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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, June 28, 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 26
Jesse's Journal: Juan Ahonen-Jover and the 'Gay Agenda'
Section One
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Jesse's Journal: Juan Ahonen-Jover and the 'Gay Agenda'

by Jesse Monteagudo - SGN Contributing Writer

Juan Ahonen-Jover, Ph.D., describes himself as 'an entrepreneur who did well and is now doing good.' Half of a two-man activist factory, Juan and his life partner, Ken Ahonen-Jover, founded eQualityGiving, ActOnPrinciples, eQualityThinking, and Loving Everywhere. Juan Ahonen-Jover also helped draft the Omnibus Bill and the Dallas Principles, Gay manifestos 'focused on the fundamental principle that everyone should be treated equally under the law.'

Ahonen-Jover's latest project is The Gay Agenda, an activist manual that he describes as 'a comprehensive guidebook for achieving legal equality for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Americans. The only book like it, it gets updated yearly with specific action plans for that year.' The Gay Agenda 2012: All Out was the first book in the series, followed by this year's The Gay Agenda 2013: All In. 'The Gay Agenda book series is for people who believe in the core principle of our Constitution: to be treated equally under the law,' Ahonen-Jover writes.

'The 2012 edition was being finalized by the time that President Obama announced his evolution' on Gay marriage, he continues. 'Many parts of the book had to be rewritten at that time. It was very well known that Ken and I did not give to the presidential campaign because of Obama's discriminatory beliefs. Many people followed our position. Within minutes of his announcement, we gave $10,000 to the presidential campaign. The next day, the New York Times had a lead article on Obama's evolution and we were prominently quoted (we were the only donors quoted). We understand that the article was widely read and many people followed our lead. So, there was lots of interest of what the book would say about the presidential campaign and other battles. In that sense, I believe that the book was impactful.'

A THOROUGH REVISION
'For the 2013 edition,' Ahonen-Jover tells me, 'all chapters have been updated as necessary and new chapters added as appropriate. Chapters have also been removed. Part IV is basically all new with specific actions to take in 2013.' The Gay Agenda 2013: All In 'describes the Gay agenda for 2013 in detail - what it is and how and why Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) people and others want to change the United States (and the world).'

Part I of The Gay Agenda 2013: All In 'describes what LGBT means and the arguments used to deny equal treatment under the law to this group of people.' Part II, he says, 'shows what the Gay agenda is in detail, including the goals to be achieved,' and Part III 'describes the different paths available to achieve equality.' Finally, Part IV, written specifically for this edition, 'is a call to action about what you can do in 2013 to achieve legal equality for the LGBT community.' This last section features tips for 'Strategic and Creative Donors,' a manual for philanthropists with more money than time (unlike this columnist, who has neither).

FIVE KEY AREAS
In The Gay Agenda 2013: All In the author tells his readers 'What You Can Do in 2013.' He sees five important areas of focus for the LGBT movement this year, namely: advancing marriage equality in the states; the Supreme Court; Congress; more work in the states; and the White House.

'In the first one [marriage equality] we are doing very well,' Ahonen-Jover says. 'I think that we could do more on the other four.' He notes that 'currently, we have full legal equality in only two states (Connecticut and Vermont). Even recent states that approved marriage recently, like Rhode Island and Delaware, have only a 58% rating (after including marriage) for LGBT equality. It is really not too difficult to get full equality - especially after they adopted marriage equality, but we need to focus on it. Let's get 20 states (and DC) to full equality!'

'The White House,' Ahonen-Jover continues, 'needs to do much more. The Democratic Party is fundraising heavily out of the fact of how wonderful the president is on LGBT issues. This is why so many people gave for his re-election. But that was last year. This year he has to do much more than just mention us in the inaugural speech or the State of the Union speech, or propose the wrongheaded argument to the Supreme Court to extend marriage to only eight states. The president has proven to be an advocate, but not yet a fierce advocate as he claims to be. He needs to sign the nondiscrimination executive order that has been ready for more than one year. Several organizations are focused on the executive order. The reality is that he can do not only the executive order, but 11 actions that are totally under his control. This would be a fierce advocate; otherwise he is falling short.'

LOOKING AHEAD
Even as he speaks, Ahonen-Jover is making plans for The Gay Agenda 2014. 'We need to keep the information up to date and, more importantly, present-focused actions that people can take tailored to every year,' he tells me. Meanwhile, The Gay Agenda 2013: All In is available in paperback, iBook, and Kindle. 'They can get the paperback version from any retailer, such as Amazon. They can also get the Kindle version instantly from Amazon or the iBooks version from their iPad. I have the firm belief in giving books that I find impactful to friends, family, and colleagues instead of just talking about them. So, if you buy the paperback through the publisher (www.createspace.com/4157382) and enter code LDQBYR43, you will get a 20% discount for buying multiple copies.' For more information, contact Ahonen-Jover at www.gayagenda2013.com.

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