LOS ANGELES – At age 35 Elliot Page is already an accomplished actor with an Academy Award nomination, two BAFTA Awards, Primetime Emmy Award nominations, and a Satellite Award. Now the Canadian transplant is adding the title of author to his repertoire of skills.
The actor’s highly-anticipated memoir Pageboy, which is set to be released on 6 June 2023, had the Umbrella Academy star posting on his Instagram:
“Writing a book has come up a few times over the years, but it never felt right and quite frankly, it didn’t feel possible. I could barely sit still, let alone focus long enough to complete such a task. At last, I can be with myself, in this body. So, I’ve written a book about my story. It’s out next June, and I’m so excited to share its cover with you now.
At many points in my life, it felt unbearable to be in front of a camera, but making this cover with acclaimed photographer Catherine Opie (@csopie) was a joyful experience that I will never forget.
Trans people are facing increasing attacks, from physical violence to the banning of healthcare, and our humanity is regularly “debated” in the media. The act of writing, reading, and sharing the multitude of our experiences is an important step in standing up to those who wish to silence and harm us. Books have helped me, saved me even, so I hope this can help someone feel less alone, feel seen, no matter who they are or what path they are on.”
Flatiron Books, a division of Macmillan founded in 2014 in New York City is publishing Page’s book saying:
“The Oscar-nominated star who captivated the world with his meteoric rise after the premiere of Juno finally shares his truth. Full of behind the scenes details and intimate interrogations on sex, love, trauma, and Hollywood, Pageboy is the story of a life pushed to the brink. But at its core, this beautifully written, winding journey of what it means to untangle ourselves from the expectations of others is an ode to stepping into who we truly are with defiance, strength, and joy.”
Appearing this past June on ‘Late Night with Seth Meyers,’ Page talked about starring in the action-packed show The Umbrella Academy, incorporating his journey with transitioning into his character on the show and how embracing joy has made him a better actor.
Elliot Page Opens Up About His Transition and Incorporating It into The Umbrella Academy:
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Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor dies at 93
O’Connor was a trailblazer as the first woman nominated and then confirmed to have a seat on the High Court
“Do the best you can in every task, no matter how unimportant it may seem at the time. No one learns more about a problem than the person at the bottom.” ~ Sandra Day O’Connor
PHOENIX, Az. – Retired Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States Sandra Day O’Connor died this morning in Phoenix, Arizona, of complications related to advanced dementia, probably Alzheimer’s, and a respiratory illness. She was 93 years old.
Justice O’Connor was appointed to the Court by President Ronald Reagan during his first term in office in 1981 and retired in 2006, after serving more than 24 years on the nation’s highest court.
A widely respected jurist, O’Connor was also a trailblazer as the first woman nominated and then confirmed by the Senate to have a seat on the Court. Her judicial record showed progressive support on issues ranging from LGBTQ+ rights, abortion, affirmative action and campaign finance.
In a statement released by the Court Friday morning, Chief Justice John Roberts said: “A daughter of the American Southwest, Sandra Day O’Connor blazed an historic trail as our Nation’s first female Justice. She met that challenge with undaunted determination, indisputable ability, and engaging candor. We at the Supreme Court mourn the loss of a beloved colleague, a fiercely independent defender of the rule of law, and an eloquent advocate for civics education. And we celebrate her enduring legacy as a true public servant and patriot.”
A lifelong Republican, O’Connor’s early judicial record mirrored conservative values on most cultural legal issues. In 1986, O’Connor joined with Justice Byron White’s five-member majority in Bowers v. Hardwick, in a case out of Georgia regarding the state’s statute that criminalized sodomy.
According to court documents, Michael Hardwick was observed by a Georgia police officer while engaging in the act of consensual homosexual sodomy with another adult in the bedroom of his home. After being charged with violating a Georgia statute that criminalized sodomy, Hardwick challenged the statute’s constitutionality in Federal District Court. Following a ruling that Hardwick failed to state a claim, the court dismissed. On appeal, the Court of Appeals reversed and remanded, holding that Georgia’s statute was unconstitutional. Georgia’s Attorney General, Michael J. Bowers, appealed to the Supreme Court and was granted certiorari.
The majority, including Chief Justice Warren Burger, Justices Lewis Powell, William Rehnquist, O’Connor with White writing the opinion, ruled that there was no particular constitutional protection against states prohibiting specific sex acts between consenting adults.
White argued that the Court has acted to protect rights not easily identifiable in the Constitution only when those rights are “implicit in the concept of ordered liberty” (Palko v. Connecticut, 1937) or when they are “deeply rooted in the Nation’s history and tradition” (Griswold v. Connecticut, 1965). The Court held that the right to commit sodomy did not meet either of these standards. White feared that guaranteeing a right to sodomy would be the product of “judge-made constitutional law” and send the Court down the road of illegitimacy.
Seventeen years later however, O’Connor reversed her position in a later case, in Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (2003), voting with Justices John Paul Stevens, David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and Anthony Kennedy who wrote for the majority overturning a Texas “Homosexual Conduct” law, which criminalized sexual intimacy by same-sex couples, reversing the Court’s ruling in Bowers v. Hardwick.
According to court documents, responding to a reported weapons disturbance in a private residence, Houston police entered John Lawrence’s apartment and saw him and another adult man, Tyron Garner, engaging in a private, consensual sexual act. Lawrence and Garner were arrested and convicted of deviate sexual intercourse in violation of a Texas statute forbidding two persons of the same sex to engage in certain intimate sexual conduct. In affirming, the State Court of Appeals held that the statute was not unconstitutional under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, with Bowers v. Hardwick, 478 U.S. 186 (1986), controlling.
Justice Kennedy wrote in the 6-3 opinion, after explaining what the Court deemed the doubtful and overstated premises of Bowers, the Court reasoned that the case turned on whether Lawrence and Garner were free as adults to engage in the private conduct in the exercise of their liberty under the Due Process Clause.
“Their right to liberty under the Due Process Clause gives them the full right to engage in their conduct without intervention of the government,” wrote Justice Kennedy. “The Texas statute furthers no legitimate state interest which can justify its intrusion into the personal and private life of the individual,” continued Justice Kennedy. Accordingly, the Court overruled Bowers.
Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia, with whom Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist joined, filed dissents.
Interestingly enough though, Justice O’Connor weighed in on LGBTQ+ rights in a case prior to Lawrence v. Texas, seven years earlier when she joined with Justices Stevens, Souter, Ginsburg, Breyer and Justice Kennedy, again writing for the majority, in Romer v. Evans.
Colorado voters had adopted Amendment 2 to their State Constitution precluding any judicial, legislative, or executive action designed to protect persons from discrimination based on their “homosexual, lesbian, or bisexual orientation, conduct, practices or relationships.”
Following a legal challenge by members of the state’s LGBTQ community and other aggrieved parties, the state trial court entered a permanent injunction enjoining Amendment 2’s enforcement. The Colorado Supreme Court affirmed on appeal.
The high court was weighing in on the question of did Amendment 2 of Colorado’s State Constitution, forbidding the extension of official protections to those who suffer discrimination due to their sexual orientation, violate the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause?
In the ruling, the Court said Yes. In a 6-to-3 decision, the Court held that Amendment 2 of the Colorado State Constitution violated the equal protection clause. Amendment 2 singled out homosexual and bisexual persons, imposing on them a broad disability by denying them the right to seek and receive specific legal protection from discrimination.
In his opinion for the Court, Justice Kennedy noted that oftentimes a law will be sustained under the equal protection clause, even if it seems to disadvantage a specific group, so long as it can be shown to “advance a legitimate government interest.” Amendment 2, by depriving persons of equal protection under the law due to their sexual orientation failed to advance such a legitimate interest.
He concluded: “If the constitutional conception of ‘equal protection of the laws’ means anything, it must at the very least mean that a bare desire to harm a politically unpopular group cannot constitute a legitimate governmental interest.”
In 2006, she retired from the bench. In its 2019 eleven part profile of O’Connor, the Arizona Republic highlighted her record writing:
Sandra Day O’Connor disliked the term “swing vote” because “it suggests something that’s not thoughtful,” according to Ruth McGregor, a former Arizona Supreme Court chief justice and a longtime friend to O’Connor.
And because O’Connor saw herself as an old-school conservative, the opinions she wrote on controversial matters — such as abortion and gay rights — didn’t come out of liberal leanings, but rather out of a firm belief in the rights of individuals to decide crucial issues in their own lives, free of government interference,” the Republic noted.
On other issues such as women’s reproductive rights, in the landmark ruling Roe v. Wade, which arose during her confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1981, because as the Republic noted, O’Connor was a woman who had presided over the Arizona Senate when it decriminalized abortion in that state, she was suspect, even though she declared her personal abhorrence for abortion.
However during the course of that confirmation hearing, she maintained that she had respect for opinions handed down by the Supreme Court, and she believed there needed to be good reason to overturn them.
In a bitter 5-to-4 decision, the Court again reaffirmed Roe, but it upheld most of the Pennsylvania provisions. For the first time, the justices imposed a new standard to determine the validity of laws restricting abortions. The new standard asks whether a state abortion regulation has the purpose or effect of imposing an “undue burden,” which is defined as a “substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion before the fetus attains viability.” Under this standard, the only provision to fail the undue-burden test was the husband notification requirement.
In a rare step, the opinion for the Court was crafted and authored by three justices: O’Connor, Kennedy, and Souter.
Washington D.C. based lawyer, journalist, and LGBTQ+ rights activist Mark Joseph Stern writing in a Slate magazine article dated Oct. 30, 2013, about O’Connor’s stance on same-sex marriages noted:
“On Tuesday, retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor officiated a same-sex marriage at the Supreme Court, the first gay wedding to take place in the court’s halls. (It wasn’t the first officiated by a justice, though; Ruth Bader Ginsburg beat O’Connor to that honor.) The event serves as a heartwarming confirmation that O’Connor’s shift to the left has continued through retirement—but it’s also a poignant reminder that the justice’s early retirement cut short what might have been an evolution from Reagan conservative to gay-rights luminary.”
California Governor Gavin Newsom issued a statement on the passing of O’Connor Friday:
“Jennifer and I are saddened by the passing of Justice O’Connor, an American icon who left a profound mark on history as the first woman to serve on our nation’s highest court.
“Surmounting countless barriers, Justice O’Connor graduated from Stanford Law School near the top of her class, rose to prominence in the Arizona statehouse as the first woman in the nation to serve as a majority leader, and served on the bench in Arizona before being nominated to the Supreme Court by President Reagan – with widespread support on both sides of the aisle.
“A strong voice for judicial independence and the rule of law, Justice O’Connor was known for her discerning and fair-minded approach and served a pivotal role at the center of the Court, including key votes reaffirming the right to abortion and upholding affirmative action in higher education.
“With deep Arizona roots, Justice O’Connor was also an important voice on the Court for the entire American West, championing states’ freedom to craft solutions that meet local needs across our diverse country.
“Justice O’Connor opened doors for generations of women in politics and public service, and her enduring legacy is an inspiration to all of us. Our thoughts are with her family, colleagues and friends during this time of loss.”
O’Connor was born in El Paso, Texas, on March 26, 1930. She married John Jay O’Connor III in 1952. She received her B.A. and LL.B. from Stanford University. She served as Deputy County Attorney of San Mateo County, California, from 1952 to 1953 and as a civilian attorney for Quartermaster Market Center, Frankfurt, Germany, from 1954 to 1957.
From 1958 to 1960, she practiced law in Maryvale, Arizona, before serving as Assistant Attorney General of Arizona from 1965 to 1969. She was appointed to the Arizona State Senate in 1969 and was subsequently reelected to two two-year terms, during which she was selected as Majority Leader. In 1975 she was elected Judge of the Maricopa County Superior Court and served until 1979, when she was appointed to the Arizona Court of Appeals.
O’Connor authored five books: Lazy B: Growing Up on a Cattle Ranch in the American Southwest (2002); The Majesty of the Law: Reflections of a Supreme Court Justice (2002); Chico (2005); Finding Susie (2009); and Out of Order: Stories from the History of the Supreme Court (2013).
Following her tenure on the Supreme Court, she founded and led iCivics, the Nation’s leading civics education platform.
She is survived by her three sons, Scott (Joanie) O’Connor, Brian (Shawn) O’Connor, and Jay (Heather) O’Connor, six grandchildren: Courtney, Adam, Keely, Weston, Dylan and Luke, and her beloved brother and co-author, Alan Day, Sr. Her husband, John O’Connor, preceded her in death in 2009.
Additional research and legal records material provided by Oyez, the free law project from Cornell’s Legal Information Institute (LII), Justia, and Chicago-Kent College of Law.
Bishop Carlton D’Metrius Pearson, LGBTQ ally & pastor dies at 70
In 2004, the Joint College of African-American Pentecostal Bishops Congress declared Pearson’s teaching about hell to be heretical
TULSA, Okla. – Bishop Carlton D’Metrius Pearson, an influential voice in the international Christian world and a supportive LGBTQ affirming ally died Sunday night Nov. 19, in hospice care due to cancer in Tulsa at age 70.
Pearson began his career in ministry after moving to Tulsa in 1971, to become a student at Oral Roberts University, Carlton was invited by Oral Roberts himself to join the World Action Singers on his nationally-aired TV specials, eventually becoming an associate evangelist with the Oral Roberts Evangelistic Association in 1975. In 1977, Pearson launched his own ministry, Higher Dimensions, Inc., traveling across the United States with a small ministry team.
In 1981, with the help of his college roommate, Gary L. McIntosh, who is now President of the Church Growth Network and Professor of Christian Ministry and Leadership at Talbot School of Theology, Pearson started Higher Dimensions Evangelistic Center, with 75 people attending its first service in Jenks, Oklahoma.
Quickly outgrowing the small, storefront location in Jenks, the Center eventually settled at 8621 South Memorial Drive in Tulsa, becoming an integrated, multi-ethnic, cross-cultural congregation of more than 5,000 members.
A national television program launched in the mid-1980s, “Everything’s Gonna Be All Right,” expanded Pearson’s outreach to a national and international audience, becoming at that time one of only two African American preachers with a nationwide television ministry. Frequent appearances on the powerful Christian Trinity Broadcasting Network elevated his stature globally.
He gave counsel to multiple U. S. Presidents, as well as a number of international presidents, kings and other leaders, who were won over by his intelligence, charm, humor and kindness.
At the height of his popularity, Pearson had a shift in his theological beliefs, and began to preach that Jesus did not just die for and save Christians, but for all mankind, and that no one goes to hell as we’ve known it.
This became known as “The Gospel of Inclusion,” a form of Christian theology known as universalism. This shift in belief caused churches, upon whose stages he once frequented, to close their doors to him, shut down his annual conference and caused his church to dwindle from thousands to only dozens.
In 2004, the Joint College of African-American Pentecostal Bishops Congress declared Pearson’s teaching about hell to be heretical. The finding came a year after Pearson defended his views at a doctrinal forum, the Associated Press reported.
“Because of our concern for the many people that could be influenced to adopt this heresy and in so doing put at risk the eternal destiny of their souls, we are compelled to declare Bishop Carlton Pearson a heretic,” wrote Bishop Clifford Leon Frazier, chairman of the joint college’s doctrinal commission, according to Religion News Service.
His theological shift was dramatized in a major motion picture, Netflix’s “Come Sunday,” starring Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years A Slave), Danny Glover (The Color Purple, Lethal Weapon), LaKeith Stanfield (Judas and the Black Messiah, Atlanta) and Martin Sheen (Apocalypse Now, The West Wing).
In 2007, Pearson helped lead hundreds of clergy members from across the nation in urging Congress to pass the Equality Act to even the playing field ending job discrimination measures against LGBTQ people and also a landmark federal hate crimes bill.
Openly queer Rev. Brandan Robertson, who serves as the Pastor of Sunnyside Reformed Church in Queens, New York and is also known as the “TikTok Pastor” noted:
“I first met Carlton Pearson when I was a student at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago and was beginning to wrestle with the idea that a loving God could damn a majority of humanity to hell.
Bishop Pearson was kicked out of his denomination for declaring that God’s love would win in the end, and he sat with me in a Whole Foods in downtown Chicago, listened to my struggles, and showed me that there was a better and truer way to be Christian.
Over the last decade, I was honored to call Carlton a friend as I’ve made my journey towards a more inclusive Christianity, and his encouragement and witness was a continued source of inspiration.”
Bishop Gene Robinson, a prominent openly gay theologian from the Episcopal Church said in a statement:
“The struggle for LGBTQ rights and acceptance has many heroes and saints who have pushed the Church to love and welcome all of God’s beloved children. When our history is written, surely Bishop Pearson will be remembered and celebrated for his courageous and prophetic voice for inclusion, and I give thanks for his life and ministry.”
A family statement released by his agent Will Bogle read:
“Pearson’s message and example of unconditional love, though it gained him the moniker of “heretic” by some in the Christian church, had a whole new world opened to him as a result. Non-Christians, as well as Christians who had left the church as a result of church hurts, abuse, hypocrisy, etc., loved the new message of love, healing and restoration. He leaves a legacy of love through the multiplied thousands of lives he touched during his time on earth and the impartation of grace and mercy he preached and exhibited to everyone he encountered.”
He is survived by his mother, Lillie Ruth Pearson, his son Prince Julian Pearson and his daughter Majesté Pearson.
Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, 96, dies at home in Georgia
Carter is survived by the former president and their children Amy, Chip, Jack and Jeff; 11 grandchildren; and 14 great-grandchildren
PLAINS, Ga. – Rosalynn Carter, wife of former President Jimmy Carter, has died at the age of 96 at their home in Plains, Georgia on Sunday according to a spokesperson for the Carter Center.
In a statement the Carter Center wrote:
Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, a passionate champion of mental health, caregiving, and women’s rights, passed away Sunday, Nov. 19, at 2:10 p.m. at her home in Plains, Georgia, at the age of 96. She died peacefully, with family by her side.
Mrs. Carter was married for 77 years to Jimmy Carter, the 39th president of the United States and the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize recipient, who is now 99 years old.
“Rosalynn was my equal partner in everything I ever accomplished,” President Carter said. “She gave me wise guidance and encouragement when I needed it. As long as Rosalynn was in the world, I always knew somebody loved and supported me.”
She is survived by her children — Jack, Chip, Jeff, and Amy — and 11 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren. A grandson died in 2015.
“Besides being a loving mother and extraordinary First Lady, my mother was a great humanitarian in her own right,” said Chip Carter. “Her life of service and compassion was an example for all Americans. She will be sorely missed not only by our family but by the many people who have better mental health care and access to resources for caregiving today.”
The Carter Center had announced on Thursday that on behalf of Jason Carter, grandson of President and Mrs. Carter, the former First Lady had entered hospice care at home. The center previously announced this past May that she was suffering from dementia, three months after former President Carter entered hospice care at home in February of this year.
“She and President Carter are spending time with each other and their family. The Carter family continues to ask for privacy and remains grateful for the outpouring of love and support,” Thursday’s statement read.
Carter will be buried in front of the modest ranch house in Plains that she and the former president had built in 1961 and always returned to, and never really left save for their stints in what Jimmy Carter humorously termed “government housing.” It was the first home they’d ever owned after Carter’s peripatetic military career had taken them all over the country, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
After the news of her death was made public, The Carter Center announced that in lieu of flowers, the Carter family requests that folks consider a contribution to the Carter Center’s Mental Health Program or the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregivers.
The White House released a statement from President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden
on the passing of the former First Lady:
First Lady Rosalynn Carter walked her own path, inspiring a nation and the world along the way.
Throughout her incredible life as First Lady of Georgia and the First Lady of the United States, Rosalynn did so much to address many of society’s greatest needs. She was a champion for equal rights and opportunities for women and girls; an advocate for mental health and wellness for every person; and a supporter of the often unseen and uncompensated caregivers of our children, aging loved ones, and people with disabilities.
Above all, the deep love shared between Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter is the definition of partnership, and their humble leadership is the definition of patriotism. She lived her life by her faith.
Time and time again, during the more than four decades of our friendship – through rigors of campaigns, through the darkness of deep and profound loss – we always felt the hope, warmth, and optimism of Rosalynn Carter. She will always be in our hearts.
On behalf of a grateful nation, we send our love to President Carter, the entire Carter family, and the countless people across our nation and the world whose lives are better, fuller, and brighter because of the life and legacy of Rosalynn Carter.
May God bless our dear friend. May God bless a great American.
“Do what you can to show you care about others, and you will make our world a better place.” ~Rosalynn Carter
Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter’s marriage to Jimmy Carter took her from a rural farming community to the White House. Showing the world a new vision of the First Lady, Mrs. Carter was a working partner and trusted advisor to the president, a participant in foreign and domestic affairs, and an astute political strategist. Widely recognized as the nation’s foremost advocate for mental health, she was actively devoted to building a more caring society.
The White House Years
While assuming the traditional demands of presidential wife and official White House hostess, Mrs. Carter worked tirelessly to create what she described as “a more caring society.” She was the first presidential spouse to carry a briefcase to a White House office on a daily basis. As a result of her singular tenacity and southern gentleness, she was dubbed the “steel magnolia.”
Early in 1977, barred by statute from being chair of the newly established President’s Commission on Mental Health, Mrs. Carter became its honorary chair. In this capacity she held hearings across the country, testified before Congress, and spearheaded passage of the Mental Health Systems Act of 1980. She continued her work in the field of mental health throughout her life.
She traveled extensively overseas, promoting both her own projects and the president’s policies. In a history making trip to Latin America in 1977, she represented the U.S. Government and visited with heads of state from seven Latin American countries, sharing her husband’s position on human rights and helping to enhance democracy in our hemisphere. In Geneva, Switzerland, she became the first First Lady to address the World Health Organization.
Drawing from her own experiences as a working woman, wife, and mother, she spent many hours lobbying for support of the Equal Rights Amendment; she mobilized representatives from private voluntary relief organizations, labor, and the corporate world in an appeal that raised tens of millions of dollars for Cambodian refugees; and she brought together 23 leading organizations to develop solutions for problems of the elderly at a White House Roundtable Discussion on Aging. In choosing an unprecedented array of White House entertainment for American leaders and international officials, she showcased American culture, initiating public telecasts of White House performances featuring the world’s finest artists and musicians.
Immunizing children against preventable disease was a special focus of Mrs. Carter’s throughout her entire public service career. As governors’ spouses, Mrs. Carter and Betty Bumpers of Arkansas worked together in their respective states to promote vaccinations. Once President Carter was in office and in response to a measles outbreak, Mrs. Carter and Mrs. Bumpers again joined forces to make vaccinations a routine public health practice. By 1981, 95 percent of children entering school were immunized against measles and other diseases.
Throughout Jimmy Carter’s years in politics, Rosalynn Carter campaigned widely on his behalf and was considered his most fervent and effective supporter. Often lauded for possessing unique political skills, she admitted being more concerned about popularity and winning than her husband, though she noted, “…I have to say that he had the courage to tackle the important issues…”
The Early Years
She was born Eleanor Rosalynn Smith on August 18, 1927, in Plains, Georgia, daughter of Wilburn Edgar Smith, a farmer who also owned and operated the first auto shop in the county, and Frances Allethea Murray, a college graduate and homemaker. As a child, she was shaped by strong religious and family values and an early acceptance of hard work and responsibility.
When her father died of leukemia at age 44, Rosalynn’s mother had to go to work. Thirteen-year-old Rosalynn helped her mother with the housekeeping and caring for her siblings and grandfather. She graduated as valedictorian from Plains High School in 1944 and from Georgia Southwestern College in 1946.
In 1946, she married Jimmy Carter, who had just graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy. Mrs. Carter described her years as a Navy wife as a coming of age in which she developed the self-confidence to manage a household with three babies on her own while her husband worked and was often aboard ship.
Three sons were born in different Navy ports: John William “Jack” Carter, July 3, 1947, in Norfolk, Va.; James Earl “Chip” Carter III in Honolulu, Hawaii, on April 12, 1950; and Donnel Jeffrey “Jeff” Carter on August 18, 1952, in New London, Conn. Amy Lynn Carter was born 15 years later on October 19, 1967, in Plains.
After Carter left the Navy and returned home to run the family business upon the death of his father, Rosalynn began working alongside her husband, keeping the books for the farms and the farm supply business. During Carter’s contentious 1962 race for the state Senate, which he won after exposing a stuffed ballot box, she received her first taste of politics.
Though shy and anxious about public speaking, she became fully engaged in subsequent campaigns for his re-election and his bids for governor in 1966 and 1970. She campaigned full time on a separate schedule in the 1976 and 1980 presidential races.
As Georgia’s First Lady, Mrs. Carter led a passionate fight against the stigma of mental illnesses and worked to overhaul the state’s mental health care system. Her obligations in the governor’s mansion also called for entertaining visiting officials and diplomats, serving as liaison to civic groups, and using her influence as a public figure to advance immunizations of children and other charitable causes. She later observed that these experiences prepared her for the White House years.
The Carter Center and Beyond
After what she called “involuntary retirement” to Plains in 1981, her working relationship with her husband expanded. In 1982, they together founded The Carter Center in Atlanta, a nongovernmental organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for people at home and in the developing world through programs to alleviate suffering and advance human rights.
As emissaries for the Center, the Carters circled the globe many times on nonpolitical campaigns to eradicate Guinea worm disease and other neglected tropical diseases, increase agricultural production in Africa, monitor elections in nascent democracies, urge greater compliance with international human rights standards, and resolve conflicts. As a full partner providing direction and vision for the Center, Mrs. Carter accompanied the former president as an active participant, observant note-taker, and thoughtful advisor on high-profile peace missions, including in Bosnia, Cuba, Sudan, Ethiopia, and North Korea.
She established the Carter Center’s Mental Health Program to continue her work to combat stigma and discrimination against people with mental illnesses and promote improved mental health care in the United States and abroad. She chaired the Carter Center Mental Health Task Force, a group of individuals in a position to affect public policy; hosted an annual gathering of national mental health leaders to foster greater consensus on pivotal national policy issues; and established the Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism to encourage accurate, in-depth reporting about mental health issues.
In 2000, The Carter Center and Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health established the Rosalynn Carter Endowed Chair in Mental Health to honor Mrs. Carter’s lifelong commitment to mental health advocacy. It is the first endowed chair in mental health policy at a school of public health, and its focus is on prevention of mental disorders and promotion of mental health.
In addition, Mrs. Carter’s devotion to service extended to other complementary areas. She saw the toll that caring for a loved one with mental illness had on a family and knew firsthand the burden of caring for a critically ill or aging family member. In 1987, Mrs. Carter founded the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregivers at Georgia Southwestern State University to support those who selflessly cared for others and build on her belief that “there are only four kinds of people in this world: those who have been caregivers, those who are currently caregivers, those who will be caregivers and those who will need caregivers.” The Rosalynn Carter Institute began by helping caregivers in Georgia through direct service programs. Today it serves all family caregivers, which number over 40 million people in the United States. Under Mrs. Carter’s leadership, the RCI has increased public awareness of caregiver needs, advanced public and social policies to support caregivers, and become a catalyst for change.
In her unwavering dedication to others, Rosalynn Carter reunited with Betty Bumpers to form Vaccinate Your Family (founded as Every Child By Two) to campaign for timely infant immunizations. She was honorary chair of the call-to-action campaign, Last Acts: Care and Caring at the End of Life, a national coalition of individuals and organizations advocating more compassionate care for those who are dying, and distinguished fellow of the Emory University Department of Women’s Studies. And for more than 30 years during Habitat for Humanity’s annual Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project, she would be found with her husband demonstrating advanced carpentry skills as they built homes for poor families.
As a lifelong resident of Plains, Mrs. Carter was an avid supporter of her hometown and a strong advocate for maintaining its historic integrity. She served on the boards of the Plains Historic Preservation Trust and the Friends of the Jimmy Carter National Historical Park. Mrs. Carter was an active member of Maranatha Baptist Church, where she served as a deacon.
Among her many honors were the “Into the Light” Award from the National Mental Health Association; the Award of Merit for Support of the Equal Rights Amendment from the National Organization for Women; the Notre Dame Award for International Service; the Foundation for Hospice and Homecare Lifetime Achievement Award; United Seniors Health Cooperative Senior Advocate Award; the U.S. Surgeon General’s Medallion; and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian recognition. In 2001, she was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.
Rosalynn Carter was the author of five books: her autobiography First Lady from Plains; Everything To Gain: Making the Most of the Rest of Your Life, a book co-authored with President Carter and inspired by their life after the White House; Helping Yourself Help Others: A Book For Caregivers (with Susan K. Golant); Helping Someone with Mental Illness: A Compassionate Guide for Family, Friends, and Caregivers (with Susan K. Golant), which was selected as the winner of the 1999 American Society of Journalists and Authors Outstanding Book Award in the service category, and Within Our Reach: Ending the Mental Health Crisis (with Susan K. Golant and Kathryn E. Cade).
Asked once how she would like to be remembered, she said, “I would like for people to think that I took advantage of the opportunities I had and did the best I could.”
Former first lady Rosalynn Carter’s life and legacy, reactions to her death:
Amber Hollibaugh, LGBTQ+ rights & HIV activist has died at 77
Amber Hollibaugh, who inspired generations of feminist and LGBTQ activists, died suddenly on October 20 in her Brooklyn home
By Duncan Osborne | BROOKLYN, N.Y. – Amber Hollibaugh, who inspired generations of feminist and LGBTQ activists, died suddenly on October 20 in her Brooklyn home due to complications from diabetes. She was 77.
“I lost my great love, Amber Hollibaugh, on October 20th. It was a joy, a pain, and a privilege to be her partner in life for 26 years,” author Jenifer Levin, Hollibaugh’s partner, wrote in a Facebook post. “Amber was a radical political organizer, a sex radical, a charismatic public speaker, and a passionate advocate for the most vulnerable and excluded among us.”
Born in Bakersfield, California in 1946, Hollibaugh was raised in a home that was “chaotic and violent” and she left that home at 16, Levin wrote. Just as many of the activists in the post-Stonewall era had previously worked in the anti-war, women’s, civil rights, and other movements before joining the LGBTQ movement, Hollibaugh was an organizer with the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, a civil rights group, in Mississippi, according to a brief bio that was released by Roberta Sklar, long time colleague.
In 1978, she was active in the campaign to defeat the Briggs initiative. State senator John Briggs had placed the statewide initiative on the ballot in California. Had it passed, it would have required that public school teachers, teacher’s aides, school administrators, and counselors be investigated and fired if they were found to have engaged in “public homosexual conduct,” which meant having sex with a person of the same sex or advocating on behalf of the LGBTQ community. The initiative was soundly defeated with just over 58 percent of voters opposing it with widespread opposition from organized labor.
“What we’re seeing is a real upsurge in political activity rather than people just running and hiding and saying ‘O God, they’ve got us,'” Hollibaugh said in a 1978 interview with The Longest Revolution, a progressive feminist publication, a month before the vote. “It’s mobilized a whole new sector of the gay community. People are pissed off. There’s a whole sector of the gay community that’s furious.”
In May 1979, rioting followed after Dan White, previously a member of San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors, was convicted of voluntary manslaughter, the lowest count he faced for the 1978 assassinations of Mayor George Moscone, and Harvey Milk, a member of the Board of Supervisors at the time and the first openly gay man elected to public office in California. Cleve Jones, a longtime LGBTQ activist and labor organizer who knew Hollibaugh, heard her speak on the steps of San Francisco’s City Hall during the rioting. Jones recalled Hollibaugh saying “I don’t know about you, but I think we ought to do this more often.”
Speaking of Hollibaugh, Jones said “She was passionate and quite charismatic…She was powerful and smart.”
Like many in the LGBTQ community in the post-Stonewall era, Hollibaugh was committed to forming a coalition that reached across gender, race, class, sexual orientation, gender identity, and other groups or what is called intersectionality today. She organized among sex workers and was a sex worker herself for a time. She understood that class affected members of the LGBTQ community as much as it affected anyone.
In 2002, Hollibaugh was a founding member of Queers for Economic Justice (QEJ), a progressive group that argued for an expansive view of the place of LGBTQ people in American society. During the few LGBTQ community debates about same sex marriage, QEJ was among those who argued that domestic partnerships and civil unions allowed any two people to gain the economic and legal benefits extended exclusively to married couples without requiring that those two people be intimate partners. QEJ closed in 2014.
Hollibaugh was consistently a proponent of recognizing the role that sex and sexuality plays in the lives of LGBTQ people, but she would concede that discussions about sexuality went from being central to quiet to close to non-existent in the community over time.
“But the absence I’m really talking about is something bigger than that left by those of us who, because of our erotic identities, must function at the political margins of our communities,” Hollibaugh wrote in a 2001 essay published in Deneuve: The Lesbian Magazine. “I mean a loss in the biggest sense of that word: what it means for a sexual people to dance with the devil and decide they will trade their passionate erotic voices and behaviors for the possibility of being granted a ‘place at the table.'”
Over time, Hollibaugh worked at multiple LGBTQ community and HIV organizations and published in The Nation, Socialist Review, the Village Voice, and other publications. She co-produced and co-directed “The Heart of the Matter,” a 1994 documentary on women’s sexuality and HIV that won the Freedom of Expression award at the Sundance Film Festival that year. A review of documents in The Archives of Sexuality and Gender shows Hollibaugh speaking across the nation and around the world with frequent appearances at Creating Change, an annual conference produced by the National LGBTQ Task Force since 1988.
Her book, “My Dangerous Desires: A Queer Girl Dreaming Her Way Home,” which was a collection of her writing that was published in 2000, won praise in a review by The Women’s Review of Books. Hollibaugh was described as a “powerful organizing speaker, a very fine, incisive writer and a brilliant theorist, committed to a feminist process of liberation that leaves nobody behind” in that review.
Hollibaugh was the recipient of multiple awards including the Dr. Susan B. Love Award for Outstanding Achievement in Women’s Health and the Vicki Sexual Freedom Award from the Woodhull Freedom Foundation.
“Amber understood that simply seeking a seat at the table was not sufficient and perhaps the table should be smashed to bits,” Jones said. “It’s more than just a few people making more money.”
Duncan Osborne is a New York City-based journalist and freelance writer and is the Associate Editor of Gay City News.
Famed drag personality Momma, Worthie Paul Meacham, has died
Momma was widely known & loved in the WeHo community for hosting of shows in the Rainbow District & for participating in numerous fundraisers
By Mike Pingel | WEST HOLLYWOOD – RIP Momma. WEHO TIMES has just received news that Worthie Paul Meacham, known as everyone’s favorite larger than life drag diva, MOMMA, has died, According to some his close friends, who received word from a family member. His time of death and cause are not yet known.
Momma was widely known and loved in the West Hollywood community for her hosting of shows in West Hollywood’s LGBT Rainbow District and for participating in numerous fundraisers benefiting various LGBT causes. According to a profile written by Billy Masters in the Los Angeles Blade, Momma was born in 1994 during a drag competition at Drag Strip 66.
The tributes are already pouring in on Facebook:
I just now learned that my wonderful, creative and talented friend Worthie Paul Meacham , also known as Momma has passed away this morning,” wrote friend Kevin Alpert. “May you be at peace and no longer be in any kind of pain. I hope you give many drag and fun performances up in heaven. Thank you for always being so kind and sweet and loving towards me. You will would be missed by so many people. May you rest in power. You are loved and missed.”
“I learned that my dear friend Worthie Paul Meacham passed away this morning,” wrote Mark Haneke. “We were close friends for over 30 years and I will cherish our memories together. We first met at an ECWR conference at Chapman University in Orange, California. Worthie was loud and boisterous, but with a caring heart of gold. He loved Jesus and he loved people. He was able to minister to people in ways no one else could. His drag persona , Momma, was renowned throughout SoCal, across the country and internationally.
Worthie and I enjoyed many trips and adventurers together. Some of my fondest moments are of him leading a singalong at Disneyland’s Enchanted tiki Room “and down!” at the annual Gay Days Anaheim. We enjoyed sharing our mutual interests In Disney, going to movies and planning cruises. Worthie, you are loved and will forever be in our hearts!
Say hi to Walt for me! Love, Mark”
“Worthie Paul Meacham has passed away today,” reports Chris Petty. “Momma you are a true LA legend! And you were instrumental in my coming out story. Such a wonderful friend. Hosting gay days at Disneyland. I’ll never forget hiking the Skeena river by terrace bc, turning the corner & seeing an 8′ tall drag queen fly fishing! RIP my dear. You definitely left your mark! I’ll be singing you Tainted Love one last time.
Meacham was wheelchair bound when he attended the memorial services of “Fairy Godmother of Fundraising,” Irene Soderberg last April at Hollywood Forever Cemetery.
According to Mamma’s facebook page, LA Times has called Momma a “SoCal Drag Icon.”
This story will update as we learn more about memorial services.
Mike Pingel has written six books, Channel Surfing: Charlie’s Angels & Angelic Heaven: A Fan’s Guide to Charlie’s Angels, Channel Surfing: Wonder Woman, The Brady Bunch: Super Groovy after all these years; Works of Pingel and most recently, Betty White: Rules the World.
Pingel owns and runs CharliesAngels.com website and was Farrah Fawcett personal assistant. He also works as an actor and as a freelance publicist. His official website is www.mikepingel.com
The preceding article was previously published by WeHo Times and is republished with permission.
Preston Tisdale’s optimistic vision for Public Justice
“Racism or homophobia or anti-trans thinking — people don’t think deeply about these issues. They just go with what they know”
By Karen Ocamb | BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – For more than four decades, Preston Tisdale, a longtime attorney with Koskoff, Koskoff & Bieder, has practiced law, fought for civil rights and engaged in civic activism. But for the new Board President of Public Justice, one case stands out like a strobe light of injustice.
While head of the Fairfield Judicial District Public Defender’s Office in Connecticut, Tisdale defended a man charged with murder. The man was acquitted —but at the last minute, the prosecutor added two lesser included offenses for manslaughter. The trial ended in a hung jury and mistrial — as did two subsequent trials for manslaughter.
“The prosecutor told me that if it was hung a third time, he wasn’t going to try it again,” However, he changed his mind, Tisdale recalls, a strain of anger in his voice. “I was head of the Public Defender’s Office. He was the head of the State Attorneys. He handed it off to one of his underlings. But when I got up to Hartford [for his promotion to Connecticut’s first Director of Special Public Defenders], my successor called,” having just received “totally exculpatory” evidence.
Tisdale testified at the fourth trial that he had never seen the new evidence. The prosecutor claimed he just didn’t realize it was exculpatory. The judge agreed with Tisdale and granted the motion to dismiss the case.
“We saved this person from life imprisonment,” Tisdale says. “But his life was smashed up. He lost jobs. He lost his fiancée. He was an emotional wreck after going through this terrible circumstance.
“I was involved with thousands of cases and I had well over 50 trials,” Tisdale continues. Every time a person with no record is accused of a serious crime and faces major jail time and a not guilty verdict comes back – “you realize the difference you make in an individual’s life.”
Now, Tisdale says, “I’m looking to make a broader difference. I’m looking for systemic change.”
Tisdale is bringing that core commitment to his new position as Board President. His vision for his year of service, however, is tempered by the departure next May of longtime executive director Paul Bland.
“Those are huge shoes to fill so that will occupy a great portion of my energies,” Tisdale says. Public Justice does “such fabulous work, so, my vision is to strengthen its ability to deliver achievements.”
“It’s an honor to serve as President of the Public Justice Foundation,” Tisdale says. “It’s just an honor to work with so many fantastic attorneys, tremendously talented staff, and all of the supporters to achieve the mission of Public Justice.”
Maria Lourdes Tisdale, Preston Tisdale, Debtors’ Prison Project Director Leslie Bailey, Public Justice Board member Gerson Smoger at Public Justice reception in Palm Desert, CA Feb. 14, 2022 (Photo by Karen Ocamb/Public Justice)
For example, Tisdale notes, “our Debtors’ Prison Project is doing fabulous work. When you look at it historically, it’s not a new phenomenon. You can go all the way back during the post-slavery days when the former Confederate states initially developed convict leasing.”
“Alabama was ground zero” for developing ways to “arrest as many formerly enslaved Blacks as they could find to work the mines, or in the fields. That idea has taken on a life of its own,” Tisdale says. “Our Debtors’ Prison Project is attacking one of the newest iterations of that same initiative.”
Public Justice’s collaboration with prominent trial attorneys throughout the country, Tisdale says, is also critical to “protect our ability to continue to undertake” projects such as the Class Action Preservation Project.
Tisdale also wants to heighten the organization’s visibility in different states. “Public Justice can strengthen the work these attorneys do in a way that many of them don’t realize.”
Tisdale will continue the work of past presidents in increasing the organization’s internal diversity. “I want to take that to another level where attorneys from different walks of life in the legal field can come to Public Justice,” he says.
“These are deeply troubling times” for democracy, exasperated by an “astounding” level of ignorance that “becomes a fertile playground for those who have ill will or bad intentions,” Tisdale says.
“I think a lot of Americans thought we were immune to [autocracy] — that all of our democratic mechanisms operate autonomously, that you don’t have to do any work. They will self-correct. And that’s wrong,” he says. “When you can just press buttons and unleash bigotry or racism or homophobia or anti-trans thinking — people don’t think deeply about these issues. They just go with what they know.”
But Tisdale is encouraged by the angry awakening after George Floyd’s murder. When average Americans saw it, “they were outraged….So, pressing that button is not so easy now. That is one aspect that gives you hope and optimism.”
Born in New York in 1952 when his mother was visiting family, Tisdale was raised around Bridgeport, Connecticut. In school, he reveled in science while also training to be a concert pianist. In the fifth grade, he went to a young doctors program at Stamford Hospital.
But “the civil rights movement just captivated me. It represented such hope at those times. People don’t remember, but even in a state like Connecticut, the degradation that was heaped upon African-Americans was constant, incessant and quite profound.”
Tisdale’s father and uncle headed the local NAACP Education Committee, his grandfather went to the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and his activist hero parents — Loyse and James — shared the civil rights movement with him, including meeting Freedom Riders and bringing him to hear Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speak in Bridgeport, and other civil rights luminaries, such as NAACP attorney Thurgood Marshall.
1966 Tisdale family photo: Loyse Tisdale, Joel Kent (Bpt. NAACP), William Chandler (Bpt. Youth Council President), Roy Wilkins (Executive Director, National NAACP), Preston Tisdale, James Tisdale and Maisa Tisdale.
Loyse Tisdale was a Korean War veteran who graduated from the University of Bridgeport with a degree in psychology. She became the first Black legal secretary in Bridgeport and was later hired by the law firm of attorney Sam Friedman who, along with (future Supreme Court Justice) Thurgood Marshall, became famous in the film “Marshall,” written by Tisdale’s friend and law colleague, the late Mike Koskoff and his son Jake. Friedman and Marshall successfully defended Black chauffeur Joseph Spell, accused in 1941 of raping his white female employer in Greenwich, Connecticut.
“My parents were leading demonstrations and marches and people would get arrested so the lawyers at the ground level were critical to helping them to not be totally ground under by the criminal justice system,” Tisdale says. He realized: “that’s what I want to do. I want to make a difference.”
When Tisdale went to Brown University in 1969, his father James, also an educator, also went to Brown as their first Black development/admission officer. “They never had a Black person in that role before. And then he went on to become the assistant to the president years later,” Tisdale says.
Tisdale graduated from Brown in 1973, then went to NYU School of Law. Upon graduation he joined the Koskoff firm. He left to spend 28 years in the Public Defenders Office, returning to Koskoff in 2010.
Tisdale is also currently part of the team in a four year old lawsuit brought by Tamara K. Lanier against Harvard University “alleging that the University was in wrongful possession of daguerreotype images…depicting two enslaved individuals, Renty and Delia, who she claims are her ancestors,” according to the Harvard Crimson.
The case is explained in the documentary “Free Renty.”
It is just one example of Tisdale’s desire to impact the root causes of repetitive injustice and — as he hopes to also do while at the helm of Public Justice — create the “greatest level of transformative change.”
Public Justice Board President Preston Tisdale commemorates the 60th Anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington:
Karen Ocamb, is the Senior Storytelling Strategist for the Washington D.C. based Public Justice.
Public Justice is a national nonprofit legal advocacy organization. They protect consumers, employees, civil rights & the environment.
CBS reports: Robert Carter’s journey from foster child to father of 5
Gayle King stood up from her chair on LIVE TV this morning to give this man, the focus of our story, an ovation
By David Begnaud | CINCINNATI, Ohio – (CBS News) Robert Carter, 33, adopted three boys, Robert, Giovanni and Kiontae in 2020. After learning the boys had two sisters, Marionna and Makayla, he adopted them as well. All five siblings are now together.
Robert Carter is a phenomenal, self-made man with a hell of a human story.
CBS News’ David Begnaud introduces us to Carter, who as a child aged out of the foster care system without ever being adopted.
LGBTQ activist & philanthropist Jonathan D. Lewis dies at 64
A natural agitator, he challenged the status quo and relished going against the grain, never hesitating to make waves
COCONUT GROVE, FL. – An unabashed progressive activist, long time donor to the Democratic party as well as LGBTQ+ causes, Jonathan D. Lewis died at his home earlier this month having battled CNS Lymphoma, a rare form of brain cancer.
In one memorable battle over progressive rights and LGBTQ+ equality a decade ago with the administration of then President Barack Obama, Lewis who provided money to fund LGBT groups such as Freedom to Work and GetEQUAL, and provided the maximum amount of $30,800 to the Democratic National Committee, threatened to pull the plug on any more donations. The Miami-based philanthropist was angered by President Obama’s reluctance to issue an executive order barring LGBT workplace discrimination.
Lewis writing in an op-ed in The Huffington Post, titled “No More Excuses: Mr. President,” called on Obama to issue the executive order barring federal contractors from engaging in LGBT workplace discrimination as a way to make amends for the absence of UAFA in immigration reform.
Lewis, whose fortune came from his family, the founders of Progressive Insurance, was described by his family in their tribute in his online obituary as; “A natural agitator, he challenged the status quo and relished going against the grain, never hesitating to make waves. He will be deeply missed by all who were fortunate enough to have entered his orbit.”
Jonathan D Lewis Obituary: (Edited & excerpted)
Born on November 1, 1958, in Cleveland Ohio, Jonathan, graduated from Shaker Heights High School. He went on to graduate magna cum laude from Boston University College of Communication.
After college, he moved to Miami to work at the Sheraton River House and help open the renowned five-star Grand Bay Hotel, which redefined fine dining in Miami. In 1983, he founded his own independent design and development firm, Jonathan Lewis & Associates, managing projects in Los Angeles, Miami, Orlando, New York, Aspen and Atlanta.
Jonathan’s first solo restaurant project in Miami, Toby’s, named in honor of his mother, Toby Devan Lewis, garnered recognition as one of Esquire magazine’s “10 Best New Restaurants” in 1985. Food & Wine magazine honored it with their Best New Chef award, while the Miami Herald gave it five-stars out of four, the extra star for “pure class”.
Next, Jonathan opened Cafe Tu Tu Tango in Coconut Grove, Miami, earning another four-stars from the Miami Herald for its innovative approach to small plate sharing. As Cafe Tu Tu Tango flourished, Jonathan played an integral role in its operations as it grew to multiple locations.
Inspired by his father, Peter B. Lewis, Jonathan began his transition to political activism in the early 2000’s, supporting progressive political efforts focused on the fight for LGBTQ equality and youth empowerment. To truly challenge the status quo and build a sustainable progressive movement, Jonathan believed that young people and their creative energy and idealism were essential.
One of his first major undertakings was funding and incubating the Young Voter Alliance, under the Young Democrats of America. The Young Voter Alliance used an innovative, collaborative model to capture and cultivate a powerful, measurable progressive youth voting bloc. The result, in 2004, was the highest youth voter turnout since 1972.
Following his initial political investments, Jonathan became disillusioned as he observed what he considered to be “access advocacy.” Progressive national organization leaders and activists seemed deterred from demanding radical accountability of those in power, settling instead for empty promises, excuses and privileged access with nothing to show for it.
He transformed into an agitator, more inclined to challenge those in power to bring about real change. He fearlessly voiced his dissent and, more importantly, utilized his personal resources to exemplify his unwavering commitment to meaningful change.
Out of his deep frustration and perception of limited progress, Jonathan funded a new, radical, direct action group, GetEQUAL. Its mission was to relentlessly push President Obama and the Democratic Party to make significant progress toward full LGBTQ equality and, specifically, legalize same-sex marriage and end the discriminatory Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy that forbade openly gay and lesbian individuals from serving in the military.
GetEQUAL’s nontraditional and aggressive tactics to bring the issues to the forefront included activists chaining themselves to the White House fence, disrupting President Obama at public events and blockading Las Vegas Boulevard. They definitely got the attention of the national press and the president. Despite pushback, Jonathan felt immense pride in 2010 as he stood alongside GetEQUAL activists during President Obama’s official signing of the bill repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.
Additionally, Jonathan served on the board of the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER), which brought together attorneys Ted Olson and David Boies, representing different ends of the political spectrum, to champion the fundamental right to marry.
This historic effort culminated in a landmark victory at the United States Supreme Court in 2013, establishing a binding precedent affirming the right to marry. Through his involvement with AFER and GetEQUAL, and many other groups, Jonathan played an instrumental role in advancing equality and justice for all.
One of the most ambitious theoretical to real world working models his foundation has undertaken is Farms Work Wonders, an experimental pilot project launched in 2016, that provides employment, teaches essential skills and supports the educational endeavors of local Appalachian youth. Since its inception, the project has created several successful non-profit social enterprise businesses that serve as dynamic living classrooms for youth including an organic farm, market, bakery, glass blowing studio and a restaurant opening in August, that will honor Jonathan’s hospitality roots. These ventures have touched the lives of many people and will continue to do so.
Jonathan is survived by his husband Mark Christopher Lewis and his siblings Ivy Beth Lewis and Adam Joseph Lewis (Melony). Jonathan is predeceased by his parents Peter Benjamin Lewis and Toby Devan Lewis and his nephew Dakota William Powell.
Rev. Steve Pieters, activist, inspiration & longtime HIV survivor dies
Brad Bessey, Director of Communications for Project Angel Food, noted the death of Pieters from complications of Gastrointestinal Cancer
LOS ANGELES – In a poignant remembrance Sunday on Facebook, Brad Bessey, the Director of Communications & Talent Relations at non-profit charity Project Angel Food, noted the passage of Rev. Steve Pieters, 71, who died from complications of Gastrointestinal Cancer that had metastasized.
Bessey wrote: “Oh man. Rev. Steve Pieters, activist, inspiration and sober brother has passed away after a journey with GI cancer that metastasized. I spent time with him as his story was featured in our Lead with Love special on @ktla5news in June. He told me, as we sat in his house, “The quality of life is not measured by the length of life but by the fullness with which we enter into each present moment, and as long as we are alive we are called upon to love.” And, he personified love. What a gift it was to get to know Steve in his final days on earth before this amazing man took flight in the heavenly plane.”
Pieters, a long time activist in the HIV/AIDS and recovery communities was an active pastor and later a field director for the as Field Director of AIDS Ministry for the Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) denomination. He received his Master of Divinity Degree from McCormick Theological Seminary in 1979.
Prior to his diagnosis with AIDS, Rev. Pieters served as the pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) of Hartford, Connecticut (1979-82), where he was a leading gay activist.
His biography published by the LGBTQ Religious Archives Network, listed highlights of his over four decade career:
In 1982, he resigned his position in Hartford and moved to Los Angeles, where he began to experience a series of illnesses that were diagnosed as AIDS-Related Complex. In April, 1984, he was diagnosed with AIDS/Kaposi’s Sarcoma and stage four lymphoma, and he was told by one health professional that he would not live to see 1985.
Not only did he live to see 1985, but during that year he became “patient number 1” on the first anti-viral drug trial, taking Suramin for a total of 39 weeks. While on Suramin, both cancers went into complete remission. Due to toxic side effects, the drug was discontinued for use against AIDS.
Rev. Pieters served for the next 11 years as Field Director of AIDS Ministry for the MCC denomination. He traveled the world, teaching and preaching about hope, grief, and surviving AIDS. He also volunteered as a chaplain at an AIDS hospice in Los Angeles. As an AIDS activist, he served on the Los Angeles AIDS Task Force, as well as the Boards of Directors of AIDS Project Los Angeles and the AIDS National Interfaith Network. He was featured in LIFE, TIME, and OMNI magazines, as well as the Los Angeles Times. He regularly appeared on CNN, was interviewed by people as diverse as Tom Snyder and Tammy Faye Bakker, and was profiled by Jane Pauley to mark the 10th anniversary of the first diagnosis of AIDS.
In 2007, and over the next six years Rev. Pieters battled a number of illnesses, including pancreatitis, which nearly killed him in 2012.
In June of this year, Rev. Dr. Steve Pieters was a guest on Rated LGBT Radio with host and Los Angeles Blade contributor Rob Watson where the two discussed his life.
Pieters had served on the Boards of Directors of AIDS Project Los Angeles, the AIDS Interfaith Council of Southern California, the AIDS National Interfaith Network (USA), and the first Los Angeles City/County AIDS Task Force, and was Field Director for the AIDS Ministry of the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches from 1987 to 1997. Pieters was one of twelve invited guests at a Prayer Breakfast at the White House with U.S. President Bill Clinton, Vice President Al Gore, and National AIDS Policy Coordinator Kristine Gebbie prior to World AIDS Day 1993. The President talked about Rev. Pieters in his World AIDS Day speech on December 1, 1993.
He was famously interviewed by Tammy Faye Bakker on her TV show, and that interview was recreated in the film The Eyes of Tammy Faye.
Dr. Susan Love: LGBTQ+ pioneer & trailblazing scientist dies at 75
Dr. Love came out early in her career at a time when revealing one’s sexual orientation carried “grave professional and personal risks”
LOS ANGELES – Dr. Susan Margaret Love, a widely respected breast cancer researcher and surgeon died at her home in Los Angeles on July 2 at age 75. Dr. Love, who had previously been diagnosed with leukemia in 2012 and after extensive chemotherapy treatment experienced remission of the disease, saw a recent recurrence of the disease which ultimately led to her death.
Dr. Love was also an early LGBTQ+ rights pioneer having come out early in her career at a time when revealing one’s sexual orientation carried “grave professional and personal risks”
In 1993, she and her life-partner Dr. Helen Cooksey made history by obtaining approval from the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court for the first joint adoption by a gay couple. At that time, Massachusetts didn’t recognize same-sex marriage.
This case was crucial in helping to pave the way for the state to become the first to legalize same-sex marriage a decade later.
The couple were married in San Francisco in early 2004 after then San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom ordered the city-county clerk to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
On August 12, 2004, the California Supreme Court voided all of the licenses that had been issued in February and March.
The couple were later married in Los Angeles County.
Love was also a champion of animal rights. She founded the Dr. Susan Love Foundation for Breast Cancer Research, embraced human-relevant research methods and refused to experiment on animals. “What we learn from animals doesn’t always translate into how cancer develops in women,” Love said according to a spokesperson for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals in a statement.
A biographer also noted in Love’s Wikipedia page: Love is best known for pioneering work fueled by her criticism of the medical establishment’s paternalistic treatment of women. She was an early advocate of cancer surgery that conserves as much breast tissue as possible. She also was among the first to sound the alarm on the risks of routine hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for menopausal women.
In 1996, she retired from the active practice of surgery to dedicate her time to finding the cause for breast cancer. According to The New York Times, Love sought “not so much to cure the disease as to vanquish it altogether by isolating its causes and pre-empting them at a cellular level.”
She was appointed by President Bill Clinton to the National Cancer Advisory Board, a position she held from 1998 to 2004. She maintained a board position at the National Cancer Institute, and served as an Adjunct Professor of Surgery at UCLA. Love was a clinical professor of surgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.
Love also served as the Founder and Medical Director of the Dr. Susan Love Foundation for Breast Cancer Research, formerly titled The Santa Barbara Breast Cancer Institute. In 2020, Love became the Chief Visionary Officer.
Additional research materials and notes from Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia.
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