#AltonSterling #PhilandoCastile #SayHisName

We cannot be silent.

If you are more outraged by people having control over their own reproductive health care than you are by black people being shot, you have a problem.

If you are more outraged by a private email server than by black people being shot, you have a problem.

If you are more outraged by a same-sex couple holding hands or a trans person using a bathroom than by black people being shot, you have a problem.

If you are more outraged by calls for respect and kindness than you are by black people being shot, you have a problem.

If you are not outraged by any of those former things but also aren’t outraged by black people being shot, you have a problem.

And if you are outraged by black people being shot, we still have a problem. This country still has a problem that must be named and addressed.

How can anyone deny that our society devalues the lives and worth of black people when its not only so clearly happening in front of us, but also such a defining aspect of our history?


Victory for Trans* People of Maryland


Victory for Transgender Marylanders! Legislation passes full House of Delegates, will be signed by governor WASHINGTON – Today the Fairness for All Marylanders Act, a bill that would prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity in employment, housing, public accommodations and credit, passed the full House of Delegates after a last ditch fight by some anti-equality Republicans. Governor O’Malley has vowed to sign the bill into law.



Help a Family Keep Custody of their Transgender Child

Letter from a grandmother who is trying to help her daughter and grandson who is living out his childhood as the gender he believes himself to be. Read this story and help support a family doing what they all families should do support their children. 

I am the grandmother of a 7-year-old child who loves bugs, swimming, artichokes, Elvis and Superman. When my grandchild was born, the doctors told my daughter that she had a baby girl. But my grandchild has consistently maintained that, “The doctors got it wrong” and “I’m really a boy.” He even picked a new name for himself: Jake. For the past year his mother and our side of the family have supported him living as a boy and have watched him absolutely thrive. Unfortunately his father, who shares 50% custody with my daughter, has not been supportive at all. In fact, he’s now filed a lawsuit to take away all of my daughter’s parenting rights solely because she supports her child’s self-proclaimed gender.

My daughter’s lawyer is fighting to help her keep custody of Jake but it’s been a long, difficult battle for her. The legal bills are already far more than she can afford and each day they continue to mount. My daughter and  her attorney have spoken to many large national organizations and they all tell her they can’t get involved because it is a family law case. One organization offered to pay the expert witness fees. We have done as much as possible to help her financially so now I’m asking for your help. Without her attorney, not only will she lose custody of Jake but he’ll lose his entire support system. This includes his mother, our side of the family and his affirming counselor. 

But that’s not all. Right now, Jake goes to school and is treated just like any other first grade boy. His teachers and friends are 100% supportive, everyone calls him by his chosen name and I’ve never seen him happier. If my daughter loses this legal battle all of that will change. Once Jake’s father gets full parenting rights, he will force my grandson to go to school as a girl—or as Jake calls it, as “his false self.” Jake will have to wear girl clothes and be called by his old “girl” name. He will no longer be seen or treated like the little boy that he is. Jake’s true identity will be completely invalidated.

I’m certain that the emotional impact of all of this on Jake would be beyond devastating. I can’t bear to have that happen. Please help my daughter continue to give my grandson the happy, supportive environment he needs to thrive. Anything you give will help, no matter how small.

Thank you so much for your help. It means more to me than I can possibly express.

Contact the Organizer – See more at: http://www.youcaring.com/other/help-my-daughter-keep-her-transgender-child/144297#sthash.Pua2dHR2.dpuf 



Queens PFLAG NYC Chapter Honors Cliff Arnesen and New Out LGBT members of the New York City Council

Tomorrow the Queens Chapter of the New York City PFLAG (Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays hold their Annual Awards Reception and Luncheon. I have been asked to read the speech of honoree Cliff Arnesen who is being honored with the “Brenda Howard Memorial Award.
Sunday, February 23, 2014
Greetings and blessings to all participants of the Queens NYC Chapter of PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) “Annual Awards Reception and Luncheon.
Due to circumstances beyond my control, I am unable to be with all of you today to receive the “Brenda Howard Memorial Award,” for my dual roles as an advocate of 24 years on behalf of the Bisexual Community; and our Country’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Heterosexual military veterans. Thus, Bryan Ellicott, has generously agreed to read my acceptance speech to you as follows:
I am humbled and honored to be selected by the The Queens NYC Chapter of PFLAG to receive the Brenda Howard Memorial Award, for helping to secure human and civil rights-not special rights- for my bisexual brothers and sisters within society.
However, as is always the case when seeking equality for any “minority” population of people within society , I stand upon the shoulders of the monumental accomplishments of Bisexual pioneers, such as the late Brenda Howard, and so many others.
The seeds of my journey of advocacy was prompted in the details of my dysfunctional childhood growing up in Brooklyn, NY. Although I had biological parents, around the age of three, my loving mother was forced by the state of New York to place me in an orphanage , after being physically assaulted by my violent alcoholic father.
At the age of ten, my Mom sent me away to the predominately African American, Wiltwyck School for Boys, where I met and became friends with the late First Lady, Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt, who was on the Board of Directors. It was at Wiltwyck that I knew that I was physically and emotionally attracted to other  boys, as well as girls. 
1n 1965, At the age of seventeen, I joined the U.S. Army, but agonized over the painful necessity of having to conceal the “attraction and affection” I felt in my heart toward other soldiers. Finally, I told my Company Commander that I was gay/bisexual , because I could no longer live my life as a lie and conceal my “secret.” 
Thereafter, I was court court-martialed and sentenced to a year at hard labor in the stockade-of which I served  three months in “segregated confinement,” as other prisoners in the general population had threatened to rape and kill me. Then, in 1967, 
I was given an “Undesirable Discharge” based on homosexuality, as the military made no distinction between a soldier who was gay or bisexual.
Ten years later, in November of 1977, I petitioned the Department of the Army for an upgrade in discharge, which was granted and changed from “Undesirable” to “General Under Honorable Conditions.”
In 1988, I attended a meeting of the New England Gay & Lesbian Veterans in Boston, MA. After the meeting, I ran for office and was elected president.
Subsequently, on May 3, 1989 and May 16, 1990, respectively, I    became the first and only openly bisexual veteran in U.S. history to testify before Congress on behalf of GLBT veterans before the U.S. House Committee on Veterans Affairs: Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, on issues relating to veterans who suffered from HIV/AIDS, PTSD, homelessness, and less-than-honorable discharges based on homosexuality and bisexuality.
During my 24 years of advocacy as an “openly bisexual veteran” I took a lot of “heat” from miscellaneous organizations and individuals for speaking up so vociferously as an out bisexual veteran. 
To these organizations and individuals, I sincerely state that it was, and is, my moral and ethical responsibility to speak out on the issue of the marginalization of bisexuals in the military under the now repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy; and within the larger Gay Community, as all should know what terrible consequences people can suffer when one does not “speak out” about external and internal injustice. I only sought acceptance and recognition for ALL bisexual people who have made enormous contributions in helping to secure human and civil rights for the larger gay community.
Personally, I wish we as human beings did not have to “label”
our sexual orientation(s). But, as was the case in the U.S. Military where bisexuality was “specifically” encoded as a basis for discharge, I had to “speak up” when it was not fully integrated in the equation of the generic “Gays” in the Military,” espoused by many gay organizations, and the gay and straight media – whether intentional or unintentional.
For the record, I state that bisexuality is NOT a counterfeit behavior. It is a true “sexual orientation.” The unfounded fear lies within the mindset of people that oppose the concept of bisexual people as having “heterosexual privilege.”
To those folks, I state that people have lived and died without ever having found love in this world. Thus, no love by anyone of a specific sexual orientation or gender identification or expression should be judged by others!
GLB&T people must remember that all of us are God’s children, and that we need each other to fight our real mutual enemies: the Religious Right; perverted organized religions; cults; fundamentalists; conservatives; and so many others who hate GLBT people and use the Bible as a means and tool to try and justify their sick hatred of us-collectively.
Thus, we must ALL band together to fight the injustice of the aforementioned dark forces of evil. Otherwise, we defeat the very purpose of trying to secure human and civil rights for
each other-which is the ultimate injustice! 
To this effect, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., stated: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
So, I rest secure in the knowledge that all Bisexual people , along with GL&T people- have a rightful place in the universe and within our society, as “we” are God’s children -and God does not make mistakes!
The greatest feeling in my heart today is to know that I have tried for 24 years to make this world a better place in which to live for all GLBT people. 
And, I am grateful to my Bisexual brothers & sisters who supported me over the years, which gave me the strength to carry on. Among those iconic nationally known bisexual icons and friends were Loraine Hutchins; and Professors Lani Ka’ahumanu, Robyn Ochs, and many others too numerous to pay tribute to.
As for myself, I have learned in my painful journey through life that “love is where one finds it.”
Sincerely and bisexually yours,
Cliff Arnesen, Past Bisexual President
New England GLBT Veterans, Inc. Boston, MA
( “Dissolved” on Nov. 1, 2013 after 28 years of advocacy 
on behalf of our Country’s GLBT military veterans.)
Former Board Member: National Bisexual Advisory Board
Former Medical Patient Services Assistant, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Facebook Master Photos: Cliff Arnesen

Lance Bass endorses Melissa Mark Viverito for Speaker of the New York City Council

It might be time for Dan Garodnick to say, “Bye, bye, bye.”

In the race for City Council speaker, rival Melissa Mark-Viverito has accumulated so many supporters that even 1990s heartthrob Lance Bass is on her team.

Mr. Bass’s support–along with more than two dozen LGBT activists–is being rolled out this morning. The list includes Sex and the City star and Bill de Blasio backer Cynthia Nixon, openly LGBT councilmen and Democratic club leaders like Allen Roskoff.

“I am proud to support Melissa for Speaker for the City Council. Melissa has been an effective and consistent advocate for the LGBT community,” Mr. Bass said in a statement. “She has spent her entire career fighting for social and economic justice. I support her whole heartedly and urge other members of the LGBT to do likewise.”

While being involved in as esoteric a governmental battle as the speaker’s race is new for Mr. Bass, the ‘N Sync star has been politically active for years. He endorsed former Speaker Christine Quinn in the mayor’s race and has been involved in a campaign pushing Gov. Andrew Cuomo on the controversial hydrofracking issue.

Ms. Mark-Viverito, who claims to have more than enough votes to win the race for the city’s second most important post, has been rolling out endorsements to try to maintain momentum since before Christmas. The 51 members of the Council are set to cast their ballots this coming Wednesday.

Celebrity endorsements like Mr. Bass’s are unlikely to sway a significant number of votes.

View the full announcement below:


More Than Two Dozen Elected Officials and Community Activists Note Viverito’s Long History of Standing up for LGBT Rights

NEW YORK- More than two dozen LGBT community activists expressed their support for Melissa Mark-Viverito today citing her long record of advocating for New York’s LGBT community. The leaders included Cynthia Nixon and partner Christine Marinoni, entertainer Lance Bass, Councilmembers, clergy and community activists. The leaders join a growing coalition of City Councilmembers, elected officials, clergy, community groups and labor from all five boroughs who are backing Viverito’s historic candidacy for Speaker.

Cynthia Nixon & Christine Marinoni said, “Melissa has been a longtime supporter of the LGBT community and will be an independent and progressive speaker. Whether it’s advocating for paid sick leave or standing up for women’s rights, Melissa will be a strong advocate for all New Yorkers.”

Lance Bass, Entertainer said, “I am proud to support Melissa for Speaker for the City Council. Melissa has been an effective and consistent advocate for the LGBT community. She has spent her entire career fighting for social and economic justice. I support her whole heartedly and urge other members of the LGBT to do likewise.”

“Melissa Mark-Viverito has been a strong advocate for LGBT issues throughout her career, including leading delegations to Puerto Rico to lobby for marriage equality and speak out against hate crimes. She will continue that legacy as City Council Speaker and I am pleased to be supporting such a proud ally as Melissa,” said Councilmember Corey Johnson.

“Throughout my time organizing the LGBT community in NYC, Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito has always been a committed and passionate ally. As the first LGBT Council Member from Brooklyn, I know that when Melissa becomes our next Speaker she will fight for more funding for LGBT homeless youth, demand equal rights for Transgender New Yorkers and expand services to all five boroughs,” said Council Member Carlos Menchaca.

“On January 8th, we in the LGBT community will have in Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, one of the strongest defenders of our equality and dignity that the City Council has ever known. Melissa is not only right on the issues that matter to us; she has a record of standing up and speaking out when others have stood by in silence,” said Councilmember Richie Torres.

Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer said “Four years ago I travelled to Puerto Rico with Councilmember Melissa Mark-Viverito to draw attention to the horrific murder of a young gay man. I saw firsthand Melissa’s genuine and unwavering passion for justice for the LGBT community. And since that trip I have continued to be inspired by her fierce and heartfelt belief in marriage equality. For Melissa, dignity and full equality for the LGBT community aren’t just rhetoric – they are central to who she is. Our community still faces many struggles and we need a Speaker who won’t just support LGBT youth and seniors – we need a Speaker who has already demonstrated a desire to LEAD on these issues. I am proud to support our next Speaker, Melissa Mark-Viverito!”

Councilmember Daniel Dromm said, “I would be most proud and pleased to serve with Melissa Mark-Viverito as the New York City Council Speaker,” said openly gay Council Member Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights, Elmhurst). Melissa is a true progressive and is committed to the issues we care so much about. When it comes to issues concerning the LGBT community, Melissa has my full and complete trust and confidence. Melissa is a true believer in a just society and would move our city forward in a direction that would serve all New Yorkers, especially those who have been locked out. Our City Council could do no better than to have Melissa as our Speaker.”

Allen Roskoff, co-author of nation’s first Gay Rights Bill and President of the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club said, “Melissa has always been a forceful advocate for LBGT rights and recognizes our needs. Her decisions will be based on what is best for the community, not on what is best for her. Melissa would be the city’s first progressive woman to serve as Speaker and the first Speaker of color. Melissa will lead the way on economic issues like Paid Sick Leave and Living Wage and create a sane economic development program for the five boroughs. In short, Melissa will be a terrific Council Speaker.

“Melissa is a well-known advocate for the LGBT community. As Speaker, she will bring new ideas and a unique perspective to the leadership of the Council,” said Lynn Schulman, Community and LGBT Activist.

“Councilwoman Mark-Viverito’s record shows that she has been a champion of equal rights for all New Yorkers, and I look forward to her leadership as Speaker,” said Monte Albers de Leon, Attorney, Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club Governing Board.

“Melissa has been a champion for our community and we could not do better than having her lead the way for us as Speaker of the City Council. With Melissa in charge we can rest assure that the community’s needs and concerns will be served. Melissa is the added ingredient we need to ensure an effective and progressive agenda for all New Yorkers,” said Seth Weissman, Victory Fund Campaign Board Member.

“New York City is headed in a positive direction, one that I feel will finally recognize and respect the needs of the diverse communities that make up this city. We now have reason to believe that our elected city officials, at every level, will take the concerns of people of color, gays and lesbians, recent immigrants, the poor and working class into consideration as they formulate new public policy. To elect Melissa Mark-Viverito as City Council Speaker would only affirm the correctness of this new direction. She has already demonstrated leadership and a willingness to represent those too often left on the outside. I am confident she will continue to be an outstanding public official,” said Bernard J. Tarver, Artist/Activist.

“As a longtime activist in New York City, I am proud to stand with Melissa Mark-Viverito and look forward to her leadership as the next Speaker of the New York City Council. Melissa understands the LGBT community as well as any ally and has been a wonderful friend of transgender people in the aftermath of the Islan Nettles murder in Harlem. Thank you, Melissa, for your friendship and leadership,” said Melissa Sklarz, Stonewall Democrats of New York City.

“I over 100% support Melissa Mark-Viverito! She has proven herself to be there for the community when they most need her support and has been extremely active in issues impacting both gay and non-gay communities. I applaud her and send her my blessings for the coming year.. Pa’Lante Hermana!” said Rev. Carmen Hernandez.

“Melissa is a very strong leader and has always been an advocate for the LGBT community. She has what it takes to advance our rights and help us achieve full equality” said Liz J. Abzug.

“Melissa Mark-Viverito’s ability to build such a strong coalition so far in advance of the vote for City Council Speaker demonstrates the proven effectiveness of a true leader who is able to work with everyone and build bridges, which is necessary to carry out the duties of the Speaker’s office. Her continuous inclusion of LGBTQ issues across the board — not just when it’s “appropriate” — is fostering dialogue that continues to benefit our LGBTQ communities,”said Peter C. “Equality” Frank, LGBTQ community activist.

“I have seen firsthand how Melissa’s tireless efforts on progressive issues like stop-and-frisk and economic and social equality have distinguished her as a leader in the City Council and in our communities. New York City needs Melissa Mark-Viverito to continue to champion these important causes as the next Speaker of the City Council,” said Justin Carroll, Attorney, Lower East Side Community Member.

“In March of 2012, Melissa Mark-Viverito was one of the first NYC Council Members to sign the Police Reform Organizing Project’s [PROP] petition calling for the end to stop-and-frisk and use of quotas, which have had an adverse impact on people of color in the LGBTQ community. She will make a great NYC Council Speaker,” said Robert Pinter, LGBTQ activist for police reform.

Anabel Evora, Latina Lesbian Community Organizer said, “Melissa Mark-Viverito’s passion, vision, and dedication vibrates in our community – she has stood by us, for us, and with us.”
“I fully support the candidacy of Melissa Mark Viverito for Speaker of the NYC Council. Melissa is tough, independent, and progressive. She has delivered for her constituents and will do a great job as speaker. As a proudly openly gay Latino elected official from The Bronx, we need Melissa’s professional work ethic and her tenacity to fight for our LGBTQ community as well as all of the constituencies of the most vulnerable,”said Kenny Agosto (D), The Bronx.

Charles Bayor, Vice-President, Stonewall Democrats, gay rights activist said, “ I have known Melissa Mark –Viverito since her first election as councilperson. Melissa has been a steadfast voice for progressive ideas, for the workers of New York and for LGBTQ rights. This is the person New York and our community needs to lead the City Council as the Speaker. Melissa brings compassion and expertise to this important position. Melissa will be the first Latina in this position –a very important step in promoting diversity in our society and government.”

Robert E. West, President of Breaking Bread Under the Rainbow said, “Melissa Mark-Viverito has shown her commitment to the LGBT community of New York City not only by her steadfast push for equality against those external forces that have sought to deny our community the benefits, rights and status enjoyed by our heterosexual brothers and sisters, but by her constant support in facilitating dialogue and events that encourage an examination of the intra-community dynamics of our community that seek to address us in the most holistic of manners. In a mark of absolute sincerity, she has done this in the presence AND absence of cameras, always allowing the LGBT community to guide her actions, and always welcoming the community as equals in this fight for justice.”

“City Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Vinenito is the best choice to become the next Speaker, she has been a leader in support of LGBT people and she understands clearly that it is one thing to gain legal and civil rights and a whole lot of other work to ensue Justice!” said Ralph Vogel, Executive Director, Staten Island LGBT Community Center.

“Time and again Melissa Mark-Viverito’s positions on issues such as stop and frisk and affordable housing demonstrate the same progressive beliefs in the rights of all New Yorkers including those of us in the LGBTQ community. I look forward to a New York City with Melissa in the role Speaker of the City Council,” said Stephen A. Williams, Community Activist.

“I think that Melissa is a true progressive and would make a great speaker of the NYC Council. She has been and I am sure that she always with be there for the LGBT community. I support Melissa with great pride,” said Tom Smith, Longtime Community Activist.

“At a time when hate crimes and misunderstanding of the Transgender community was at an all time high, MMV was instrumental in organizing a collective voice from within this community to begin a dialogue of change and understanding. She is the true definition of an ally,” said
Sean Coleman Executive Director of Destination Tomorrow and Trans Advocate.

“Melissa is the fiercest LGBT ally I’ve ever know. She is an unconditional and unwavering supporter of full LGBT rights. I am honored to call her my friend, but even prouder to know that she’ll make history as the first Latina to be Speaker of the New York City Council. As a Puerto Rican, I could not be prouder,” said Pedro Julio Serrano

Andrew Velez, HIV/AIDS Activist & Chair LGBT Advisory Panel to NYC Police Commissioner said, “When you talk with Melissa Mark-Viverito she is really listening. And when she says “Yes, I can definitely support that,” there’s no doubt that she means what says. To know she will be playing a pivotal role in the New York City Council on issues that matter in all of our lives gives us hope for much needed changes.”

“Melissa Mark-Viverito has always been a supporter of the LGBT and as an ally. She has personally supported me as a friend and mentor thru out my transition and understands the growing need for education of the transgender movement throughout the 5 boroughs of this city,” said Bryan John Ellicott of The Queer Empowerment Project.

“Melissa Mark-Viverito has always been there for us and we will always be there for her. She is the strongest ally we have ever had on the New York City Council — bar none.” said Andy Praschak, LQBTQ Community Activist and Founder of “Fundacion de Derechos Humanos.

Eunic Ortiz, Community Leader said, “Melissa has been a great advocate for the LGBT community during her 8 years in the City Council and will continue to be a strong voice for our community as Speaker. Even in a City like New York, it is important to ensure our leaders in government are vocal, strong and have shown a proven record of results when it comes to getting things done for LGBT New Yorkers. Melissa will make an outstanding Speaker and will be the voice we need for the LGBT community.”

“Melissa Mark Vivierito has been a strong ally of not just low income people of color but the LGBT community as well. My work with her in the past has always resulted in a positive outcome and this is very important to the LGBT community as we transition from one administration to another. As the Dance Director for Heritage of Pride (NYCPride), I fully support her candidacy for Speaker, and know she will continue the great support of the New York City Council that has been a benefit to us all,” said Mo George
Dance Director – Heritage of Pride and Public Housing Campaign Director of Community Voices Heard.

“It is without reservation that I support Melissa Mark-Viverito for the position of Speaker of the Council. She has been my council person until this most recent election. She has demonstrated her commitment to progressive ideals that give access to citizens to take part in the policymaking and budgetary processes of our City. She has also shown that she is willing to address issues or problems that residents consider vital to the well being of the community whether it be safe guarding children by the assignment of a school guard or protecting the quality of life by considering the impact of large luxury housing in our community,” said Dr. Wilhelmina Perry, Community Activist.

“Melissa Mark Viverito has always been a strong ally to the LGBT community. She dedicated her life to ending injustice in all its forms including discrimination and violence against members of the LGBT community both here in the City of New York and in Puerto Rico,” said Fredy Kaplan, Community Activist.

“As one of the founders of Staten Island Stonewall, the political voice of Staten Island’s LGBT Community, I am happy to make this statement in support of Melissa Mark-Viverito’s candidacy for Speaker of the NYC Council. As a straight ally, she has shown us her support both privately and publicly, going so far as to travel to Puerto Rico to lobby legislators there in support of LGBT rights legislation. I am proud to give her my support,” said Rosemary F. Palladino, Esq.

“Councilmember Mark-Viverito’s leadership on economic justice helps thousands of LGBT working people. Her leadership will be crucial in reducing the economic inequality undermining our common future,” said Rev. John Magisano, community activist.






2013 LGBT Accomplishments and More



2013 has been a powerful year of accomplishments for the members of the LGBT community. It has also been a great year as a self identified transgender man and open bisexual in New York City.  Here are some of the international, national and city LGBT moments of 2013 (not in any particular order)

  • Aziz Ansari Took Down Homophobia in 2 minutes flat
  • Barilla Pasta’s CEO learned NOT to mess with the LGBT community
  • Orange is the New Black and Laverne Cox become the first mainstream scripted television series too cast a transwoman of color in a leading role
  • GLAAD Expanded it’s mission to include Trans* Rights
  • Steamy Photo- Shoot featuring Ines Rau a Transwoman, made waves
  • Chelsea Manning bravely opened up about her gender identity
  • Kristen Beek became the first Transgender Navy SEAL to come out after her service
  • Islan Neetles death sparked calls from Politicians to Pass GENDA (Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act)
  • Same Love- Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
  • The Boy Scouts will allow gay boys too be scouts
  • NBA Jason Collins Came out
  • Pope Francis “If someone is gay and seeks the Lord with good will, who am I to judge”
  • Jodie Foster Came Out
  • 75% of Millennial Came Out in Support of Marriage Equality
  • DOMA and Prop 8 struck down on the same day
  • Bryan John Ellicott and the HRC
  • July 7th Launch of this Blog
  • New Jersey, Hawaii, Delaware, Maryland, Illinois, Rhode Island, Minnesota, Utah
  • Colorado allows Civil Unions
  • Republican Rob Portman came out in Support of his gay son & Marriage Equality
  • Raven Simone Came Out on twitter
  • Edie Windsor @ NYC Pride
  • Tim Cook Came Out in Support of ENDA (Employment Non-Discrimination Act)
  • France, New Zealand, England and Wales, Uruguay all got Marriage Equality
  • Germany offers a third gender option on birth certificates
  • GQ Magazine Germany shot straight allies committed to Ending Homophobia
  • Australia’s PM took down every argument against Marriage Equality in One Speech
  • Activist fought back against Russia Anti-Gay Law
  • President Obama appointed Gay Athlete Billy Jean to Represent USA in the Sochi Olympics

Justice for Lamont Valentin- Join ACT UP Wednesday

Lamont Valentin was a man with a wife and son who needed a lung transplant to survive. He spent the past few weeks trying to get one of the 10 NYC-area transplant centers to commit to performing his lung transplant and add him to the national organ donor registry. But because he was living with HIV, New York-Presbyterian Hospital and other NYC hospitals refused to perform his lung transplant, denying him access to the national organ donor registry, which could have saved his life. Lamont died on Dec 3, leaving his son without a father.

Lamont was born with HIV in 1984 and was regularly told that he would not survive into adulthood. Despite these predictions, Lamont’s HIV became under control. In 2012, before the birth of his son, he became ill due to long term lung afflictions that he developed at a young age. His health deteriorated to the point where he needed a lung transplant. None of these health issues were due to his being HIV+, and yet, HIV was used as the reason by NY-Presbyterian for denying him a transplant.

HIV status has not been proven as a determining factor for a person’s health post-transplant, and yet, NYC-area hospitals continue to regard HIV as a life-threatening condition across the board, even while hospitals in other states regularly perform organ transplants on HIV+ people.

ACT UP demands that NY Presbyterian and other NYC transplant centers commit to performing life-saving transplants on all qualified New Yorkers regardless of their HIV status.

Join ACT UP in raising the public’s awareness about the injustice Lamont suffered leading up to his death and about how New York’s outdated transplant guidelines could send more people living with HIV to an early death.


Date: Wed Dec 18
Time: 6pm
Location: Rockefeller Center (meet up location TBD)
Why: Share Lamont’s story and demand that NY-area hospitals perform organ transplants on qualified HIV+ people
Directions: Take the B,D,F,M to Rockefeller Center

ACT UP New York meets every Monday night at 7pm at the LGBT Center on 13th St.

Personal Call to Action for this Holiday Season

This holiday season I am looking for the final leg of support in my almost continuous fundraising effort for my top surgery here in the United States. I am $1,446 dollars short of my goal of $8,500 as of tonight.

Here is part of my evolving story of becoming Bryan…the political nerd, the bisexual/transgender activist and the emergency manager.

I have been really lucky in a way to be able to transition the way I have and to have some of the most influential people in New York City support and encourage me every step of the way during the past almost 2 years of my transition. I made the conscience decision that I would be as visible as possible during this process of transition and change in my life.  

I started my transition in 2010, while I was an intern for the Speaker of the City Council Christine C Quinn and her Community Outreach Unit on the 30th Floor of 250 Broadway here in New York City. On December 9th 2010 that building was the first place the name Bryan was said out loud and herd by others. That was a moment for me that I can’t forget because for that place to see me as Bryan and use male pronouns in front of others made it seem possible for me to be able to transition and not have to go into hiding for a little.

I was the first transgender person visible to graduate from the College of Staten Island; the proper name was not on my degree. Much to the disappointment of some people, I decided not to attend my college graduation that year. This is only the nicest hardship in the struggle of being transgender in the City of New York even with protections they aren’t enforced.

For me transitioning isn’t something you should put your life on hold while you do it. After Hurricane Sandy I felt something that I can only associate with as being a family thing…to provide assistance to survivors of an emergency in the city of New York. The reason I say a family thing is my biological Dad work as a 9/11 first responder as an EMT. So yeah I take emergency response as a family thing and something I am proud of. When I applied for FEMA

I forgot that, I’m transgender. Why because it wasn’t about that because it wasn’t about me being transgender it was about helping my community and doing the only thing, that I’ve known to do is respond. Yeah the background check made me bring it up but I got nothing too hide.

The day I got sworn in too FEMA, I became aware of how much of a big deal it was to everyone else, people from all 50 states had come to New York City to assist with Hurricane Sandy relief as part of FEMA. I was the first known transgender person that they had ever hired, so they had some questions things that needed to be change and of course people who weren’t ready for ” a guy like me”

The first couple days at the JFO (Joint Field Office) I would cross Queens Blvd to use the bathroom in a Starbucks because I was that uncomfortable after a confrontation with someone how said “he don’t have people like you back home, so you can’t use the bathroom here”, “my response was well you’re in New York City now so you may need to get use to the idea” That’s part of an already physically and mentally draining day working 16 hrs.

Even in New York City with the laws we have here, I have been treated anything but equal many times while out and about…so I had to out myself to my co-workers as we spent all our days outside with the public assisting them with the filing process for FEMA. Staten Island was my borough of deployment; I would be stationed from December till the end of March.

The men got use to me being in the restroom and they never were rude to me, but they did witness what happens when you are discriminated against. I spent so much time with them; they become protective of me and left places where I was given dirty looks, and comments that were about me. They left a restaurant without paying because of the owner being disrespectful and asking me to leave during a training day in Yonkers Toward the end of my deployment I was given the option to sign on as a reservist in Region 2 (NY, NJ, DE, CT) to not be able to safely do my job in NY because of my gender identity and gender expression played a big part in my decision to stay as a reservist.

After I was relieved from my job for that disaster I traveled too DC where I experienced the worst transphobic experience of my life by a National Organization. As we continue the fight to be accepted and understood by the world around us, many of can’t deal with looking at ourselves in the mirror everyday. I will NEVER go anywhere without my binder, not even to support my best friend when he ran for City Council this year and won. Not even when I know I may have to be outside of my apartment 20+ hrs. a day…if I am out of my apartment the binder is ON.


I need your support so I can continue what I do and encourage other self-made men like myself to be open, honest and confident in the process of transition.  


35th Anniversary of Harvey Milk and Mayor George Mancone

Thinking of Harvey Milk and Mayor George Mascons on this 35th anniversary of their senseless murder. We continue to fight for equality in his name and all others who devoted their lives to justice.

Harvey Milk inspires all of use in the LGBT community.

“Every gay person must come out. As difficult as it is, you must tell your immediate family. You must tell your relatives. You must tell your friends if indeed they are your friends. You must tell the people you work with. You must tell the people in the stores you shop in. Once they realize that we are indeed their children, that we are indeed everywhere, every myth, every lie, every innuendo will be destroyed once and all. And once you do, you will feel so much better”

But he personally inspired me to be more active to put myself out their…I always know that everyday that I say “I’m Bryan and I’m transgender” it’s a risk.

” I fully realize that a person who stands for what I stand for, an activist, a gay activist, becomes a target or the potential target for somebody who is insecure, terrified, afraid, or very disturbed themselves.”

I love politics…how I know I’ve tried to make the world a better place and you need to know I’m standing right in front of you.

“Politics is theater. It doesn’t matter if you win. You make a statement. You say, “I’m here, pay attention to me”


Transgender Day of Remembrance 2013

This year the Transgender Day of Remembrance   (TDOR) is on Wednesday November 20th like it is ever year. TDOR serves as a day to memorialize those who have been killed as a result of anti-transgender violence, and acts to bring attention to continued violence against the trans* community.

TDOR over the past two years that this writer has personally been involved here in New York City its also been a coming out space for trans* and gender non-conforming people. It also becomes a place for us to discuss the transphobia we all experience but are lucky enough to survive. The Trans* sometimes uses this as a chance to sometimes teach the cisgendered community about us, who may have sadly not known their friend who was murdered was trans* or gender conforming.

This year events are happening all over New York City on the 20th and the day before. Tomorrow after I am part of a panel discussion at The College of Staten Island discussing my transition, the discrimination transmen face and whatever else the audience would like to ask me.

When did TDOR get started?

“ The Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) was started by transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith as a vigil to honor the memory of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was killed in 1998. The vigil commemorated all the transgender people lost to violence that year and began an important memorial that has become the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance.” GLAAD Website

How can I participate in the Transgender Day of Remembrance?

Participate in the Transgender Day of Remembrance by attending or organizing a vigil on November 20 to honor all those whose lives were lost to anti-transgender violence that year.  Vigils are typically hosted by local transgender advocates or LGBT organizations, and held at community centers, parks, places of worship and other venues. The vigil often involves reading a list of the names of those who died that year.