PARENTS, FAMILIES AND FRIENDS ALLIED WITH THE LGBTQ COMMUNITY
Westwood's Guest Speaker Series:
Español So Cal
December 15th, 2010 / 7:30 p.m.
Bullied: A Student, a School, and a Case That Made History -
— Special Screening with documentary filmmaker Bill Brummel
Jamie Nabozny’s life was hell. From middle school onward, he was tormented at school everyday. Beginning with verbal abuse, the attacks escalated to horrific violence. Once, a group of boys surrounded him and performed a mock rape in front of a class. Another time he was shoved into a urinal and urinated on. He was once kicked so hard he required abdominal surgery.
Neither his teachers or administrators in the school system did anything to protect him. But he fought back. The moving documentary Bullied: A Student, a School, and a Case that Made History tells the story of Nabozny’s federal law suit against the school. In a precedent setting decision, the court ruled that schools could be held accountable for not stopping anti-gay abuse.
Acclaimed documentarian Bill Brummel will be at the December meeting of PFLAG Los Angeles to show his film and discuss this important work. Brummel is an award‐winning filmmaker who has made documentaries on issues such as the civil rights movement, the Holocaust, and the genocide in Rwanda.
Brummel was recognized with a Peabody Award for Rwanda - Do Scars Ever Fade? - an in-depth and personal report of the Rwandan genocide. His film Blood Diamonds received a primetime Emmy nomination in 2007. Other award nods for Bill Brummel include four national News and Documentary Emmy nominations, three Cine Golden Eagles, and two International Documentary Association awards. Brummel's short documentary Viva la Causa was selected to the short list for the 2009 Documentary Short Subject Academy Awards.
This film is a must see for all parents of LGBT youth and for allies who want to stop the bullying in schools. Join us for the film and commentary by civil rights champion Brummel for an evening you won’t forget.
Visit the website: www.tolerance.org
November 17th, 2010 / 7:30 p.m.
Preventing LGBT Suicide One Road Trip at a Time
— Marc Adams and HeartStrong take on Religious Homophobia and Hate
Hate and homophobia flourishes in the United States—even in institutions like schools and churches that supposedly protect children. Look no further than the Midland School District in Arkansas, where one school board member wrote on his Facebook page that he didn't want to wear a purple ribbon "because five queers committed suicide… the only way I'm wearing for them is if they all commit suicide."
Hate speech such as this is even more common in religious schools, where anti-gay harangues from the pulpit, in classrooms, at social events, and in homes are the rule rather than the exception.
Fresh from speeches at Harvard University and Rutgers, where one of the suicides took place, Marc Adams speaks at PFLAG Los Angeles about the desperate circumstances in which some LGBT young people live their lives.
“There’s a clock ticking on the emotional life of students in these schools. Our work is a rescue mission and it is more relevant today than when [HeartStrong] started 15 years ago,” Adams says. “All they look for is hope, and we give them hope.”
In order to prevent more suicides, the HeartStrong organization, whose special mission is outreach to LGBT students in religious schools, has extended and expanded the current road trip, the 43rd of its kind in the organization’s history.
Come to the November 17th meeting of PFLAG Los Angeles to find out how we can help these young people in our own community and throughout the country.
Visit HeartStrong at: www.heartstrong.org
September 15th, 2010 / 7:30 p.m.
Coming Out: A How-To Workshop for Teens,
Parents, and Everyone Else
— Therapist John Sovec presents his acclaimed interactive workshop
Coming out can be hard, particularly if you’re a teenager still unsure of your own feelings and what they mean. Hearing a young person’s disclosure can be equally challenging for parents, family members, teachers, and friends.
And it doesn’t end with the first disclosure. LGBT persons and their families and friends will be coming out, in some way or other, for the rest of their lives.
How to deal with the emotions that accompany coming out? Many of us have felt them: anxiety, fear of rejection and even physical violence on the part of the LGBT person, and for the listener confusion, shock, anger, concern, acceptance, pride, and love.
John Sovec, a therapist with almost 20 years specializing in adolescent psychology and LGBT issues, will provide us with some effective tools to manage the experience in September’s special workshop.
To allow plenty of time for this interactive program, our usual format will be slightly modified. John will begin the workshop at 7:30 after a brief introduction and his presentation, which includes lots of discussion, will end formally at 9:00 pm. Participants will have the opportunity to continue talking informally in one of our usual support groups until closing time at 9:45.
This is a special event for parents, straight allies, and LGBT persons alike. Whether you’re planning to come out tomorrow or have been out for 20 years this experience has a lot to offer.
August 18th, 2010 / 7:30 p.m.
Breaking the Binary
— Aye Robin and Charisse Delk speak about the gender binary system
we all live in and give us reasons to break out of it
Male and Female. More than we know, our lives, are conditioned by our ideas about these opposite poles of gender. (To see how conditioned, take a look at the gender neutral pronouns in paragraph three!) But there are many people who do not fit neatly into either/or categories of male or female, masculine or feminine. Marginalizing them, we miss all the unique variations that occur in biology and behavior. We damage people by forcing them to conform to these ideas. We limit their, and our own, possibilities.
But society is changing. PFLAG Los Angeles members Aye Robin and Charisse Delk will discuss the various ways in which people express their own identity beyond the binary and outline strategies we can use to help them.
Aye Robin has been a member of PFLAG Los Angeles since 2008, when the bitter fight over Proposition 8 motivated hir and hir family to find support and empowerment at our meetings. In 2009, Aye met Charisse Delk through the Gay Straight Alliance Network's Activist camp. President of hir* high school's Gay Straight Alliance, Aye became a trainer for the Gay Straight Alliance Network in which xe* is joined by Charisse , also an LGBT rights activist in her high school. Now Santa Monica College students, they continue to lead Queer Youth Empowerment Summits all over Southern California.
Taking the next step in activism, they have formed a new non-profit, Breaking the Binary, designed to educate and support trans, gender queer and intersex youth as well as their friends, family, and partners. Breaking the Binary plans open support meetings for family and friends of trans, gender queer and intersex youth and their allies.
Among the topics they will discuss are the gender binary system and how we fit; gender identity versus gender expression; gender neutral pronouns; what it means to be gender queer; what it means to be transgender; and how to be a respectful trans ally.
If you are tired of living in a pink and blue world, come to our August meeting and support these two courageous young people in creating a world where everyone can be themselves.
*Gender neutral pronouns that replace “his,” “her,” (hir) and “he,” “she,” (xe).
July 21st, 2010 / 7:30 p.m.
Angels of Change
— Bamby Salcedo on the challenges transgender youth face
and the services that help them
Transgender and non-gender conforming youth are among the most vulnerable of our community. Learning how to help them and their families is of critical importance. Our June speaker, Bamby Salcedo will give us practical advice on how to support trans youth.
Ms. Salcedo knows what she’s talking about. As a transgender Latina, she has fought a double dose of stereotypes all her life. Her experiences have made her a fierce advocate for others. Currently, the Project Coordinator for transgender services with Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, Bamby was previously the Program Manager for the Transgeneros Unidas with Bienestar Human Services. In addition to her day job, she volunteers in numerous organizations dealing with HIV prevention, particularly among the transgender community. She is proud to be a recipient of the Connie Norman Award given for outstanding work in transgender advocacy.
How can we help transgender youth? Ms. Salcedo will tell us about transgender specific services for youth ages 12 to 24. What Los Angeles has to offer is among the best in the country, but the challenges that transgender youth face are still formidable. Homelessness, abuse, and neglect still affect trans youth disproportionately. Solving these problems takes both awareness and money, and Salcedo has created the Angels of Change Calendar to raise both. This beautiful 12-month calendar features pictures of amazing transgender kids receiving services at Childrens Hospital. It provides positive images for non-gender conforming youth and funds to support the service they need.
Join us on June 16 to hear the story of Bamby Salcedo, Angel of Change.
May 19th, 2010 / 7:30 p.m.
— How a campaign of hate motivates Stuart Miller’s work on behalf of LGBT families
Come to PFLAG and you’ll hear a lot of coming out stories. To say Stuart Miller’s did not go well is a monumental understatement. His Fundamentalist Christian father organized a brigade of “prayer warriors” who bombarded him with wave after wave of hate-filled letters and phone calls designed to scare him straight. His 12-year-old sister, a poignant example, wrote: “God can change you or kill you.”
The continued and virulent abuse caused fear, self-doubt and depression, which he finally overcame with the publication of Prayer Warriors: The True Story of a Gay Son, His Fundamentalist Christian Family and Their Battle for His Soul. The memoir, nominated for a Lambda Literary Award, was a best seller in the LGBT market.
But the impact of his family’s attack, went further. Not only did it drive Miller to form a new, positive and loving family with his husband Allen and their son Quentin, but it motivated him to help other LGBT couples become parents. Since 2001 he has served as the CEO and co-owner of Growing Generations, a surrogacy and egg donation agency with offices in Los Angeles, New York, and the Ohio Valley dedicated to helping members of the GLBT community create their families through assisted reproduction. His previous professional endeavors included serving as the CEO of Bold New World, an Internet technology firm, and as Director of Public Affairs for the LA Gay & Lesbian Center.
In speaking engagements across the country, Miller describes the impact of the radical rights agenda on gay and lesbian people and the healing force of family that anyone can create for their own life.
When a family of origin slams the door, Miller assures us that there are many ways to form families that value us.
April 21, 2010 / 7:30 p.m.
What’s Past is Prologu
— Dr. Joseph R. Hawkins describes how LGBT history shapes today’s challenges
For centuries, particularly in the West, LGBT men and women have had to live separate, secret lives. Today, we can call ourselves a community thanks to the brave actions of committed men and women who claimed the right to live their lives openly. It is their legacy that Dr. Joseph R. Hawkins is charged with preserving in the ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives.
Whatever your affiliations with the LGBT community--as a GSA member, a PFLAG parent, a Pop-Luck Club Dad, a participant in activities at the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center, a contributor to Equality California, a TransYouth family Allies member or any other–Hawks will be talking about your story.
The mission statement of the archives describes the importance of this work eloquently: “The ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives honors the past, celebrates the present, and enriches the future of all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. We foster acceptance of sexual and gender diversity by supporting education and research about our heritage and experience worldwide. ONE is dedicated to collecting, preserving, documenting, studying, and communicating our history, our challenges, and our aspirations.”
Joseph R. Hawkins is the perfect person to lead this enormous and vital endeavor. Having earned his doctoral degree in anthropology from USC in 1999, he has produced an enormous body of work on historical issues of discrimination and cross-cultural comparisons of same sex expression, political struggles and identity construction. In addition to a book (Queer Voices from Japan) and numerous articles, he has designed and taught more than 12 courses. His resume of professional activities, conference presentations, grants, and community service runs to more than seven pages.
Join us on April 21 to hear this engaging man speak about how our collective past can empower us in the present and lead to a future of equality.
March 17, 2010 / 7:30 p.m.
Healing Domestic Violence
— Dr. Joseph R. Hawkins describes how LGBT history shapes today’s challenge
Although they don’t have all the rights of marriage, LGBT relationships have all the stresses—and then some. In addition to the usual problems with money, in-laws, and children, gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender couples have many other issues to deal with. One partner may be in the closet at work or to members of his/her family. The couple may be ostracized by school, church, or professional organizations. Finances may be strained because of the inability of one partner to share the other’s health insurance or social security. Difficulties with adoption or surrogacy may make having children particularly stressful. With all these additional issues, it is not surprising that abuse can occur in some LGBT relationships.
LaDawn Best knows all about the pain domestic violence can cause in the LGBT community, intensified by the fact that mainstream domestic violence resources often discriminate against or are clueless about LGBT abuse survivors. She is the Client Advocate of the Domestic Violence Legal Advocacy Project (DVLAP) at the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center, a program that offers comprehensive legal services to LGBTQ survivors of domestic violence. Since January 2007, LaDawn has provided extensive case management for DVLAP legal clients including, restraining order preparation, case development and court accompaniment. She is also responsible for training domestic violence providers on LGBTQ sensitivity and same-gender domestic violence legal issues, and has provided trainings to advocates statewide.
She will be talking to PFLAG Los Angeles about how to recognize domestic violence in same-gender relationships, where to go for counseling and help, and what legal steps can be taken when relationships have irretrievably broken down and serious injury may or has occurred.
She has worked extensively with young people. Before coming to the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center, LaDawn was the Girls Leadership Coordinator for the young women of color reproductive justice program at REACH LA, a non-profit organization located in downtown Los Angeles. She has also served as a member of the community advisory board for Q-TEAM, a queer and trans youth of color multi-issue organizing collective and for the Los Angeles HIV youth coalition. She is the newly appointed co-chair of the Multicultural and Underserved Communities Committee of the Los Angeles City Domestic Violence Task Force. She is also a fellow of the California’s Women’s Policy Institute.
The time to prevent domestic violence is before it occurs. Come and hear LaDawn’s recommendations for effective action.
February 17, 2010 / 7:30 p.m.
All Gods Children
— Screening All God’s Children with Commentary by Co-producer Dr. Sylvia Rhue
Dr. Sylvia Rhue is a force of nature. Powerful, articulate, and passionate about civil rights, she has made it her life’s work to advocate for the rights of all people. A lesbian, she is intimately aware that the African American community, which has suffered so profoundly from slavery and injustice, plays a part in the suffering of LGBT persons.
She understands this sad contradiction personally, both from experience and study. Rhue was raised as a 7th Day Adventist and has been a gospel singer in choirs small and large, hearing homophobic remarks from the pulpit and off the cuff. After graduating from UCLA with a Masters Degree in Social Work, Rhue became the first African American to receive a Doctorate in Human Sexuality from the Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality in San Francisco.
Dr. Rhue co-produced the award winning documentary All God’s Children to communicate the human toll caused by the stigmatization of lesbians and gay men. Interwoven with music, the intricately layered stories unfold on the screen creating a tapestry with the theme of spiritual understanding. Respected religious and political leaders Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rev. James Forbes, Rev. Carol L. Murray, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Senator Carol Moseley-Braun, Mayor Ken Reeves, and Cornel West call for spiritual reconciliation and a commitment to equal rights and social justice for all people.
Dr. Rhue herself has worked tirelessly to bring that reconciliation about. She is currently the Director of Religious Affairs with the National Black Justice Coalition. Previously, she was employed as the California Freedom to Marry Coalition Manager, the Director of Equal Partners in Faith, and she worked with the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Rights. She also worked at the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center as the Assistant Director of Counseling, and then as the Policy and Public Affairs Advocate. A noted public speaker, documentarian, religious scholar, and writer, Dr. Rhue is an expert on the ex-gay movement, which she calls the “cult of annihilation of the authentic self.”
As PFLAG reaches out to families and communities of color, Dr. Rhue’s insights are of tremendous importance. Come and hear what she has to say about carrying the message to underserved communities.
Visit the National Black Justice Coalition
January 20, 2010 / 7:30 p.m.
Love Honor Cherish
- John Henning, attorney and long-time advocate for marriage equality
John Henning is co-founder of Love Honor Cherish which formed in May 2008 and is dedicated solely to the repeal of Prop 8 at the next general election in November 2010. They raised $500,000 for the No on 8 campaign and also mounted their own outreach and media efforts, with a strong focus on speaking the truth about marriage and developing a new generation of leadership on this issue.
As a long-time advocate for marriage equality, John co-produced and co-directed the award-winning film “Saving Marriage,” which tracks the three-year fight for marriage quality in Massachusetts. "Saving Marriage" won Best Documentary at the New York Gay & Lesbian Film Festival and was released in theaters by Regent Releasing/here!TV.
In 1999, long before the California Supreme Court ruled that gay couples had the right to marry, John authored and circulated a proposed constitutional amendment that would have made same-sex marriage legal in California. John is a land use attorney and has his own practice, specializing in land use and zoning issues. He attended law school at UC Berkeley.
A brief portion of “Saving Marriage” will be screened at this meeting. Following the film, a question and answer period facilitated by John promises to be quite enlightening.
Visit Love Honor Cherish: www.lovehonorcherish.org.