A big thanks to Mel Green for putting together this amazing website! I will be contributing here from time-to-time and am so excited to be involved in the new Alaska LGBT Community Survey!
For a little background, I am the LGBT Public Policy Director for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Alaska. As of right now, the only affirmative right LGBT people have in the state of Alaska is the right of same-sex partners of public employees to receive domestic partner benefits. While it is frustrating that there are so few protections for LGBT Alaskans, it is important to remember that we did make a BIG step forward last summer. In the summer of 2009, the Anchorage Municipal Assembly passed Ordinance 64, which would have protected LGBT people in the city from discrimination, by a vote of 7 to 4. While it is disappointing that Mayor Sullivan decided to veto the ordinance, the Assembly’s actions last summer still represent a significant victory for the LGBT community in Alaska. I can tell that things are changing here, and changing for the better. To learn more about the activism I and others have been doing for LGBT rights in Alaska, please visit www.EqualityWorks.org. I know we can make equal rights happen in Anchorage, but not without your help! Please visit our website or call me at 907-263-2006 to volunteer or to donate.
As for the survey, Mel, our technology and research wiz, has been kind enough to set up this terrific website and to get things going on the research design end of things. I have been helping out by reaching out to local and state leaders in the LGBT community as well as to leaders on transgender issues at the national level. It would be fair to say that Mel is the brains of the operation, but I am doing my best to be the feet. Or at least a foot I guess. Because there are going to be SO many terrific people involved in this project—it will come not just from a single organization like Identity or the ACLU, but truly from the LGBT community of Alaska. We will be holding our first Community Survey Task Force meeting at the end of the month, soon to be followed by focus groups about how we are crafting the survey. To get involved, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or Mel at email@example.com. We look forward to hearing from you!
— Shelby Carpenter