Friday, October 23, 2009



On Monday, October 12, about 250 people gathered at the Tribeca Rooftop to celebrate the Safe Schools program of PFLAG NYC and support the growth of this amazing organization. Hannah was already in town and my parents were able to join us for the dinner, Monday. Everything looked beautiful and it was so exciting to walk into a space and event that the dinner committee, volunteers and I spent so much time and effort planning. The night was a success to say the least!

Beyond AMAZING food for dinner and dessert, we had intriguing speakers and honorees. Bishop Gene Robinson, an openly gay Episcopal bishop, spoke to the ideas of –isms and their negative effect on society – racism, sexism, and now heterosexism. A principal and teacher from a school in the Bronx spoke about the positive effect that the Safe Schools had on the climate of their school – the kids’ attitudes, tolerance, respect – and shared with us that they were having their first Gay-Straight Alliance meeting this week! Incredible!


Kate Shindle (Broadway actress/Miss America 1998) did an amazing job as the emcee for the night, so fantastic in fact, that in leading the live auction/live call for people to donate in increments of $1000, $500, $250, and $25 she brought us great success! In a room of 250 people who have already paid up to $350/ticket to come, 11 donated $1000, 24 donated $500 and someone matched that $12,000 total! By the end of the auction, everyone had donated at least $25. The night concluded with a benefit performance by Barbara Cook, Broadway legend who at 82 sounds as beautiful as she did when she won the Tony for Marian the Librarian in The Music Man years and years ago.

We by far had the coolest table – my parents Bill and JoEllen, sister Hannah, roommate Carlie, childhood friend Chad, great friends Leigh-Taylor, Paul and Keelie (Miss Brooklyn), and Susan from the Union Theological Seminary. Thank you to those who volunteered – Kaitlin and George, Seth and Goura. You all played an important part in this night and made it very special for me!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Peace. Love. Equality.


“Peace. Love. Equality. That’s all we want.” This was Hannah’s caption on a Facebook photo from our weekend in DC at the Equality March. My little sister, Hannah, flew in a few days early for the PFLAG dinner (post coming soon) so that we could go together to be a part of history in our nation’s capital. For an early bus ride to DC from Chinatown, Hannah and I rolled out of bed to put on our tshirts that her boyfriend, Joel, made for us with the words “Peace Love Equality” on the front and “Let Us Dare” on the back. The day started out pretty fantastic when we casually met Kristen Chenoweth as we were walking towards the march – soo cool! I don’t know what the final turnout was for the march, but let me just say THOUSANDS. So many people gathered with signs, shirts, flags, and determined hearts and minds to make the same statement for equality – that means marriage equality, the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, Defense of Marriage Act, Employment Non-Discrimination Act and more.

We walked past the White House where people were saying “Obama Obama, let mama marry mama!” And a woman in a dress walked by in a dress and bouquet of flowers with a sign that read “I caught the bouquet….now what?” She’s a lesbian who cannot marry her partner. We ended at the capitol building on the lawn for the rally that featured speakers who included politicians, activists, non-profit organizers, Lady Gaga, Julian Bond (Chairperson of NAACP), Dustin Lance Black (screenwriter for MILK), Judy Shepherd (Matthew Shepherd's mom), Cynthia Nixon (Sex and the City), and the cast of HAIR.

Julian Bond, Chairperson of the NAACP, compared this movement to that of civil rights in the 50s-60s. It was a gay man who organized the March on Washington years ago for civil rights, and Julian Bond said that now he is the black man organizing the march for gay rights because this too is an issue of CIVIL RIGHTS. "When others gain their rights, my rights are not diminished in any way."

I only posted one live video because this is the one you should watch. It takes a bit to load - but do something else and come back to it.

Lt. Dan Choi says that "LOVE is worth it."

Lady Gaga - by far the crowd favorite - speaks to our YOUNG generation that is making a difference and challenges Obama to listen.

All of the videos can be viewed HERE on the Equality March Blog as seen on CSPAN.

It was a powerful day full of celebration, happiness and sincere grassroots efforts to make a difference in the future of LGBT equality. At the end of the march stood a couple, a biracial couple, just standing peacefully with a sign that read “Years ago, we couldn’t get married. The time WILL come for you.” Powerful. We have come so far, but the rights of marriage need to be equal on the federal level, not just state by state. However, that doesn’t mean that we stop our efforts here in NY. NY is so close and the marriage equality vote is reappearing in the Senate next week. Call/write your senators and encourage them to make the right decision.

And of course always powerful, the cast of HAIR, who canceled their Sunday matinee to be a part of this day. "Let the Sunshine In"

Thursday, October 15, 2009

zero time - listen to Obama.

Ok - I fully admit - I have zero time to write a blog and I have so much to catch up on. SO I'm going to leave the control to you. Watch this:

President Obama's address at the Human Rights Campaign 2009 Dinner

October 11, 2009

Read and view more videos HERE. Lady Gaga, Judy & Dennis Shepherd (Matthew Shepherd's parents), the cast of GLEE, Gavin Creel....and more.

I'll be back soon with's been quite a weekend!

Monday, October 5, 2009


Hello blog readers (all 6 of you). :-) I just wanted to make a call out through yet another medium of social networking for 2 things:

VOLUNTEERS for the PFLAG NYC Annual Dinner & Fundraiser

Monday, October 12 at Tribeca Rooftop (2 Debrosses Street, NYC), 6pm-10pm

We need volunteers to work the silent auction, the VIP cocktail reception, greet people, etc. You get a free GOURMET meal!! (I've been on the tasting, you're in for a treat - email me for a menu) There is a volunteer training meeting on Wednesday, October 7 6:30-8 at the PFLAG NYC Office at the GMHC Building 119 W. 24th St. (between 6th and 7th Avenues) 9th Floor Board Room. Please RSVP by contacting Kara at 646-403-3682 or via email Even if you cannot attend the meeting, but can volunteer for the dinner, we need you! Email Kara (or me).

IN-KIND DONATIONS for the PFLAG NYC Annual Dinner & Fundraiser

If you are a local business owner, or have any services you'd like to donate to the dinner auction, please contact me with details or Drew Tagliabue

Silent and Live Auction Contributions
Past auctions have covered the range - from a week in a Tuscan villa to theatre tickets and dinner for two to goods and services of many local businesses. Donors will be recognized at the auction, in the dinner journal, in the PFLAG NYC Newsletter. If you are not able to make a donation in-kind, consider also making a tax-deductible gift to PFLAG NYC for the purpose of the auction and we'll do the shopping for you! All donations with a retail value about $500 will be entitled to a journal ad.

Friday, October 2, 2009

The big debate...


Would this image ever really exist? Thankfully it does. But not often enough. There are a few things that traditionally don't go well together - oil and water, fingernails and a chalkboard, homosexuality and religion, to name a few. I've brought it up a few times in this blog, it's a part of a lot of conversations and every interview I've done in this organization, and yes, it's a hard one. But as a society, in the Christian community, we have made it a much harder discussion than it needs to be.

My parents sent me a sermon by Kevin Armstrong (KA), of North United Methodist Church in Indianapolis. He was our pastor when I was just a little one. This subject is too often danced around in sermons in the church, but he spoke to it directly and he put into words, the jumbled mess of opinions and beliefs in my head. Some points that spoke to me: (or you can just skip to the bottom and click on the link to listen)

  • In the book UnChristian by David Kinnaman, - What a new generation really thinks about Christianity and why it matters - a Barna Institute survey of 16-29 year-old young adults presented 20 words or phrases and asked people to choose the ones they associated with "Christianity" The results: #3 hypocritical, #2 judgmental, #1 (with >90% of the votes) anti-homosexuality.
  • People defending an anti-homosexual viewpoint so often reference Leviticus wherein the Bible states "If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be upon them." Leviticus 20:13 YET, the same people who quote this verse are probably doing so while enjoying their shrimp cocktail appetizer - shellfish anyone? Rewind to Lev. 11.
  • "Why do we focus on one crime and dismiss the others? ... What does it mean to pick and choose scripture that punishes people who God would love?" KA
  • "When you read the Bible simplistically, you do it an injustice." KA
  • "The law [God's law] was meant to be guiding, not binding." The Apostle Paul
  • Kevin's Challenge to his congregation: If you believe that God's reference to loving ALL means people from ALL races, nations, and sexual orientation, are you willing to say it publicly, explicitly, plainly - and not just have people guess? Are you willing to say it BEFORE a homosexual enters your congregation, hoping to be accepted? Silence is disregard. Wear your acceptance on your sleeve with your words AND your actions.

You can listen to the sermon HERE (beginning with a scripture reading - you can even skip about 1/4" in and catch the beginning of the actual sermon). It's only about 15 minutes long - I cleaned my room while listening. Find some laundry to fold and press play.