Sara's News Round-up, 8/31/09

For as long as I can remember, Sara Boesser has sent her NEWS round-up from Juneau every week, sharing an interesting mix of local, national and international items with a list of friends, allies and LGBT community members. Sara is also the author of Silent Lives: How High a Price? I'm pleased to welcome Sara and her NEWS to Bent Alaska!
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1) Join Alaskan contingent marching in DC on October 11
If you are or were an Alaskan resident (or friend of one) and want to march with other Alaskans at the National March on Washington on October 11, 2009, email Mo to join up.

Manzini, Swaziland, Times of Swaziland, August 30,2009

National Black Justice Coalition, August 9, 2009

4) Are You a Transgender Individual Who Was Born in Alaska?
Please contact Tiffany McClain at the ACLU of Alaska
Alaska, AkCLU, August 25, 2009

Madison, Wisconsin, Advocate, August 24, 2009

Iceland, Advocate, August 26, 2009

Washington, CNN, August 27, 2009

Des Moines, Iowa, Associated Press, August 26, 2009

Brisbane Times, August 27, 2009

Switzerland, SwissInfo, August 26, 2009 .

Washington, 365Gay.com, August 27, 2009

Advocate, August 28, 2009

Santa Ana, Calif., Washington Blade, August 28, 2009

Advocate, August 28, 2009

Utah, Salt Lake Tribune, August 21, 2009

U.K., The Independent, August 30, 2009

Charlie Brown comes out in "Dog Sees God"

What would happen to Charlie Brown and his friends if they grew up?
When CB's dog dies from rabies, CB begins to question the existence of an afterlife. His best friend is too burnt out to provide any coherent speculation; his sister has gone goth; his ex-girlfriend has recently been institutionalized; and his other friends are too inebriated to give him any sort of solace. But a chance meeting with an artistic kid, the target of this group's bullying, offers CB peace of mind and sets in motion a friendship that will push teen angst to the very limits. Drug use, suicide, eating disorders, teen violence, rebellion and sexual identity collide and careen toward an ending that's both haunting and hopeful.

Christina Ashby directs a local cast in the play New York Magazine called "funny and endearing" when it premiered at The New York International Fringe Festival in 2004.

Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead, a play by Bert V. Royal, will be performed at Out North Theatre on 3800 Debarr Road, September 4-14 at 7:30 p.m. on Fri/Sat; 4 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $14.50 online; $15 at the door. There is also a Pay-What-You-Can preview on Sept. 3 at 7:30 p.m.

This Week in LGBT Alaska 8/28/09

The Assembly has until Sept. 8 to override Mayor Sullivan's veto, and they need 8 votes in favor. Please urge Debbie Ossander (ossiander@gci.net) and all the Assembly members (WWMAS@ci.anchorage.ak.us) to Do the Right Thing and support an override.

This week's events from the statewide newsletter. Subscribe to Alaska GLBT News.

Juneau

SEAGLA Social Fridays (6-8 p.m.) for GLBT people and our friends over 21, at The Imperial Bar, downtown.


Fairbanks

UAF Gay-Straight Alliance tabling at New Student Orientation 8/31 from 12-2pm in the Wood Center.


Kenai Peninsula

"Hedwig and the Angry Inch" starring Atz Lee Kilcher, 8/28-8/30, 8 p.m. at Pier One Theater. Tickets $15 at the Homer Bookstore and Kachemak Bay Family Planning Clinic.


Mat-Su Valley

Mat-Su LGBT Community Center in Palmer is open M-F 5-8 p.m. (except 6-8 on Wed.) The social group meets Wednesdays, 5-6 p.m. at Vagabond Blues.


Anchorage

Side Street Saturdays, an informal meetup for LGBT writers, at noon in Side Street Cafe.

Northern Exposure Bowling League, 1st league meeting of the 2009/2010 season, 8/29, 4 p.m. at Park Lanes.

Mad Mike @ Mad Myrna's 8/29, 10 p.m. - 2:30 a.m.

Sunday worship with MCC Anchorage, 2 p.m.

Transgender Support Group, Sundays 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the GLCCA.

Ever Ready at the Alaska State Fair 8/31, 5-6 p.m.

Joy Harjo reading her poetry at Cyrano's 8/31, 7 p.m. Tickets $10.00 at the door.

Anchorage Frontrunners, Tuesdays, 6 p.m.

QueerWorld: 16th Alaska Pride Conference, Oct 10

Identity, Inc. is sponsoring QueerWorld, the 16th annual Alaska Pride Conference, at the APU Atwood Center on October 10, 2009 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. People of all ages, cultures, sexualities and professions attend the conference each year to strengthen ties with one another and build community. There will be 8 workshop sessions.

We are seeking inspiring presenters to share their knowledge, experiences and successes on diverse topics using innovative presentations. We welcome presentations that include a focus on connection, connecting with ourselves, one another and our communities. We hope to promote unity and community growth through QueerWorld.

E-mail Johnathan Jones, co-chair of QueerWorld, for the workshop proposal. The deadline for submitting proposals is September 25.

Coronation 2009!

The Imperial Court of All Alaska requests the Honor of Your Presence at CORONATION XXXVII - "GOLD, FUR, AND FEATHERS" CELEBRATING 50 YEARS OF STATEHOOD, Sept. 3-7, 2009 in Anchorage, Alaska.

Enjoy Labor Day weekend with the Imperial Court: the meet and greet, a show with performers from Alaska and a second show with visiting performers from out of state followed by a Las Vegas party, a bus run, a glacier tour, a victory brunch, plus the big night of Coronation itself, Sept. 6 in the Sheraton Ballroom!

The full Coronation schedule is posted below, and tickets can be purchased online at the Imperial Court's Coronation web site.

SEPTEMBER 3RD - 7TH
ANCHORAGE, ALASKA

SEPTEMBER 3RD
"SUNSHINE OVER SIBERIA"
7PM MEET AND GREET
SUB ZERO LOUNGE

SEPTEMBER 4TH
11:30 AM GLACIER/WILDLIFE TOUR
PRINCE WILLIAM SOUND
6 hour tour, meal included - Great Trip

IN STATE SHOW - MAD MYRNA'S SHOWROOM
SHOW @ 8PM $10

SEPTEMBER 5TH
BROWN BEAR BUS RUN
MEET IN PARKING LOT OF "THE RAVEN"
10AM $15
EMPEROR AND EMPRESS OF BEAR
CONTEST, BBQ AND FUN

OUT OF STATE SHOW- MAD MYRNA'S SHOWROOM
SHOW @8PM $10
LAS VEGAS PARTY FOLLOWING SHOW

SEPTEMBER 6TH
CORONATION XXXVII
"GOLD, FUR, & FEATHERS"
SHERATON HOTEL BALLROOM
6PM $35
FOOD FOR PURCHASE

SEPTEMBER 7TH
VICTORY BRUNCH
MAD MYRNA'S SHOWROOM
11AM $30

HOST HOTEL
ANCHORAGE SHERATON HOTEL
401 E 6TH AVENUE
ANCHORAGE, ALASKA 99501
(907) 276-8700 (907) 276-8700
WWW.SHERATON. COM/ANCHORAGE
$142 PER ROOM NIGHT
MENTION "IMPERIAL COURT OF ALASKA"
ROOM BLOCK RATE ENDS AUG 31ST

You Are Not Alone: Teen Suicide Resources

Another school year has begun, and the Juneau School District created a new suicide prevention resource for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth, which is available for adults who work with teens.

"Gay and lesbian youth belong to two groups at high risk of suicide: youth and homosexuals." The brochure lists 3 actions to take if you or a friend has a problem.
"The root of the problem for GLBT youth suicide is a society that discriminates against and stigmatizes homosexuals while failing to recognize that a substantial number of its youth are GLBT." - from the report of the Secretary's Task Force on Youth Suicide, US Dept. of Health and Human Services
The brochure gives Juneau-area and national suicide hotline numbers and mental health web sites that are accessible to all Alaska youth, along with general GLBTQ resources like SEAGLA, PFLAG and the Juneau Gay-Straight Alliances.

The brochure was funded by a grant from the State of Alaska, and is available for people who work with teens and places where teens frequent.

If you would like to receive copies of the brochure, or have suggestions for where they can be placed, please contact Juneau-Douglas High School Counselor Brendan Kiernan at this email address.

Equal Benefits for LGBT Alaskans

Public employers such as municipal governments, state agencies, and school districts have an obligation to provide the same benefits to same-sex domestic partners that they provide to spouses. The ACLU of Alaska wants to ensure that all Alaskans are receiving equal benefits, and conducted a survey of all public agencies in the State of Alaska.

"Know Your Rights! Domestic Partnership Benefits in Alaska" (.pdf) is an initial summary of the findings. It lists public employers who currently provide domestic partnership benefits, those who do not offer benefits, and employers who did not complete the survey.

What can you do to receive your benefits or help expand coverage?
Your employer has an obligation to provide you with information regarding the benefits available to you and your same-sex partner. If you work for a public employer who did not respond to our survey, you can help enforce your rights by:

1) Requesting that your employer make explicit their status on domestic partnership benefits.

2) Providing the ACLU of Alaska with accurate information regarding your employer's domestic partnership benefits policy or lack thereof.
If you have questions, suggestions or corrections, please contact Tiffany McClain, LGBT Public Policy Coordinator, ACLU of Alaska, 907-258-0044 ext. 101.

For more information, visit the ACLU of Alaska's LGBT rights page.

A Sunday Cartoon for Homophobes



- - Cartoon by Glenn Harvey

Jerry, In His Own Words: A Creative Response to Prejudice


In addition to the thoughtful supportive testimony at the Assembly hearings and the well-argued letters to the editor, there have been some very creative responses to the struggle for Ordinance 64, and to the hateful statements of the anti-gay lobby.

Bent Alaska posted one of Glenn Harvey's "Jerry: In His Own Words" posters on Monday's No Dead Queers post. Below are several more ordinance-related posters by Glenn.

Like the "perverted, diseased and depraved" poster linked above, this poster quotes Prevo's anti-ordinance sermon from June 28 (sermon video HERE).

Remember the mass-produced "Truth Is Not Hate" signs carried by the red-shirted children and anti-gay church members bussed in from Wasilla? We've heard that the signs were provided by Bailey's Furniture.

Like Sarah Palin and her gay friend (who doesn't deserve to be equal), opponents of the ordinance have a twisted understanding of friendship. Glenn mirrors their prejudice back at them.

Thanks to Glenn for creating the posters and allowing Bent to post them.

Protest Sullivan's Veto Tonight at McGinley's

Update: Bent was unable to attend this event, but Mel was there and wrote about it on Henkimaa.
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Stand up for Equality and be Counted: Protest Mayor Sullivan's veto of the equal rights ordinance, tonight in front of McGinley's Pub. Sullivan is part-owner of McGinley's, and the customers should know that he supports discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

McGinley's Pub is in downtown Anchorage at the corner of G Street and 7th Avenue, and the protest begins at 6:30 p.m. After the protest, go get a drink at one of the supportive businesses in Anchorage!

Sullivan vetoed Ordinance 64 on Monday, saying that he saw no evidence of anti-gay discrimination and was following the will of the people. The Anchorage Assembly passed the ordinance 7-4 on Aug 11, after weeks of public hearings showed the need for equal protections.

A spontaneous rally against the Mayor's veto attracted about 100 people to City Hall on Monday. Ordinance supporters held big letters spelling EQUALITY NOW and signs saying, "Anchorage Mayor Supports Discrimination" and "Celebrating 50 Years of Discrimination." The protestors marched down the street to McGinley's Pub, chanting "Equal Rights Now" and "United We Stand, Divided We Fall."

Two short videos of Monday's protest, taken by Chris N., are posted below:

video

video

This Week in LGBT Alaska 8/21/09

This week's events from the statewide newsletter. Subscribe to Alaska GLBT News.

Juneau

RSVP cruise Reception 8/26, 3-7 p.m. at the Imperial Saloon. SEAGLA

SEAGLA Social Fridays (6-8 p.m.) for GLBT people and our friends over 21, at The Imperial Bar, downtown.


Fairbanks

Voting for ICOAA Empress and Emperor XXXVII, 8/22, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. at College Floral.


Parks Highway

Bac'untry Bruthers at the Trapper Creek Music Festival 8/21, 9 p.m.


Mat-Su Valley

Mat-Su LGBT Community Center in Palmer is open M-F 5-8 p.m. (except 6-8 on Wed.) The social group meets Wednesdays, 5-6 p.m. at Vagabond Blues.


Anchorage

Emperor and Empress Candidates Pancake Breakfast 8/22, 10 a.m.-noon at Mad Myrna's.

Voting for ICOAA Empress and Emperor XXXVII 8/22, 10a.m.-8 p.m. at the GLCCA.

MCC Anchorage Garage Sale 8/22, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at St. Mary's Episcopal Church.

Out North Garage Sale 8/22, 9 a.m.-2 p.m.

Side Street Saturdays, an informal meetup for LGBT writers, at noon in Side Street Cafe.

Bac'untry Bruthers performs Saturday, at the Girdwood Blueberry Festival at 3 p.m and at Tap Root Cafe in south Anchorage at 8 p.m.

Sunday worship with MCC Anchorage, 2 p.m.

Transgender Support Group, Sundays 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the GLCCA.

Anchorage Frontrunners, Tuesdays, 6 p.m.

Out North Season 25 Launch Party 8/27, 6 p.m.

Sullivan's "Special Right" to Discriminate


Anchorage cartoonist Peter Dunlap-Shohl on Mayor Sullivan's shameful veto of the equal rights ordinance:


This isn't the first time Dunlap-Shohl has drawn about our struggle for protection. In 1992, Dunlap-Shohl's cartoon on the attempt to add sexual orientation to the Equal Rights Charter appeared on the cover of a special issue of The Northview, Identity's magazine.

Steve Gingrich remembers that cartoon. On the left was a person with the caption: "This person wants - A chance to work, a place to live, and a little privacy." On the right was a person with a sign with 'GAY RIGHTS' within a circle with a diagonal, and the caption: "This person wants - To perpetuate bigotry, to impose his religious views on others, and to undermine the right to privacy." Below was the question: "Which is demanding special privileges?"

"I keep returning to the "Special Rights" theme because it is so galling and cynical," writes Peter. "My blood pressure is going up right now just thinking of it."

Thanks to Peter for creating this cartoon. More of his work can be found on his site Frozen Grin.

Mayor to Gays: You Don't Count

On Monday afternoon, Mayor Sullivan vetoed the LGBT anti-discrimination ordinance passed 7-4 by the Assembly last week, citing a lack of evidence and the will of the majority as his reasons.

"I have received nearly 2,500 additional communications from Anchorage residents," said Sullivan's veto statement, and "the vast majority of those who communicated their position on the ordinance are in opposition."

"Civil rights are not a popularity contest," countered Jackie Buckley, spokesperson for Equality Works.

The news of the veto spread quickly through Alaska's LGBTA community and protestors gathered at City Hall. A line of ordinance supporters along the street held big letters spelling EQUALITY NOW. Around them stood protestors with signs like, "Headline news: Anchorage Mayor Supports Discrimination" and "Celebrating 50 Years of Discrimination" based on the recent 50 Years of Statehood events.

The Assembly has 21 days to override the veto, and they are 1 vote short of the 8 needed to override. Their next meeting is Tuesday, August 25. Please email the Anchorage Assembly at WWMAS@ci.anchorage.ak.us and tell them that we DO matter, and we are counting on them to protect all minority groups from discrimination, not just the popular ones.















More detailed reports of the protest are posted on Henkimaa, Alaska Commons, and SOSAnchorage.NET.

Equality Works Disappointed in Mayor's Lack of Leadership

Equality Works today expressed disappointment in Mayor Sullivan's lack of leadership in unnecessarily vetoing the hard work of the Assembly, which voted by a clear majority to provide much-needed equal rights protections for Anchorage's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

"It's a shame that the Mayor has decided to exclude LGBT people from the city's promise of 'equal opportunity for all persons,' said Jackie Buckley, Equality Works spokesperson. "We will continue to work towards an Anchorage that guarantees residents will be judged on their ability to contribute to and participate in the economy and community, and their qualifications to be tenants, homeowners or patrons. We all deserve equal access to employment, housing, and public accommodations."

"The Ordinance passed by the Assembly, after hours of testimony clearly documenting the need for these protections, is good for business, and would ensure that Anchorage can continue to attract and retain the best employees and customers. The Mayor's actions are a step backwards."

Rally Against the Veto: City Hall tonight

Sullivan VETOES Ordinance 64: no evidence, will of people

Statement from Mayor Sullivan's office:
On August 11, 2009, the Anchorage Assembly passed AO2009-64(S-2) as amended. I have reviewed the ordinance, heard the Assembly justifications for and against it, and understand the sentiments expressed during the many hours of public testimony. Since the passage, I have received nearly 2,500 additional communications from Anchorage residents. I thank all of those who took the time to participate in the process.

My review shows that there is clearly a lack of quantifiable evidence necessitating this ordinance. My review also shows that the vast majority of those who communicated their position on the ordinance are in opposition.

As elected officials, we are charged with reflecting the will of the community in our decisions, particularly in the absence of compelling data that would supersede that will.

Therefore, I hereby veto AO2009-64(S-2) as amended.

Note: The mayor's office does not plan to conduct individual media requests today. Questions will be referred back to the statement.

No "Dead Queers" means No Discrimination: opponents of Ordinance 64

UPDATE: Mayor Sullivan VETOED Ordinance 64. Read the mayor's statement HERE, then contact the Assembly and ask them to over-ride the veto. They have 21 days.
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What is the anti-gay lobby saying about the passage of Ordinance 64? An Anchorage blogger* wrote:
"[Assembly members] Chris Birch and Bill Starr said they had not been convinced that discrimination against gays and lesbians is a problem in Anchorage. "I don't see signs that say, 'No Gays Allowed,'. We have a tolerant and diverse community that generally gets along," he said. Birch also bemoaned the amount of time devoted to this issue, saying he would rather have devoted the time to determine how to better deal with the homeless problem. This is a valid point, since we are not finding dead queers on our streets, but dead homeless people. (emphasis mine)
Is that what it takes: "dead queers" on our streets? We don't even know that there are no "dead queers," since no state or city agency collects data on anti-gay discrimination. And if the 3 reported anti-gay murders and dozens of attacks and harassment incidents are not enough evidence, how many "dead queers" will be necessary before the city admits there is discrimination against gays?
Homelessness is a serious problem in Anchorage, one that deserves more attention. But there is no point in blaming ordinance supporters for the 25 long hours of testimony to the Assembly. It was the opponents' strategy to delay the vote, by getting hundreds of church members to testify from as far away as Wasilla.

The blogger, who lists a dozen white supremacist groups on his blogroll, also calls supporters of Ordinance 64 "abusive." He assumes that a ballot measure to repeal the ordinance, if the Mayor does not veto it by Tuesday, will pass because:
"The gay-lovers may be the most vocal and the most abusive, but they are not the most numerous."
I attended the public hearings and watched in disbelief while dozens of anti-gay opponents shouted and insulted and threatened and preached hellfire at the Assembly members each night. They won the "most abusive" label, hands down.

Meanwhile, opponent Jerry Prevo of the Anchorage Baptist Church is keeping up the pressure on Mayor Sullivan, using his pulpit to rally the troops and flood the city with calls and letters:
"The Gay Rights Ordinance, 2009-64(s-2), is bad public policy. It will make homosexuality and transgender (which is any form of sexual perversion) an acceptable alternative lifestyle. It is ridiculous to provide special rights for people who chose to engage in immoral, unnatural, perverted sexual activity. Do they have the right to do it? Yes, but we should not be forced to condone it. Homosexuality is a diseased and depraved lifestyle. Young people do not need to be made to think it is an "ok" lifestyle." (emphasis mine)
Prevo's June 28 sermon "Did Jesus Discriminate?" preached against the equal rights ordinance, calling gays a long list of names, saying "you can't be both" gay and Christian, and claiming that Jesus did discriminate, sometimes violently. Part 1 of the sermon video is posted HERE, Part 2 is posted below.

"I watched it. I was amazed," wrote Glenn, an ordinance supporter who created the poster above. "So, I started working on a series of posters 'Jerry, In His Own Words.' Not trying to be mean, just trying to make a point: it's not the gospel, it's hate speech."

Video of Prevo's sermon, "Did Jesus Discriminate?" part 2:


- Poster Prevo: In His Own Words, used with permission.

* I'm not going to link directly to his blog, but the name would usually be a GLBT name. To find it, search for our state name followed by the short name of the LGBT community's late June Festival. Warning: this is a political blog by a white supremacist, and many posts are disturbing.

To Mayor Sullivan on Property Tax Day

I heard that you are collecting ideas for how the city can cut the budget and save or make more money. I was thinking about that while writing a check for the second half of my property taxes, which are due on August 15, and wondered how many thousands of dollars the city has lost by allowing Anchorage Baptist Temple to keep it's tax-exempt status while openly funding political battles through ABT's donation site and threatening to campaign against Assembly members supported by tax-paying citizens like me, but opposed by exempt Jerry Prevo . . .

But seriously, I do have a suggestion for improving the outlook of the city during these hard economic times, a suggestion that is within your power to do:

I suggest that you let Ordinance 64 become Anchorage law.

How can an LGBT anti-discrimination ordinance help Anchorage financially?

It's no secret that employers in Anchorage have trouble finding qualified people for certain highly skilled positions, especially in fields where the training is not available here and they must hire people from outside who are willing to relocate. Despite high unemployment and hiring freezes in the lower 48, Anchorage hospitals, for just one example, struggle to fill important medical and technical positions. Why?

Beyond the personal reasons, the public image of Anchorage and Alaska is the biggest barrier.

Most people outside think Alaska is
1. cold, dark and isolated, and
2. full of nutty yahoos and religious fanatics (thank you, Sarah Palin)

The adventure of living in a far north climate on the edge of spectacular wilderness, with a variety of outdoor sports available just outside the city (and sometimes just outside the door) makes the challenge of winter worth it for some job seekers.

But how can we improve the political and social image of Alaska? More importantly, what can we do to make sure that Anchorage is not bullied by the vocal minority of nutty yahoos and religious fanatics who do live here - like the ordinance opponents who shouted and insulted and threatened and preached hellfire at the Assembly members during the hearings?

We can support Ordinance 64.

The compromise version of the ordinance that the Assembly passed on Tuesday protects civil rights while also protecting religious freedoms. It is based on sound business practices that support a good quality of life for all residents. It shows that we value a diverse and talented workforce, but it does not burden the city or business owners with new expenses.

The Assembly created a win-win solution. Now it's your turn to show that Alaskans are rational people who can pass reasonable laws.

What would the property tax base look like if Anchorage employers could fill more of those empty positions with skilled workers looking for good jobs, a bit of adventure - and a fair and friendly community?

Please allow Ordinance 64 to become Anchorage law.

Native Corp, Credit Union & other businesses support Ordinance 64

UPDATE: Alaska Airlines has asked to be removed from the list of supportive businesses.
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The Anchorage business community supports the LGBT equal rights protections passed by the Assembly, Equality Works announced today, and the Alaska Native Corporation CIRI took a strong stand for equality.

The statement made by Jackie Buckley of Equality Works and supported by local business leaders reads:
"The Anchorage business community strongly supports AO 64. An open and diverse workplace fosters strong customer relations and a vibrant, expanding economy. Businesses have to recruit and retain the best and the brightest personnel. For us to succeed, Anchorage must protect everyone's right to equal opportunity in employment, education, housing, financing, and public accommodations. We are pleased with the Assembly's action and support including sexual orientation and gender identity in equal rights laws."
Anchorage business leaders and small, mid-size, and large businesses joined in the statement:
Arctic Wire & Rope Supply, Cabin Fever, Circular, CIRI, Classic Woman/Portfolio, Copper Whale Inn, Credit Union One, Finite Technologies, Ginger, Middleway Café, Modern Dwellers, Quilted Raven, Snow City Café, Spenard Roadhouse, Sacks Café and Restaurant, Glenn Johnson, Chief Financial Officer & Executive Director of Finance, Alaska Airlines, and Mike Jens, owner, Hawk Consultants.
Many national businesses with locations in Anchorage understand the business benefit in ensuring lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender employees are not discriminated against. They include: Aetna, Allstate, American Airlines, Bank of America, Barnes & Noble, Best Buy, BP America, Carrs-Safeway, Chevron, Chili's Grill, Citigroup, Continental Airlines, Costco, Hilton Hotels, JC Penney Co., Merrill Lynch & Co., MetLife, Nordstrom, REI, Sears, Shell Oil Co., Staples, Starbucks, State Farm, Target, and Wells Fargo.

CIRI (Cook Inlet Region, Inc.) sent their own letter to Mayor Sullivan today, stating their support for the ordinance and asking that he allow it to become law. The CIRI letter, signed by Barbara Donatelli, Senior V.P. of Administration and Government Relations, is posted below with permission (emphasis is theirs, typing errors are mine.)
Dear Mayor Sullivan:

Cook Inlet Region, Inc. ("CIRI") strongly supports Anchorage Ordinance 2009-64 ("AO-64") that was recently passed by the Anchorage Assembly and encourages you to support anti-discrimination in our community by allowing the ordinance to pass.

CIRI strongly believes that all individuals deserve fair and equal employment opportunities, protection from unfair discrimination and the right to live their lives without fear. CIRI promotes fair and equal treatment within our own company through our Business Ethics and Compliance Program and our Code of Business Ethics and Compliance. Our policies provide "... equal employment to all persons regardless of ethnicity, religion, age, gender, national origin, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation, pregnancy, marital and/or parental status." These policies were developed to provide a clear and common understanding of CIRI's values and the ethical expectations that we have for the conduct of our employees and business activities.

As a major employer in our community, CIRI takes pride in our reputation as a good corporate citizen as demonstrated by our own monetary and in-kind contributions and volunteer activities, as well as those of our many affiliated subsidiaries and non-profit entities.

As Mayor, you can take pride that AO-64 sends a clear message that our City protects the diversity we value so much and will not tolerate discrimination against individuals based upon their sexual orientation for employment, housing, education and public accommodation opportunities.

CIRI joins many other businesses and organizations in voicing our support for AO-64 and urges you to do the right thing by not exercising your veto power over AO-64.

Sincerely,
Cook Inlet Region, Inc.
Bent Alaska applauds their stand for equality, and appreciates their willingness to support Ordinance 64 in a public letter. Although many national companies have LGBT-inclusive policies, it is significant that an Alaska Native Corporation like CIRI recognizes anti-gay discrimination as an ethical and business issue that is important to them.

Thank you to all the businesses that value us as part of the diverse workforce of Anchorage and have encouraged the Mayor to support Ordinance 64.

This Week in LGBT Alaska 8/14/09

This week's events from the statewide newsletter. Subscribe to Alaska GLBT News.

Juneau

Juneau-Douglas Picnic: Spectacular Summer Diversity Celebration at Sandy Beach Saviko Park Shelter #1, 3-8 p.m. on Saturday, August 15. SEAGLA

Pied Piper tour group Reception 8/16, 5-7 p.m. at the Imperial Saloon. Cash Bar, Dance Music. SEAGLA

SEAGLA Social Fridays (6-8 p.m.) for GLBT people and our friends over 21, at The Imperial Bar, downtown.


Fairbanks

PFLAG Booth at the Tanana Valley State Fair, thru 8/15. Fairbanks PFLAG


Mat-Su Valley

Mat-Su LGBT Community Center in Palmer is open M-F 5-8 p.m. (except 6-8 on Wed.) The social group meets Wednesdays, 5-6 p.m. at Vagabond Blues.


Anchorage

Friday Night Divas Variety Show, 9p.m followed by Karaoke with Paige. Mad Myrna's.

Side Street Saturdays, an informal meetup for LGBT writers, at noon in Side Street Cafe.

Jay Her's Comedy Hypnosis Show 8/15, 9 p.m. at Mad Myrna's, followed by DJ Mad Mike at 11 p.m.

Sunday worship and monthly potluck with MCC Anchorage, 2 p.m.

Emperor and Empress Candidates BBQ 8/16, 4 p.m. at The Raven.

Transgender Support Group, Sundays 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the GLCCA.

Anchorage Frontrunners, Tuesdays, 6 p.m.

AO 64 Passes - Call Mayor Sullivan Today

from Equality Works

Thanks to everyone who came out last night for an unexpectedly emotional debate and vote on equal rights ordinance AO-64. I am happy to report that the Anchorage Assembly voted 7-4 to pass the S-2 version, which protects LGBT people from discrimination in all aspects of public life, while providing broad protection for religious organizations to employ and serve according to their values.

Assembly Members Selkregg, Gutierrez, Claman, Johnston, Flynn, Drummond, and Gray-Jackson voted for the legislation. Assembly Members Ossiander, Starr, Birch, and Coffey voted against.

What can you do to ensure that the ordinance becomes law?

Call or E-Mail Mayor Sullivan!

The Mayor hasn't publicly shared his stance on AO-64, but he needs to know that people in Anchorage support equality, he needs to know why you support equality, and he needs to hear that vetoing an ordinance to protect LGBT people from discrimination sends the message that he, as the Mayor of Anchorage, believes that LGBT people should be discriminated against in employment, housing, education, financing and public accommodations. If he doesn't want to send that message, then he should not veto this ordinance.

If you haven't already, PLEASE call Mayor Sullivan at (907) 343-7170 or (907) 343-7100, or e-mail him at mayor@muni.org

If you fall into one of these categories, be sure to include this information when you ask him to support AO 64:

I lived in Anchorage for X years.
I grew up in Anchorage.
I am an Anchorage voter.
I am a Native Alaskan voter.
I am a business owner/leader.
Economic justice and equality are important to me.

Then please e-mail and call the Assembly members who voted for AO 64 and thank them for their time, consideration, support and bravery. The Assembly member profiles and contact information is found HERE.

Thank you!

Copyright © 2008 by Bent Alaska.