The National Center for Lesbian Rights Celebrates 33 Years of LGBT Legal Advocacy

February 2, 2010

Annual gala to be held on Saturday, May 1 at Metreon Cityview in San Francisco

(San Francisco, CA, February 2, 2010) — Vicki Randle, lead singer and percussionist of the acclaimed Tonight Show Band, will be honored at the 33rd Anniversary Celebration for the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) on Saturday, May 1, 2010, at Metreon Cityview. NCLR is the nation’s premier national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education. NCLR will also honor Will Phillips, the ten-year-old fifth grader from Arkansas who gained international attention for his refusal to say the United States Pledge of Allegiance at West Fork Elementary School because of its false promise of “liberty and justice for all.”

“While this past year has been a rollercoaster of victories and setbacks, we are more committed than ever to our core mission of advancing the civil and human rights of LGBT people and their families,” said NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell. “We are especially thrilled to have young Will Phillips, whose conviction to hold true to his values and principles has inspired all of us and given us an overdue renewed sense of faith during these difficult times. The example he has shown—incredible patience and perseverance in the face of threats and ridicule—provides all of us who are dedicated to making a difference with an extraordinary model to follow.”

In addition to celebrating the achievements of the past year, NCLR will honor Randle and Phillips for their commitment to advancing the rights of the LGBT community.

Randle, a vocalist, percussionist, multi-instrumentalist, and songwriter, will receive the Voice and Visibility Award, which recognizes an individual who has helped to give voice and visibility to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. Randle has worked openly as a lesbian in the music and television industry for more than 20 years. For the past 14 years, she has been the lead singer and percussionist of the acclaimed Tonight Show Band led by Kevin Eubanks, playing the diverse and eclectic mix of styles that makes the band so unique. Her musical career began as a singer and acoustic guitarist, and she divided her early career between political causes such as anti-war, gay and women’s rights rallies of the 70’s and 80’s and showcase clubs around Southern California, notably the Ice House and the Bla Bla Cafe. Celebrated singer-songwriter and pioneer of women’s music Cris Williamson will present the Voice and Visibility Award.

Arkansas fifth-grader Will Phillips captivated the nation when he innocently stated his support for LGBT equality. During an interview with CNN, he explained, “I’ve grown up with a lot of people and I’m good friends with a lot of people who are gay and I think they should have the rights all people should, and I’m not going to swear that they do.” To recognize his courage and support, NCLR will honor Phillips with the Fierce Ally Award, presented by Judy Shepard, activist and founder of the Matthew Shepard Foundation.

The 33rd Anniversary Celebration is NCLR’s annual signature event that draws a sell-out crowd of 1,700 lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their supporters. Festivities begin at 8 p.m., with the ever-witty Kate Clinton returning by command performance as emcee.

Presenting Sponsor of the Anniversary Celebration is Wells Fargo. Our Gold Sponsors are AAA and American Airlines: Rainbow.

For more information on NCLR’s 33rd Anniversary Celebration, visit http://www.nclrights.org/2010ann.


Top Defense Officials Seek to End ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

February 2, 2010

by Elisabeth Bumiller | New York Times

The nation’s top two Defense officials called for an end on Tuesday to the 16-year-old “don’t ask, don’t tell” law, a major step toward allowing openly gay men and women to serve in the United States military for the first time in its history.

“No matter how I look at the issue, I cannot escape being troubled by the fact that we have in place a policy which forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens,” Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee. He said it was his personal and professional belief that “allowing allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly would be the right thing to do.”

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U.S. Census 2010 Opens Doors Wide for LGBT Participation

February 2, 2010

from Our Families Count

In March, American households everywhere will receive their 2010 Census forms in the mail: an important civic milestone that happens only once every ten years.

What makes this year’s Census even more historic is the unprecedented and welcoming outreach by U.S. Census leaders and managers to include the entire lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) and allied community in these efforts, as a way to achieve the nation’s most accurate count possible.

Dr. Robert Groves, Director of the U.S. Census Bureau, endorsed this initiative: “We are charged each ten years to provide Congress with a Census they trust to be accurate and complete. We are grateful to our LGBT community partners in helping us achieve this significant responsibility, and to help educate, motivate and inspire everyone to take part and above all, to be visible and counted.”

For this initiative, the U.S. Census recruited and deployed nearly two dozen Census Bureau Partnership Specialists across the country specifically to work with LGBT community groups and leaders. All of these specialists are working with Che Ruddell-Tabisola who was tapped by the U.S. Census to serve as national LGBT partnership leader and as the primary bridge between the LGBT-inspired community campaign called Our Families Count.

Many of these U.S. Census Partnership Specialists will join Rudell-Tabisola by attending this year’s Creating Change conference in Dallas, Texas, starting on Wednesday, February 3, 2010. Census Bureau representatives will be staffing a welcoming table in the exhibit hall to display new LGBT outreach and education materials.

In addition, a special Workshop entitled, “Want to Add a Question to the Census?” Learn how at Numbers Matter: The Importance of the Census for LGBT Americans in 2010 and Beyond will be held at the conference in Dallas on Friday, February 5 beginning at 10:45 AM (CT).

The panel will include partners of the Our Families Count Collaborative:
•    Dr. Gary Gates, The Williams Distinguished Scholar, The Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law, Los Angeles, CA
•    Glenn D. Magpantay, Democracy Program Director, Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund and Co-Director of the National Queer Asian and Pacific Islander Alliance
•    Jaime M. Grant, Director of the Policy Institute, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Washington, DC

And featuring from the U.S. Census Bureau:

•    Tim Olson, Assistant Division Chief, Field Division
•    Ed SanFilippo, Partnership Specialist

For more background generally on the 2010 Census, please visit www.2010census.gov.

Please also feel free to visit www.ourfamiliescount.org for details specifically for LGBT households – with questions and answers found there in both English and Spanish.


Watch the Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing on DADT Live

February 2, 2010

Watch the Senate Armed Services Committee DADT hearing live on C-SPAN3 here or on the Senate Armed Services Committee website.


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