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Letters to the Editor: SECA Biased?; Pro-Chiola
2006-10-25

This article shared 4261 times since Wed Oct 25, 2006
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SECA Biased?

For Cindy Dixon, Statewide Administrator of State and University Employees Combined Appeal ( SECA ) :

The SECA printed booklet discriminates against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender ( GLBT ) persons. Please register my objections; provide an explanation and apology; and take action to stop GLBT¬ repression in future SECA booklets.

The SECA Index of Charitable Organizations does not contain the¬ term 'gay,' and only¬ through slow, careful reading does the list of charities reveal HRC: Human Rights Campaign Foundation ( 910-0170 ) and SLDN: Servicemembers Legal Defense Network ( 911-1340 ) , which do not include GLBT persons in their titles.¬

Although they are qualified SECA charities, the printed booklet fails to list either GLAAD: Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation ( SECA No.¬ 911-0703 ) or PFLAG: Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians & Gays ( SECA No.¬ 911-1200 ) . It does not include other¬ GLBT-related charities such as¬ the Center for Lesbian and Gay Civil Rights or¬ the Point Foundation: The National Gay & Lesbian Scholarship Fund, or other independent charities of America related to GLBT issues.¬

There are many AIDS charities in the booklet, but none of their listings contain terms such as¬ 'gay' and 'homosexual.' It is difficult to imagine that such groups would themselves expunge the GLBT persons they¬ serve.¬ The only places GLBT terms appear are in the pale text descriptions of HRC and SLDN, and so SECA has effectively hidden sexual minorities from public view.¬

Because of the invisibility of queer charities in the key public face of SECA, I've decided not to participate in SECA this year and will instead return to making individual contributions directly to non-profit groups.

I have copied the co-chairs of the UIC Chancellor's Committee on LGBT Issues and the director and staff of UIC Office of GLBT Concerns on this message.

Kevin G. Barnhurst, Professor & Head

Department of Communication ( MC-132 )

University of Illinois at Chicago

Pro-Chiola

With all the ballyhoo over the coming election—local contests and their national implications—it is easy to overlook some important races right in our own backyard. In the past few years, a number of fine attorneys—men and women—in Cook County have been elected as openly gay Circuit Court judges. Thanks to them, we have a court system that is more gay-sensitive and gay-aware than just about any place else in this country. And it all started here when WE elected Thomas Chiola the first openly gay judge in Illinois.

I had the honor of working on Tom's dynamic campaign and it was thrilling to make history for one of our own. Well, 12 years have passed and Judge Tom Chiola is one of the many judges up for retention during this election cycle. Being up for retention is so daunting because it doesn't grab headlines and it is easy to be overlooked. Well Tom needs your help to get a 60% 'Yes' vote from all residents in Cook County in order to be retained. I am writing to ask you to be sure to Punch #156 to retain Tom Chiola as Cook County's first openly gay Circuit Court judge.

I have known Tom for 30 years and in that time he has never ceased to amaze me; he is active in gay sports, and is also an exemplary attorney, a die-hard volunteer for several organizations, a mentor for gay youth ... and an incredibly kind and generous friend. Tom Chiola is a very special man and he is an excellent judge. As the first openly gay candidate for judgeship, Tom blazed a trail for so many who have followed him and we—and our court system—are better for it.

Please remember—and remind your friends—to Punch #156 to retain Judge Tom Chiola.

Victor Salvo

Chicago, IL


This article shared 4261 times since Wed Oct 25, 2006
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