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Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Outfront Minnesota and Readers Respond

Markh said...
so... Outfront MN raises funds from the gay community because.....



(it's hard to hear anything with the noise of the crickets)

8:57 PM

Jo Marsicano said...
OutFront Minnesota raises funds from the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community because our organization works year round advocating for this community.

This year, for instance, our legal program worked with elected officials in the City of Minnetonka to revise an ordinance that penalized people for being in the "wrong" bathroom - obviously creating potential hazards for our transgender brothers and sisters. You now cannot be arrested just because someone thinks you're the "wrong" gender for the bathroom you're in. Our Anti-Violence program provided referrals, helped get orders for protection, and provided direct one-on-one counseling for GLBT members who were victims of domestic violence and hate or bias crimes. We went all over the state co-sponsoring screenings and post-film discussions of "For the Bible Tells Me So" - helping people talk more meaningfully about the intersection of religion and sexual orientation, and about 1,000people in all attended these events.

Our training and education team went to public schools, universities, correctional facilities, police academies, churches, and workplaces to facilitate positive, constructive conversations about sexual orientation and the way it plays out in all areas of our political and social life.

We worked with state lawmakers to again advance bills to improve the lives of GLBT people including the local government domestic partner bill. We conduct the largest GLBT lobby day in the country and have every year increased attendance at this event, reminding lawmakers and reaffirming for them that they have GLBT constituents and that their votes on our issues matter. In addition, 54% of OutFront Minnesota Action-endorsed candidates won their races for election or re-election, helping our community rely on a fair-minded majority at the legislature.

The grassroots organizing OutFront Minnesota has been doing is necessary in order to get marriage equality passed by the legislature in our state. We talk to 25,000 each year all over Minnesota to lay the groundwork for this change.

OutFront Minnesota is proud of the work we do on behalf of our community. Vocal criticism of the organization helps us stay on our toes, always looking for ways we can do better.

We also acknowledge that given the diverse views of our community, there will at times be disagreement with our approach, tactics, or strategies.

In turn, however, we must disagree with those who claim that we "do nothing." Our donors, members, volunteers, and straight allies would also disagree with this assertion, as would the hundreds of individuals and organizations who contact us every year for assistance, information, referrals, and guidance on a host of issues related to the work of pursuing equality for GLBT people.

We are grateful for forums like Lloydletta's Nooz for enabling the community to discuss these issues with vigor.

Jo Marsicano
Communications Director
OutFront Minnesota

10:09 AM

DavidD said...
Well Praise Be To Jesus! We've solved the bathroom problems of transgender people.

OutFront needs to grow a pair. And Jo, don't even think about eviscerating me for saying "grow a pair" like you did to Eva the last time she said that about OutFront.

You are nothing but shills for the do nothing DFL. OutFront can blow me for all it's worth.

For the record, I am impressed by Outfront Minnesota's legal and anti-violence program. I've always been very unimpressed by their lobbying efforts. I have never understood the point of continuing to contract with C Scott Cooper as a lobbyist.

I believe the gay community would be better served by a new group that would work on lobbying the legislature.

It's true I was scolded by Jo Marsicano for using the term "grow a pair." This was when I sent an email to a number of legislators. Among them was Mindy Greiling. Greiling wrote back - and didn't appear offended at all by the use of the term.


Markh said...

I'd concur with DavidD....

The DFL rolled over very quickly on the municipal domestic partners legislation... nothing new there.

At the mere mention of a veto, we're thrown under the bus, rally or no rally. Make some actual demands of the politicians who grin and wave at us during the Pride Parade... and take our money.

With a solid majority in the Senate, and a near veto-proof majority in the House, this is not a year to be shy or timid. Put the bills up for a vote, and see what happens.

Jo Marsicano said...

OutFront Minnesota is the leader in our state in lobbying our lawmakers on GLBT issues. We are the only GLBT organization lobbying full time while the legislature is in session every year. We've worked with lawmakers and candidates in the DFL, Republican, Green, and Independence parties. These relationships resulted in forward-moving bills being introduced, receiving bipartisan support, getting committee hearings, passing the floor, and going to the governor’s desk in each of the last two years. Some of the bills were vetoed and others didn’t make it to the governor’s desk. Some in our community are dissatisfied with these results and the tactics used, and we understand those sentiments. However, it is simply untrue that the lawmakers you refer to are “do nothing.” The lobbyist we worked with to advance positive bills in 2007, C. Scott Cooper, did an outstanding job as did our legislative allies, working closely with us to be able to consider – for the first time in years – legislation that moves our community forward rather than having to beat back the attack of the constitutional amendment. The process at the state capitol can seem slow, inefficient and unfair and we appreciate those who want more and who want it faster. We will continue to work closely with our allies, building and expanding on these relationships so that when we have a fair-minded governor, the legislation can actually become law.

As for the term “grow a pair,” OutFront Minnesota takes the position that sexism and misogyny are as big a problem as homophobia, and this phrase expresses a sentiment disrespectful to women, including lesbians and transgender women. We strive for our political discourse to be rigorous but we avoid unnecessary and hurtful terms such as this.

Thanks to Lloydletta’s Nooz for this forum to debate and discuss these issues.

Jo Marsicano
Communications Director
OutFront Minnesota

Markh said...

Why don't these great 'allies' hold their ground when bills go to conference committee?

Why don't we insist that gay questions be part of stand-alone bills, so we can get a clean vote?

When gay-friendly language is buried in some big omnibus bill, and the battle to get it signed fires up, the gay language is the first thing that is deleted. The DFL majority doesn't want to be blamed for major programs not getting funded... we're an easily discarded bargaining chip.

It happens over and over again.

You can't blame it all on a popular governor... the DFL could be told to hold some ground when it comes to the homos.

Markh said...

and one more thing...

for those of you keeping score at home re: what bills are actually sigbed into law in St Paul

The Minnesota Family Council is far more effective at holding ground that Outfront.

They don't let their allies back down.