Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Bi/Pan/Fluid Activists Painting the White House Pink, Purple and Blue!

Hello everyone!

I'm still settling in, back home to DFW from a wonderful time at the Annual White House LGBT Pride Month Reception (a mouthful!). It was very exciting, I am so happy to have been able to experience such an awesome excursion, it was just AMAZING.

President Obama giving his speech, photo credit: Morgan Goode


Taken from Lorain Hutchins website: "At the 2012 White Pride reception bisexuals were represented by a married couple, Emily Drennen and LindaSusan Ulrich, from San Francisco with their eight-week-old foster son;  two current BiNet USA board members, Chiquita Violette and Morgan Goode; BOP co-chair, Lauren Beach; Westchester County NY bi discussion group leader, Estraven; and two longtime southern California bi activists from the board of the American Institute of Bisexuality; Denise Penn and Regina Reinhardt."

L-R: Regina Reinhardt, Morgan Goode, Emily Drennen, LindaSusan Ulrich holding RJ, Lauren Beach, Chiquita Violette, Estraven, Denise Penn, photo credit: Morgan Goode


The first event I attended was the Briefing on Issues Impacting LGBTQ Youth. There are many issues they face, not limited to but including: substance abuse, mental health, child welfare and education and bullying. Very informative and comforting to see that our government is doing something to improve the lives of our LGBT youth. The panel was very passionate about their cause and each were working together, in different organizations but still interconnected and working for the same cause: bettering the lives of our youth, not just LGBT youth, but all American youth.


 
Robert and I after Obama's speech, photo credit: Robert Camina
While I was at the briefing, I encountered Ms. Nicole Maines, a transgender youth that I first read about not too long ago on Huffington Post written by her dad. His articles can be found here.  When the briefing opened up for Q&A, her father, Wayne Maines, was one of the first inquiring about the issues transgendered children face in school and how to reach the parents of students to educate them. When I got the chance later on to speak with Nicole, she was very lovely and nice. I told her that I read about her story and how moved I was. She smiled, nodded but still had this sad look on her face. So I asked her if she needed a hug. She nodded. I gave her a hug and a pat on the back. It was very sweet. We didn't speak long but I wanted to express and show her that people outside her family care about her and her cause and issues.I also ran into fellow Dallas activist and film maker Robert Camina who did the documentary on the Rainbow Lounge Raid. A happy surprise to catch up with him!

After the briefing, we (Emily and her wife Lindasusan, Morgan and I) headed downstairs to the Uncommon Cafe in the Eisenhower building for lunch with one of the panelists, David Mineta of ONDCP. What a treat to get up close and personal. He is very passionate about the nation's youth, especially when it comes to substance and alcohol abuse. Next we checked out the gift shop before starting on our way to the reception.

By the time we reached the entrance to White House and were cleared to get in, we had caught up with Estraven and Lauren. There was nothing like walking into the White House. Everyone was so polite. "Welcome to the White House." at every turn. We explored as many rooms as possible, pausing in the ladies room for a mini photo-shoot, before heading upstairs where the reception was being held. What a sight! Music, champagne, wines and other beverages were being served along with delicious hors d'oeuvres.

After filling up on the White House delights, we headed to the room in which the President would make his speech. It was filing up quickly so we ran up to get as close to the front as possible while an ocean of people began to fill the room. I was able to get close enough to the front to get a video (albeit shaky with background noises and commentary) of the President's speech.

After his speech, he went down the rope and shook hands with eagerly extended hands. I got my handshake in while I quickly mentioned the ENDA and DREAM Act and their importance. We went out the the reception area for more drinks and appetizers to socialize, take photos and to really let the whole experience soak in. Shortly afterward, I heard cheers and clapping,  people were forming a circle around someone on a bended knee making a proposal, it was pretty amazing! We lingered a little while longer for more White House exploration and photos before we headed to dinner at Rasoi Indian Kitchen.
Dinner after the White House, photo credit: Estraven
We met up with fellow activists Loraine Hutchins, Matthew Le Grant and John Craig to celebrate our experiences at the White House, the issues we face as bi/pan/fluid individuals and new ideas to help address these problems. All in all, it was a extremely awesome day, full of allure and excitement so much so that the feeling of elation was almost overwhelming. I wouldn't trade these experiences and memories for the world!

WWTDG Features Faith Cheltenham and BiNet USA

 Check out this HelloGiggles.com article on our very own Faith Cheltenham!

"When thirty-two year old Faith was growing up in San Luis Obispo, California, there was less than one percent of African Americans in the city.  To top it off, she was constantly bullied for being perceivably queer.  Although Faith preferred playing basketball and handball with the boys over wearing dresses and doing her hair like most girls at her school, she wasn’t out or aware of her orientation in those early years.  In high school, Faith had an attraction to girls, but didn’t think she was a lesbian because she also had an attraction to boys.  From kindergarten to high school, a bully always seemed to find Faith walking home from school, going to church, or at recess, and it was because of this bullying solely based on her appearance and mannerisms, as well as the fact that her “butchness” was counter to what was acceptable in her African American and Pentecostal cultures, that Faith was drawn to activism in college."

LA Pride in 2010


"While at UCLA, Faith worked on LGBT outreach to the African American community.  She helped develop the student organization BLAQUE for African American Queer youth, as well as the Queer Black Youth Office, where she also programmed speakers like Clinton Fellow and black gay activist Keith Boykins, as well as National Black Justice Coalition’s Dr. Sylvia Rhue to speak to college and junior high students.  Starting as a member of the listserve, then as a volunteer, fundraiser, activist, and blogger for BiNet USA six years ago, Faith worked her way up to co-organizing the Bisexual Organizing Institute’s National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s Creating Change Conference, where more than a hundred bisexual activists from across the country talk about strategies for inclusion and fundraising yearly. Specifically during the No on Prop 8 campaign..." Read full article here.

From the Hello Giggle's website: "Women Working to Do Good is a series that Hello Giggles and the White House have been collaborating on...Each story will be featured on the White House blog, and we are working together to bring more strong female role models to the forefront."

Friday, June 01, 2012

University of Florida is doing a Study on Stress and Sexual Minorities

Folks take a gander at this survey for sexual minorities and how we cope and deal with stress. This survey will also donate to HRC if enough people partake in it. :) So get to it!

"Hello!
My name is Delphia Grandoit, and I am a doctoral student in the Psychology Department at the University of Florida. I am currently conducting a study under the guidance of Dr. Carolyn M. Tucker. The study has been approved by the Insitutional Review Board at the University of Florida (UFIRB # 2012-U-539). The purpose of this study is to examine how stress related to one’s sexual identity affects physical health problems and engagement in a health-promoting lifestyle. Additionally, this study examines what coping styles may adequately address stress in sexual minority adults. It is our hope that this study can inform psychologists and healthcare providers about the influences of stress and coping in the lives of sexual minorities in order to establish more culturally sensitive physical and mental healthcare initiatives for sexual minorities.Your participation is essential to achieving this goal, so we hope that you will take part in our study. 
In order to participate, you must identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or as some other sexual minority; be able to read English; and be 18 years of age or older. If you would like to participate in our study, please click on the link below and you will be directed to the online survey: 
Please note that Facebook, Yahoo groups, or other online servers may record and use your online activity for other purposes.

Thank you very much in advance for your time! Please feel free to pass on this link to other people who might be eligible. If 250 individuals participate, $250 will be donated to the Human Rights Campaign, a civil rights organization that works to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals. If you have any question about this study, please feel free to contact me at dflenar@ufl.edu.

Sincerely, 
                                                 
Delphia Grandoit, M.S.
Carolyn M. Tucker, Ph.D.
Counseling Psychology, University of Florida"