The news — in brief — from near and far


About 30 people held a candelight vigil under the Morrison Bridge on the eastside March 10 to raise awareness about the plight of Portland’s homeless after two men were shot while the slept in that spot last month, according to the Portland Mercury. The men, Carter Hickman and Albert Dean, both survived, though Hickman is still in the hospital and Dean’s whereabouts are unknown. The Willamette Week reports that the two men, who usually stay at the Right 2 Dream Too shelter, are believed to be a couple.

Amy Ruiz, former communications director at City Hall will be promoted to deputy chief of staff to Mayor Sam Adams effective March 19. Replacing her will be former culture and communications policy advisor Caryn Brooks. Brooks’s position will be filled by Tomi Douglas Anderson, the former marketing director at Seattle’s Experience Music Project and one-time executive director for the New York Gay Men’s Chorus.

Ernesto Dominguez

About 30 Latino high school students learned about LGBTQ issues March 9 at a seminar on “The Alphabet Soup of Sexual Minority Youth” at Western Oregon University. Speakers included Ariel Cerrud, Ernesto Domínquez, and Ismael Meda. It was one of two-dozen seminars offered as part of the 22nd César Chávez Leadership Conference.

The Queer Students of Color Conference begins at Portland State University on April 13. The conference provides resources, leadership, training, and skill building through workshops that address the unique issues affecting Queer Students of Color and their communities they occupy. Allies are welcome. Registration is $10 and can be completed at The conference is also looking for performers for its variety hour. Email by March 26 if you’re interested.

Healthcare providers and community members will come together to discuss LGBTQ health issues March 30 at the Meaningful Care Conference. Workshop topics include primary care for rural Oregonians, social service needs for transgender children and youth, LGBTQ and queer people of color domestic violence survivors, and mental health care for people with HIV/AIDS. Register online at

After the Meaningful Care Conference whets yours whistle, learn more about trans health from Dean Spade, April 6 at OHSU. The presentation, intended for health care providers and advocates, will address trans healthcare needs, obstacles, and approaches to addressing those obstacles. Spade is the founder of the Silvia Riveras Law Project and co-author of “Medical Therapy and Health Maintenance for Transgender Men.” The presentation assumes a basic level of awareness about trans issues and terminology, but people of all knowledge levels are welcome.

Lewis & Clark has opened a low-cost Community Counseling Center dedicated to serving African American, Spanish-speaking, and LGBTQQI communities who are experiencing mental health, addiction, and relationship issue. Services are provided by counselor and therapist trainees on a sliding scale from $10-$50 per sessions. To schedule an appointment, call 503-768-6320.

Venessa Timmons

The Oregon Coalition Against Domestic And Sexual Violence (OCADSV) has named Vanessa Timmons as its new executive director. She had more than 20 years experience as an advocate and writer and was most recently employed as domestic violence program development specialist for the Multnomah County Domestic Violence Coordination Office. Timmons is also a survivor and the author of “The Way of the Heroine: A Women’s Healing Journal.”

La Grande Mayor Daniel Pokorney apologized February 20 for the tone of anti-gay remarks he made on Facebook the previous week, according to The Le Grande Observer. The posts, which comparedWashingtonStatetoSodomandGomorrahand called same-sex unions an “abomination,” sparkedEasternOregonUniversitystudents to arrange a forum with the mayor. In addition to apologizing for his “choice of words,” he said that he doesn’t hate anyone.

Marriage equality supporters in Washington won a battle to remove the phrase “redefine marriage” from Referendum 74, a ballot measure brought by opponents of same-sex marriage. Opponents have until June 6 to collect 120,577 valid voter signatures to get the referendum on the November ballots. In the meantime, Washington United for Marriage is trying to get an equal (or greater) number of pledges in support of marriage equality. Pledge online at

Pride NW is hosting its first “annual” spring fundraiser March 29: An Evening with the Portland Mayoral Candidates. While not intended to be a debate or forum, guests will have the opportunity to chat the three of the candidates: Eileen Brady, Charlie Hales, and Jefferson Smith. Tickets are available at

Q Center will host a forum on May 1 called “Meet the Candidates 2012 – The Search forPortland’s Next Mayor.” The “casual and intimate forum is open to all official candidates and will be moderated by Q Center Executive Director Barbara McCullough-Jones. Community members are encouraged to send questions for the candidates to with the subject “Candidate Forum.”



President Barack Obama

Freedom to Work is putting pressure on President Barack Obama to sign an executive order banning anti-LGBTQ employment discrimination at companies that take federal contracts. According to the organization, 22 percent of all jobs are supported by these contracts. Freedom to Work has created a petition that has been signed by more than 100,000 people. Add your signature at

The American Bar Association is seeking nominations for its first-ever LGBT awards. The Stonewall Awards will honor lawyers who have successfully championed LGBT legal causes. Nominations are due by May 31 and can be submitted via theABA’s website, The ABA Commission on Sexual and Gender Identity will present the awards February 2013 at the ABA Midyear Meeting inDallas.

Joe Solmonese

Outgoing Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese has been tapped by the Obama campaign to serve as one of 35 national co-chairs. Others include Senate Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel and actress Eva Longoria. Replacing Solmonese at HRC will be 38-year-old Chad Griffin.Griffin, who founded the American Foundation for Equal Rights, is a national communications and political strategist.



The governor of St. Petersburg, Russia passed a law in February banning the promotion of LGBTQ identities among minors. Advocates are concerned that the law is an effort to silence the queer community. Violation of the law results in fines for individuals and business. According to PinkNews, at least 100,000 people how vowed to boycott the city in responses to the new law.

In preparation for the 2012 London Olympic Games, volunteers are undergoing diversity and inclusion training. As part of that training, volunteers must take a quiz that asks how they would handle situations involving gay couples and individuals whose gender they cannot identify. It also addresses scenarios involving Muslims and people with disabilities.

Australian radio presenter Suzanna McGill has come under fire for provider voiceover talent for an anti-gay television ad put out by Bob Katter of Katter’s Australian Party. McGill will be off the air until the matter has been investigated by the station she works for, ABC. Meanwhile, Katter’s gay half-brother Karl has put out an ad of his own, responding the homophobia in Bob’s attack on Liberal National Party leader Campbell Newman.