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Dr. Paul Boskind to be honored by HRC
QSanAntonio.com, July 9, 2011

The local chapter of the Human Rights Campaign announced this week that they will honor Dr. Paul Boskind with the Chuck Jordan Award for lifetime advocacy at their Gala Dinner and Silent Auction on October 15 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel

Boskind is chief executive officer of Deer Oaks, a behavioral health organization headquartered in San Antonio with offices in 17 states and the largest private employer of psychologists in Texas. He also serves as treasurer on the board of directors of Equality Texas.

Deer Oaks has grown into a thriving stand-alone provider of high-quality employee assistance, work-life, and wellness services. Deer Oaks currently serves approximately one million employees and their dependents across more than 500 private and public employer groups throughout the nation.

Most of Boskind's gay rights advocacy has been on the national level. He serves on the board of directors for Servicemembers Legal Defense Network and is a major donor with the Human Rights Campaign, Victory Fund, Point Foundation, Faith In America, GenderPAC and the Michael Palm Center, as well as the Democratic National Committee.

In 2007, when Boskind joined the Equality Texas board he said, "Equality Texas offers an excellent way to advocate for specific issues impacting gay rights in Texas. As a psychologist I understand the importance of protecting the rights of all families, including gay families raising children and access to adoption for gays and lesbians."

In addition Deer Oaks, Boskind owns The Oasis at Medina Lake, the Main Plaza Market, the Main Plaza Hotel and several special event venues. He is also owner of the Church Theater building in the King William neighborhood where in 2007 he produced 'Southern Baptist Sissies' and other theatrical productions.

As a producer at the Church Theatre, Boskind discovered the power of using the theatrical arts to inspire, educate and touch lives on issues of equal rights for the GLBT community, prompting him to expand his interest to New York.

As a result, he has produced several gay oriented, equality based shows, including "BASH’d!," an award winning musical about marriage equality and gay bashing, and "The Temperamentals," a play focusing on the early gay rights movement in Hollywood in the late 1950’s.

This year Boskind won a Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play as one of the producers of Larry Kramer's ground-breaking AIDS drama, "The Normal Heart." His current Broadway theatre productions include "Priscilla Queen of the Desert, The Musical."

Eric Alva on DADT Victory
YouTube.com, December 20, 2010
Retired Marine Staff Sergeant and San Antonio native son Eric Alva speaks about the Senate vote to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell and about his work with the Human Rights Campaign to repeal this law.

Patriotism at root of DADT repeal says Alva
San Antonio Express-News, December 19, 2010
In a historic vote Saturday, the Senate repealed the military’s ban on gays openly serving in the armed forces. “It doesn’t matter what the gender is or the color or the ethnicity or the religion or the orientation, it’s about patriotic men and women voluntarily wanting to serve their country in a time of war,” said Eric Alva, a San Antonio gay-rights activist and one-time Marine who was the first GI injured in the Iraq war.

HRC Gala is biggest ever
QSanAntonio.com, October 28, 2010
Approximately 300 people came to the Grand Hyatt Hotel on October 23 to attend the San Antonio HRC Gala and Silent Auction helping raise over $120,00 and making it the most successful of any fundraiser staged by the chapter. Click here for more photos from this series.

Portraits from the HRC Gala
Photos by Antonia Padilla, QSanAntonio.com, October 28, 2010
QSanAntonio photographer Antonia Padilla took of series of portraits at the 2010 HRC Gala and Silent Auction on October 23. The ten portraits shown here reflect the diversity of San Antonio’s GLBT community.

Photos -- No Excuses Gala 2010
Photos by Steve Walker, WalkerReport.net , October 24, 2010

HRC to honor San Antonians at Gala Dinner
QSanAntonio.com, October 16, 2010

The San Antonio chapter of the Human Rights Campaign will bestow three awards to two local activists and to one organization during their Gala Dinner and Silent Auction on October 23 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel.

Equality Award -- Gayl Newton
Gayl Newton has lived in San Antonio for over 26 years. Having been previously married, she has for last 9 years lived as a lesbian and mother. She is a professional Human Resources Consultant and a Success and Motivational coach. Her two grown daughters, Tessa Goolsby and Sara Maring are both Aggies.

About four years ago, Newton, along with Kathy Kennedy and Kris Biedenharn-Ressel, started a new social networking event called LOL, Ladies on the Loose. With that triumvirate, a new San Antonio tradition was born.

The first LOL was held in April 2006. There were 60 people who attended the inaugural event. For three years, the three women coordinated and hosted the monthly LOL and it grew to consistently have 130 attendees. For the last year and half, Newton, along with a few dedicated volunteers, has continued coordinating and hosting LOL. The monthly event has grown to consistently have 200-plus attendees.

In addition to facilitating LOL and doing lots of volunteer work, Newton writes a popular newsletter, Newton’s News, which is published three times per month. The newsletter covers primarily events, fundraisers and social happenings in San Antonio. In the past couple of years the newsletter’s distribution has grown to include over two thousand subscribers and growing.

Community Service Award -- San Antonio Gender Association
The Community Service Award is going to the San Antonio Gender Association for their tireless advocacy of the rights of the transgender population, for providing a source of support for the transgender community, and for their work in educating others on transgender issues.

Even though it is a small group, in terms of membership, the San Antonio Gender Association’s members have taken leadership positions in the local chapters of the Stonewall Democrats and the Human Rights Campaign, and have maintained a highly visible presence at GLBT events throughout the city.

Last year SAGA was the recipient of the Paul Wellstone Award for Community Service by the Association for Applied and Clinical Sociology during its annual meeting in San Antonio. The award is bestowed on "an organization that makes significant and noteworthy applied sociological contributions in the community they serve."

In 2007 SAGA received an Honorable Mention for Community Activism from QSanAntonio as part of its "Year in Review" citations.

Chuck Jordan Award -- Robert (Papa Bear) Edwards
QSanAntonio.com, September 4, 2010
At the beginning of the AIDS epidemic in San Antonio when no one wanted to treat the infected, Robert "Papa Bear" Edwards started the San Antonio AIDS Foundation to care for local gay men who were sick and dying. In the process he became a fervent advocate for people with AIDS who faced discrimination in housing, on the job and in the military. On October 23, the Human Rights Campaign will honor Edwards’ achievements at their annual Gala Dinner by bestowing upon him the Chuck Jordan Award for lifetime advocacy. (Click on link above for story.)

HRC responds to criticism over hotel for Gala Dinner
QSanAntonio.com, May 21, 2010

The Human Rights Campaign issued a statement on May 21 in response to a posting by blogger and activist Jay Morris (JaySays.com) criticizing the organization for choosing the Grand Hyatt for its San Antonio Gala Dinner and Silent Auction. (See related link below.)

The Grand Hyatt was recently embroiled in a labor dispute over two workers who were fired because they were trying to organize a union at the property. The suit against the Hyatt by the two workers has been settled and employees are now free to pursue forming a union at the hotel. However, some local labor activists maintain that employee grievances about working conditions cannot be addressed until the union is actually in place.

Following is the statement received by QSanAntonio from Michael Cole, the Human Rights Campaign spokesperson:

"The Human Rights Campaign believes strongly in the labor movement and is proud to partner with many workers’ rights organizations. HRC strives where possible to patronize union-friendly hotels and makes a venue’s labor policies critical to our decision making process that also includes considering location, size and availability. In the particular case of our San Antonio dinner, we are not aware of any current boycott of the Grand Hyatt and understand local groups such as the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Planned Parenthood have patronized the hotel recently. We will continue to monitor the situation there and be in contact with local union organizers."

Commentary: Anti-gay, anti-worker Hyatt gets support from HRC San Antonio
By Jay Morris, JaySays.com, May 20, 2010
ZONKERS!!!! Imagine my surprise when I opened my email box and discovered a tip advising me that the San Antonio Chapter of the Human Rights Campaign is holding its Gala and Silent Auction at the Grand Hyatt Riverwalk in San Antonio.

San Antonio veterans lobby against "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"
Photos by Gilbert Casillas, QSanAntonio.com, May 13, 2010

Five San Antonians were among the over 400 veterans from 44 states who were in Washington D.C. earlier this week to lobby for the repeal of "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell." The San Antonio participants (shown in left photo, top row, left to right) were Eric Alva, Gilbert Casillas, William Nuels (seated), Kevin Voelker and Alicia Palmer.

The five San Antonio vets' trip was made possible through a fundraiser held on May 2 that raised money to help defray their costs. (See related story below.) Of the six Texans who attended the Lobby Day, five of them were from San Antonio.

San Antonio vet Eric Alva posted an article offering his reflections about Lobby Day on the HRC web site. The link to that article follows below:

Reflections on Veterans Lobby Day
By Eric Alva, HRCBackStory.com, May 14, 2010
Veterans Lobby Day on "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" was nothing less than truly amazing. I was touched to see so many active duty service members and veterans come to Washington to lobby Congress on such a personal and important issue.

HRC visits Congressman Rodriguez’ office
By George Page, QSanAntonio.com, November 20, 2009

A group of activists from the San Antonio Chapter of the Human Rights Campaign and their allies visited Rep. Ciro Rodriguez's Northside office on November 17 to ask for his support for H 3017 the fully inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).

Rep. Rodriguez and Rep. Solomon P. Ortiz from Corpus Christi are the only two Texas Democratic Congressman who have not signed on to this bill.

The group included HRC Governors Elizabeth Schleigh and George Page, Steering Committee members Lauryn Farris, Gayl Newton, Christopher Forbrich and HRC member Michelle Meyers. Also in attendance were: Christopher Sauder a professor from UTSA; Misha Ortiz, a community activist from Rodriguez’ district; and Peter, a straight ally.

The group met with Stephanie Romero a staff person from the Congressman's office. Romero listened to stories of how anti-gay job discrimination has affected the GLBT community. Peter, the straight ally, said he wanted to see discrimination go away. He said that the majority cannot stay silent on this issue and he supported an inclusive ENDA.

Farris explained that most Fortune 500 companies and Fortune 100 companies have inclusive provisions yet the US Government still practices discrimination in the work place. As the President of the San Antonio Gender Association, she understands from so many how discrimination affects job retention and hiring.

Romero also listened to stories about the fear of coming out at work due to fear of being fired. Some said that being open about their sexual orientation prevented them from getting a promotion even when they were more qualified than other candidates.

One woman recounted how she let the hiring manager know she was gay and when she went back she was denied the job because it would cause a "hardship" for the rest of the department.

The meeting wrapped up with the group asking Romero to convey their concerns to Congressman Rodriguez and to urge him to support ENDA.

HRC members visit Sen. Hutchison’s San Antonio office
QSanAntonio.com, September 10, 2009

Members from the local chapter of the Human Rights Campaign paid a visit to the San Antonio office of Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) on September 8 to make an appeal for her support of GLBT legislation in Congress.

The visit was made as part of HRC’s national "No Excuses" campaign, an effort to meet with as many Representatives and Senators to discuss upcoming legislation. The HRC group met with Jessie Hereford, the Senator’s Regional Director and State Outreach Director.

HRC Governors Elizabeth Schleigh and George Page along with Steering Committee member Eric Alva, HRC member Anna Castro and San Antonio Gender Association representatives Julie DeGrace and Ruby Krebs attended the meeting.

Among the topics discussed at the meeting were the enactment of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, the repeal of "Don't Ask Don't Tell", the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, and support of the Uniting Americans Family Act for US citizens with foreign same sex partners. The group also touched on the need for early treatment for HIV/AIDS and domestic partnership benefits for US Government employees.

"We directly asked for the Senator to become the lead sponsor on the Defense of Marriage Act since there is not one yet in the Senate or the House. We also asked for her ‘yes’ votes on the rest of our requests," says Page. "Mr. Hereford said that he would give the Senator our stories and the information that we gave him."

In August, representatives of HRC San Antonio visited the offices Congressman Ciro Rodriguez (D-TX) and Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-TX), and are scheduled to see Congressman Solomon P. Ortiz (D-TX) in Corpus Christi on September 15. Page said that the offices of Senator John Cornyn's (R-TX) and Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX) did not return HRC’s phone calls requesting meetings with them.

HRC Obama's First 100 Days Party at Luther's Cafe, April 30, 2009

HRC marks Obama's first 100 days with a party
Photos by Antonia Padilla, QSanAntonio.com, May 2, 2009

The Human Rights Campaign of San Antonio's Federal Club marked the first 100 days of Barack Obama's presidency with a celebration at Luther's Cafe on North Main Avenue. The event was one of about 30 HRC was holding around the country. Local Federal Club members Darrell Parsons and Gayl Newton welcomed about 50 people to the event. The two speakers also detailed the president's recent accomplishments and their hopes for future legislation that will advance the rights of GLBT voters.