Thursday, March 31, 2011

Kentucky's Christopher Crowe, President of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Congressional Staff Association Dies at 29 years old.

Lexington, KY - Kentucky Equality Federation mourns the loss of Christopher Crowe, President of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Congressional Staff Association (LGBT CSA) and a longtime legislative aide to U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas).

Crowe, originally from Kentucky, died yesterday at the age of 29 from a staph infection related to open-heart surgery last summer after being stricken with meningitis, an inflammation of the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord.

"His contribution will never be forgotten," stated Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer. "He was a dynamic activist that believed in equality for all people. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, and associates."

Crowe grew up in Gamaliel, KY and studied government and global securities at Johns Hopkins University before going to Capitol Hill to work as a staff assistant for Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.). In 2006 he started as a staff assistant in U.S. Representative Johnson's office, and last year he was promoted to legislative assistant.

U.S. Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson a Ranking Member of the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space and Technology is also the highest-ranking Texan on the U.S. House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure. She represents Texas in their 30th Congressional District.

U.S. Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson also make a statement on her official website:

"Christopher was a dedicated legislative assistant who was committed to strengthening the 30th Congressional District of Texas. He was respected by his colleagues for his professionalism; he was beloved by many for his generous spirit and good humor,” said Congresswoman Johnson. "He was a person who enjoyed life and always had a smile to share. He never met a stranger."

Congresswoman Johnson added, "I extend my deepest sympathy to the Crowe family and his loved ones. He will be deeply missed."

Funeral arrangements are forthcoming and will be announced at later time. Condolences may be signed in a memorial book starting tomorrow, March 31st in 2468 Rayburn House Office Building.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Public Statement about the Kentucky Statewide Fairness Coalition


Richmond, KY -- In light of recent occurrences, we at the Kentucky Equality Federation are issuing a statement to clarify our stance on the Statewide Fairness Coalition.

There are certain items that need to be addressed explicitly, as they set us apart from other organizations within the equality movement. Kentucky Equality Federation does not hold traditional fundraisers or host "social hours."  In addition, we will not do anything to endanger long-term equality to accomplish short-term victories.

Kentucky Equality Federation is a founding member of the Statewide Fairness Coalition. Federation Board members and Regional Directors attended the first two meetings of its conception, but our Board voted to withdraw.

While we support the efforts of other equality organizations in the Commonwealth and do not seek to offend other groups in the Coalition, we have enjoyed better success and more flexibility as an organization independent of any official coalitions with Steering Committees.

After conversations with the Statewide Fairness Coalition, namely Mr. Chris Hartman of the Louisville Fairness Campaign, Kentucky Equality Federation will begin to support the Statewide Fairness Coalition as an independent, non-member organization as our Chairman, President, and/or Public Relations and Media Director deem appropriate. This decision was reached after posing the question to our Board members, officers, regional directors, outreach directors, contributors of Kentucky Equality Federation's Official Blog, and standby volunteers. 

As always, we remain committed to working with other equality organizations, and we are glad to have good working relations with them. We will support them when appropriate, and we continue to serve as the largest all-volunteer equality organization in the Commonwealth.

Our main goals at this point are to continue serving as public advocates for victims of abuse and discrimination, as well as preparing for the next legislative session in Frankfort.

To that end, we plan to build our legislative advocacy network and public affairs infrastructure further in addition to working with StoryCorps to tell the stories of those who grew up LGBTI in Whitesburg and Lexington, as well as raising money to support HIV/AIDS organizations around the Commonwealth.

Kentucky Equality Federation is also working to launch our "Faces of Equality" video series; to participate, contact us at:, and select "Faces of Equality Project."

MEDIA INQUIRIES: Please contact the Public Relations and Media Director at (877) KEF - 5775 - Ext. 1.

Monday, March 28, 2011

85 nations wage another culture war at the United Nation; this time in favor of gay rights

United Nation in Geneva -- In what gay advocates described as "a stunning development for the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights," 85 nations signed a pro-gay statement that was read out by Colombia's representative at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on March 22.

A culture war recently broke-out at the United Nations concerning gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgenderd, and intersex people.

In addition, United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon chastised States in September 2010 by stating:

"The responsibilities of the United Nations and the obligations of States are clear. No-one, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, should be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. No-one should be prosecuted for their ideas or beliefs. No-one should be punished for exercising their right to freedom of expression."

United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon is the first leader of the United Nations to speak out of behalf of sexual orientation and gender identity.

The statement read on March 22, 2011 "express(es) concern at continued evidence in every region of acts of violence and related human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity" and "call(s) on states to take steps to end acts of violence, criminal sanctions and related human rights violations committed against individuals because of their sexual orientation or gender identity."

ILGA, the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, called the statement "a very significant step forward towards international consensus on LGBTI people's rights.

Kentucky Equality Federation is a member of ILGA.

"We recognize that the fight at the United Nations underscores the historic split over gay rights at the United Nations and their diverse religious and cultural sensibilities, stated Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer. "However, no State at the United Nations has the right to deprive someone of life because of the way they are born; we all have the right to live and to protect ourselves and our families."

The nations that signed the statement are Albania, Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Central African Republic, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Micronesia, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nauru, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Palau, Panama, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Rwanda, Samoa, San Marino, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Tuvalu, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States of America, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Venezuela, and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

Nigeria's representative spoke against the statement, purportedly on behalf of the council's Africa Group. The representative said the terms "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" are undefined, talked about God, and said it takes a man and a woman to make a baby. At the end, however, he said that laws that criminalize sexual orientation should be expunged.

Pakistan also spoke against the statement on behalf of an official bloc of 57 majority-Muslim nations. Russia opposed the statement, as well, saying it rejects discrimination and violence against LGBT people but should be allowed to limit rights for reasons of public morality. The representative reportedly said that "these people" should not be granted special rights.

ILGA, the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, called the statement "a very significant step forward towards international consensus on LGBTI people's rights."

"The strength of this statement makes the defense of discrimination against lesbians, gays, bisexual, trans and intersex people on the basis of a mistaken sense of 'tradition' or 'natural order' more untenable than ever," said the group's co-secretary general, Renato Sabbadini. "Homophobia and transphobia are more and more acknowledged for what they truly are: the last crumbling pillars of a patriarchal order which belong with other dark pages of our past, like slavery and the Inquisition."

ILGA noted that more nations of the Southern Hemisphere signed this year's statement, and it highlighted the signatures of Dominica, Honduras, Central African Republic, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, and Seychelles.

A statement from the White House said, in part: "Over the past months our diplomats have been engaged in frank, and at times difficult, conversations about the human rights of LGBT persons with governments from around the world. This morning, at the United Nations Human Rights Council, some 85 countries joined the United States in reaffirming our joint commitment to end acts of violence and human rights abuses on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The president is proud of the work we have done to build international consensus on this critical issue and is committed to continuing our determined efforts to advance the human rights of all people, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity."

The U.S. State Department said, "This statement adds new references not seen in previous LGBT statements at the U.N., including: welcoming attention to LGBT issues as a part of the Universal Periodic Review process, noting the increased attention to LGBT issues in regional human rights fora, encouraging the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to continue addressing LGBT issues, and calls for states to end criminal sanctions based on LGBT status."

The Human Rights Council is an intergovernmental body within the United Nations system made up of 47 states that aims to strengthen and protect human rights worldwide.

ILGA, the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association is a non-government observer at the United Nations with Consultative status. ILGA is the world's largest and oldest Federation with more than 600 affiliates, including Kentucky Equality Federation, worldwide.

Kentucky Equality Federation extends StoryCorps partnership to include Lexington

Lexington, KY - Kentucky Equality Federation extends its partnership with StoryCorps to highlight the lack of equality in both Central and Southern Kentucky.

Since 2003, StoryCorps has collected and archived more than 30,000 interviews from more than 60,000 participants. Each conversation is recorded on a free CD to share, and is preserved at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.

StoryCorps is one of the largest oral history projects of its kind, and millions listen to our weekly broadcasts on National Public Radio's Morning Edition.

Kentucky Equality Federation and StoryCorps will visit Whitesburg, KY from April 21st - May 14th. (previous story)

Kentucky Equality Federation and StoryCorps will also visit Lexington, KY on June 04, June 05, June 10, and June 19th.

Arrangements were made between StoryCorps and Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer.

For additional information, call (877) KEF-5775 - Ext. 1 or use our online contact form.

To participate, contact us at:, and select "Participate with Kentucky Equality Federation and StoryCorps."

MEDIA INQUIRIES: Please contact Chairman Richard T. Jones, President Jordan Palmer, or the Public Relations and Media Director Josh Koch at (877) KEF - 5775 - Ext. 1.

StoryCorps Restrictions: Members of the press are not allowed inside the booth once tape begins rolling. with the participant's permission, you can observe, photograph, and/or film the participants getting ready in the booth and doing sound check beforehand. You will also be able to observe and shoot from outside the window during the interview (when available). Print reporters may listen to the interview on headphones from the waiting area (when available) and ask questions before or after the interview, as arranged.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Kentucky Equality Federation names Political Consultant, Public Relations and Media Director

Richmond, KY - Kentucky Equality Federation today announced the appointment of Josh Koch as Special Political Consultant to the President, Public Relations and Media Director.

The appointment of Mr. Koch was made by Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer. Any officer or managing director may appoint special advisers, consultants, assistant, interns, and other volunteers to be attached directly to their office without Board confirmation.

In the separate position of Public Relations and Media Director however, Mr. Koch will enjoy the same significant latitude in making decisions regarding public relations and media as Regional Directors and Outreach Directors in their respective regions. Mr. Koch's position as Public Relations and Media Director however covers the entire Commonwealth.

Josh Koch most recently served as the co-Chair of the Libertarian Party of Kentucky but did not seek re-election to that office. Currently Mr. Koch currently holds no titles with the Libertarian Party of Kentucky.

"We formed an official alliance with the Libertarian Party of Kentucky in 2008," stated Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer. "They are always there to support us in the name of equality to have a statewide law passed to protect LGBTI people in Kentucky from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity along with Senior and Junior Democrats in the Kentucky House of Representatives."

Palmer continued: "I have never met a person who is more objective with clarity of thought than Mr. Koch. Over the past year he has become a friend to me and everyone here at Kentucky Equality Federation; he believes in all forms of equality, both politically and socially."

Kentucky Equality Federation Chairman Richard T. Jones and Kentucky Equality Federation Transgender Outreach Director Tyler Watts also praised the decision. Kentucky Equality Federation has also received positive feedback from members, former and current Board members.

"At Kentucky Equality Federation we stand united as an organization, and embrace anyone or any organization that fights for equality," stated Chairman Richard T. Jones.

Kentucky Equality Federation places as much decision-making power as possible in the hands of Regional Directors, Outreach Directors, and now the Public Relations and Media Director (except as prohibited in the Federation Leadership Manual, Bylaws, or Board Resolutions).

As a grassroots organization, Kentucky Equality Federation shifts decision-making authority (as practical) to the organization's lowest geographic level of organization.

All Federation volunteers are required to follow a code of ethical conduct based on fundamental values such as honesty, integrity, fairness, inclusion, respect, trust, responsibility, common sense and accountability.

"I am humbled and honored to accept the invitation extended by Kentucky Equality Federation, stated Josh Koch."  Kentucky Equality Federation started as an LGBTI-focused anti-discrimination group, and it has branched out to defend various other victims of discrimination, as well. KEF provides a vital service of advocacy and proactive cooperation between many diverse groups in today’s society."

Koch continued:
"This may seem like an odd choice of involvement to some who know me, given my previous history of political activities, but it is a cause near and dear to my heart. Many people and groups are victims of discrimination. Some are discriminated against because of their sexual orientation, sexual identity, race, gender, veteran status, or political identification (or lack thereof). Discrimination takes many forms, and it is necessary that the victims of such treatment strive for a better world where all groups, orientations, identities, creeds, and political groups can achieve equality.

My theory of equality is a proactive one. Let's use a political example. For instance, in theory, every person has a supposedly equal right to vote in our republic. However, institutional discrimination has systematically removed rights from vast swaths of our society. Independents and third-party members cannot vote in primaries and are prevented from appearing on the ballot in some states by draconian petition requirements, which effectively leaves these voters the option of just getting to choose between those two candidates “allowed” on the general election ballots, those two candidates selected by only the Democrats and the Republicans. This is false fairness, as the votes cast are not all absolutely equal in status.

This is not “equality.” Rather, it is discrimination dressed in the trappings of fairness. Whenever groups like independents, LGBTI individuals, minorities, third parties, and others are prevented from participating in all levels of societal discussions and functions, there you will find discrimination. Ironically, it is an experience shared by many members of different groups which have been pitted against each other for no good reason.

In the same way, "allowing" LGBTI couples to be together while preventing them from being allowed to work, have a home, participate in the political process, participate in society, or legally form a recognized, binding home unit (marriage contract) is not equality. A society which allows the selective denial of fundamental rights to some citizens while recognizing those rights for others is not truly equal or free.

This is our struggle for proactive equality, whether we are straight or LGBTI. These are our brothers and sisters, our neighbors, our friends, our coworkers, and our fellow citizens. No color, gender, orientation, gender identity, veteran status, political identification, or any other facet of a person’s existence can be allowed to abridge their rights to participate in a free society with equal protections and truly equal status at all levels.

We need no special "new" rights for this to be accomplished. This is a struggle for equal protection under law, not the creation of a special status, as some argue erroneously. These rights exist inherently for us all, as they derive from a source more infinite than any society or government, or even a document. These rights must be codified, recognized, and accepted for our society to be truly equal, but the rights of an individual to be sovereign and secure in his or her person and property are not new. These concepts are at the very foundation of our nation:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — U.S. Declaration of Independence, 1776

As someone who cherishes rights, freedom, and equality, I accept the honor of serving with the Kentucky Equality Federation. They are proactive and tenacious in their struggle for “Peace, Liberty, Equality” for all. I hope I can live up to their expectations, and I look forward to working with my fellow volunteers in the cause."

Friday, March 4, 2011

Kentucky Equality Federation's Board of Directors Urges Positive Community Action if the Westboro Baptist Church protest in Louisville or Owensboro

Lexington, KY -- Should the Westboro Baptist Church visit Louisville or Owensboro, the dogma preached by the Westboro Baptist Church should be transformed into a positive event instead of a negative one by engaging the community to get involved and support local and statewide organizations for people suffering with HIV/AIDS.

View the complete resolution:  (view in .pdf) or (view in .xps)

Kentucky Equality Federation gives special thanks to Gretchen Bell and  David Taffet, staff writer with the Dallas Voice.

From the Courier-Journal: Members of Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas have announced plans for protests Sunday at a Louisville parish and three Owensboro churches. The independent Baptist group said in faxes to The Courier-Journal that it would target two Catholic and two Protestant churches, claiming that "God hates Catholics" and "God hates lying false prophets" and using slurs against gay people, the pope and others.

The group plans three protests on Sunday morning in Owensboro — at Blessed Mother Catholic Church, Owensboro Christian Church and Bellevue Baptist Church. It then plans to picket St. Lawrence Catholic Church in Louisville just before its afternoon Mass.

Of the four churches, the Westboro faxes only gave a specific reason for protests at Blessed Mother, capitalizing on the suicide outside the church last month of a young man who left a final note describing the trauma of being sexually abused.

03/04/2011: A RESOLUTION urging the citizens of the Commonwealth and organizations planning a counter protest against the Westboro Baptist Church in Louisville or Owensboro to request donations from counter protestors to be split evenly between the House of Ruth which cares for families and individuals with or affected by HIV/AIDS, AIDS Volunteers, Inc. (AVOL) which serves 72 counties in Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Kentucky, The Wings Clinic, which services Jefferson County and 7 surrounding counties, Moveable Feast which prepares and delivers hot, freshly cooked meals, five days a week, to people living with AIDS/HIV-related illnesses as well as individuals who are patients of Hospice of the Bluegrass, and Louisville AIDS Walk which raises awareness and funds for local HIV/AIDS Service Organizations through education, marketing and promotional activities and through participation of walkers and volunteers in a safe, fun, educational event.

The dogma preached by the Westboro Baptist Church should be transformed into a positive event instead of a negative one by engaging the community to get involved and support local and statewide organizations for people suffering with HIV/AIDS. (view in .pdf) or (view in .xps)

YouTube Instructions and Outreach:

NOTICE: From over 11 emails, we will answer, neither Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer nor Chairman Richard T. Jones are HIV+ they do NOT have HIV/AIDS. However, the Westboro Baptist Church believes HIV/AIDS is a blessing so that is why our Board of Directors want donations for HIV/AIDS Organizations in Kentucky.