30 Profiles in 30 Days from the LGBT World: Kate Kendell

September 8, 2009

by Tracy Kachtick-Anders | San Francisco Examiner

Kate Kendell, Esq.

Kate Kendell is the Executive Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights. The NCLR is a leading organization dedicated to the achievement of equal civil and human rights for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities. The NCLR’s website states, “No stone will go unturned in pursuit of our goal of achieving full and equal civil and human rights for all. Our programs focus on elder law, employment, families and parenting, healthcare, immigration, marriage, relationship recognition, sports, transgender law, youth, and other civil rights in order to create safer homes, safer jobs, and a more just world.”

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Governor Paterson Aims to Push Bill on Gay Marriage during Special Session

September 8, 2009

by Glenn Blain | New York Daily News

Gay marriage will be on the state Senate’s agenda as early as this month if Gov. Paterson gets his way.

In an interview with the Advocate, Paterson said he intends to put the bill legalizing same-sex marriage on the agenda when he calls the Legislature back into session to deal with the state’s $2.1 billion budget deficit.

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11 Years after Shepard’s Death, Mom Pushes for Hate-Crime Law

September 8, 2009

by Andrea Stone | USA Today

One of the most approachable faces of the gay rights movement may finally see her mission fulfilled this year as Congress moves closer to passing the hate-crimes bill she has lobbied for a decade to pass. The Matthew Shepard Act would extend federal protections to people victimized because of sexual orientation. To give lawmakers an added push, Shepard begins a tour this month to promote her book, The Meaning of Matthew: My Son’s Murder in Laramie, and a World Transformed.

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2010 Olympic Games Set to Show Some Pride

September 8, 2009

by Jane Armstrong | The Globe and Mail

featuring an interview with NCLR Sports Project Director Helen Carrol

 Helen Carrol

After his gold-medal swim in the 1992 Summer Games, Canadian swimmer Mark Tewksbury was in the mood to celebrate. He went to a Barcelona gay bar and stood outside on the sidewalk.

“I had always promised myself that as soon as I was done, I’d start to live my life, so I was ready,” Mr. Tewksbury said in a recent interview.

Not ready enough as it turned out. Despite an aching curiosity, he didn’t go inside the bar. “I was, sort of, too afraid to go in, fearing that reporters were sort of hovering.”

At the time, the celebrated swimmer had told only a female friend that he was gay. Despite his desire to celebrate his “big moment,” Mr. Tewksbury was a closeted gay athlete and he loathed the thought of bringing attention to his sexual orientation. “It was still a huge, deep, dark secret.”

Flash forward 17 years to gay-friendly Whistler, where event organizer Dean Nelson hopes to neutralize the fear and loathing that homosexuality still inspires in elite athletic circles.

For the first time in Olympic history, a Pride House will be set up for gay athletes, spectators and the general public.

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The Heat Is On—Urge Congress to Pass ENDA Now!

September 8, 2009

With Labor Day over, Congress is back in Washington. We all know that they have a great deal on their plate, including ENDA, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. Soon, we’ll know when the House will hold a full hearing on the importance of creating workplace protections for LGBT people. Then they will vote, and with our visible and vocal support, we have every reason to believe that ENDA is finally within reach. Then, on to the Senate!

There are two things I know about ENDA:

It is long overdue.

It will not pass without our hard work. 

Let’s turn up the heat on Capitol Hill. We must hold their feet to the fire. Congress must feel the pressure and feel the urgency to act.

We are at the tipping point: ENDA is pending in the House and Senate, there is leadership and strong bipartisan co-sponsorship in the House, and the community is united. Congressional action is imminent.

For the past year, NCLR has been working extremely closely with partner organizations to pass ENDA for the LGBT community and for all those who face discrimination in the workplace based on their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. Strategically, methodically, and relentlessly working.

 I want to tell you about NCLR’s amazing year of work on ENDA.

NCLR Legal Director Shannon Minter testified at the first congressional hearing ever held on workplace discrimination against transgender people—a critical piece of advocacy that changed the tenor on Capitol Hill. Then, to keep the profile of an inclusive ENDA high and the momentum going, NCLR wrote targeted pieces on ENDA to both Congressmembers and the Obama Administration.

We worked with a broad partnership of our movement’s national organizations who came together  to formally establish a lasting coalition to engage 400 state and local organizations committed to an inclusive ENDA—an ENDA to protect the entire LGBT community. We’ve worked to build the momentum through action alerts and coalition conference calls, pushing for grassroots action through in-district and town hall meetings, and many more efforts.

When Congressmembers Barney Frank and Tammy Baldwin told us that constituent action in Congressmembers’ home districts was the key to passing ENDA, NCLR acted immediately, hiring the only staffer in the coalition whose time is exclusively devoted to exactly that endeavor: Jaan Williams, NCLR’s organizer, who works full-time in our Washington Regional Office. Every day, he works to engage constituents to educate Congressmembers and their staffs about the problem of gender identity discrimination, to organize local action teams, and to build grassroots support for an inclusive ENDA.

Jaan has talked with hundreds of individuals in key districts all over the country. He has travelled to Denver, Colorado; Portland, Maine; and San Francisco, California to engage individuals and organizations in the effort. In April, he joined NCLR Legal Director Shannon Minter as a trainer with the National Center for Transgender Equality on their Capitol Hill lobby days. In July, Jaan went to St. Louis, Missouri to attend the Equality Federation’s conference, helping to ramp up the grassroots efforts by meeting with important state leaders. And we will continue to send Jaan to critical areas and meetings in order to build support to pass ENDA.  Jaan is a great addition to the NCLR team. He’s energetic, dedicated, and hardworking, and his efforts all over the country have helped nail down key votes on Capitol Hill.

I am proud of our work on ENDA, to end discrimination against LGBT people, and I am proud of the work of our partner organizations, too. On inclusion specifically, NCLR has long been a leader, advocating to end discrimination against transgender and gender non-conforming people through nationwide protections. The ENDA work is just one piece of our efforts, but it is a vital one because nationwide protections are at stake. Because ENDA is a top legislative priority, we’ve poured significant staff time and energy into this effort every single week this year.

I know it feels like passing ENDA shouldn’t even be a big deal for Congress. Discrimination against LGBT people is so clearly wrong and banning it so clearly right. Passage of this (actually rather modest) legislation was so practical and long overdue that President Obama campaigned on ENDA’s passage.

But let’s face reality: the deal is not done until the House and Senate pass the legislation, and the President signs the bill into law. So we are working tirelessly on ENDA—advocating, organizing, writing, and doing everything we can to get lawmakers to make ENDA  the law of the land.

Now is our moment in Washington. Our hard work on ENDA will pave the way future LGBT issues on Capitol Hill, and around the country. I can’t put it any more plainly than this: passing ENDA is essential to winning so much more.

We’re pouring our hearts and key resources into the ENDA effort.

Congress must hear from you that this bill is a priority, that you want it, and that you need it. If you haven’t contacted your Representative and Senators, please do it right now. If you already have, please do it again. It is up to all of us to pass ENDA.  

Together, we’ve reached the “leave no stone unturned” moment. We’re on it. What are you willing to do?

In solidarity,

kate signature


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