Saturday, December 31, 2011

$34,315 and counting

Thank you! We have surpassed our year-end goal. Our current balance stands at $34,315. Is it possible to reach $35,000 by midnight, PST.

If you have already responded to our year-end challenge, thank you.

Your special year-end, tax-deductible gift is the foundation for our future. And, you'll receive the satisfaction of knowing that you are part of a corner of the world where - no matter what - LGBT people of all ages can always feel safe and at home.

Now, get ready for a wonderful New Year!

--Paula Pilecki, Executive Director
Spectrum LGBT Center

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Spectrum Year-End Gift Appeal UPDATE!

Spectrum LGBT Center’s 2011 Year-End Gift Challenge

Invest in YOUR LGBT Community Center!

Help us accomplish our year-end fundraising goal of
$30,000 by December 31st.

Total raised as of December 27: $21,799 and counting!
Now, more than ever, we need your support to help us continue our legacy of service and inclusion, awareness and action! Over 60% of Spectrum’s annual operating budget of $350,000 comes from individuals.

Your financial gift, no matter how small or big, will provide the foundation for our future. And, you’ll receive the satisfaction of knowing that you are part of our corner of the world where – no matter what – LGBT people of all ages can always feel safe and at home.

Spectrum provides community leadership in promoting acceptance, understanding, and full inclusion for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. Founded in 1982, we have touched the lives of over 250,000 people with a variety of education, outreach, and support programs and services.

Your Gift Will Directly Fund Our Major Programs and Services Which Include:

• Support for Youth and Seniors
• Counseling Services
• Discussion and Coming Out Groups
• Support for Parents and Families of LGBT People
• Training and Community Education
• Advocacy and Community Organizing
Make Your Pledge or Gift today by clicking on the thermometer.

Thank you for your support!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Historic speech at the UN: LGBT Rights are Human Rights

Remarks in Recognition of International Human Rights Day

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Palais des Nations
Geneva, Switzerland

December 6, 2011
Good evening, and let me express my deep honor and pleasure at being here. I want to thank Director General Tokayev and Ms. Wyden along with other ministers, ambassadors, excellencies, and UN partners. This weekend, we will celebrate Human Rights Day, the anniversary of one of the great accomplishments of the last century.

Beginning in 1947, delegates from six continents devoted themselves to drafting a declaration that would enshrine the fundamental rights and freedoms of people everywhere. In the aftermath of World War II, many nations pressed for a statement of this kind to help ensure that we would prevent future atrocities and protect the inherent humanity and dignity of all people. And so the delegates went to work. They discussed, they wrote, they revisited, revised, rewrote, for thousands of hours. And they incorporated suggestions and revisions from governments, organizations, and individuals around the world.

At three o'clock in the morning on December 10th, 1948, after nearly two years of drafting and one last long night of debate, the president of the UN General Assembly called for a vote on the final text. Forty-eight nations voted in favor; eight abstained; none dissented. And the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted. It proclaims a simple, powerful idea: All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. And with the declaration, it was made clear that rights are not conferred by government; they are the birthright of all people. It does not matter what country we live in, who our leaders are, or even who we are. Because we are human, we therefore have rights. And because we have rights, governments are bound to protect them.

In the 63 years since the declaration was adopted, many nations have made great progress in making human rights a human reality. Step by step, barriers that once prevented people from enjoying the full measure of liberty, the full experience of dignity, and the full benefits of humanity have fallen away. In many places, racist laws have been repealed, legal and social practices that relegated women to second-class status have been abolished, the ability of religious minorities to practice their faith freely has been secured.

In most cases, this progress was not easily won. People fought and organized and campaigned in public squares and private spaces to change not only laws, but hearts and minds. And thanks to that work of generations, for millions of individuals whose lives were once narrowed by injustice, they are now able to live more freely and to participate more fully in the political, economic, and social lives of their communities.

Now, there is still, as you all know, much more to be done to secure that commitment, that reality, and progress for all people. Today, I want to talk about the work we have left to do to protect one group of people whose human rights are still denied in too many parts of the world today. In many ways, they are an invisible minority. They are arrested, beaten, terrorized, even executed. Many are treated with contempt and violence by their fellow citizens while authorities empowered to protect them look the other way or, too often, even join in the abuse. They are denied opportunities to work and learn, driven from their homes and countries, and forced to suppress or deny who they are to protect themselves from harm.

I am talking about gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people, human beings born free and given bestowed equality and dignity, who have a right to claim that, which is now one of the remaining human rights challenges of our time. I speak about this subject knowing that my own country's record on human rights for gay people is far from perfect. Until 2003, it was still a crime in parts of our country. Many LGBT Americans have endured violence and harassment in their own lives, and for some, including many young people, bullying and exclusion are daily experiences. So we, like all nations, have more work to do to protect human rights at home.

Now, raising this issue, I know, is sensitive for many people and that the obstacles standing in the way of protecting the human rights of LGBT people rest on deeply held personal, political, cultural, and religious beliefs. So I come here before you with respect, understanding, and humility. Even though progress on this front is not easy, we cannot delay acting. So in that spirit, I want to talk about the difficult and important issues we must address together to reach a global consensus that recognizes the human rights of LGBT citizens everywhere.

The first issue goes to the heart of the matter. Some have suggested that gay rights and human rights are separate and distinct; but, in fact, they are one and the same. Now, of course, 60 years ago, the governments that drafted and passed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights were not thinking about how it applied to the LGBT community. They also weren’t thinking about how it applied to indigenous people or children or people with disabilities or other marginalized groups. Yet in the past 60 years, we have come to recognize that members of these groups are entitled to the full measure of dignity and rights, because, like all people, they share a common humanity.

This recognition did not occur all at once. It evolved over time. And as it did, we understood that we were honoring rights that people always had, rather than creating new or special rights for them. Like being a woman, like being a racial, religious, tribal, or ethnic minority, being LGBT does not make you less human. And that is why gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights.

It is violation of human rights when people are beaten or killed because of their sexual orientation, or because they do not conform to cultural norms about how men and women should look or behave. It is a violation of human rights when governments declare it illegal to be gay, or allow those who harm gay people to go unpunished. It is a violation of human rights when lesbian or transgendered women are subjected to so-called corrective rape, or forcibly subjected to hormone treatments, or when people are murdered after public calls for violence toward gays, or when they are forced to flee their nations and seek asylum in other lands to save their lives. And it is a violation of human rights when life-saving care is withheld from people because they are gay, or equal access to justice is denied to people because they are gay, or public spaces are out of bounds to people because they are gay. No matter what we look like, where we come from, or who we are, we are all equally entitled to our human rights and dignity.

The second issue is a question of whether homosexuality arises from a particular part of the world. Some seem to believe it is a Western phenomenon, and therefore people outside the West have grounds to reject it. Well, in reality, gay people are born into and belong to every society in the world. They are all ages, all races, all faiths; they are doctors and teachers, farmers and bankers, soldiers and athletes; and whether we know it, or whether we acknowledge it, they are our family, our friends, and our neighbors.

Being gay is not a Western invention; it is a human reality. And protecting the human rights of all people, gay or straight, is not something that only Western governments do. South Africa’s constitution, written in the aftermath of Apartheid, protects the equality of all citizens, including gay people. In Colombia and Argentina, the rights of gays are also legally protected. In Nepal, the supreme court has ruled that equal rights apply to LGBT citizens. The Government of Mongolia has committed to pursue new legislation that will tackle anti-gay discrimination.

Now, some worry that protecting the human rights of the LGBT community is a luxury that only wealthy nations can afford. But in fact, in all countries, there are costs to not protecting these rights, in both gay and straight lives lost to disease and violence, and the silencing of voices and views that would strengthen communities, in ideas never pursued by entrepreneurs who happen to be gay. Costs are incurred whenever any group is treated as lesser or the other, whether they are women, racial, or religious minorities, or the LGBT. Former President Mogae of Botswana pointed out recently that for as long as LGBT people are kept in the shadows, there cannot be an effective public health program to tackle HIV and AIDS. Well, that holds true for other challenges as well.

The third, and perhaps most challenging, issue arises when people cite religious or cultural values as a reason to violate or not to protect the human rights of LGBT citizens. This is not unlike the justification offered for violent practices towards women like honor killings, widow burning, or female genital mutilation. Some people still defend those practices as part of a cultural tradition. But violence toward women isn't cultural; it's criminal. Likewise with slavery, what was once justified as sanctioned by God is now properly reviled as an unconscionable violation of human rights.

In each of these cases, we came to learn that no practice or tradition trumps the human rights that belong to all of us. And this holds true for inflicting violence on LGBT people, criminalizing their status or behavior, expelling them from their families and communities, or tacitly or explicitly accepting their killing.

Of course, it bears noting that rarely are cultural and religious traditions and teachings actually in conflict with the protection of human rights. Indeed, our religion and our culture are sources of compassion and inspiration toward our fellow human beings. It was not only those who’ve justified slavery who leaned on religion, it was also those who sought to abolish it. And let us keep in mind that our commitments to protect the freedom of religion and to defend the dignity of LGBT people emanate from a common source. For many of us, religious belief and practice is a vital source of meaning and identity, and fundamental to who we are as people. And likewise, for most of us, the bonds of love and family that we forge are also vital sources of meaning and identity. And caring for others is an expression of what it means to be fully human. It is because the human experience is universal that human rights are universal and cut across all religions and cultures.

The fourth issue is what history teaches us about how we make progress towards rights for all. Progress starts with honest discussion. Now, there are some who say and believe that all gay people are pedophiles, that homosexuality is a disease that can be caught or cured, or that gays recruit others to become gay. Well, these notions are simply not true. They are also unlikely to disappear if those who promote or accept them are dismissed out of hand rather than invited to share their fears and concerns. No one has ever abandoned a belief because he was forced to do so.

Universal human rights include freedom of expression and freedom of belief, even if our words or beliefs denigrate the humanity of others. Yet, while we are each free to believe whatever we choose, we cannot do whatever we choose, not in a world where we protect the human rights of all.

Reaching understanding of these issues takes more than speech. It does take a conversation. In fact, it takes a constellation of conversations in places big and small. And it takes a willingness to see stark differences in belief as a reason to begin the conversation, not to avoid it.

But progress comes from changes in laws. In many places, including my own country, legal protections have preceded, not followed, broader recognition of rights. Laws have a teaching effect. Laws that discriminate validate other kinds of discrimination. Laws that require equal protections reinforce the moral imperative of equality. And practically speaking, it is often the case that laws must change before fears about change dissipate.

Many in my country thought that President Truman was making a grave error when he ordered the racial desegregation of our military. They argued that it would undermine unit cohesion. And it wasn't until he went ahead and did it that we saw how it strengthened our social fabric in ways even the supporters of the policy could not foresee. Likewise, some worried in my country that the repeal of “Don't Ask, Don’t Tell” would have a negative effect on our armed forces. Now, the Marine Corps Commandant, who was one of the strongest voices against the repeal, says that his concerns were unfounded and that the Marines have embraced the change.

Finally, progress comes from being willing to walk a mile in someone else's shoes. We need to ask ourselves, "How would it feel if it were a crime to love the person I love? How would it feel to be discriminated against for something about myself that I cannot change?" This challenge applies to all of us as we reflect upon deeply held beliefs, as we work to embrace tolerance and respect for the dignity of all persons, and as we engage humbly with those with whom we disagree in the hope of creating greater understanding.

A fifth and final question is how we do our part to bring the world to embrace human rights for all people including LGBT people. Yes, LGBT people must help lead this effort, as so many of you are. Their knowledge and experiences are invaluable and their courage inspirational. We know the names of brave LGBT activists who have literally given their lives for this cause, and there are many more whose names we will never know. But often those who are denied rights are least empowered to bring about the changes they seek. Acting alone, minorities can never achieve the majorities necessary for political change.

So when any part of humanity is sidelined, the rest of us cannot sit on the sidelines. Every time a barrier to progress has fallen, it has taken a cooperative effort from those on both sides of the barrier. In the fight for women’s rights, the support of men remains crucial. The fight for racial equality has relied on contributions from people of all races. Combating Islamaphobia or anti-Semitism is a task for people of all faiths. And the same is true with this struggle for equality.

Conversely, when we see denials and abuses of human rights and fail to act, that sends the message to those deniers and abusers that they won’t suffer any consequences for their actions, and so they carry on. But when we do act, we send a powerful moral message. Right here in Geneva, the international community acted this year to strengthen a global consensus around the human rights of LGBT people. At the Human Rights Council in March, 85 countries from all regions supported a statement calling for an end to criminalization and violence against people because of their sexual orientation and gender identity.

At the following session of the Council in June, South Africa took the lead on a resolution about violence against LGBT people. The delegation from South Africa spoke eloquently about their own experience and struggle for human equality and its indivisibility. When the measure passed, it became the first-ever UN resolution recognizing the human rights of gay people worldwide. In the Organization of American States this year, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights created a unit on the rights of LGBT people, a step toward what we hope will be the creation of a special rapporteur.

Now, we must go further and work here and in every region of the world to galvanize more support for the human rights of the LGBT community. To the leaders of those countries where people are jailed, beaten, or executed for being gay, I ask you to consider this: Leadership, by definition, means being out in front of your people when it is called for. It means standing up for the dignity of all your citizens and persuading your people to do the same. It also means ensuring that all citizens are treated as equals under your laws, because let me be clear – I am not saying that gay people can’t or don’t commit crimes. They can and they do, just like straight people. And when they do, they should be held accountable, but it should never be a crime to be gay.

And to people of all nations, I say supporting human rights is your responsibility too. The lives of gay people are shaped not only by laws, but by the treatment they receive every day from their families, from their neighbors. Eleanor Roosevelt, who did so much to advance human rights worldwide, said that these rights begin in the small places close to home – the streets where people live, the schools they attend, the factories, farms, and offices where they work. These places are your domain. The actions you take, the ideals that you advocate, can determine whether human rights flourish where you are.

And finally, to LGBT men and women worldwide, let me say this: Wherever you live and whatever the circumstances of your life, whether you are connected to a network of support or feel isolated and vulnerable, please know that you are not alone. People around the globe are working hard to support you and to bring an end to the injustices and dangers you face. That is certainly true for my country. And you have an ally in the United States of America and you have millions of friends among the American people.

The Obama Administration defends the human rights of LGBT people as part of our comprehensive human rights policy and as a priority of our foreign policy. In our embassies, our diplomats are raising concerns about specific cases and laws, and working with a range of partners to strengthen human rights protections for all. In Washington, we have created a task force at the State Department to support and coordinate this work. And in the coming months, we will provide every embassy with a toolkit to help improve their efforts. And we have created a program that offers emergency support to defenders of human rights for LGBT people.

This morning, back in Washington, President Obama put into place the first U.S. Government strategy dedicated to combating human rights abuses against LGBT persons abroad. Building on efforts already underway at the State Department and across the government, the President has directed all U.S. Government agencies engaged overseas to combat the criminalization of LGBT status and conduct, to enhance efforts to protect vulnerable LGBT refugees and asylum seekers, to ensure that our foreign assistance promotes the protection of LGBT rights, to enlist international organizations in the fight against discrimination, and to respond swiftly to abuses against LGBT persons.

I am also pleased to announce that we are launching a new Global Equality Fund that will support the work of civil society organizations working on these issues around the world. This fund will help them record facts so they can target their advocacy, learn how to use the law as a tool, manage their budgets, train their staffs, and forge partnerships with women’s organizations and other human rights groups. We have committed more than $3 million to start this fund, and we have hope that others will join us in supporting it.

The women and men who advocate for human rights for the LGBT community in hostile places, some of whom are here today with us, are brave and dedicated, and deserve all the help we can give them. We know the road ahead will not be easy. A great deal of work lies before us. But many of us have seen firsthand how quickly change can come. In our lifetimes, attitudes toward gay people in many places have been transformed. Many people, including myself, have experienced a deepening of our own convictions on this topic over the years, as we have devoted more thought to it, engaged in dialogues and debates, and established personal and professional relationships with people who are gay.

This evolution is evident in many places. To highlight one example, the Delhi High Court decriminalized homosexuality in India two years ago, writing, and I quote, “If there is one tenet that can be said to be an underlying theme of the Indian constitution, it is inclusiveness.” There is little doubt in my mind that support for LGBT human rights will continue to climb. Because for many young people, this is simple: All people deserve to be treated with dignity and have their human rights respected, no matter who they are or whom they love.

There is a phrase that people in the United States invoke when urging others to support human rights: “Be on the right side of history.” The story of the United States is the story of a nation that has repeatedly grappled with intolerance and inequality. We fought a brutal civil war over slavery. People from coast to coast joined in campaigns to recognize the rights of women, indigenous peoples, racial minorities, children, people with disabilities, immigrants, workers, and on and on. And the march toward equality and justice has continued. Those who advocate for expanding the circle of human rights were and are on the right side of history, and history honors them. Those who tried to constrict human rights were wrong, and history reflects that as well.

I know that the thoughts I’ve shared today involve questions on which opinions are still evolving. As it has happened so many times before, opinion will converge once again with the truth, the immutable truth, that all persons are created free and equal in dignity and rights. We are called once more to make real the words of the Universal Declaration. Let us answer that call. Let us be on the right side of history, for our people, our nations, and future generations, whose lives will be shaped by the work we do today. I come before you with great hope and confidence that no matter how long the road ahead, we will travel it successfully together. Thank you very much. (Applause.)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


The insightful documentary, GEN SILENT, will be screened on Friday, December 2nd, 6:30 pm at Vintage House, 264 First Street East, Sonoma.

GEN SILENT is a powerful documentary that shines a light on the difficulties faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people as they grow older.

The fact of the matter is, many LGBT people who fought the first battles for equality are now facing the fear of being bullied, physically abused, and discriminated against by a system of care that is ill-prepared to accept them. In the face of this, LGBT older adults are hiding, living alone, and isolated from their community.

GEN SILENT is both a sad and joyful tribute to survival, and an eye-opening film.

Suggested donation: $5 at the door, though all are welcome and no one will be turned away. Following the film, there will be a facilitated discussion with the audience.

Sponsored by Vintage House, Sonoma Homecare, and Spectrum LGBT Center

For more information, call Gary Shepard at 707-583-2330 (24 hour voice message that is checked regularly).

Are you 55 years of age or older? Read this.

ATTENTION MARIN RESIDENTS: If you are 55 years or older, OR an adult family member, neighbor, or friend who provides unpaid help to an older adult or someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia, this survey is for you. For the first time, the survey provides an opportunity for LGBT people to be counted. Let's make sure our voices are included in this survey!


If you can't take the survey online, send an email and we'll send you a paper version. Thanks!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Bump in the Road for Marriage Equality - by Ruth Dell

In 2008,  California voters enacted Prop 8,  which banned state recognition of same sex marriages through an amendment  to the state’s constitution.   The American Foundation for Equal Rights subsequently filed a lawsuit ,  Perry v. Schwarzenegger,   which asserted that Prop 8 was unconstitutional,  and that banning  marriage equality violated the Fourteenth Amendment of the  U.S. Constitution,  which requires the equal protection of the law.   Our then governor,  Arnold Schwarzenegger,  and our then attorney general,  now governor,  Jerry Brown,   opposed Prop 8, and refused to defend the case on behalf of the state.  The case proceeded with the anti-gay-marriage group that sponsored  Prop 8,  ProtectMarriage,  representing the state to defend Prop 8.

Judge Vaughn Walker,  who heard the case in federal  court,  ruled in 2010 that Prop 8 violated the U.S. Constitution,  and that same sex couples had a constitutional right to marry.   The case then went up on appeal to the Ninth Circuit.   The Ninth Circuit then asked the California Supreme Court the following question -  do proponents of ballot initiatives have the authority to represent the state when the state’s public officials decline to do so?   If the CA Supreme Court had ruled that ProtectMarriage did not have standing,  or the right to appeal the district court decision, Judge Walker’s decision would have stood,  as no party would have the right to appeal it. 
This is not what happened. 

Instead, on November 17,  2011,  the CA Supreme Court unanimously decided that proponents of ballot initiatives have the authority to represent  the state of California when the state’s public officials decline to do so.  The court ruled that ProtectMarriage has the right to defend the constitutionality of Prop 8  and to appeal a judgment invalidating it.   Proponents of marriage equality were disappointed in the ruling.  Shannon Minter of the National Center for Lesbian Rights called the CA  Supreme Court’s decision “terrible” and “dangerous”,  and that it gave “initiative proponents unprecedented and virtually unlimited  power…”

Since the Ninth Circuit asked the CA Supreme Court for its opinion on the standing question, it  is most likely that it will accept this ruling of the CA Supreme Court,  and thus the Ninth Circuit will proceed to decide the constitutionality of Prop 8 on its merits.   The Ninth Circuit is a progressive court, and advocates of marriage equality are hopeful that the court will rule in favor of the freedom to marry.   Both sides generally agree that whichever way the Ninth Circuit rules,  there is a strong likelihood that the U.S. Supreme Court will eventually hear the case.
Ruth Dell volunteers for a number of non-profit organizations. She is Spectrum's Marriage Equality Correspondent.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

White House Inaugurates LGBT Update

The White House

(Reposted from an email received today)

Good morning,

Welcome to the inaugural edition of the White House LGBT Update, where you'll hear from the White House Office of Public Engagement on President Obama’s continued commitment to progress for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community.

We need your help to get the word out! Please encourage your friends and family to sign up for updates and don’t hesitate to drop us a line with your comments, suggestions, and ideas.

All the best,

Gautam Raghavan
Office of Public Engagement
The White House

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

FAIR Act opponents fail to meet signature requirement

FAIR Act unchallenged - for now
By Ruth Dell

In July 2011, Governor Jerry Brown signed the FAIR (Fair, Accurate, Inclusive, and Respectful) Act, which requires that students learn about the contributions of LGBT people and people with disabilities in social science instruction.

Opponents of the LGBT community immediately went to work opposing the FAIR Act, and vowed to gather enough signatures to qualify for a June 2012 initiative to vote on whether the FAIR Act should be repealed.

Today, the coalition fighting the FAIR Act announced that it did not have the 504,760 signatures required to get on the ballot.

While this is good news, we have no reason to assume our opponents will not fight us again. In fact, the leading organization against marriage equality, the National Organization for Marriage, announced that it was raising money for the November 2012 ballot. The Traditional Values Coalition, a virulent anti-gay group, led the fight in Sacramento opposing the FAIR Act, and shows no sign of backing down.

The FAIR Act, while not widely known, is incredibly important. As writer Adam Bink wrote, “It’s not just about history. It’s about role models. Looking up to Billie Jean King, or Walt Whitman..and finding out they were lesbian or gay means something to a child, including a potential bully…”

California is the first state to specifically include the contributions of LGBT people in public school materials, and that is a victory worth defending.

Ruth Dell is a retired attorney who volunteers for a number of organizations, including Spectrum.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Napa LGBTQ Community Forum, October 11th

Napa LGBTQ Community Forum
Tuesday evening, October 11, 2011, 6:30 - 8:30 PM
McPherson Elem. School’s Multiuse Room

2670 Yajome Street, Napa


We need your voice! For the first time ever, LGBTQ people (and straight allies) from across ages, races, identities and the length of the Napa Valley will gather together for an important conversation and sharing of our experiences of living as LGBTQ in the Napa Valley--that will ultimately guide the direction of our work in support of our Valley's LGBTQ people. Have thoughts or ideas on what Napa is doing well or could to improve the safety and well being for LGBTQ people? Who will make sure your voice is included if not you?

Bringing together lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning people & straight allies:

Across ages, races & identities, from all nooks & crannies of the Napa Valley answer the question, How do we create a healthier Napa Valley that is more inclusive, welcoming & safer for all of us?
For more info, please contact Ian Stanley, Program Director: 707-251-9432 or
To learn more about the Napa County LGBTQ PEI Project, visit our website.
Safe Space & Hate Free Zone: Please attend even if you’re not “out”. All our voices are needed!
Co-sponsored by On The Move and Spectrum LGBT Center of the North Bay with funding from the Napa County Mental Health Division's Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) Prevention and Early Intervention (PEI) Component.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Statement by the President on the Repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell


Office of the Press Secretary


September 20, 2011

Today, the discriminatory law known as ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ is finally and formally repealed. As of today, patriotic Americans in uniform will no longer have to lie about who they are in order to serve the country they love. As of today, our armed forces will no longer lose the extraordinary skills and combat experience of so many gay and lesbian service members. And today, as Commander in Chief, I want those who were discharged under this law to know that your country deeply values your service.

I was proud to sign the Repeal Act into law last December because I knew that it would enhance our national security, increase our military readiness, and bring us closer to the principles of equality and fairness that define us as Americans. Today’s achievement is a tribute to all the patriots who fought and marched for change; to Members of Congress, from both parties, who voted for repeal; to our civilian and military leaders who ensured a smooth transition; and to the professionalism of our men and women in uniform who showed that they were ready to move forward together, as one team, to meet the missions we ask of them.

For more than two centuries, we have worked to extend America’s promise to all our citizens. Our armed forces have been both a mirror and a catalyst of that progress, and our troops, including gays and lesbians, have given their lives to defend the freedoms and liberties that we cherish as Americans. Today, every American can be proud that we have taken another great step toward keeping our military the finest in the world and toward fulfilling our nation’s founding ideals.

Monday, September 19, 2011

LGBT Meet-Up at Max's Every Sunday, 6-9 PM

The staff at Max's of Corte Madera is warmly reaching out to LGBT people and our community of friends with a weekly "happy hour".

They have a lovely cocktail lounge which is separate from their main dining room. It will be a great venue to listen to the David's ensemble, The Rainbows and Rockets Band, shmooze with locals and enjoy Max's delicious deli foods and drinks.

Max’s Deli Presents:

Meet Me @ Max’s!
60 Madera Blvd., Corte Madera, right off the 101.

Welcoming the LGBT community and friends
Every Sunday 6-9pm
Live music by The Rainbows & Rockets Band

Max’s will contribute 5% of sales to Marin AIDS Project & Spectrum LGBT Center.

See you there!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Kevin Meaney and Sue Murphy at the JCC, 9/17

Saturday Night A-list Stand-up Comedy in Marin with
Kevin Meaney & Sue Murphy >>>The Dating Game

Presented by The Osher Marin JCC & The Other Café Comedy Showcase
Saturday, Sept 17 @ 8pm
SPECTRUM E-LIST MEMBERS: USE THE DISCOUNT CODE:” bigpants” when secure your ADVANCE tickets and receive the members’ discount when purchasing tickets
Two headliners in one night
This showcase brings two San Francisco A-List Comedy minds back to the Bay Area for One Night only. Plus a hilarious comedy club version of The Dating Game, hosted by Kevin and Sue
For those familiar with the SF comedy scene you know these two comedians are among the most beloved comedic minds in SF comedy history. If you have never seen them work, don’t miss this rare chance and if you have – you know that no two shows are ever the same with these two.
Since leaving SF, KEVIN has been one of the country's most popular standup comedians and has headlined clubs and theaters throughout the country, starred in the CBS sitcom Uncle Buck, and on Broadway in Hairspray.
SUE has won 2 Emmys for her work writing and producing the Ellen Degeneres Show and has performed on numerous national television shows including her own half-hour special Comedy Central Presents Sue Murphy, and is currently the Co-Executive Producer on the hit nightly show on E! Network Chelsea Lately.  Both artists have made numerous appearances on David Letterman and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
Limited RESERVED table seating available
Advance: $30 OMJCC/Other Café Members* / $35 public
Day of:  $40
GENERAL admission
Advance: $20 OMJCC/Other Café Members/ $25 public
Day of: $30

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Gays Struggling to Connect in Marin: A Response

Thanks to Paul Liberatore for shining a light on the LGBT community in Marin. Spectrum LGBT Center has been in Marin since 1982, providing programs and services for, and on behalf of, the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community in the North Bay.

Throughout my 13 years as executive director, I’ve heard many LGBT people lament that they cannot find other gay people in Marin. I believe that many LGBT people living in Marin actually LIKE the fact that there is no gay ‘scene’. They have escaped gay culture and are quietly living among their straight neighbors, raising families and hosting backyard barbeques. Older LGBT people in their 70s and 80s often tend to be less open about who they are, much like their peers throughout the U.S. This tendency, by the way, puts older LGBT people at great risk for isolation and depression.

A sort of assimilation occurs in Marin County, not because it is such an open and accepting place for LGBT people, but because some LGBT people are reluctant to be completely out and visible here. Why?

I offer this observation: It’s not cool to be blatantly gay here in Marin. A standard of conformity compels some to remove the rainbow bumper stickers from the cars, and keep the gay flag inside the house. Marin, after all, is a well-heeled county. We can’t have our glitter falling just anywhere. We’ve learned how to pass.

We like to think of Marin as being progressive, fair-minded, and accepting of all people. But consider this: In 2008, 25% of Marin voters rejected gay marriage. The idea of incorporating gay people into middle and high school history lessons infuriates many in this county, and not just because it is now required by law. Many assisted living facilities in Marin prevent same-sex couples from occupying the same room, giving preference to married heterosexual couples. And, while there are a number of congregations that welcome LGBT people and families, Marin’s faith communities are divided on this issue. (A little-known fact: for nearly 40 years, San Rafael has been home to a prominent founder of the ex-gay movement, who advertises his ministry as ‘finding freedom from homosexuality’).

Spectrum has long been involved with educating the community about acceptance, understanding, and full inclusion for LGBT people. We are making every effort to open doors among traditional communities to start dialog and raise awareness. It’s not always easy, but there have been positive shifts within our schools and community institutions since our founding in 1982.

Here’s the good news: there are, in fact, a number of events that occur on a regular basis for the LGBT community. Spectrum keeps our website calendar updated with all that we know about at If you are one of those gays struggling to find your community in Marin, don’t expect to bump in to it on the street. You’re going to have to get out and find it. And, if you are willing to be out like Vincent and Douglass, give me a call. We need you to help us create the community you’re hoping to find.

Paula Pilecki, Executive Director
Spectrum LGBT Center
(415) 472-1945, ext. 209


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Spectrum LGBT Center Brings GEN SILENT to Marin County in September

Spectrum LGBT Center's SEEN THROUGH FILM Project is bringing GEN SILENT to Marin County on Thursday, September 8th

This important new documentary by filmmaker Stu Maddux highlights the challenges facing aging lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.

TWO SCREENINGS:Both are free and open to the public

Thursday, September 8, 10:00 am – 11:00 am
Margaret Todd Senior Center
1560 Hill Road, Novato
Co-sponsored by the Marin County Division of Aging and Adult Services
A short version of the film, followed by discussion, during the regular meeting of the Marin County Commission on Aging.

Thursday, September 8, 7:15 pm – 9:00 pm
The Redwoods - A Community of Seniors
40 Camino Alto, Mill Valley
Featuring the full-length film with discussion.

SPECIAL GUEST AT BOTH EVENTS: Award-winning director and filmmaker, Stu Maddux

RSVP requested to
(415) 472-1945 x209
Please state which date(s) you will attend.

GEN SILENT is a new documentary from award-winning director, documentary film¬maker, and Marin County resident, Stu Maddux. What would you do if you were old, disabled or ill ‐and the person feeding you put down the spoon and explained that you are going to hell unless you change your sexual orientation? Sound absurd? According to social workers, it’s happening every day.

This hour-long film explores the challenges facing lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender older adults who must depend on a system of care that is reluctant to recognize their needs. As we witness the challenges that these men and women face, we also see hope as each subject crosses paths with an impassioned professional trying in their own way to change an entire care industry.

For more information about the film, visit the GEN SILENT website.

Spectrum LGBT Center’s Seen Through Film Project builds community among, and raises awareness about the real lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. Support for this project is provided by a grant from Marin Community Foundation, with additional funding from PG&E Corporation. For more information, visit Spectrum’s website at

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

"History Should Be Honest" - The FAIR Act

History Repeats Itself with The FAIR Act by Ruth Dell

On July 13, 2011, Governor Jerry Brown signed the FAIR (Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful) Education Act, authored by our state senator, Mark Leno. The law provides that the historical contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and disabled individuals be accurately and fairly portrayed in public school instructional materials. LGBT and disabled people are being added to an existing list of underrepresented cultural and ethnic groups that California already requires to be recognized in instructional materials, including Native Americans, Mexican Americans, African Americans and Asian Americans. In his signing statement, Governor Brown said, “History should be honest.”

In 1966, California conservatives were outraged when our state board of education adopted a new junior high school textbook. They claimed that the book’s inclusion of a discussion of the civil rights movement and an expanded section on important African Americans would indoctrinate students undermine religious values, and politicize the curriculum. Now, of course, it is commonplace and non-controversial in California for schools to recognize the contributions of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other African Americans and to celebrate Black History Month.

Sadly, on July 15, 2011, the Capitol Resource Institute (CRI), a Sacramento-based right-wing organization that has long opposed gay rights, announced its intention to start a voter referendum to repeal the bill. Whether or not CRI can garner the 500,000 signatures required for the ballot remains to be seen. But the institute is acting within a dangerous tradition that seeks to promote to schoolchildren a vision of America that is both inaccurate and harmful.

The arguments for excluding LGBT history simply do not withstand scrutiny. The Traditional Values Coalition stated that the FAIR Act will be a “pro homosexual promotion tool” and be used to “indoctrinate children.” Teaching history, of course, is not indoctrination. How does studying the life and accomplishments of San Francisco politician Harvey Milk constitute indoctrination? How would learning that Aaron Copland, composer of such American classics as “Appalachian Spring” and “Rodeo” is gay, indoctrinate students? There is no reason for students not to learn about the Proposition 8 case, which addresses the constitutionality of prohibiting gay marriage and is currently on appeal in the 9th Circuit.

In contrast to the unpersuasive arguments against the FAIR Act, there are compelling reasons to support it. Inclusive history lessons may lead to safer outcomes for students. Our state and country has tragically seen an upsurge in the number of bullied LGBT teens who have committed suicide. Hopefully, a complete teaching of history can help these students feel a greater part of their schools and communities. Shannon Minter, legal director at the National Center for Lesbian Rights, stated that the FAIR Act “is about breaking a very damaging cycle of silence and stigma… for the first time, we will have a generation of LGBT youth who are growing up seeing themselves reflected and included in public institutions.”

Opposition to acknowledging LGBT rights in instructional materials rarely stands alone as an issue; it is usually linked to an extreme right wing agenda. Texas exemplifies this. In 2010, Texas adopted the following social studies standards: Jefferson Davis (president of the Confederacy) deserves equal billing as President Abraham Lincoln; the National Rifle Association deserves praise for upholding the U.S. Constitution (no discussion of a contrary view of the Second Amendment), all references to President Obama should include his middle name, Hussein. The guidelines took out references to Thurgood Marshall (the first African American U.S. Supreme Court Justice) and Cesar Chavez (Hispanic farm worker and community leader) - this in a state where the majority of students are of color. The guidelines were primarily written by a dentist, and derided by conservative and liberal historians alike. Texas guidelines for health are also historically inaccurate - Texas is required to teach that marriage is only between a man and a woman; this in a country where six states and Washington, D.C. recognize marriage equality.

Californians should be proud that we are the first in the nation to specifically include the contributions of LGBT people in public school materials. We were also one of the first states, in 1948, to recognize that people of different races had the right to marry one another. The U.S. Supreme Court did not reach this conclusion until 1967; today, one in fifteen married people in this country is married to someone of a different race. Someday, hopefully soon, the inclusion of LGBT history will be the standard everywhere and seen for what it is - acknowledging ALL the people that contribute to our great nation, gay and straight.

Ruth Dell (pictured) is a retired attorney who volunteers for Spectrum and other nonprofit organizations.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Marin Youth Photovoice Campaign

The Youth Leadership Institute is now seeking high-school age youth
participants for a summer-long project using photography to build
awareness of current social justice issues. This is a special invitation to encourage LGBTQQ*-identified youth to participate!

Orientation and Kick-Off Meeting Tuesday, May 24, 4 - 8 PM; dinner provided. San Rafael location (call for address).

To sign up or get more info, contact Kristen Law, MA, or (415) 836-9160, ext. 225.

Meeting a few hours every other week throughout the summer, Photovoice Campaign participants will:

*Advocate for social justice and accepting school environments by photographing and documenting your own experiences
*Work collaboratively with other youth
*Have an opportunity to learn social justice photography and get your work displayed in a community exhibit
*Promote positive change and acceptance in your school and community
*Gain skills in photography, research, and public speaking

Photovoice is for everyone - no experience needed.

*Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning.


Friday, May 6, 2011

SB 5 Defeated; Legislative Victory for Marriage Equality in CA

On May 3, SB 5, the Automatic Proposition Standing Bill, which would have required the state of California to defend ballot measures adopted by voters, including Prop 8, was defeated. The bill never made it out of the Senate Judiciary Committee; the five Democrats on the committee voted against the bill, the three Republicans voted for it. Anti-marriage equality advocates were solidly behind the bill; had it passed, it would have required the Attorney General to defend Prop 8. Former Attorney General (now governor) Jerry Brown and current Attorney General Kamala Harris refuse to defend Prop 8 on the basis that it is unconstitutional. The defeat of SB 5 was a legislative victory for the marriage equality movement in California.

Posted by Ruth Dell, Spectrum's Marriage Equality Correspondent

A Personal Invitation from Kate Clinton: Watch the Vlog!

Watch this video of Kate Clinton, in her personal invitation to The Glee Party on Sunday, May 22nd.

Kate Clinton brings her Glee Party to Marin County on Sunday, May 22nd, 1 PM at Hoytt Theater, Osher Marin Jewish Community Center, 200 North San Pedro Road, San Rafael. Tickets: $45. A benefit for Spectrum, the North Bay's LGBT center.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

LA MISSION - THE MOVIE at Pickleweed Community Center, 6/8

Spectrum LGBT Center, in partnership with Canal Alliance, invites you to the first movie of the Seen Through Film Series: LA MISSION

Wednesday, June 8, 6:00 - 8:00 PM
Pickleweed Community Center
50 Canal Street, San Rafael, CA

FREE EVENT - Food will be provided


Growing up in the Mission district, Che Rivera has always had to be tough to survive. He’s a powerful man respected throughout the Mission barrio for his masculinity and his strength, as well as for his hobby building beautiful lowrider cars. A reformed inmate and recovering alcoholic, Che has worked hard to redeem his life and do right by his pride and joy: his only son, Jes, whom he has raised on his own after the death of his wife. Che’s path to redemption is tested, however, when he discovers Jes is gay.

To survive his neighborhood, Che has always lived with his fists. To survive as a complete man, he’ll have to embrace a side of himself he’s never shown. Rated R. Starring Benjamin Bratt.

Film Presentation Supporters: Adopt A Family, Asian Advocacy Project, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the North Bay, Brazilian Alliance, Marin Child Care Council, Parent Voices/Parent Services Project

Media Sponsors: Univision Channel 14, Community Media Center of Marin, Nuestras Voces, Avance News, La Voz Bilingual Newspaper

Food Sponsor: Claudia Cardoza, LUSO-American Life Insurance

SEEN THROUGH FILM is a project of Spectrum LGBT Center. It explores the lives of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender people. The series includes films that will educate, provoke conversation, entertain and appeal to a diverse population.

SEEN THROUGH FILM is funded by a grant from the Marin Community Foundation.

Sonoma County Gatherings for LGBT Older Aduts

Join Spectrum for lively discussions, mutual support, sharing information, and all the while celebrating who we are.

Spectrum's social support groups for LGBT older adults have been meeting in Sonoma for nearly three years. Everyone is welcome; there is no charge. Whether you're in the closet or out, you are welcome!

The Santa Rosa Group: Meets on the 4th Tuesday of the month, 1:30 PM - 3:00 PM, at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation (Glaser Center), Santa Rosa.

The Sonoma Valley Group: Meets on the 3rd Friday of the month, 10:30 am - 12 noon, at Vintage House Senior Center, Sonoma.

For more information, call Gary Shepard, Spectrum's Sonoma Project Coordinator, at 707-583-2330 (message line, checked frequently).

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A Gleeful Kate Clinton Slated to Perform at Spectrum Benefit

Kate Clinton is coming to San Rafael and bringing her Glee Party with her.

In a tour that she describes as "part glee and part tea" she looks at the expectation in society that all problems can be solved in one hour minus commercial breaks with a few song and dance numbers thrown in. Her performance at the Hoytt Theater will benefit Spectrum's advocacy programs for LGBT youth.

Clinton is a wise cracking politically minded comedian whose swift wit has been entertaining audiences for over 25 years. Her shows are a mix of news of the day, commentary and observational humor covering religion, politics and LGBT issues.

Humor has long been a tool in creating political change. From court jesters and Jonathan Swift in the past to Steven Colbert and John Stewart today, comedy can say things about a society that cannot be said in other ways. Clinton is part of this tradition, asking the hard questions and as she says, ãtelling the truth no on would say.ä

Comedy also breaks down the barriers between people. "People hear each other in a light moment," Clinton said. Sometimes after a show she will be approached by a member of the audience who says, "I am a Republican but I still laughed." She laughs, "Should I congratulate them?"

According to Kate we all have the opportunity to make a difference but we need to realize that political action is sexy.

"Have you gone door to door with a friend?" She quips and continues say that we need to get out and do more then just send emails. "Moving your body around" is important, create community, have potlucks, get people together she advises starting a book club where ideas are exchanged and taken out into the world.
The creation of community is part of what Spectrum is doing in San Rafael. Their programs offer support groups for LGBTQ youth ages 14-19, GSA clubs and a new collaborative project with Youth Leadership Institute to create positive high school environments for LGBT youth.

The importance of community in creating political change is not lost on Paula Pilecki, Executive Director Spectrum LGBT Center. "We can provide support for kids who have been bullied in school; we can educate parents and guardians whose kids are gay; we can work with schools to be proactive about enforcing zero tolerance anti-bullying policies; and we can advocate for legislation that will protect all students, regardless of real or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity. None of these activities can stand alone; we need all of it to make a difference, and we need many voices in order to be heard", Pilecki said.
Kate will be performing on May 22 at, 1:00 PM in the Hoytt Theater, Osher Marin Jewish Community Center, 200 North San Pedro Road, San Rafael. Tickets are available exclusively through Spectrum at (415) 472-1945, ext. 209.

Reposted from

Quinn Conklin 03 May 2011

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Interfaith Freedom Seder: "The Freedom to Dream"

The Jewish Community Relations Council presents the annual Interfaith Freedom Seder, "Freedom to Dream"

Monday, April 11, 6:30 p.m.
Osher Marin JCC, 200 N. San Pedro Road, San Rafael
with Rabbi Henry Shreibman, Reconstructionist Rabbincal College and Rev. Dr. Barbara Rowe, Westminster Presbyterian Church

Download the flyer here (pdf)

We will celebrate the festival of Passover with a delicious vegetarian dinner, a gathering of old and new friends, traditional and new music by Fred Ross-Perry, Fredi Bloom and and the Interfaith Singers and we’ll hear about dreams of citizenship, marriage equality and more.

$25 adults, $20 students, $15 children 12 & under

For reservations: 415-444-8000

Questions? Contact Suzan Berns, 415-472-5128 or
Sponsored by the Jewish Community Relations Council / North Bay Region, Osher Marin JCC, Jewish Community Federation/Marin Region, Gan HaLev, Jewish Congregation of the San Geronimo Valley, Marin Interfaith Council, Congregation Rodef Sholom, Congregation Kol Shofar, Jewish Family & Children’s Services

JCRC is a beneficiary of the Jewish Community Federation

Monday, March 21, 2011

An LGBT Gathering in West Marin, 3/26

Heavenly Harp with Michelle Sell
An LGBT Gathering in West Marin
Saturday, March 26, 1-3 PM
San Geronimo Valley Community Center
6350 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., San Geronimo
Includes a light lunch

Suggested donation: $5 (free for adults 60+)
RSVP to (415) 472-1945 ext. 209
or RSVP here

Join Spectrum LGBT Center for our first West Marin Event with harpist Michelle Sell. Michelle has performed with Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Tony Bennett, Sammy Davis, Jr., Joni Mitchell, k.d. Lang, Linda Ronstadt, Diana Krall and many more. In addition to performing original music, Michelle will share stories from her career.

All are welcome; we extend a special invitation to LGBT older adults in West Marin.

Friendly atmosphere, easy parking, heavenly music and good company!

Monday, March 14, 2011

“Seth’s Law” Proposed to Make a Safer School Environment for California Students


March 14, 2011
Assemblymember Ammiano and LGBT Equality Organizations Co-Sponsor AB 9

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - March 14 - Today, California Assemblymember Tom Ammiano will introduce a comprehensive bill that tackles school bullying by providing California schools with specific tools to prevent and address the pervasive problem in order to create a safe school environment for all students.

AB 9, also known as “Seth’s Law,” would ensure that every school in California implements updated anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policies and programs that include actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity and expression, as well as race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, disability, and religion. It would also empower students and parents to know what their rights are, and how to advocate for them.

"Every day in California, many students go to school fearful of another day of harassment and intimidation with no hope of a better tomorrow," said Geoff Kors, executive director of Equality California, which is sponsoring the legislation. "Seth's Law will give all students the tools to seek the help they need to keep them safe and make sure that educators combat bullying in our schools."

AB 9 is named “Seth’s Law” in memory of Seth Walsh, a 13 year-old gay student from Tehachapi, California, who took his life in September 2010 after facing years of relentless anti-gay harassment at school that school officials effectively ignored.

“Seth was a wonderful, loving child, and I loved him for who he was. I can't bring my son back. But schools can make a difference today by taking bullying seriously when students and parents tell them about it. It’s time for change. We have to create a better schools for everyone,” said Wendy Walsh.

Schools often do not have the tools or knowledge to adequately protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students and others from bullying, which remains a serious issue across California and the rest of the nation. Students, parents, and school employees often don’t know what the rules are or what to do if bullying occurs.

"As a former teacher, I know how important it is for our students to feel safe at school. Each day throughout California, LGBT youth experience harassment. I am proud to introduce this bill in honor of Seth Walsh, which will give schools the necessary tools to prevent any young person from being bullied, harassed or worse because of their sexual orientation or gender identity and expression,” said Assemblymember Tom Ammiano.

The bill is co-sponsored by a coalition of organizations advancing LGBT equality and justice – including the ACLU’s California Affiliates, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and Gay-Straight Alliance Network.

“Public schools have tremendous power and responsibility to protect students from bullying and harassment,” said Elizabeth Gill, Staff Attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union. “Better school procedures and policies to prevent and address bullying will make a safer environment for students who are suffering, and can even save lives.”

“Bullying can have serious and tragic consequences, particularly for students who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender,” said Carolyn Laub, Executive Director of Gay-Straight Alliance Network. “We must take pro-active steps to ensure that California’s schools are safe for every student. Seth’s Law will help schools protect students, and prevent and respond to bullying before a tragedy occurs.”

In a recent national survey, nine out of 10 LGBT students reported being harassed at school. The problem persists in California as well, with LGBT students reporting significant harassment. The California Safe Schools Coalition reported in 2010 that 42% of California students who identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual and 62% who identify as transgender reported being harassed at least once based on gender non-conformity.

What’s more, young people often face bullying and harassment based on what their peers perceive to be their sexual orientation, regardless of whether they identify as being LGBT. According to the most recent California Healthy Kids Survey 12% of 7th graders and 10% of 9th graders reported being harassed based on their actual or perceived sexual orientation.

The consequences of bullying and harassment can include falling grades, depression, and risk of suicide. LGBT youth are three times as likely to seriously consider suicide as heterosexual youth.

"No child should fear going to school, and yet that is the daily reality for thousands of California students who face relentless harassment and bullying," said National Center for Lesbian Rights Executive Director Kate Kendell. "It's our responsibility to make sure schools are taking active steps to address this problem and using the tools that we know will work to create true change. It is not enough to punish students who bully. We must create a school-wide culture of inclusion and respect for difference."

Under Seth’s Law, every school district in the state would:

* Create strong and clear anti-harassment policies and programs, if they don’t have them already.
* Have a system in place to ensure that all reports of harassment are taken seriously, addressed quickly, and that parents and students understand the process of making these complaints.
* Explain the harmful impact of bullying and discrimination to students and staff.
* Provide ongoing professional development for teachers, school counselors and administrators about identifying and stopping harassment and discrimination and creating a school-wide culture of inclusion and respect for difference.


Equality California is the largest statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights advocacy organization in California. Over the past decade, Equality California has strategically moved California from a state with extremely limited legal protections for LGBT individuals to a state with some of the most comprehensive civil rights protections in the nation. Equality California has passed more than 70 pieces of legislation and continues to advance equality through legislative advocacy, electoral work, public education and community empowerment.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California (ACLU-NC) is the largest affiliate of the ACLU a nationwide, nonpartisan organization with more than 550,000 members dedicated to the defense and promotion of the guarantees of individual liberty secured by state and federal Constitutions and civil rights statutes.

Gay-Straight Alliance Network (GSA Network) is a national youth leadership organization that empowers youth activists to fight homophobia and transphobia in schools by training student leaders and supporting student-led Gay-Straight Alliance clubs throughout the country. In California alone, we have brought GSA clubs to 53% of public high schools, impacting more than 1.1 million students at 850 schools. GSA Network's youth advocates have played a key role in changing laws and policies that impact youth at the local and state level. GSA Network is also the founder of the Make It Better Project, which aims to stop bullying and prevent suicide.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the human and civil rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Legal Changes and IRS Tax Filing Rules for Same-Sex Couples

A free workshop presented by DLK LawGroup, PC, in association with Spectrum LGBT Center

Monday, March 14, 6-8 PM
Marin Justice Center Conference Room, 30 North San Pedro Road, San Rafael
RSVP via email to or call us at (415) 693-0550.

Income tax laws have changed dramatically for same-sex couples who are married and/or Registered Domestic Partners and estate and gift tax laws have changed as well.
Naomi E. Metz, of DLKLawGroupPC and Karen Stogdill, tax practitioner, will be presenting a seminar on the legal changes in effect as of January 1, 2011, including what you need to understand to comply with the new tax laws and file federal tax returns.

The seminar will cover the following topics:

1) New mandatory Federal income tax filing requirements for same-sex couples
2) Community property attributes during life and at death
3) Titling of your real property and other property
4) Protecting and providing for you and your family

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

MIX IT UP! LGBT Business Mixer at Sabor of Spain, 2/24

Join Spectrum at our first business mixer of 2011 at Sabor of Spain in downtown San Rafael on Thursday, February 24, 5:30 - 7:30 PM.

Owner Scott Scheidt and Event Chef Jayson Valencia invite us in for a warm winter evening at Sabor of Spain Vinoteca and Alta Cucina, serving Spanish tapas and an impressive wine and beer list.


-Complimentary happy hour nosh, compliments of Sabor of Spain
-No-host wine and beer bar (the list for both is fabulous)
-Raffle prize drawing (bring your business card)
-No cost to attend

RSVP requested by calling (415) 472-1945 ext. 209 or click "I'm Attending" on our Facebook page.
WHY THIS MIXER? Spectrum is the North Bay's LGBT community center.
We know local businesses want to connect with the LGBT community. We also know that LGBT consumers show a very high loyalty rate to businesses that support the LGBT community.

Our goal with this event is to introduce LGBT and LGBT-friendly businesses to LGBT people who have an interest in their services. This event is not only for B2B connections; it's for the LGBT community who live and work in Marin and beyond.

Introducing our first co-sponsors of 2011:

Sabor of Spain Vinoteca and Alta Cucina  Sabor's Facebook Page

Monty White Law LLP  - a new Rafael-based law practice

Betty's List - Thanks to Betty for organizing her new North Bay Smart Women Business Mixers around our mixer!
Want to co-sponsor this event or donate a raffle prize (min value $25)? Call Paula at (415) 472-1945 ext. 209. 
See you soon!

Monday, January 24, 2011

The $25,000 Challenge: WE DID IT!

Thanks to your generous support, we raised $26,168 during our year-end giving challenge.  With your help, we surpassed the $25k goal.  Thank you!

On December 10th, Spectrum supporters Russ Zink and Sean Callaway issued a challenge to our community.  They set a goal of raising $25,000 in year-end gifts for Spectrum, and donated the first $2,500 toward that goal.  By December 31st, we were still $3,400 away from our goal, so we extended the deadline into January. Today -- just six weeks after Sean and Russ issued the challenge -- we surpassed our goal by over $1,000. 

Thanks to the magic of social media and email, we didn't spend a dime on printing or postage.  That means more money will go toward supporting our Youth Advocacy Project, which is promoting safer schools for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning middle and high school youth.

Thanks to Russ, Sean, and those of you who followed their lead in making a contribution to Spectrum. We couldn't do our work without you!

Monday, January 3, 2011

The $25,000 Challenge: Deadline Extended to January 15th, 2011

Happy New Year, everyone!  If you've been following our $25,000 Year End Challenge, you know that we have just $3,400 left to raise in order to meet our goal. Thanks to Sean Callaway and Russell Zink, who called for the challenge and contributed the first $2,500 toward our goal. 

Knowing that many people were away for the holidays, we are extending our deadline through January 15th, 2011. Gifts and pledges of all sizes are welcome. 

You can make a donation online or by phone at (415) 472-1945, ext. 209. Or, you can donate online now.

Thank you, and I look forward to seeing you in 2011!


Paula Pilecki, Executive Director
Spectrum LGBT Center
Visit our website

Life After Loss: Grief Group Forming for LGBT Older Adults

Life After Loss: A Grief Group for LGBT Older Adults
Begins Friday, January 14th

1:00 – 2:30 PM
Spectrum LGBT Center
30 North San Pedro Road, Suite 160, San Rafael, CA 94903

Facilitated by Erin Gray, Marriage and Family Therapist intern
(Sup. Nancy Gump, MFT # 25530)

To participate, call (415) 491-5700, x 2037
There is no charge to attend.

Download the flyer (pdf)

When we love and lose someone, we are overwhelmed by pain and sorrow. For lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people, mourning the loss of a partner can encompass an additional burden if there is little or no family, or support from the community.

Perhaps you felt that some didn’t approve of your relationship. Maybe you even kept it a secret. For these reasons, it may be difficult for you to trust traditional sources of support, and could benefit from being with others who had a common experience in life.

Spectrum’s Grief Group is for older adults 60 years of age and older who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, and who are grieving the loss of a significant other. The loss may be recent, or it may have been long ago.

The group will run for eight weeks beginning January 14th. Participants will be asked to commit to attending all eight sessions.

We hope you'll join us for this confidential group. If you have questions, call Erin Grey, MFTI at
(415) 491-5700, x 2037.

A Good Divorce? What the LGBTQ Community Needs to Know

If you are embarking on the difficult journey of separating from your domestic partner, or divorcing your same-sex spouse, this free workshop is for you.

What the LGBTQ Community Needs to Know

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

7:00 to 8:30 p.m.
Marin Justice Center Conference Room
30 North San Pedro Road, Suite 160
San Rafael, CA 94903
RSVP by January 14 to (415) 472-1945 x 209

Download event flyer (pdf)

For LGBTQ couples, divorce can be more complex and expensive, especially when children are involved. We will provide basic information about divorce and mediation process options, legal information
pertaining specifically to same-sex couples, tips on how to deal with a contentious situation, and how to talk
to children about separation and divorce.

Coordinated by Spectrum LGBT Center in conjunction with the Marin Justice Center


Suzan Barrie Aiken, JD, Collaborative Attorney & Mediator
Debra Bellings-Kee, MFT, JD, Divorce Coach and Parenting Plan Mediator
Kris Cirby, JD, Family & Children’s Law Center
Alexandria Quam Rios, Legal Self Help Services of Marin Superior Courts
Mitchell Wunsh, Staff Attorney, Legal Aid of Marin