Tag: open

Lesbian mother writes powerful open letter to Joe Biden as he takes office

US President Joe Biden

A lesbian mother published a poignant open letter in Between the Lines this week urging president Joe Biden to support LGBT+ families during his administration.

Writing to Biden ahead of his historic inauguration Wednesday (20 January), Dana Rudolph, founder and publisher of Mombian, painted a troubling picture of an America where four years of Trump have gutted protections won under the previous Obama administration, of which Biden was a part.

She began by explaining her young son’s fears for their family.

“My son was just a few months too young to vote in the last election, but watched it with great concern, for its results would directly impact him and his family

“Would the next administration be one that treated his family with equality? Would it view families like his as part of the rich fabric of American diversity or as aberrations? I’d like to think he has reason for hope.”

The letter referenced a New York Times article which reported that at a 2012 fundraiser, when pressed about marriage equality, Biden spoke about the young children of a gay couple.

He reportedly said: “I look at those two beautiful kids. I wish everybody could see this. All you got to do is look in the eyes of those kids. And no one can wonder; no one can wonder whether or not they are cared for and nurtured and loved and reinforced. And folks, what’s happening is, everybody is beginning to see it.”

Dana Rudolph is a writer and regularly speaks publicly about online activism and LGBT+ parenting.
Dana Rudolph is a writer and regularly speaks publicly about online activism and LGBT+ parenting. (Slaven Vlasic/Getty)

“Marriage equality didn’t hinge on these encounters alone,” Rudolph continued. “It was the work of thousands of people over many years — but your remarks were a turning point for the administration’s willingness to back it publicly. I hope that as president, you will continue to champion equality for all families.”

Rudolph also wrote about the two lesbian mothers in Biden’s administration: principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and deputy White House communications director Pili Tobar. While neither will work directly on LGBT+ policy, she shared her hope that their very presence will remind the president “that all parents and our children deserve equality”. She also made the important point that LGBT+ families are not just impacted by child services and healthcare policy.

“There are no areas of your administration that will not touch us, for we are woven into the fabric of the American people.”

She closed the letter by speaking again about her son, writing: “I want the country in which my son reaches adulthood to be one of equality, justice and compassion, not only for LGBTQ people and families but for all.

“I’m sure that as a parent yourself, you know what it is like to want such good for your children. Please be the president our country, and our country’s children, need.”

Biden has a largely strong track record on LGBT+ rights – though he has not always been a perfect ally. Today, however, he is considered a powerful ally, especially now that he has taken office.

An Open Letter to Joe Biden from a Lesbian Mom

An Open Letter to Joe Biden from a Lesbian Mom

Dear President-elect Biden:

I’m writing you this open letter as you prepare to take office as president. My son was just a few months too young to vote in the last election, but watched it with great concern, for its results would directly impact him and his family. Would the next administration be one that treated our family with equality? Would it view families like ours as part of the rich fabric of American diversity or as aberrations?

Joe Biden

I’d like to think he has reason for hope. Since this is an open letter, I’ll recap one example, though I’m sure you remember: In 2012, you attended a fundraiser held at the Los Angeles home of husbands Michael Lombardo, an HBO executive, and Sonny Ward, an architect. As reported by Jo Becker in the New York Times, political strategist Chad Griffin (later head of HRC) saw you talking with the men’s two young children and was motivated to ask you your stance on marriage equality.

According to Becker, you responded: “I look at those two beautiful kids. I wish everybody could see this. All you got to do is look in the eyes of those kids. And no one can wonder, no one can wonder whether or not they are cared for and nurtured and loved and reinforced. And folks, what’s happening is, everybody is beginning to see it.”

You said this at a time when the Obama administration was still officially opposed to marriage equality. Some thought your remarks were a planned “trial balloon” for the issue; Becker disagreed, but said that they “inadvertently set off a chain reaction.” Either way, within weeks, President Obama announced his support for marriage equality, relating that his own daughters had friends with same-sex parents and “I know it wouldn’t dawn on them that their friends’ parents should be treated differently.”

Marriage equality didn’t hinge on these encounters alone—it was the work of thousands of people over many years—but your remarks were a turning point for the administration’s willingness to back it publicly. I hope that as president, you will continue to champion equality for all families.

I am encouraged that you have named two lesbian moms and one transgender parent to your administration: Karine Jean-Pierre as principal deputy press secretary, Pili Tobar as deputy White House communications director, and Rachel Levine as assistant secretary of health. And Pete Buttigieg, whom you nominated as secretary of transportation, was asked during his own presidential run if he and his husband might start a family while in the White House. “I don’t see why not,” he replied. Perhaps this might happen even as he takes on a different role.

While their work will not revolve around LGBTQ issues, I hope that their presence will continue to remind you that all parents and our children deserve equality. Despite the progress made under President Obama, that equality has been chipped away at during President Trump’s time in office. Even now, the U.S. Supreme Court is considering a case about whether taxpayer-funded child service agencies can claim the right, on religious grounds, to discriminate against LGBTQ people, people of different faiths, and others. This would reduce the number of otherwise-eligible homes for children in need and could mean that LGBTQ youth get placed with families that don’t support their identities. That case aside, eleven states now allow child service agencies to cite their religious or moral beliefs as a reason to discriminate against someone; nine of them permit it even if the agency receives taxpayer money.

Additionally, on January 7, the day after insurrectionists stormed the capitol, the Trump administration finalized a rule that will allow foster care and adoption agencies, along with other public health and social service organizations receiving taxpayer funds, to discriminate against LGBTQ people and others. LGBTQ populations are among the most vulnerable here. LGBTQ organizations are already suing HHS for other recent discriminatory policies; you could save everyone time and money, while helping those in need, by changing these policies as soon as possible.

To guide you, the Every Child Deserves a Family Campaign, a coalition of LGBTQ, civil rights, and faith organizations, has released a set of policy recommendations to set us on a renewed path towards inclusive, affirming care for LGBTQ youth and families, people of color, and people with disabilities within the child welfare system. I hope you will take these recommendations seriously.

Equity for LGBTQ families—and all families—goes beyond just child services and healthcare, however. It extends into educational policy, housing, employment practices, and even foreign policy, for we LGBTQ families exist around the world. There are no areas of your administration that will not touch us, for we are woven into the fabric of the American people.

I hope our voices (broadly speaking, not just those in your administration) are among the many you will listen to in order to guide our country forward. I am not asking you to prioritize LGBTQ families above any others, but rather to ensure that your policies include and protect us equally so that we have the same chance to thrive. The more Americans who thrive, the stronger and better our country will be as a whole.

I want the country in which my son reaches adulthood to be one of equality, justice, and compassion, not only for LGBTQ people and families, but for all. I’m sure that as a parent yourself, you know what it is like to want such good for your children. Please be the president our country—and our country’s children—need.

Originally published with slight variation as my Mombian newspaper column.

Safe Open Air Bear Event Created In Puerto Vallarta

Safe Open Air Bear Event Created In Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta local event producers Christian Serrano & Dhaniel Amarillas have created a fun and frisky weekend in gay Puerto Vallarta known as “Bearadise®”. Dedicated to the creation of unique and memorable experiences, they successfully created an event aimed exclusively for the gay male market, specifically the bear community, friends and admirers.

When the COVID pandemic turned our gay travel world upside down, they were faced with the challenge of resetting and reclaiming this concept in order to fall in line with our new normal. “As a sustainable and socially responsible labor of love, we were forced to take inventory of the Bearadise® brand and determine how to evolve in a safe way during this time of ‘physical distancing’ and ‘safe socializing’ with the wellbeing of our guests as the #1 priority,” Serrano muses. Our solution? Bearadise® Beach! A full day, all-inclusive tour open air-experience designed for Bears, by Bears, but all men are welcome!”

See more details of this safe, open air unique bear and leather event coming to Puerto Vallarta here.

Kamala Harris’ swearing-in could open up a major opportunity for LGBT+ representation in the US Senate

Kamala Harris will give up her Senate seat in January

With Kamala Harris set to become vice president, there could be a vital opportunity to bolster LGBT+ representation in the US Senate.

Harris has represented California in the United States Senate since 2016, but is set to give up her seat in the chamber on January 20 as she assumes office as Joe Biden’s second-in-command.

Under the rules of the chamber, it will be up to Governor of California Gavin Newsom to appoint an interim senator to fill the seat temporarily, serving until a special election can be held to elect a full-time replacement for Kamala Harris.

LGBT+ campaigners have called on Newsom to use the opportunity to bolster  queer representation in the Senate, which has only ever had two out LGBT+ members, Senators Tammy Baldwin and Kyrsten Sinema.

Replacement of Kamala Harris could bolster LGBT+ representation in the US Senate

LGBTQ Victory Fund, which works to bolster LGBT+ representation in politics, has suggested that Newsom could appoint either California state senate president Toni Atkins or Long Beach mayor Robert Garcia, two of the state’s most accomplished LGBT+ leaders, to serve in the seat.

Annise Parker of Victory Fund said: “Governor Newsom is one of the strongest allies we have in elected office and consistently shows courage in his efforts to advance equality, so we are hopeful he will add to his legacy with an LGBTQ appointment.

“Both Senator Atkins and Mayor Garcia represent communities too often denied political power – including women, immigrants and people of colour – furthering the impact their appointment would make.”

Kamala Harris could see her Senate seat filled by an LGBT+ person
Gavin Newsom could appoint either California state senate president pro tempore Toni Atkins or Long Beach mayor Robert Garcia, the group says

Parker continued: “Not just in California but across the country, the LGBTQ community would celebrate an LGBTQ leader taking the position and we will stand by them with resources and support to ensure they succeed.

“We hold immense pride in the leadership of our current LGBTQ US Senators and would be eager to rally behind an LGBTQ US Senator from the largest state in the nation.”

Senate will play a pivotal role in Biden years

The Senate is primed to play an outsized role in US politics during the early years of the Biden administration, with a nail-biting double election in Georgia set for January set to decide control of the chamber.

The best-case scenario for Biden would result in a 50-50 split in the chamber that would require his policy measures to attract support from every single Democratic senator.

If Republicans win the Georgia seats, however, they will maintain control of the chamber and could effectively block much of the president’s agenda, which could spell peril for Biden’s ability to deliver on key promises, including on LGBT+ rights.