Tag Archives: press release

May 17th is the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia

May 17th is the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia

The International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO) is celebrated every May 17th and  is coordinated by the Paris-based “IDAHO Committee,” founded and presided by French academic Louis-Georges Tin.

The day aims to coordinate international events to garner support for the respect of lesbians, gay and transgender rights worldwide.

The idea of the Day was launched in 2004. The date of May 17 was chosen to commemorate the World Health Organization’s decision to remove homosexuality from the list of mental disorders in 1990.

By May 17, 2005, as a result of a year-long campaigning effort, 24,000 people worldwide, and well-known international organizations like ILGA, IGLHRC, the World Congress of LGBT Jews, and the Coalition of African Lesbians, had signed the appeal to support the IDAHO initiative..

Organizations in more than 70 countries in the world now include the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia as part of their annual mobilization plan. In some of them, the Day has become the major focal point of action.

IDAHO has now been officially recognized by the EU Parliament, Spain, Belgium, the UK, Mexico, Costa Rica, the Netherlands, France, Luxembourg and Brazil. It is also recognized by numerous local authorities across the world, such as the province of Quebec or the city of Buenos Aires.

Please  do your part.  Now more than ever. PLEASE  stand up and speak out against Homophobia and Transphobia wherever and whenever you see it.

Will Kohler

Republican's 2020 Anti-LGBT Platform Pushed by the Family Research Council and Eagle Forum

FRC’s Tony Perkins Jumps For Joy Over Donald Trump’s Latest Anti-Trans Move

Via press release from Family Research Council hate group leader Tony Perkins:

This isn’t exactly the age of responsible journalism — so this weekend’s New York Times probably doesn’t surprise anyone. But for every American sick of fake news (and according to polls, that’s everyone), Sunday’s headline was one for the record books. “‘Transgender’ Could Be Defined out of Existence under Trump Administration,” the banner read, triggering mass hysteria in liberal quarters across the country. There’s just one problem: not one bit of it is true.

No one is “defining transgenders out of existence.” What President Trump is doing is following the law — which, after eight years of Barack Obama’s overreach, is suddenly a shocking concept. Under the last administration, liberals were so used to the president twisting the rules to suit the Left’s agenda that it’s news when Donald Trump decides to operate within the plain text of law. As far as the New York Times is concerned, the most “drastic” thing any president could do is bring America back in line with legal statutes. And this non-story that’s setting the far-Left’s hair on fire is nothing more than that.

In Sunday’s piece, a trio of reporters argues that the Trump administration is disenfranchising people by defining gender as it always has been: a “biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth.” No one is quite sure how that’s radical, since it’s how the law has been understood both before and since 1964. Not a single president questioned it until Obama, who decided that he didn’t care what the Civil Rights Act said. He was going to “reinterpret” the 54-year-old law on “sex” discrimination to mean “sexual orientation” and gender identity too.

The Times’ agenda is obvious — painting Trump as the extremist, when the real radicalism was ignoring the law in the first place. Well, reporters may be out of practice with the truth these days, but it’s time they came to grips with one important reality. The president is not a legislator, no matter how much Obama acted like one. If they want America to change the way it defines discrimination, they need to start by asking the right branch of government.

Tony Perkins is the embodiment of the reality that “Christian” “conservatism” is not about the Bible or the Constitution – it’s about hatred and cruelty.

READ The "Official" Letter AG Eric Holder Sent To Congress Declaring That The US Goverment Will No Longer Defend DOMA

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE AG
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2011 (202) 514-2007
http://www.justice.gov/ TDD (202) 514-1888

LETTER FROM THE ATTORNEY GENERAL TO CONGRESS ON LITIGATION INVOLVING THE DEFENSE OF MARRIAGE ACT

WASHINGTON The Attorney General sent the following letter today to Congressional leadership to inform them of the Department’s course of action in two lawsuits, Pedersen v. OPM and Windsor v. United States, challenging Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage for federal purposes as only between a man and a woman.

The Honorable John A. Boehner
Speaker
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

Re: Defense of Marriage Act

Dear Mr. Speaker:

After careful consideration, including review of a recommendation from me, the President of the United States has made the determination that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”), 1 U.S.C. § 7, as applied to same-sex couples who are legally married under state law, violates the equal protection component of the Fifth Amendment. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 530D, I am writing to advise you of the Executive Branch’s determination and to inform you of the steps the Department will take in two pending DOMA cases to implement that determination.

While the Department has previously defended DOMA against legal challenges involving legally married same-sex couples, recent lawsuits that challenge the constitutionality of DOMA Section 3 have caused the President and the Department to conduct a new examination of the defense of this provision. In particular, in November 2011, plaintiffs filed two new lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of Section 3 of DOMA in jurisdictions without precedent on whether sexual-orientation classifications are subject to rational basis review or whether they must satisfy some form of heightened scrutiny. Windsor v. United States, No. 1:10-cv-8435 (S.D.N.Y.); Pedersen v. OPM, No. 3:10-cv-1750 (D. Conn.). Previously, the Administration has defended Section 3 in jurisdictions where circuit courts have already held that classifications based on sexual orientation are subject to rational basis review, and it has advanced arguments to defend DOMA Section 3 under the binding standard that has applied in those cases.

These new lawsuits, by contrast, will require the Department to take an affirmative position on the level of scrutiny that should be applied to DOMA Section 3 in a circuit without binding precedent on the issue. As described more fully below, the President and I have concluded that classifications based on sexual orientation warrant heightened scrutiny and that, as applied to same-sex couples legally married under state law, Section 3 of DOMA is unconstitutional.

Standard of Review

The Supreme Court has yet to rule on the appropriate level of scrutiny for classifications based on sexual orientation. It has, however, rendered a number of decisions that set forth the criteria that should inform this and any other judgment as to whether heightened scrutiny applies: (1) whether the group in question has suffered a history of discrimination; (2) whether individuals “exhibit obvious, immutable, or distinguishing characteristics that define them as a discrete group”; (3) whether the group is a minority or is politically powerless; and (4) whether the characteristics distinguishing the group have little relation to legitimate policy objectives or to an individual’s “ability to perform or contribute to society.” See Bowen v. Gilliard, 483 U.S. 587, 602-03 (1987); City of Cleburne v. Cleburne Living Ctr., 473 U.S. 432, 441-42 (1985).

Each of these factors counsels in favor of being suspicious of classifications based on sexual orientation. First and most importantly, there is, regrettably, a significant history of purposeful discrimination against gay and lesbian people, by governmental as well as private entities, based on prejudice and stereotypes that continue to have ramifications today. Indeed, until very recently, states have “demean[ed] the[] existence” of gays and lesbians “by making their private sexual conduct a crime.” Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558, 578 (2003).

Second, while sexual orientation carries no visible badge, a growing scientific consensus accepts that sexual orientation is a characteristic that is immutable, see Richard A. Posner, Sex and Reason 101 (1992); it is undoubtedly unfair to require sexual orientation to be hidden from view to avoid discrimination, see Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010, Pub. L. No. 111-321, 124 Stat. 3515 (2010).

Third, the adoption of laws like those at issue in Romer v. Evans, 517 U.S. 620 (1996), and Lawrence, the longstanding ban on gays and lesbians in the military, and the absence of federal protection for employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation show the group to have limited political power and “ability to attract the [favorable] attention of the lawmakers.” Cleburne, 473 U.S. at 445. And while the enactment of the Matthew Shepard Act and pending repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell indicate that the political process is not closed entirely to gay and lesbian people, that is not the standard by which the Court has judged “political powerlessness.” Indeed, when the Court ruled that gender-based classifications were subject to heightened scrutiny, women already had won major political victories such as the Nineteenth Amendment (right to vote) and protection under Title VII (employment discrimination).

Finally, there is a growing acknowledgment that sexual orientation “bears no relation to ability to perform or contribute to society.” Frontiero v. Richardson, 411 U.S. 677, 686 (1973) (plurality). Recent evolutions in legislation (including the pending repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell), in community practices and attitudes, in case law (including the Supreme Court’s holdings in Lawrence and Romer), and in social science regarding sexual orientation all make clear that sexual orientation is not a characteristic that generally bears on legitimate policy objectives. See, e.g., Statement by the President on the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010 (“It is time to recognize that sacrifice, valor and integrity are no more defined by sexual orientation than they are by race or gender, religion or creed.”)

To be sure, there is substantial circuit court authority applying rational basis review to sexual-orientation classifications. We have carefully examined each of those decisions. Many of them reason only that if consensual same-sex sodomy may be criminalized under Bowers v. Hardwick, then it follows that no heightened review is appropriate – a line of reasoning that does not survive the overruling of Bowers in Lawrence v. Texas, 538 U.S. 558 (2003). Others rely on claims regarding “procreational responsibility” that the Department has disavowed already in litigation as unreasonable, or claims regarding the immutability of sexual orientation that we do not believe can be reconciled with more recent social science understandings. And none engages in an examination of all the factors that the Supreme Court has identified as relevant to a decision about the appropriate level of scrutiny. Finally, many of the more recent decisions have relied on the fact that the Supreme Court has not recognized that gays and lesbians constitute a suspect class or the fact that the Court has applied rational basis review in its most recent decisions addressing classifications based on sexual orientation, Lawrence and Romer. But neither of those decisions reached, let alone resolved, the level of scrutiny issue because in both the Court concluded that the laws could not even survive the more deferential rational basis standard.

Application to Section 3 of DOMA

In reviewing a legislative classification under heightened scrutiny, the government must establish that the classification is “substantially related to an important government objective.” Clark v. Jeter, 486 U.S. 456, 461 (1988). Under heightened scrutiny, “a tenable justification must describe actual state purposes, not rationalizations for actions in fact differently grounded.” United States v. Virginia , 518 U.S. 515, 535-36 (1996). “The justification must be genuine, not hypothesized or invented post hoc in response to litigation.” Id. at 533.

In other words, under heightened scrutiny, the United States cannot defend Section 3 by advancing hypothetical rationales, independent of the legislative record, as it has done in circuits where precedent mandates application of rational basis review. Instead, the United States can defend Section 3 only by invoking Congress’ actual justifications for the law.

Moreover, the legislative record underlying DOMA’s passage contains discussion and debate that undermines any defense under heightened scrutiny. The record contains numerous expressions reflecting moral disapproval of gays and lesbians and their intimate and family relationships – precisely the kind of stereotype-based thinking and animus the Equal Protection Clause is designed to guard against. See Cleburne, 473 U.S. at 448 (“mere negative attitudes, or fear” are not permissible bases for discriminatory treatment); see also Romer, 517 U.S. at 635 (rejecting rationale that law was supported by “the liberties of landlords or employers who have personal or religious objections to homosexuality”); Palmore v. Sidotti, 466 U.S. 429, 433 (1984) (“Private biases may be outside the reach of the law, but the law cannot, directly or indirectly, give them effect.”).

Application to Second Circuit Cases

After careful consideration, including a review of my recommendation, the President has concluded that given a number of factors, including a documented history of discrimination, classifications based on sexual orientation should be subject to a heightened standard of scrutiny. The President has also concluded that Section 3 of DOMA, as applied to legally married same-sex couples, fails to meet that standard and is therefore unconstitutional. Given that conclusion, the President has instructed the Department not to defend the statute in Windsor and Pedersen, now pending in the Southern District of New York and the District of Connecticut. I concur in this determination.

Notwithstanding this determination, the President has informed me that Section 3 will continue to be enforced by the Executive Branch. To that end, the President has instructed Executive agencies to continue to comply with Section 3 of DOMA, consistent with the Executive’s obligation to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, unless and until Congress repeals Section 3 or the judicial branch renders a definitive verdict against the law’s constitutionality. This course of action respects the actions of the prior Congress that enacted DOMA, and it recognizes the judiciary as the final arbiter of the constitutional claims raised.

As you know, the Department has a longstanding practice of defending the constitutionality of duly-enacted statutes if reasonable arguments can be made in their defense, a practice that accords the respect appropriately due to a coequal branch of government. However, the Department in the past has declined to defend statutes despite the availability of professionally responsible arguments, in part because the Department does not consider every plausible argument to be a “reasonable” one. “[D]ifferent cases can raise very different issues with respect to statutes of doubtful constitutional validity,” and thus there are “a variety of factors that bear on whether the Department will defend the constitutionality of a statute.” Letter to Hon. Orrin G. Hatch from Assistant Attorney General Andrew Fois at 7 (Mar. 22, 1996). This is the rare case where the proper course is to forgo the defense of this statute. Moreover, the Department has declined to defend a statute “in cases in which it is manifest that the President has concluded that the statute is unconstitutional,” as is the case here. Seth P. Waxman, Defending Congress, 79 N.C. L.Rev. 1073, 1083 (2001).

In light of the foregoing, I will instruct the Department’s lawyers to immediately inform the district courts in Windsor and Pedersen of the Executive Branch’s view that heightened scrutiny is the appropriate standard of review and that, consistent with that standard, Section 3 of DOMA may not be constitutionally applied to same-sex couples whose marriages are legally recognized under state law. If asked by the district courts in the Second Circuit for the position of the United States in the event those courts determine that the applicable standard is rational basis, the Department will state that, consistent with the position it has taken in prior cases, a reasonable argument for Section 3’s constitutionality may be proffered under that permissive standard. Our attorneys will also notify the courts of our interest in providing Congress a full and fair opportunity to participate in the litigation in those cases. We will remain parties to the case and continue to represent the interests of the United States throughout the litigation.

Furthermore, pursuant to the President’s instructions, and upon further notification to Congress, I will instruct Department attorneys to advise courts in other pending DOMA litigation of the President’s and my conclusions that a heightened standard should apply, that Section 3 is unconstitutional under that standard and that the Department will cease defense of Section 3.

A motion to dismiss in the Windsor and Pedersen cases would be due on March 11, 2011. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

Sincerely yours,

Eric H. Holder, Jr.
Attorney General

The Illinois Family Institute Hate Group Issues MLK Press Release: Gay Rights Are Not Civil Rights

The OFFICIALLY recognized LGBT hate group, The Illinois Family Institute has issued a Martin Luther King Day Press Release which is filled with anti-gay rhetoric, unscientific theories and just plain hate in which it tries it basically states that LGBT rights are not civil rights.

For years, homosexual activists and their allies have manufactured and exploited an absurd and offensive analogy between homosexuality and race in order to advance their moral and political agenda. Homosexualists use the heroic battle to end racial discrimination as a Trojan Horse to eradicate moral judgments about homosexual conduct. All civilized persons — particularly African-Americans — should be outraged. Regarding this analogy, homosexualists have no ethical commitments to either logic or evidence, and they have no regard for the black family in America that already experiences tremendous struggles

If our elected leaders truly hold as ignorant an understanding of the nature of homosexuality as evidenced in these statements, then they don’t deserve their positions. These statements reveal the utterly foolish, erroneous, and offensive idea that homosexuality is equivalent in nature to race. There is no evidence or justification to warrant such an analogy.

Race or skin color is 100 percent heritable, absolutely immutable and carries no behavioral implications whatsoever. Homosexuality, on the other hand, is defined by desire and voluntary sexual acts that are open to moral assessment. There is no research proving that homosexuality is immutable or biologically determined. In addition, homosexuality carries inherent behavioral implications that all societies throughout history have deemed immoral.

Homosexual activists and their allies are advancing their subversive moral and political goals by hijacking the rhetoric of the Civil Rights Movement and Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy. They seek to intimidate philosophical conservatives into silence by associating them with racism and bigotry. Volitional homosexual acts are not equivalent to race. And morals beliefs regarding volitional homosexual conduct are not equivalent to racism.

It may not be racism, but like racism, it is all about bigotry and civil rights. perhaps these idiots don;t know that  doesn’t know that MLK’s best friend was a gay man and that Coretta Scott – King supported the effort for LGBT equality under the law which makes it even more heinous that they pervert a day recognizing King for their own hateful and evil agenda.

The bigots like those at The Illinois Family Institute want people to be able to discriminate against gays with impunity, and want their rationalization that what they do is not just as evil as discriminating against Blacks.  But it is.

I am sure that if MLK were alive today he’s have a few choice words for these evil hateful people. 

U.S. Office of Personnel Management Scrambles For Cover Over The FEHB – AETNA Pet Insurance Debacle

The U.S. Department of Personnel Management sent out a late day Press Release concerning the story that was printed this morning regarding the fact that Aetna was offering Federal Employees Pet Insurance. stories that were reported this morning.  (Obviously someone is reading the LGBT Blogs)

“Stories claiming that the federal government offers pet insurance to federal employees, and juxtaposing that benefit with the fact that the federal government cannot under current law provide health insurance benefits to federal employees’ domestic partners are grossly inaccurate. While Aetna is a participating carrier in the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program (FEHBP), the pet insurance product offered by Aetna is not a federal benefit, nor has it been listed as a benefit in any OPM prepared or reviewed materials. Aetna, on its own initiative, offers a variety of discount products to its members, including gym memberships, weight loss programs, eyewear, vitamins, etc. Pet insurance is one of these products.

“Aetna has apologized for using the reference to FEHBP in its communication on this discount program. OPM regrets that Aetna’s error is being cited by some as evidence that same-sex domestic partner health insurance benefits for federal employees are not a priority by OPM and the Administration. Nothing could be further from the truth.

“The Obama Administration believes in granting equal rights and benefits to gay and lesbian federal employees as demonstrated by the President’s strong support of the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act, which will provide full benefits to same-sex partners of federal workers. The Director of OPM has testified in both the Senate and the House in favor of its passage.”

OPM doesn’t seem to mention WHY Federal Employee’s received email stating that FEHPB Members with AETNA could get a discount on Pet Insurance through official business Federal email accounts if AETNA took it upon itself to do this.  But hey, they are just trying to cover some asses here

As for “the President’s strong support of the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act” I suppose his “strong support” is why it, like ENDA is sitting stagnant in Congress.

Protect Marriage Gloats About Ninth Circut Decision And Begs For Money!

From The Protect Marriage Press Release: (And yes, as always they beg for MORE MONEY!)

“Great news! The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has just now granted our request to suspend Judge Walker’s ruling against Proposition 8! This legal victory upholds the votes of 7 million Californians while the Perry v. Schwarzenegger case is heard on appeal. If the Ninth Circuit had not granted our motion, then Judge Walker’s decision would have gone into effect on Wednesday, changing the definition of marriage in California despite the vote of the people less than two years ago. As we pointed out in our motion, Judge Walker’s decision totally ignores virtually all legal precedents, the well-recognized public interest served by fostering traditional marriage, and even common sense itself.

In addition to stopping Judge Walker from imposing same-sex marriage on California, the Court of Appeal also ordered that this case will be expedited. That means our opening legal briefs are due in just 30 days! So please help support our legal team and all their important work. With the Attorney General and Governor refusing to defend the people’s vote for Prop 8, the entire burden of defending Prop 8 falls up our legal defense team. We receive no government funding. We rely exclusively on the generous financial support of concerned citizens like you. Please make a special donation right now to help us keep up with the legal costs of defending Prop 8! Thank you for your prayers and support”

Remember your Bible Christomaniacs!

“Pride cometh before a fall” So keep on gloating there you assholes.

UPDATE: Love Honor and Cherish Challanges David Fleischer’s "The Prop 8 Report" – Cites Study As Being "Flawed" And Calls Fleischer’s Ties To The L.A. Gay and Lesbian Community Center Into Question

PDATEEarlier this morning I posted about avid Fleischer’s “Masive 513 page The Prop 8 Report” and reported that in the past and present Fliesher has ties to both The Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Community Center and it’s Executive Director Lorri Jean who were major parts of the massive FAIL of the “No on 8” campaign and exactly just how onjective David Fleisher could be because of this.

This afternoon Love Honor Cherish  a Los Angeles-based grassroots organization committed to repealing Prop 8 and to developing a new generation of leadership on the issue of gay amrriage released the following press release:

*** FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ***

NEW REPORT ON PROPOSITION 8 IS SEVERELY FLAWED

Report by Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Centerʼs Dave Fleischer Likely To Be Misused To Try To Stall Efforts To Persuade Voters To Support Marriage Equality And To Repeal Prop 8 in 2012

(LOS ANGELES – August 3, 2010)

The new report on Proposition 8 by Dave Fleischer of the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center released today is severely flawed. Although many aspects of the report are helpful and constructive, the report makes the assertion that “If all voters had correctly understood how to vote to express their opinion on same-sex marriage, Prop 8 would have passed 54% to 46%,by a 1,000,000 vote margin. To reverse the result, we start out 1,000,000 votes behind.” 

This assertion is wrong and unsupportable,” stated Love Honor Cherish Board Chair Tom Watson. “As set out in the briefing by renowned political polling firm David Binder Research,which was also released today, ʻwrong-way votingʼ had no effect ʻon the outcome of the Proposition 8 ballot initiative.ʼ” “It is also misleading since repeated polls since the 2008 election have demonstrated increased support for same-sex marriage in California. In the PPICʼs March 2010 survey of Californians, 50% support same-sex marriage and only 45% oppose.”

The report further asserts, based on its wrong-way voting analysis, that “it is possible that it will take longer to return to the ballot and win than some believed when 2010 and 2012 were the only options given serious consideration.”  “We are left to wonder why Fleischer, who is not an expert in statistics or polling, would put forth such an analysis,” said Watson. “We can only surmise that the report is designed to benefit those who favor waiting before going to the ballot to repeal Prop 8.”

Indeed, although the report claims to be independent, its findings are likely affected by the fact that Fleischer is an employee of the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center, which is not on the record as favoring going to the ballot in 2012 and which is headed by Executive Director Lorri Jean, the former co-leader of the No on Prop 8 Campaign.

Love Honor Cherish Board Member Lester Aponte called on all Californians to ignore the naysaying in the report and take affirmative action to repeal Prop 8. “The tide has been with us since November 2008. Poll after poll demonstrates that support for same-sex marriage has risen dramatically and continues to rise. The lesson of Prop 8 is that all Californians who support same-sex marriage must get out there and talk to their family, friends, neighbors and co-workers to explain why marriage equality is important.”

We cannot let those who would concoct 400,000 additional votes in favor of Prop 8 demoralize us or stall our efforts to repeal Prop 8 in 2012,” said Aponte. “We must fight for whatʼs right now, not later. And, rather than focus on flawed, two-year-old polling data, we should look to recent polls, each of which show that we can win in 2012.”

I can guarentee you  that in the future we are going to hear much more about Fleisher, his ties to Lori Jean and the L.A. Center in the future.

Mark my words.

Did CBS Accidentially Or Purposely Omit The Fact That Sara Gilbert Is An Openly Lesbian Parent From It’s Press Release?

SheWired reports that in a recent  press release announcing a new talk show on CBS featuring female power players (ala The View)  which will feature Marissa Jane Winokur, Sharon Osbourne, Holly Peete Robinson, Leah Remini, and Sara Gilbert  lists each woman’s credentials and background information about the women’s families, husband, children, etc.  Well all the woman that is except for openly lesbian, partnered, and gay parent Sara Gilbert whose profile simply says she lives with “her family in Los Angeles.”

Sort of sounds like those old omission code phrases from the 50’s or 60’s  “lives with his/her “roomate””.

Wat to promote diversity there CBS!

NYC’s Folsom Street East Returns‏ June 20, 2010!

While most New York City street fairs feature a lot of the same stuff – tube socks sold in bulk, 10-minute massages, a variety of meats-on-a-stick, maybe a couple of pet adoption booths with cute puppies — FSE is a little different. True, there are tube socks – but mostly just visible above the laces of black leather boots — and any massages given are more friendly than therapeutic. You’re far more likely to encounter bears and wolves than puppies, and “meat-on-a-stick” can quickly take on an entirely new meaning.

Inspired by San Francisco’s legendary Folsom Street Fair, FSE was founded in 1997 by former Gay Male S/M Activists (GMSMA) chair John Weis and a cohort of similarly-minded New York City leathermen. “I thought that having a fun day in the sun for the SM/leather community celebrating our diversity would go a long way in helping dispel myths and stereotypes,” said Weis. “We saw FSE as important opportunity for visibility, outreach and activism. A key part of that is taking a proud stand — outside in the sunshine – embracing and celebrating sexual diversity.”

Since that first year, FSE has featured live music and performance art, bootblacks, barbers, health and community information, and vendors selling everything from cigars to harnesses to handmade floggers. From a handful of vendor tables and a few hundred attendees that first year, FSE has grown exponentially: the 2009 event drew over 50 vendors and nearly 10,000 leather and fetish-clad revelers over the course of the afternoon.

FSE is also an opportunity for the community to flex some philanthropic muscle as well. The $10 suggested donation benefits a number of charities and to date, FSE has donated over $210,000 to a wide array of non-profit organizations, including this year’s beneficiaries: the Lesbian and Gay Community Services Center, the New York City Anti-Violence Project, and the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF).

In addition to the street fair, this year FSE will be spanning the weekend, kicking off with BULLY—a Friday night party—at View Bar, moving through Saturday night with Bad Apple at Rush (presented in conjunction with NY promoter Mark Nelson), and on into Sunday’s street fair. For more details about these and other weekend events, visit the FSE website

*FSE is organized and staffed entirely by volunteers who give of their time and talents to make the whole thing happen. Anyone interested volunteering at the event is invited to visit the FSE Volunteer page at www.folsomstreeteast.org/category/volunteers, or email volunteer coordinator Mike Ryan at volunteers@folsomstreeteast.org.

WHAT: Folsom Street East
WHEN: Sunday, June 20, 2010 – 2-8pm
WHERE: 28th Street btw. 10th & 11th Avenues, New York City
WHO: Co-Hosts: Peppermint and Mike Dreyden
Performers: Sylvia Tosun, Fredrick Ford, The Johns, Brian Kent, Noa Tylo, Unisex Salon, The I.C.N.Y.