Tuesday, May 29, 2012


I feel the need to write a bit as I close one chapter of my life and embark on a new one.  Tomorrow, if all goes as planned, we will be leaving NM, our possessions crammed in a Uhaul, as we drive across Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida for our new home in the Tampa Bay area!

To say I will miss New Mexico would be a gross understatement. I will miss so much about.this state, including some incredible friends!  I have high hopes for the things GetEQUAL NM will be able to do (especially after a successful fundraiser), and I think Brittany will do an amazing job as state lead!

So what is next for me? First and foremost, getting this move over and done with! Then a week of relaxing (with some networking thrown in, of course) before I have to get back to work at my job. I look forward to starting up a GetEQUAL group in central Florida and getting to meet new activists (both seasoned and new to the game). It will be a test of the skills I have learned over the past couple of years, but I look forward to it!  Florida, are you ready for me? I hope so because here I come!


Monday, May 14, 2012

A long month full of organizing

This past month has been a whirlwind for my family and for myself.  On top of preparing for our move from NM to FL, lots of crazy overtime at work, school stuff for our daughter, we have been involved in some very important organizing on both local and national levels for Equality.  Since the Easter Egg Roll trip to DC, I have worked with my great group at NM GetEQUAL on organizing a series of visits to OFA offices in our area, particularly the state headquarters located in Albuquerque, .  GetEQUAL groups around the country have been paying visit to campaign offices to have dialogue about the executive order, and demonstrate in creative ways.  In NM, during the first week, we had a prepared statement about the EO and the need for a signature (and the lack of a valid reason for not signing from the White House).  Our second visit to OFA NM's office included an open letter to OFA. the letter was delivered with more pens, a spine, and the mock thank you card.  We then engaged our local OFA LGBT liaison in discussion about the executive order and about Obama's LGBT advocacy record.

Week three consisted of nearly two dozen activists from around the country traveling to DC to further escalate our issue.  We had things planned out pretty well, but as we were all heading to DC on Wednesday, news broke about the President announcing his support for equality (I will write more on my own views on that later).  So when everyone arrived that night, we had a long, difficult planning session on how to proceed.  In the end, the decision was made to forgo a pre-planned arrestable action at the White House and instead, picket with messaging of "Thank you" to the President, "AND.... sign the executive order, AND... stop LGBT bullying, AND... stop deporting our families".  So we picketed the White House Thursday morning with those signs.  It was important to give thanks for the support the President gave while reminding him of things that still need to be done, some of which he can do TODAY rather than next year.  The picket went well, and we all felt great about the work we had done.   

The next morning, we pulled together another action out of thin air.  Stories were going around the media about Mitt Romney's bullying activities (holding a kid down and cutting his long hair) in school.  Our managing director, Heather Cronk set out to hunt down scissors at some stores, while others worked on messsaging and signs.  Then we marched a mile to the RNC headquarters and protested just outside their door.  Great chants, like "Hey Hey! Ho Ho! Mitt Romney has got to go", and signage insisting that the RNC "cut out" bullyiing of LGBT people.  We received a lot of support from the public on this one, way more than I can remember receiving at any action ever!  It was a great action, and we got our messaging across just fine.  

What a month!  I've had a couple days of complete down time, and now time to get up and regroup, so much more work to be done (including packing for our move at the end of this month)! 


Open letter to OFA NM

Dated May 3, 2012:

Dear OFA NM,

In the spring of 2008, then candidate Obama made an important promise to LGBT people.  He promised that, if elected president, he would sign an executive order barring federal contractors from discriminating against employees on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.  Four years later, President Obama has yet to live up to that promise.  The White House has announced that this order will not be signed at this time and is not a priority.  No valid reason has been given as to why the President will not sign this order.  With an overwhelming majority of voters supporting it, signing the order is not a risky move in an election year, nor is it very controversial.  Last week, we visited your office and brought you pens, thinking that perhaps the President needed a pen to sign the Executive Order.  There still has not been a signing.  This is of great concern to us.  We bring today a mock thank you card to the President from Albuquerque’s anti-LGBT Pastor Steve Smothermon, thanking the President for not standing up for LGBT people this year.  We are also bringing you some spines, because clearly it seems like our President could use a little backbone to do what is right.  The President recently told Rolling Stone Magazine, when presented with pairs of pink socks as a symbol of support and action for the LGBT community that those are “second term socks”.  We also bring pink socks in hopes that the backbones help the President to wear the socks now!

New Mexico GetEQUAL

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Did I Piss You Off?

A poem by me. (comments or discussion of the issue welcome)

Did I piss you off?
I'm sorry, but you see --
       Hold on!  Wait!
       No, I am not sorry,
       I refuse to
         because that serves only to legitimize
                     those who hate,
               and those who say
     "I'm on your side, but you have 
       to understand that there is too much at stake.
       If we stand strong for 'you gays' we could 
       lose it all for heaven's sake!"
  With friends like these
   Who needs
                            Romneys               Santorums         Bachmanns        NOM                  FRC      or the Neo-Nazzis!
For too many decades we have
        picketed, marched, fought,
        asked nicely, ran for office,
        taken beatings, been slandered, 
        been demonized, and DIED.
  You've heard us saying #wecantwait
  Well now I say #wewontwait !
              Why is our community content to 
               take crumbs of equality while
               being asked to give, give, and
               give some more?
     We're better than that
           We're stronger than that 
                 We're smarter than that
Stand up today
                 and say
     I AM Somebody!
     I AM a force to be reckoned with
  I deserve equality
                     Right here!
                     Right now!
       Not just when its convenient for the
       political games of our leadrers.
Did I piss you off?
      Good!  That means you're listening.
  The game is changing -- equality is possible
        evolve or get the fuck
          out of the way!  


Friday, May 4, 2012

Queers meet with "DOMA DAVE" in NM!

Today, myself and fellow activist Janice Devereaux met with Rep. David C Chavez to have discussion about his "Super-DOMA", legislation he introduced in New Mexico this year that would have let the voters decide on a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman.  Having heard that he was very set in his views, I really did not go into this expecting much.  As a matter of fact, I expected to be asked to be fed rhetoric and anti-gay crap before being asked to leave.  On that, he did surprise me, but not in a good way.  Mr. Chavez actually refused to give us any of his own opinions or views on why he thought marriage was not for same sex couples.  He said that he expressed his opinion during the committee hearing and would not go into that today.  Instead, he wanted to hear our views on it.  We both expressed our views about discrimination, separating church and state, the immorality of a majority voting on the civil rights of a majority.  We continued to press him for a reason why he is championing this legislation.  He told us it was something some of his constituents asked him to do, so he did it.  He then went on to say that this is nothing new since other legislators have introduced similar legislation in the state for years.  When I asked him how many constituents asked him to do this, he backslid a bit and said it wasn't about numbers, and that some constituents asked for it as well as colleagues of his.  I then asked if a group of his constituents asked him to introduce legislation that would repeal key aspects of the Civil Rights act, would he introduce it just because he was asked to?  He refused to answer on grounds that it was a hypothetical.  We spent just over 10 minutes in his office discussing this, but it was clear that all he would give us was procedural talk about how legislation comes about, and how it is voted on, which we already knew.  We ended it since there was not going to be any chance of any type of intelligent (or otherwise) debate on the issue itself.  Janice actually ended by stating she wanted the right to have as many ex spouses as any heterosexual person (a direct jab at Mr. Hypocrite himself, a two time divorcee)!

This was one of the most frustrating meetings I have been a part of.  I would have preferred the anti-LGBT rhetoric to him simply refusing to state his opinion.  It is widely known how homophobic this man is, and insiders in Santa Fe say he rarely holds back on expressing his views or opinions on any issue!  With that being said, one can only surmise that he was intimidated by having two queers sitting in his office, and didn't have the gall to give us his own views.  In wrapping things up, he said that we will simply have to agree to disagree on this.  I told him that would be completely OK with me if we were talking "red or green", however, when it comes to my basic civil rights, that is an inexcusable comment.  He shrugged.  Meeting over.  Did we accomplish anything today?  On the surface, no.  Ultimately, though I hope we were able to show him that the LGBT community is not going to sit quietly and continue to let him try and harm us.  I do hope he loses his bid for state senate, and also sincerely hope that others in this great state will continue to call him on his shit if and when he is in office again!