Actions – Week of June 24, 2019

This month’s focus – LGBTQA rights

Pride celebrations can be deceiving – there is so much to celebrate, particularly in New York state with the legislation passed so far this year.  And yet – every day the news contains a story about transgender men and women being assaulted and murdered, people refused rights and services based on their gender, clear indications that there is still a LOT of work to do to ensure LGBTQA community members have the equality and rights we all deserve.

We are also following the major humanitarian issues occurring with immigrants at our border: if basic needs like soap and toothpaste are being withheld, what protections for LGBTQA immigrations are being ignored or shoved aside?  Our government pays for foster programs for immigrant children that refuse to acknowledge non-cis gender identity.

When you call your legislators this week to demand they only fund DHS and HHS if there are assurances of humane care for all detained immigrants, as well as repercussions for ongoing inhumane conditions, also demand that equal and fair treatment for LGBTQA children and adults are addressed.

Congressman Paul Tonko, (202) 225-5076
Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, (202) 225-4611


Weekly Actions – June 17, 2019

This month’s focus – LGBTQA rights

Saratoga had a fantastic turnout at our Pride Festival yesterday – and particular kudos to Saratoga Pride for all that they do year-round.  It’s also great to see at a county and state level the recognition of June as Pride Month, and the support in our government for protecting the rights of all people in our communities.

One of the speakers was our Assemblyperson, Carrie Woerner, who mentioned the couple legislative items under consideration this week in New York.

Ban Gay and Trans Panic Defense (A02707/S0393): this bill prohibits using a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity as part of the defense in certain violent crimes.  It is abhorrent that we still allow this type of defense, so it’s important that we see this ended in NYS with the proposed legislation.

Gestational Surrogacy (A01071C/S02071-B): the bill will address current restrictions in surrogacy that uniquely affect same sex couples and will ensure clear identification of parental rights, among other protections for all involved parties.

We know Assemblyperson Woerner supports these bills – call and thank her!

These are not the only last pushes through the legislature we should support – no matter what bills you think important, call your representatives!

Assembly – Carrie Woerner – 518-584-5493
Senate – Daphne Jordan – 518-455-2381

Not your representatives?  Look them up here: Assembly or Senate

Don’t forget to follow Saratoga Pride on facebook to keep up with all this month’s events celebrating pride (here)!


Actions – Week of June 10, 2019

This month’s focus – LGBTQA rights

We are in good legislative shape in New York State – with recent passage of GENDA and banning of conversion therapy, we continue to see that legislators in our state prioritize protection and equality for LGBTQA members of our communities.

There are, however, continued federal efforts to reduce protections and rights, from restricting transgender individuals from participating in the military, to proposing restrictions on adoption and foster parents based on sexual orientation, to eliminating healthcare protections from the ACA.  These measures are primarily directives from the administration, changes to rules in HHS, State Department, etc.  So without legislative control in both the House and Senate, we’ll continue to be thwarted from passing legislation like the Equality Act that would prevent these measures.

In the meantime, we need to be vigilant – pay attention to opportunities to provide public comments to changes, support organizations that are fighting to protect the LGBTQA community:


Human Right’s Campaign –
Saratoga Pride –

These are the organizations that we need to be ready to support when they raise the call to fight for the rights of our community members, be it in our own community, or across the country.

And it’s not just about fighting – it’s about being an effective ally.  Ensuring equality for the LGBTQA community isn’t going to be legislated into being, it’s also going to be a result of the cis-het community taking a stand against discrimination wherever and whenever we encounter it.

Don’t forget to follow Saratoga Pride on facebook to keep up with all this month’s events celebrating pride (here)!


Actions – Week of June 3, 2019

This month’s focus – LGBTQA rights

Pride Month is a wonderful celebration of our LGBTQA friends and family – and Saratoga Pride has a slew of events (check out their full listing on their facebook page here).  But before we focus on the celebration, take a little time to revisit the history of Pride, and how we got here.

Check out this summary of how Pride celebrations started from the Human Rights Campaign, and then read this amazing collection of tweets covering all the protections removed by the government in the past two years (you do not need to have a Twitter account to access).

In May, the House passed the Equality Act of 2019, which introduces protects for LGBTQA people.  Both our local Congresspersons, Paul Tonko and Elise Stefanik, voted to pass the bill.  Consider calling and thanking them for making the right choice in supporting this bill!

And even though I’d venture that both Senators Schumer and Gillibrand will support this bill in the Senate, and that they will not be granted an opportunity to vote due to the Republican leadership, call and let them know that you expect them to support the Equality Act.  They need to know their constituents think this legislation is important to ensure equal treatment for all people in this country, regardless of sexual orientation.

Senator Chuck Schumer: (202) 224-6542
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand: (202) 224-4451


Actions – Week of May 7, 2019

May’s Focus – Gun Violence Prevention

The data on gun violence in our country is appalling for 2019 alone:


In New York, so far in 2019 we’ve seen legislative improvements, including the passing of the Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) law, strengthened background checks, banned bump stocks, established gun buyback programs standards, and clarified authorized persons able to carry weapons on school properties.

While it is an impressive list that passed the State Senate and Assembly, a number of these items still need to be signed into law by Governor Cuomo.

  • S.2374: Establishes an extension of time of up to thirty calendar days for national instant background checks
  • S2448: Prohibits the possession, manufacture, transport and disposition of rapid-fire modification devices
  • S101A: Limits educational institutions ability to authorize the possession of a weapon on school grounds
  • S2449: Establishes the municipal gun buyback program and municipal gun buyback program fund
  • S2438: Relates to access to foreign state records concerning previous or present mental illness of applicants for firearms license

Call Governor Cuomo at 518-474-8390

Note: When you call, select option 2 to speak to an agent.  They will take your zip code and message to the governor.  The agent I spoke with also suggested emailing or writing: details to use those options can be found here.

I was thrilled when these bills were passed earlier this year; it’s a bit of a let-down to see that they aren’t yet law.  So call and let’s make sure we see this important legislation turned into meaningful action!