Thursday, August 27, 2009

HRC's No Excuses Campaign For Gay Equality: My "Personal-Becomes-Political" Diary, Week One

Okay, so a couple of weeks ago I get this email from HRC, about how pro-gay legislation has been back-burnered in Washington D.C., and even though we have Democratic majorities in both the U.S. House and Senate, as well as a "friendly" President who might SIGN these bills into law, we're not seeing our issues being addressed.

HRC's proposed solution?

To have Gay people and our Allies, members of the GLBTQ and Allied community, meet, face-to-face, with all 535 members of Congress. To share our stories so these pieces of legislation have a FACE. A Voice. A Connection to someone real. To us.

They're calling the campaign NO EXCUSES. I signed up.

And on Tuesday of this week, I participated in a conference call with the HRC field team, to get the low-down. The brief. The best-practices advice.

And then, I called.

I live in Los Angeles, California, and am represented in Washington, D.C. by 3 gay-equality supportive elected officials:

Congressman Henry Waxman

Senator Barbara Boxer

Senator Diane Feinstein

All three are supportive of Gay Equality. Between the three of them, they even co-sponsor a number of the important Pro-Gay Equality Bills. But these bills need to come up in committee, pass committee, and get to the floor of both the house and senate to be voted on. Pro-Gay Equality Legislation needs to move FORWARD.


I called Congressman Waxman's office first. Asked to speak to the person in charge of scheduling meetings with his constituents. She wasn't available. I asked if there was an email address where I could send a written request. There was.

I sent an email letter, asking for a meeting.

I also called Senator Boxer and Senator Feinstein's offices in LA, and though neither of them meet with constituents in LA, they each have staff with whom I could meet, and who will hopefully pass on my praise and concerns. The Staff of our elected officials do most of the legwork for their bosses on the hundreds of pieces of legislation they have to deal with, and it's important to get our stories to them and through them, too.

I sent two more email letters, requesting face-to-face meetings.

Replies? Only one so far:

I heard back from Congressman Waxman's office with a last-minute meeting slot that had opened for Wednesday, but I couldn't make that timing work. I replied, asking for another time to meet.

All in all, it was a big week of starting out on this "My personal story being an important influence on my elected representatives" journey. It is time to MOVE mine-yours-our Gay Equality forward!


I'll let you know what happens next!


Wanna meet YOUR representative face-to-face, and move Pro-Gay equality legislation forward? Go to HRC's No Excuses website and sign up!


Anonymous said...

I want to do this too but neither of my senator's are at all pro-equality. So I'm a little more nervous. Tips?

Lee Wind, M.Ed. said...

It's funny because I wasn't sure I needed to do it because my senators are pro-equality for Gays. But it turns out, it's important to share our stories with our allies and those who we'd like to be our allies in the future. After all, it's a lot harder to discriminate against a vague "them" - and if you meet with your senators, and they see you're a real person, and that their actions affect you - sharing our stories can only move us all forward. I wish you much success and good fortune, as we walk together on the path to a better world! Namaste, Lee