Wednesday, August 21, 2013

My Renewed Faith in Santa Fe by Javier Gonzales

Javier_GonzalespicJavier Gonzales the former State of New Mexico Democratic Party Chairman issued the following heartfelt statement regarding his own coming to terms with his sexuality. Follow this link to the original article in Familia es Familia.

When a Bishop named Jorge from Buenos Aires took the name Francis, he made an immediate connection with Santa Fe. But when Pope Francis visited Brazil recently, he spoke directly to me, when he said, “who am I to judge?”

You see, when you come from a traditional family with deep roots in this community, the process of accepting that you are gay is complicated with fears about disappointing those you love, or becoming disconnected with a sense of place that is as much a part of me as my sexuality.

Growing up in this town, I felt myself fully embraced by la herencia, the traditional ways that defined the history of Santa Fe. Much of it is beautiful, a celebration of family, a spirit of community, a sense of obligation to those who came before us and responsibility to those who come after us. Knowing you are a part of a continuum gives a young person a sense of place and a sense of pride. These are all gifts I hope to pass on to my two daughters.

But along with that sense of pride also comes, real or perceived, the hint that those who step away from the expected path would be judged poorly, seen as unappreciative or disrespectful, or worse. As a kid, I never considered a lifestyle different from that of my parents and theirs before me. I thought I’d marry a local girl, have kids, and then grandkids. I tried my hardest not to be different, but the reality was I am, and I have a failed marriage to prove it.

Single again, I took steps towards accepting who I am. Yet I still worried about any embarrassment I would bring to my family, questioned whether being gay was a choice as many still believe it is, and whether I was right in the eyes of God.

So I gathered the courage to speak with my parents, who responded with a much needed abrazo. I spoke to my friends, who after an initial awkward silence, asked, where are we going for lunch? I spoke to my daughters, who like many in their generation, asked what the big deal was.

To have this sense of distance removed from those most important in my life is an incredible relief, and a reminder, that there is not true understanding without open, honest communication.

The life of St. Francis teaches us to discard the superficial and recognize the dignity in all of humanity. And in naming the cathedral in Santa Fe in his honor, our ancestors embraced that message. For over 400 years we have been a multi-cultural community that has thrived on our diversity.

It is that spirit that has made us the City Different, a town that can embrace all kinds of people, from the children of traditional, culturally conservative Hispanics to the kids of hippies, from businessmen to artists, from natives and the old families that built this town to newcomers who help keep the economy alive. Our very existence as a community is proof that we are better when we value and except one another for who we are without judgment.

Follow Javier on Twitter@Javiermgonzales

August 21, 2013 at 07:54 PM in Democrat, GLBT Rights, Javier Gonzales | Permalink | Comments (0)

Gay Marriage Licenses Being Issued in Dona Ana County New Mexico

The following was provided by the Democratic Party of Dona Ana County by Stephen Jones

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Photo above by Rep. Bill McCamley

Doña Ana County Clerk Lynn Ellins (D-Doña Ana County) has announced that his office is now issuing marriage licenses to same-gender couples.

Photo to the right is Mr. Ellins taken by Stephen Jones.

EllinsEllins said that he has been considering issuing licenses since last June, when New Mexico Attorney General Gary King issued a position paper stating that New Mexico’s ban on issuing marriage licenses to same-gender couples is unconstitutional. Since then, the Attorney General – in a legal brief to the New Supreme Court – has refused to defend the ban and has asked the Supreme Court to declare New Mexico’s prohibition of same-gender marriage unconstitutional under the state’s constitution.

Last week, Ellins said, the New Mexico Supreme Court declined to issue a ruling sought by attorneys for same-gender couples seeking marriage licenses from the county clerks in Bernalillo and Santa Fe counties. Instead, the Supreme Court sent these matters back to the lower courts for an initial review on the merits.

“That means it could be many months or years before the matter is resolved,” Ellins said. “In the meantime, I am mindful that I took an oath of office to uphold the Constitution of the State of New Mexico as Doña Ana County Clerk. I am an attorney, and I have read the AG’s opinion, and I find it to be sound. After careful review of New Mexico’s laws it is clear that the state’s marriage statutes are gender neutral and do not expressly prohibit Doña Ana County from issuing marriage licenses to same-gender couples. Any further denial of marriage licenses to these couples violates the United States and New Mexico Constitution and the New Mexico Human Rights Act. Doña Ana County is upholding New Mexico law by issuing these marriage licenses, and I see no reason to make committed couples in Doña Ana County wait another minute to marry.”

Ellins said couples requesting marriage license will no longer be turned down, and starting today, licenses will be issued at the Doña Ana County Government Center for information about New Mexico marriage license requirements, call the Doña Ana County Clerk’s Office at (575) 647-7421.

Follow this link to a KRQE article about the reaction from NM Politico's regarding this harmless celebration of a commitment of two people in love.

August 21, 2013 at 07:32 PM in Democrat, Dona Ana County, GLBT Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Thank You Rep. Mary Helen Garcia

Bigots imagesThank you Rep. Mary Helen Garcia for being a bigot today. Because you and Rep. Rodella voted NO to HJR 3 I as a gay woman do not have to wait longer to have my love life voted on this year. It is always a torturous time when a bill that is so meaningful is hanging in time. What will they vote, at each turn, we people who believe in full equality wait and wonder what will they (you) vote. This year the Consumer and Public Affairs Committee, the first committee to hear the HJR3 passed the bill, the second committee to hear the bill - House Voters & Elections Committee- they killed it. So now I do not have to stress about this particular bill that means so much to me. It is kind of like your team in the Olympics that you have trained with and worked with loosing in the second match. Only it is every year, and your own teammates fail you.

ProgressNow has a good write up about this bills death today. All the contact information is there for the haters that killed the bill.

A sincere Thank You to Rep. Egolf for Introducing HJR3 - MARRIAGE CERTIFICATES & CEREMONIES, CA.  It would be great to have some of Rep Garcia's close allies and better yet her constituents to call her out on this negative vote. And for the Native American community and Rodella's constituents to call Rep. Rodella out on this negative vote. Why? Why do you continue to vote against your neighbors, your friends, your family?

There is a petition here asking for Democrat Rep. Mary Helen Garcia to resign from the Democratic Party of New Mexico. I urge you to go sign it.

On March 26, the Supreme Court is going to hear the case that every American is guaranteed the freedom to marry. A great website to follow this historic case for equality is the American Foundation for Equal Rights. Maybe Rep. Mary Helen Garcia can follow the high court proceedings and learn a thing or two. You bet I am nervous about the results of this case in the Supreme Court.

February 21, 2013 at 08:17 PM in Action Alerts, GLBT Rights, NM Legislature 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 09, 2012

Is Paul Pacheco "homo-phob​ic"? Let's have a conversati​on...

Guest Blog from Mary Ellen Capek:

Below are copies of posts from Paul Pacheco's FB page.  Several people alerted me to these.  When I tried to "comment" in response, they removed my first comment then "blocked" me.  So I'm including their posts at the end of this email, assuming that whoever has been forwarding my Marci Blaze emails to the Pachecos will send this along as well (thanks for fostering dialogue, whoever you are).  Like so many Republicans living in what has just been exposed as an alternate universe this election season, their ignorance and hypocrisy are breathtaking.  Pacheco's flyers attacking Marci have been relentless and nasty, not to mention inaccurate.  My several emails in support of Marci have been mild in comparison.

BUT...  to my point of Paul's being "homo-phobic," I want to offer a conversation.  One of the last flyers I saw attacking Marci pitched Pacheco as a "family values" candidate: that's CODE for "NO WAY are we going to let gays marry much less have equal rights."  Right, Paul?  You'd never vote to allow families like mine to marry in NM.  Not even vote for domestic partnerships to give my family the same benefits yours gets, right, Paul?  (My partner and I actually got married in Canada in 2003, celebrated our 25th anniversary this August, but neither our partnership nor our marriage is recognized in NM.  Yet.)  I betcha you wouldn't vote for legislation that would recognize my rights to determine care for my wife in the hospital.  Or help pass laws that would assure that she, not the government, inherits my estate, right?

So I'm calling you out, saying, hey there, YOU, sir, are indeed "homo-phobic."  This is 2012.  We just had a watershed election.  Marriage equality passed in three more states (Maine, Maryland, Washington) and Minnesota voted AGAINST enshrining hatred in their state constitution.  So, you know what, CODE doesn't work like it used to.  Based on the mailings that went out supporting your campaign, I'm calling you out: you're homophobic.  BUT if you want to sit down over coffee, I'd be more than willing to continue this conversation in person.  And if I'm too nasty for you, based on the "shocking language and disgusting emails" Tami claims I've sent, I'd be happy to set you up with other gay or lesbian families to meet and talk with.  They might also be your constituents.  No more nasty emails, no more nasty flyers, no more "code."  How about having a conversation?

Yesterday's Posts from People for Paul Pacheco's Facebook Page:

Paul Pacheco: To everyone who has supported us during this trying time, I want to thank each and everyone of you. We won't know for a couple days until the recount is final. My opponents supporters are still sending nasty emails, the lastest one today accusing me of being homo-phobic. I can't tell you how weary I am of their constant, relentless lies about my character and I am hopeful that this will be over soon. Thanks again and we will keep you updated, your thoughts and prayers have kept us going!

Tami De-Nio Pacheco: I love you! I'm sorry you've had to go through all this nastiness. Maybe I'll put together all of MaryEllen Capek's emails and let the world know who she really is. From dirty language to ugliness unrivaled, she has really has shown who they really are. I was shocked at the language and disgusting emails she sent throughout the campaign and continues to today. Very sad...

November 9, 2012 at 02:29 PM in 2012 Legislature Races, Civil Liberties, GLBT Rights, Guest Blogger | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

9/28: EQNM Annual Turquoise Party (Friendly Reminder)

FRIENDLY REMINDER:
Equality New Mexico is our state's largest gay and lesbian civil rights organization with over 20,000 members across the Land of Enchantment.

On Friday, September 28th we will be hosting our annual Turquoise Party that last year brought together over 400 community members, business leaders, and public officials in support of our mission to build a better and more equal New Mexico.

EQ_Turq

 

September 26, 2012 at 04:31 PM in Events, GLBT Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 27, 2012

GOP Push Poll in House District 30 by Mary Ellen Broderick

Barb and me 19yrs
Barb Wold and Mary Ellen in 2008 after the CA Prop 8 passed.

Earlier this week it was reported by many voters in House District 30 that they received a push poll regarding my race against Republican Nate Gentry.

The topic of the push poll – Mary Ellen Broderick is a lesbian! 

Voters heard questions such as “Would you vote for Mary Ellen Broderick if you knew she was a lesbian?” and “Would you vote for Mary Ellen if you knew that she is going to try to get Gay Marriage passed?”

Earlier this year, as I was mulling my run for the House, knowing full well that there was a good chance that the Republican smear machine would come after me, I decided to be a candidate because the problems we face as a state and as a community are too great to sit on the sidelines. My decision was and still is “the time is now.”

Think of all the issues that are so critical to make progress on right now, this is my platform:

  • People out of work and the jobs they lost are not returning
  • Big tax giveaway’s to out of state corporations while local small businesses get a cold shoulder
  • Education spiraling continually downwards, underfunded, and with reform ideas that simply don't work.
  • Protecting and preserving our natural environment
  • Providing affordable healthcare for children and seniors
  • A woman’s right to choose what is best for her is being challenged and a redefinition of rape by the GOP is happening right now.
  • Working families are under attack

Whether or not we solve these problems as a state with forward-looking vision is what this election is about. I have the fresh perspective of an average person that the Roundhouse absolutely needs as we work towards the solutions to these issues.

But let’s talk about my sexual orientation. Yes I am gay, I am a lesbian. I had a wonderful soul mate for 23 years who passed away in December of last year after a short 3 month battle with colon cancer. We were never married, but I am a widow. Would I have loved to have been married to Barb and share all the same rights as heterosexual married couples? You bet. Did I live the vows we were never able to speak in front of our peers and community? Yes I did. I helped Barb with the hardest part of the traditional marriage vows taken – “ In sickness and in health til death do us part.” We were together longer than many married couples and it hurt deeply to pick up Barbs remains and have the words “Never Married” on the death certificate.

So, it is with the inspiration of my life experience that I am running for House District 30 exactly because there are many more urgent matters facing us as women and men, girls and boys.

Barb worked til her dying day trying to affect some outcome of all the troubles facing us now and I hope that I will be able to do so as well in my own way. I am doing what I think is right and what I have every right to do. To whomever is responsible for this push poll, listen up - I am ready for the onslaught of disparaging remarks and fliers because I loved another woman. I run for this NM House of Representatives seat with a deep seeded worry about many issues and matters facing all of us.

To my friends and supporters - I need your help right now. Don't let the Republicans define my candidacy. I am ready for whatever comes my way.

Please visit my website, http://www.electmaryellenbroderick.com/, and sign up to volunteer or make a contribution on my actblue page to show those who wish to run a campaign of misinformation and bigotry that this is not what New Mexico stands for.

August 27, 2012 at 08:00 AM in 2012 Legislature Races, Candidates & Races, Civil Liberties, GLBT Rights | Permalink | Comments (4)

Monday, August 13, 2012

Support Growing for Same Sex Couple Parents, Hope Christian Silent.

On August 8th, the following blog piece was provided by Jesse Lopez, President of New Mexico Coalition for Student Justice

In less than three days, over 400 individuals have logged on to change.org and signed the petition titled “End discrimination against GLBT at Hope Christian Academy School.” The petition, being endorsed by GetEqualNM and the Coalition for Student Justice, was created in response to the school denying enrollment to a child because the child’s parents are of the same sex.

As support grows for the family, organizations and national media outlets across the country are beginning to weigh in on the debate over federal funding, 501-c3 non-profit status, and the New Mexico Human Rights Act that prohibits discrimination in employment, housing and “public accommodations.” It also bans discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

“Not only does it appear that Hope Christian may in fact be violating the law, they are sending the wrong message to the community. Already several high school students that identify as being gay have reached out and are scared to go back to school, and are now more afraid to come out. It appears Hope’s leadership team is willing to take tax payer dollars and create an environment with inequality, and more so, willing to allow students currently enrolled to feel morally derogated and belittled because they are gay.” Jesse Lopez

Please follow this link to sign petition. Below is a copy of the petition:

 
Greetings, I just signed the following petition addressed to: State of New Mexico Federal Delegation - End discrimination against GLBT at Hope Christian Academy School

State of New Mexico Federal Delegation,

We the signed petitioners of New Mexico and across the USA are urging you to look into recent actions by Hope Christian Academy in Albuquerque New Mexico denying a 3 year old enrollment because the child's parents are of the same sex.

As I am sure, you are well aware, in 1954 the Supreme Court ruled in Brown vs. the Board of Education that "Segregation of students in public schools violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, because separate facilities are inherently unequal."

Although HOPE Christian Academy maintains itself as a private institution it in facts receives $60,000 annually from the federal government. These tax dollars come from the pockets of American families, including those of same sex couples. Because the school, in part is funded by my tax dollars, I am signing this petition and asking that you look further into the discriminative actions taken by HOPE Christian Academy and enforce the law of the United States government and allow this child to enroll.

If we do nothing, we have failed to learn from our past, and allow agents of hate to exist. If we are to began teaching a new generation on equality allow this child to enroll and not fall short on unequal actions.

August 13, 2012 at 12:55 PM in Action Alerts, Candidates & Races, Children and Families, GLBT Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Respect – We Are ALL Made in God's Image the Central Message of Christianity

Guest Blog by Nick Rimmer, Esq.

Respect –this is a central message of Christianity. We are all made in God’s image, and we must treat our neighbors with the respect that each of us deserves. Whether you’re a Christian or not, this seems to be a pretty good message.

This is what makes Hope Christian School’s decision to deny admission to a 3-year-old boy because he comes from a same-sex family all the more disappointing. The fact that the school also receives tax-payer dollars makes the decision really troubling.

Like many private schools, Hope Christian’s application form reflects an understanding of changing family dynamics in the modern age. For instance, the application includes a section that allows four different parents and guardians at different addresses, recognizing that the definition of family in modern America is evolving.

Our children face so many more challenges, including coming from homes where both parents may have to work two-or-three jobs just to make ends meet, than the generations before them.

We know that those fortunate enough to have a family are far more likely to overcome those challenges. After reviewing decades of study, psychologist C.J. Patterson concluded “not a single study has found children of lesbian or gay parents to be disadvantaged in any significant respect relative to children of heterosexual parents.” [1]

New Mexico already has enough challenges when it comes to raising our children. More than 30% of our children live in poverty, the second highest rate in the nation [2]. And more than six out of 10, like the boy denied admission to Hope Christian, who are eligible for preschool are not enrolled. Our abysmal graduation rates are well documented and often discussed.

By all accounts, the child at the center of this recent discussion is on track to avoid becoming one of those statistics. From outward appearances, his parents have given him all of the advantages—a loving home and a commitment to education. Sadly, the school is imposing an unnecessary punishment on this child, and we – as New Mexicans – can’t look the other way.

The 2010 Kids Count report estimates that 11% of children in New Mexico – a full one in 10 – are living with two moms or two dads. That is the same percentage of those living only with one dad. Combined with children living only with mom, a full 40% of our children live in family types virtually unheard of just 50 years ago.

Children today will encounter peers from a wide range of backgrounds and families, and we must teach them the principles of treating other with respect. Like the school’s own application recognizes, the family dynamic is changing. We will do well to remember that each family matters in the life of a child.

Footnotes for above article:
[1] Patterson, C.J., 2005. Lesbian and gay parents
and their children: summary of research findings. In: Lesbian and Gay Parenting.
American Psychological Association, Washington, DC. 
[2] Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2010, Kids Count Report, http://datacenter.kidscount.org/data/acrossstates/Rankings.aspx?loct=2&by=v&order=d&ind=43&dtm=322&tf=133

 

August 7, 2012 at 05:49 PM in Children and Families, Civil Liberties, Faith Community, GLBT Rights, Guest Blogger | Permalink | Comments (4)

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

2 - 4 - 6 - 8 How Do You Know Your Kids are Straight? Chick-Fil-A Protest

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At mid day in Albuquerque New Mexico the sun is real hot. But that did not keep the friends of the LGBT community from showing up to protest the latest bigoted anti-LGBT company Chick Fil-A. And it also did not keep the friends that support Chick Fil-A's bigotry and discrimination from showing up either.

There were many customers driving up to the drive thru and waiting in-line for their chicken sandwiches, I would assume in support of the Dan Cathy statement opposing same sex marriages. Then there were the pro-LGBT supporters maybe 150 on the sidewalk with signs and chicken costumes and free chicken sandwiches being handed out! 

The anti-LGBT bigots complaint is "they have a right to disagree with whomever they want to disagree with" and that the pro-LGBT agenda is being intolerant. If actions like educating the public about anti-LGBT issues stated by big businesses in our communities and deciding not to spend my own money at those places of business and urging others to not spend there money their is in tolerant.....in the words of Dan Cathy below "well- guilty as charged."

However what Dan Cathy says below: "I think we are inviting God's judgement..." now that is appears to be a tad intolerant!

The Chick Fil A President Dan Cathy who makes gobs of money selling processed chicken sandwiches started the furry recently when he went on about his family values. The following is from the Huffpost:

"Cathy's somewhat glib response: "Well, guilty as charged."

He went on to note, "We are very much supportive of the family -- the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that...we know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles."

Cathy then reiterated his stance during an appearance on "The Ken Coleman Show," Good as You blogger Jeremy Hooper reported.

"I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, 'We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage,' and I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to try to redefine what marriage is about," Cathy said in that interview, which can be heard here

Needless to say, Cathy's remarks quickly sparked the ire of a number of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) advocates and bloggers. "Regardless of where you stand, the placement of LGBT people within our societal picture and within our body of laws is the conversation at hand," wrote Hooper. "That is not the same thing as 'support for the traditional family,' no matter how aggressively the self-appointed values movement attempts to (mis)name reality!"

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So another day goes by when the right to love is held back by those who claim they have the special God given right to love. I appreciated the sign 2-4-6-8 how do you know your kids are straight. What if one of these pompous rich asses fanning the fire of this anti-LGBT fight ends up with a gay kid or grandkid?

On the positive side; the LGBT side of the brick wall was light hearted and fun. We ate our own Chick fil-gay sandwiches provided by  Roma Bakery and Deli and they were very great simple chicken sandwiches made with TLC not stick it in your face HATE.

Below is a short video from Bruce co-owner of Roma Bakery and Deli:

And below a video of Pat Davis, Executive Director of ProgressNow NM. ProgressNow NM were the organizers of the protest event.

 

August 1, 2012 at 04:23 PM in GLBT Rights, ProgressNow New Mexico, Right Wing | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 27, 2012

Love thy chikn. Love thy gay. Guest Blog by Cara Valente Compton

Chick fillet and gayFollowing is a great guest blog by Cara Valente Compton. Photo to the right is from ThinkProgress.

You know, it is easy for me. I am a straight woman, married for many years to the same man. We have four kids. We live here in the city, and we raise our children with the liberal values of inclusion, equality, and tolerance. No one told me I couldn't marry the man I love. No one ever told me that my family was wrong, immoral, or a sin. I have it easy.

This is not the case for so many of my friends, who see their relationships demeaned, disrespected, and condemned by people who think that they know the way, the light, and the truth. They claim to be pro-family, but they are not promoting love, they are encouraging hate. Such is the case with Chick-fil-A, who now is backpedalling, issuing this statement today:

"The Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect - regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender. We will continue this tradition in the over 1,600 Restaurants run by independent Owner/Operators. Going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena..."

Those words ring pretty hollow when you go online and read the commentary left by people who call themselves Christian, yet promote hate for gays. Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum, two well-known, anti-gay Republicans, are leading the charge for a Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day on August 1st, asking those who agree with the anti-gay messaging of Chick-fil-A, to come on down and spend their money to show just how many good Christians agree with this homophobic agenda. Well, as alluring as a peach shake sounds on this hot summer day, I will pass. Instead, I will be joining my friends...people who believe in LOVE and equality, and the dignity of all people outside my local Chick-fil-A for the "Love thy Chikn, Love thy Gays" Rally!

What: "Love thy chikin, Love thy gays!" rally

When: Wednesday August 1, 2012, 11:30 am - 1:00 pm

Where: Chick-Fil-A, 5009 Montgomery Blvd, NE, Albuquerque, NM (San Mateo & Montgomery)

What: LGBT community supporters will provide 100 "hate free" chicken sandwiches to the community, and will rally in cow suits with signs and statements against Chick-Fil-A's hateful and community divisive policies.

Visit the Facebook event for more information.

The community is welcomed to join and encouraged to show their opposition to fundamentalist hate and intolerance by wearing cow and chicken costumes adorned with gay pride accessories.

"Chick-fil-A and these fundamentalist leaders are doubling-down on hate, trying to capitalize on intolerance by asking people to eat at their restaurant if they hate their neighbor," says Pat Davis, Executive Director of ProgressNow New Mexico. "We want to show Chick-fil-A that our community has another choice, and by giving our sandwiches away for free we won't be trying to make a buck off of intolerance." at no charge on Wednesday, August 1, from 11:30 to 1:00, to support equality for all.

The truth is you CAN eat your chicken without swallowing your pride. On August 1st I will stand proudly with my friends in the LGBT community in solidarity for equality and justice. I urge you to do the same.

So come on down, bring your friends, bring your lover, bring a happy heart and a hungry belly, and take a stand for love, for freedom, and for equality.

Love thy neighbor. Love thy chikn. Love thy gay.

#lovethychiknlovethygay

July 27, 2012 at 06:40 PM in GLBT Rights, Guest Blogger, ProgressNow New Mexico | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin Coming to Santa Fe

Great event!

Baldwin 001

July 26, 2012 at 09:00 AM in Candidates & Races, Events, GLBT Rights, Santa Fe | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Pride Blog on HIV by Marshall Martinez

MarshallMarshall Martinez is a fairly frequent blogger here at DFNM, and we are grateful. Again Marshall takes his passion to writing and educating us in this Pride Blog post. Thank you Marshall!

“It’s time to come together and get to work!”

This was the rallying cry many of us active New Mexico Democrats received in our email inboxes Wednesday Morning of this past week. The primary is over and we must come together, work hard to defeat Mitt Romney, Heather Wilson and Janice Arnold-Jones etc.

At the same time, to those of us who are GLBT, The beginning of June means something else entirely! “Pride is about Unity” “Pride is about Community!” “Pride is about being comfortable, safe, expressing love, being who we truly are!” And these statements are all true. I, for one, love Pride Month!

But over the last couple of years, I have seen a darkening cloud over both of these exciting sets of events. As a lifelong active Democrat who enjoyed the coming together of the party after a primary, and as a relatively Young Gay Man who enjoyed the party and the excitement and the feeling of welcome-ness of Pride, My mind often wonders now, about something that seems to be left out of the discussions.

It is estimated that more than One Million people are living with HIV/AIDS in the United States today. Almost 35,000 new infections are diagnosed every year since 2005.

Why do I bring this up now? Why do I constantly bang this drum? Because not enough other people are!

The story may be different in other parts of the country, certainly in larger cities. But in Albuquerque, NM, we are behind the game, and we need to step it up!

The conversation about condoms and abstinence has been going on for a couple of decades in the US. And though we definitely could setup up our programs in Public Schools nationwide, it doesn’t seem to be as effective as we thought it would be in slowing the number of new infections. So what’s next?

The year is 2012. And unless the world really ends in December, (or August) we need to be rethinking our messaging and our approach to HIV Prevention. Arguments have been happening nationwide about offering a drug currently used for treatment of HIV, to people possibly exposed to HIV. The arguments have included the notion that this will allow people to be more reckless about their sexual activity, knowing there is a pill they can take. (By the Way - The same argument made about the morning-after pill, and other forms of contraception in the past) Maybe we should be talking about Risk Assessment and Harm Reduction not “prevention.” Maybe we should acknowledge that people like to have sex without condoms, and regardless of how irresponsible we may think it is as advocates, talk to them about other steps they can take to protect themselves. Maybe its time to have different conversations at PRIDE, and other venues. Let’s talk about how to discuss Viral Load, and its implications on risk; or about the use of lubricant and, other tools to help reduce risk of sex without a condom.

Maybe we should work harder to take the stigma out of the statement “I’m HIV Positive.” I have too many friends, loved ones, who do not reveal their status to potential partners, or friends and family even, because of all the baggage that goes along with that. Maybe if we started teaching gay men especially how to react with compassion rather than disgust when they hear that, then maybe we can start to open those lines of dialogue and allow people to feel more comfortable discussing the risks.

I don’t know the answers; I don’t know what direction we should take. But I know we have to come together to make a change. In this highly charged political atmosphere for Republicans and Democrats, in this time of celebration and memorials for a Queer community, we have to find a new approach to a problem that has plagued us for far too long. I propose that the first step is to put aside our ideologies about treatments, about messages, about methods, and become more willing to discuss all options. Only with the widest of approaches and most open of minds can we truly defeat HIV. Remember, as I have sad before, this is our Sons and Daughters, our Brothers and Sisters we are talking about. Don’t they deserve some new energy and effort on their behalf? Yes, yes they do.

June 12, 2012 at 11:02 AM in AIDS/HIV, GLBT Rights, Guest Blogger, Healthcare | Permalink | Comments (0)