FULLY INCLUSIVE EQUAL RIGHTS FOR ALL AMERICANS TO INCLUDE LGBT CITIZENS

I want to let you know about a new online petition that I created on We the People, a new feature on WhiteHouse.gov, and I’d like to ask for your support. Will you add your name to mine?  The petition asks for True and Fully Inclusive Equal Human Rights for All American Citizens. If this petition gets 100,000 signatures by March 27, 2013, the White House will review it and respond! We the People allows anyone to create and sign petitions asking the Obama Administration to take action on a range of issues. If a petition gets enough support, the Obama Administration will issue an official response. To sign the petition, all you have to do is click on the link below. If you agree with full equality for all American Citizens, please sign this petition and then post the link below on Facebook and twitter and email it to all your friends and family.

You can view and sign the petition by clicking on this link:

http://wh.gov/vMNq

Thank you very much,

Erica Kay

WE  THE  PEOPLE

Call upon President Barack Obama to publicly support, and to call upon the United States Congress to draft and pass, an Equal Human Rights Act (EHRA).

  • The purpose of this proposed legislation is to guarantee Fully Inclusive Equal Human Rights for all American Citizens, regardless of race, creed, color, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, or ethnicity.
  • The Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not protect all American Citizens. Specifically not included are: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersexed citizens. That is why we are seeking an Equal Human Rights Act that will protect all American Citizens.
  • Through this Act, all American Citizens, including, but not limited to, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersexed Americans, will be free from any form of discrimination in the United States, including, but not limited to: the right to marry who they love, to be free from workplace and housing discrimination, to live their lives without fear on equal ground with all other American Citizens, and to be guaranteed all the rights and privileges which the protected classes of American Citizens currently take for granted.
  • The Equal Rights Amendment to the United States Constitution was originally proposed by Alice Paul in 1924. It was passed by Congress in 1972 and sent to the 50 states for ratification. However, the Equal Rights Amendment was never ratified by the required 38 out of 50 states.
  • A state by state approach to legislation does not and cannot guarantee Equal Rights to all citizens of the United States.
  • There have been countless minority groups over the centuries whose rights were trampled because there were no laws to protect everyone. The time has come to complete the work begun with the Civil Rights Act of 1964, to make sure that nobody is ever left behind by not being included in Equal Human Rights Legislation.
  • Once the EHRA is signed into law, all American Citizens will also be protected by the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, and no individual State will be able to pass any law that discriminates against its own citizens in any form whatsoever.
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2012, The Year of Change

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from David and Erica Kay-Webster

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from David and Erica Kay-Webster

First, I would like to thank all of our wonderful family, friends and supporters for your love, friendship, and best wishes. This has been a year filled with joy, generosity, kindness, new friendships, and love. I would also like to thank my husband David (the greatest man alive), for making my life complete and for keeping me smiling and laughing. I love you! We have witnessed huge advances in equality this past year, and during the election our nation spoke out for equal rights which has cemented the thought in my mind that “Our time has truly come.” We would like to send our congratulations to our incoming Representatives and Senators and thank all of you who poured your hearts and souls into working so hard during this election. David and I will be lobbying in Washington, DC again this upcoming year for a Human Rights Amendment to our Constitution. We encourage you to write to your Representatives and Senators in Washington in support of Federal intervention through this amendment. We will visit with every Representative and Senator who will open their doors to us and we are requesting a meeting with President Obama well in advance. Many of you receive invitations from our civil rights organizations to visit Washington for Lobby Days and many of you go year after year and many of you would love to go but either can’t afford the expense, or your schedule doesn’t allow the time. What many of you don’t know is that you can go anytime throughout the year. Our schedules don’t always work for the pre-scheduled dates of our organizations but you are always welcome in Washington. It’s very easy to arrange a meeting with your Representatives and Senators. Simply google their name and click on their website and then send them a request for a meeting that works with your schedule in either their local office or in Washington. If you can’t go in person still send them an email stating your position on equal rights. Be persistent because they do listen. Another way to get to know them is to join your local political party and attend their functions. 2013 will be a very busy year for us and I will begin a national publicity tour in the spring with radio interviews, print media, and television appearances and a new social media campaign to promote equal rights through the release of my book “Bound Between Love,” and the screenplay for the film. We are grateful that we are receiving a great deal of interest in the production of the film, the book, and our beloved Foundation For International Justice. Over the next couple of months we will be making some exciting and major announcements and would like to send heartfelt thanks to some incredibly wonderful people who also believe that equality is attainable. I would personally like to thank Jennifer Etherton who has been a driving force of my work and a great friend, James Buccelli (CEO Runway), who gave me the time of day and his support, my 2400 Linkedin friends and contacts who encourage me every day, Monica Sun for her friendship and dedication to equal rights, Eileen Koch, Steve and Marsha Friedman at EMSI PR, Rebecca Crowley, Press Agent, Rayhane Sanders and Wayne Kabak at WSK Management in New York City, my civil rights attorney Marie Mattox and her dedicated staff, Kevin Alvarez who finally put an end to the legal injustice I faced, Joanne Kelley and all of our friends at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Barnstable, Hilda Goehring, she’s like a mother and always a dear friend, Robert Isadore and David (my comrade and also a survivor of the Stonewall riots), Bob and Amy Mesirow, our dedicated PFLAG leaders and to all of our friends at PFLAG, Congressman William Keating and Senator Elect Elizabeth Warren, and to my best friends in the world who have always stood by me and provided more support than I ever deserved, Terry and Steve Lemmer, and Bobby and Linda. I would also like to thank all of my professional connections who have taken your valuable time to endorse me and my work publicly on Linkedin. I am pleased to announce that we have now reached every country in the world on this blog as reflected in our site stats, even reaching people who live in countries that promote prosecution and in some cases death for our LGBT brothers and sisters. We would like them to know that we are aware of the intense discrimination they face and we are working as hard and as fast as we can to bring an end to this needless suffering.  It’s our desire to secure equal human rights around the world through our foundation and every effort that we put forth. David and I have assigned our life rights to all of our works to the foundation in perpetuity, so that even after our deaths the Foundation’s work will go on. We love you, appreciate you, and are deeply grateful for your continued support. May the Holidays and the coming year bring you joy, love, respect, and peace.

Announcing The Inception of The Foundation For International Justice

Good Morning Dear Family, Friends and Followers,

David and I are proud to announce the inception of my dream for the transgender community and equal rights around the world. I will have the website/blog for the foundation up and running by the end of today. With our fundraising efforts and your support we will hire an attorney to legalize the foundation as a 501c3 Non-Profit organization with a duly elected Board of Directors.

Our foundation has three major goals that I would like to address: First of all, we have young transgenders who have been thrown away by their own families and have been forced to fend for themselves on the streets rather than face the humiliation, beatings, and bullying by the families into which they were born. These young transgenders have dropped out of school and many are choosing suicide. They are putting their very lives at risk everyday and have fallen through the cracks because of the difficulties that transgender youth face every day. They are being denied the life that they should be living. Those who do not choose suicide are faced with living on the streets facing the dangers of starvation, homelessness, and being brutally murdered. Many turn to the sex trade just to find the basic needs of survival, and they are putting themselves at great risk of contracting HIV and AIDS.

Personally, when I was a young transgender I lived on the streets and slept for nights on end on park benches and experienced hunger, and on several instances came close to starvation after surviving on scraps of food. Eventually, I gave in and entered the sex trade just to survive every day. I am one of the fortunate ones because I found the love and support of an incredible married couple in NYC who came to my aid and provided a loving supportive home for me. In that loving environment I was fed, clothed, sheltered, given a job in the family restaurant, and the medical care to transition with surgery at 17 years old. This came only after two failed suicide attempts. It is because of their love and support that I have succeeded in life.

It has always been my dream to assist the youth of our transgender community who have also been thrown away because they were born outside the confines of what many families believe is normal. David and I share the same dream of providing safe homes throughout the United States and around the world for these forgotten and abused youth. Our dream is through these safe houses these young valuable lives will be loved, housed, fed, clothed, provided the proper counseling and medical care, and provided with an education that will foster self-esteem and the promise of a good life. Our goal this year is to procure the first of these homes on Cape Cod and to obtain the proper licensing necessary to create a foster home. We will work with other transgender organizations to identify their needs and to take the first youth off the streets from the cities of Boston, and New York City.

Through the foundation we will be working with a graphic designer, counselors, and medical doctors who are prepared to treat our transgender youth. Educational materials will assist in the education of society on the transgender birth condition. These materials will be sent around the world.

Also, through the foundation we will continue to lobby for true and complete equal rights legislation for all humans including the LGBT citizens of the United States. We will take this mission around the world in meetings with our world leaders to educate and advocate for legal protections to be put into place to stop the brutal transgender murders and genocide of the LGBT community around the world.

We have started a fundraising drive on indiegogo.com to get the foundation off the ground. We need your help with our vision and we are asking you to assist us in taking this viral by sending an email with the link to all of your friends who support equal rights and to donate just $1.00 if that’s all you can afford.  Please click on this link to give:

http://www.indiegogo.com/Foundation-For-International-Justice

Will you assist us in saving lives? Sometimes it is through the generosity of complete strangers that lives are saved. Please give as generously as possible and more than anything else please help us to take this message around the world.

Our Best and Warmest Regards,

David and Erica Kay-Webster

Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death

Below is the recent speech on LGBT Equal Rights I gave at the Unitarian Church of Barnstable on Cape Cod. You can also watch the youtube videos which were filmed and edited in four parts.

GIVE ME LIBERTY OR GIVE ME DEATH

 

I have personally witnessed the destruction of human lives from the vicious and cruel attacks of the haters of this world against the Transgender community. When I spent time in San Francisco—one of the most liberal cities in America—as a Peer Leader and Life Coach to the Transgender community at Trans-Thrive, and as a mentor through California’s Transgender Economic Empowerment Initiative, I heard individual stories of attacks on the transgenders in my group. I witnessed their bruises, and I saw their scars. I was incensed at the destruction of these fragile human lives. I felt their pain as they shared their personal stories and I held them as they shed the years of pent up tears. These are people who cannot even begin to understand the concept of liberty because, as things stand now, they are not afforded even the basic protections from discrimination, which most Americans have under the law. Transgenders are denied employment, a proper education, housing, medical care, and the necessary food to stay alive. They have been forced into shelters and soup kitchens for their basic survival. Numerous young Transgenders were forced to live on the streets after being thrown away by their own families. Many entered the sex trade to survive or were forced to file for disability. Transgender birth is not a disability in and of itself. It is, however, a birth condition which can be treated with the proper medical care and a strong support group to let these children know they are valuable and integral humans worthy of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

An old belief is that the Transgender condition developed because of a negative environment and was diagnosed as a mental condition known as Gender Dysphoria.  It is now understood by medical science that this was not and is not correct. Today, we have young Transgender children of four, five, six, and seven years old who, through the loving support of their families and with proper medical care, are being allowed to choose their own genders. It is through these young children that we are learning, and we can clearly see that these children are born with this genetic condition. Some young Transgender children—the ones who are lucky enough to have enlightened, loving and caring parents—are being given the chance to live a normal life and to have the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Yet, this is not true for the majority of Transgender children who live in homes where they are not encouraged to speak their truth, and in most cases if they did, they would be beaten, bullied, humiliated, sent into reparative therapy, or cast aside to fend for themselves on the streets, without the love of a family or the guidance of a strong support group.

Every one of these attacks—whether it’s a cruel word or a brutal physical attack—regardless of the severity, chips away at the self-esteem and the very soul of the person under attack. Today, the people in the Transgender community are at highest risk to contract HIV and AIDS because they have been forced to survive by whatever means are available and to put their very lives at risk every day in the fight for survival. This is not liberty—it is surely death.

Those of us who have been fortunate enough to have achieved success are still at risk. We are at risk of our marriages being invalidated in States that have not legalized same-sex marriage. In several States the courts have invalidated marriages using same-sex as the grounds, by using the argument that we were born one sex and we are still that sex regardless of our current gender status or what our new or amended birth certificate reflects. So far this has happened in only a few instances and it is almost always in the case of female transgenders. The intention of the States has been to strip away the right of transgenders to sue on behalf of a spouse, the right to inherit property, the right to community property, and the right to child custody.  In Texas a bill has already been introduced to ban all transgender marriage, and Republican Governor Rick Perry has already said he will sign it into law if it passes through the Texas State Legislature. Our jobs are also at risk if and when it’s discovered that we are transgenders, and there are countless other legal protections denied to us.  This is not freedom, liberty or the pursuit of happiness—it is oppression and surely destroys human life.

My own personal story speaks to the chipping away of self-esteem when I was told that I was an abomination to God and that I was surely condemned to hell for changing what God created. I stand here today to say that I am exactly who God created; an intelligent, loving, vital person in society who chooses not to judge another’s path to liberty or the pursuit of happiness.

Even though “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” was repealed, it had no effect on the transgender citizens in this country. We cannot serve openly in the military even though countless war veterans are transgenders who served their country—risking life and limb as closeted transgenders. Yet when the Employment Non Discrimination Act was introduced in Congress in 1994, gender identity was not included. Gender Identity was added for the first time in 2007 but was later dropped due to the belief that a bill wouldn’t pass with Gender Identity included. It wasn’t until Rep. Barney Frank re-introduced the bill in 2011 that Gender Identity was once again included and Sen. Jeff Merkley introduced ENDA in the Senate. President Obama supports the legislation but it still sits in the House and Senate because it is being blocked by those right wing elected officials who are supported by the religious right. The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) must be repealed, yet it is still being blocked by the right wing in the House and Senate while President Obama and Vice President Biden have taken a public position in support of marriage equality.

In our country today there are two movements in progress. It seems to be a battle between the light and darkness, between good and evil. We have those who are experiencing suppression of equal rights and those who would continue the denial of equal rights. As spoken so eloquently by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in his “I Have a Dream” Speech, he shared his vision of the world where all people would live together in total equality. I also share that vision for all the people of the world. It is the same dream that has been shared by countless others throughout history. I have the dream of freedom, the right to marry the person I love without the fear of my legal rights afforded through marriage being stripped away, and I have a dream of the right to live my life in the pursuit of happiness and liberty without the fear of death for standing on the side of equal rights for all citizens in the United States of America. This same dream has been shared by the Great Emancipator Abraham Lincoln, by Lucy Burns and Alice Paul who founded the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage, and by the almost 1,000 women who were imprisoned under torturous conditions at the Occoquan workhouse in Virginia as they fought for their right to vote. Let’s not forget Mahatma Gandhi as he led his people to freedom, Nelson Mandela who was imprisoned for 27 years for advocating for the freedom of his people, John F. Kennedy and Robert Kennedy who sacrificed their very lives for freedom, and of course Ted Kennedy who lived and fought for freedom as a United States Senator until his death. Today I honor the sacrificed lives of the leaders of the LGBT Equal Rights movement around the world and especially those who have already given their lives in this fight.

Today, I applaud President Obama, Vice President Biden, and the determined Congresspersons and Senators who openly voice their belief in equality for the LGBT citizens in this country, and who are working against the odds to ensure that equality for all Americans becomes law.  As long as there is discrimination in any form against any citizen we cannot remain silent. Silence and inaction in and of themselves are equivalent to approving the lack of legal protections and the absence of equal rights.

From the Eastern Seaboard to the Pacific Ocean, from the Canadian Borders to the Southernmost boundaries of our country, discrimination still rules the land. We have families who suffer in the fear of homelessness and hunger because they are denied Non Discrimination Laws to protect them from unemployment, simply because they are gay, lesbian, or transgender. We have families who cannot enjoy the sanctity of marriage and all the legal protections given to other families. We have a large portion of our population who still live in fear every day because they could be attacked while walking down the street as their authentic selves. I ask you—does this sound like the kind of liberty that Patrick Henry spoke of? Does this sound like freedom?

How many deprivations must be experienced before we say enough is enough? How many lives must be taken before we finally stand in unity?

 

Through our beloved Foundation For International Justice, David and I are prepared to go the distance as we continue to lobby in Washington, DC, organize rallies, and encourage and support a major march on Washington. We are even prepared to chain ourselves to the fence in front of the White House if that’s what it takes to get Congress to pay attention to what we are asking for and what President Obama and Vice President Biden are already supporting. Personally, we are not asking for equal rights, we are asking for our God given and constitutionally guaranteed human rights which are being denied through a subtle form of religious persecution.

Although we do support the work of all organizations that are fighting for equal rights, we do not believe that taking on one State at a time is the ultimate answer. We believe that the time has come for our duly elected Senators and Representatives to take the necessary actions required by the United States Constitution—by protecting all American citizens from any form of oppression and protecting them from the denial of the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We are lobbying for a Civil Rights Act to be drafted, passed in both the House and Senate, and signed into law by our president. Ultimately, we believe that absolute protection of Equal Rights for all American Citizens can only be fully guaranteed by an Amendment to the United States Constitution, and that is our ultimate goal. With such an Amendment there would never be the need for any citizen to have to fight this same fight for Equal Rights as countless people have done repeatedly throughout our history for each class of citizens, including blacks and women. This is our vision for the future and we ask that you join with us and the millions of other Americans who truly believe in Equality for All and use your voice at every opportunity through the election process, with letters to your Congresspersons and Senators, and with the full and willing support of a community that needs your help in order to gain full equality.

Give me Liberty or Give me Death!  What did Patrick Henry mean by

this statement? I believe his concept of liberty is best described in

Webster’s Dictionary as: “The state of being free from oppression,

tyranny, confinement, or slavery.”  Patrick Henry felt that if he could not attain liberty, he would have preferred death.

What we have today in our country is not the liberty Patrick Henry spoke of. Instead what we have is the denial of equal rights for a segregated class of citizens based on the religious beliefs of those who believe that they have the right to dictate what all other people must believe. Those self-righteous religious beliefs are the driving force in the fight against our liberty and they deny us our own religious freedoms. What we do see is legalized discrimination and the condoning of oppression, tyranny, and murder due to the refusal on the part of lawmakers to enact the very laws which could and would begin to bring an end to so much needless death and suffering.

Every year around the world Transgenders are still being brutally murdered because they have been born outside the boundaries of what some people consider normal. At the same time, we have a Congress that refuses to pass legislation to guarantee Equal Rights for All Americans. And even worse, we have State Legislatures that pass laws which intentionally discriminate against some of their own citizens. Many countries condone these transgender murders and some actually celebrate them. These murders have not lessened as the years have passed; instead they continue to grow every year. Once we have attained true freedom in the United States, the Foundation For International Justice will take this fight around the world in honor of our fallen heroes by lobbying for legislation and equality in every country on Earth. Our fallen heroes yearned for freedom and they cherished life. Instead, their attackers chose to give them a horrible and unspeakable death.

~~~

          I would now like to ask the Reverend Kristen Harper to come forward and read the names of our dead fallen Transgender and LGBT Civil Rights heroes, including how they were murdered, so that in honoring their deaths, we may also honor their lives.

 

~~~

          Joining the ranks of Women, Race, Religion, and Sexual Orientation, the transgender community was recently added as a protected class of citizens  by the EEOC to prevent workplace discrimination. This is a major step forward in the fight for Human Rights and victory is now in sight.

DOMA has now been found unconstitutional by five Federal Courts and is now progressing to the United States Supreme Court. These are both positive steps but not the end result we seek. It will take a Human Rights Act passed in both the House and Senate and signed into law by our President to fully enforce full equal rights protections and to provide safeguards to ensure that no humans can ever again be denied their human rights. To ensure that equal rights for all humans remain forever the law of our land it will ultimately require an Amendment to our United States Constitution.

 

In conclusion, I would like to draw to a close by quoting Nelson Mandela in his final statement in Long Walk To Freedom, with which I strongly identify after my own false imprisonment lasting four long years, and ensuing legal battles of almost fifteen years, simply because I was born differently, because my rights were denied and stripped away as a transgender woman.

 

I now quote Nelson Mandela:

 

“I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can rest only for a moment, for with freedom come responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not yet ended.”