Thursday, January 08, 2009

LGBT Rights Protest

This Saturday, supporters of equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered (LGBT) people, will rally at Boston City Hall to call on President-Elect Obama and the new Congress support equal rights. The event is being organized by Join The Impact MA, the same group that organized the protest at Boston City Hall on November 15th which drew thousands of people as Boston saw the largest LGBT related protest in decades.

LGBT Rights Protest
1:30 p.m.
Saturday, January 10th
Boston City Hall

Advocates and allies are urging the new administration to repeal the anti-gay marriage Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), repeal the ban on gays in the military (Don’t Ask Don’t Tell), enact Hate-Crimes legislation, and fight against HIV/AIDS.

The demonstration on Saturday is part of a nation-wide effort to draw attention to LGBT equality. There will be simultaneous protests in over 50 cities across the country. The recent surge of LGBT related activism is being seen as a new push for equal rights for LGBT people.

On November 4th 2008, with the election of Barack Obama and the passage of Proposition 8, a new LGBT civil rights movement was born. Election Day sparked a fire that has spread across the country. It is clear that a new push for LGBT equality is upon us.

Speakers at the rally will include Congressman Barney Frank, Boston Mayor Menino, Cambridge Mayor Simmons (the first openly-lesbian African American mayor in the United States), a clergy member who supports equal rights for LGBT people, a same-sex married couple who is affected by DOMA, and a transgender man who was fired in Massachusetts for being transgender.

Those attending the rally will have an opportunity to sign an open letter to Barack Obama that will be sent directly to newly elected President once he occupies the White House. The letter calls on Obama to keep his promise to the LGBT community. While running for office, Obama wrote an open letter to the LGBT community declaring his support for the repeal of DOMA and Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, as well as his support for the passage of ENDA and hate-crimes legislation.

Our community is coming together to urge President-Elect Obama and the new Congress to make LGBT equality among its top priorities in the upcoming legislative session. We will no longer be treated like second-class citizens. We will not accept anything less than full equality.

While Massachusetts has a good track record on LGBT equality, there are still many issues facing LGBT citizens of the commonwealth. Massachusetts allows same-sex couples to marry, yet they only receive 25% of the rights, benefits, and privileges that come with marriage. Seventy-five percent of marriage rights are denied to Massachusetts same-sex married couples because of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. Openly gay and lesbian people from Massachusetts are barred from joining the military. LGBT people can be fired from their jobs and evicted from their apartments in a majority of the United States simply because they are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. In Massachusetts, gays and lesbians are protected from employment discrimination, but transgendered people are not.

The demonstration on Saturday is being endorsed by many progressive organizations in Massachusetts, including:

Gay and Lesbian Advocate and Defenders
Guerrilla Queer Bar
The Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus
The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition
National Association of Social Workers, Massachusetts Chapter
National Lawyers Guild, Massachusetts Chapter
The Progressive Project
The Stonewall Warriors
The Young Democrats of Massachusetts

Find out more information by visiting the website: Join The Impact MA

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Rick Warren Raises Thousands of Dollars for LGBT Equality at Obama’s Inauguration

That could be the headline on newspapers across the country the day after President-elect Obama’s inauguration.

Driving Equality is hosting a Rick-A-Thon to turn Rick Warren’s anti-equality stance into positive change for LGBT people. Every second that Warren stands at the podium, he will be raising money to advance LGBT civil rights. (Pledge Online)

Rick Warren, a staunch opponent of equal rights for LGBT people, has used his pulpit to spread lies about LGBT families and to raise money for anti-gay legislation, such as proposition 8, which stripped equal marriage rights away from same-sex couples. When Warren takes the stage on Inauguration Day, however, he will be raising thousands of dollars to advance LGBT equality across the country.

Rick Warren’s invocation will not last longer than a couple minutes. You can pledge any amount you chose, whether it be $0.05, $0.10, $0.25, or even $1 for every second he speaks. You can even pledge a flat rate for the entire time he is at the podium. We will be displaying signs around Washington D.C. on Inauguration Day, tallying how much money Warren has raised for LGBT equality. We will make sure that everyone knows exactly how much money Rick Warren is raising for LGBT civil rights.

We are using Warren’s own bigotry to raise funds for a good cause, one that will help counter the lies that are being spread about LGBT people. Donations will go to Driving Equality, a 100-day trek across America, through all of the lower 48 states, to advance LGBT equality.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Phelps-A-Thon a Huge Success!

The Phelps-A-Thon was a huge success! We raised over $4,500 for Driving Equality! We collected $755 of that during the 45 minutes we were on the street counter-protesting the Phelps clan. Seventy-five people showed up to support the Phelps-A-Thon and to say no to hate. Everyone cheered as we updated the sign every five minutes, tallying the amount raised by the Phelps-A-Thon. People walking by handed us $5, $10, $20 bills. Someone wrote a check for $250 on the spot. It was incredible!

See the photos here.

Watch the videos here.

Congratulations to everyone that made the Phelps-A-Thon a success! We collected donations from over 100 people all over the country. A few days ago I received a letter from a woman in a small town in Montana. She thanked me for turning Phelps' message of hate into one of positive change for LGBT people. She included a check for $10 as a contribution to the Phelps-A-Thon.

It is not too late to make a contribution to the Phelps-A-Thon. I am sending Fred "God Hates Fags" Phelps a card, telling him how much he raised for LGBT equality. Make a donation today and your amount will be included on that card.

Thank you!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

"GOD HATES FAGS" in Boston

Fred Phelps' clan is coming to Boston! The "God Hates Fags" Westboro Baptist Church is coming to picket the Laramie Project at the Boston Center for the Arts. Fred Phelps and his group travel all across the United States spreading their message of hate. When the group comes to Boston, however, they will be helping to drive equality across America.

Driving Equality is hosting a Phelps-A-Thon to counter Fred Phelps' hateful message. For every minute the "God Hates Fags" clan is protesting, we will be collecting donations for Driving Equality, a 85-day trek across America to all of the lower 48 states to advance LGBT equality. (Pledge Online)


The Phelps clan will be protesting in front of the Boston Center for the Arts Black Box Theatre from 7:15 PM to 8:00 PM on December 12th. You can pledge any amount you chose, whether it be $0.25, $1, $2, or even $5 for every minute they protest. You can even pledge a flat rate for the entire time the group will be demonstrating. (Pledge Online)

The point of this Phelps-A-Thon is two fold. First, we are using Phelps' own hateful message to raise funds for a good cause, one that will help counter the lies that are being spread about LGBT people. Second, we will be displaying a sign in front of the "God Hates Fags" clan tallying how much money they have helped raise for LGBT equality. This will certainly upset the group and it is possible that they will leave early to stop our fundraising.

On the "God Hates Fags" website, Phelps has this to say about the upcoming protest in Boston:

BCA Black Box Theatre - God Sent Matt 2 Hell! 527-551 Tremont Street. Matt is in Hell! Deal with it. Just read Romans 1, and see him and you in those words, and finally this: Romans 1:32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have in them that do them. AMEN!

We can turn these hateful words into positive change. Help Drive Equality Across America.


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

MassResistance "Special Report" on the Boston Protest Against Prop 8

The anti-gay hate group, MassResistance, has posted a "special report" on the protest against prop 8 that took place November 15 at Boston City Hall. It was the largest LGBT rights demonstration in Boston in decades. It is obvious that Brian (the author of MassResistance) was not able to hear any of the speeches. He was counter-protesting the rally. The "special report" talks about the rally targeting people of faith. This is ludicrous. The only mention of religion was one speaker who said that we must love everyone, not matter what faith they may practice.

This report is another attempt by MassResistance to spread lies about LGBT people. They call the rally a fascist-like protest. This could not be further from the truth. In fact, watch the videos here and decided for yourself.

MassResistance is also attacking Congressman Capuano and Congresswoman Tsongas for speaking at the event. I guess they missed Congressman Ed Markey since there is no mention of his speech in the "special report". It is obvious that Brian just watched the two minute news clip on the event (which only mentions Capuano and Tsongas) and then made up his own story.

The MassResistance "special report" asks readers to contact the Congresspeople and scold them for speaking at the event. Let's make sure they hear from us as well. Give them a call and send them an email thanking them for speaking at the rally and for standing up for equality. 

Below is an excerpt from the MassResistance "special report". They are even calling on people who live out of state to contact the Congresspeople. Let's flood their offices with THANK YOUS! You may use the contact information below to call and email Congressman Capuano and Congresswoman Tsongas to thank them for their support.

This is an OUTRAGE! Every good person in America should be disgusted by this. No matter WHERE you live, you have an obligation to let these two know that their endorsement of this vile behavior over the last few weeks is not just un-American, it's inhuman. Contact BOTH of them:

Congresswoman Nikki Tsongas

(Massachusetts 5th District)

Washington office: Phone: 202-225-3411 Fax: 202-226-0771

Local offices (address, phone, fax): LINK to local office contact list

Other local contact info: Phone: 978-458-6454


Congressman Michael Capuano

(Massachusetts 8th District)

Washington office: Phone: 202-225-5111 Fax: 202-225-9322

District office: Phone: 617-621-6208 Fax: 617-621-8628

Email: Email form

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

News Coverage of Protest at Cambridge City Hall

The protest at Cambridge City Hall on Sunday was a testament to the city's strong commitment to social justice and to the queer community. It was literally freezing out, yet dozens of people showed up to hear the mayor, city counselor, and four state representatives speak.

After the speaking program at city hall, we marched to Harvard Square, chanting the entire way. 

Here are a couple of good news articles about the protest:

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Harvey Milk Candlelight Vigil

This Thanksgiving marks the 30-year anniversary of the death of Harvey Milk. On the eve of this sad day, members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community, and their heterosexual allies, will come together to remember Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man elected to public office. There will be a candlelight vigil across from Kendall Cinema, where the film Milk is scheduled to open on the same night. After the vigil, we will all be watching the film together.

Candlelight Vigil Honoring Harvey Milk
Wednesday, November 26
Corner of Binney St. and Fulkerson St.
Across from Kendall Cinema

Harvey Milk is an iconic figure in the LGBT community. He gave hope to a community struggling to be treated with respect. Milk was elected city supervisor in San Francisco in 1977. He was responsible for passing the gay rights ordinance in the city and was a leader in the gay community's efforts against California's Proposition 6, which would have barred openly-gay people from teaching in public schools.

“Harvey Milk is my political hero. He never shirked from leading, powerfully and openly. Milk knew that openness and honesty was the only path to equality for LGBT people," said Marc Solomon, the Executive Director of MassEquality. "The power of his example is as true on the 30th anniversary of his slaying as it was when he was leading the fight against banning gays from teaching in California schools. Milk liked to say about LGBT young people, ‘you gotta give ‘em hope.’ Through his powerful way of living, Milk’s legacy still does.”

The candlelight vigil is being organized by the new LGBT rights organization, Join The Impact MA. Organizer Chris Mason said, "Harvey Milk was a true American hero. He stood up for what he believed in and even died for his cause. The candlelight vigil will be a reminder of the struggles LGBT people have faced in the past, and still face today. We will continue to carry Harvey Milk's message of full equality and will not rest until we reach that goal."

Those interested in attending the candlelight vigil can find out more information by visiting the website for Join the Impact MA ( Local organizers have also established a Facebook page for event (

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Protest Prop 8 at Cambridge City Hall

Join us on Sunday in Cambridge at a rally in favor of equal marriage rights. Cambridge has a special place in the struggle for marriage equality. We will be gathering at Cambridge City Hall - the site where the first legal same-sex marriage licenses were issued over four years ago.

This event is co-sponsored by Join The Impact MA and the Cambridge GLBT Commission. Mayor Denise Simmons, the first openly lesbian African American mayor in the country, will be speaking at the event.


"With the passage of discriminatory legislation like Proposition 8, progressive cities like Cambridge are the beacons that light the way towards a more tolerant future," Simmons said. "We were the first city in the nation to grant same-sex marriage licenses, we certainly won't be the last, and we look forward to the day when Proposition 8 takes its rightful place in the dustbin of history alongside errors like Plessy v. Ferguson and Jim Crow."

Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people have been treated as second-class citizens for long enough. November 4th marks a turning point in the fight of LGBT civil rights. The passage of Prop 8 was the spark that has ignited the new LGBT civil rights movement. The protests are not going to stop until we achieve full equality in every state.

Bring signs, bring your friends, and most of all: don’t give up!

If you want flyers but don’t have a printer, e-mail: Visit the Facebook Event page here.

Hope to see you all there!!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Driving Equality Across America

I am launching an exciting new project called Driving Equality ( During the summer of 2009, I will be going on an 85-day,15,000-mile road-trip, through all lower 48 states, to advance LGBT equality.

Check out to find out more about the project, read about me, take a look at my route, learn about the trip's net-zero environmental impact, and consider donating or becoming a sponsor. When the trip starts, I will be updating the site on a daily basis with blog posts, photos, and videos.

Driving Equality is a trek across America to raise awareness of the various forms of discrimination faced by LGBT people in each state of the nation. Highlighting the differences in rights, laws, and amendments between the states will shed light on the current social standing of queer individuals today. I hope to create a dialogue about the disparities across the nation, and what can be done to end discrimination for all.

During the 85-day trip, I will be meeting with LGBT community organizers, activists, and any citizens willing to talk. Through these interviews, I will gain an understanding of the current political climates, and explore ways of combating discrimination. Throughout my journey, I will make frequent posts on the website, including photos and video clips.

The project will culminate with a documentary of my experience, with the aim of activating a discussion about potential strategies for ensuring equality.

Be sure to check out for more information. I am looking for people to talk with all over the country. If you are interested in learning more, or becoming part of the project, send me an email at

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Pictures and Videos from the Constitutional Convention

Constitutional Convention

June 14, 2007

The huge win at the Constitutional Convention will be remembered as a milestone in Massachusetts history. After years of fighting off anti-gay marriage constitutional amendments, it is finally over.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Anti-Gay Organization Focused on Next Election

The anti-gay organization, Vote On Marriage, announced yesterday that they would not try for another anti-gay marriage amendment this session. To do so they would have to file paperwork by August 1st. It would be pointless to do because the question would come before the same legislature that just voted it down last month.

The leader of Vote On Marriage, Kris Mineau, continues to threaten Massachusetts with his remarks, "This campaign is far from over, believe me," Mineau said. "Some of these legislators will go away, but we will not."

Instead of collecting signatures for yet another anti-gay marriage amendment, Vote On Marriage will be focusing their energy on the 2008 elections. The Boston Globe reports:

The group vowed to publish voter guides and urge its members to unseat lawmakers who opposed the amendment, especially those who campaigned in favor of a gay-marriage ban, but changed their minds.

This is slightly comical when you consider the success Vote On Marriage and other anti-gay groups have had in past elections. They have never been successful in defeating a pro-equality incumbent, not even once. Yet, in every election since the issue has been on the radar, we have been successful in taking out one of their anti-equality incumbents. Their candidates do not win. That is a fact.

It is funny that Vote On Marriage still believes that voters actually care about gay marriage. In reality, voters care about education, health care, jobs, and taxes. Gay marriage is way down on people's lists of important issues. But shhhhh, don't tell Vote On Marriage that. I like watching their candidates get all riled up about gay marriage. They always lose. And I love winning elections!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Presidential Candidates to Debate LGBT Issues

The leading Democratic candidates for president will be participating in an historic televised debated devoted solely to issues affecting the LGBT community. The debate will be held in front of a live audience in Los Angeles on August 9th. The debate will be aired by LOGO and will also be available online through live streaming video at

This is the first time in our nation's history that the leading candidates for the presidency will participate in an LGBT focused debate. During the 2004 presidential campaign all but two leading Democratic candidates participated in a similar, HRC-sponsored forum.

The leading Democratic candidates have confirmed that they will participate in the debate. Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards will most likely be joined by other Democratic presidential hopefuls. The panel questioning the candidates will include HRC President Joe Solmonese and outspoken lesbian singer Melissa Etheridge.

Questions from the panel will range from marriage equality, workplace discrimination, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell", hate crimes, HIV/AIDS, and other issues. Let's hope we get some real answers from the candidates.

You will be able to submit your own questions for the candidates through and

Monday, July 02, 2007

Senator Barrios Gives Farewell Speech

Senator Barrios, the only openly gay Massachusetts Senator, gave his farewell speech on the floor of the Senate Chamber today. He was introduced by Senator Wilkerson, who mentioned Barrios' husband in her remarks; "behind this great man, is a great man." She then paused and said, "you were supposed to laugh."

Senator Barrios' speech was very moving. He spoke about being yo
ung and realizing that he was gay. He found a book on a library shelve about an openly gay athlete. He was grateful to find that book because he was able to relate to what he read. It helped him to read about someone who had gone through it before him.

He spoke about when he first sought public office in 1997; he couldn't fin
d a book about running for office in Massachusetts with a name like "Barrios". He was the first, and still is the only, Latino Senator in Massachusetts. He had to write that book himself, as did many of his female colleagues in the Senate. However, after they write their own books, they will leave them on the shelve for others to pick up after them.

Senator Barrios has written a very powerful book in Massachusetts. He stood proud as an openly gay Senator and led the fight for safe schools for LGBT young people and against the discriminatory amendments that would have banned equal marriage rights. As he departs from the Senate, he will leave the book he has written on the shelve. Perhaps one day one of us will pick up that book.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Teens Indicted in Hate Crime Attack

The three 19 year-olds charged in the hate crime attack of Jenine Nickola in Lowell on June 2 were indicted today by a Middlesex Grand Jury. The men are being charged with violation of constitutional rights, assault and battery for purpose of intimidation due to sexual orientation, and assault and battery.

Both the Lowell Sun and the Boston Globe use the wrong pronouns in reporting the story.
"According to police, James Nickola of Lowell was walking alone to his [home] from a nightclub in downtown Lowell when he heard someone behind him call him "faggot." Nickola, who considers himself a transsexual, quickened his pace when his attackers caught up with him."
The attackers are being charged with a hate crime because they believed Jenine Nickola was a gay man. The Boston Globe reported that "the men allegedly used epithets about the man's [sic] sexual orientation prior to and during the beating and told the victim, 'We don't like your kind in our neighborhood.'"

The Massachusetts hate crime laws do not protect transgender people. If the attackers had used epithets about Jenine's gender identity or her gender expression they may not have been charged with a hate crime. This is
blatant discrimination that needs to be corrected.

This year, Representative Carl Sciortino and Representative Byron Rushing introduced House Bill 1722, "An Act Relative to Gender-Based Discrimination and Hate Crimes". We need to make this bill our community's top priority. Go to the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition for more information.

UPDATE: Local LGBT newspapers are split
in reporting the story, disappointing the community they are supposed to serve. In Newsweekly gets it wrong, refers to Jenine as a man. However, Bay Widows gets it right, refers to her as a transwoman.

FURTHER UPDATE: In Newsweekly re-writes their article to correct themselves, refers to Jenine as a transwoman. Better late than never.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Stonewall Rebellion Anniversary

Today is the 38th anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion that started the queer revolution in America. It was just after 1:30 a.m. when New York City Police busted into the the gay bar in Greenwich Village like they had done so many times before.

That night was different. The bar patrons were fed up and decided to fight back. This is a good description of what happened. This is another short description of what took place that night.

The first Pride parades took place in June of 1970
across the United States to commemorate the first year anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion. The LGBT community has been celebrating Pride once a year, usually in June, ever since.

A couple years ago I met a Stonewall Veteran living with his partner on Cape Cod. David Bermudez was there the night the police raided the Stonewall Inn. David was part of the rebellion that started the gay movement. He is one of about 30 Stonewall Veterans that are still living today. I had a chance to hear about the night of the raid and the following events.

David told me that in the early morning hours on June 28, 1969 he was mourning the death of the gay icon Judy Garland. She was buried earlier that night and everyone was feeling down. David was out with his friends and decided to go to their usually hangout, the Stonewall Inn. He said that Stonewall was raided by police on a regular basis.

David showed up at Stonewall around 12:30 in the morning. No one had any idea what was about to happen. An hour later David was standing near the rear of the bar. He noticed smoke near the entrance. At first he thought there was a fire. He told his friends that they had better get out of the bar.

The next thing he knew he was being hit and starting punching back. David explained to me that when the police raided the bar, as they had done so many times before, they started to rough up some of the guys. He said that the drag queens started pushing the cops back. This started the fight. People who usually would not fight back were so upset over the death of Judy Garland that they decided they were not going to take it anymore.

David started to make his way to the front of the bar. He realized that the smoke was not from a fire, it was tear gas used by the police. He was being hit by police and had to punch his way out the door. Once he made it outside, he met his friends at the park across the street. They watched as the police patty wagons pulled up. The police started hauling people away.

A large crowd of LGBT people gathered outside the bar. They banded together and began to fight back.
They started throwing rocks at the police. The crowd outnumbered the police and overtook the officers. The police retreated into the bar, dragging people with them and beating them. Someone uprooted a parking meter and used it as a battering ram to force the police officers out of the bar. Someone else set a fire. The crowd started chanting, "Gay Power" as they fought back for the first time in history. The rebellion continued for the next few days.

There are no pictures from the five days of the rebellion because the media completely ignored the entire event. There have been a couple of documentaries made about Stonewall. There was even a movie, titled Stonewall, made in 1995 based on the actual events. The film is excellent.

Today David lives with his husband Bob on Cape Cod. David and Bob have been together for over thirty years. They were legally married in 2004. Both David and Bob are very involved in politics to this day.

David is a member of the Stonewall Veterans Association. He and his partner marched at the front of New York City's LGBT Pride Parade two years ago as the first Stonewall Veteran to legally marry. It is an honor to know them both.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Happy Gay Sex Day!

It was four years ago today that the United States Supreme Court legalized gay sex. The court handed down it's historic decision in Lawrence v. Texas, striking down the anti-sodomy laws across the nation. The court's decision overturned it's 1986 ruling in Bowers v. Hardwick which stated that laws against gay sex were perfectly legal.

"Bowers was not correct when it was decided, and it is not correct today. It ought not to remain binding precedent. Bowers v. Hardwick should be and now is overruled," wrote Justice Kennedy.

The court's majority held that intimate consensual sexual conduct was part of the liberty protected by substantive due process under the Fourteenth Amendment. This includes the decision to engage in sex with a same-sex partner.
Justice Scalia wrote a dissenting opinion, referring to the overruling of Bowers as "a massive disruption of the current social order". He argued that Lawrence set the legal groundwork for the legalization of same-sex marriage. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court legalized same-sex marriage just five months later.

Many conservatives considered the ruling in Lawrence v. Texas to be judicial activism. Conservative groups held protests on the steps of the court. They knew the implications of the court's decision.

The landmark ruling in Lawrence v. Texas laid the foundation for the modern day fight for equal rights for queer people. We are gay or lesbian because we desire to have sex with members of the same sex. While the right to marry one's partner is important, the right to have sex with one's partner is fundamental.

If it were against the law for us to have sex, it would be illegal for us to be gay. This ruling opened the door for gays and lesbians to be treated equally in all aspects of the law.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Transgender Civil Rights Bill Must Be Our Community's Top Priority

Now that we have defeated the anti-gay marriage amendment, many in the LGBT community are asking, "what now?" Where do we go from here? Where should our community be directing its efforts? What is the next fight?

These questions are being asked and speculated upon all across Massachusetts. It has been said many times that our next fight should be to repeal the "1913 law" that prohibits gays and lesbians from other states from marrying in Massachusetts. This law is clearly discriminatory and it needs to go.

However, before we take up the fight to allow gays and lesbians from other states to marry here, lets make sure we take care of all the members of our own LGBT community first. The right to marry is important, but
there are still some basic human rights being denied to some in our community today. We need to make sure that everyone in the Massachusetts LGBT community has the same basic protections that gays and lesbians have been enjoying since 1989.

Transgender people are not protected in our state's non-discrimination or hate crime laws. Transgender people in Massachusetts have been fired from their jobs, evicted from their homes, and beaten up on the street. Before we do anything else, we must address this blatant discrimination.

Of course we have the ability to work on more than one issue at a time. However, our top priority must be to fight for the basic rights of those in our LGBT community who are not yet protected under the law. We should all be
able to work, go to school, and live without fear.

This year,
Representative Carl Sciortino and Representative Byron Rushing introduced House Bill 1722, "An Act Relative to Gender-Based Discrimination and Hate Crimes". The bill is currently sitting in the Judiciary Committee. We need to make it clear to the leaders in the LGBT political movement that this bill is our top priority. We have the Governor, Senate President, and Speaker of the House on our side. They have each made a commitment to our community. Let's use that to get this bill passed.

Please join me in advocating that the Transgender Civil Rights Bill be our community's top priority. Go to the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition for more information.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

What We Have Been Fighting For

Today I was reminded of what the fight for equal marriage rights is all about. I attended my cousin's wedding in Buzzards Bay. It was a beautiful ceremony in a gazebo by the Cape Cod Canal. The happy couple was joined by friends and family members rejoicing in the spirit of love.

This is what the marriage equality movement is all about. It is not an abstract idea, it is two people in love. This is what we have been fighting to protect. This is why we made all those phone calls, wrote those letters, and spent countless hours at the State House for Constitutional Conventions.

My cousin Steve and his husband Mike set their wedding date months ago. It seems appropriate to me that the wedding took place exactly one week after we secured equal marriage rights in Massachusetts. They said their vows at exactly the same time the winning vote was announced last week.

While we celebrate our huge win over the anti-gay forces and debate where our movement should be headed next, let's not forget what we have been fighting for. It's about love. It always has been.

Congratulations Steve and Mike. May you have many happy years together.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Legislators Being Bombarded

The 11 legislators who switched their votes to protect marriage equality are being bombarded with phone calls, emails, and letters from same-sex marriage opponents. The anti-gay marriage callers are harassing legislators and yelling at their aids.

In this recent article, Representative Paul Kujawski, who switched his vote to protect marriage equality, said that he doesn't know how many calls he has received since the vote on Thursday.

“There are some people who called who said ‘You’ll never win (an election) again.’ There were emotional outbursts of disappointment," Representative Kujawski said.

“They called me unmentionable names. There have been some real insulting and unmentionable statements.”

This is not surprising given the recent email that the organization leading the fight against equal marriage rights, Vote on Marriage, sent out to their members. The email is titled "Tell the 11 Benedict Arnolds how you feel about their betrayal".

Vote on Marriage portrays itself as a professional "mainstream" organization. Yet, in this recent email to their members, they sound more like the radical fringe group MassResistance than a "mainstream" organization.

Ironically, in another letter to their members titled "Keep the Faith", the leader of Vote on Marriage, Kris Mineau, wrote "We have always conducted ourselves in a professional matter." What do you think?

This is the latest Vote on Marriage email to their members:

Dear Supporters,

After a few days to ruminate and digest the events of last Thursday, it is time to remove the knife from your back and let the eleven legislators who betrayed the people of this state know how outraged you are at their betrayal.

Last Thursday, after the votes were cast and the final tally revealed, eleven legislators (nine who had voted for the Marriage Amendment at the Constitutional Convention held on Jan. 2; two freshmen legislators who ran and won election on "letting the people vote" last year) turned their back on the citizens of this Commonwealth and voted to deny the people a say on the definition of marriage. This is an outrage and these eleven legislators must understand that disloyalty has consequences.

The Traitors

Rep. Geraldo Alicea, D-Charlton

Rep. Christine Canavan, D-Brockton
Rep. Paul Kujawski, D-Webster
Rep. Paul Loscocco, R-Holliston
Rep. Robert Nyman, D-Hanover

Rep. Angelo Puppolo, D-Springfield
Rep. Richard Ross, R-Wrentham
Rep. James Vallee, D-Franklin
Rep. Brian Wallace, D-South Boston

Sen. Gale Candaras, D-Wilbraham

Sen. Michael Morrissey, D-Quincy

These eleven Benedict Arnolds not only lied to the leaders of our movement, they lied to every citizen in this state. Right up until the day of the vote, each of these legislators reiterated their commitment to voting "Yes" to give the people a right to voice their opinion on same-sex marriage. Unfortunately, the true character of these so-called "public servants" became apparent once the final vote was recorded.

The day of the Constitutional Convention, Arline Isaacson, the chief lobbyist for the homosexual movement, was quoted in the Boston Globe saying, "It's very frustrating because legislators keep upping the ante on what they want to get for their votes." What could she possibly mean by that sentence other than bribery? How do the eleven legislators who switched their votes feel about that quote?

Please visit and click on "Click Here for the 11 Benedict Arnolds" in the red "Alert Area." (You can also just CLICK HERE.) This link will bring you to a page that has all the contact information for the eleven vote switchers. Please call, email and write to them today. Let them know, in civil but strong terms, how you feel about their decision to change their votes. They need to know that the outrage over their betrayal is real and will not go away overnight. Get your family, friends and neighbors to join in as well.

Our opponents may have won this round, but the fight is far from over!

It is no wonder these legislators are being harassed. It is extremely important to let these 11 legislators know that we truly appreciate their vote against the discriminatory amendment. They are being flooded with calls and emails from the anti-gay side, lets make sure they get plenty of calls and emails from the pro-equality side as well. (Don't forget to call and email your own legislators)

Rep. Geraldo Alicea 617-722-2060

Rep. Christine Canavan 617-722-2006

Rep. Paul Kujawski 617-722-2017

Rep. Paul Loscocco 617-722-2220

Rep. Robert Nyman 617-722-2020

Rep. Angelo Puppolo 617-722-2011

Rep. Richard Ross

Rep. James Vallee

Rep. Brian Wallace 617-722-2013

Sen. Gale Candaras

Sen. Mickael Morrissey 617-722-1494

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Provincetown Film Festival

I am in Provincetown this weekend for the Provincetown International Film Festival. There are a bunch of films playing that I have wanted to see. This is a great a way to wind down after a long Pride week and the emotional Constitutional Convention.

After reading an article in the Advocate about the new film Red Without Blue, I was please to see that the movie is playing at the film festival. It looks like an interesting movie:
Twins Mark and Alex Farley came out in their early teens. A tumultuous divorce, boredom, and sexual abuse led to drug addiction and a failed suicide pact. Separated for several years during and after treatment, the pair reconnects as Mark starts art school and Alex begins to transition to Clair.
Some of the other movies I am looking forward to seeing are
Itty Bitty Titty Committee, Full Grown Men and Everything's Cool.

I will be spending the rest of the weekend watching independent films, relaxing on the beach, and strolling down Commercial Street. This is a perfect way to celebrate the huge win at Thursday's Constitutional Convention.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


The Massachusetts Legislature defeated the anti-gay marriage amendment today by a vote of 45 to 151. This was the state's seventeenth Constitutional Convention regarding gay marriage.

It is finally over.

Hundreds of people cheered and protested outside the State House today for hours before the vote. When the vote was taken, gay marriage supporters rejoiced by cheering, clapping, singing, crying, and hugging each other.

It has been a long fight. Along the way we lost a few battles, but today, we won the war.

Congratulations to everyone who has worked so hard to make this victory possible. Every phone call, letter, email, and visit to the State House was needed to win this fight.

You did it!

I will be posting pictures and videos from inside and outside the Constitutional Convention, including a video of the crowd erupting the moment the vote was announced.

UPDATE: The video below is of the Religious Coalition for the Freedom Marry marching from the interfaith service at 7:30 in the morning, across Boston Common, and across Beacon Street to join pro-equality demonstrators in front of the State House.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Seventeenth Constitutional Convention

This Thursday, June 14, will be the seventeenth Constitutional Convention in Massachusetts to deal with an anti-gay marriage amendment.

This battle has been going on for over five years. We have watched, argued, maneuvered, protested, cheered, sang, cried, yelled, clapped, and chanted for countless hours while our rights have been debated in Constitutional Conventions. We have seen two anti-gay constitutional amendments move forward and we have seen two anti-gay marriage amendments defeated.

We have had to defend ourselves through sixteen Constitutional Conventions and endless hours of debate. Here is the list:

May 1, 2002 - The Constitutional Convention convenes to consider the initiative petition amendment (H 4840) to the Constitution relative to the "protection of marriage". RESULT: Recessed until 6/19/02.

June 19, 2002 - The Constitutional Convention reconvenes to consider the amendment (H 4840) that would ban same-sex marriage. RESULT: Recessed until 7/17/02.

July 17, 2002 - The Constitutional Convention reconvenes to consider the anti-gay marriage amendment. Senate President Birmingham adjourns the convention. RESULT: The amendment is effectively killed.

May 14, 2003 - The Constitutional Conventions meets to discuss a new proposed amendment (H 3190) that would ban gay marriages and marriage-like benefits for same-sex couples. RESULT: Recessed until 11/12/03.

November 12, 2003
- The Constitutional Conventions reconvenes to take up the anti-gay marriage amendment (H 3190). RESULT: Recessed until 2/11/04.

February 11, 2004 - The Constitutional Conventions reconvenes to take up the anti-gay marriage amendment (H 3190). After much heated debate, the concon recesses until the next day.

February 12, 2004 -
The Constitutional Conventions reconvenes to take up the anti-gay marriage amendment. Hundreds of people fill the State House as the second day of the Constitutional Convention heats up. Lawmakers on both sides debate and maneuver. The night ends with pro-gay marriage legislatures conducting a filibuster until midnight. RESULT: Recessed until 3/11/04.

March 11, 2004 - The Constitutional Conventions reconvenes. The legislature votes three times on a gay marriage ban that would also establish civil unions. Maneuvers by both opponents and supporters of gay marriage leave it unclear whether the constitutional amendment would ever get to the voters. RESULT: Recessed until 3/29/04.

March 29, 2004 -
The Constitutional Conventions reconvenes and votes in favor of the "compromises amendment" that would ban gay marriage and establish civil unions. RESULT: The amendment passes and moves to the second round with a vote of 105-92.

May 11, 2005 - The Constitutional Conventions reconvenes to debate the anti-gay amendment. RESULT: Recessed until 8/24/05.

August 24, 2005 - The Constitutional Conventions reconvenes to debate the anti-gay amendment. RESULT: Recessed until 9/14/05.

September 14, 2005 -
The Constitutional Conventions reconvenes to debate the anti-gay amendment. Pro-gay marriage forces have enough votes to kill the amendment. Anti-gay marriage groups drop support for the amendment in favor of a new amendment that does not include civil unions. Both sides urge legislators to vote against the amendment. RESULT: The amendment is defeated with a vote of 157-39.

May 10, 2006 -
The Constitutional Conventions meets to take up a new amendment to ban gay marriage. This new amendment does not include civil unions and, because it is an initiative petition, needs only 25% of the legislature's support to pass. RESULT: Recessed until 7/12/06.

July 12, 2006 - The Constitutional Conventions reconvenes to debate the anti-gay marriage amendment. Marriage equality advocates do not have enough votes to win. RESULT: Recessed until two days after the general election, 11/9/06.

November 9, 2006 -
The Constitutional Conventions reconvenes to debate the anti-gay marriage amendment. Marriage equality advocates still do not have the votes to win. In a procedural maneuver designed to kill the amendment, the legislature votes to recess until the last day of the session. RESULT: Recessed until 1/2/07. MassEquality declares victory.

January 2, 2007 - The Constitutional Conventions reconvenes to take up the anti-gay amendment. After a lawsuit filed by anti-gay marriage advocates, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court said that state lawmakers have a constitutional duty to vote on a ballot initiative to ban same-sex marriage. The amendment only needs 50 votes to pass. RESULT: The amendment passes and moves to the second round with a vote of 62-134.

May 9, 2007 - The Constitutional Conventions takes up the anti-gay marriage amendment in the second round. RESULT: Recessed until 6/14/07.

Many in the LGBT community, including me, are sick and tired of going to Constitutional Conventions. They can be incredibly draining. I can think of a million things that I would rather do than go to the State House and fight for my rights...again.

However, we can't give up, or even slow down now. We are so close to winning. State House sources say that we are just three or four votes away from winning. We need to be there on Thursday, even if there is not actually going to be a vote. We need to be there to show the legislature that we are not giving up our rights.

We have survived sixteen Constitutional Conventions. We can make it through the seventeenth one as well. See you there!