Monday, June 29, 2009

Quick report from Robyn Ochs

..while boarding plane after historic visit to White House: Robyn shook President Obama's hand twice and Michelle's hand twice, spouse Peg got to shake hands at least once, Robyn wore a bi button, gave Cliff's DADT letter to an aide, and Peg just now heard that video of them with the prez is on Rachel Maddow's show.
Gary North
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Tragic News from North Texas

Matt Goodman, who is President of BiNET for North Texas, posted
this on the BiNET USA Yahoo group:

"We have some tragic news from North Texas...
Last night the Rainbow Lounge in Fort Worth, Texas...
Ft. Worth Police entered the bar and began to harass and arrest
many of the patrons there. The patrons at the bar were doing
nothing lewd, or wild. On this anniversary of Stonewall, we are
reminded that we are not far from where we have come, and we
have a lot of work to do. For more info on the story go to:

Equality Texas is starting an email campaign to
make sure something is done about this. Tou can
get involved at:

Please remember that they are still beating up queer people in
Texas, so any emails really do need to be polite so as not to
increase the hate. However, the police do need to know that
the whole country is watching, and they cannot get away with
this. Apparently it is against the law to be intoxicated in
public in Texas, but the people involved were INSIDE the bar
at the time, and the police had no way of knowing whether or
not they had made arrangements for designated drivers. For
those of you near Fort Worth, or who can notify friends
near Fort Worth, a commenter on the first article,
Paul, further requests:

"A year ago the bars in Seattle were hit with bomb threats.
Instead of staying away, the gays flocked to the bars to
show their support.

We should do the same for the Rainbow Lounge. Gays should
plan to show up there in mass this weekend to show support
of (those who were arrested)."

The Creating Change conference will be held in Dallas in
February next year, which is right next to Fort Worth.

There will be a Bisexual Hospitality Suite, and Robyn Ochs is
planning to be there. Although the details have not yet been
finalized, BiNET USA is working towards having its semi-annual
membership meeting there. Let’s all go to show support for the
embattled Fort Worth queer community.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

From Stonewall to the White House

It was forty years ago, from this very evening, June 27th, 2009, that the Stonewall Riots occurred, the events that would mark the beginning of the modern LGBT liberation movement:

It is not well known, but the Mother of Pride, and the reason the Pride Parades exist, is a bisexual, Brenda Howard.

She even originated the use of the word “Pride.”

Because of her, NYABN will always carry the banner in the NYC Pride March, and will be there, marching proudly in her memory tomorrow. Please come join us in this historical march. We will be meeting around 12:30 PM on 54th Street between 6th and 7th Avenue.

Since that time, LGBT people have been fighting for our rights for forty years. As readers of BiNET blogs know, the last two Democratic presidents have made sweeping promises to us during their campaigns, but up to today President Obama has let us down just as badly as President Clinton did.

Although it is claimed this was planned for some time, they seem to have forgotten to invite anyone until the LGBT community’s fury over the DOMA decision became obvious when many well-to-do LGBT people stayed away from a recent Democratic LGBT fund-raiser. After being hit in the pocket, where it hurts, the President scheduled a celebration of the 40th Anniversary of Stonewall for this Monday, June 29th, and invited many prominent queer leaders to meet with him at the White House. With the usual bisexual erasure, no bisexual leader who would be representing bisexual issues was invited. This was pointed out, and our own Robyn Ochs and her wife, Peg Preble, were then invited.

Robyn is a Board Member Emeritus of BiNET USA, and will ably represent our issues:

So in forty years, we have gone from having to fight the police outside a Mafia-controlled dive of a bar to an out and proud bisexual woman speaking on our behalf to the President of the United States. It is sad Brenda did not live to see this day, but as Larry Nelson, her long-time partner says “I have been reading all about Robyn going to the White House and just had a thought today, on the eve of the anniversary of her passing, about how proud Brenda would be about this and that it is finally happening.”

Friday, June 26, 2009

[BiNet USA] Bisexual Activist Robyn Ochs Attending White House Reception For LGBT Community Leaders

Media Advisory

Date: 06/26/2009 10:53 P.M Eastern Daylight Time Contact: 1-800-585-9368

Longtime bisexual rights activist Robyn Ochs will be among a number of LGBT families, volunteers, activists, and community leaders invited to attend a reception at the White House on the afternoon of Monday, 29 June 2009 in honor of the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion. President Obama is scheduled to speak at the Reception. Ochs said, "This is the best presidential administration I've ever lived under, and my expectations are high."

Ochs will be there as a representative of the civil-rights and advocacy groups BiNet USA and the Bisexual Resource Center (BRC) as well as of the bisexual community. She will be accompanied by her spouse Peg Preble who she wed in Massachusetts on May 17th 2004 the first day it was legal for same sex couples to marry anywhere in the United States.
Bisexual activist Robyn Ochs and her spouse Peg Preble wed in Massachusetts on May 17th 2004 the first day it was legal for same sex couples to marry anywhere in the United States of America

Ochs is the editor of the Bisexual Resource Guide, the quarterly journal Bi Women and the anthology Getting Bi: Voices of Bisexuals Around the World now being released in it's 2nd edition. She teaches courses on LGBT history & politics in the United States, the politics of sexual orientation, and the experiences of those of us who transgress the binary categories of gay/straight, masculine/feminine, black/white and/or male/female. Her writings have been published in numerous bisexual, women's studies, multicultural, and LGBT anthologies.

Bisexual Veteran Cliff Arnesen, President New England Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Veterans Ochs will also be taking with her a letter from the New England Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Veterans which she hope to present to President Obama. The letter calls for President Obama to end the inhumane "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy and was signed by the group's officer's including the current President Cliff Arnesen a bisexual veteran, Vice-President Leo Dorrington a gay veteran, Secretary/Treasurer Rick Buchanan a gay veteran, Janice Josephine Carney a transgender veteran and Miriam Ben-Shalom a lesbian veteran.

The historic gathering is the first of this presidency and the very first to specifically include representatives of both the bisexual and transgender communities. This important milestone for the bisexual community has had a profound effect on many people. Said Larry Nelson a member of the New York Bisexual Network (NYABN) and widower of the late Bi-identified LGBT activist and "Mother of Pride" Brenda Howard, "how proud Brenda would be about this and that it is finally happening."

Said Ochs "I'll be there to represent bisexual people, an identity group that is often overlooked both within our beautiful LGBTQ community as well as in mainstream society."

For more information, please visit us on the Web at:

and for press inquiries, please call 1-800-585-9368 or email

Tags: Obama, White House, LGBT Pride, Robyn Ochs, DOMA, DADT

# # #

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Obama and DADT

LGBT people have been serving ably and well in every war the country has fought, from the very beginning.

The documentary Before Stonewall tells how in WWII, when they needed us, they looked the other way, and queer people served with no problem. However, then with the McCarthy era and the Red scares of the 50’s came the “homosexual menace,” and suddenly people who had been in the Service since WWII started being thrown out just because of their sexual orientation.

President Clinton promised to allow queer people to serve openly in the military during his campaign, but instead signed DADT (“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”) into law. This said that people could not be asked about their sexual orientation, but if they revealed that they were gay or bisexual, or committed gay acts, they would be discharged. And as Cliff Arnesen, President of the New England Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Veterans, Inc. has said, "As a bisexual in the military, there is no distinction in terms of punishment, no refuge in being bisexual. You get the same consequences; you don't get half a discharge."

Once again, President Obama promised to repeal DADT, but so far, since his inauguration, 265 servicemen and women have been discharged due to it. Lt. Choi, who has done nothing wrong but be honest, faces a discharge hearing on June 30th.

Congress has acted, in that 77 members have sent Obama a letter asking him to freeze discharges in the way that he could:

“we request that you impose that no one is asked and that you ignore, as the law requires, third parties who tell.”

Finally, the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network is calling for a March on the White House on Saturday, June 27. This will be led by the fighting Cook v. Gates plaintiffs (service members discharged under DADT), and will call upon President Obama to break his silence on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." The first 265 marchers will be veterans and service members. This is the number of service members discharged since January 20 when the President took office. In addition, family and friends of service members will be attending to implore the president to lead the way with lawmakers to get repeal done in this Congress and to end discrimination in the military.

One doesn't need to be a veteran or on active duty to show up and support our LGBT troops, one only needs to be committed to equality for all. We will meet in Farragut Square (17th & K St NW) at 2:00pm and march to the White House from there.

· Call the White House switchboard on Saturday. While we’re marching to the White House, you can join us by calling the White House switchboard at 202-456-1414. Help amplify the call for President Obama to break his silence on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

· Call your members of Congress. You can also take action by calling your members of Congress to urge they co-sponsor the Military Readiness Enhancement Act (H.R. 1283) – the bill to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and replace it with a policy of non-discrimination.

Together, we have a real opportunity to deliver a powerful message to the White House, Congress, and to the American people, and to let our service members know they have not been forgotten.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Obama and DOMA

DOMA is the "Defense of Marriage Act." Right now, even if two
people of the same gender are legally married in one of the
states that allows it, they do not get the Federal Income Tax
deduction for married people because of DOMA, or any of the
other over 1,000 Federal rights granted to married people.
DOMA says that same-gender marriages are not granted any
Federal recognition or rights. Smelt and Hammer, who married
in California in July, decided to challenge DOMA in Federal
court. Many people felt that their challenge was hasty, as
the current Supreme Court might not be on our side, and
counseled them to wait until Obama had a chance to appoint a
justice or two. But they went ahead anyway. No one was really
expecting the challenge to win, with a hasty, ill-prepared
suit, but the result was shockingly bad:

The language of the Justice Department’s motion to dismiss Smelt vs. United States is so homophobic as to be appalling, and their arguments incredibly damaging. The above blog got the entire queer community upset. Calmer voices then spoke up to say that this case was not the one, and should have been dismissed:

but the way in which this case was dismissed is still intolerably insulting to the entire LGBT community.

From the Rick Warren incident to the Solicitor General's Office arguing in a brief to the Supreme Court that the military "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy was constitutional, and now this, an ugly pattern is developing. Obama promised us he would repeal DADT and DOMA. He needs to know we are watching, and he cannot sneak things by us. We are reasonable, and don’t expect him to fix everything overnight, but even reasonable people will not tolerate the vileness of the language of this motion. Please write to him and let him know what you think at either:

President Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Or email: