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Transgender Day Of Remembrance

Monday, November 20, 2006
Vigils, services and a variety of other events are being held in 250 cities around the world today to mark Transgender Day of Remembrance - the day set aside to memorialize those who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice.

The first Transgender Day of Remembrance was organized by Gwendolyn Ann Smith in 1999 in San Francisco to honor the memory of Rita Hester who was murdered on November 28th, 1998.

Smith's candlelight vigil spread nationwide and then around the world. But Hester's murder - like most anti-transgender murder cases - has yet to be solved.

"The Transgender Day of Remembrance is a solemn time to reflect on those who have been murdered because of their gender identity or expression," said Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality.

While there are no official statistics - the FBI does not keep records of trans killings - transgender advocacy groups say they number in the hundreds over the past decade. Some studies have shown that crimes against the trans community accounts for 10 percent of all violent crimes in America.

"The National Center for Transgender Equality and our allies have made great strides advocating for federal hate crimes legislation to explicitly include crimes based on 'gender identity and expression' - the language that covers transgender individuals - but we will need to continue educating policy-makers about the rampant violence targeted at our communities," said Keisling.

Last year the House of Representatives passed for the first time ever a bill that would give local law enforcement vital tools to fight bias crimes against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans.

The Senate version of the bill excluded the transgendered from protection and the legislation died in conference when the current session of Congress ended.

"We pledge to our transgender brothers and sisters that we will not allow a federal nondiscrimination or hate crimes bill to move forward that does not include you. You are us and we will not walk down the path to equality without you at our side," said Matt Foreman, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

There are 10 states that have hate crimes laws that explicitly cover transgender people: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, New Mexico, Minnesota, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Vermont and Washington.

In California a law was enacted this year that amends jury instructions to state that the use of societal bias, including so-called "panic strategies," to influence the proceedings of a criminal trial is not permitted.

This law is named in the memory of Gwen Araujo, a transgender teenager from Newark, Calif., who was attacked and killed in 2002.

Based on data from the 2000 Census, the total number of people now living in a jurisdiction with a transgender-inclusive anti-discrimination law in the United States is 86 million people, 31 percent of the nation's population.

Jeff Merkley on the Future of the Oregon Legislature

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Just thought I would share a quote from Minority Leader Jeff Merkley who could soon be Speaker of the Oregon House.

Last night at the Benson Hotel Jeff said:
"This is an opportunity for us to present a wonderful agenda on healthcare, on prescription drugs, a full school year for children, biofuels, and a real conversation about civil rights and civil unions."

This is quite a welcomed change that we have become used to from the outgoing Speaker Minnis. Here's to the 2007 legislative session!

Brading vs. Minnis: KOIN Calls it for Minnis

KOIN is calling a win for Karen Minnis in House District 49. She is currently leading by around 600 votes. So is there a light at the end of the tunnel? A bright light. Karen Minnis' destructive record as Speaker of the House is OVER. Since the House Dems pulled off that incredible victory last night we will have a new Speaker, a Democrat. Minnis' was also forced to spend an incredible amount of money on this race--over $1 million making it the most expensive race. No longer can Karen Minnis kill pro-equality legislation. Though we worked hard to get Brading into office--the big victory is still there.

Oregon Proves Equality Prevails

Nearly one year ago, we resolved to change our state. We swore to ourselves, our families and our friends that we would defend those who have courageously stood up for equality time and time again and defeat those who have cynically and cruelly blocked efforts to end discrimination in our state.

We set out to re-elect our Governor, send at least one anti-equality legislator in the Oregon House packing and jeopardize Karen Minnis' return to the Speaker's seat.

We've invested tens of thousands of dollars in change, volunteered thousands of hours and cast hundreds of thousands of pro-equality ballots. Now the tide has turned on anti-equality forces in Oregon and Oregon lawmakers have been put on notice: stand on the side of discrimination and Oregonians will NOT stand for it.

Here’s just a snapshot of our more fair, more equal Oregon:

  • Karen Minnis is NO LONGER SPEAKER OF THE OREGON HOUSE! (she may retain her seat--this one is still to close to call--but she can no longer wield her power against GLBT Oregonians)
  • We have built a pro-equality majority in the Oregon House.
  • We re-elected our pro-equality Governor: Ted Kulongoski
  • We elected Tina Kotek the ONLY OUT legislator in the Oregon House
  • We elected Judge Virginia Linder the first OUT lesbian on the Oregon Supreme Court
  • Of the 35 endorsed statewide and legislative candidates of equality, 32 of the fair-minded candidates endorsed by the Basic Rights Equality PAC have won their races. That is an astonishing 94% win rate.
  • Corvallis activists in the Basic Rights Action Team passed an amendment to the city charter prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity

    TOGETHER, we made it happen. TOGETHER, we have helped set anti-equality forces like the Oregon Family Council back on their heels. TOGETHER, we have built a movement that can flex political muscle. Now we must come together to make it count by passing pro-equality legislation in 2007. TOGETHER we can. TOGETHER we will!


  • Measure 43: Parental Notification-Defeated!!!

    Tuesday, November 07, 2006

    Victory for the GLBT and choice communities. Oregon has defeated Measure 43, the measure broughht to us by the notoriously anti-equality Oregon Right to Life and The Oregon Family Council.

    Again, Measure 43 has been defeated.

    Measure 41 and 48 Defeated

    BRO endorsed NO votes on both 41 and 48 and they have both failed say the Oregonian.

    More here.

    More Results Up-to-Date

    The following are the results for some BRO endorsed candidates:

    Already called:
    Governor Kulongoski: WINNER

    Larry Galizio (HD 35): 63%
    Suzanne Bonamici (HD 34) : 63.6%
    Chuck Riley (HD 29): 55%
    Viciki Walker (SD 7): 51.86%
    Rob Brading (HD 49): 51%

    Virginia Linder (Supreme Court Position 6): 52%

    Ballot Measures:
    Measure 39: YES 65%
    Measure 40: NO 57%
    Measure 41: NO 64%
    Measure 42: NO 65.7%
    Measure 43: NO 55.8%
    Measure 44: YES 77.5%
    Measure 45: NO 59%
    Measure 46: NO 59.5%
    Measure 47: YES 54%
    Measure 48: NO 71.2%

    More to come...

    OREGONIAN: Kulongoski Re-Elected

    The Oregonian is calling the Governor's race. They are calling it for Kulongoski. More to come.

    We can also call House District 44 for Tina Kotek. Tina Kotek is a out Legislator with a background in making Oregon a better place for all Oregonians.

    More to come...

    South Carolina, Wisconsin, Virginia Ban Same-Sex Marriage

    In the realm of bad news tonight, several states waging campaigns against anti-gay constitutional amendments to ban same-sex marriage have lost their battles this evening. For the full story, click here.

    8:05 PM First Returns Are In! Good News for Equality

    The first Oregon election results are in and a minimum number of votes have been counted, but there is already good news:

    Tina Kotek has become the only out Legislator in the Oregon House, leading her opponent at 77%!!!!

    With just under 8,000 votes counted, Rob Brading--who is challenging House Speaker Karen Minnis--is up: 51% to 48.5%

    Early statewide results with 21% percent of precincts reporting show Kulongoski with a strong lead statewide--68% Kulongoski, 26% Saxton.

    Measure 43--the government mandated parental notification for abortion measure is failing with a NO vote at 68%.

    With 8,000 votes counted fair-minded Democrat Chris Edwards is leading at 53% againts Debi Farr in Eugene. If he succeeds, he will tip the balance of power one step closer to a pro-equality majority in the Oregon House

    And, fair minded candidate David Edwards is leading in Washington County at 57.5% with 5800 votes counted. If he succeeds, he will tip the balance of power one step closer to a pro-equality majority in the Oregon House.

    More results expected momentarily. Stay tuned!!!!


    Monday, November 06, 2006

    Never before has Basic Rights Oregon focused so much of its time, energy, resources and dollars on electing pro-equality candidates to office. Tomorrow we will see the results of our efforts. What can you do to promote a state of equality? VOTE! Never before have we had such an opportunity to turn the tide for equality. We've said it before and we will say it again, "the future of equality is on your ballot".

    Did you not receive a ballot, but have previously been registered to vote in the State of Oregon?
    Drive on over to your county elections office and request a new ballot. It normally takes about 5-10 minutes for them to hand you a brand new ballot. Fill it out while you are there, and turn it in!

    Can you mail your ballot today?
    NO. Do not mail your ballot today. You will be running a risk of your vote not being in on time. A common misconception is that if it is postmarked by November 7th, then you are in the clear--THAT IS FALSE. Your ballot MUST be in the hands of your county elections office by tomorrow, Tuesday, November 7th @ 8pm.

    Who should you vote for?
    We've made it simple. The Basic Rights Equality PAC has made endorsements in every Legislative race around the state:

  • Click here to view our candidate endorsements.
  • Click here to view our ballot measure endorsements.

    If you have any additional questions regarding voting in Oregon, or any questions about candidates in your district, please email bryan@basicrights.org.

  • The Governor Just Called...

    Friday, November 03, 2006
    I thought we would share some news with you all. Governor Kulongoski just called to thank Basic Rights Oregon and the countless amazing volunteers that have put in so many hours to assist in securing his likely victory. So to all of you who have helped out--Thank you!

    We only have FOUR days left until election day. Kulongoski's victory is not certain until all the results are in and that is where you come in. Basic Rights Oregon is working hand-in-hand with a broad coalition of progressive organizations to Get Out The Vote. We need people all over the state to mobilize in their communites and join us to make sure those ballots are getting turned in.

    Can you join us? Click here for a list of upcoming Get Out The Vote activities from now until election day. In the meantime, we call on YOU to call and email your network of friends and family and remind them that they NEED to turn in their ballots (marked correctly of course!)

    Together we can secure a victory for Kulongoski and other pro-equality candidates.

    The Queer Vote = The Values Vote

    Wednesday, November 01, 2006

    That's right. Values voters, a word that I have personally come to detest over the past 5 years. The word has been dominated by the far-right in order to instill fear into its far-right base. Sadly, "values" have come to be defined as hate, bigotry and sheer ignorance. These so-called "Values voters" have knocked us down time after time, trying to shove us back into silence, back into the closet. Well folks, it is time to reclaim American values. We are the value voters.

    Values of humanity. Values of civil rights. Values of progress, not regression. Values of family, no matter what kind of family. Because we all know that love makes a family. It is time to speak out. It is time to let your voice be heard. It is time. It is time to reclaim what we know are true American values. It is time to fight for the values that we know to be true and just.

    Right now you have the opportunity to reclaim the descriptive that has been abused. We are the "values voters". We vote our hopes, not our fear (thanks to Westlund for that line).

    This is no time to be discouraged in Oregon. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel, a brighter light than we have seen in Oregon in a long time. This is a time to shine, our time to shine. Rise up and vote. Vote your values. Vote for your partner, your kids, your families, your friends--vote for YOU.

    As it stands right now, we have an incredible chance to take back the Oregon House and turn it into a pro-equality majority. When previously we thought that at best we could break even in the House, we now know that we could take over.

    We also know that our pro-equality Governor, the only Governor who WILL stand up for us has a good chance of winning. The polls are showing Kulongoski and his anti-GLBT opponent, Ron Saxton, neck and neck.

    This is where you come in...

    1.) VOTE. VOTE. VOTE by November 7th. If you are registered, though for some reason did not get your ballot, call us at 503-222-6151. We will help you to figure it out and make sure that you get your ballot. You ballot is your voice--USE IT. Need help filling out your ballot? Visit our first-ever online voter guide for candidates of equality. Click here to visit VoteEquality.com.

    2.) WE NEED BODIES. Bodies to help us make phone calls to Get-Out-The-Vote. Never before have we seen a coalition, so united behind one cause. Basic Rights Oregon, in partnership with over 12 coalition partners have a massive effort underway. PLEASE set aside just THREE hours one evening to help us make phone calls, or to walk with us around neighborhoods. This will help to make a huge difference.

    Click here to learn about the many ways that you can get involved RIGHT NOW!

    3.) Call and email as many people as you can and tell them to VOTE! Again, their vote is their voice. Let's show anti-equality forces that we will NOT stand for their values of hate, bigotry and ignorance.


    The Basic Rights Oregon staff is ALWAYS available to talk. Call us if you have any questions about how you can get involved or if you have any questions about the candidates on your ballot. 503-222-6151 or email us at media@basicrights.org.

    -Bryan Boyd, BRO Communications