Soulforce Leadership Weddings in California Celebrations ensue!

Wedding Bells for Soulforce in California Next Week
Next week several members of our Soulforce executive team will be among the very first to legally marry in the state of California. Jeff Lutes and his partner of 10 years, Gary Stein will be married on Tuesday, June 17 at the Metropolitan Community Church of Los Angeles. Jeff and Gary's three children, Niko, Trei, and Jole' will be present to witness this special occasion. The Lutes-Stein family resides in Austin, Texas. Paige Schilt, Soulforce Director of Media and Public Relations, will marry her spouse, Katy Koonce, on the same day with their son Waylon in attendance. The Schilt-Koonce family also lives in Austin. On Wednesday, June 18, Rev. Dr. Mel White and Gary Nixon (Soulforce co-founders who reside in Lynchburg, VA) will be married.

All three couples marry in California next week with the keen awareness that there is so much more to be done in the pursuit of marriage equality across the nation. Their civil marriages will dissolve when they return to their home states, yet their determination and passion for justice will become more solidified than ever before. The LGBT community must never give up and we cannot stop until every couple in America has the same rights and protections under the law.

Congratulations Jeff, Gary, Paige, Katy, Mel and Gary! The couples ask that in lieu of gifts, please make a donation on their behalf to Soulforce. And now thanks to a supporter who wishes to remain anonymous, every dollar donated towards Soulforce's $8,000 goal for the American Family Outing will be matched.

To have your donation matched, please go to www.soulforce.org/BringOurTruthToMegaChurches

If you would rather send a wedding card to the happy couples along with your gift, you can mail them to Soulforce, P.O. Box 3195, Lynchburg, VA 24503 and they will be forwarded.


Queers United said...

ah lovely news

Where's Jimbo? said...

God love 'em! Its about time!!!! Wish they had joined us when we got married in Canada instead of waiting so long.

cybelline1 said...

Its nice and all but I can't get very excited about gay weddings. Very little the gays do will effect my life, and it appears to me like we trans-folk are trying to be the stereotypical unintelligent sidekick from a warner brothers cartoon - we act all sycophantic fawning over the gays and their social status while they repeatedly dismiss us, put us down and don't even let us ride the back of the bus - we are outside the fricking bus on the sidewalk! I say let em do what they like - so what? Trans people have to stand for their own identity. Gays will never be our friends or trustworthy allies.

Kelli Busey said...

Dear Cybelline, I totally understand your frustration. But I will disagree with with you. I just spent all day in a program that brought 2 transgender men to us so that our GLB congregation may learn from them, and the pastor is lesbian. The Gay community loves us. I know because these people are my heroes and my personal friends. They are protectors, warriors for human rights regardless of Race, age, gender, sexual orientation, creed national origin or religion. They go face to face with haters and give love back. They spend nights in jails sacrificing their freedom.
no honey, we transgender owe these folks our respect and personally, I feel our admiration. Check us out. Participate in a Soulforce action. I guarantee you'll never forget it!

cybelline1 said...

Kelli I am glad you are an advocate. I apologize for sounding as bitter as I am. I have been working with the GL community for years, I am the token that sits on their committees. I have provided class after class, at schools, universities at the LGB(T) center, I presented last week at Pride here in Milwaukee and volunteered all day in the health section. None of that helps. Trans people will always be Martians to them. I just heard an NPR piece on gay marriage (Morning Edition June 16, 2008) describing in one place that a lesbian couple was denied a photographer's services because the photographer told them she did not believe in gay marriage. The woman in the piece stated (and I remind you this is full grown adult female) "This was the first time she had felt the sting of discrimination." Excuse me? She was shocked at being denied service? What? Where was she when my sister was being beaten for using the bathroom. When was this woman denied housing or a job? When I was first transitioning I was denied food at a food pantry because my social security card did not match my gender presentation. Then this woman from the NPR news story, took recourse through a court system that not only recognized her as a human being but held the photographer liable for damages and fees. She was in fact vindicated in court. My sister's killer was acquitted. My people have never experienced recognition by the court system.

I purposely leave off speaking of the Bi community who are also considered second class (not gay enough) (not straight enough) partly because they have been largely invisible to me in my life. No one has ever confided in me that they were Bi. While I am sure they are there, I have no experience to speak from.

I am glad the privileged gay community is starting to enjoy such well-earned recognition and I feel honored to have lived to see the day that a Supreme Court decision of such momentous importance that it equals Brown v Board of Education or Loving v Virginia should be promulgated. This is a huge step forward in civil rights.

But it unfortunately does not extend to trans civil rights. We can sit on their committees, we can entertain them with classrooms or presentations but God forbid that we should actually speak up and voice our opinions or ask their concrete commitment to support trans equality. Then we are universally shut out of the privileged process.

I am fortunate among my sisters to enjoy that elusive "passing privilege" so that I can go unremarked through the hallways of cisgender society. I find way more understanding, acceptance and common ground among straight women than ever from among the gays. I am convinced that there is an unredeemable gulf between the LG community and the trans community. We have our own identity - we need to organize ourselves and put an end the continuing bloodshed of our perfectly formed, beautiful trans brothers and sisters. We are fooling ourselves to ever think support will come from the LG community. We are distracting ourselves with a strategy of appeasement that will only delay recognition of trans persons lives as legitimate, authentic human beings. Until that time, we will remain being laughed at nightly on that pig, jay leno's show, held up as deceivers and pretenders.

So, tomorrow I will raise a toast and celebrate the victory for the privileged many among the gays and lesbians, may they love, marry, get laid and enjoy their success. I don't begrudge them a bit of it. Meanwhile my people need to gird themselves for the battle that only we can fight. We must raise our own money and look to ourselves because there will be no cavalry.

Finally let me say that I adore soulforce and the work that you do. I joined soulforce online somewhere near 2001 and I have always admired your courageous commitment to social action. Thank you for trying something. Thank you for not being silent.