Monthly Archives: May 2019

Conservative parents are engaged: are you?

Dangerous anti-LGBTQ rhetoric is in full swing, and we need to respond.

Less than two weeks following the California Department of Education’s passage of the new LGBTQ-inclusive Sexual Health Framework, a conservative, anti-LGBTQ organization is misleading and rallying parents against inclusive education, inciting protests and threatening educators and administrators.

Deliberate falsehoods have been circulated to stir up opposition to LGBTQ inclusion. Here are  the facts:

  • This newly inclusive Framework provides guidance and support, not mandates, for teachers and schools.
  • Every family has and continues to have the right to determine what their child learns about sex education.
  • One in ten California middle and high schoolers identifies as LGBTQ, and they deserve medically accurate, age-appropriate lessons every bit as much as their cisgender and heterosexually-identified peers.
  • When surveyed, 89% of California parents supported comprehensive sex ed in schools.
  • Teachers up and down the state have asked for these resources to help answer the hard questions and ensure every kid in their class feels seen and safe.  Help us support them!

Donate what you can today to enable OFC to do more of what we do so well: train schools how to approach LGBTQ-affirmative and inclusive education in ways that work–for every teacher, and every student.

Contact OFC’s Education Team to find plug in as a volunteer to support this critical advocacy–in our office, at your child’s school, or even from home.

Let’s not let this very vocal minority distort the issues and rob our kids of the balanced, inclusive education they deserve.

Harvey Milk Day: Ten Resources for Families

This Wednesday, May 22 is Harvey Milk Day, recognized in California as a “day of special significance” in public schools for the 10th year now. Whether or not your kid’s school has any lesson plans or hallway displays or community meeting recognitions of it, we’ve collected ten resources you could consider for your own family’s discussion of the day.

Most of the ten jumping-off points listed below provide links to yet more. Each child and each family is unique, so as you do with everything you introduce to your kids, by all means check out the book(s) first yourself, and give a thought to conversations you can have to provide depth and context.  (E.g., see the Educator’s Guide to The Harvey Milk Story below)


Background/ Wikipedia

  • Biography of Jose Julio Sarria, first openly gay candidate for elective office in the U.S. (San Francisco Supervisor, 1961) [Wikipedia]
  • Biography of Harvey Milk (first ran for SF Supervisor a dozen years later in 1973; won office in 1977 following redistricting to reflect neighborhoods) [Wikipedia]
  • A list of the first openly LGBTQ elective office-holders in the U.S. [Wikipedia]

Picture books, chapter books, and books for young readers

  • Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag, by Rob Sanders [2018, Penguin Random House]
  • The Harvey Milk Story, by Kari Krakow [2002, Two Lives Publishing]
    • Educator’s Guide to The Harvey Milk Story (written by Krakow) [PDF]
  • Gay & Lesbian History for Kids: The Century-Long Struggle for LGBT Rights, with 21 Activities, by Jerome Pohlen [2015, Chicago Review Press]

Young Adult books

  • Queer, There, and Everywhere: 23 People Who Changed the World, by Sarah Prager [2017, Harper Collins]
  • Hear Us Out! Lesbian and Gay Stories of Struggle, Progress, and Hope, 1950 to the Present, by Nancy Garden [2007, Farrar Stauss and Giroux]

Round-ups and Resource Lists

Are you ready to become OFC’s next Interim ED?

Dear community and families,

Earlier this week, I announced that I will be transitioning out of my role as Executive Director of Our Family Coalition at the end of June. And now I’m back to invite all of you all to spread the word about this unique opportunity to lead California’s premier LGBTQ family organization that I love so dearly. 

As noted by our Board co-chair Steve Disselhorst, “We are incredibly grateful for the dedication Renata has shown this organization, and we are already working to identify a stellar candidate who can fill her shoes and continue moving OFC forward.” 

I invite you to help Steve, the Board, and our team to identify OFC’s next leader! A transition like this provides the organization with a special opportunity to grow in new directions, and we want your vision to inform that.

Again, it has been an honor to work for and with LGBTQ families and our allies in California over the past seven years, and I look forward to onboarding a match made in heaven to lead OFC’s next chapter.  

Here is the link to the job description, which includes details on how to apply. Please feel free to share this opportunity with your networks, and contact the search committee with any leads or suggestions! 

Sincerely,

 

 

Renata Moreira
Executive Director

A letter of farewell and a new chapter begins

by Renata Moreira

Beloved community and friends,

After seven years working to advance equity for LGBTQ families and our allies in California, I will be transitioning out of my role as Executive Director of Our Family Coalition (OFC) at the end of June to devote some much-needed time to my own family. It has been a profound honor to serve our diverse community and to work alongside countless passionate changemakers, particularly at a time of such need. I’m tremendously proud of the work we have done and continue to do to ensure that all of our LGBTQ families are able to thrive and know they are supported.

My work as Executive Director coincided with Trump’s election. Fom day one, I have been so moved by the fierce community response. For every gut-punch to our democratic process and to decency, I’ve seen resilience and solidarity. Particularly for a family-driven agency like OFC, we have had to remain alert and responsive to near-daily attempts on the part of this Administration to roll back legal gains, or to isolate, separate, and persecute the most vulnerable among us. Yet at the same time, we to draw inspiration from our love of our families, and maintain the values of compassion and justice in our work. For our sake and theirs.

In the past three years, I’ve had the honor of leading OFC to numerous impressive accomplishments. I’m especially proud to highlight here:

  • our transformative work in in anti-bias education, where our trainings of 2,100 teachers and educators have gone on to impact thousands of California students;
  • the increase of our base of individual supporters participating and funding this life-affirming work at our Night Out galas;
  • our selection as the recipient of the 2018 José Julio Sarria History Makeraward from SF Pride, which honored OFC among Pride Marshals for our work leading the coalition to ensure that the FAIR Education Act is thoroughly implemented in the state;
  • the expansion and innovation of our programs our programs, producing over 250 playgroups, workshops, and community events impacting nearly 4,000 LGBTQ families and allies annually; and
  • our pioneering advocacy work in education, which rallied over a dozen organizations to do the deep, necessary, work to vet and provide concrete edits to the textbooks seeing to rectify the historical exclusion of LGBTQ people and our families in our history and social science curriculum. 

I hope you can take a minute to also celebrate the collective achievements with us. 

As the first immigrant and first person of color to lead Our Family Coalition, I’m also honored to have been named among Changemakers of the Year by The Bay Area Reporter in 2017, highlighting Bay Area leaders who positively impact the LGBTQ community in our great city and state. I will be transitioning out of OFC’s leadership with my heart filled with gratitude to have been able to work with so many of you to expanded our initiatives to better support the rich racial diversity of our community and hope to be co-creating again with you in the near future.  

Meanwhile, Our Family Coalition’s Board of Directors has begun the search for candidates for Interim Executive Director to lead OFC through the remainder of the calendar year, during which time a comprehensive, national search for OFC’s next Executive Director will take place. The position description is at tinyurl.com/OFC-IED-2019 (opens PDF); please do email the search committee (ied@ourfamily.org) if you know of the perfect person to pilot OFC during this exciting next chapter! Given the dedication and many years of service on the part of the Board and staff, I am confident the organization will be in very able hands as Our Family Coalition charts its path forward.

I will return to work toward equity and liberation soon, renewed by vital time with family. I also know I will continue supporting Our Family Coalition’s next chapter as a donor, as an engaged community member, as an advisor, and as a friend. I am deeply honored to have been a part of this organization, with all of you. 

Todo meu amor e luz,

Renata Moreira, Executive Director 

PS: Our Family Coalition’s Interim ED Job Announcement is fresh off the press [here; opens PDF]! We look forward to connecting with inspiring candidates. Much love & light to you and families.

Equality Act of 2019: Don’t believe the (negative) hype

The Equality Act will be voted on next week–May 13-18, 2019–let your elected representative know: it’s time for federal equality for all LGBTQ people.

As any quick Google search on “Equality Act” will show you, the right wing is working overtime to discredit this piece of historic legislation. It’s big for all of us, but utterly necessary–truly, life-changing– for those of us living in the over 30 states in which one can be legally denied employment, housing, public accommodations, you name it, simply based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Contrary to the negative hype (for examples, just check out this Advocate article), the Equality Act is not going to squash protections for anyone, or trigger a tsunami of lawsuits. In fact it will expand protections, and not only on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Want to learn more? Read on! Because below we’ve got Equality Act true facts in several formats. You may prefer simply the text of the bill itself. Or you could use an explainer video, or maybe an infographic. And for those who like their facts raw we’ve got those too, in a series of ten bullet points. Links at the bottom of the post show the sources for all the info.

And what to do, once you’ve answered your questions and are ready to act?

  • Confirm whether or not your congressional representative has signed on to the Equality Act. If they have, please call or write them to thank them, and let them know you will strongly support their “yes” vote next week. Find your Representative here. Then check the H.R.5 – Equality Act cosponsors list here.
  • Connect with friends and family whose representatives have not signed on, and encourage them to urge their representatives to get on the right side of history, while they still can–i.e. before their next re-election campaign!

We get it: with a majority of Senators in lock-step with a virulently anti-LGBTQ administration, we don’t expect the Act to be passed by the Senate or signed into law by the President. But passage in the House of Representatives, with a decisively strong majority, sends a powerful message to every 2020 presidential candidate: the time for unapologetic support of federal LGBTQ civil rights and protections is now.


THE BILL ITSELF: Just like the Equal Rights Amendment, the Equality Act consists of just a few, super-clear statements. Five, to be exact:

This bill prohibits discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity in areas including public accommodations and facilities, education, federal funding, employment, housing, credit, and the jury system. Specifically, the bill defines and includes sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity among the prohibited categories of discrimination or segregation.


The bill expands the definition of public accommodations to include places or establishments that provide (1) exhibitions, recreation, exercise, amusement, gatherings, or displays; (2) goods, services, or programs; and (3) transportation services.


The bill allows the Department of Justice to intervene in equal protection actions in federal court on account of sexual orientation or gender identity.


The bill prohibits an individual from being denied access to a shared facility, including a restroom, a locker room, and a dressing room, that is in accordance with the individual’s gender identity.

H.R.5 – Equality Act, 116th Congress (2019-2020)

EXPLAINER VIDEO: if you (or someone you’re looking to persuade) like your overview in a quickie animation-filled video, here’s a 3-minute ditty from HRC:


INFOGRAPHIC: if you like a good infographic, here’s a beaut from UCLA’s Williams Institute:

from The Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law: Impact of the Equality Act on LGBT People in the U.S., March, 2019.

FACTS & FIGURES: here are ten quick facts for your back pocket (or your purse! or both!):

  • 42% of LGB people report experiencing discrimination on the job because of who they are;
  • 78% of transgender people report experiencing discrimination on the job because of who they are;
  • only 21 states have laws explicitly banning discrimination based on sexual orientation; and
  • only 20 states have laws banning discrimination based on gender identity.

And, on the plus-side:

  • 164 businesses–representing $3.8 trillion in revenue, 8.7 million employees, and operations in 50 states, with headquarters in 27 states–have endorsed the Equality Act
  • 70% of Americans support LGBTQ anti-discrimination laws

The Equality Act would:

  • amend existing law, including: the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Fair Housing Act, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, and the Jury Selection and Service Act;
  • clarify that at the Religious Freedom Restoration Act cannot be used as a defense for discrimination on any basis;
  • apply to the same employers as the Civil Rights Act does–namely private and public-sector employers with 15 or more employees;
  • maintain exemptions that allow religious corporations, associations, educational institutions, and societies to hire only individuals of a particular religion to perform work connected with their religious activities, written in such a way as to assure reasonable people that religious protections are going to operate in the same way they always have.

For further reading and where we got our numbers:What the Equality Act Means for LGBTQ Americans,” by Trudy Ring at The Advocate, March 13, 2019; Wikipedia entry on Equality Act (United States), retrieved May 7, 2019; Public Religion Research Institute’s Fifty Years After Stonewall: Widespread Support for LGBT Issues – Findings from American Values Atlas 2018, by Daniel Greenberg et al., March 26, 2019; and UCLA School of Law’s Williams Institute: “LGBT People in the U.S. Not Protected by State Nondiscrimination Statues” (opens PDF), published March 2019 and updated April 2019.