Friday, July 31, 2009

OLD Lesbians Organizing for Change website

We have pins:


We are a national network of Old Lesbians over age 60 working to make life better for Old Lesbians and to confront ageism in our communities and our country using education and public discourse as primary tools. During biennial National Gatherings hundreds of us come together to share experiences and ideas and recharge our energies for the tasks at hand.

Our national organization is directed by a Steering Committee that works with local Chapters who operate in their own communities and encourages Regional OLOC Gatherings.

We love sharing our wisdom, experience strengths and laughs with our communities as well as among ourselves.

Thursday, July 30, 2009


Harvey Milk to Receive Posthumous Medal of Freedom

Dear Sharon:

The White House just announced that on August 12 President Obama will bestow America's highest civilian honor-the Presidential Medal of Freedom-on Harvey Milk, a true American hero and trailblazer. On behalf of the boards and staff of the Victory Fund, we are thrilled.

Harvey was one of the first openly LGBT elected officials in the country, and he was so much more than that. He was a leader who understood the incredible power of being out, speaking out and demanding the equality we all deserve. But Harvey also knew demands alone were not enough, so he stood for election time and again until he finally won a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, where he worked to pass the city's first LGBT rights ordinance. He gained real power, and used it expand freedom and equality.

Harvey's election was a political awakening that inspires all of us at the Victory Fund each and every day. In fact, one of the first things our staff sees when we enter our of fice is an iconic photo of Harvey outside his camera shop on Castro Street. It reminds us what we can accomplish when we are guided by hope rather than fear.

We also learned the President will honor tennis legend Billy Jean King and Sen. Edward M. Kennedy with the Medal of Freedom. King, an open lesbian, has been a champion for women's and LGBT rights throughout her distinguished career, and Sen. Kennedy's tireless work on behalf of LGBT Americans has made him one of our most important allies. In fact, the Victory Fund honored Sen. Kennedy in 2004 with our Oates-Shrum Leadership Award.

This high honor, the Medal of Freedom, recognizes extraordinary lives, but it is also a signal that leadership, especially political leadership, is critical to completing the work begun by people like Milk, King, Kennedy, Bayard Rustin, Dr. Frank Kameny, The Mattachine Society, The Daughters of Bilitis and so many others whose sacrifice and courage helped deliver the progress we see today.

The Victory Fund's mission is to build on that hard work, and to elect more courageous people like Harvey Milk who continue to build a more equal and just America. Thank you for support of our work.
Yours in victory,

Chuck Wolfe
President & CEO
Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund

Meeting for a Beer at the White House: A Huge Distraction and "More Stupid"

As far as I am concerned Lucia Whalen, the woman who used her cell phone to call police, was the only party in this sad affair who kept her cool though I do think President's Obama's original remarks about "stupid behavior" on the part of the arresting officer were refreshing and not pre tested. It is a shame that Whalen was dragged through the mill when her only fault was to be a good citizen. As for the hotshors getting together for a beer that was more "stupid". Crowley has discrepancies in his write up of the reported incident, Professor Gates seems to understandably have lost his cool, Obama had to retreat on his correct initial reaction that Gates should not have been arrested since he was in his own house. Lucia Whalen was careful about her description of the people she thought were involved. She even said it might be the suspected parties own house. Whalen never used the words "Black men". The 911 call transcript confirms this. She did say one of the men may have been Hispanic, however, she didn't know for sure what the race of the men was or were.

The fact that the majority of white people in this country do not understand race issues and tend to have knee jerk reactions always blaming minorities for run ins with the police is mind boggling to me. I noticed on AOL yesterday morning that 67% of person voting thought the arrest was Gates' own fault. The lack of knowledge or acknowledgement that there is something wrong with the way Black men have been profiled and arrested in large numbers compared to white male arrest rates shows the a huge gap in both attitudes and in lack of an information base on race relations in America. Black people seem to know from experience to be wary, white people tend to blame the victims in these instance of false arrest or initial profiling. Until perceptions change within society at large and among police in particular, this tension and difference in perception between white and Black on the fairness scale will continue. Some suggest that since Obama was elected our President that white people especially younger white people have more progressive views on race than have existed ever before. This may be true but we still have a long way to go.

Electing someone to a high office and dealing with everyday race issues is a horse of a totally different color if I can use that
ironic description. Obama is the token admirable Black man who many white moderates on race issues can accept. But when it comes to acting and decision making on the spot, old fears and stereotypes come to fore all too often as is evidenced by the Crowley-Gates episode, the President's handlers would so much like to put behind him so we can get on with the debate on Health Care. But race will come back to stare us in the face. I have a friend in Australia who calls the USA Obamaland. She is a huge admirer of our first Black President. I think people abroad have the wrong idea of what this election was about. Yes, electing Obama was a move in the right direction, but there is still a long road left hike when it comes to race in America. Segregation still exists in most major cities and towns in this country, inequities in access to health care, equal pay for equal work and access to same, equality in housing and education for all is a long way off.

Passing some form of universal health care would help repair some of the inequity on race, class and gender too when it comes to access to health care. But I see the Obama plan for health care being compromised in the wrong direction with the private health insurers who have a long history of racial discrimination being too much in the forefront of the health care discussion, getting unfair advantages and taking away the public option would help in lowering costs of health care. Black, White, Latino, Asian, we all lose if the old way of doing health care or education wins the race toward visibility and possession of Congressional favors and votes.

Was this a teachable moment as Obama hoped it would become? It appears that Gates-Crowley might make this into a dog and pony show as they plan to meet again since the White House event. I can just imagine the two speaking to groups, having a discussion from both points of view and trying to help folks come to some kind of common ground on the issue. Perhaps, this could be a good outcome but my instincts say there is something just not right here. It appears it would result in an attempt to make both sides if these are sides right at least from each respective point of view. And what happened just wasn't right. Crowley was clearly wrong ethicallly speaking and probably legally speaking too. Why should Gates give Crowley this spotlight and even a framework for becoming a national spokesman on the race issue? It is Crowley who needs to save face not Gates. The only thing Gates did that might be interpreted as wrong was to "blow up" and be angry about being wronged. His anger was justified. Crowley's actions were not justifiable.

There is no law that says if one says something negative to a police officer or even yells at a police officer that equals interfering with an officer's ability to do the job. Stress is part of the job and so is negativity even when directed toward the officer, in this case, yelling and saying what the officer was doing was racist. That should not be a crime especially as I see the label in this case fit the situation and was truth telling. Of course, I know Crowley did not appreciate the label and it may not have been the wisest way of reacting to Crowley's presence. But how wise can one be in these situations. Colin Powell suggested a cooler head should have prevailed on Gates' part. I think that was arrogant on Powell's part. From his lofty positions in the military, in security, as a General, as former Secretary of State, it is easy to sound rational. Rational is what was Powell's problelm all along. If he had any courage, he would have resigned and gotten angry at what Bush did to him. Yes, always plodding on the straight and narrow may be Powell. It obviously does not describe Professor Gates.

Monday, July 27, 2009


For a new copy of
an online book that covers policy issues and information on the topic of LGBT seniors. Just go to
The download is free. All you need to do is to give National Taskforce (LGBT) your name and email address. Laurie Young edited and updated the new version. Sean Cahill, Ken South and Jane Spade are the authors. P.S. new version is not out until Oct. Just learned this but it is worth viewing the old version too.