National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Weekly Update
March 13, 2008

In the News:

Task Force responds to Spitzer resignation
New study finds alarming rates of STDs among teenage girls
Lesbian, bisexual and transgender women
      lead the way to full equality
In the states: Washington, South Carolina, New York
New York and D.C. Leadership Awards just around the corner


 

Task Force responds to Spitzer resignation

New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer announced his resignation this week amid a prostitution scandal. Lt. Gov. David Paterson (pictured) will be sworn in as governor on Monday.

“If there is any consolation in this sad, sad situation surrounding Governor Spitzer, it’s that David Paterson is the staunchest ally our New York community has ever had. We know we can count on him to continue his decades-long commitment to winning full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender New Yorkers.”
— Task Force Executive Director Matt Foreman

[ Read the press release ]


 

New study finds alarming rates of STDs among teenage girls

A federal study released this week finds that one in four teenage girls aged 14 to 19 has a sexually transmitted disease (STD). The survey, part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, did not ask about syphilis or gonorrhea, so it is likely the STD rates are actually higher.

“These shocking figures prove that the Bush administration’s rejection of science-based sex education in public schools and its obsessive support of homophobic abstinence-only programs — now totaling $1.5 billion — has not only been a complete waste of money, it has clearly endangered the health of teenage girls.”
— Task Force Executive Director Matt Foreman

[ Get more details and read the full statement ]


 

Lesbian, bisexual and transgender women lead the way to full equality

The Task Force is commemorating Women’s History Month by profiling lesbian, bisexual and transgender women leaders involved in the social justice movement. Our movement is richer because of the diversity and skills represented by each of these individuals and organizations. This week we’re highlighting women leaders doing faith work and members of the National Religious Leadership Roundtable, as well as leaders from state LGBT advocacy organizations. Each week throughout March we will profile a new selection on our Web site, so be sure to visit regularly.

[ View the profiles here ]


 

In the states: Washington, South Carolina, New York

Washington: The Washington state Senate passed the 2008 domestic partnership expansion bill on March 4 by a 29–20 vote. The bill previously passed the House by a 62–32 vote. The governor signed it into law on Wednesday. The measure adds more than 160 rights and responsibilities for registered domestic partners in Washington state. More than 3,700 couples have registered as domestic partners since July 23, 2007. The Task Force provided advocacy assistance in support of this legislation to our state partner, Equal Rights Washington (ERW). We applaud ERW on this important win.

South Carolina: On March 5, the City Council of Columbia, S. C., voted unanimously to pass ordinances prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in housing and public accommodations. Columbia is the state’s first municipality to pass local laws protecting LGBT people from discrimination in housing and public accommodations. The Task Force provided substantial drafting and strategy assistance to our state partner, South Carolina Equality, since last fall in support of this effort. We congratulate South Carolina Equality on this historic victory.

New York: A new poll from the Empire State Pride Agenda shows that 78 percent of New Yorkers support transgender nondiscrimination protections. Pride Agenda Executive Director Alan Van Capelle said the findings show there is “broad public consensus that transgender discrimination is wrong.” The Task Force is proud to have supported the efforts in New York to pass the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) for several years through our Transgender Civil Rights Project and Organizing & Training department. Hopefully the strong support for the bill demonstrated by the Pride Agenda poll will push GENDA through its final hurdles this legislative session. Get more information on the poll results.


 

New York and D.C. Leadership Awards just around the corner

The excitement is really building! This year’s New York Leadership Awards will take place April 7 in the spectacular new New York Times building. Far more exciting than fine architecture, however, are our honorees: David A. Paterson, who will be sworn in as New York’s governor this Monday, director John Waters (Hairspray, Crybaby) and the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. They will be joined by Debbie Harry and Ms. Guy, and emcee Sabrina Matthews. And, for the first time, we’re offering $150 tickets to the cocktail reception and standing room for the awards ceremony. All this and we’re giving Matt Foreman a final farewell. Visit www.theTaskForce.org/nyla to buy tickets, become a sponsor or sign up to fill a table of 10 for dinner. Don’t have a heart of glass — support the Task Force!

Members of D.C.’s LGBT community and our allies gathered Tuesday at the National Press Club to kick off this year’s D.C. Leadership Awards and say farewell to outgoing Executive Director Matt Foreman. With us at the event was Percil Stanford, head of AARP’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion. The Task Force is thrilled that AARP has agreed to accept our Leadership Award at this year’s dinner, taking place on May 3 at the Marriott Wardman Park. Go to www.theTaskForce.org/dcla and become a sponsor or a table captain. If you have a question, contact Janice Thom, director of special events, at jthom@theTaskForce.org.


 

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