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Feedback: November 25

A letter to the editor asking for your help this holiday season as Helping Our Brothers and Sisters prepares to locate a grave site for Frank Kameny

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The following was submitted as a letter to the editor. Visit washingtonblade.com to join the discussion.

On behalf of Helping Our Brothers and Sisters, I would like to express our thanks to all who helped pay tribute to the life’s work of Franklin Edward Kameny. For many of us, this is the perfect time not simply to say our thanksgiving, but also to redouble our efforts to help achieve equality and to end discrimination.

Special thanks also must go to our Mayor Vincent Gray and the leadership of our D.C. Council members, especially David Catania and Jim Graham who paid personal tribute to Dr. Kameny at the Carnegie Library.

We also express thanks to the Members of Congress and public officials who eulogized him beautifully on Capitol Hill including Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, Reps. Barney Frank and Tammy Baldwin, and John Berry, director of OPM. We are grateful to Yale law professor Bill Eskridge for his moving tribute to Kameny.

Thus far, with the generosity of many friends, we have covered expenses for Kameny’s viewing at Carnegie Library and his essential funeral costs, too. To be clear, we are especially grateful to our mayor’s staff for taking care of most of these expenses associated with the public events and the generous use of the prestigious Carnegie Library atrium.

In addition, we have now paid the deposit on a fitting, public gravesite for Kameny at the historic Congressional Cemetery. Charles Francis and Rick Rosendall volunteered to help identify and secure the ideal site near the resting place of Leonard Matlovich as well as Barbara Gittings (who will one day be interred at Congressional with her partner, Kay Tobin Lahusen), but not too close to J. Edgar Hoover and Clyde Tolson.

To honor Frank Kameny’s distinguished military service in Europe during World War II, a U.S. Army grave marker has been ordered and will be supplied at our government’s expense. However, to further distinguish Frank’s legacy as civil rights hero, we will have a second grave footer emblazoned with his famous remark: “Gay is Good.” We anticipate a graveside service in early spring when the markers and the gravesite are made ready.

For all who wish to help raise the remaining $4,000 anticipated, you may make your tax-deductible contribution online at HelpingOurBrothersandSisters.org or simply mail a check to HOBS, P.O. Box 53477, Washington, D.C. 20009. You also may email us at [email protected] to make arrangements.

Any and all contributions raised beyond these expenses will go toward helping others who are at risk within the LGBT community. Wishing everyone a memorable Thanksgiving Holiday, and to never forget that “Gay is Good.” —Marvin Carter, president, HOBS

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Clarifying the record on Mexican homophobia case

Court judgment challenged as accusations of discrimination disputed

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(This is a response to a story published Jan. 18 by contributor Armando Ocampo Zambrano)

I brought to the attention of the Washington Blade that no court decision exists in the terms set out by Armando Ocampo Zambrano in the interview published in the Blade on Jan. 18, 2019. 

Ocampo untruthfully stated that “he became the first Mexican to win a lawsuit due to homophobia against one of the most powerful law firms in the country”; such statement as the result of a judgment issued on Sept. 5, 2018 by the High Chamber of the Federal Court of Administrative Justice, which Ocampo falsely brags as a judgement against Chevez Ruiz Zamarripa y Cía., S.C. (“Chevez”) condemning it for acts of discrimination.

The firm represents the interests of Chevez in the lawsuit that resulted from the complaint/legal action filed by Ocampo with the National Council to Prevent Discrimination alleging several facts that Ocampo claims happened on November 2015, in which he and partners of Chevez participated; Ocampo considered them to be discriminatory and therefore filed the complaint.

Council, by decision issued on Jan. 26, 2017, concluded that Chevez was not liable for discriminatory acts affecting Ocampo.   

Ocampo filed legal action for the annulment of Council’s decision of Jan. 26, 2017 with the Federal Court of Administrative Justice; this Court annulled Council’s decision ordering it to re-issue same considering certain evidence provided by the parties. 

Chevez and Ocampo, both, contested the judgment through Amparo lawsuits, to be decided by the Seventh Collegiate Tribunal for Administrative Matters of the First Circuit, which will decide on the validity and legality of the Judgment, which obviously as of today is not final and conclusive. 

The above statement by Ocampo in the interview is totally and absolutely false because of the following two reasons:

1. There is no court decision issued by any Mexican court/authority that concludes that Chevez was found guilty of acts of discrimination against Ocampo. 

2. The judgement has been challenged by Ocampo precisely because Chevez was not found liable for acts of discrimination against Ocampo.

Chevez also challenged the judgment considering that Council´s decision issued on Jan. 26, 2017 is correct and impeccable, not being legally correct that the High Chamber of the Federal Court of Administrative Justice annuls Council´s decision. 

Luis Alfonso Cervantes Muñiz is an attorney licensed in Mexico by the Escuela Libre de Derecho, and founding partner of Cervantes Sainz, S.C.

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Letters to the editor

Chase Brexton criticized; CAMP Rehoboth wins praise

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Speak Fire, gay news, Washington Blade

Speak Fire, AIDS Walk, gay news, Washington Blade

Chase Brexton Health Care (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Chase Brexton not an exemplary provider

Re: “Where is Chase Brexton growing?” (Op-ed by Nate Sweeney, Oct. 28)

I read Nate Sweeney’s op-ed with a mixture of anger and incredulity. Sweeney’s desperate appeal in defense of Chase Brexton conveniently glosses over a recent, well-documented pattern of irresponsible, unethical, and potentially illegal behavior at the beleaguered Baltimore institution that was once a beacon for the LGBTQ community.

“An exemplary LGBTQ provider and resource for our communities” does not fire five beloved staff members with outstanding service records (four of them openly gay, like Sweeney), as Chase Brexton did in August in a blatant attempt to retaliate against staff involved in organizing a labor union.

An exemplary LGBTQ provider does not deprive the community of hardworking, dedicated professionals who specialized in HIV/AIDS and LGBT care and were integral to the programs and services Sweeney boasts about.

An exemplary LGBTQ provider does not censor online commentary and ignore patient and community feedback, as Chase Brexton did when it took great pains to literally block out patients protesting outside the recent Charm Ball Fundraiser.

An exemplary LGBT organization doesn’t stifle employee voices, inform healthcare professionals they are only worth the number of patients they see, and disrespect its staff by hiring union busters to attempt to intimidate them into submission. Tell me Mr. Sweeney, what does your employee survey say now, after the despicable events of August of this year?

An exemplary LGBTQ organization isn’t captained by an arrogant, irresponsible board of directors that validates the status quo despite staff issuing a clear vote of no-confidence in the current CEO — a board that by all accounts demonstrates an astounding lack of basic LGBT literacy and has zero representation from transgender individuals.

No, Mr. Sweeney, these days Chase Brexton Health Care is far from an exemplary LGBTQ organization. Your words fall flat and can’t change the sad reality that an organization with deep roots in the gay community has been commandeered by myopic, vindictive “leadership” that values profit over patient care and has shown a callous indifference towards LGBTQ people, their health, and their history.  Marion Goldstein, Baltimore

Support CAMP Rehoboth

CAMP Rehoboth, gay news, Washington Blade

CAMP Rehoboth (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

I retired recently to Rehoboth Beach from Vermont and my transition was smooth, in large part, due to CAMP Rehoboth. Our Coastal Community is blessed with the good works, services, resources and multiple community programs provided by CAMP Rehoboth. For more than 25 years now CAMP Rehoboth has genuinely ‘Created A More Positive’ Rehoboth, with room for all. Please join me in showing our appreciation as a community in the coming winter months by attending one of the CAMP Rehoboth Chorus events. The CAMP Chorus truly is an asset in which Rehoboth, Sussex County and all of Delaware can take great pride.

Please mark your calendars: “Yule Love It,” Saturday, Dec. 10, 7 p.m. Epworth UMC $20. “Come Fly with Me!” Epworth UMC, $25 Friday, Jan. 27 at 7 p.m.; Jan. 28 at 7 p.m.; Jan. 29 at 3 p.m. And DelTech C.C. Georgetown $25, April 2 at 3 p.m. Tickets on sale in December at  HYPERLINK “http://www.camprehoboth.com” www.camprehoboth.com. —Herb Russell, Rehoboth Beach

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Beyer a longtime LGBT rights supporter

His ‘evolution’ consistent with many leading politicians

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Don Beyer, gay news, Washington Blade, Virginia

Don Beyer, gay news, Washington Blade, Virginia

Don Beyer (Photo public domain)

The following was submitted as a letter to the editor in response to “Beyer changed position on same-sex marriage” (news, March 19).

 

I was surprised to see the Blade single out Don Beyer as someone who has changed his position on gay marriage since 1997. Let’s be honest – a vast number of Americans have changed their position on gay marriage since 1997, and that is something that should be applauded, not criticized.

The truth is, like many of our friends and family, coworkers and neighbors, Don has evolved on this issue. In fact, Don evolved long before many of our current Democratic leaders. In 2003, Don endorsed Howard Dean’s presidential campaign in a primary in which Dean and no other candidate was in favor of gay marriage.

In 2006, when several Virginia Democrats joined Republicans in their crusade to ban gay marriage in the Commonwealth, Don personally contributed significantly to the effort opposing the Defense of Marriage Act referendum in Virginia. In doing so, he bucked many in his own party and even the majority of Virginia voters.  Don came to the conclusion that it was the right thing to do well before many others, including many in the Democratic Party.

When my partner and I decided to start our own family in 2002, Don and his wife were among the first of our friends, gay or straight, to offer to help us. They have been unwavering advocates in the community for our family, which now includes two children, and we believe Don’s experience and perspective will be critical to addressing the unique issues we face going forward.

President Obama, Vice President Biden, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton and nearly every Democratic elected official in Virginia has progressed on this issue, and ultimately, that’s what matters.

From prohibiting discrimination in housing, employment and elsewhere, to supporting the inclusion of sexual orientation-based crimes in hate crime statutes, Don has been a strong advocate for LGBT rights. To try to paint him as anything otherwise is disingenuous and misleading; it also does a disservice to the people of Virginia.

I realize that in a crowded Democratic primary field we look for points of differentiation among the candidates. This isn’t one of them. —Mark C. Lowham

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