Friday
April 7, 2006
SGN.org
Volume 34
Issue 14
 
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Sunday, Oct 13, 2019

 

 



 
Letters
YOUR TURN TO HELP PFLAG

Dear Members of the GLBTI Community,

They were at the Safe Schools hearings in Olympia three years in a row working to make sure schools are safe for all students until its final passage in June 2002. They were in Olympia for all those years that it took to pass legislation protecting the GLBT community from discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodation until its final passage this year. They were on the steps of the capitol supporting legal marriage, many taking the day off work and traveling hundreds of miles to be there.

You see them marching in the Seattle Gay Pride Parade each year amid a wave of cheering and applause. I know. I have been with them. As a Gay man, I have been a member of both Bellevue and Tacoma PFLAG chapters for over 6 years. I am proud to be counted as a member of this supportive and caring group of parents - parents who do more for me than my own parents are able to do. This year I volunteered to be a co-chair for a NW regional conference in Portland, OR. This will be the first regional conference in 10 years to try to bring together PFLAG moms and dads from Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Washington and Oregon to 1) celebrate the work they do (the conference theme is "Celebrating Our Cultural Tapestry" and 2) to help revitalize the chapters in remote locations by bringing in National PFLAG leaders to strategize how to build a stronger NW Region to do the work still ahead.

As the conference co-chair overseeing the budget, I have tried to keep expenses low so that as many moms and dads could attend as possible. Still, we are facing a short fall and could use your financial support to thank the moms and dads who are there for you when your own parents might not be. Even a small donation will help. If you want to know about the conference, go to http://nwpflagconf.tripod.com/ for complete details. Consider attending the conference yourself - it is not just for PFLAG members; registration is open until April 12. If you cannot attend but want to support the work PFLAG does in the Pacific Northwest, consider an individual donation. Checks should be made out to "NW PFLAG Conference" and mailed to: Terry Rhines, conference co-chair, NW PFLAG Conference, PO Box 39728, Lakewood, WA 98439. All donated money goes directly to pay conference costs. Patricia Keeney (conference co-chair from Oregon), Kathy Reim (Washington State PFLAG coordinator), Marcie Mathis (NW PFLAG Regional Director) and I have all donated our time to making this an affordable, successful conference. We could use your assistance.

Terry Rhines

Washington State co-chair for NW Regional PFLAG Conference

THANK YOUS URGED FOR COUNTY TRANSGENDER PROTECTIONS

Dear SGN,

As published on the front page of the March 31 edition of the SGN, the King County Council has finally added gender identity and gender expression related to that identity as a protected class under the King County code. My personal, and I hope, the entire community's sincere thanks to the Democrats on the council for their hard work and support of this ordinance.

There were some delays in getting this ordinance passed, but so goes the world of politics. I am certain that we would not have got to where we did without the work and dedication of many members of our community. In particular I would like to acknowledge the time and energy spent by CEDL (Coalition for Enforceable Discrimination Laws) gathering information, lobbying and educating councilmembers, and giving public testimony in favor of the ordinance. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force also proved to be a priceless resource in this effort.

In the March 24 issue of the SGN I had a letter acknowledging and thanking community members, by name, for their public testimony at the March 20 meeting of the King County Council. On March 27 the council gave the public a second opportunity to give testimony. Of the nineteen citizens who stepped forward to share their views, only one, Rev. Randall Leskovar of Calvary Chapel in West Seattle, spoke in opposition (also mentioned in the March 31 SGN story.) The other eighteen testifiers, many of whom had to take time off from work, arrange babysitting, move appointments, and just as challenging, find parking downtown, and several of whom were testifying for the second time, deserve recognition and our gratitude.

In order of testifying, including Rev. Leskovar, they are:

John Otto*; Desiray Bailey; Pam Wyss; Rev. Randall Lesovar; Marsha Botzer*; Chris Smith; A.S. Petersen; George Hampton; Jina Petry; Roxanne Skelly; James Weston*; Rev. Craig Darling*; Leslie Wu; Liam Cooper; Joyful Freeman; Lynne Dodson; Jana Ekdahl; Jeff Koertzen; and Aiden Key* (Names followed by an asterisk are those who testified at both meetings of March 20 and March 27).

If any SGN readers know and see any of these individuals, please don't forget to give them a thank you and a big hug.

Sincerely,

Bill Dubay

Seattle, WA

MCC CALLS FOR PASSAGE OF AIDS RESOURCES ACT

[Editors Note: The following is a open letter to members of the US Congress from the Metropolitan Community Churches.]

To The Members of the U.S. Congress:

On behalf of the 225,000 friends and members who attend the programs and services of Metropolitan Community Churches, I am writing to urge the soon reauthorization of the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Act, generally known as the CARE Act.

The members of Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC) speak to these issues with an exceptionally deep sense of experience that is virtually unparalleled in other faith communities.

- In the 1980's, MCC became the very first Christian denomination to appoint a fulltime denominational staff person to address HIV and AIDS needs.

- MCC was an official and active participant in the earlier White House Conference on AIDS.

- Since the onset of the AIDS pandemic, MCC clergy have buried more than 6000 of our church members who died of complications from HIV and AIDS, and have conducted the funerals of thousands more from other faith traditions, as well as those with no community of faith.

The CARE Act has a proven track record as an exceptionally effective way for community-based organizations, as well as city and state governments, to provide life-saving services to persons with HIV and AIDS who are also living with inadequate healthcare coverage and financial resources - and the Act has enabled the necessary support services that are a vital part of treatment and care.

Until the United States guarantees free access to healthcare and medications for all who need them, regardless of race, gender, class, or insurance or employment status, measures such as the CARE Act provide a vital safety net to the more than 530,000 persons with HIV and AIDS who benefit from these services each year.

Moreover, HIV and AIDS continue to carry a profound religious and social stigma. making the reauthorization of the CARE Act all the more urgent.

As a community profoundly impacted by HIV and AIDS, we join with many other communities in urging that the Congress not adopt any proposals that would weaken or change the structure of the Act, or that would cut services that are so urgently needed.

Specifically, Metropolitan Community Churches calls upon members of Congress to reauthorize the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Act within the following guidelines:

- The reauthorization should increase funding for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program at levels in keeping with the rising growth of HIV.

- Amendments or legislative variants that would weaken the Acts current structure should be rejected.

- The Act should be re-authorized to maintain the current "hold harmless" provisions for the current eligible metropolitan areas;

- Increased funding should be approved to assist emerging high need areas;

- The U.S. Congress should reject proposals, such as the version by Senator Coburn, that would require 75% of all Ryan White funding to be spent on primary medical care, as this would decimate vitally needed services such as case management, food and nutrition programs, and mental health care - and instead support a version that will allow direct service providers to utilize funds for treatment and resources for physical, mental, emotional, and life-necessity support services.

Our nation's goals of justice and compassion are best served by Congress' speedy reauthorization of the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Act in a form that protects the Act's structure and history of effectiveness and accomplishment.

Sincerely,

The Reverend Nancy L. Wilson

Office of the Moderator

Metropolitan Community Churches
   

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