Meet Marriage Equality USA Community Liaisons
Intersex Community Liaison firstname.lastname@example.org
Chaplain Bobbie Rosenberg, a Denver native, began his involvement in grassroots organizations when he served as President of his high school organization, Teens In Action, raising awareness of LGBTQI concerns amongst his peers, and working with faculty members to create a safe and inclusive school setting. His early activities created a much needed foundation, as he went on to serve as Vice President and later President of Common Ground, the LGBTQI and Straight Alliance campus organization at the University of Louisville in Louisville, Kentucky.
After the unexpected death of his life partner, and the legal battles which ensued thereafter, Chaplain Rosenberg expanded his efforts beyond the campus politics he knew so well, to lobby for change and equality in his state and nation. He worked for the Obama Presidential Campaign in Greeley, Colorado, and lobbied for Civil Unions in Colorado. He continues to promote change through education, staying active in his synagogue and increasing his involvement with Keshet.
Chaplain Rosenberg is currently part of the Keshet Planning Team, the Keshet Young Adult Planning Team, Storahtelling Colorado, and works as the Jewish Diversity Examiner for Examiner.com, while he prepares for Rabbinical and Cantorial School.
Jewish Community Liaison email@example.com
Margee Churchon Burch
Margee Churchon Burch formerly worked with the Jewish Community Relations Council of the San Francisco Bay Area in Legislative Affairs and Intergroup Relations. She has worked on a variety of California-based proposition campaigns, as well as for Obama's presidential campaign in Cincinnati, Ohio.
As a young teenager, Margee traveled with her two moms and her brother up to British Columbia so that her parents could finally legally say, "I do". She started lobbying her elected representatives for marriage equality when she was 12 years old, and hasn't stopped since!
Margee has worked toward gender and family equality with Planned Parenthood, the Center of Gender and Refugee Studies, Equality California, GLSEN, and Marriage Equality USA. Margee lives in Berkeley, CA with her amazing wife Kate Smallenberg Burch.
LGBTIQ Health & Medical Professional Community Liaison
Kate O'Hanlan, MD
Dr. O'Hanlan is a gynecologic cancer surgeon. Since meeting her wife, Léonie Walker, almost 28 years ago, Dr. O'Hanlan has been working on equal rights for gays and lesbians. In 1989, she won partner insurance benefits at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. Continuing her equality efforts at Stanford University, she led the initiative to create an equal employment benefit package there in 1991, making Stanford the first university to grant a precisely equal employment package to all employees. She founded the Lesbian Health Fund in 1992, which has fostered 47 articles, with 31 grants from over $500,000. She wrote the American Medical Women's Association policy endorsing same-gender civil marriage in 1994. She then authored Homophobia As a Health Hazard: Report of the GLMA, Lesbian Health: Perspectives for Treating Obstetrician/Gynecologists, the first chapter on lesbian health in Copeland's Gynecology Textbook, and published the first evidence of HPV transmission by lesbians by 2000. She was co-principal investigator of the first NIH grant studying lesbians with breast cancer. She also published the first article about female to male transsexuals undergoing hysterectomy in 2007.
As former president of the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association, Dr. O'Hanlan has spoken on LGBTIQ health issues at the National Institutes for Health, the President's Cancer Panel, the Office of Research on Women's Health, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). She authored the District IX, California, ACOG endorsement of marriage equality, and published a review of policies about civil marriage equality, requesting the national ACOG to review this subject. She is a Fellow of the progressive Rockway Institute, and became a marriage officiant during the brief time when California permitted equal access to civil marriage in 2008.
Military/Veterans Community Liaisons firstname.lastname@example.org
Ty enlisted in the U.S. Air Force (USAF) in 1998 and served as an intelligence analyst until his honorable discharge at the rank of Staff Sergeant (SSgt) in 2006. While enlisted, his unit provided direct support to operations in Serbia/Kosovo (Operation ALLIED FORCE; OAF), Afghanistan (Operation ENDURING FREEDOM), and Iraq (Operation IRAQI FREEDOM). During his eight years in the military, he served under the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) policy.
In 2007, Marriage Equality USA asked Ty to come aboard as the Military/Veterans Community Liaison after his testimony in support of Senator Christine Kehoe's (D-CA) efforts to include California on the side of repealing DADT. Since then, Ty has been involved in the grassroots effort to further the causes of equality in and out of the military ranks. He currently serves as president of a chapter of the American Veterans for Equal Rights (AVER) and is actively pursuing a degree in Criminal Justice. In addition to advocating for LGBTIQ equality, he also devotes much of his time providing outreach to Servicemembers and Veterans.
Resources for LGBTIQ Military Personnel & Veterans
Follow Ty on TWITTER: @LostAmericanGuy
Be sure to see Ty's BLOG: The Readboard
Native American/Indian/Two-Spirit Community Liaison
Ruth Villasenor is Chiricuahua Apache & Mexican. Her wife Diane Pfile is of German descent. Both women are community activists in the San Francisco Bay Area. Members of Bay Area American Indian Two Spirits (BAAITS) and the Intertribal Friendship House, they reflect the collaborative involvement the LGBTIQ community has in the Native American community. Ruth and Diane have both helped to organize pow-wows, two-spirit gatherings, and Bay Area American Indian Two Spirits participation in the San Francisco Pride Parade. They are also the current keepers of 2 Eagles, a ceremonial two-spirit drum, created by the gay Native American community to honor and open many LGBTIQ events.
Ruth and Diane have been together for over 12 years -- they were honored to be one of the first couples to marry in California on 16 June 2008. They were wed in Oakland by then Mayor Ron Dellums. Congresswoman Barbara Lee witnessed.
Ruth and Diane own Paws & Claws A Natural Pet Food Store in the Dimond District of Oakland, CA. Ruth is a past President of the Dimond Business & Professional Association, and Diane has served as the Treasurer. Both have been major contributors in helping to market and revitalize the district.
Ruth Villasenor has worked hard to do outreach to her Native American Community, helping Indigenous people to remember their traditional values of embracing Equality and Respect for all members of the family.
Parents Community Liaison email@example.com
Maya and her spouse, MeiBeck Scott-Chung skipped out on their much-awaited first ultrasound with their daughter Luna Lee so that they could get married at San Francisco City Hall on Friday, 13 February 2004 (a VERY lucky day!) Something deep, quiet and life changing happened during that “Winter of Love’ for them. Before this day full marriage seemed unlikely in our lifetimes, so fighting for marriage rights didn’t feel that important. After that day it felt not only possible, but a necessary, a high priority for keeping their family safe and healthy.
Maya has been a grassroots organizer since her adolescence. She helped to organize Equity Institute’s Project Empowerment, one of the nation’s first conferences for lesbian and gay educators, in 1984. She trained in Equity Institute’s first Training of Trainers at age eighteen and has been leading workshops and seminars on cross-cultural alliance building, confronting racism, heterosexism and other oppression issues for over twenty years. Maya is currently completing her Master’s Thesis in media advocacy and social network building for LGBTQI prospective parents and parents at San Francisco State University’s Masters in Public Health program.
Maya, MeiBeck and Luna are a tri-cultural family (Chinese,Scottish, and Mexican-American). They are blessed with a loving and engaged donor, supportive grandparents, and many tios, tias, and titas. Her family is co-founded Baby Buds, a support and peer education group created to respect, protect and reflect multicultural lesbian, bisexual and transgender prospective parents, parents and extended families. Their family has been featured in Intelecom’s sociology documentary Family Matters, in Lenn Keller’s upcoming feature-length documentary Desire: Exploring Butch/Femme, and in numerous newspapers and publications. Maya wrote several articles on LGBTIQ parenting issues for the Our Family Coalition newsletter, including Choosing Visibility and Activism to Protect Our Families. She is a recipient of the Markowski-Leach Fellowship for Lesbian and Gay Students and has done program planning, grant writing and curriculum development in areas of social justice, grassroots theater, media advocacy and multicultural education.
In 1988 Maya did a student video documentary on public perceptions of lesbian and gay marriage in Massachusetts called It’s Not What You Call Me, It’s What I Answer To. Almost a generation later Maya is producing a digital documentary on the impact of marriage inequality on LGBTIQ families, tentatively entitled Every Family Matters (soon to be released as a community education and advocacy tool). Maya is on the Advisory Board of Our Family Coalition, a member of Family Pride Coalition’s national OUTSpoken Families campaign, has been active in the Equality Project (formerly Equality for All) helping to connect and mobilize LGBTQI extended family groups across California. She and her extended family are active members of Asian Pacific Islander (API) Family Pride. She is currently working with the San Francisco LGBT Community Center and the Berkeley-based Center for Digital Storytelling to launch an LGBTIQ and Ally Community Digital Story Project to identify, train and amplify the diverse, dynamic voices of our community for marriage equality, family protections and social justice.
Seniors Community Liaisons firstname.lastname@example.org
Marvin's partner of over 50 years, Bill Swenor, and he were among the 4,000 plus couples who were married in San Francisco during the "Winter of Love" in 2004. Three months later, their marriage licenses were taken away and just over a year later, Bill passed away. When Bill died Marvin was denied his pension, Social Security benefits and health care insurance -- despite the fact that they were Registered Domestic Partners -- because they had not been legally married. As a result, Marvin was forced to leave their home of 35 years. Since that time Marvin has been speaking out in support of marriage equality and highlighting the issue for LGBTIQ seniors. Marvin is available to help find answers to questions you have, or to give you support that will enable you to discuss why marriage matters to LGBTIQ seniors. Marvin knows that, for some of us, marriage was something we never even dreamed of discussing or fighting for. But now we know marriage can be a reality, and telling our stories is what really makes a difference. If you have resources or references that you would like to share, please let Marvin know. Read Marvin's statement to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee during a DOMA hearing in 2011.
Frank is in his 70's and has been retired since 2000. He holds a BA in Psychology and an MA in Library Science. Frank served as an Adult Reference Librarian with the Hayward Public Library in Hayward, CA for 35 years. Frank is a founding member of the Lavender Seniors of the East Bay, CA and he served as a Board Member of the Lighthouse Community Center from 2000 to 2008. He is a member of GLOBE (Gays and Lesbians Organizing for Betterment and Equality in South Alameda County, CA). Frank has been a long-term member of MEUSA. He and Marvin are friends and co-activists who share a home in Hayward, CA.
We recommend these resources for LGBTIQ elders, their families and their caregivers: