The Pride Center will be closed until Monday. We're grateful for this community and are sending you warm wishes. We know that holidays can be difficult for LGBTQ+ folks. If you need support please know there are resources available--
If you're craving a more accurate history of Thanksgiving-- check out these resources from Border Crossers (click here). If you're wondering how to start important conversations like "How can we feel grateful for this land, food and water in ways that don't erase Indigenous people and the history of what white people have taken and/or benefited from?"-- check out SURJ's discussion guide and holiday discussion placemats (click here)!
For folks without transportation, we will meet at the Pride Center at 9:30am to carpool, otherwise find us at Spare Time at 10.
Shoe rental is $4/person... if you can, bring enough to cover shoes for yourself & a couple extra bucks to cover folks who can't afford it. If you can't afford anything, come anyway and we will work something out
Are you resolved to quit/cut down or maintain your smoking in the coming new year?
Get the tips, tools and community support you need before the new year!
The Pride Center of Vermont is offering a free 4-week smoking cessation program. Programming starts the second week of November in Chittenden County. Programming starts in January for Washington County.
“The greatest act of advocacy for civil rights for LGBT Americans is the act of coming out.”
Rodney Wilson is a high school teacher credited with creating Gay History Month. October was selected because schools are in session, and it is the month in which the first national march for lesbian and gay rights occurred and National Coming Out Day is celebrated.
Born in Missouri, Wilson grew up watching “Jerry Falwell’s Old Time Gospel Hour” on television. Until his 20s, he was a fundamentalist Christian. When he developed an interest in history, he found his calling as a teacher. He wrestled with his sexuality and read everything he could find about gay history. He said, “LGBT history gave me self-confidence as a gay person and strengthened my resolve to live, as best I could, an honest, open and integrated life.”
In 1994, as a teacher at Mehlville High School in suburban St. Louis, Wilson came out to his history class during a lesson about the Holocaust. If he had lived in Germany during World War II, he explained, he likely would have been imprisoned and murdered by the Nazis for being gay.
When he came out, Wilson was a graduate student at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. He became the first openly gay K-12 teacher in the state. What began as a lesson evolved into a much broader mission to teach young people about gay history. Inspired by Women’s History Month and Black History Month, he worked with national organizations to develop a gay-friendly curriculum for educators.
In 1994 Wilson wrote the first article about gay history published by the Missouri Historical Society. University of Missouri-St. Louis became the first college in the country to hold a Gay History Month function, and Wilson helped organize a gay film festival on campus to launch the festivities. In 1995 Gay History Month received its first mainstream media coverage in Newsweek.
As Wilson and partners sought endorsements from educational groups, they faced backlash from conservatives who feared that teaching gay history would endanger youth. Gay History Month continued into the late ’90s, but lost momentum when no organization would take responsibility for its observance and financial resources grew scarce. In 2006 Equality Forum created LGBTHistoryMonth.com.
Wilson holds master’s degrees from University of Missouri-St. Louis and Harvard University’s extension school. He founded GLSEN-St. Louis (Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network), the first GLSEN chapter outside of Massachusetts. He teaches history, government and comparative religion.
“I seem to have been a pioneer in realizing the idea for what are now called domestic partnership benefits. It took years for the idea to catch on.”
Jeffrey Weinstein is a writer, editor and critic. As a union representative, he won the first employee healthcare benefits for same-sex couples from a private employer.
Born in Manhattan, Weinstein was raised in Brooklyn and Queens. He earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Brandeis University before enrolling at the University of California in San Diego, where he pursued graduate work in English and American literature. Shortly after the Stonewell Riots in 1969, Weinstein came out to his family and friends and taught the first class in gay literature in California.
Weinstein started his career as a food critic at the San Diego Reader in 1972 and became a restaurant critic for New York’s Soho Weekly News in 1977. He joined the Village Voice in 1981 as editor of visual arts and architecture criticism, where he remained until 1995.
In his first year with the Village Voice, Weinstein founded the National Writers Union. In 1982 he helped negotiate the union contract agreement to extend health, life insurance and disability benefits to same-sex partners and other spousal equivalents of the newspaper’s employees.
From 1997 to 2006, he served as the fine arts editor and cultural columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer and, subsequently, as arts and culture editor for Bloomberg News.
In 2009 the University of Southern California named Weinstein deputy director of its Annenberg Getty Arts Journalism Program. The following year, the National Endowment for the Arts named him associate director of its Journalism Institute in Theater and Musical Theater. In 2013 and 2014, he served on the jury for the Pulitzer Prize in Criticism.
Weinstein writes frequently about gay issues. He created the “Out There” column about LGBT culture on artsjournal.com and wrote a culinary coming-out story, “A Jean-Marie Cookbook,” which earned him a Pushcart Prize. He serves on the board of directors of the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art in New York City.
Weinstein married his partner of 32 years, the artist John Perreault, in Provincetown, Massachusetts, in 2008.
“Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license.”
As a federal judge in the U.S. District Court of Northern California, Vaughn Walker ruled as unconstitutional California’s Prop 8 prohibition of same sex-marriage.
Born in Watseka, Illinois, Walker attended the University of Michigan and was a Woodrow Wilson Fellow in economics at the University of California at Berkeley. He attended Stanford Law School and practiced law in San Francisco.
In 1987 President Ronald Reagan nominated Walker for a judgeship. The nomination was stalled due to Walker’s previous representation of the U.S. Olympic Committee in a lawsuit that disallowed the use of the title “Gay Olympics.” House Democrats, including Rep. Nancy Pelosi, accused him of being insensitive to the LGBT community.
In 1989 when President George H. W. Bush renominated Walker for a seat on the federal district court, Walker was confirmed unanimously. He presided over numerous important cases, including drug legalization, NSA surveillance without a warrant, antitrust, mergers and copyright infringement.
In 2010 Walker presided over Hollingsworth v. Perry, the landmark case that challenged California’s Proposition 8, a ballot initiative eliminating the right of same-sex couples to marry. Walker ruled Prop 8 unconstitutional. His decision influenced subsequent state and federal marriage equality cases, including Obergefell v. Hodges, the Supreme Court case that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide.
After retiring from the bench in 2011, Walker came out and acknowledged his decade-long same-sex relationship. He maintained a private practice in San Francisco and lectured at Stanford University Law School and the University of California Berkeley School of Law. The Bar Association of San Francisco honored him with its the Tara J. Riedley Barristers Choice Award.
“I was a bond trader by day and an AIDS activist by night.”
Peter Staley is a pioneering American AIDS activist who founded the Treatment Action Group (TAG) and AIDSmeds.com. He is featured in the Oscar-nominated documentary “How to Survive a Plague.”
Staley was born in Sacramento, California. He attended Oberlin College, where he studied classical piano. He later studied economics and government, which led to a job as an investment banker at J.P. Morgan.
Though Staley was out to his family, he was closeted at his job on Wall Street. After he was diagnosed with AIDS-related complex (ARC) in 1985, he joined the advocacy group ACT-UP to help fund-raise. In 1988 he took part in an ACT-UP protest on Wall Street and talked about his diagnosis on the local news.
After giving up his career in banking, Staley became a prominent AIDS activist. He was one of three men who barricaded themselves at a drug research company to protest the exorbitant price of AZT, one of the first marketed AIDS drugs. He worked with pharmaceutical companies to lower the cost of AIDS drugs and raised large contributions for AIDS clinical trials and charities. Staley spoke at many of the earliest AIDS conferences around the globe.
In 1991 Staley founded TAG to help find AIDS treatments. He is famous for draping a giant condom over the home of North Carolina Senator Jess Helms, after the senator criticized the use of federal money for AIDS research.
From 1991 to 2004, Staley served on the board of amfAR, the foundation for AIDS research. During that period, President Bill Clinton named him to the AIDS Task Force on AIDS Drug Development. The Task Force honored him with the Award of Courage in 2000.
In 1999 Staley created AIDSmeds.com, a portal offering information and resources on HIV/AIDS drugs and gay health. In 2006 the website merged with POZ, a publication for people living with the virus. Staley became an advisory editor and blogger for the site.
Staley created an educational campaign about crystal meth addiction in the gay community. A former addict, he talked publicly about his recovery and launched an ad campaign, funded with his own money, to highlight the dangers of the drug and its relationship to HIV transmission.
The 2012 documentary “How to Survive a Plague” chronicles Staley’s activism. The film earned critical acclaim, including best documentary from the Gotham Independent Film Awards and the Boston Society of Film Critics and nominations from the Sundance Film Festival and the Academy Awards. GLAAD Media named it the outstanding documentary of the year.
How often can you say a kid who was homeless is going to Congress?”
Kyrsten Sinema is the first openly bisexual person elected to the U.S. Congress.
Sinema was born to a Morman family in Tucson, Arizona. Her parents divorced and her mother remarried. When her stepfather lost his job, the family moved into an abandoned gas station without running water or electricity.
Despite many hardships, Sinema graduated at 16 as valedictorian of her high school. By 18 she had earned a bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University on a full scholarship. She subsequently earned a master’s degree, a law degree and a doctorate—all from Arizona State University.
From 1995 to 2002, Sinema was employed as a school social worker, helping struggling families. In 2000 she lobbied at the state capitol against budget cuts in her school district. The visit inspired her interest in politics. Running as an Independent, her first bid for the State Legislature was unsuccessful.
Sinema subsequently registered as a Democrat. In 2005 she was elected to the Arizona State House of Representatives, where she served for a year as the assistant minority leader for the Democratic Caucus. She was elected to the Arizona State Senate in 2010 and to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012.
In office, Sinema worked for the adoption of the Dream Act, a proposal that gives illegal immigrants conditional residency, and actively campaigned against two voter referenda that sought to ban same-sex marriage and civil unions in Arizona. In 2013 she co-sponsored the bipartisan LIBERT-E Act, which sought to prevent the NSA’s mass collection of electronic information from innocent Americans.
Sinema was named Legislator of the Year by the Stonewall Democrats, the Arizona Public Health Association and the National Association of Social Workers. She received Planned Parenthood’s CHOICE Award, and in 2010 was named to TIME magazine’s list of 40 Under 40.
In addition to politics, Sinema has served as an adjunct instructor at the Arizona State University School of Social Work. In 2013 she completed an Ironman Triathlon and summited Mount Kilimanjaro.
In Vermont, 50% of homicides are domestic violence related.
SafeSpace works to end violence in the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and HIV-affected people. We provide information, support, referrals, and advocacy to LGBTQH survivors of violence.
In conjunction with the Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, SafeSpace is able to connect survivors to the Legal Assistance for Victims Clinic (LAV).
LAV provides services and representation to survivors, free of charge. Their legal team can provide support pertaining to:
Restraining orders- both Relief from Abuse Orders and Orders Against Stalking
Name change/social security number change, needed as a result of violence
We are here for you.
Advocates are available to meet in person or answer your call Monday - Thursday 10a - 6p and Friday 10a - 2p.
Every Act of Life chronicles the four-time Tony winner’s five decades working in the American theatre.
Jeff Kaufman and Marcia Ross have launched a Kickstarter fund-raising campaign for their documentary on four-time Tony-winning playwright and librettist Terrence McNally.
Entitled Every Act of Life, the film chronicles McNally's pioneering work in the American theatre over five decades, his fight for LGBT rights, his battles with alcohol and cancer, and more. The producers describe the project as the “first documentary about one of the world’s most honored and risk-taking writers, and an immersive exploration of how to make the third act of life as interesting as the first two.”
As filming and editing are complete, the funds raised (with a goal set for $42,000) would go toward final post-production elements, including color correction, sound design, and promotional assets. “Terrence says in Every Act of Life, ’Theatre is collaborative, and life is collaborative,’” write Kaufman and Ross. “Filmmaking is also collaborative. In this case, it is tax deductible, as well, because your contribution will go through our non-profit fiscal sponsor.”
McNally earned Tony Awards for his plays Master Class and Love! Valour! Compassion! as well as the books to the musicals Kiss of the Spider Womanand Ragtime. His works also include The Ritz, Deuce, The Lisbon Traviata, The Rink, A Man of No Importance, Catch Me If You Can, and It's Only a Play. He is currently represented on Broadway with Anastasia.
For more information or to donate to the campaign, which continues through November 22, visit Kickstarter.com.
I would first like to open by thanking Sean Dorsey Dance for coming to Burlington for an incredible week of arts and love, and the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts for hosting such incredible performers to share their passion with us and our community. Another round of thanks is in order for the countless people out there working at AIDS Service Centers, survivors of previous generations, and the generations to come that will continue this incredible work for years to come.
Before Sean Dorsey Dance arrived in Burlington, my experience with stories, survivors, or connection to the AIDS Epidemic were extremely limited due to my upbringing; and I especially did not realize how transformative this experience would be for me. I grew up in a small town in Upstate New York during a time where accessing information or stories of the epidemic was still considered shameful on top of the geographic and societal isolation of queer people made the whole issue taboo; so, with those two barriers, my scope or sense of the struggles of my community during that time of desperation were severely narrowed. After breaching what felt like the surface when I finally made it to college, I was exposed to the histories of my community but only through channels such as reading articles or watching historical films; I was closer to finding this connection or understanding, but there was still a crucial missing piece I would remain unaware of until after moving to the Burlington area. I was unaware just how profound the week of Sean Dorsey Dance would impact me. At Generations Positive, I was able to hear from the people who experienced this crisis which started only a few decades ago. Listening to these stories of grief, resilience, and progress in person and witnessing a performance that portrayed an entire generation’s plight in person was eye opening to say the least. Listening to these stories and seeing the performance helped me understand the gravity of what went on only a few decades ago and why these stories were so important. Being present in the face of these experiences resonated with me to an even deeper level because I was there in person and helped lighten their burden by being present in the same space, just listening
The stories and performance impacted me so much I recognized that the work I am able to do for my community is wholly in thanks to the pioneers, the missing generation, the storytellers of the AIDS epidemic. This experience also allowed me to reorient myself in the sense of how much work there is left to do in HIV/AIDS prevention, intervention, treatment and services; whether they live with the virus or not. After attending such a powerfully moving week of sharing our most intimate selves with community members and strangers alike, my gratitude for the work I am able to do has grown tremendously because of my being present in a space I was unfamiliar with and to my predecessors fight to live and be heard. Thank you.
Is your New Years resolution to quit/cut down or maintain your smoking?
Get the tips, tools and community support you need before the new year!
The Pride Center of Vermont is offering a free 5-week smoking cessation program. Programming starts the second week of November in Chittenden County. Programming starts in January for Washington County.