurance, doctors appointments, sick days, nausea, physical weakness, random aches, pains, and meds. He concluded that whatever their struggles, young people have to work to make the world better for those who come after them. To request a copy of the speech, email Jesse at firstname.lastname@example.org.LID executive board member Gerard Cabrera, an attorney, had an op-ed piece about Mayor Bloomberg and gay marriage in the February 2, 2006, Gay City News. He noted that when Gay City News interviewed Bloomberg in December, and he said he hopes he loses at the Court of Appeals on his challenge to last Februarys gay marriage victory in Manhattan, it was another example of our mayors refusal to lead on the issue of civil rights or LGBT New Yorkers. It can be read online at www.gaycitynews.com/gcn_505/blaminglawyerstocover.html. LID executive board member Dan Willson had an op-ed article in the February 3, 2006, New York Sun on the perpetual repositioning of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. He wrote that Schwarzenegger has made a habit of trying to play the role of different former governors of the Golden State, much like an actor would take on a character. Unfortunately for the governor, none of the roles hes adopted have won over the public. The article is available online to NYSun.com subscribers at www.nysun.com/article/27020.
HPV Vaccine Trial for Young Gay Men
Brooklyn community activist Irene Van Slyke brought to our attention a clinical trial for a human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine that desperately needs to enroll young gay men. As of early January, sites for gay men were only 10% full across the globe, while heterosexual males studies were full and closed. The New York City site, at Laser Surgery Care, 420 West 23 Street, Manhattan, is similarly underenrolled. Though most people arent familiar with the virus, at least 50% of the population will be infected at some point. Condoms cant completely protect against HPV, and there is no cure. HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the world, and it can lead to genital warts, anogenital warts, and anogenital cancer. If you are a sexually active healthy young man who has sex with men and are willing to make a 3-year commitment to the study, please call Jeff Huyett, NP at (212) 242-6500. More information is available at www.hpvvaccinetrials.com/secure/index.html.
Saturday, March 18, 7 Â 11pm
Kolot Chayeinus Bnai Mitzvah Celebration of Our Voice & Vision honoring LIDs friends Andrea Bernstein and Steve Banks at Grand Prospect Hall, Park Slope, Brooklyn. For sponsorship, advertising, auction or ticket information, e-mail email@example.com.
Tuesday, March 21, 7pm
LID Gubernatorial Endorsement Meeting at Old First Reformed Church, Ground Floor Lower Hall, 126 Seventh Avenue at Carroll Street, Park Slope. For more information contact Gary Parker at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tuesday, March 28, 6pm
Greater Voices Attorney General Candidates Forum at the LGBT Community Center, 208 West 13th Street (between Seventh and Eighth Avenues), Manhattan. For more information contact Gary Parker at email@example.com.
Saturday, April 8, Noon Â 3pm
LIDs 28th Anniversary Lunch with Lambda. Aunt Suzies restaurant, 247 Fifth Avenue, Park Slope. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saturday, April 8, 7pm Â midnight
Brooklyn Prides 10th Anniversary Gala, including cocktail hour, sit-down dinner, open bar and dancing. Bay Ridge Manor, 476 76th Street, Bay Ridge. Tickets $80, must be purchased by March 22. For more information call (718) 670-3337 or email email@example.com.
Saturday, April 15, 8pm
LID Theater Night: Take Me Out, presented by Brooklyns premier Off-Off Broadway theatre, the Gallery Players. 199 14th Street (between Fourth and Fifth Avenues), Park Slope. Tickets $15. For more information contact Harley Diamond at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keeping the Momentum in 2006
We’re coming to the end of an exceptionally busy and productive year for LID. As you’ll read below, LID has made a number of important statements and won some key victories in just the two months since our last Lambda Line. We plan to keep the momentum going in 2006 and hope you’ll be part of our efforts.
Kick off the New Year with our Annual Meeting and 11th District Congressional Forum
Our 2006 Annual meeting will be held on Thursday, January 26, and not only will we be electing new officers and members of the Executive Board, but we will also holding a candidates forum for Brooklyn’s 11th Congressional District. Longtime Congressmember Major Owens has announced he will not seek re-election, creating the first open Congressional seat in Brooklyn in a decade. There are currently five candidates announced: State Senator Carl Andrews , City Councilmember Yvette Clarke, Assemblymember N. Nick Perry, former School District 13 board member Chris Owens , and City Councilmember David Yassky. Please join us for our first look at the candidates in what promises to be Brooklyn’s most exciting race of 2006. The meeting will start at 7:30 pm at the Montauk Club, 25 Eighth Avenue (at Lincoln Place) in Park Slope.
Not Letting Bloomberg Off Easy
Mayor Bloomberg may have held a commanding lead throughout his $77.9 million re-election campaign, but LID didn’t simply concede to him and his war chest. LID volunteers, led by past president Dan Tietz, helped Democratic mayoral nominee Fernando Ferrer spread his message at campaign stops, rallies, and subway stations from mid-September until Election Day. An op-ed by LID president Gary Parker and VP Christopher Murray explaining the merits of Ferrer over the Mayor was published in the Courier Life Publications. And when the Bloomberg campaign held a Park Slope community forum to rally support in late October, more than a dozen of us protested outside (see photo) and distributed a flyer detailing Bloomberg’s abysmal record on LGBT concerns.
Court Upholds Lopez Torres Victory
After two recounts, a Board of Elections ruling, a review of paper ballots, and numerous legal challenges by the Brooklyn Democratic organization, LID’s endorsed candidate for Brooklyn Surrogate’s Court Judge, Margarita Lopez Torres, was officially declared the Democratic primary winner on October 31. That’s when a federal court judge threw out a last-ditch effort by challenger Diana Johnson and the County Democratic machine to overturn the primary results.
As the official Democratic Party nominee, Lopez Torresâ victory was assured since she had no opposition in the general election. When she takes office in January, she will bring judicial independence and integrity to a court best known for patronage.
Several LID members, including Susan Loeb and Democratic District Leader Alan Fleishman, were key volunteers in the Lopez Torres campaign. LID Executive Board member Ken Diamondstone was among those who stepped up after the primary to help with the tedious recount effort at the Board of Elections. Many thanks to all who helped. This is a great victory for the reform movement in Brooklyn.
Rainbow Heights Club Saved!
Lobbying by LID and others to stave off the closure of downtown Brooklyn’s Rainbow Heights Club, New York State’s first and only government-funded, peer-based mental health organization specifically for the LGBT community, has proven successful. The club’s Executive Director, Christian Huygen, called LID VP Christopher Murray in October to say that he had received a letter from the City’s Department of Health informing him that Rainbow Heights Club’s funding has been completely restored through 2007. He thanked LID for its successful efforts to ensure the continuation of services for New York’s only clubhouse for LGBT people with serious mental illness. In late October, Rainbow Heights Club was honored by Borough President Marty Markowitz in recognition of the fifteenth anniversary of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, after having been nominated for the award by LID.
âPunkin Patchâ Latest LID Outreach to LGBT Families
On October 23, in Park Slope’s J.J. Byrne Park, LID held its first ever “Punkin Patch,” a free event that gave children a chance to paint faces on pumpkins while their parents and guardians drank cider and talked politics. The event was conceived by LID Executive Board member James Whitty as a way for LID give back to the community and reach out to LGBT families. Councilmember David Yassky joined the gathering and over 150 free pumpkins were given away to local kids. Pictured at the event are LID Executive Board member Carol Marker with her son Ben and his friend Max.
LID spearheaded a Greater Voices protest of Columbus Day Parade Grand Marshal Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. LID president Gary Parker created a flyer outlining Scalia’s right-wing extremist agenda and shameful decisions on reproductive rights, civil liberties, affirmative action, and LGBT rights. On Columbus Day, protesters from NYC’s progressive LGBT political clubs gathered in front of the Plaza Hotel, holding signs opposing Scalia’s anti-human rights agenda and handing the flyers to paradegoers and passersby. In the next day’s New York Times, the one picture from the parade was of Scalia walking by the sign-carrying protesters.
Alan Fleishman Day
On Sunday, October 2, LID members Jack Esterson and Richard Montelione opened their home for a fundraising brunch on behalf of LID’s own Democratic District Leader and former president Alan Fleishman (pictured at right: Jack, Gary Parker, Alan, and Richard). Many LID members and friends, including Assemblymember Joan Millman, City Councilmember David Yassky, and Alan’s co-District Leader Joanne Simon, gathered in Jack and Richard’s gorgeous backyard as Gary presented Alan a proclamation from Borough President Marty Markowitz declaring it “Alan Fleishman Day.” As Male District Leader from the 52nd Assembly District, Alan has been a strong voice for reform on the Brooklyn Democratic Party’s Executive Committee, as well as an aggressive representative for his constituents and the LGBT community throughout Brooklyn. Proceeds of the fundraiser benefit his campaign committee.
Founding Members Share News of their Civil Union
This fall, LID received a lovely email message from Tom Massotti and Ralph Colucci, who were among the founding members of LID back in 1978. For several years, Tom was chair of the Executive Committee that ran and sustained LID in its infancy. He and Ralph also hosted many of LID’s early meetings, fundraisers, parties, and Lambda Line mailings at their home on Fort Greene Place, around the corner from BAM, before moving to Stamford, CT.
They wrote: “This is just a note to let LID and anyone who may still remember us know that after more than 35 years together, we were ‘Civil Unionized’ on Oct 1, 2005 [the first day Connecticut’s civil union law took effect], in Stamford CT. Our ceremony was officiated by Mayor Dannel Malloy of Stamford, a Democrat. In attendance, besides our family and the media, and consistently supportive, was CT’s Republican Congressman, Christopher Shays, who personally congratulated us.”Longtime LID Executive Board member Renée Cafiero not only remembers Tom and Ralph from the early days of LID, but also recalls that Ralph was active in Mattachine when she was there in the 1960s. Judging by the luminaries at their Civil Union ceremony, Tom and Ralph sound no less politically active today. Congratulations, Tom and Ralph, and thanks for sharing the great news with us.
Honors for LID Leaders
On November 5, the Brooklyn AIDS Task Force honored LID President Gary Parker with its Brooklyn Advocacy Award and Vice President Christopher Murray with its Policy Development Award. On November 17, State Senator Velmanette Montgomery honored LID Executive Board member JonathanLovett for his work as a community activist and leader of the Clinton Hill Community at her annual awards
ceremony for “18th Senate District Trailblazers.”
Vintage Pride Seeks Volunteers, LGBT Seniors in Need of Companionship
Vintage Pride, the Park Slope Geriatric Day Center’s volunteer program for LGBTQ seniors, seeks additional senior participants as well as volunteers. This program, similar to a “friendly visitor” program, aims to match volunteers with isolated and/or homebound LGBTQ seniors in order to help ward off social isolation and maintain ties within the community. If you know of an LGBTQ senior over the age of 60 who could benefit from having a “friendly visitor” for a minimum of two hours each week, or wish to volunteer, please contact Matt Kudish, MSW, the Center’s Director of Caregiver Services at 718-499-7701 ext. 117.
Saturday, January 8, 6-8 pm
LGBT Family Luau at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, 145 Brooklyn Avenue at St.
Marks Avenue. For more information call 718-735-4400 or visit brooklynkids.org.
Thursday, January 26, 7:30 pm
LID Annual Meeting and Congressional Forum at The Montauk Club, 25 Eighth
Avenue (at Lincoln Place) in Park Slope. For more information contact
Saturday, April 8, 11:30 am â 3 pm
Save the Date for LID’s annual Lunch with Lambda. Details to follow in the months
Endorsement Meeting, Forum on Bloombergâs Failings Set for October 17
Despite a strong second-place showing, LID’s endorsed candidate for Mayor, Anthony Weiner, lost the Democratic primary to Fernando Ferrer. Ferrer will attend our October 17 general membership meeting, where we will vote on whether to endorse him and also whether to endorse the winners in a couple of races where LID made no endorsement in the Primary. Other candidates we will consider endorsing include Charles Hynes for Brooklyn District Attorney, Betsy Gotbaum for Public Advocate, and Darlene Mealy for the 41st City Council District (Ocean Hill and Brownsville). In addition to considering endorsements we will address the topic “Why Bloomberg is Bad for the LGBT Community.” Along those lines, Andy Humm had an excellent column in the September 29 Gay City News (gaycitynews.com/gcn439/ferrervbloomber.html) comparing Bloomberg’s disgraceful record on LGBT issues with Ferrer’s longtime record of support. We hope you’ll join us at 7:30pm on the 17th at Park Slope Methodist Church at the corner of 8th Street and 6th Avenue in Park Slope.
Margarita Lopez Torres Fights to Hold Slim Lead in Surrogateâs Race
After two recounts in the race for Brooklyn Surrogate’s Court Judge, the Board of Elections ruled that LID’s endorsed candidate Margarita Lopez Torres had a 121-vote lead over Diana Johnson. But Johnson’s supporters, including convicted felon Assemblymember Clarence Norman, didn’t accept the count, and in early October, 2,360 disputed paper ballots will be reviewed before witnesses for both campaigns at the Brooklyn Board of Elections. At press time the Lopez Torres campaign still needed volunteers from 9 am to 9 pm weekdays, 9 am to 5pm Saturdays, and 10am to 5pm Sundays through October 12 to help out at the Brooklyn Board of Elections, 210 Joralemon St (across from Borough Hall). If you’re interested, please contact Matt Chachère at 718-415-3239.
This Columbus Day, Protest Parade Grand Marshall Antonin Scalia
LID and other members of the Greater Voices coalition of progressive LGBT Political Clubs have organized a demonstration against Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who has been chosen Grand Marshal of the NYC Columbus Day Parade. Please join us at the parade at noon on Monday, October 10, to protest Scalia’s shameful record on reproductive rights, civil liberties, affirmative action and LGBT rights. We will be meeting in front of the Plaza Hotel at 5th Avenue and 59th Street in Manhattan. As we demonstrate, we will be distributing a flyer detailing some of Scalia’s most appalling decisions during his tenure on the court.
LID Raises Funds for Lesbian Cancer Initiativeâs Lapel Pins
This summer, Liz Margolies of the LGBT Community Center’s Lesbian Cancer Initiative wanted to get rainbow pins for the staffs of women’s health centers that deal with cancers. That way, women who go those centers could see that staff members are supportive of lesbian health concerns. The only problem was that she didn’t have money in the budget for the $200 it would cost for 100 pins. After Liz approached LID Vice President Christopher Murray, LID came to the rescue, raising $200 in donations for the pins in just a matter of days. More info on the Center’s Lesbian Cancer Initiative can be found at: www.gaycenter.org/program_folders/LCI/program_view.
Norma Jean Places Second in Civil Court Contest
Despite a vigorous campaign, LID’s own Norma Jean Jennings fell short in her race for Countywide Brooklyn Civil Court Judge. After all the precincts’ votes were reported, Sylvia Ash was declared the winner with 43% of the vote. Norman Jean had 35% and Sandra Roper 22%. This was Norma Jean’s first election, and she made a strong showing. We hope to see her run again in the near future.
Stewart Opponent Taitt Subject to Anti-Gay Smear
As Errol Louis of the Daily News reported on September 23, Sam Taitt, who has several times mounted strong but unsuccessful challenges to Councilmember Kendall Stewart (45th District—East Flatbush and Flatlands), was the victim of the Democratic primary’s “foulest smear.” According to Louis, “Shortly before Primary Day, anonymous flyers and letters began appearing in the neighborhood that said ‘Sam Taitt Is Homosexual, Cannot be Councilman.’ Stewart denies any involvement in what Taitt calls ‘a bald-faced lie’ and ‘an appalling display of hateful, gutter politics.’” Members will recall that LID made no endorsement in the 45th City Council District in the Primary. Many members of our executive committee lined up behind Taitt when he entered the race after our endorsement process was completed.
Forum on Lesbians in the Jewish Communityâ¦How Far Weâve Come
On September 22, LID was a co-sponsor with the Park Slope Jewish Center, Kolot Chaiyeneu, Congregation Beth Simchat Torah and the LGBT Center of a Hadassah-sponsored panel titled “Overcoming Challenges: Gay Women in the Jewish Community.” The panel presentation was the brainchild of longtime community activist Gail Hammerman, mother of Community Board 6 District Manager and LID member Craig Hammerman. Told of the forum, longtime community activist and LID Executive Board member Renée Cafiero recalled that, “about 40 years ago, when Mattachine was the only game in town, we were trying to arrange a panel discussion on ‘Religion and the Homosexual’ and contacted some rabbi to see if he’d be on the panel. He replied that it sounded like an interesting topic but didn't see how he could contribute anything to it, because ‘there are no Jewish homosexuals.’” The fact that Hadassah, the Zionist Women’s organization, set up this panel is yet another sign of how far we’ve come.
Gary and Hillary Meet Again, This Time with Christopher
In our last issue we pictured LID President Gary Parker lobbying New York’s junior senator, Hillary Clinton, for LGBT social services at a June fundraiser. As the picture at the left shows, Gary was at it again, this time aided by LID Vice President Christopher Murray at yet another Clinton fundraiser in mid-September. Always persistent, Gary and Christopher took the opportunity to encourage the senator to support social services programming for LGBT families and to reconsider her position on same-sex marriage.
A Whole Lot of Outreach Going On
LID members may remember summer 2005 for the unprecedented number of outreach events we did to encourage Brooklyn’s LGBT community at large to get involved in our club—and even more important, to vote. Following on the great success of David Shanton and Randy Sandlin’s July Summer Soirée in Greenpoint, Executive Board members Kay Mackey, Sandra Lara and Julie Bolcer spearheaded several additional initiatives. These included a wildly successful late-August beer bash at Ginger’s Bar, celebrating the Brooklyn Women’s Softball League; a pre-Primary Day presence at Cattyshack the Saturday before the election; and an LID table at the 31st annual Atlantic Antic street festival and bazaar in late September. All the outreach provided great visibility for the club, resulted in dozens of new names for our mailing list and allowed us to spread the word about our endorsed candidates and the issues we care about. Kudos Kay, Sandra and Julie and thanks to the many members who helped out at the events.
Weâre continuing our outreach efforts this fall. Executive Board member James Whitty is organizing an LGBT Family Pumpkin Patch on Sunday, October 23, from 2 to 5pm at J.J. Byrne Memorial Park, 5th Avenue and 4th Street, Park Slope. This free event, where kids can paint pumpkins and families can socialize, is being cosponsored by LID, Center Kids, and OutPOCPAC, New Yorkâs LGBT people of color political action committee.
LID Goes to the Theater
While LID worked hard this summer campaigning for our candidates and reaching out to new members, we also managed to have two successful theater outings; members could see a show and socialize afterward. More than 50 members and friends joined us for the August 14 performance of Oedipus at Palm Springs by The Five Lesbian Brothers. After it many of us headed to Dempsey’s Pub around the corner. Pictured at the bar are (front L–R): Kay Mackay, Brother Dominique Dibbell, Sandra Lara, and James Whitty, (rear L–R): Brothers Peg Healy, Lisa Kron and Maureen Angelos , and Christopher Murray.Executive Board Member Harley Diamond coordinated a second theater event on September 23, a performance by Park Slope’s Gallery Players of Moises Kaufman’s The Laramie Project. More than two dozen members and friends attended the moving docudrama about the events surrounding the murder of Matthew Shepard and the aftermath.
Monday, Oct. 10, Noon
Protest Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, Grand Marshal of the Columbus Day Parade. Meet in front of the Plaza Hotel at 5th Avenue and 59th Street in Manhattan. For additional information email email@example.com.
Monday, Oct. 17, 7:30pm
LID General Membership Meeting. Endorsement vote for Mayor, Brooklyn District Attorney and City Council seats. Forum: “Why Bloomberg is Bad for the LGBT Community.” Park Slope Methodist Church at the corner of 8th Street and 6th Avenue in Park Slope.
Thursday, Oct. 20, 6pm to 8pm
Major Donor Fundraiser for the Lesbian and Gay Victory Fund hosted by LID VP Christopher Murray at the home of Doug Wright and David Clement, 140 West 23rd Street in Manhattan. Tickets begin at $250.00 each. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sunday, Oct. 23, 2pm to 5pm
LID, Center Kids and OutPOCPAC sponsor a “Family Pumpkin Patch” at J.J. Byrne Memorial Park, 5th Avenue and 4th Street, Park Slope. For more information contact James Whitty at 917-434-2246.
Tuesday, No. 8, Polls open 6am-9pm
Election Day. To find out where you vote call 212-NYC-VOTE. For a list of LID’s endorsed candidates visit www.LIDBrooklyn.org.
Sunday, Nov. 13, Noon-3pm
LID’s Fall Curtain Call, a fundraiser and celebration of everyone who worked hard during the municipal elections. Excelsior, 390 5th Avenue (5th & 6th Streets) in Park Slope. Suggested contribution is $25, which can be paid or at the door or in advance. For more information email email@example.com.
LID Backs Weiner for Mayor, Siegel for Advocate, but Still Deadlocked on D.A.
After three endorsement meetings in the space of two and a half months, LID has made our Primary Day picks for this year’s municipal elections. Details of our first endorsement meeting, held on May 25th, were in our June 2005 Lambda Line. That issue, as well as a complete list of our 2005 endorsed candidates, can be found at www.LIDBrooklyn.org.
On June 6th, after a spirited debate, LID endorsed Congressman Anthony Weiner for Mayor. While all the Democratic contenders attended the meeting to appeal for the Brooklyn LGBT communityâs support, LID Board members Scott Klein, Kay Mackey and Sandra Lara were among a core group of Weiner supporters who ultimately persuaded the club to back their candidate. Explained Klein, âAnthony stood out as someone who is courageous on LGBT issues as well as the only candidate who can defeat the incumbent Republican mayor.â
In other endorsements that night, LID backed Norman Siegel for Public Advocate; David Galarza for City Council in the 38th district; and incumbent City Councilmembers Diana Reyna in the 34th, Letitia James in the 35th, Yvette Clarke in the 40th, and Lewis Fidler in the 46th. In judicial races LID endorsed Michael Gerstein for Civil Court in the 6th district and LIDâs own Norma Jean Jennings for Civil Court Countywide. Democratic District Leader and past LID President Alan Fleishman said, âLID is proud to support Norma, an LID member whose outstanding qualifications and background will make her a fine addition to Brooklynâs judiciary.â A Columbia University law school graduate, Norma is currently an attorney working in Civil Court.
LID reconvened on August 3rd to consider candidates for Brooklyn Surrogate Court and revisit the hotly contested Brooklyn District Attorneyâs race, in which the club could not reach an endorsement back in May. Again LID was unable to produce a majority for any candidate in the D.A.âs race, but we did solidly back Judge Margarita Lopez Torres for Brooklyn Surrogate.
the vote for our endorsed candidates on September 13th.
Summer SoirÃ©e Sizzles
On July 27th, LID hosted our first-ever Greenpoint social/outreach event. Despite the midsummer heat, more than 60 people gathered in the garden of former LID president David Shanton and his partner Randy Sandlin. Guests included newcomers from Williamsburg and Greenpoint, many LID members and numerous elected officials and candidates, including Councilmember David Yassky (33rd District), Assemblymember Joseph Lentol (50th District), District Leaders Lori Knipel (44th District) and Alan Fleishman (52nd District), D.A. candidates Mark Peters and State Senator John Sampson, Judges Margarita Lopez-Torres and Larry Knipel, and two of LID’s own, Civil Court Judge Debra Silber and Civil Court candidate Norma Jennings (with partner Juliet Howard and sons Jordan and Nicholas). Many thanks to Randy and David for opening their home, being fantastic hosts, and making wild berry cosmopolitans and peach salsa that were out of this world.
New Leaders on Board for LID
LID has not only increased our general membership this year but we have expanded our executive board as well. Five of this year’s newly elected board members posed for this picture with LID President Gary Parker (second from right) at our Summer Soirée. They are (from left to right) Sandra Lara, Terrance Knox, Jesse Alick, Kay Mackey and Dan Willson. Not pictured but also new to the board are Julie Bolcer and Lisa Badner. All seven are making signification contributions to the organization, and the combination of new board members and long-time veterans has made us an even more effective advocate for our community.
Another Step Toward Saving Rainbow Heights
You may recall from the last issue of Lambda Line that LID has been lobbying city and state officials to stave off the closure of downtown Brooklyn’s Rainbow Heights Club, New York state’s first and only government-funded, peer-based mental health organization specifically for the LGBT community. Rainbow Heights Club and 25 other mental health organizations had their funding cut earlier this year when Governor Pataki eliminated $3.15 million in the state budget for mental health services for New York City. As we reported in June, our lobbying, along with LID and Anthony Weiner marched together in the city’s Pride Parade. Norma Jennings and partner Juliet Howard that of the Empire State Pride Agenda and other advocates, helped get Mayor Bloomberg to restore the club’s funding through the end of 2005. Nonetheless, the agency’s long-term prospects remain uncertain. LID Vice President Christopher Murray was pleased to get a call in late July from Councilmember Bill de Blasio (39th District), notifying us that he had secured $5,000 for Rainbow Heights Club in the fiscal year 2006 budget. He credited LID’s lobbying in part for the allocation. While this is a fraction of the agency’s $200,000+ budget, every bit counts in the effort to save this critical organization. LID will continue to lobby and advocate until Rainbow Heights Club is completely funded for 2006 and beyond.
Gary and Christopherâs Community Chronicles
LID VP Christopher Murray and President Gary Parker have been recording and sharing their perspectives on Brooklyn LGBT affairs through a series of op-ed articles that have appeared in Brooklyn’s Courier-Life publications this spring and summer. The prolific pair has covered such issues as the growing integration of LGBT people throughout the borough, the rise in hate crimes against LGBT people and particularly LGBT men of color, and the need to restore funding for Rainbow Heights Club. While the response has been largely positive, one Courier-Life reader wrote in to say, “This entire gay/lesbian situation has grown completely out of hand.” Rest assured that LID will continue the fight to ensure LGBT power and influence in Brooklyn only escalate. Gary and Hillary Talk LGBT Social Services
As the picture on the left shows, our ubiquitous President Gary Parker
buttonholed New York’s junior senator, Hillary Clinton, at a June 24th fundraiser thrown for her by the Health, Housing and Human Services Committee for Hillary. While more than 200 other advocates clamored for an opportunity to speak to her, Gary engaged the senator in a conversation about the need for social services programming for LGBT families and encouraged her to reconsider her position on same-sex marriage.
Kudos to the United Church of Christ
On July 4th, the United Church of Christ, which includes 1.3 million members, became the largest Christian denomination in the U.S. to endorse same-sex marriage. Nearly 80 percent of delegates at the church’s biennial General Synod voted to approve a resolution in support of equal marriage rights for all people, regardless of gender. In the wake of that vote, LID issued the following statement: “Lambda Independent Democrats, Brooklyn’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender political club and the borough’s oldest LGBT organization, commends the United Church of Christ’s vote on July 4th approving a resolution in support of gay marriage. ‘What better way to celebrate the Fourth of July than for a major denomination to publicly proclaim its support for fair and equal treatment of gay families,’ said LID’s President Gary Parker, MSW. LID thanks the General Synod for their courageous move in these times when both patriotism and faith are being used as a pretext for discrimination and hatred. UCC has our thanks and admiration for this historic move.”
Saturdays, year-round, 4-5pm
Dyke TV airs weekly on Channel 56 in Brooklyn. Episodes feature current news and events, political commentary, arts, health, sports and other issues of interest to lesbians in the U.S. and beyond. For more info visit www.dyketv.org.
Saturday, Aug. 20, 3-5pm, Sign-in from 3-3:30pm
Walk-In Legal Clinic, presented by the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Law Association of Greater New York at the offices of Dyke TV, 71 5th Ave (Prospect Pl. and St. Marks Pl.), Park Slope. For more information call 212-533-9118.
Sunday, Aug. 28, 6pm-midnight
Launch party for the Rashawn Brazell Memorial Scholarship to support the college education of a NYC student committed to the fight against racism, sexism and homophobia, at Luke and Leroy, 21 Seventh Ave. So. (near Leroy St.) in Manhattan. Admission $10. For more information email RBScholars@aol.com.
Saturday, Sept. 3, 3-5pm, Sign-in from 3-3:30pm
Walk-In Legal Clinic, presented by the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Law Association of Greater New York at Park Slope Geriatric Day Center, 1 Prospect Park West (enter on President Street under green awning), Park Slope. For more information call 212-533-9118.
Saturday, Sept. 10, 10am-4:30pm
Brooklyn Arts Exchange Open House. Sample free dance & theater classes, meet the BAX faculty & staff and enjoy refreshments, 421 Fifth Avenue, Park Slope. For more information call 718-832-0018.
Tuesday, Sept. 13, Polls open 6am-9pm
Democratic Primary. To find out where you vote call 212-NYC-VOTE. For a list of LID’s endorsed candidates visit www.LIDBrooklyn.org.
Sunday, Sept. 25, 10am-6pm
Table with LID at the 31st annual Atlantic Antic street festival and bazaar on Atlantic Ave. between Hicks St. and Fourth Ave. in Downtown Brooklyn. To volunteer contact Kay Mackey at LIDvolunteers@yahoo.com or 718-832-2219.
After Multiple Ballots, LID Unable to Reach Decision in Brooklyn DA Race
At the May 25th endorsement meeting, LID was unable to reach a decision in the hotly contested Brooklyn District Attorney’s race. After three ballots failed to produce a majority for any candidate, the club decided to delay its endorsement. LID will reconvene for a special DA endorsement meeting, to be scheduled after petitioning ends in mid-July.
Explained LID President Gary Parker, âIt was a lively and well-attended meeting, with vigorous debate among club members supporting each of the candidates. But in the end, the membership felt it was in the best interests of the club and the LGBT community to delay the vote and see how the race shakes out after petitioning.â
Incumbent District Attorney Charles J. Hynes and challengers Arnold Kriss, Mark Peters, and Paul Wooten all submitted responses to LIDâs detailed questionnaire and appeared in person to answer questions in hopes of receiving the clubâs endorsement. Another challenger, State Senator John Sampson, not only didnât attend the meeting (and sent no representative), but also failed to submit a completed questionnaire. In other endorsements considered at the meeting, LID voted to endorse incumbents New York City Comptroller William C. Thompson, Borough President Marty Markowitz and Councilmembers Bill deBlasio and David Yassky for re-election.
Markowitz Comes Out for Same Sex Marriage
At LID’s April 20th “Conversations with Lambda” meeting, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz publicly stated his support for same-sex marriage for the first time in his career. Markowitz had previously said he supported civil unions but not same-sex marriage. As Crain’s New York Business reported, however, “Put on the spot by former Lambda President Alan Fleishman, Markowitz affirmed he’s in favor.” Afterward, Markowitz issued a statement characterizing his shift as “a modest evolution. Love is love, and everyone should have the same rights. My position has been consistent all these years.” In its report on the story, the Daily News quoted LID President Gary Parker saying, “[We’re] thrilled. It’s the right thing to do. Most Americans do not believe in discrimination.”
Silver Wonât Say âI Do Tooâ
Among those Americans opposed to discrimination is State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who told the crowd at the Empire State Pride Agenda’s “LGBT Equality & Justice Day” on May 24th that he supports “the full measure of equality and justice” for the LGBT community. Nonetheless, as the Daily News reported, Silver wouldn’t say where he stands on same-sex marriage. He explained to the News’ Bill Hammond, “That matter is being resolved in the courts. We’ll wait for that conclusion.”
LID Helps Center for LGBT Mentally Ill Stave off Closure
Several months ago, Rainbow Heights Club, a drop-in center in downtown Brooklyn for LGBT people managing serious mental illnesses, learned that its public funding had been eliminated along with that of twenty-six other mental health organizations. For Rainbow Heights, that would mean the loss of nearly all of its funding and certain closure.
This would be a tremendous blow for our community, since Rainbow Heights is the only peer-based mental health organization specifically for the LGBT community. It provides daily services, support, and advocacy to people with serious mental illnesses like bipolar disorder, major depression and schizophrenia.
LID recognizes the value of this organization and has been rallying our elected officials to demand full restoration of the club’s funding. Due in large part to the advocacy of Councilmember Letitia James, Councilmember Margarita Lopez, the Empire State Pride Agenda and LID, Mayor Bloomberg agreed to reinstate and continue the contract for Rainbow Heights and all the other defunded mental health organizations, but only until the end of the year. Although this has given a six-month reprieve to Rainbow Heights, it leaves them little reassurance that they will be able to continue to provide services beyond this December. LID is continuing the fight to save Rainbow Heights. We’ve been holding in-district visits with key legislators and sent a team of club members to Albany on May 24th to lobby alongside ESPA and Rainbow Heights Club clients (see photo above) in an effort to persuade state lawmakers to prioritize this issue. President Gary Parker and First Vice President Christopher Murray had an op-ed article published in Gay City News (gaycitynews.com/gcn_418/getonthebustosave.html) and submitted another to the Park Slope Courier, drawing attention to the issue and calling on others to help in the effort. If you are interested in getting involved, please LID Executive Committee members Kevin Huang-Cruz, James Whitty and Christopher Murray with Rainbow Heights Club members and Director Christian Huygen at ESPA's LGBT Equality & Justice Day in Albany. contact Gary Parker at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Rainbow Heights Club website at www.rainbowheights.org.
GENDA Back on State Legislatureâs Agenda
At the end of April, New York State Senator Tom Duane and Assemblymember Dick Gottfried reintroduced the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA), which would protect transgender people against discrimination throughout New York State. The bill was first introduced in the 2003 legislative session after efforts to include gender identity and expression in the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act (SONDA) had failed. SONDA passed in late 2002, more than 30 years after it was first introduced.
While few expect GENDA to pass this year, the legislation is picking up steam. The Assembly bill (A.7438) has gained broad statewide support and now boasts 51 sponsors, up from 34 in 2003. Among them are 12 Assembly members from Brooklyn: Prime sponsors Jim Brennan, Diane Gordon and Felix Ortiz, and sponsors William Boyland, Jr., Adele Cohen, Roger Green, Vito Lopez, Joan Millman, Clarence Norman, Jr., N. Nick Perry, Annette Robinson and Darryl Towns. The Senate bill (S. 4794) has eight sponsors, including Brooklyn’s Martin Connor and John L. Sampson.LID encourages the membership to thank their legislators who have sponsored GENDA and encourage those who haven’t yet to add their names to the bill. Look up your legislators online at www.lwvnyc.org/Try_find.html.
LGBT-Friendly Adult Day Services in Park Slope
In late April, LID was approached by Matt Kudish, MSW, the LGBTQ Specialist at Park Slope Geriatric Day Center. He wanted LID members to know that the program has been in the community for over 20 years and welcomes LGBT clients and their families. It has one site for frail elders and another for people living with Alzheimer’s or dementia. The Family Caregiver Project, launched in 2002, provides services and programs to support caregivers of older persons, including spouses, partners, and children of aging parents. It offers individual and group counseling, benefits and entitlements assistance, training and education, information and referrals, as well as respite and supplemental services. Furthermore, the Family Caregiver Project hosts a variety of events geared specifically toward the needs of LGBTQ Seniors and Caregivers, including LGBT-specific support groups, health fairs and elder law clinics. For more information about any aspect of Park Slope Geriatric’s programs, contact Kudish at 718-499-7701 x117 or via email at email@example.com.
Thursday, June 2, 7:30-9pm
The Power We Have: An Evening of Cultural Resistance, benefiting the Audre Lorde Project. Quaker Meeting House, 15 Rutherford Place, Manhattan. Tickets $20/$10 low income. For more information or to purchase tickets, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saturday, June 4, Noon-8pm
The first ever Staten Island LGBT Pride Festival, including a Pride Parade from the Ocean Breeze Fishing Pier and Pride Festival at Midland Beach Picnic Area. Presented by the LGBT Health and Wellness Program of Community Health Action of Staten Island. For more info call Allyson at 718-273-5833 or visit www.sihealthaction.org.
Monday, June 6, 7pm
LID endorsement meeting for Mayor, Public Advocate, contested Brooklyn City Council districts and Civil Court Judges. Also on the agenda: vote on adding Jesse Alick to the LID Executive Board. Old First Reformed Church, Ground Floor Lower Hall, 126 Seventh Avenue at Carroll Street, Park Slope. Enter on Carroll Street.
Wednesday, June 8, 6pm
Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz’s LGBT Pride reception and screening of the movies “A Union in Wait” and “Gay USA.” Brooklyn Borough Hall, 209 Joralemon Street, in the Grand Rotunda. RSVP to 718-802-4042.
Thursday, June 9, 5:30pm
New York City Comptroller William C. Thompson, Jr.’s annual LGBT Pride Celebration. The Center, 208 West 13th Street, Manhattan. RSVP to 212-669-4466 or email@example.com.
Saturday, June 10, 5:30pm
Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields’ annual LGBT Pride event. The Center at 208 West 13th Street, Manhattan.
Saturday, June 11, 11am-2pm
Brooklyn Pride Festival, Bartel-Pritchard Circle and along Prospect Park West from 15th Street to 9th Street. To volunteer contact Executive Board member Kay Mackey at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saturday, June 11, 8pm
Brooklyn Pride Parade from Bartel-Pritchard Circle (Prospect Park West at 15th Street), up 15th Street to Seventh Avenue, continuing north on Seventh Avenue to Lincoln Place. LID will gather in front of the Pavilion movie theater on Prospect Park West near 14th Street.
Saturday, June 18, 3-5pm
Walk-In Legal Clinic, presented by the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Law Association of Greater New York at the offices of Dyke TV, 71 5th Ave (Prospect and St. Marks Pl.), Park Slope. For more information call 212-533-9118.
Thursday, June 23, 6:00-8:00pm
Speaker Gifford Miller and the New York City Council’s annual LGBT Pride Celebration. City Hall, Manhattan. RSVP 212-788-5613.
Rashawn Brazell: Black, Gay, Dead and Invisible
Since the February murder and dismemberment of Rashawn Brazell, a 19-year-old African-American gay man, the New York City Gay & Lesbian Anti-Violence Project (AVP) and other groups in the LGBT and people of color communities have been organizing to publicize the case and put pressure on the police to apprehend those responsible. For this issue of Lambda Line, we invited AVP Acting Executive Director Clarence Patton to bring L.I.D. members up to date on the Brazell case and how we can help. Following is his article:
There was a recent Bob Herbert column in The New York Times titled “Black, Dead and Invisible.” Unfortunately, at the New York City Gay & Lesbian Anti-Violence Project, we know all too well that virtual invisibility is the default position of those who are young, black and murdered. For those whose cases are most directly addressed by our work – those who are young, black and gay – the invisibility is absolute.
Monday, April 4, over 100 community members, elected officials, community-based organizational representatives, as well as interested parties from the New York Police Department, participated in a Town Hall meeting at Brooklyn Borough Hall in response to issues raised by the gruesome murder of Rashawn Brazell.
Rashawn was 19, gay and black, and he lived in Brooklyn. On February 17, a transit worker discovered some of Rashawn’s dismembered body parts in the A Train subway tunnel in Bedford- Stuyvesant. Subsequently, additional pieces of Rashawn’s body were found in a garbage transfer station used by the MTA in Greenpoint.
It was fairly clear to anyone listening closely at Monday’s meeting that at this point, despite statements from the investigative team that nothing and no one had been ruled out, the investigation has all but gone cold, and precious few in this city really care.
How is this possible? There is a possibility that no amount of community, police and media attention and resources would have resulted in bringing the murderer or murderers of Rashawn to justice, but we’ll never know, and here is why:
After a brief burst of media coverage at the beginning of the investigation, with few exceptions, none but gay community media followed the case. Despite the murders of some black men being on the radar of people like Bob Herbert, The Times also turned away from what is one of the most troubling and horrifying murder cases in ecent memory: A 19 year-old child was murdered and parts of his body have been found all over Brooklyn; even now, his mother has not been able to bury her son in total because there are still scattered pieces of Rashawn’s body missing, including his head. The Times’ last piece on this case ran February 26th; there were a total of four pieces, which ran from February 18 to 26. The city’s other dailies didn’t do much better. Until recently, police investigators essentially ignored multiple offers of assistance and support from AVP and other organizations that in the past have helped the NYPD reach into the city’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities to get information which the Department would never have received if left to its own devices.
At the time of the Town Hall meeting, the award offered by the police and the City of New York was the standard $2,000 offered for information leading to the capture and indictment of those responsible for Rashawn’s murder. Monday evening, community-based organizations, all of which are facing fiscal challenges of their own, offered up to $3,000 to supplement the paltry award offered by the city. AVP asked the Mayor to increase the municipal portion of the award by $10,000. His office agreed to do this on Friday, April 9.
All of this is to say that on some level, we all have a responsibility in creating those who are rendered black, dead and invisible: the police, the media, the politicians, and the community. Black life is discounted in our culture - it has been since before it first arrived on our shores. Black male life is viewed as being cheaper still. By the time we get to black gay male life, why, we’re just giving it away.
The hope is that from now on all of us – the community, the police and the media – will do our parts to increase the value of young black and gay lives and eradicate the invisibility of all victims of crime.
Take Action: What to Do in the Wake of the Brazell Murder
- Call the metro editors of the cityÃ¢ÂÂs dailies, starting with Susan Edgerley at The New York Times (212-556-7356). Ask how itÃ¢ÂÂs possible for a case like this to disappear from view.
- Call the MayorÃ¢ÂÂs office (212-788-3000) and demand he tell the top brass at the NYPD to direct the full resources of the department to solve this crime.
- Connect with programming at AVP (212-704-1184), People of Color in Crisis (718-230-0770), Gay Men of African Decent (212-828-1697) and other organizations working together to create and facilitate community discussions and strategies that will help foster a safer community environment.
- Write a check to AVP, 240 West 35th Street, Suite 200, New York, NY 10001.
First LGBT Mayoral Candidates Forum of 2005 Hard-Hitting and Well Attended
Former Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer, Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields, City Council Speaker Gifford Miller and Congressman Anthony Weiner all turned out to address the LGBT community at the April 6 mayoral candidates forum hosted by Greater Voices: The Coalition of NYC Progressive LGBT Political Clubs. L.I.D president Gary Parker served as moderator for the event, which drew more than 150 people and was not only covered by the LGBT press but also mentioned in the April 8 and April 11 issues of The New York Times. Each candidate had a total of 45 minutes to make remarks and respond to vigorous questioning from the crowd. To read highlights of the candidates’ comments, see Duncan Osborne’s coverage in Gay City News at gaycitynews.com/gcn_414/demsseeklgbt.html or the Gotham Gazette coverage at http://www.gothamgazette.com/article/fea/20050411/202/1377.
27th Anniversary Lunch with Lambda Draws a Whoâs Who of the N.Y. Political World
The 27th Anniversary Lunch with Lambda on Sunday, April 10, was a resounding success. This year's honorees included Brooklyn’s Rabbi Ellen Lippmann of Kolot Chayeinu; Kelli Conlin of NARAL Pro Choice NY; Joe Pressley of the New York AIDS Coalition; Gay City News (accepted by its editor Paul Schindler); and, from the landmark decision allowing same-sex marriage in New York, lead attorney Susan Sommer of Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund with plaintiffs Lauren Abrams and Donna Freeman-Tweed and Jo-Ann Shain and Mary-Jo Kennedy.
A who’s who of the New York political world attended, including Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz and Brooklyn District Attorney Charles J. Hynes. There were three mayoral candidates: City Council Speaker Gifford Miller, former Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer and Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields. L.I.D. was also joined by Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum, Congressmembers Major Owens, Nydia Velazquez and Jerold Nadler, State Senator Velmanette Montgomery, Assemblymembers Jim Brennan, Adele Cohen, Joan Millman and Nick Perry, City Councilmembers Yvette Clarke, Bill DeBlasio, Letitia James, Dominic Recchia and David Yassky. Arnie Kriss, Mark Peters, Sandra Roper and Paul Wooten, all challengers for Brooklyn D.A., joined us at the lunch. In attendance from the Brooklyn judiciary were several Civil Court judges, including L.I.D.’s own Debra Silber as well as judges Donald Kurtz, Sallie Krauss, Ellen Spodek and Margarita Lopez Torres.
We were also joined by former NYC Public Advocate Mark Green, candidates for Public Advocate Norman Siegel and Andrew Rasiej, judicial candidates Sylvia Asch, Cynthia Boyce, Genine Edwards, Michael Gerstein, Phil Grant and L.I.D.’s own Norma Jennings. District Leaders included Queens’ Danny Dromm, former L.I.D. President Alan Fleishman, Lori Knipel, Dilia Schack and JoAnne Simon. Our LGBT community friends in attendance included Chris Bauer and Rosemary Palladino of Staten Island Stonewall, Dirk McCall, President of the Stonewall Democratic Club, Clarence Patton of the NYC Gay and Lesbian Anti-ViolenceProject and Miriam Yeung of New York’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center.
Prompted by Thompson, City Pension Funds, Toys âRâ Us Bars Trans Discrimination
New York City Comptroller William C. Thompson Jr. recently announced that Toys “R” Us has agreed to adhere to policies prohibiting employment discrimination based on gender identity. Toys “R” Us, which is based in Wayne, NJ, notified the Comptroller on March 11 that it is taking steps to adhere to the Equality Principles, a 10-point code of conduct aimed at advancing workplace equality by barring discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
The announcement comes after efforts by the City’s Pension Funds – the New York City Employees’ Retirement Fund (NYCERS), Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS), New York City Police Pension Fund, New York City Fire Department Pension Fund, and Board of Education Retirement System (BERS) – to urge the company to comply with the Equality Principles.
The decision is an encouraging move by the toy retailer. Lambda Line readers will recall that in December 2000, three transgender Brooklyn residents were subjected to anti-transgender harassment by store employees at the Bay Parkway Toys “R” Us. In June 2002, they won what their lawyer called a “moral victory” when a jury awarded each $1 in damages. Later in 2002 a federal court judge found that Toys “R” Us must pay lawyers for the laintiffs’ nearly $200,000 in legal fees – a decision that was upheld last November by the state’s top court after Toys “R” Us appealed.
Glick Prepares Legislation to Provide Benefits to Partners of Uniformed Services Personnel
Assemblymember Deborah J. Glick, from Manhattan’s 66th Assembly District, is preparing accidental death benefits legislation for domestic partners of uniformed services personnel. After general conversations over the last year, Glick drafted the legislation in the off session. As required for this type of legislation, the bill is now undergoing review by both the State and New York City Comptroller’s Offices for the fiscal implications on all the relevant pension systems. Glick noted she has received enthusiastic support and cooperation from State Comptroller Alan Hevesi and City Comptroller William C. Thompson Jr. to date.She explained, “Special legislation was needed after the World Trade Center attack to make domestic partners of officers killed during that horrific event eligible for accidental death benefits and was supported by both houses of the Legislature.” Declared Glick, “This legislation will redress this disgraceful disparity. After all, public employees in New York City and New York State have access to recognition as domestic partnerships for other benefits.”
Friday, April 15, 5:30-7pm
Tax Day Action: Protest “Taxation without Representation” at the Main Post Office on 34th St. & 8th Ave in Manhattan. Sponsored by Marriage Equality. Co-sponsored by L.I.D. among others. For more information go to www.marriageequalityny.org.
Monday, April 18, 5pm
Racial Justice Day 2005. Let it be known that the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Two Spirit, Trans and Gender Non-Conforming people of color community demands an end to the harassment, brutality and murders of our communities by the NYPD. Gather in City Hall Park, Manhattan.
Wednesday, April 20, 7-9pm
Conversations with Lambda: a forum for L.I.D. members to discuss our issues with candidates and our elected officials prior to our endorsement meeting. Also on the agenda: Dan Wilson will be up for election to the L.I.D. Executive Board. Old First Reformed Church, 126 Seventh Avenue at Carroll Street in Park Slope. Enter on Carroll Street.
Saturday, April 30, 4-6pm
Walk-In Legal Clinic, presented by the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Law Association of Greater New York (LeGaL Foundation) at the offices of Dyke TV, 71 5th Ave (Prospect and St. Marks Pl.), Park Slope. For more information call 212-533-9118.
Friday May 6 and Saturday May 7
“Trans Politics, Social Change and Justice,” a conference presented by The Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies (CLAGS) at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, 365 Fifth Avenue (between 34th and 35th streets), Manhattan. For more information and to register visit http://web.gc.cuny.edu/clags/transpoliticsinfo.htm.
Wednesday, May 25, 7:30pm
L.I.D. endorsement meeting for Brooklyn District Attorney, Comptroller and uncontested Brooklyn City Council districts, YWCA, 30 Third Avenue (corner of Atlantic Avenue), First Floor Community Room, Boerum Hill.
Monday, June 6, 7pm
L.I.D. endorsement meeting for Mayor, Public Advocate, contested Brooklyn City Council districts and Civil Court Judges, Old First Reformed Church, Ground Floor Lower Hall, 126 Seventh Avenue at Carroll Street in Park Slope. Enter on Carroll Street.
Barely a week after Evan Wolfson addressed “Why Marriage Matters” before 65 members and guests at L.I.D.’s January 27 annual meeting, New York’s LGBT community won a big victory in the fight for same-sex marriage – and then had it snatched away by Mayor Michael Bloomberg. L.I.D. was deeply troubled by the Mayor’s decision to appeal Judge Doris Ling-Cohan’s landmark decision concluding that the right to marry the person of one's choice is a privacy right protected by the New York State Constitution.
On February 5, Bloomberg made the bold statement that he is in favor of same-sex marriage, but then announced that he would be appealing the ruling. L.I.D. calls that hypocrisy, and we did so at press conferences, in writing, and on the streets. We were a driving force in the Greater Voices coalition demonstration on February 15 across from Bloombergâs re-election kickoff at B.B. Kingâs. That raucous protest garnered media coverage in the Daily News, Post, 1010 WINS, WNBC and WABC among other outlets. Go to gaycitynews.com/gcn_360/gayprotestorsdog.html to read Gay City Newsâ coverage. There is a link to L.I.D.âs press statement on the topic at www.lidbrooklyn.org.
Court Backs Bloomberg Against Equal Benefits Law
Acting on Mayor Bloomberg’s appeal, on March 15 a state appellate court struck down the NYC Equal Benefits Law, which required companies who contract with the city to offer to the domestic partners of their employees the same benefits they offer to spouses of their employees. The City Council, which overwhelmingly passed the bill and overrode the Mayor’s veto of it, plans to appeal. L.I.D. urges members and supporters to call Mayor Bloomberg at (212) 788-3000 and urge him to stop opposing equality for LGBT New Yorkers.
Markowitz Backs Off on Cracker Barrel, Still Invites Hateful Hecht to Borough Hall
L.I.D. was appalled to learn in late February that Borough President Marty Markowitz had invited executives from Cracker Barrel Old Country Store to tour Brooklyn in hopes of getting the chain to set up shop here. Apparently he did not know that Cracker Barrel has a history of discrimination against African Americans, LGBT people and women. After being educated by City Councilmember Charles Barron (D-East New York) and State Senator Tom Duane (D, WFP-Manhattan) among others, Markowitz rescinded the invitation. It seems Markowitz also failed to do due diligence when he recently invited Rabbi Abraham Hecht to have a breakfast meeting of his Rabbinical Alliance of America at Borough Hall. As reported in Flatbush Life, in 1997 the Alliance said it would boycott the U.S. Holocaust museum if it recognized gay victims, and the group has been active in the fight against gay rights in Jerusalem. L.I.D. is seeking a meeting with Mr. Markowitz to discuss these events.
Getting to Know Gary Parker
At L.I.D.’s Annual Meeting in January, Gary Parker was elected President, succeeding our three-term leader Dan Tietz. Many of us recognize Gary as a longtime member of L.I.D. and its Executive Board but don’t know much about him beyond his obvious intellect, charm, efficiency and commitment to our cause. To fill us in, Gary, a 15-year Brooklyn resident, Master of Social Work and community organizer, shared some details about his life.
Growing Up: “I was raised by lesbian moms in Methuen, MA. Because I grew up in the 1970's and both my moms were working as school teachers, they lived very secretive and closeted lives. We lived in a duplex apartment where my biological mother, my sister and I lived on one floor and my other mother lived on another. My moms kept their relationship a secret from the neighbors, their co-workers, and even their children. They were afraid that not only would they lose their jobs if someone found out they were gay, but also that their children Action Alert: Stop “The Real ID Act”
On February 10, The National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) issued an urgent alert re: H.R. 418, “the Real ID Act.” This bill establishes requirements that all states must abide by with respect to their state IDs and mandates categories, including gender, which must be present on them. NCTE explained that although no rules would be established regarding the process of changing gender markers, any national regulations regarding state IDs are dangerous for civil rights. Moreover, this legislation would prevent states from issuing driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants, and limit the groups of lawful immigrants who can obtain licenses. Despite opposition by NCTE, hundreds of other organizations concerned with civil liberties and all of Brooklyn’s Democratic Representatives, H.R. 418 passed the House by a vote of 261-161.
“The Real ID Act” is now before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary. New York’s own Senator Chuck Schumer sits on the Judiciary Committee and is a member of the subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Citizenship. Call Schumer’s office at (212) 486-4430 and urge him to vote AGAINST the Real ID Act. Call Senator Hillary Clinton’s office at (212) 688-6262 and encourage her to oppose the bill as well. President George Bush has said he will sign this bill if it comes to his desk, so it has to be stopped now! would be taken away from them. This was a very real fear 30 years ago – one no family should ever have to live with. All families deserve to flourish in a nurturing environment and community. One of the reasons I am so active in the community is to protect other LGBT families from this type of fear and oppression.”
Coming Out: “My coming out was an interesting experience. I took my mother to dinner for her birthday when I was 18 or 19. She asked me why I had so many gay books in my room. I told her it was because I was gay. She said, ‘I know and I still love you.’ She paused and said, ‘I’m gay too.’ I said, ‘I know and I still love you.’” All In The Family: “I have one sister and she is also a lesbian. That makes everyone in my immediate family gay. I always joke that I am the only one in my family who is attracted to men.”
What The Membership Should Know: “I want them to know that I love organizing our community. I don't do this work because I am a gay man. I do it for my family. For me, the struggle for equality is personal. I don't know anyone who isn't willing to fight to protect his or her family.”
27th Anniversary Lunch With Lambda
On Sunday, April 10, from 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., L.I.D will host the 27th Anniversary Lunch with Lambda at Aunt Suzie’s restaurant, 247 Fifth Avenue in Park Slope. At the event, Rabbi Ellen Lippmann of Congregation Kolot Chayeinu will receive the Peter B. Vogel Award. Brooklyn Lambda Awards will be presented to Kelli Conlin, Executive Director, NARAL Pro-Choice New York; Gay City News, America’s largest circulation gay newspaper; Joe Pressley, Executive Director of New York AIDS Coalition; Susan Sommer, lead attorney in the NYC landmark decision holding that same-sex couples must be allowed the right to marry; and Jo-Ann Shain and Mary-Jo Kennedy, and Lauren Abrams and Donna Freeman-Tweed, Brooklyn-based plaintiffs in that case.
Spitzer Dodges Discriminatory Tax Department Decision
As reported in the January 31 Gay City News, State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer has refused to take on the State Department of Taxation and Finance’s decision to invoke the federal Defense of Marriage Act to stop legally wed same-sex couples in New York from filing as married. While Spitzer issued an opinion last year that New York should honor the marriages of same-sex couples wed in Canada and elsewhere, his refusal to get involved in this controversy makes us question his commitment to full equality for LGBT people.
Meet The Mayoral Candidates
On Wednesday, April 6, at 7 pm, Greater Voices will hold its Mayoral Forum at NYU’s Silver Building, 24 Waverly Place, Room 703. This will be the first time eight LGBT progressive political clubs have collaborated to organize an open public candidates’ forum specifically to address the concerns of our community. L.I.D. encourages all of our members to attend for this opportunity to bring their issues directly to the candidates.
The H Word (Homophobia)
On February 22, Republican-Conservative State Senator Marty Golden (Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, parts of Gravesend, Sheepshead Bay and Gerritsen Park) wrote to the New York City Department of Transportation to object to the placement of an advertisement for the Showtime series The L Word at the bus stop shelter located at 77th Street and 3rd Avenue in Bay Ridge. According to Golden’s website, “the sexual nature of the advertisement, and the appearance of nudity, does not belong at a bus stop near local schools nor should shoppers be subjected to the advertisement as they wait for their bus home.”When word of Golden’s letter became public, L.I.D. fired off a statement that was picked up by the March 3 Gay City News and the Park Slope Currier. Said L.I.D. president Gary Parker, “This is yet another blatant attack on the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. This is an ad for a top rated mainstream television series. If the ad were for UPN’s America’s Next Top Model, I am sure [Golden] would have no objection...The Senator is once again pushing his right wing Republican agenda to oppress the LGBT community.”
Owens Honors Two of L.I.D.âs Own
Congratulations to L.I.D. Board member Ken Diamondstone and member Dorothy Siegel, who were recipients of Lifetime Struggle and Achievement Awards at Congressmember Major R. Owens’ “A Blue State Celebration Honoring Brooklyn’s Leaders.” The event took place on Friday, March 18.
Wednesday, April 6, 7pm
Greater Voices Mayoral Forum, NYU Silver Building, 24 Waverly Place, room 703, Manhattan (proper ID required for entrance into building). All the Democratic candidates have confirmed their attendance. Come and question the candidates on issues that are important to you.
Sunday, April 10, 11:30am-3:00pm
L.I.D.’s 27th Anniversary Lunch with Lambda, Aunt Suzie’s restaurant, 247 Fifth Avenue, Park Slope.
Wednesday, April 20, 7pm
Conversations with Lambda: a forum for L.I.D. members to discuss our issues with candidates and our elected officials prior to our endorsement meeting. Old First Reform Church, 138 Seventh Avenue at Carroll Street, Park Slope.
L.I.D. Annual Meeting
Please join us for L.I.D.’s Annual Meeting on Thursday, January 27, 7:00 p.m. at Camp Friendship, 339 8th Street (between 5th and 6th Aves), Park Slope. We will be electing 2005 officers and at-large executive board members, as well as voting on a number of amendments to the LID By-Laws. The proposed amendments can be reviewed prior to the meeting at www.lidbrooklyn.org.
Following are the nominees for L.I.D.âs 2005 Executive Board: President - Gary Parker; Vice President - Christopher Murray; Corresponding Secretary - ReneÃ© Cafiero; Recording Secretary - Harley Diamond; Treasurer â Scott Klein; At-Large Members - Ken Diamondstone; Peter Fleming; Kevin Huang-Cruz; Sandra Lara; Jonathan Lovett; Kay Mackey, Carol Marker; Seth Slade; Joe Tanzi; James Whitty.
In addition to our elected members of the Executive Board, L.I.D. past presidents Alan Fleishman, Bethany Joseph and Dan Tietz have agreed to serve as non-voting, ex-officio Presidents Emeriti.
After our club business, Evan Wolfson, executive director of Freedom to Marry, will talk about next steps for achieving same sex marriage and sign copies of his book Why Marriage Matters: America, Equality, and Gay Peopleâs Right to Marry. Marriage Equality New York is co-sponsoring Evanâs presentation, and is promoting the meeting through its meetings, newsletters and web site.
Thank You Liz Daly
Liz Daly, who stepped down last February as Female Democratic District Leader and State Committeewoman for the 52nd Assembly District (Boerum Hill, Brooklyn Heights, Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, DUMBO, Gowanus, parts of Park Slope and Vinegar Hill), gave L.I.D. a $200 check from her campaign committee when she closed out the account.
We are very grateful to Liz for her support of L.I.D. and her many years of service standing up for our community, advancing the principles of democracy, and pushing to reform Brooklyn Democratic Party politics.
Democrats Petition Against Gay Marriage Ban, Bush Backs Off
The week of January 10, the Democratic Party launched a petition drive on the LGBT section of its web site urging the White House to cease its push for a Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. The lead item at www.democrats.org/glbt urges readers to Take Action: “Last July, President George W. Bush suffered an embarrassing defeat when a measure to write discrimination into the U.S. Constitution was soundly defeated in both the Senate and the House despite Bush's adamant public support for it. It is time for Bush to move America forward and come out publicly against this amendment. Join with the Democratic Party and sign our petition today asking Bush to tell Republicans in Washington to stop discriminating against millions of American families.”
Thousands did so, and on Sunday, December 16, President Bush said that he would not press the Senate to pass a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. 365Gay.com reported that Bush told the Washington Post he remains opposed to gay marriage but believes there aren’t the votes in the Senate to ensure the amendment would be adopted.Paul Johnson, 365Gay.com Washington Bureau Chief, noted, “By dropping his push for a constitutional amendment Bush will likely incur the wrath of social conservatives within the GOP, but avoid a confrontation with Democrats when he needs their support in the Senate to confirm dozens of appointments.”
2005 Lunch with Lambda Honorees
As we look towards our annual Spring fundraising lunch, we welcome suggestions of potential honorees. There are three kinds of awards: Brooklyn Lambda Awards, which are given to individuals, businesses or organizations that have done something to make our lives better; the Clyde Moss Service Award, presented to an individual who demonstrates extraordinary volunteer commitment to the club; and the Peter B. Vogel Award, given to an individual who has displayed outstanding political leadership in the LGBT community. Please e-mail your nominees for any of the awards to Gary Parker at email@example.com.
Keep the Memberships Coming
Dozens of expired members responded to our appeal in the last newsletter to renew their memberships and we the rest of you will help keep that momentum alive in the coming weeks. With the second Bush administration getting under way this month and critical New York City elections taking place this fall, L.I.D. needs to be as large and strong as we’ve ever been.
Thursday, January 27, 7pm
L.I.D. Annual Meeting. Camp Friendship, 339 8th Street (between 5th and 6th Aves), Park Slope.
Wednesday, February 2, 3:30pm March, 4:30 pm Rall7
March and Rally for Affordable Housing for all New Yorkers, assembling at Cadman Plaza and marching over the Brooklyn Bridge to City Hall. For more info contact Jennifer at NYCAHN toll free at (877) 615-2217 or Flynn@nycahn.org.
No Time to Quit
The re-election of George Bush, Republican gains in both houses of Congress, and the passage of antisame sex marriage amendments in 11 states were a tremendous setback for our community and progressive Americans of all stripes. But the worst thing we can do now is throw up our hands. We’ve not only got to fight the Bush agenda and convince our fellow Americans of our right to equality, but we also have to keep the Democratic Party from giving up its principles and straying to the right, which is a genuine risk.
Despite the work ahead, L.I.D. remains undeterred. Itâs more important than ever that we continue to organize and educate Brooklyn voters and hold our elected officials accountable. Our five Democratic members of the House of Representatives and Senators Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton provide great representation, but we must keep encouraging them to stand firm against the regressive initiatives of the Republicans, and the fears of some of their Democratic colleagues. Moreover, we face critical municipal elections in 2005 and statewide as well as Congressional races in 2006. We urge you to renew your membership and stay involved in the effort.
We will be kicking off a new year of political activism with our Annual Meeting at 7:00pm on January 27, 2005 at Camp Friendship, 339 8th Street (between 5th and 6th Aves), Park Slope. On the agenda, in addition to our election of 2005 officers and executive board members, and a vote on amendments to the LID constitution: Evan Wolfson, executive director of Freedom to Marry, will speak about next steps for achieving same sex marriage and sign copies of his book. Weâll send a reminder before then, but please save the date and join L.I.D. in fighting for our community through the political process.
The Good News in New York
As bad as November 2nd was for the nation, Democrats did have some important victories here in New York State. The party extended its majority in the State Assembly by one to 104-46 and, most significantly, picked up at least three and possibly four seats in the State Senate, which has long been in a Republican stranglehold. The Republican majority, which was 38-24 at the beginning of the year, has shrunk to 35-27, with one seat still undetermined.
The Democrats who won State Senate seats formerly held by Republicans are Jeffrey Klein, District 34 (Bronx/Westchester), Jose Serrano, District 28 (East Harlem and Bronx) and Dave Velesky, District 49 (Syracuse). In the one seat still in play at press time, Republican Nicholas Spano, District 35 (Westchester) is leading Democrat Andrea Stewart-Cousins by 102 votes out of 115,604 cast, with 920 disputed ballots still unopened.
Lesbian-Baiting Canât Stop Savino
Among other Democratic State Senators-elect is L.I.D.’s endorsed candidate Diane Savino from the 23rd District (Coney Island, Bensonhurst, Borough Park, Sunset Park and the North Shore of Staten Island). Savino, who will succeed retiring Democrat Seymour Lachman, handily defeated Republican Alfred Curtis 63%-37%, but she had to overcome some last-ditch lesbian-baiting to do so.
The weekend before the election, a “coming out” letter on what appeared to be Savino’s personal stationery was distributed to thousands of voters in the more conservative parts of the district. The forged letter read in part, “In order to be worthy of your support, I think it is important that I reveal some personal information that until today I have been reluctant to disclose. I am a Lesbian American.” Savino, who is not a lesbian, but is supportive of LGBT rights, believes Curtis, or a member of his campaign, wrote the letter. Her supporters say they saw Curtis with his volunteers as they handed out the letter in Borough Park. Curtis denies he or his campaign had anything to do with it. Because the Brooklyn and Staten Island D.A.s each endorsed their respective parties’ nominees in the race, the matter will be referred to a special prosecutor for investigation.
Unfortunately, this despicable act of lesbian-baiting is nothing new in Brooklyn. Over the years, the campaigns of Charles Hynes, Joan Millman, Anthony Weiner and Joanne Seminara have been the targets of similar homophobic attacks. This is all the more reason L.I.D. needs to continue to be highly visible and work within the Democratic party here in our borough.
Spritzers with Spitzer
As many of you know, The Coalition of NYC LGBT Clubs and Democratic National Committee member Emily Giske teamed up to host a meet and greet with NYS Attorney General Eliot Spitzer on November 18. Nearly 200 people – including many L.I.D. members – turned out to eat, drink, talk with and ask questions of Spitzer, who is the leading Democratic contender for governor in 2006. In the question and answer period, Spitzer reiterated his support for same-sex marriage. He explained that his defense last spring of the state’s marriage law reflects not his personal beliefs but his obligation as A.G. to uphold the law as it is currently written.
Spitzer also attended a smaller meeting beforehand with leaders of the city’s LGBT Democratic clubs. The response at both events was overwhelmingly positive. L.I.D. President Dan Tietz was quoted in Gay City News saying, “[Spitzer] is great in so many regards, beyond just the narrow LGBT front...He has taken the role of attorney general and made the most of it.” While there are still some issues, like the Gender Non-Discrimination Act, which Spitzer has yet to embrace (he thinks the existing law is sufficient), it is encouraging that one of our state’s most prominent and promising Democrats is seeking input and support from our community.
Bloomberg Seeks to Bottle Up Equal Benefits Law
It wasn’t enough that Mayor Michael Bloomberg vetoed the Equal Benefits Bill, which would require contractors who do at least $100,000 worth of business with the city to provide employees’ domestic partners the same benefits offered married spouses. Now he’s refusing to implement the law and fighting it in court. After the City Council overwhelmingly overrode the Mayor’s veto last June, it looked like this battle was over. But the Mayor – often a sore loser – refused to enforce the Equal Benefits Law once it took effect on October 26th. On November 8th, NYS Supreme Court Judge Faviola Soto ruled that the City must enforce the law, so it is currently in effect, but the city has said it will appeal the ruling. Bloomberg argues that the law would cost the city money by prohibiting it from choosing firms with the lowest prices, a fear that never panned out in San Francisco when that city passed a similar law. L.I.D. will be reminding the LGBT community of Bloomberg’s obstructionism in next year’s mayoral election.
Hevesi Leads, Bloomberg Follows
State Comptroller Alan Hevesi determined in October that the New York State and Local Retirement System will treat Canadian marriages of same-sex couples the same as any other marriage for purposes of retirement benefits and obligations. This historic decision makes the retirement system the first state program in New York to respect all marriages equally.
Hevesi, whose office has jurisdiction over the retirement system, is a longtime supporter of the LGBT community. His decision, however, was based strictly on the current law and “the principle of comity,” which, he noted, “has been legal practice pursuant to New York Court of Appeals rulings for many years.” Hevesi’s interpretation of the law set a precedent for every other government entity in the state.
In fact, just over a month later, Mayor Bloomberg announced that he would seek to have the city’s five pension systems recognize same-sex marriages of city employees performed in Massachusetts and Canada, as well as Vermont civil unions. “All of our city employees deserve to be treated equally, regardless of their sexual orientation,” he said. While his continued opposition to the Equal Benefits Bill belies that sentiment, Bloomberg’s decision to follow Hevesi’s lead and extend pension benefits to city workers in same-sex couples is a major step forward for our community.
Hill to Head GMHC Womenâs Institute
Longtime L.I.D. member and frequent Lunch with Lambda emcee Dr. Marjorie J. Hill, Ph.D., has been named director of Gay Men’s Health Crisis’ newly launched Women’s Institute. Dr. Hill has had a distinguished career in government service and is a respected HIV/AIDS advocate. Before joining GMHC, Dr. Hill was Assistant Commissioner for HIV/AIDS Services at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Among her prior posts was director of the Mayor's office for the Lesbian and Gay Community under David Dinkins. GMHC created the Women’s Institute to focus increased attention on women living with and affected by HIV/AIDS. “Women are an underserved and all too frequently invisible population when it comes to HIV and AIDS,” said Dr. Hill in a press release. “I eagerly embrace this opportunity to lead the Women's Institute and to collectively navigate the myriad of challenges that women face in achieving healthy, productive and autonomous lives for themselves and their families.”L.I.D. wishes Marjorie the best of luck and great success in her new position.
Toys âRâ Us Loses Again on Brooklyn Trans Harassment
Three transgender women harassed inside the Bay Parkway Toys “R” Us won another victory last month when the state’s top court ruled Toys “R” Us must pay their legal fees. In June 2002, Brooklyn residents Donna McGrath, Tanya Jinks and Tara Lopez won what their lawyer called a “moral victory” when a jury awarded each a mere $1 in damages for anti-transgender harassment by store employees at the Bay Parkway Toys “R” Us in December 2000. Later in 2002 a federal court judge found that Toys “R” Us must pay lawyers for the plaintiffs’ nearly $200,000 in legal fees. Toys “R” Us appealed, questioning whether New York law permits legal fees to be mandated in cases where only nominal damages are awarded. On November 23rd of this year the state’s top court ruled 5-2 that the fees were justified because the case served “a significant public purpose” by clarifying the rights of transgender people to be protected from discrimination. In April 2002, a bill that explicitly added coverage for transgender people to the City’s anti-discrimination law passed the City Council, but because the Toys “R” Us incident occurred more than 18 months earlier, the jury decision was an important interpretation of an unclear statute.
LID is your local Brooklyn boroughwide club to help stop the George W. Bush, Karl Rove and the Republican radical right from rolling back the civil liberties of LGBT Americans. If you’re not already a member, now is the time to become one. We need your support. Please be as generous as you can and join us.