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June 16, 2017 - 11:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in LGBTQ, courts, news.


As part of Gay Pride Month, the Richard C. Failla LGBTQ Commission of the New York Courts is sponsoring a speaker series in courts in the state to help train judges and others in the courts system about gay rights and LGBTQ issues.

Today's speakers in the County Courthouse in Batavia were Brooke Barone, a plainteiff in a landmark case that expanded the rights of non-biological parents, and her attorney, Margaret Canby.

Marc Levine, executive director of the commission explained after the meeting (I had other business to finish and didn't make it on time for the speakers) what the commission is about and about the progress the LGBTQ community has made in the courts over the past 15 years.

"We went across the state doing things and it was beautiful to see the changes in the court system," Levine said.

Levine started a volunteer alliance in 2003 and the commission was formed at the start of this year and during that time, he said, he's seen more people in the court system come out and seen more judges, clerks, and administrators appointed to top positions.

Yesterday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo named the first openly gay man appointed to the Court of Appeals, Paul Feinman.

"This is something we thought was going to be so far off, we didn't even know if we'd live to see that happen," Levine said. 

There were judges from throughout the region at the event, including every full-time judge from Chautauqua County.

The turnout was both significant and important, Levine said.

"Sensitivity Training is a beautiful thing," Levine said. "It's one thing when you look at someone in a textbook; it's a completely different thing when you come and you see people and you listen to them and they become real and you get to see why it's important, and you care and you take that out into the courts with you and set a tone that the courts know that people need to be treated with respect. They are sensitive to the needs of the community."

Levine is clearly a passionate advocate for the LGBTQ. I asked him one question and he spoke uninterrupted for nearly 10 minutes. Here's the full audio (mp3).

Photo: Judge Edwina Mendelson, left, Margaret Canby, Brooke Barone, Marc Levine, Judge Paula Feroleto, Andrew Isenberg, district executive for the Eighth Judicial District.

October 26, 2016 - 4:48pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, Announcements, Stafford, LGBTQ, office for the aging, veterans.

Press release:

The Genesee County Office for the Aging is proud to partner with the Rochester Gay Alliance SAGE (Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders) program to bring an event to our County!

The Traveling LGBTQ Potluck & Program will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 12, at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, located at 6188 Main Road in Stafford.

Meet! Greet! Eat!

All are welcome. Meet news friends.

Featured program is "Gay Pioneers."

Bring a dish to pass.

Also, Rochester Gay Alliance SAGE is looking to connect with LGBTQ veterans and people who served in the military regardless of discharge status.

Learn more about what SAGE Vets & ROC Vets can do for you!

Contact: [email protected]

September 28, 2016 - 8:36pm

Press release:

Independent Living of the Genesee Region (ILGR) will be holding a pair of focus groups on the concerns of LGBTQ individuals with disabilities.

Have your voice heard! This is a call for individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning (LGBTQ) and living with a disability (i.e. physical, sensory, mental health, or co-occurring disability) to take part in a focus group and to be heard about current services, programs -- or lack of services -- to help define your needs as a person with a disability living in our communities.

Besides taking a step to have truly appropriate services considered, participants will receive a light meal on the day of the focus group. The first group will meet beginning at 6 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 17, for a maximum of two to three hours, at the ILGR office, 113 Main St., Suite 5, just west of Center Street, in Batavia. Materials will be offered in accessible formats, if needed.

Space is limited to 20 people and the first LGBTQ individuals to apply will participate. Please register soon! The second focus group will be scheduled subsequent to the first as need be.

For more information, and to sign up, call Donna Becker, at (858) 815-8501, ext. 411,* or email [email protected] with the subject line of “Focus Group." Please RSVP by Oct. 14. We look forward to your feedback to help us learn the services you are receiving and/or need.

The Western New York Independent Living Inc. family of agencies offers an expanding array of inclusive and affirming services to aid individuals with disabilities to take control of their own lives.

*This is the correct extension; the original press release provided by the agency included the wrong extension number and it subsequently asked for the correction.

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