Usually Friday nights for me are home nights. After all, that’s the night “Battlestar Galactica” is on! Except that… “Battlestar Galactica” is over [sigh]. But [brightening up] at least I have the DVDs!
Okay, well, that’s the night “Dollhouse” is on! Except that… “Dollhouse” had its season finale last week [sigh]. But [brightening up] — we got the happy news yesterday that Fox had renewed it for a second 13-episode season! Yeaaaaay!
Still, what now am I to do with a Friday night?
Last night it was to go to a fundraiser for Equality Works, the coalition that’s working to end discrimination against lesbians, gays, bisexuals, & transfolk in Anchorage. That includes making sure we’re heard when the Anchorage Assembly takes public testimony on June 9 on the ordinance introduced last Tuesday that will, if passed, ban employment, housing, public accomodations, & other forms of discrimination based on sexual orientation or veteran status.
I was a little worried as I drove there, because there were only 6 people, including me & two of the organizers, had RSVPed “yes” to the Facebook invitation for the fundraiser. But I need not have worried: when I got there (as Linda Kellen Biegel has already blogged at Celtic Diva’s Blue Oasis), the street was already lined with cars, & the backyard barbecue/party was already in full swing.
My first impression — besides that there were sure a lot of people there! — was, Whoa! everyone is so young! Please, take no offense at that; take it from the perspective of me, a 50-year-old whose strong years as an activist ended nearly two decades ago, when burnout & the private concerns of family life & personal goals led me to kinda fade out of the public LGBT activist scene. Which explains why most of the people there (unless they happened to have caught Channel 11 News last Wednesday night) had no idea who I was. Or if they did, like Equality Works’ Tiffany McClain, only by way of recent occasional emails.
The big exception to that was Linda Kellen Biegel. Linda is well-known in Alaska & beyond as the prominent progressive political blogger Celtic Diva of Celtic Diva’s Blue Oasis. But back in the day, the early 1990s, I knew her as Linda Kellen, a member of the local folk/rock band Sky is Blu, which amongst other things performed in at least a couple or so of the annual women’s show Celebration of Change, in which I also performed. And if you don’t already know, let me tell you: Linda is one fine damn singer.
As Linda described this past Thursday in a post about her experiences during the 1992-93 equal rights ordinance battle,
I was in the folk/rock band “Sky Is Blu,” whose members were either LGBT or LGBT-friendly. We ended up playing many gigs for LGBT events and for six years, I felt privileged to be involved in this wonderful, close-knit community.
It was in that context that I knew Linda. But while I’ve been following her blog since last August, I hadn’t seen her in years. I can’t say what a delight it was to hang out with her last night, catching up, but mainly talking about how important this ordinance is & what we could to ensure its success.
(Go & read Linda’s post about 1992-93 in full. There you’ll find that, in the poisonous atmosphere created by the likes of the “Reverend” Jerry Prevo in their fight to prevent equal rights protections for LGBT folk, it’s not just the LGBT folk who take this hits, but also our nongay friends & allies. But will that stop people like Linda from standing with us this time around? Nope, didn’t think so.)
The other high points of the evening for me were meeting Tiffany McClain & some of the other people who are working hard behind the scenes at Equality Works. It’s wonderful to see the vital, fresh energy being poured into this effort — & their willing, hard work made me feel a whole lot better at sticking with my own self-knowledge: I cannot, any more, do the kind of work that I was doing in the ’80s & early ’90s. I’m a writer: what I can do best for this effort is to write. Like I’m doing now.
We asked them what they’d like us to tell supporters of the ordinance about Equality Works & the June 9 Assembly meeting, at which the Assembly will take public testimony on the ordinance. What they said:
Turn out! Even if you don’t plan to testify, we still want to see you there. And we’d like to see you there in blue — blue dresses, blue shirts, blue sweatshirts — let’s have a sea of blue around the first floor of the Loussac Library that Tuesday evening.
And support Equality Works with your time & your money. There’s a donation form on their website which you can print out & send in with your donation.
Bent Alaska has more suggestions on how you can help to pass the ordinance.
Share your story
Are you an LGBT person who believes that you have been discriminated against by an employer, landlord, or business? Have you ever been told to stay closeted on the job? Are you a straight ally or family member who has felt the sting of public harassment or discrimination because of your friends or relatives, or because you were perceived as being “too masculine” or “too feminine”? There is no better time than at the public hearing on June 9 to share these stories with the people in a position to make a difference. If you can participate, please e-mail Tiffany McClain.
Although I hope you’ll keep reading my blog, Bent Alaska remains your best single online source for news about the ordinance, with periodic news roundups on the ordinance, as well as other news for the LGBT community in Anchorage & statewide. Thanks to E. Ross and Stacy, who work together to put out Bent Alaska & the Alaska GLBT News email list.