Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Governor Paterson To Sign Executive Order Prohibiting Discrimination in State Employment on the Basis of Gender Identity
Dear friends:

Well, you just can't keep a good story down. Today, the New York Times broke the story about Governor David Paterson's policy announcement affecting transgender New Yorkers. Tomorrow, Governor Paterson will sign an executive order prohibiting discrimination in state employment on the basis of gender identity. New York will become the seventh state in the nation to offer public employees such protection. We've included more information in our press statement below, which we issued after the Times broke the story.

We're sorry if this message seems less polished than our ordinary communications, but we wanted to get this news out to our friends and supporters as quickly as possible. We'll have more information on our web site later today, and will post a copy of the Governor's Order, as well as pictures and video from the signing ceremony, on our web site tomorrow.

Please come to the Center tomorrow at 10:30 (doors open at 10) to thank the Governor for taking this bold step on behalf of transgender equal rights. You can get more information about tomorrow's event here.

We're grateful to our friends and allies who have helped make this day possible. And we extend our heartfelt thanks to Governor David Paterson, who has proven himself to be a champion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equal rights.

We hope you enjoy this news.

Best wishes,

Michael Silverman
Executive Director
December 15, 2009

Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund Hails Governor Paterson's Signing Tomorrow of Executive Order Barring Discrimination Against Transgender State Employees

New York State To Become Seventh State to Offer Job Protections to Transgender Public Employees

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - The Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF) hails New York State Gov. David A. Paterson's planned signing tomorrow of an executive order barring discrimination against transgender state employees. New York will become the seventh state to protect public employees from discrimination based on gender identity or expression, after Delaware, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

"Like everyone else, transgender employees deserve to be judged on their ability to do the job, and not on who they are," TLDEF executive director Michael Silverman said. "This executive order will ensure that hard-working transgender employees of New York State can work without fear of discrimination, and provide for themselves and their families," he added. “We applaud Governor Paterson for taking this important step for transgender equal rights.”

Transgender people face tremendous discrimination in the workplace. Forty-seven percent of transgender people report being fired, or denied a job or promotion just because of who they are. In one recent Florida case, 17-year-old Zikerria Bellamy was denied a job at a McDonald's restaurant because she is transgender. Miss Bellamy applied online for the job, but after managers learned that she is transgender, she received a voicemail message from one of the them telling her, "You will not get hired. We do not hire fa**ots." TLDEF filed a complaint on Miss Bellamy's behalf on Dec. 7.

Few protections exist for transgender people who experience employment discrimination. In 38 states, there is no law protecting people from being fired because they are transgender. In New York, while a number of municipalities protect transgender workers from on-the-job discrimination, there is no statewide law offering such protection. The Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act, which would add gender identity and expression to the state's non-discrimination law, has been repeatedly introduced and passed by the state Assembly, but it has never been passed by the state Senate.

Federal law similarly offers no job protection for transgender people. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) would address discrimination in the workplace by making it illegal to fire, refuse to hire, or refuse to promote an employee based on the person's gender identity or sexual orientation. ENDA has been stalled in the House of Representatives despite demands by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans that Congress take swift action to pass the legislation.

"We applaud Gov. Paterson for recognizing that transgender New Yorkers should have the chance to earn a living and provide for their families without being refused a job or fired for reasons that have nothing to do with their ability to do the job," Silverman added.
marriage equality has just passed in Washington, D.C.!
It's a huge victory, and you should be proud – your support allowed us to invest tremendous staff time and resources into this fight. We did it, and I can't thank you enough.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

From the Office of the Moderator
Metropolitan Community Churches
For Immediate Release: 10 December 2009
Today, as the world marks International Human Rights Day and the anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights, a document laying the foundation for the pursuits of human rights law around the globe, we of the Christian faith also mark the second week of Advent and reflect on the promise of the prophet Baruch that God will give a new name to the people of God, "Peace-through-Justice."

As political leaders and advocates for justice gather to demand an end to discrimination and violence against human beings marginalized because of diversities, Baruch's promise meets the world's cry for "peace on earth, good will among all."

Baruch's promise comes to a world where people from every nation, creed and culture need the kind of peace that passes all understanding and that can end our conflicts internally and externally. It comes to a world and its people in need of the inner peace of the soul --- the peace inside that will and can manifest itself outside, and that holds the possibility of ending the suffering of so many who live under the ravages of war, hatred, greed and violence.

Our challenges, as people of faith, remain many, I know. As we mark this time dedicated to ending discrimination and bringing peace, however, I am particularly mindful of the recent announcement by the President of the United States, Barack Obama, to escalate troop deployments to Afghanistan in the hope of ending eight years of violence and bloodshed in that part of our world.

I am also mindful of the widespread skeptism about this strategy, and believe that the uneasiness many of us share may in fact be a sign of hope that people who long for peace and who believe in the promise of universal good will are coming to doubt the efficacy of war or the promises of violence. I am hoping that the unsettled feeling many of us share, is a sign of our developing belief that violence on all levels --- interpersonal, communal and global --- can and must end. And I am praying that the violence Jesus was born into and that continues to claim so many victims --- poverty --- will become our collective battlefront. I am praying today that, as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has urged, we will join hands around the globe and commit to living together in equity and peace.

I am mindful and grateful for the fact that there are more organizations and individuals engaged in serious peacemaking than ever in the history of the world. More people give more time and money and resources to pursuing peace than ever before.

Many of us no longer believe that war or its resulting devastation and impoverishment are inevitable.

Many of us have hope for a new day, a new world.

We have hope for the promise of Advent --- "peace on earth, good will among all" --- coming to birth in our lifetimes.
It is with that hope in mind, on this day dedicated to the pursuit of universal human rights, that I ask all MCCers and people of faith around the globe to join me in praying for:

+ An end to the wars in Iraq, Afhanistan and Pakistan, and for the safety
of all in harm's way.

+ An increase in justice and the extension of human rights for all people,
especially LGBT people, those living with HIV/AIDS, those living in
poverty, refugees, and all whose lives have been torn apart by wars. May
just and right relationships bring the world to peace.

Join me in praying today that:

+ Every leader around the globe who is charged with making decisions
that promise to impact all of us, will do so with the pursuit of peace as
their ultimate goal.

+ Every person and nation trapped in the cycles of violence and counter-
violence, from Israel to Palestine to the Congo and Uganda, will find a
new way, a more promising path for sharing life together.

+ Every human being will use each moment as the moment to speak up
for and take risks for, and live and act for peace.

I call on MCCers around the globe and people of faith everywhere to pray with me today and every day of this Advent Season, as we honor the one crowned "Prince of Peace," for an end to the violence, terrorism and suffering so many know as their daily reality. Pray with me for that a new day of hope and promise will dawn on this earth and all its peoples.

+ The Rev. Elder Nancy Wilson, Moderator
Metropolitan Community Churches

Monday, December 7, 2009

TLDEF Files Employment Discrimination Complaint with Florida Commission on Human Relations Against McDonald's for Refusing to Hire Transgender Woman

TLDEF today filed a Complaint with the Florida Commission on Human Relations against an Orlando McDonald's restaurant for refusing to hire 17-year-old Zikerria Bellamy because she is transgender. We want you to be the first to know.

On July 10, 2009, Zikerria applied online for a position as a Shift Manager or Crew Leader at McDonald's. On July 28, after managers at McDonald's learned that Zikerria is transgender, she received the following voicemail message from one of the managers:

Zikerria never received the job interview she sought. McDonald's refused to hire her.

Zikerria's story is all too common. Transgender people face tremendous discrimination in the workplace. According to a recent survey by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality, 47% of transgender people report being fired, or denied a job or promotion, just because of who they are.

Few protections exist for transgender people who experience employment discrimination. In 38 states, there is no law protecting transgender people from being fired because of who they are. Federal law similarly offers no job protection for transgender people.

In Florida, while no law explicitly addresses discrimination based on gender identity, administrative agencies in Florida have ruled that transgender people are protected by the Florida Human Rights Act's prohibitions on sex and disability discrimination. The Competitive Workforce Bill, which would add gender identity and sexual orientation to the Florida Civil Rights Act, was introduced in the Florida legislature on November 20.

At the federal level, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) (S.1584) would address discrimination in the workplace by making it illegal to fire, refuse to hire, or refuse to promote an employee based on the person's gender identity or sexual orientation at companies with fifteen or more employees. The legislation was introduced in the United States Senate on August 5, 2009. On November 5, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee held the Senate's first hearing on the latest version of ENDA. A version of ENDA was also introduced in the United States House of Representatives on June 24, 2009. The House Education and Labor Committee held a hearing on the measure on September 23. Little has happened since.

According to a 2007 survey, 72 percent of Americans agree that "fairness is a basic American value and employment decisions should be based solely on qualifications and job performance, including for transgender people." In a 2002 poll, 61 percent of those polled said that we need laws to protect transgender people from discrimination. President Obama supports the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and has stated his belief that anti-discrimination employment laws should be expanded to include sexual orientation and gender identity.
What You Can Do


As you've done in the past, please help us spread the word about what happened to Zikerria. Let's do our best to make sure it never happens again. Post the voicemail on Facebook, tweet about it, write about it in your blogs and embed the voicemail there, too. The louder we raise our voices, the more people will listen!


We've joined with our friends and partners at organizations around the nation to demand that Congress take swift action to pass the Employment Non Discrimination Act (ENDA). In light of continuing delays in the House of Representatives, we must state clearly and unequivocally: Passing basic job protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people must happen now.

Call the Capitol Switchboard at 202.224.3121 and ask to speak to your Representative (have your zip code handy and they'll help identify your member of Congress).

When you are connected with your Representative's office, give your name and your city and then let them know:

I am calling in support of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (H. R. 3017/S. 1584), which will protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from job discrimination. No one deserves to be fired from their job because of who they are. No more delays--it is time to pass ENDA.

You can also tell them that you've heard about Zikerria Bellamy's case. If you get voicemail instead of a person, leave a message - they count just as much as if you reach a staff member. You can call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you've called in the past, no problem. Call again.


Saturday, December 5, 2009

ENDA... (Yes Sylvia... we are still working on it!)

Pass ENDA Now - No More Delays!

Right now in this country, there is no federal legislation that protects lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender workers from job discrimination - and that puts people at higher risk of poverty, lack of health care, homelessness and other factors that can increase vulnerability to HIV or progession to AIDS.

But the bill that would end this discrimination - the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (H.R. 3017/S. 1584) - is being delayed in the House of Representatives!

22 national organizations just issued a joint release saying that this delay is unacceptable.

Tell Congress to end the delay! Tell Congress to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, now! Flood congressional offices with calls and emails!

Call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at: (202) 224-3121. Give the operator your zip code and ask to be connected to your Representative. Then, after leaving your message, hang up and call again to be connected to your two Senators.

Suggested voicemail message:

My name is _____ and I live in (your city, state).

As a person in the fight against HIV/AIDS, I am calling in support of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (H.R. 3017/S. 1584), to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from job discrimination.

Job protections helps us fight HIV/AIDS so people have steady incomes and health care. Please pass ENDA immediately, without delay.

I can be reached at _______ (provide your phone number and your street address). Thank you.

Or send an email to your Representative and Senators by clicking here.

It only takes a moment and your action can help shape the future!

Thanks from all of us at CHAMP and our allies in United ENDA.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Call for Continued Dedication to the Fight for Human Equality


from Metropolitan Community Churches and The Fellowship
For Immediate Release: 4 December 2009

Leaders of Two Communions

Celebrating Washington, D.C. Marriage Equality Victory

Expressing outrage about the December 2nd NO vote on Marriage Equality by the New York State Legislature, The Rev. Elder Nancy Wilson, Moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches, noted "Both Democrats and Republican are bowing to pressure from those opposed to human equality. As people of faith we believe Marriage Equality is a human rights issue, and one that dedication to the will of God demands we support."

"We are renewing our call to action," added Global Justice Team Chair, The Rev. Pat Bumgardner. "Today we are joining our voice to those of other human rights activists in calling all MCCers and our allies, as people of faith and conviction, to stand firm and not throw in the towel. We know that justice will prevail if we remain faithful to this good fight. Now is not the time to back away. Now is the time to let our legislators know that we are not giving up and that we will continue to press them to do the good and just thing."

While New York State's legislature moved to set back the march toward equality, the Council of the District of Columbia voted on Tuesday to affirm gay marriage in the District. Bishop Yvette Flunder of the Fellowship offered thanks to God for the courageous leaders in the District, and said, "This vote confirms what we knew to be true --- that the radically inclusive love of Jesus Christ knows no boundaries!"

The DC decision is subject to a second round of votes, and the possiblity of intervention by the Congress of the United States. Bishop Flunder and Elder Wilson together urged that people of faith recommit themselves to prayer and action in this interim period. "Perhaps establishing Marriage Equality in our nation's capital will be encouragement enough for states and communities around our nation to embrace this movement for justice universally," commented The Rev. Jim Merritt, Marriage Equality Coordinator for The Global Justice Team of MCC.

Elder Wilson concluded, "Although sobered by the setback, we know that in the end God's will for justice and equality will prevail and we will win."

For those interested in more information on how people of faith can help win the battle for Marriage Equality, contact: The Rev. Jim Merritt, Marriage Equality Coordinator for Metropolitan Community Churches at

This statement prepared in conjuction with The Global Justice Team of Metropolitan Community Churches,

The Rev. Pat Bumgardner, Chair.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Scroll Down: The vote of each state senator is below. Please call your state senator to express your appreciation or disappointment for their vote on the marriage equality bill.

* Eric Adams (D) — YES
* Joseph Addabbo (D) — NO
* James Alesi (R) — NO
* Darrel Aubertine (D) — NO
* John Bonacic (R) — NO
* Neil Breslin (D) — YES
* John DeFrancisco (R) — NO
* Ruben Diaz (D) — NO
* Martin Malave Dilan (D) — YES
* Tom Duane (D) — YES
* Pedro Espada (D) — YES
* Hugh Farley (R) — NO
* John Flanagan (R) — NO
* Brian Foley (D) — YES
* Charles Fuschillo, Jr. (R) — NO
* Martin Golden (R) — NO
* Joseph Griffo (R) — NO
* Kemp Hannon (R) — NO
* Ruth Hassell-Thompson (D) — YES
* Shirley Huntley (D) — NO
* Craig Johnson (D) — YES
* Owen Johnson (R) — NO
* Jeffrey Klein (D) — YES
* Liz Krueger (D) — YES
* Carl Kruger (D) — NO
* Andrew Lanza (R) — NO
* Bill Larkin (R) — NO
* Kenneth LaValle (R) — NO
* Vincent Leibell (R) — NO
* Tom Libous (R) — NO
* Elizabeth Little (R) — NO
* Carl Marcellino (R) — NO
* George Maziarz (R) — NO
* Roy McDonald (R) — NO
* Hiram Monserrate (D) — NO
* Velmanette Montgomery (D) — YES
* Thomas Morahan (R) — NO
* Michael Nozzolio (R) — NO
* George Onorato (D) — NO
* Suzi Oppenheimer (D) — YES
* Frank Padavan (R) — NO
* Kevin Parker (D) — YES
* Bill Perkins (D) — YES
* Michael Ranzenhofer (R) — NO
* Joseph Robach (R) — NO
* Stephen Saland (R) — NO
* John Sampson (D) — YES
* Diane Savino (D) — YES
* Eric Schneiderman (D) — YES
* Jose Serrano (D) — YES
* James Seward (R) — NO
* Dean Skelos (R) — NO
* Malcolm Smith (D) — YES
* Daniel Squadron (D) — YES
* William Stachowski (D) — NO
* Toby Ann Stavisky (D) — YES
* Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D) — YES
* Antoine Thompson (D) — YES
* David Valesky (D) — YES
* Dale Volker (R) — NO
* George Winner (R) — NO
* Catherine Young (R) — NO