Volume 23/Issue 7/2005
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Positive Changes Lead Gay Easter Parade
Raising Over $7,000 for Food For Friends
positive changes made by the Gay Easter Parade this year led a united Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender community in raising more than $7,000 for Food
For Friends. Food For Friends delivers more than 200 meals daily for people
living with HIV and AIDS. Upwards of 71,000 meals are delivered each year. A
food pantry supplements clients with nonperishable foods and personal care
For the first time, the parade, led by Easter
Grand Marshals VI James Swire and Lisa Beaumann, passed in front of every gay
bar which brought in broad based support for fund-raisers and parade related
events. The focus of the parade is now motivated towards it's fund-raising
efforts on behalf of Food For Friends. However, the parade this year has
stressed the involvement of the entire community making the parade for, by and
from the GLBT community. All of New Orleans can be proud of this tremendous
achievement. New Gay Easter Parade board members Tip Varnadore (aka Electra
City) and Gary Delaune (aka Tittie Toulouse) contributed greatly with their
outstanding contributions and talents, as well, on behalf of the parade.
The 6th annual Official New Orleans Gay Easter
Parade, presented by Ambush Mag and Queen Fashions, rolled through
the French Quarter on Easter Sunday, March 27. The parade boasted the New Birth
Brass Band, 13 motorcycles, 2 mini-floats, 1 marching group, 17 carriages, 1
wagon, 2 trolleys, 5 cars and 2 trucks. This year the board faced new challenges
including insuring the parade and running the parade in a more professional
manner. Due to restrictions on insurance requirements and the parade permit, the
Gay Easter Parade was unable to allow late entries into this year's spectacle.
Late applications included 6 more carriages, 12 cars, 3 trucks and 2 walking
groups. The parade showcases the culture, color and creativity of the GLBT
community. All proceeds minus expenses benefits Food For Friends. Once all funds
have been collected, the complete financial report will be released. Highlights
of the parade and it's last parties will be in the next Ambush.
The high profile personalities of past Easter
Grand Marshals have helped make the parade what it has become today including
EGMs V Brett Messmer & Princesse Stephaney, EGMs IV George Simons & Electra
City, EGMs III Timm Holt & Teryl-Lynn Foxx, EGMs II Larry Bagneris & the late
Miss Do Moreland, and EGMs I Rip & Marsha Naquin-Delain.
Special thanks to the entire community and to
all official parade sponsors for their outstanding generosity including:
• Platinum $1,000 • Electra City & Tittie
Toulouse, Cowpokes, Double Play, 4 Seasons, Rip & Marsha Naquin-Delain,
• Gold $500 • Phoenix, Pride Specialty,
Quartermaster: The Nellie Deli;
• Silver $250 • Zach Camardelle & Starr
Daniels, Jay Cooper & Gizelle Bouvier, Corner Pocket, Golden Lantern, Graham
Studio One, Oz New Orleans, Queen's Head Pub/Good Friends Bar, Starlight, Paul
• Bronze $100 • Craig Austin, Paul Davis &
Tami Tarmac, Andy & Phyllis Denmark, King Cake Queen Royalty Club, Krewe of
Mwindo, Doc Reed.
The current Board of Directors oversees all
activities, events, the selection of grand marshals and the parade route
associated with the parade and includes Rip & Marsha Naquin-Delain, and Electra
City & Tittie Toulouse. Visit
www.GayEasterParade.COM for additional information.
French Quarter Festival
experience the award-winning festival that is cherished by locals and visitors
from all over the globe.
Nearly 500,000 locals and visitors are
expected to fill the streets of the French Quarter Festival for the 22nd annual
French Quarter Festival April 8-10. Festival-goers will revel in the spirit of
New Orleans while enjoying a cultural showcase of the Crescent City’s finest
music and food as the soulful streets of the historic French Quarter transform
into the largest FREE music festival in Louisiana. Fifteen music stages
showcase the best in New Orleans music, representing every genre from gospel to
jazz, from Latin to classical, from Cajun & zydeco to brass band, while local
restaurants serve up the best cuisine New Orleans has to offer during The
World’s Largest Jazz Brunch. Children’s activities, fireworks, fun exhibits and
other festivities take place throughout the weekend.
Thanks to the generous support of our
corporate sponsors, entertainment sponsors, and community partners, there is no
admission fee to the festival. Thank you for keeping ice chests at home and for
supporting the French Quarter Festival, a non-profit organization since 1984.
For more information about French Quarter
Festival, please call 504.522.5730 or 800.673.5725 or visit
The mission of French Quarter Festivals, Inc.
is to promote the Vieux Carre and the City of New Orleans through high quality
special events and activities that showcase the culture and heritage of this
unique city, contribute to the economic well-being of the community, and instill
increased pride in the people of New Orleans.
Dragging For Dollars
Benefits Pride New Orleans
proud and support New Orleans Pride on Sun., April 10, 8pm, for Dragging
For Dollars at Starlight by the Park, 834 N. Rampart. Join New Orleans
Alliance of Pride at this kickoff fund-raiser featuring a line-up of the city's
finest entertainers! An evening of fun for only ten dollars! What a deal! See ya
Make your voice count! Attend the next
business meeting of the New Orleans Aliance of Pride Thurs. April 7, 7pm, at
Head Ink Salon, 816 North Rampart St.
NO/AIDS Task Force Hosts 3rd Saints &
Sinners Literary Festival & Kickoff Reading
and Sinners, is an alternative literary festival
for the LGBT community, their friends and anyone interested in reading and
writing. The weekend will include workshops, panel discussions, reading series,
book signings, and special events. Topics will range from building an author
website, to queer southern identity to the language of erotica.
The festival will be held Fri., May 13 to
Sun., May 15 in the Heart of the French Quarter, using Club 735 as headquarters,
where there will be readings, panels, and a bookfair. Other venues used will be
the Bourbon Pub and Napoleon’s Itch.
Presenters will include such nationally known
authors as: Jim Grimsley, Sarah Schulman, Tim Miller, John Morgon Wilson,
Patricia Nell Warren, Radclyffe, Al McDermid , M. Christian, Emanuel Xavier,
Ellen Hart and Patrick Califa. Many of New Orleans favorites will also be on
hand: Poppy Z. Brite, Kevin Allman, Kay Murphy, Greg Herren, J. M. Redmann,
Marty Ward and Patricia Brady.
The Festival will kickoff on Tues., April 12
at Garden District Bookstore from 6 – 8pm with a reading preview. Featured
authors to include: Greg Herren, J. M. Redmann, Scott Bailey, Marda Burton and
The festival has a two-fold purpose. One is to
raise funds for the NO/AIDS Task Force, a community based AIDS Service
Organization that serves the New Orleans area. The other goal of the event is to
serve as a community awareness forum, something to show another positive side of
the LGBTQ community. While there must be many facets to HIV prevention, one way
is to give the community other positive, healthy social outlets.
Other events for the weekend include a Friday
night kickoff party hosted by Ambush Mag, author dinners, a
performance by nationally renowned artist Tim Miller, and a closing reception
and awards ceremony hosted by the Bourbon Pub.
For further information, full schedule, and
registration go to
www.sasfest.com or call
the event line at 504.821.2601 x 250.
Reunion Pool Parties & 1 Mighty Party
Weekend Passport Now Available
Party and Reunion Events promoter Johnny Chisholm will offer the 1 Mighty
Passport weekend package during Gay Day events at Disney. Three days of REUNION
pool parties plus Saturday night’s The Return of 1 Mighty Party are included in
the package for $120.
REUNION, the weekend pool parties at the
Wyndham Palace Resort will highlight world-class DJ’s starting with SPLASH! At
noon Friday featuring DJs Jon Herseth and Kimberly S. Saturday kicks off early
with ONE! showcasing the talents of Orlando-native Doug Healy (11am), followed
by REUNION 8 with DJ Don Bishop (1pm-6pm). DJ Warren Gluck of Atlanta
presides over LEGACY, the Sunday tea dance starting at 12 noon.
Saturday night, 1 Mighty Party at Disney/MGM
Studios opens with a pre-party at 9:30 with an open bar and a chance to ride
Star Tours. At 10pm, DJs Tracy Young and Alyson Calagna will pack two separate
dance floors with the best beats in town. Rides will be open all night and look
for the largest fireworks display ever at a circuit event.
Advance purchase tickets for 1 Mighty Passport
include 1 Mighty Party and 3 days of REUNION pool parties for only $120. 1 Might
Party tickets are $85 each. Reunion pool parties will be held at the Wyndham
Palace Resort. Reunion Pool Party passes (pool parties only) are $53 for all
three. Save $18 when you buy the complete Passport! Tickets and Passports can be
purchased on-line at
Individual event tickets will also be
available at the Gay Day World Welcome Center in the Wyndham Palace Resort. Any
remaining tickets to individual pool parties will be sold daily at the door of
these events. Additional information can be found at
www.gaydayevents.com or by calling
Ogden Museum of Southern Art presents Hands of Generations:
Recent Works by Nene Humphrey
New Orleans – "I see the hand as a metaphor
for tool, for
portrait, for the way we leave our mark in the world,"
wrote Nene Humphrey in her journal. The Ogden Museum of Southern Art presents an
exhibition of recent works by Humphrey celebrating the theme of hands and the
art of family.
Hands of Generations: Recent Works by Nene
Humphrey is being displayed in the Museum’s Andrews Humphrey Family Gallery. The
exhibition, which will remain on display through July, 2005, includes
photography, mixed-media drawings and sculpture.
Humphrey, was born in Wisconsin and received a
BA from St. Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana, an MA from Goddard College,
Boston, and an MFA from York University in Toronto. She has taught at the Rhode
Island School of Design, Parson’s and Princeton University. Humphrey is a
resident-artist at the prestigious Hambidge Center in Rabun Gap, Georgia, and
maintains a studio in Georgia, as well as in Brooklyn, New York. She is
collaborating on a series of projects with the Mississippi Museum of Art,
Jackson, and her work is a part of the on-going series of works presented in the
Ogden Museum’s Andrews Humphrey Family Gallery.
A sculptor, photographer and installation
artist, Humphrey has earned national praise for her mixed media work exploring
the tradition of women’s domestic arts. She works from a strong material base
exploring the properties in common materials, transforming those materials into
mixed-media sculpture that explore process and idea.
Although her work is constantly evolving,
Humphrey has always explored the body as the primary vehicle through which one
experiences the world both psychologically and physically. She is particularly
intrigued by hands. "I think a lot about touch and how we first know the world
through touch, and how we know the world through our hands," she wrote in her
journal. "Indeed, the hand can struggle with manual labor; it can build,
comfort, express patience, and reveal anger. And touch represents the
fundamental language by which we receive the world. Everything revolves around
tactility," she added.
In conjunction with the exhibition, Museum
visitors will have the opportunity to meet Humphrey and create their own work in
multi-media photography in the artist’s style. Humphrey will be a guest at the
Museum’s Ogden After Hours for Teachers on Thurs., March 31, where she will
offer a presentation on her work at 6:30pm in the Orientation Theater, followed
by a gallery talk in the Andrews Humphrey Family Gallery, surrounded by her
work. On Sun., April 3, the artist will lead a Discover the Southern Artist in
You workshop, demonstrating to participants her method in manipulating
photography, specifically of hands, to create a mixed-media drawing. The
workshop will take place at The Ogden Annex @ Lee Circle from 2 – 4pm.
The exhibition is being presented with the
support of the Kohlmeyer Circle, the Museum’s membership group of art
enthusiasts ages 21 – 45.
The Ogden Museum of Southern Art, University
of New Orleans, is home to the largest and most comprehensive collection of
Southern Art in the world. The first museum in Louisiana to be designated an
Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, it is located at 925 Camp Street in
the New Orleans Warehouse District. More than a Museum, it is also a place
dedicated to the celebration of Southern culture, including literature, music
and food. The Museum’s hours are Tuesday-Sunday, 9:30am until 5:30pm and until
8:30pm on Thursdays.
The Ogden Museum of Southern Art, University
of New Orleans is open in the Warehouse Arts District. The new five-story
contemporary building, Stephen Goldring Hall, opened on August 23, 2003. The
restored Patrick F. Taylor Library, and the Clementine Hunter Wing is scheduled
to open in 2005. For more information call 504.539.9600 or visit the Web site at
Apology, Reversal A Positive Step
- The Human Rights Campaign commended San Diego Bishop Robert Brom for his
apology and reversal in refusing to perform Catholic funeral rites for John
McCusker. As reported in the Associated Press, Bishop Brom denied rites to
McCusker in order to avoid "public scandal" because the man owned a gay
"Admitting mistakes is an act of great courage
and an important moral responsibility," said Winnie Stachelberg, vice president
of the HRC Foundation. "We hope that Mr. McCusker’s family comes to a place of
understanding with their faith and are able to find healing and solace in their
time of need."
"It is encouraging that the Bishop recognizes
the importance of faith in all peoples’ lives. We hope the McCusker family now
will find the solace they need in the arms of their church," continued Ms.
After Bishop Brom’s blanket denial of Catholic
funeral rites, arrangements were made for services to be held at the Episcopal
Cathedral of St. Paul in San Diego over the weekend. The service was attended by
more than 500 family, friends and community members.
Homophobia Runs Rampant in Retirement
month’s edition of 50plus Online Magazine (www.50plusMag.com)
continues to distinguish itself from other sites directed to the 50+/senior
audience by focusing on contemporary issues and viewing them from a 50+
50plus Online Magazine
organized another round table discussion with older gays and lesbians. Their
ages were between 58 and 73. The topic was homophobia and its presence in senior
facilities. Some spoke from experience, others from hearsay.
They all agreed that it didn’t make a
difference whether they had been out and living openly before, if they let
anyone know about their sexual orientation they were asking for trouble.
One elderly man said that it was shocking that
in some of those retirement homes, homophobia runs rampant, especially among the
He said that when a gay person goes to visit
another gay person in a nursing home, it’s in everyone’s best interest to act
straight-like any other visitor. The fear of being discriminated against is very
Another gentleman said that he thought that it
was much easier for normal looking gay people-those who could pass for straight.
The ones that find it really difficult are the women who are masculine and the
men who are feminine.
50plus Online Magazine
never shies away from controversy, says Editor Gary Geyer. (like
our siding with AARP, against President Bush’s privatization plan for Social
Security) "We have always said there is more to our demographic than Davy
Crockett hats, arthritis and dentures," adds Geyer.
"Sometimes we’re serious and sometimes we’re
funny or irreverent," says Geyer, "but we are always interesting, entertaining
In the current edition of 50plus Online
Magazine, in addition to the forum on "Homophobia in Retirement
Communities," there are new articles on "Snoring and Ways to Reduce it," and
"Adopting a Child When You are Past 50."
The 50+ celebrity featured in this edition is
Dennis Quaid, who barely made the 50+ cut having just turned 50 last April.
Dennis had it all: Drug addiction, a bad marriage and a failing career. The
tabloids aren’t too happy that that’s all behind him now.
California State Court Says Same-Sex
Couples Must Be Allowed To Marry
Francisco - A California state trial court ruled that same-sex couples must be
allowed to marry, in a decision that Lambda Legal called "a historic
breakthrough for couples who need the protections and security marriage
In a 27-page decision issued in San Francisco,
California Superior Court Judge Richard Kramer said that lesbian and gay
people’s basic rights are violated if they aren’t allowed to marry. The decision
said the California Constitution requires same-sex couples to have equal access
to marriage, and that the couples represented by Lambda Legal, NCLR and the ACLU
must be given marriage licenses.
"We’re still a little stunned? but we’re
overjoyed," said Lancy Woo, a 38-year-old lifelong San Francisco resident who is
the lead plaintiff in the case with her partner, Cristy Chung, 40. "Our
six-year-old daughter, Olivia, is just beginning to understand how the world
works, and we can’t wait to talk with her about today’s ruling. We’ve always
taught that her that our family is based on love, just like other families, and
this ruling confirms that our family shouldn’t be treated any differently by our
"This is a historic ruling that says the
freedoms guaranteed in our state’s Constitution belong to all Californians,"
said Jennifer C. Pizer, Senior Counsel for Lambda Legal in the Western Regional
Office and its lead attorney on the case. "The court recognized that same-sex
couples aren’t treated equally under the law unless we can marry. This ruling
says that same-sex couples deserve all the protections and security marriage
provides and that we’re entitled to get them the same way straight couples do."
In the ruling, Judge Kramer said California
laws that prohibit same-sex couples from marrying violate people’s fundamental
rights. "Simply put, same-sex marriage cannot be prohibited solely because
California has always done so before," Kramer’s ruling said. The decision also
said, "The idea that marriage-like rights without marriage is adequate smacks of
a concept long rejected by the courts: separate but equal." Judge Kramer will
hold a hearing on March 30 to finalize the ruling, and the state can then appeal
Appointed by Republican Governor Pete Wilson
in 1996, Judge Kramer has handled both civil and criminal cases in California
Superior Court. Before becoming a jurist, Judge Kramer specialized in banking
litigation for 25 years.
Five of the 12 couples who are plaintiffs in
the case had appointments to be married in San Francisco last year but were
turned away after the state Supreme Court ordered the city to stop issuing
marriage licenses to same-sex couples. From February 12 to March 11, 2004, the
City of San Francisco issued marriage licenses to same-sex couples after Mayor
Gavin Newsom determined that the state Constitution’s guarantees of equality and
due process required him to issue licenses to same-sex couples. The state’s high
court eventually ruled that Newsom did not have the authority to issue marriage
licenses to same-sex couples before the state courts had reviewed the
constitutionality of the law limiting licenses to different-sex couples only,
and invalidated the marriages of over 4,000 same-sex couples.
"It’s particularly rewarding to get this
ruling just a year after thousands of same-sex couples came forward and took
their marriage vows in San Francisco. Right after officials stopped issuing
marriage licenses in San Francisco last March, we filed this lawsuit to resolve
this once and for all for lesbian and gay couples statewide," Pizer said. "We
sought full marriage ? nothing more and nothing less ? and that’s what we got
with this ruling. This is a powerful decision that’s legally solid and
well-grounded in the California Constitution."
Lambda Legal, NCLR and the ACLU filed the
lawsuit last year seeking marriage licenses for same-sex couples in California,
arguing that denying marriage to same-sex couples violates the state
Constitution’s guarantees of equality, liberty, privacy and expression for all
Californians. In addition to a diverse group of lesbian and gay couples, the
case includes Our Families Coalition and Equality California, agencies that
educate the public about why same-sex couples need equal freedom to get married.
The case was the first of its kind to be filed in California since the
Massachusetts high court ruled that same-sex couples are entitled to full
marriage under that state’s Constitution.
Last month, Lambda Legal won a similar trial
court decision in New York which says that state’s Constitution requires New
York City to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The city appealed that
ruling directly to New York’s highest court. Lambda Legal is awaiting a decision
from a mid-level state appeals court in New Jersey in a similar case seeking
marriage equality. On March 8, Lambda Legal and the Northwest Women’s Law Center
argued at the Washington Supreme Court in a case seeking marriage for same-sex
couples under the Washington Constitution; the trial court in that case ruled
last summer that gay couples must be allowed to marry.
In addition to Pizer, Jon Davidson, Legal
Director at Lambda Legal, is handling the case, Woo, et al. v. Lockyer, et al.
Other attorneys on the case include: Courtney Joslin and Shannon Minter at lead
counsel National Center for Lesbian Rights; Christine Sun and Alan Schlosser at
the ACLU of Northern California; Peter Eliasberg at the ACLU of Southern
California; Stephen Bomse, Richard Denatale and Christopher Stoll at Heller
Ehrman White and McAuliffe; Dena Narbaitz and Clyde Wadsworth at Steefel Levitt
& Weiss; and David C. Codell.
Conference To Cover Education & Advocacy
for Black Lesbians
Dallas - The Zuna
Institute will convene the 3rd National Black Lesbian Conference (NBLC) April
7-10 in Dallas, Texas. Appropriately themed, "Taking Charge: Health, Community
and Family," the conference will have workshops and forums that focus on
education and advocacy within the Black Lesbian diaspora as well as provide a
national voice on gay and lesbian issues. Over five hundred women are expected
to attend this year’s conference.
Hosted locally by Dallas Black Lesbian group
Women of Distinction, the NBLC will bring together Black Lesbians from around
the country ranging in age from 18 to 80. Topics to be discussed during the
conference include public policy, marriage, grassroots organizing, health,
religion/spirituality, economic development, media advocacy and more. Guest
speakers include Dallas local community activists Felicia Miller and Doris G.
Beckard, media activist Jasmyne Cannick (Los Angeles), Atlanta activist Zandra
R. Conway, New York’s Samiya Bashir, HRCs Donna Payne (Washington) and political
strategist Courtney Snowden (Washington). In addition to the workshops and panel
discussions, there will be a film festival with a focus on Black Lesbians, an
evening of spoken word, a performance by comedian Karen Williams, and a gospel
brunch featuring keynote speaker Bishop Yvette Flunder, presiding pastor of San
Francisco’s City of Refuge Church.
Events and activities open to the public
include a banquet hosted by the NBLC on Saturday, April 9th. Tickets are $75 and
can be purchased by calling 916.419.5075. Local and national community
organizations are invited to attend the banquet.
The Hilton Dallas Lincoln Centre will serve as
the host hotel. Registrations and vendor applications are still being accepted.
To register for the conference, please visit
www.zunainstitute.org or call
The NBLC is sponsored by the National Center
For Lesbian Rights, Human Rights Campaign, National Black Justice Coalition,
Black AIDS Institute, and the HaHa Institute.
This year’s planning committee includes
Vallerie Wagner of Los Angeles, Zandra R. Conway of Atlanta, Wendy Herndon of
Oakland, Cynthia Walston and Joi Rhone of Sacramento and Felicia Miller and
Michelle Carter of Dallas.
For more information and a complete schedule
of planned events, please visit
Minister Denounces Southern Baptist
Convention’s Anti-Gay Marriage Stance
Southern Baptist Convention’s scriptural ignorance only undercuts their message.
The only thing you’ll learn about marriage from reading the Bible is just how
much it has changed with shifting cultural morals." - Reverend Steven Baines
On March 9, the Southern Baptist Convention
released the "Nashville Declaration on ‘Same-sex Marriage,’" in which it stated
its opposition to same-sex marriage based on what it called, "the biblical
teaching that God designed marriage as a lifetime union of one man and one
woman." Reverend Steven Baines, an elder in the Disciples of Christ and member
of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Religious Leadership Roundtable
responds with the following statement:
"As an elder in the Christian Church
(Disciples of Christ) and a former Southern Baptist minister, I am saddened and
disappointed that leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention continue to present
their discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans in
the guise of compassion.
While they conclude that, "marriage is a
lifetime union of one man and one woman, according to the Bible, and may not be
redefined," these so-called Biblical literalists ignore the fact that marriage
in the Bible has been used to justify ownership of concubines in the case of
Abraham (Genesis 16: 3), an excuse for extravagant polygamy in the case of King
Solomon (1 Kings 11:1-3) and as a desperate, but inferior, alternative to
burning in lustful celibacy in the case of the Apostle Paul (1 Corinthians 7:
Their scriptural ignorance only undercuts
their message. The only thing you’ll learn about marriage from reading the Bible
is just how much it has changed with shifting cultural morals.
Instead of packaging a clever marketing
campaign of a kindler, gentler homophobia, they could have shown real compassion
to the gay community by concentrating on the "love ethic" that is the foundation
of both the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures. Instead, they support a federal
marriage amendment that would block thousands of American families from the
responsibilities and protections they need for their stability and security. No
thanks, Southern Baptist leaders, I will continue to stand on a Gospel of
advocating for the marginalized and oppressed."
First convened in 1998, the National Religious
Leadership Roundtable of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is an
interfaith collaboration of more than forty denominations and faith-related
organizations. The Roundtable seeks to reframe the public religious dialogue on
issues involving the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community by
amplifying the voices of LGBT-affirming people of faith, countering religious
voices of bigotry and intolerance, and working to advance full equality for all.
Jury Awards Thousands to Former Lesbian
UPS Worker in Sexual Harassment Case
Francisco - An openly lesbian former United Parcel Service (UPS) worker was
awarded $63,000 in her hostile work environment sexual harassment suit against
the world’s largest package delivery company.
The jury concluded that the 14-year UPS
veteran experienced severe, widespread and persistent harassment that created a
hostile and abusive work environment, which ultimately led to her wrongful
"The outcome of this case sends a clear
message to UPS and the rest of corporate America that harassment based on gender
stereotypes will not be tolerated," said attorney Waukeen Q. McCoy of the Law
Offices of Waukeen Q. McCoy, who represents the plaintiff in this case.
"Discrimination in the workplace must stop, and stop now. We will continue to
fight this case against UPS at the appellate level."
The case, which was argued in San Francisco
Superior Court, focused on Kathy Hoskins’ complaint of persistent harassment by
coworkers and supervisors about her appearance. She also was denied new work
equipment and other uniform and safety equipment that was readily available to
male employees. Hoskins is an African-American woman whose gender presentation
does not fit the stereotypical feminine model.
"According to my former supervisor, I wasn’t
‘feminine’ enough," said Hoskins, who worked at a UPS facility in San Bruno from
September 1988 to February 2003 as a package car driver.
Ms. Hoskins was one of only four women out of
a total of 56 employees that worked at the San Bruno facility. The supervisor
who was the primary source of the disparaging comments and actions did not hire
a woman during his five-year tenure at that facility and promoted only one in
his entire 22-year management career.
"UPS should take the court’s judgment
seriously and enforce policies that provide a safe and equitable work
environment where every employee can perform their job free from discrimination
and harassment," said McCoy.
"This judgment is a huge step forward for
women everywhere who want to be judged for the quality of their work, not how
they express their gender or how feminine they can appear," said Riki Wilchins,
executive director of the Gender Public Advocacy Coalition (GenderPAC), a
nonprofit group in Washington, DC that fights discrimination and violence caused
by gender stereotypes. "Kathy Hoskins’ case is emblematic of a wider trend
toward zero tolerance of gender harassment in the workplace that’s not only
taking place in the courts, but in state and local legislatures and corporate
America as well."
In the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender
(LGBT) community, the term "gender identity" refers to employee’s inner sense of
being male or female, while "gender expression" refers to how they manifest it
through clothing, dress, or behavior.
According to the GenderPAC Web site, only a decade ago
virtually no major corporation had added "gender identity and expression" in its
Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) polices. Yet in 2004, 27 major corporations
did so – up from 13 in 2003. Altogether, a total of 63 major corporations have
passed such policies. UPS’s Web site does not indicate such a policy.
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