Work Full-time For LGBTQ Montanans!

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If your dream is to work full-time helping to support and develop Montana’s LGBTQ community (and to receive excellent pay and benefits doing so), Pride Foundation has an opening for a full-time Regional Development Organizer (RDO).

This position, previously held by Caitlin Copple, will close soon, so I’d encourage anyone who’s been hesitating to apply ASAP.

The position description is here.

Today’s Must See: Alfredo’s Fire

“It was the Italian Stonewall, absolutely, the Italian Stonewall…”

 

About The Film

ALFREDO’S FIRE is a powerful and timely documentary that tells the forgotten story of Alfredo Ormando, a gay Italian writer who set himself on fire at the Vatican to protest the Church’s condemnation of homosexuality.

As Pope Benedict XVI resigns this month, the time is ripe for dialogue aimed at building a more open and inclusive Church, in the hope that no more lives are extinguished by the effects of religious intolerance.

With successful backing, the film will be finished in the next few months. We expect it to premiere in a major film festival in the U.S. and in conjunction with Italy’s National Pride celebration, this year in Alfredo’s hometown of Palermo.

For more information about the project visit: www.alfredosfire.com

Alfredo’s Story

On January 13, 1998 Alfredo Ormando, a 39-year old Italian writer, arrived in Rome just as the sun was rising. After a long journey from his native Sicily, he found his way to the empty plaza of St. Peter’s Square and, facing the entrance to the Basilica, knelt down as if to pray. He made a rapid hand gesture and suddenly was engulfed in flames. Before the Church and God, Alfredo Ormando had lit himself on fire.

Not long afterwards, and overlooking the spot where Alfredo had set himself aflame, Pope John Paul declared that “homosexual acts are against the laws of nature.” Pope Benedict XVI has even more vehemently advanced anti-gay rhetoric and policies.

Shaped by Alfredo’s manuscripts and letters, as well as rich cinematography, and provocative interviews with Alfredo’s friends, family and intimate companions, our film reveals Alfredo’s longing and the struggle to reconcile his own faith and sexuality.

My Story

As someone who has similarly struggled to reconcile his sexuality and spirituality, I became obsessed with Alfredo’s story and his choice of fire. Alfredo’s gesture was simultaneously a self-annihilation, an expression of pent-up passion and rage, a communion with God, and a dramatic “coming out.”

When Alfredo lit himself on fire at the Vatican, he hoped that his protest would be witnessed everywhere. Instead, his story was silenced by the Church and downplayed by the media. In death, as in life, he was made invisible. With our film, I want his light to reach millions worldwide. It is a flame by which to remember, witness, and come out of the dark.

Watch the video here.

THE ORDINANCE, II

Official seal of Helena, Montana

Official seal of Helena, Montana (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The recitals of the proposed Helena, Montana LGBT non-discrimination ordinance state that “it is the intent of the City of Helena that no person shall be denied his or her civil rights or be discriminated against based upon his or her sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.”  It is a wonderful statement, really, one that even a few years ago would have been unimaginable, coming from any Montana governmental subdivision, state or local.  Yet, here it is.

And I have been dubious for so long, even though I know in my soul that equality is a social inevitability, rather than a mere possibility.  It is here, and it is now.  But, do we have the will, collectively, as a community to make it happen.  The Helena City Commission is out there, and though we have not always appreciated some of their steps or the way in which they took them, passing this ordinance will be a bold step forward.  I for one appreciate the resolve and energy it has taken to come even this far.  They have done their part.

The advocates too, the Montana Human Rights Network, the ACLU, other organizations, and many individuals who work, live, play and pray here have done their part too.  They have stepped up and spoken out on behalf of a marginalized group that for too long has lived in fear and been denied equality.  They are not asking for something more, or something special, but just the opportunity to live as the majority do – without fear or denial of security in employment, to participate in social and  recreational activities with their friends, family and neighbors, schoolmates and fellow churchgoers, etc., and to be able to access all accommodations for basic needs including food, health, shelter, etc..  We owe these dedicated, courageous volunteers a great debt of gratitude for their willingness to fight the good fight, regardless of the outcome.

There have been the nay sayers too.  They have stood up and said what they believe.  And though we may disagree, we do not judge or condemn.  In fact, we very much support their right to hold their beliefs and to practice them and voice them as they do.  These rights are fundamental and vital to the life of this democracy.  We propose.  We discuss and dissent.  We resolve and we move on – together.

Then, there are the rest of us, the citizens of the Helena valley, the community and the people.

We too have a stake in this.  We have the opportunity to shape a community which truly reflects our values, one that can shine as a beacon of humanity for all of Montana, as the capital city should.  We enjoy diversity, for otherwise life would be boring.  We embrace the idea of a free society, for it is our heritage.  We love justice, as even the prophets proclaimed that we should.  Most of all, we thrive on patience, tolerance, kindness and love.  And the greatest of these is love.  The great ones proclaimed it, as even the wise and the holy ones have lived it.  The singers sing about it, as the preachers preach about it.  And it is all true, in the end.  We must love one another even as we have been loved – not some frothy and emotional, sappy appeal, but the kind of action that elevates others need and dignity above our own.  It is the kind of action which tolerates differences in deference to commonality and our shared struggle.

And so I ask – do we have it?  We talk, preach and pray about notions like peace, justice, and fairness, and I believe that we intend them and desire them.  But, do we do them?  If I have evoked even a moment of pause to consider this question, we need not be too hard on ourselves.  For in this action now before us we have the opportunity to redeem our lack of fidelity to our best of intentions.  I am asking you, the people of this community to come out and join me in supporting the Helena Non-discrimination ordinance which will be coming on for final hearing and approval by the Helena City Commission at 6:00 on Monday, December 17th, not just because it is of vital importance to so many, or because it is the right thing to do, but because it says so much fundamentally about who we are as a community, as a society, about being the change we wish to see in the world.  It is not enough to have good intentions, to talk, preach and pray about the world that we want to live in, that we want for our children.  We have to get out and build it.

Help Inlaws & Outlaws Make It To Public TV!

One of the best (and most elegant) pieces of human understanding and compassion is Drew Emery’s film Inlaws & Outlaws. I’ve written about the Montana screenings we had this past spring and the fantastic impact it had on the audiences that gathered in Helena and Bozeman. It’s an amazing piece of work.

Now, this little gem has a chance for public distribution- and a better tool for compassion and understanding of gay relationships (and all relationships in my opinion) would be hard to find.

If everybody in America saw this film, opposition to marriage equality would melt away like a bad mood in a room full of puppies.

From the True Stories Project:

We’ve got terrific news! The National Education Telecommunications Association (NETA) has offered to distribute a full presentation of Inlaws & Outlaws on public television! That means that, if we act quickly, the film will be made available to virtually all public television stations in the US this Fall – including over 350+ PBS affiliates!

This is huge!

Public TV reaches over 117 million viewers a week. If we slice off even a modest amount of that, we’ll bring Inlaws & Outlaws to a much, much larger audience than it’s ever had. Just as same-sex marriage has finally arrived centerstage with President Obama’s support, we have the opportunity to reach millions of households with true stories we know change hearts & minds.

But to meet our deadline, we need your help — and we need it now.

We need our first $50,000 in underwriting by the end of September. Your support will pay for vital post-production for broadcast, closed captioning, station relations and more. Can you help?

You betcha. I’m in. Anybody else?

Donate here.

Montana Pride 2012: It’s Not Just A Party

It’s a time for determined activism and empowerment.

This year, we’ve invited every elected official and candidate from across Montana to meet their LGBT and allied constituents at Montana Pride.

We’ve made Out Legislators Diane Sands, Christine Kaufmann, Bryce Bennett and Montana Human Rights Network organizer/lobbyist Jamee Greer our Grand Marshals. And they will be sharing their stories with Montana Public Radio’s Brian Kahn in the Bozeman Public Library after speaking at the Equality Rally on the Library Front Lawn. A Rally which will feature Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex speakers and performers.

Montana Women Vote will be registering voters during the weekend.

And we have an amazing array of workshops at the MSU SUB on Saturday starting at 3pm 

PFLAG Presents: Inclusive Language: Helping families and friends avoid hoof-in-mouth disease. How to talk about/to our LGBT loved ones and A chapter can be the first ray of sunshine in small communities and be an umbrella to connect efforts in others. Presented by Kathy Reim, PFLAG Pacific Northwest Regional Director and Cesar Hernandez, PFLAG Western Field & Policy Manager

Vagina Facebook: How to friend, things to like, status updates, and blocking creepers for your lady parts. If our vaginas had a grasp on social marketing they would pick better playmates, know all the best products, keep honest medical tabs, and hide from those unwanted pests like herpes. This workshop will use the principles of Facebook to outline 20 new lessons on vulva wellness and user sexuality. Log-on and learn.   Open session for women with doctor of human sexuality and clinical sexologist, Lindsey Doe

It’s Not Your Story Until You Tell It. Author Bobbie Zenker will present a workshop on coming out and telling your story & why it is important. She will share her experiences in writing her memoir, TransMontana, followed by a brief reading. Q&A to follow.

Talking to Churches and Faith Leaders- How Do We Start? Evangelical Christian and LGBT ally Kathy Baldock will offer some guidance and understanding about creating a conversation with Christian faith leaders. She will share her experiences in changing hearts and minds about LGBT persons in churches and faith communities. She will also address the topic of creating “open and affirming” churches.

Yeah, it’s a party, but it’s also a time to be empowered.

Because together, we’re powerful.

And it’s gonna be hard to ignore us in Montana after next weekend….

You’re Invited

Come together to celebrate Pride Foundation’s
impact on Montana’s equality movement!
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Partners in Pride Buffet Dinner
Saturday, June 16, 2012
5:30 – 7:30 PM

 

Hosted by
Tom Marsh, Greg Smith, and Ken Spencer
Montana State University
Student Union Building | Room 168
Donations accepted but never required!

Please RSVP by Thursday, June 14 by texting or calling Pride Foundation’s Regional Development Organizer in Montana, Caitlin Copple at 546.7017 or by emailing caitlin@pridefoundation.org.
 


Founded in 1985, Pride Foundation inspires a culture of generosity that connects and strengthens Northwest organizations, leaders, and students who are creating LGBTQ equality in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington State.
Visit www.pridefoundation.org for more information.
 Pride Foundation’s mailing address in Montana is P.O. Box 7456 Missoula, MT 59807  

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History Lesson: Rachel Maddow Spotlights AIDS Activist Organization ACT UP

Rachel Maddow highlighted the group ACT UP (AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power) on its 25th birthday- and reveals that she was part of the work.

I remember ACT UP- and I remember the malaise and apathy they remedied. When the government and elected officials didn’t act, activists and mothers and lesbians held them accountable.  A healthy reminder of where we’ve been- may we never return.

Vodpod videos no longer available.