On June 12th, 49 LGBT club-goers were slaughtered and 53 more injured with an assault weapon in Orlando, FL. The US Congress had no response besides the usual prayers and a strangely deafening moment of silence. That’s why Gays Against Guns is replacing moments of silence with moments of action to make our elected representatives pass sensible gun reforms.
Two weeks after the Orlando massacre, and just days after Congressman John Lewis’s sit-in on the House floor highlighting Congressional inaction on gun safety, hundreds of GAGers marched in the NYC Pride Parade, 49 of them shrouded in white veils and carrying signs with the names and faces of each Orlando victim.
In early July, GAG “named, shamed, and blamed” NRA puppet Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-LI) with a demonstration in his district and a puppet in his likeness. GAG members demonstrated outside Trump Tower on the opening night of the Republican National Convention. They staged “die-ins” outside two New York City Reebok Crossfit stores after learning that the winner of an annual fitness contest would receive a Glock handgun–the same gun used against Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and 19 others in Tucson, AZ in 2011. New GAG chapters are sprouting up across the nation, with actions to shame politicians in the NRA’s pockets this election season.
We’re in. Greater NYC for Change has long fought for sensible gun safety laws–laws supported by 90% of Americans and a large majority of NRA members.
We’ve seen the massacres, but also the daily gun violence that kills 33,000 Americans each year. Other nations–the UK, Canada, and Australia among them–have responded to crisis with life-saving gun regulations. Here at home, we increasingly recognize the futility of polite lobbying of politicians. Constituents need to know who is working for them, and who is working for the gun industry.
There’s more: Gun violence disproportionately affects minority and vulnerable communities–children at Sandy Hook, worshipers at a Charleston prayer group, young Black men, and the LGBT community, itself the target of an estimated 20% of all hate crimes. Trans women and LGBT people of color are at greatest peril. But as the direct actions led by ACT UP and others in the fight against HIV-AIDS and for Marriage Equality demonstrate, the LGBT community knows how to fight–and get results.
YOU can join us. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and “like” GAG on Facebook. You don’t need to be gay to join GAG. All you need is a healthy disgust at politicians who won’t do their most fundamental job: ensuring our safety and protecting us from danger.
For years, New York City’s Pride March has been a celebration of difference and community. At times, as after last year’s Supreme Court victory for Marriage Equality in Obergefell v.Hodges, it has been a joyful affirmation in a procession toward justice and universal rights.
This year, New Yorkers will march in solidarity with our 49 LGBTQ brothers and sisters, almost all Latino, who were slaughtered at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando on June 12th. While recognizing the outrage of yet another deadly homage to America’s romance with violence and its tolerance for shamelessly lax gun laws, we will walk and dance in a processional of love, not hate.
Members of Greater NYC for Change will be marching with some of our most dedicated public representatives and advocacy organizations. We encourage you to join in. We will also join our friends at New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, allied this year with LGBT4GVP, and the Gender and Family Project. Staging locations for the march, which kicks off at 12 noon, can be found atNYC Pride.
URGENT! Comment on the New Gender Identity Discrimination Regulations from the NYS Division of Human Rights before the official comment period ends:
Simply copy and paste the full letter below into your email, add your own name and address after “Sincerely,” and send to the email address email@example.com
under the subject heading Gender Identity Discrimination Rule Change: Comment. (Alternately, a PDF of the same letter is available at the link below.) All comments must be received no later than end of day on December 21, 2015:
Re: Gender Identity Discrimination ID No. HRT-44-15-00033-P New Section 466.13
I wish to voice my enthusiastic and unconditional support for an interpretation of sex discrimination in New York State Human Rights Law that will include discrimination against transgender and gender non-conforming individuals. This more inclusive interpretation has been successfully adopted by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and will guarantee all New Yorkers equal access to employment, housing, credit, education, public accommodations, and all areas covered by the Human Rights Law.
This change is a necessary and fair step to correct the severe and ongoing discrimination experienced by a deeply marginalized group of New Yorkers. For the first time, transgender and gender non-conforming New Yorkers will have equal access to legal redress against discrimination. All New Yorkers will benefit from a fairer and more inclusive interpretation of the law that will now protect all of us.
While noting that this change in interpretation of the New York State Human Rights Law will not endow transgender and gender non-conforming New Yorkers with full equal rights under the law, I recognize it as a necessary and laudable first step. I hope the New York State Division of Human Rights will give the proposed changes its approval, and look forward to the day when all New Yorkers share full legal protection from discrimination.
As we move toward the 2016 presidential election, we’re often asked to commit to candidates and engage in campaigns. We think it’s important to state our position:
Greater NYC for Change is an issue-based, grassroots organization focused on promoting everyday social and political change. While we have always supported candidates who share our commitment to progressive change, we do not issue formal endorsements, nor do we actively engage in primary elections. Individual members of our organization are, of course, able to support candidates of their choice, but such support should not be seen as representative of the organization as a whole.
We look forward to a robust debate of ideas that will sharpen positions and produce more effective national candidates in 2016.
Meanwhile, we’ll be working at city and state levels on the issues that matter to us:
This year, we celebrate the recent designation of the Stonewall Inn as a New York City landmark. We also celebrate with the country the Supreme Court decision on Obergefell v. Hodges, which hasopened the doors for full marriage equality across the nation.
In defending his marriage to his late husband, John Arthur, Jim Obergefell is a civil rights hero, a fighter for all of our equal rights. While we welcome this landmark victory on marriage equality, let’s remember that our struggle will not be over until our transgender brothers and sisters, who face legal discrimination and violence, have equal rights and protections under the law.
Let’s also reflect on the origins of NYC’s Annual Pride March: the now-famous uprising against routine police brutality against gays, lesbians, and transgender people. Today, in the face of unjust law enforcement, unequal justice, and often fatal, racialized police violence across the country, we recognize that the rights we now enjoy were first fought for by people who resisted, and brought to light, excessive force and illegal arrests.
Jim Obergefell and John Arthur on July 11, 2013, as they flew from Cincinnati to Baltimore to be legally wed. Their native Ohio had a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. The ceremony took place on the plane, due to John’s limited mobility. Jim filed suit to have their marriage recognized in Ohio. John died of ALS on October 22, 2013.