National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Weekly Update
January 30, 2008

In the News:

Task Force and SAVE Dade join forces in Florida
      to combat anti-marriage measure
OutSpoken Blog: We are all Floridians
Task Force En Español
Creating Change online registration closes Thursday, Jan. 31
LGBT Aging Roundtable convenes in San Francisco
Task Force mourns death of Regina Shavers
Study finds bisexuality to be ‘distinct orientation’ in women
Kicking off the New York Leadership Awards


Task Force and SAVE Dade join forces in Florida to combat anti-marriage measure

The Task Force teamed up with SAVE Dade to turn out 81 volunteers at polling places yesterday throughout Miami-Dade County, where they talked with voters about the threatened initiative seeking to ban same-sex marriage, civil unions and any form of partner recognition outside of marriage.

Currently right-wing forces in Florida are working feverishly to gather the remaining 22,000 signatures they need to qualify this constitutional amendment for the November 2008 ballot. The Task Force sent four organizers to Miami for two weeks to assist SAVE Dade’s volunteer recruitment efforts; together, we produced the largest volunteer-driven action in Miami-Dade to oppose the amendment. Volunteers spoke with voters about the potential harms of the amendment; they identified 1,280 new opponents of the anti-LGBT initiative; and they recruited 295 new volunteers for the fight.

Read more coverage and view photos of the Task Force in action in Florida in this blog entry by the Miami Herald’s Steve Rothaus. Photo: Task Force Senior Field Organizer Becca Ahuja and Morningside resident Bill Jurberg outside the polling place Tuesday at Morningside Park in Miami. Credit: Steve Rothaus

[ Read Becca Ahuja’s account of yesterday’s activities ]


OutSpoken Blog: We are all Floridians

“January 29th Presidential Primary: On this cool January morning, a Clearwater grandmother is talking to a conservative Christian health care worker who says she will vote NO in November on the so-called ‘marriage amendment’ because she has witnessed firsthand the cruel impact of refusing legal recognition for unmarried partners. She’s watched the caretaking partner lose every penny paying medical bill for a life partner the law refuses to recognize as family.”
— Nadine Smith, Executive Director, Equality Florida

Equality Florida and the Task Force are among the 200-plus organizations comprising the Fairness for All Families coalition. The Task Force is also supporting Florida Red & Blue, another broad-based campaign working to defeat the amendment.

[ Read and respond to the blog entry ]


Task Force En Español

Nos complace anunciar el lanzamiento de Task Force En Español, un compendio de nuestras páginas en Español de nuestro sitio Web, con información acerca de nuestro trabajo y misión, vídeos, fotos, cobertura en los medios, comunicados de prensa y enlaces a LGBT latinas/os a través del país. También encontrará los pioneros reportes realizados por nuestro Instituto de Políticas acerca de asuntos que afectan a los/as latinos/as, así como podrá descubrir lo que está haciendo el Task Force para aumentar la visibilidad de las personas LGBT latinas/os.

Visítenos regularmente para la actualización de Task Force En Español. Esté pendiente para ver nuestro reporte la semana entrante sobre la programación enfocada en asuntos latinos en la Conferencia Nacional sobre Igualdad LGBT: Creando Cambio!

We’re pleased to announce the launch of Task Force En Español, our Spanish-language Web pages featuring information about our work and mission, videos, photos, media coverage, press releases and links to LGBT Latinas/os nationwide. You’ll also find our groundbreaking Policy Institute reports on Latina/o issues and learn what the Task Force is doing to raise the visibility of LGBT Latinas/os.

Check back regularly for updates to Task Force En Español. Be on the lookout next week for our report on the Latino/a-oriented programming at The National LGBT Conference on Equality: Creating Change!

[ Visite Task Force En Español ahora ]
[ Visit Task Force En Español now ]


Creating Change online registration closes
Thursday, Jan. 31!

Online registration for The National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change closes at 11:59 p.m. this Thursday, Jan. 31. The conference begins next week, so be sure to register now because time is quickly running out. Onsite registration opens at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 5.

If you’re already registered to attend the conference, which takes place Feb. 6–10 in Detroit, Mich., make sure to register now for our new Academy for Leadership and Action. Some of the LGBT movement’s most seasoned and talented trainers and faculty will be leading top-notch sessions at the academy, which will be making its debut.

These high-level, professionalized trainings are offered for all skill levels — from executive directors with years of know-how but who want to learn more, to interns and apprentices, to every level in-between. Learn more about the Task Force Academy for Leadership and Action. Watch our Creating Change video and register for the conference.


LGBT Aging Roundtable convenes in San Francisco

Advocates for LGBT elders gathered in San Francisco Jan. 15–16 for the third annual Task Force LGBT Aging Roundtable, where they discussed priorities and action steps related to federal LGBT aging work, and received training on disability rights and elder issues.

The convening was underwritten by a significant number of major California foundations, including the California Endowment, The California Wellness Foundation and the Horizons Foundation, and organizations such as the national AARP’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion and Senior Service America, Inc.

Because of this critical support, we were able to include many more participants in the roundtable, a total of 50 people, and add a second day of work on an issue of vital importance to the LGBT aging agenda: the intersection of disability rights and elder issues. This training was done by disability rights activists working with the National Sexuality Resource Center. Thanks to all who supported and attended this important gathering.

Photo: Task Force Senior Strategist Amber Hollibaugh heads up a session at the Task Force LGBT Aging Roundtable in San Francisco. Credit: Sarah Kennedy

[ Learn more about our LGBT aging work ]


Task Force mourns death of Regina Shavers

The Task Force mourns the death last night of longtime leader Regina Shavers. She was a peace activist in the 1960s, founded the first gay/lesbian labor caucus in New York City and was one of the first openly LGBT leaders in New York City's municipal labor unions. In the 1990s, she worked to combat anti-LGBT violence and was a member of the Mayor’s Police Council on Gay & Lesbian Concerns.

Shavers founded the GRIOT Circle, an intergenerational and culturally diverse community-based social service organization for older LGBT/Two Spirit people of color. She was a proud butch lesbian and, through GRIOT, an outspoken advocate for LGBT elders. The Task Force awarded her its first annual Allan Morrow Community Service Award in recognition of that work. She is survived by her partner, the Rev. Janyce Jackson, and their children and grandchildren.

Photo: Task Force Executive Director Matt Foreman presents the Allan Morrow Community Service Award to Regina Shavers at the 2005 Creating Change Conference in Oakland, Calif. Credit: Linda Kliewer


Study finds bisexuality to be ‘distinct orientation’ in women

USA Today recently reported on a new study that concluded “being bisexual is a distinct orientation in women, not a temporary phase.” Amy André, Julie Ebin and Marshall Miller, authors of Bisexual Health, published by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute, comment on this latest study by Lisa Diamond, soon to be published in the Journal of Developmental Psychology.

[ Read the USA Today story ]
[ Read the responses ]
[ Download the Bisexual Health report ]


Kicking off the New York Leadership Awards

Friends of the Task Force joined the New York Leadership Awards steering committee Monday night for the Leadership Awards kickoff event at Design Within Reach on West 14th Street. Our guests signed on as table captains and sponsors of the gala — something you can do right now at Then make plans to join all of us on April 7 at the brand new (and stunning!) New York Times Center in midtown when we honor director John Waters and the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. We’ll also gather to wish Executive Director Matt Foreman farewell as he heads out to his new job at the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund in San Francisco.

Many thanks to the entire steering committee, including New York Task Force board members Jeff Adler, Mark Sexton, Paula Redd Zeman, event co-chairs and Maureen Burnley, Eric von Kuersteiner, Ken Rantfle and Moonhawk River Stone. They’re joined by Patricia Cronin, Ryan Greenberg, Ken Kidd and Clay Williams. Special thanks as well to Design Within Reach for hosting this reception in their fabulous store. An evening of beautiful people perched on beautiful design was really special.

For information about the 2008 New York Leadership Awards, visit or contact Janice Thom, director of special events, at 646.358.1467 or

Photo: Leadership Council members Tim Hosking and Audrey Sokoloff signed up to be Gold sponsors of this year’s New York Leadership Awards. Credit: Inga Sarda-Sorensen


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