Achieving LGBTQ Equality Through Litigation, Legislation, Policy, and Public Education

A Time Of Reflection

Board_ KateKendell _photoThe start of a New Year is a always a time for reflection, and in 2012, all of us at NCLR are looking back on how far we’ve come as the organization celebrates a major milestone—turning 35!

Every bit of what NCLR has become over the last 35 years is reflected in you—the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender women and men who have stood beside us, challenging injustices by standing up for what’s right, and changing the legal and political landscape for every member of our community across the country.

Everything that we’ve accomplished could not have been done without you, and we hope you’ll celebrate our anniversary with us at the 35th Anniversary Celebration on May 5, 2012 at San Francisco’s City View at Metreon—often called “the party of the year,” if you didn’t already know it.

This year, I’m proud to announce that we will present famed actress Jane Lynch—a longtime friend of NCLR who has used her celebrity as a platform to speak out for LGBT equality and raise awareness about the need for creating safer schools—with the Vanguard Award.

I’m also extremely pleased to share that we’ll be honoring the six young students from Minnesota’s Anoka-Hennepin School District who had the courage to stand up for themselves, and for those who have suffered in silence, by challenging a district policy that prohibits staff from discussing LGBT issues in class and prevents them from effectively addressing bullying.

Many of you have read the horrific stories about what these young kids have faced in school simply for being who they are. Damian, whose dads are gay, was stabbed in the neck with a pencil, and relentlessly bullied for coming from a loving home. Dylon has been pushed and shoved in hallways, and often called “it” by classmates. Lane is frequently teased and harassed, with classmates often snickering when she walks by because she’s openly bisexual. Ebonie, who is an out lesbian, is tormented, with peers calling her “he/she.” Kyle, a talented singer who likes performing publically to Lady Gaga, can count up to 40 classmates who bully him.

These young students have won my complete respect for their courage, and have also become role models for thousands of others their age, and even those of us who are slightly older, too.

Our favorite funny lady, humorist Kate Clinton, is returning to the Anniversary Celebration as our emcee. And I’m thrilled that longtime LGBT rights activist and actor Wilson Cruz, of TV’s “My So-Called Life” and Broadway’s RENT, will be our special guest, presenting the Courage Award to the Anoka-Hennepin students.

Bravo—and huge thank you—to each and every one of the incredible people we’ll honor, along with all of the courageous men and women whose lives are intertwined with NCLR’s history.

We look forward to celebrating with you at our 35th Anniversary Celebration.

In solidarity,





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Tickets Now Available for 35th Anniversary Celebration at the City View at Metreon in San Francisco on May 5, 2012

Enews_35AnnCelebAttend “the party of the year”! Get your tickets now for NCLR’s 35th Anniversary Celebration—set for May 5, 2012 at the City View at Metreon in San Francisco—where we’ll honor seven heroes in the movement for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender equality

NCLR’s Anniversary Celebration attracts a sell-out crowd of 1,500 people from across the country to celebrate victories in the movement for full LGBT equality, and to honor those who have become role models for thousands of people through their unfailing commitment to justice.

Our honored award recipients, and their presenters include:

  • Jane Lynch, of “Glee” and “Julie & Julia,” who will be awarded the Vanguard Award
  • Six student plaintiffs from Minnesota’s Anoka-Hennepin School District, who will be awarded the Courage Award
  • Wilson Cruz, of “My So-Called Life” and Broadway production of RENT, who will present the Courage Award
  • Kate Clinton, political humorist, will return for a command performance as emcee

“This year is especially significant, as NCLR celebrates a major milestone—turning 35 years old, an opportunity for us to look back on our history-making cases, and the men and women who have stood up against injustice and impacted the legal landscape for every member of our community,” said NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell. “We’re incredibly thrilled that we’ll be able to celebrate how far we’ve come, while honoring those who have the courage to stand up for what’s right, becoming role models for thousands and thousands of people across the country.”

The Anniversary Celebration is NCLR’s signature event. This year’s Presenting Sponsor is Wells Fargo. The Gold Sponsor is American Airlines.

Buy your tickets now for the event, which begins at 8 p.m. on May 5, 2012.

Learn more about the 2012 Anniversary Celebration.

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Want to See Your Photos Displayed During the 35th Anniversary Celebration?

See your photo displayed during the 35th Anniversary Celebration by taking part in our “I am NCLR … ” photo campaign, designed to reflect and showcase NCLR clients and supporters.

Through April 2012, we would like your photos—your portraits, snapshots, and special moments—with a homemade poster or sign in which you fill in the sentence, “I am NCLR, and I am … ,” telling us how you reflect our groundbreaking work.

The best images will be used in NCLR promotional and marketing material through our 35th anniversary event on May 5, 2012, where we will showcase many of your photos to help tell NCLR’s story through real images, from real people.

We have already received a number of great photos. Send yours in soon!

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New Guide for LGBT Elders in CA Provides Comprehensive Information About Their Rights and Benefits

Navigating the SystemWe’re pleased to introduce a pioneering new guide that gives California’s LGBT elders—who are more likely to face discrimination and be low-income or live in poverty—comprehensive information about their rights and the services that are available to them as they navigate the system of public and social benefits.

The guide—called “Navigating the System: A Know-Your-Rights Guide for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Elders in California”—is designed to empower and help protect California’s LGBT elders, who often are targets of discrimination due to their sexual orientation or gender identity.

The 61-page guide, published by NCLR, Transgender Law Center, Openhouse, and Planning for Elders in the Central City, offers a wide range of resources for the state’s LGBT elders and equips them with the tools they need to:

  • Know California’s anti-discrimination laws
  • Find LGBT-friendly housing and service providers
  • Effectively address discrimination or mistreatment
  • Understand how relationship recognition laws affect benefits
  • Navigate the unique challenges that confront transgender elders
  • Understand how to protect their families and choices with life-planning documents
  • Identify available benefits, particularly for people with disabilities

Advocates and LGBT elder community members developed the publication because they saw a need for a California-specific and comprehensive resource that they could turn to for help explaining information about laws and services, said NCLR Elder Law Fellow Daniel Redman.

“The result is a publication LGBT elders can use to better understand their rights and use those rights in a variety of elder care contexts, and to more easily navigate the complex systems that they face everyday,” said Redman, who co-authored the guide. “We have a responsibility to care for aging members of our community, ensuring that they have access to resources and services that will allow them to live with dignity and respect, completely free of discrimination and mistreatment.”

Download the full guide.

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Haas Jr. Fund Program Empowers Us to Bring Our Best Work to LGBT Equality

NCLR is honored and privileged to be connected with the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund and the work they’re doing through their Nonprofit Leadership Program, which we have been a part of for the last three years.

The Haas, Jr. Fund has invested more than $11 million over the last six years to help build a culture of leadership among grantee organizations like NCLR by giving us the tools and resources that empower us as leaders.

The Haas, Jr. Fund has learned that such investments generate significant returns for movement leaders to advance fundamental rights and create opportunities that benefit every member of our community.

The Haas, Jr. Fund has produced a video case study about how its Nonprofit Leadership Program helped us create a stronger culture of leadership within our organization, empowering us to bring our best to every aspect of our work.

With a strong culture of leadership, social change happens faster, reaches further, and matters more to the people we serve.

The video is well worth a few minutes of your time.

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NCLR Donor Profile: Ruth and David Waterbury

Ruth and Dave Waterbury are tireless allies and advocates who live in Minnesota, inspired by their son Marcus, who is also a supporter of NCLR.

Ruth and Dave WaterburyRuth is a one-time primary teacher who spent many years volunteering in the arts. Ever since her daughter Margery came out more than 25 years ago, Ruth has been a tireless advocate for family acceptance of LGBT members. If your parents need an “attitude adjustment,” sic Ruth on them!

Dave is a retired financial advisor and has served on several community and national boards, including YMCA Camp Widgiwagan, Headwaters Foundation for Justice, Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, and Faith in America, as well as the Minnesota Governors Task Force on Gay & Lesbian Minnesotans. Both Ruth and Dave have been active with their college alumni activities and with their church.

Why do you support LGBT civil and human rights?

We truly believe that all people deserve respect, acceptance, and inclusion, and that ALL people deserve “liberty and justice for all.”

When and how did you first hear about NCLR?

Many years ago, from our daughter Margery (now our son Marcus). We were told about the great work that NCLR was doing, especially on lesbian rights. We’ve been very pleased to learn that NCLR’s portfolio has always included transgender issues.

What inspired your first gift to NCLR, and is there anything in particular about NCLR that has motivated you to continue giving through the years?

The focus, dedication, and effectiveness of NCLR in protecting and establishing LGBT rights. Also, we think NCLR does an outstanding job overall, cooperating with other organizations, and with more interest in the outcomes than in building an empire. And we think you do a good job with your resources.

What are your hopes for LGBT people in the next few years?


What is your favorite way to spend a Sunday afternoon?

For Dave, watching baseball. For Ruth, gardening.

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Support NCLR through eScrip

So you think NCLR is the best? But after you make your annual membership contribution, you don’t have anything left to give, even though you’d love to.

Enews_EscripsHow about using eScrip?

What is eScrip? It’s a simple way for you to support NCLR at no cost to you. All you have to do is register your credit/debit cards and ATM cards with eScrip—then any time you use one of them to shop with a participating merchant, the merchant will donate up to 8% of the purchase amount to NCLR. That’s right: you pay for only what you’re buying, and the store is the one who donates. Perfect!

NCLR’s Group Name: “National Center for Lesbian Rights” or “NCLR”

NCLR’s Group ID #: 500022336

Over 150 merchants at which you already shop participate, including Whole Foods, Wild Oats, Andronico’s, Mollie Stone’s, Bristol Farms, Working Assets, Sharper Image, Round Table Pizza, Chevron, OfficeMax, Budget Rent-A-Car, Payless Shoes, Orchard Supply Hardware, and many more. Check out the full list of participating merchants.

Register with eScrip online now! Under “Make a difference in 4 easy steps,” click on “Sign up, it’s free!” Your credit card information will only be used for this purpose and is guaranteed to be safe and secure.

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Shop at NCLR’s Store

Check out one of NCLR’s favorite designs in our shop! Support the fight for justice with this great image of Lady Liberty and Lady Justice.

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