Equity Foundation hosts its second annual BENT Halloween party Oct. 27 at Leftbank Annex. The fundraising event will support the organization’s scholarship fund for LGBTQ youth, which raised more than $68,000 last year.
“Money is so tight for college students,” says Executive Director Peter Cunningham. “It really helps fill the gap.”
The event will include a VIP reception with performances by Portland groove-hop group The Love Loungers and Polaris Dance Company as well as a dance party driven by DJ Christopher B (voted best DJ by G.I.R.L. for 2012). Included with both VIP and dance party tickets is entry into a cash prize ($500) costume contest.
In addition to giving out scholarships to LGBTQ students, Equity Foundation also supports community organizations (to the tune of about $4 million since its founding in 1989), and engages in shareholder actions to influence companies to adopt more inclusive policies.
For example, Equity recently sold all its stock in insurance company Aflac because the company refused to add — or even vote on adding — domestic partner benefits to its employees. Equity has in the past helped persuade companies such as Lowes, Target, and Best Buy to change their ways.
Equity Foundation supporter Jane Lynch will serve as honorary chair for the event, though she will not be in attendance.
A limited number of tickets are available at half price through Tuesday, Oct. 23, thanks to a donation by Steve Dotterrer. Regular ticket prices are $150 for VIP and $50 for general admission. PQ Monthly is proud to be a sponsor for this event. For more information, visitequityfoundation.org.
Local orgs to commemorate 20th anniversary of Measure 9 defeat
Basic Rights Oregon, Q Center, and the Gay and Lesbian Archives of the Pacific NW will host a day of action Nov. 3 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the defeat of Oregon Ballot Measure 9 and birth of the state’s modern LGBTQ rights movement.
Organizers hope to harness the enthusiasm created by the anniversary to help defend the freedom to marry (and the defeat of Referendum 74) in Washington state. At 9 a.m., voters will gather at Q Center to contact to voters by phone and door-to-door. Afterward, Basic Rights Oregon will host a lunch a reception at Q Center, featuring speakers and the 20-minute documentary, “Fighting for our Lives.”
For more information on this event, as well as regularly scheduled phone banking, contact [email protected]
BOLI finds “substantial evidence” of anti-trans discrimination at P Club
The Civil Rights Division of the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) announced Oct. 10 that it found substantial evidence that Chris Penner, owner of North Portland’s P Club/Twilight Room Annex, unlawfully discriminated against the Rose City T-Girls based on the gender identity of its members.
“No place of public accommodations in Oregon is going to be allowed to discriminate based on gender identity,” Oregon Labor and Industries Commissioner Brad Avakian said in a release. “Enforcing civil rights laws is important to all Oregonians, especially the fundamental right to patronize businesses of your choice without being summarily barred based on a group affiliation.”
Members of the group of transgender women and cross-dressers brought the issue to attorney Beth Allen and BOLI after the group’s founder received two voicemails from Penner asking the RCTG to find a new spot for its weekly social gatherings. In the voicemail messages — which RCTG founder Cassandra Lynn posted to YouTube — Penner expresses concern that the venue will be seen as a “tranny bar” or “gay bar.”
Yet, BOLI investigators found that no concerns about the group were ever raised to the RCTG.
“The P Club never notified the T-Girls of any complaints about their behavior and never took any steps to remove allegedly troublesome individuals,” Avakian said. “Blocking the entire group from visiting the P Club in reaction to rumors that the establishment ‘is a tranny bar’ is an overreaction, is unfair, and is on its face unlawful discrimination.”
In other BOLI-related news, the bureau is collaborating with Q Center to provide education around housing rights for LGBTQ people. For more information on this effort, visit pdxqcenter.org.
In other news …
Basic Rights Oregon will hold its second annual Transgender Justice Summit Oct. 20-21 at Portland State University. The summit will include workshops for trans and genderqueer folks and their allies as well as a keynote speech from Kylar Broadus, the founder of the Trans People of Color Coalition and the first openly-transgender person to testify before the U.S. Senate. There will also be a Saturday night dance party in connection with the event. For more information, visit basicrights.org.
Causa will host a forum on changes to immigration policy affecting same-sex binational couples recently announced by President Barack Obama. Attorney Barbara Ghio will be on hand to answer questions about how the changes affect community members. The forum will be held at 7 p.m., Oct. 30, at Portland State University’s Multicultural Center. For more information, visit causa.org.
Portland State University professor Karen Seccombe has published a new book called “Exploring Marriage and Family” in which she explains her recent findings on the benefits of marriage for everyone, regardless of age, gender, or sexual orientation. Her research found that both straight and same-sex married couples are more likely to be healthy, happy, and well off financially than single, separated, or divorced folks. According to Seccombe, cohabitators experience some, but not all, of the benefits of married folks.
Q Center has launched a new program aimed at the elder community called “eRa: Encouraging Respect for Elders.” The program — which will be led by Senior Services coordinator Susan Kocen — seeks to address the needs and concerns of LGBTQ elders through information, education, and social events. To learn more about the program, visit facebook.com/qcenterERA.
The Hilton Hotel and Convention Center of Vancouver will be hosting an LGBTQ wedding show called “I Do for Us Too” from 1 to 6 p.m. on Nov. 4. Tickets are $10 for couples and $8 for individuals and can be purchase online at idoforustoo.wordpress.com.
The Portland Area Business Association (PABA) is collaborating with the Asian Pacific American Chamber of Commerce (APACC) and Philippine American Chamber of Commerce of Oregon (PACCO) to put on a business showcase and networking event called “Uniquely Portland.” For more information, visit paba.com.
October 19 is Spirit Day, the day on which folks don purple in a show of solidarity against bullying and in support of LGBTQ youth. Spirit Day is a relatively recent phenomenon, but taken hold and seen widespread adoption, including Ellen, Oprah, national talk show hosts, and White House staff. You can learn more about Spirit Day at glaad.org.
A new social networking website and app for HIV-positive men launched in October. Called Volttage.com, the site uses the tagline “Positively Sexy Guys” to sell the community created to combat stigma as well as provide health, social, and other resources. Like Grindr, the app will use geo-location to help users find nearby members.
It appears no person or object is safe from Russia’s law against gay “propoganda.” According to the Advocate, an anti-gay group is pressing authorities to investigate Vesyloy Molochnik milk (co-owned by Pepsi) because the carton features a rainbow. Will the People’s Council take on the sky and, perhaps, Leprechauns — both of which are known for their pro-rainbow positions — next?