Red Ribbon Toy Drive, GCAM Logo, AIDS Coalition Of Coastal Texas Re-Opens, Scholarship in Memory of ‘Texas Triangle’ Founder, National DADT Repeal Comes To Texas, ‘Inclusion, Fairness, And Equal Opportunity’ from Obama, HRC on Tennessee TG Murder, & more.
By Nancy Ford
RED RIBBON TOY DRIVE HELPS CHILREN CELEBRATE THE HOLIDAY SEASON
AIDS Foundation Houston’s 14th annual Red Ribbon Toy Drive, sponsored by Reliant Energy, began November 10 and runs through December 9, said organizers of the annual holiday benefit for local children living with and affected by HIV/AIDS.
“AIDS Foundation Houston is truly grateful for the unbelievable generosity displayed by our sponsors and the Houston community during the holiday season,” said Kelly McCann, chief executive officer of AFH. “We are proud that, for the past 13 years, we have been able to make the holidays a little brighter for so many children.”
The public is encouraged to donate new, unwrapped toys appropriate for children between birth and age 12 at a number of designated toy drop-off locations, including AFH’s office, Alley Theatre’s box office, MaleUwear, Mary’s Naturally, Michael’s Outpost, and Resurrection Metropolitan Community Church. For a complete list of drop-off locations, log on to AIDShelp.org.
The toy drive is a collaboration of AIDS Foundation Houston, Texas Children’s Hospital, Harris County Hospital District, the University of Texas Health Science Center–Houston, Baylor College of Medicine, and the University of Texas Medical Branch–Galveston.
GCAM CHOOSES NEW LOGO
Representatives of the Gulf Coast Archive and Museum of GLBT History have announced they have chosen a design by longtime community activist, Sally Huffer, as preservation group’s new logo. The logo was publicly unveiled November 16 at a reception at EJ’s Bar & Grill.
“This new logo provides GCAM with a fresh, new look,” said Craig Farrell, chairman of the GCAM executive board. “While we continue our journey, this logo will be recognized as the symbol that reminds everyone that our GLBT history is very important.”
The new logo, a permanent office, and the opportunity to display several items of history on the walls at the new GLBT Cultural Center on the first floor of the Montrose Counseling Center have highlighted the group’s 10th anniversary year, Farrell said.
AIDS COALITION OF COASTAL TEXAS RE-OPENS WITH SATELLITE OFFICE
Following devastation of its office by Hurricane Ike earlier this year, the AIDS Coalition of Coastal Texas has reopened temporarily at 4206 Avenue S in Galveston.
Inquiries regarding services for individuals with HIV/AIDS living in the three coastal counties based in Galveston are asked to call 409/763-2437.
SCHOLARSHIP ESTABLISHED IN MEMORY OF ‘TEXAS TRIANGLE’ FOUNDER
National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association has announced the establishment of the Kay Longcope Scholarship Award. The scholarship award is to be given to a lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender student of color who plans a career in journalism and is committed to furthering NLGJA’s mission of fair and accurate coverage of the GLBT community.
The award was created thanks to a generous gift from Longcope’s estate and with the guidance of her partner, Barbara Wohlgemuth.
Longcope was co-founder of the statewide GLBT newsweekly The Texas Triangle, and is generally regarded as the first out reporter at the Boston Globe newspaper. The pioneering Longcope started writing for the Globe in 1970 and was employed there for more than 20 years, including serving for a time as the paper’s religion editor. She died of pancreatic cancer on March 28, 2007.
Applications for the Kay Longcope Scholarship Award are available at www.ngltf.org. Deadline for applications is Friday, January 9, 2009.
NATIONAL ‘DON’T ASK, DON’T TELL’ REPEAL EFFORT COMES TO TEXAS
The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network brought its effort to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” to Texas in November, when representatives met with state supporters in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
An “Honor Every Veteran” reception honored former U.S. Army Sergeant Darren Manzella, former U.S. Air Force Staff Sergeant David Hall, and former U.S. Army Brigadier General Keith Kerr on November 15 at the Round-Up Saloon in Dallas.
“With a new president and congress, we now have greater opportunities to build upon renewed grassroots momentum, take decisive action to lift the ban, and remind our supporters that making a difference begins with them,” said Aubrey Sarvis, SLDN executive director.
Texas is home to an estimated 66,000 lesbian and gay veterans.
TASK FORCE EXPECTS ‘INCLUSION, FAIRNESS, AND EQUAL OPPORTUNITY’ FROM OBAMA ADMINISTRATION
The election of Barack Obama to the presidency of the United States brings “a new political era of hope and engagement in the life of this country,” according to Rea Carey, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund executive director.
“A new administration brings a promise for a sea change in the tenor of the national dialogue on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues,” Rea said in a statement following the November 4 election. “For eight years, we have endured a hostile administration that treated us with contempt, rather than as part of the strength, talents, and spirit of this country. It’s long past time our country said goodbye to those destructive, divisive ways and ushers in an era in which each of us is encouraged and inspired to recognize our common humanity.”
Rea said the Task Force Action Fund intends to work with the new administration and new congress to advance several initiatives of particular relevance to GLBT people, including the passage of a strengthened and expanded federal hate crimes law, passage of an inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act, and a repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
HRC URGES ‘THOROUGH INVESTIGATION’ OF TENNESSEE TRANSGender MURDER
The Human Rights Campaign has called for a thorough investigation into the murder of a transgender woman who had previously been a victim of police brutality. Duanna Johnson, whose abuse at the hands of two police officers earlier this year was captured on surveillance video, was found shot to death in North Memphis just before midnight on November 9.
“The tragic murder of Duanna Johnson must be fully investigated,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese said on November 12. “The Tennessee Equality Project recently provided much-needed training to employees of the Memphis Police Department on how to be respectful and responsive to the needs of the LGBT community. Today, we call on the Memphis Police Department to fulfill its renewed commitment to treating transgender people with respect and fairness by thoroughly investigating this horrible crime and ensuring that every measure is taken to bring those responsible to justice.”
Johnson’s murder is the third murder of a transgender person in Memphis since 2006. Tennessee’s hate crimes law does not explicitly cover hate crimes based on gender identity.
HIV/AIDS SUMMIT ADDRESSES BARRIERS TO TESTING, SETS GOALS
The Forum for Collaborative HIV Research, an independent public-private partnership, brought together approximately 300 leading HIV researchers, healthcare providers, and policymakers held November 20 and 21 to examine the state of the U.S. epidemic, and the critical role of routine testing in HIV prevention, treatment, and care.
The National Summit on HIV Diagnosis, Prevention and Access to Care, held at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City in Arlington, Virginia, presented data that demonstrated where and how inroads have been made in the fight against the epidemic, illustrated the consequences of current practices, and highlighted the actions needed for a major public health victory in the United States. Details: www.hivforum.org.