October Newsletter

published on Oct 6, 2020 October Newsletter thumbnail
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Dear OUTWORDS community,

We hope, as always, that you and yours are as safe and well as is possible right now.

Election Day is exactly four weeks from today. Like most people, we have lots of opinions about particular candidates; but our strongest opinion is that more voters = better democracy. To that end, we share two resources:

Rideshare2Vote connects voters with rides to the polls and works to increase turnout; visit their website to request a ride or to volunteer in a number of ways.
When We All Vote is a nonpartisan organization working to get every eligible voter registered and ready to vote in each election; click here to learn more and get involved.

INVISIBLE NO MORE

On September 23, Celebrate Bisexuality Day, we were honored to produce a special online event entitled “Invisible No More”. If you missed it (or just want to watch it again!), click here. We are so grateful to Loraine Hutchins, Luigi Ferrer, ABilly Jones-Hennin, Lani Ka’ahumanu, and Robyn Ochs for spending an evening with us to talk about the bisexual activism movement’s past and future, among many other things.
Celebrate Bisexuality Day webinar panel
“Invisible No More” was part of OUTWORDS’ commitment to centering voices that are too often devalued, even within our own community. To that end, as mentioned before, OUTWORDS has signed the anti-racist small business pledge. Please stay tuned for an update on how we are fleshing out that pledge in our next newsletter.

Thank you, valued community member, for supporting our work in these important ways. We are seeking to be the change we want to see in the world, and we could not do it without you.

NEW ADDITIONS TO DIGITAL ARCHIVE

Your donations have also made it possible for us to upload a whole bunch of our timeless, priceless interviews to our digital archive, freely available to anyone, anywhere in the world (amazing!). Please take a minute to check out our newest additions including:

Jewelle Gomez: Lesbian Vampire Novelist
Over the course of her long career, Jewelle has written poetry, novels, plays, essays, short stories, and articles; but she is best known for her lesbian vampire novel The Gilda Stories(1991), .Taking place over two centuries, this extraordinary work follows protagonist Gilda on her journey from slavery to empowerment, mortality to immortality. Through Gilda, Gomez finds hope and potential for herself as a native American, African-America, lesbian on her journey through America’s queer community, and America itself.
Jewelle Gomez
  Gene La Pietra: Champion of the Excluded
Once a foster kid who no one wanted in Providence, Rhode Island, Gene La Pietra became one of the most important forces for LGBTQ inclusion that our community has ever known. He’s probably best known for founding Circus, LA’s first ‘all-inclusive’ gay nightclub, with his partner Ed. Eventually expanding to 36,000 square feet, Circus was a key birthplace for Los Angeles’ queer Latinx community. Civil rights and labor leader César Chávez even held a gathering at Circus in 1983 to train gay and lesbian activists on how to organize boycotts and raise money!
Gene La Pietra

Pat Hussain: Southerner on New Ground
Pat Hussain was born in Atlanta, Georgia in 1950, and came out as a lesbian in her late 20s. Throughout her life, Pat has been a relentless community organizer. She stuffed envelopes for the NAACP, co-founded the Atlanta chapter of GLAAD, helped the Gay and Lesbian Task Force prepare for the 1993 March on Washington, and was the Grand Marshall for the first Pride parade in Knoxville, Tennessee. In 1993, Pat joined five other women to found Southerners on New Ground (SONG), which fights for rural LGBT equality, and focuses on the intersections among different communities fighting for justice and peace.
Pat Hussain
  Stewart Butler: Faerie Playhouse Proprietor
Stewart Butler was born in Mobile, Alabama in 1930. After a long sojourn through the US Army, college in Alaska and law school in San Francisco, Stewart met his soulmate Alfred M. Doolittle in 1973. Tthey soon moved into a pink Creole cottage in New Orleans’ Tremé neighborhood, which they affectionately dubbed the Faerie Playhouse. Over the decades, Stewart helped found the Louisiana Gay Political Action Caucus (LAGPAC), co-chaired Louisiana’s annual LGBT conference, served on the board of directors for PFLAG, and fought tirelessly for legal protections for queer people. Stewart passed away in early 2020.
Stewart Butler

A NEW TOOL FOR SUPPORTING OUTWORDS

OUTWORDS is grateful to announce that we have just established a brokerage account to enable us to accept donations of appreciated securities. As you may know, this is an important tool for non-profit fundraising and sustainability. Individuals wishing to donate appreciated securities can receive the same tax benefits as for cash donations, while the non-profit receiving the donation can liquidate the stock (turning it into cash) without paying tax on the proceeds. For more information on how it works, click here. If you or someone you know is interested in supporting OUTWORDS in this manner, please feel free to reach out directly to executive director Mason Funk at mfunk@theoutwordsarchive.org.
OUTWORDS donation news
OUTWORDS OUTDOOR PLAYTIME!

The story of OUTWORDS’ journey through the coronavirus era includes having hired two new team members in February, just as the pandemic hit and we all went into isolation. Thanks to our donors, we have been able to keep these employees on payroll; but seven months later, we had team members who had still never met each other in person! A couple of Saturdays ago, we were able to remedy this forlorn situation with a festive, socially distant picnic at Vista Hermosa park near downtown LA. Babies and dogs made the event even more special! Please join us in celebrating this brief respite from the challenges of remote work.
L-R: Andrew Lush (tech director) and partner Alan, Carole and Florencia (editor) and twins, Tom Bliss (director of operations) and Cosmo (dog), Mason Funk (executive director), Axel Rivera-De Leon (intern), Rae MacCarthy (communications manager).
In closing, I’d like to share this quote from OUTWORDS interviewee Karen Clark, who until her retirement in 2018 from the Minnesota House of Representatives was the longest-serving state legislator in the US. At one point, Karen even represented the neighborhood where George Floyd was murdered four months ago.
Karen Clark
“Understanding that we are all part of one struggle is to me what makes life worth living; and without that, we will fail. We just will not have the community that we want, unless we really understand that our future and our stake in this struggle is deeply connected to the others who are dealing with racism, with homophobia of all kinds. People who are low income, who are homeless, who can't go to school, who have police brutality as part of their daily life, who are discriminated against just because of what they look like when they walk on the street or try to go into a job.
“We have leadership at the top that just is trying to erase all that. We cannot rest until we really win that battle of intersectionality, 'til we really win the connections that should not ever be broken.”

Thank you for all you each do, in your individual lives and communities, to stand with the people in our world who, too often and in countless ways, are marginalized and brutalized. And thank you for supporting OUTWORDS as we, too, engage in this quest.

Warm regards,

Mason Funk
Executive Director, OUTWORDS
The OUTWORDS channel on YouTube