Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Books: "Appealing for Justice" Tells Story of Amendment 2 Lawyer Jean Dubofsky

Jean Eberhart Dubofsky came of age when trouble was around every corner, fueled by one grave injustice or another. Appealing For Justice is the story of how this shy, unknown, and unheralded woman found her place at the table again and again, then led the way, broke down barriers and helped shape the direction and flow of history. At almost every step, Jean Dubofsky's story mirrors, reflects, or reveals the depth of the injustice, discrimination, and inequality that lay hidden just beneath the surface of the country we thought ourselves to be.

Jean Dubofsky made history in 1979 when she was the first woman appointed to the Colorado Supreme Court, then made history again in 1996 at the U.S. Supreme Court when she argued and won the landmark gay rights case, Romer v. Evans. Dubofsky's journey from helping to shape and implement the strategy that led to the passage of the 1968 Civil Rights Act, to bringing the first slavery lawsuit since the Civil War, and finally winning at the U.S. Supreme Court is not simply her story, it also is the a story of an entire generation.

Appealing For Justice allows, for the first time, Jean Dubofsky and Romer v. Evans to find their rightful historic place at a critical turning point in the country's unfolding story of equal rights and justice. It is a captivating tale of wild rides, fears and triumph, of hurdles overcome, battles won, and a time in the nation's history that breaks our hearts and renews our spirits.

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People Exclusive – Jackie Evancho Takes on Trump After Inauguration Performance: I Want to Tell Him ‘the Horrors’ My Trans Sister Has Faced

Jackie Evancho and sister Juliet
Jackie Evancho may have sung at the inauguration, but when President Donald Trump rescinded Obama-era protections for transgender people, she changed her tune.

For the new issue of People, the 16-year-old classical vocalist opened up about the backlash she received for her appearance at the Inaugural and how why she wants to sit down with Trump and her trans sister Juliet to discuss transgender rights.

“I [performed] because it’s always been about the honor and not about the politics. I try my best to stay out of politics,” says Evancho. But when Trump took action that could harm her sister, she felt compelled to speak up — “because at that point, something had changed that was going to affect a cause that I believe in. It was going to affect my sister, who I truly love, and people that I know. It was just natural instinct. I had to do something about it.”

Indeed, the America’s Got Talent alum — whose new album Two Hearts drops Friday — took to social media in February after Trump signed the executive order rolling back protections for trans youth, requesting a meeting with the President. The White House said Trump would “welcome” a meeting but have yet to confirm an appointment.

“We’re actively working on it,” says Evancho, who remains hopeful she’ll get the opportunity to sit down with Trump.

On Monday, the Pittsburgh native tweeted Trump again, posting: “THANK YOU for being open to meeting with me to discuss #trans rights. I’ll be in #DC on 3/30 & 3/31. Can we meet?”

As for what Evancho would say if she gets the chance to meet with the President?

“I would talk to him about some of the horrors that [Juliet] has experienced,” Evancho says. “Hopefully make it a federal issue — and create some sort of law that will protect my sister and people in her situation.”

Now 18, Evancho’s sister Juliet — born Jacob — struggled with her gender identity from a young age, slowly coming out as transgender to her mom Lisa, 50, Jackie, and dad Michael, 47, when she was 13 before coming out publicly in October 2015 in an exclusive People interview. Evancho says Juliet has been bullied since she began transitioning, with classmates directing mean language at her and their siblings (Zachary, 14, and Rachel, 13) and even throwing trash and hard candy at Juliet.

Having been in the spotlight since she was 10, Evancho is used to bullying and didn’t bat an eye at the online backlash that followed her inauguration performance announcement. “It is what it is; you can’t control the world, and you can’t change everyone’s opinion,” she says, “so it’s best to just ignore it so you don’t lose your mind.”

But Evancho took it personally when she says Juliet was singled out. In October, Juliet filed a federal discrimination lawsuit against the Pine-Richland School District after being barred from using the bathrooms of her choice.

“It makes me feel terrible —no one should have to deal with that,” Jackie says of how her sister has been treated at school.

In February, a judge granted a preliminary injunction allowing trans students to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity. But both Evancho and her sister — an aspiring model who underwent sex reassignment surgery in January — are intent on continuing to use their platform to advocate for trans rights.

“My goals are mainly just to continue what I’m doing, but on a bigger scale — to inspire people, to use my voice to do good, to help people,” Evancho says. “I definitely want to change things.”

Adds Juliet: “Getting the messages that we get like, ‘Oh, you’re so inspiring. You’ve helped me come out to my family’ or ‘You’ve saved us from being in a dark place’ from Jackie’s music … Just hearing those type of things help us keep going, knowing that we’re doing something right.”

While the girls’ dad Michael says “nobody wants their kids to be a target of bullying or hatred,” he’s thrilled his daughters are wielding their fame for good: “My wife and I are extremely proud of the fact that Jackie chooses to share her gift with the world and that Juliet is brave enough to stand up for who she is, and, through her experiences, possibly be able to help others.”

The Debt Free Guys: How Can I Attract More Money?


Ever wonder how you can attract more money into your life? If you found out would you be willing to follow through? The Debt Free Guys can show you how!

Stonewall Fitness: Are You Training or Working Out?

By David Smith
Well, what’s the difference? You might ask. Next time your at the gym, look around and take note of all the different people you see. What are they doing? Are they really getting into it or do they look bored or distracted? How hard are they working?

The difference between training and working out is when you are training; you give your fitness a greater purpose. You step foot into the gym with a plan and a purpose. You are there to put in the grind and accomplish your goals for the day. Most importantly you are there because you want to be. Often times “working out” is seen as a chore, and it is. You show up, do the minimum and then go and binge eat on naughty food afterwards. Working out is a necessary evil that one must do in order to succeed in life, or so they say...

​When you are training, you are always striving to do your best, perform at your best and push the limits of your body and mind to achieve the next step on your journey.

By working out, you are content with the bare minimum of work needed to get the job done. Sticking to the basics of what you know but you’re not quite ready to step outside your comfort zone and push yourself harder. Why? It’s uncomfortable; and we don’t like being uncomfortable.

Breaking through our comfort zone, taking a leap of faith and trying something new are the essence of human existence. It’s taken us to the moon and back and it’s a principle we should all take to heart. 
​Everybody has goals of course, but are your goals enough to keep your momentum going? Remember motivation tends to wane, which is why we need a daily dose. When I say “fitness with a greater purpose” I mean the end result isn’t something as simple as “toned body” or “weight loss” it’s about achieving something you never accomplished before. Be it a Personal Record in lifting, a certain time in a race, climbing a mountain or whatever it is for you. 

You can have excuses, or you can have results. 
To show up at the gym every day, knowing that what you do will get you one step closer to achieving that goal, you are motivated to put in the extra work and to push your limits one step further every time.

You are not focused on the destination; you are focused on the journey. Every step of that journey is one step further than you’ve ever gone before and it is one step closer to where you want to go. 

​Next time you arrive at the gym, ask yourself the ultimate question. “Why?” Why are you here? Why are you doing this? If you start your answer with “I need” then don’t even bother taking another step. Take a deep breath and start your answer with “I want”. As in “I want to accomplish more than I ever thought possible” and remind yourself of that every day.

David Smith is a coach,  exercise professional, athlete, blogger and owner of Stonewall Fitness.

Koelbel Urban Homes: The New Modern in Denver

Koelbel Urban Homes (KUH) has quickly emerged as a leader in creating urban neighborhoods that promote community and synergy by integrating life, work and play.

As the newest division of legendary developer Koelbel and Company, KUH is focused on in-fill properties, designing and building innovative homes tailored to each unique site.

Offered homes run the gamut of detached single-family homes to svelte modern attached designs featuring today's popular spaces, such as rooftop decks and open-plan concepts. All KUH homes, of course, are designed for optimum living and with respect for the surroundings.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

BREAKING: Trump Administration Omits LGBTQ People from 2020 Census and American Community Survey

Today, the Trump Administration submitted to Congress a report of the list of categories of data it plans to collect for the 2020 Census and the American Community Survey (ACS). In this morning’s version of the Administration’s report, while it conspicuously excluded lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBTQ) people on the list of "planned subjects" for the nation’s decennial census and longer form survey, "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" were included as "proposed" subjects in the appendix—indicating that data collection on these categories may have been in the works in an earlier version. Last year, a number of federal agencies urged the Census Bureau to collect sexual orientation and gender identity data, explaining that the information was critical to their ability to implement and enforce the law.

"Today, the Trump Administration has taken yet another step to deny LGBTQ people freedom, justice, and equity, by choosing to exclude us from the 2020 Census and American Community Survey. LGBTQ people are not counted on the Census—no data is collected on sexual orientation or gender identity. Information from these surveys helps the government to enforce federal laws like the Violence Against Women Act and the Fair Housing Act and to determine how to allocate resources like housing supports and food stamps. If the government doesn’t know how many LGBTQ people live in a community, how can it do its job to ensure we’re getting fair and adequate access to the rights, protections and services we need?” said Meghan Maury, Criminal and Economic Justice Project Director, National LGBTQ Task Force.

This decision is part of a string of actions by the Trump Administration to remove sexual orientation and gender identity questions from federal surveys and to stall assessment of programs targeting the LGBTQ community. The Census does collect data on same-sex couples through its "relationship to householder" question; this results in a very narrow depiction of the needs and experiences of our community.

"We call on President Trump and his Administration to begin collecting sexual orientation and gender identity data on the American Community Survey as soon as possible and urge Congress to conduct oversight hearings to reveal why the Administration made the last-minute decision not to collect data on LGBTQ people," said Maury.

For over a decade, the National LGBTQ Task Force has been at the forefront of national data collection advocacy efforts by urging the President, Congress, and the Census Bureau to collect data that accurately reflects the country’s population of LGBTQ people. In 2010, the National LGBTQ Task Force launched the "Queer the Census" campaign calling on LGBTQ people to urge the Census Bureau to count them in the 2010 Census. More than 100,000 LGBTQ people placed a "Queer the Census" sticker on their 2010 Census envelops, asking the federal agency to count them and collect data on LGBTQ people. Since 2014, Maury has served on the National Advisory Committee on Racial, Ethnic, and Other Populations, where she provides advice to the Census Bureau on this and various other data collection issues.

Mitchell Gold Takes Aim at North Carolina's HB2 in Statement

Mitchell Gold today released a statement opposing North Carolina's HB2:

I'm writing today as Co-Founder and CEO of Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams Home Furnishings, and Co-Founder and Co-Chair of Faith in America to express my support for a FULL repeal of HB2 immediately. As leaders in our state, it would immediately signal that NC is open for business to everyone, and more importantly send a lifesaving message to the vulnerable LGBT teens in North Carolina that you care about their lives.

Today in North Carolina, you can still be fired, denied housing, or refused service simply for being gay or transgender. It's bad for the economic sustainability of North Carolina. We have close to 1 million SF of manufacturing and warehouse facilities and over 600 employees in western North Carolina where we proudly make all our upholstered products. We can't afford to have barriers in place when it comes to attracting and retaining the top talent we need to succeed. Especially for senior level talent, competitors in other states already have these protections in place, giving them a distinct advantage in recruitment and attraction. Recent decisions by the NFL, NCAA, and NBA to move or not award big events to places lacking equal protections has made this issue even more salient when it comes to North Carolina’s reputation and economic sustainability.

The principles of non-discrimination are rooted in core conservative values of fairness, equality, and opportunity. Everybody should have the chance to earn a living and provide for themselves and their families. Nobody should have to live in fear that they can be legally fired for reasons that have nothing to do with their job performance.

I want to state clearly that the issue of risk associated with transgender people using the restroom of their choice is an irresponsible and reckless witch-hunt. If you are concerned about safety for a problem that has not existed (and believe me, transgender people have been using the restroom of their choice for years), then implement stronger harassment or peeping Tom laws. But don’t underestimate the immense harm you are causing to vulnerable transgender people. Put yourself in their shoes! Have compassion for a transgender teen who suffers mental anguish from the pressures of their everyday life.

Finally, those who would like to be able to discriminate do so with a foundation in religious beliefs that LGBT people are sinners and consequently immoral and not deserving of full equality. These kinds of outdated religious teachings are extremely harmful to the over 1.5 million LGBT teenagers in America. LGBT teens are 4-6 times more likely to suffer immense mental anguish, attempt or commit suicide, or abuse drugs and alcohol than their straight peers. In conservative or anti-LGBT religious homes and churches, this number jumps to 8 times. You can bet that is the statistic in North Carolina. Equal rights legislation says to these precious individuals that the state recognizes their worth. I know from personal experience such leadership saves lives.

As you might be faced with opposition to full repeal, please look carefully into who and why they are opposed to treating LGBT people with dignity. We know from history that using religious teachings to cause harm or marginalize others was mistaken. Please don’t allow yourself to fall prey to their pressure.

Thank you for your commitment to a North Carolina that respects, protects, and celebrates all who live, work, and play in this great state.


Mitchell Gold

Transgender Rental Bias Revealed through Housing Discrimination Tests

Transgender and gender non-conforming individuals responding to apartment ads in Greater Boston were more likely to be quoted a higher rental price, were shown fewer apartment amenities such as storage or laundry, and were less apt to be offered a financial incentive to rent, according to a study conducted by Suffolk University Law School’s Housing Discrimination Testing Program.

The study, which used data from a series of housing discrimination tests conducted during 2015 and 2016, found that transgender and gender-nonconforming people received discriminatory differential treatment 61 percent of the time compared to test groups of non-transgender individuals. It’s the first study to provide statistically significant data with respect to the rate and types of discrimination facing this vulnerable group.

The study’s findings will be published in the Yale Journal of Law & Feminism.

“It is well understood that transgender and/or gender-nonconforming people are among the most vulnerable to discrimination in our society,” the article’s authors write. “The study confirms that discrimination is occurring against this population in the Metropolitan Boston rental housing market. Such discrimination can severely limit a person’s housing choices and have a negative impact on all areas of a person’s life.”

The level of discriminatory treatment was higher for transgender and gender-nonconforming testers than has been found with studies of other kinds of protected classes, including discrimination tests based on sexual orientation and disabilities.

The Housing Discrimination Testing Program set out to gather data on the level of discrimination that transgender and gender-nonconforming people experience in the Greater Boston rental housing market. Tests were designed to mimic real apartment-search interactions and included transgender and gender-nonconforming testers as well as non-transgender and gender-conforming testers who visited the same properties at different times. Testers set up appointments to view advertised apartments and verbally or visually introduced that they were transgender or gender non-conforming to the housing provider.

Much of the differential treatment that protected-class apartment searchers experienced was subtle. In one case, the housing provider told the control tester that the security deposit on the unit could be reduced by 75 percent but made no mention of that offer to the protected-class tester. In another test, a rental agent offered to send a non-transgender apartment searcher an application and then emailed the application, but the agent never offered to provide an application to the protected-class tester. Transgender and gender-nonconforming testers were told negative things about certain housing units, having the effect of discouraging them from viewing the units. They were quoted different move-in costs and not shown amenities such as an outdoor lounge and pool area. Transgender and gender-nonconforming people were even less likely to be asked their names when meeting the rental agent in person.

“Where a person lives impacts every aspect of their life, from their health to their social interactions, so to limit or deny that opportunity can be devastating for people,” said Jamie Langowski, clinical fellow and assistant director of the Housing Discrimination Testing Program at Suffolk Law.

Past studies have found that transgender and gender-nonconforming people often are marginalized and experience harassment, high poverty rates, poor health, limited job opportunities and violence. Yet, they do not have full protection under federal civil rights statutes such as the Fair Housing Act. Massachusetts is one of 19 states that includes gender identity in state housing antidiscrimination laws; in 2012, the commonwealth’s anti-discrimination statute was amended to include gender identity as a protected class.

Opponents of antidiscrimination laws that include gender identity – such as the so-called “bathroom bills” – often cite a lack of evidence that discrimination is a problem for this population. However, the results of Suffolk Law’s Housing Discrimination Testing Program study provide evidence that gender-identity discrimination in the rental housing market is real, and rates of discrimination are high, even in a state where gender identity is a protected class.

The authors argue that such evidence calls for stronger federal protections, since under current federal fair housing law private housing providers can potentially legally discriminate against prospective tenants because they are transgender and/or gender non-conforming.

“Transgender and gender-non-conforming people deserve the full protection of our civil rights laws so they can live free from discrimination and can reach their potential as their true selves,” said William Berman, clinical professor of law and director of Suffolk Law’s Housing Discrimination Program.

Transgender Day of Visibility at Tivoli Turnhalle

NCLR responds to quiet Trump Administration elimination of LGBT discrimination protections

Yesterday, the Trump Administration quietly issued an executive order rescinding Obama administration progress toward eliminating LGBT discrimination in the workplace. Previously, former president Barack Obama’s Executive Order 13673 took aim at LGBT discrimination by requiring federal contractors to disclose whether they have previously been held liable for discrimination against vulnerable groups, including LGBT individuals. By eliminating this requirement, federal government decisions about which companies to do business with no longer weigh a company’s history of LGBT discrimination as part of this decision-making. National Center for Lesbian Rights Executive Director Kate Kendell, Esq. issued the following statement in response:

“This administration is like a fast-moving car stuck in reverse. President Trump has repeatedly shown us that he is intent on chipping away at critical protections for LGBT and other vulnerable communities—taking our rights and our country backward. From the Department of Education’s elimination of transgender student protections to the selection of openly anti-LGBT individuals to lead the Department of Justice, the Office for Civil Rights for the Department of Health and Human Services, and the United States Air Force, this administration has drawn a line in the sand, making clear that it does not value our LGBT community or rights.

President Trump’s quiet take-down yesterday of federal safeguards against employment discrimination for millions of LGBT Americans is yet another example of why our elected officials, advocates, and our community must remain vigilant and continue working together to stop this administration’s regressive and harmful policies.”

Owning Our Stories ~ Finding Our Light

Come join the discussion, as guest speakers, Marsha Aizumi and Danny Cortez share their journeys of acceptance and support of the LGBTQ Community.

Books: "Redefining Redefining Normal: A Modern Gay Men's Guide to Happy and Healthy Living" by Denver's Own Brent Heinz

"Redefining Normal: A Modern Gay Men's Guide to Happy and Healthy Living" is a smart, funny, serious, and sometimes irreverent look at the variety of ways gay men see themselves and interact with each other by former Mr. Leather Colorado, Brent Heinze. 

It challenges and encourages individuals to address those issues keeping them from creating a more fulfilling life and offers suggestions on ways to overcome difficulties that cause negative impacts in their lives. It discusses topics relating to dating, flirting, using technology, cruising, sex, relationships, self-improvement, and creating strong support networks while offering perspectives and techniques helpful in making sustained life changes.

Are You Gay With Something To Say? Bloggers Wanted For Denver's Best Gay Blog!

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The Gay Vegans: Making My Days Matter

By Dan Hanley

This isn’t a post about life, or living life to the fullest. It’s a simple post about remembering (or being reminded) that life is short. It goes by super fast. Some days I can’t believe I am 51. And while so much is going on in the world and every day I still want to take action to make the world better and safer for all living beings, there are times when I have to stop and take a deep breath.

Recently I did that at Cardiff By The Sea State Beach near San Diego. Even with a wet suit the water was cold, yet I felt invigorated with time in the water and time just sitting on the beach looking out to the vast Pacific ocean.

And although this post isn’t about living life to the fullest, it is about asking you to consider to make each day matter. That’s what I have been thinking of lately, and something I try to do daily. Some days it’s just being vegan or just posting a news item on Twitter that I think will benefit others. Other days it’s taking action, writing blog posts, holding those in power accountable.

And sometimes it’s simply laying on the beach while embracing gratitude.

We all have so much going on. Take a moment for yourself, whatever that looks like. We can’t be of service to others if we are not taking care of ourselves.