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Equality Days at the Nevada Legislature March 28-29

By ThisIsReno

SUBMITTED NEWS RELEASE

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) and straight Nevadans head to the Nevada Legislature March 28 and 29 to educate legislators about LGBT issues during Equality Days 2011. This year, participants will focus discussions on achieving equality in five key areas: public accommodations, state housing, hate crimes, public employment and domestic partnership benefits for state employees.

Stand OUT For Equality Campaign has organized the 2011 Equality Days in partnership with the Nevada LGBTQ Leadership Coalition. 2011 Equality Days has 28 LGBT and allied supportive organizations co-sponsoring and supporting this event.

Equality Days participants will share their personal stories with legislators in order to educate and engage their elected officials regarding LGBT issues. Some of the issues they will urge their legislators to support include:

* Amending Nevada’s public accommodation laws to include protections for sex and gender identity or expression.
* Amending Nevada’s housing laws to include protections for gender identity or expression.
* Amending Nevada’s hate crime laws to include protections for gender identity or expression.
* Supporting Nevada’s public employment laws to include protections for gender identity or expression.
* Amending Nevada’s domestic partnership benefits for state employees laws to include protections for gender identity or expression.

Equality Days 2011 events include lobby training and issue orientation at the Nevada Legislature hosted by PLAN and the ACLU, a reception at the governor’s mansion hosted by the Human Rights Campaign, an after-party hosted by Log Cabin Republicans, a breakfast by Stonewall of Northern Nevada and a luncheon by Stonewall of Southern Nevada.

A large number of participants have already registered from around the state, and the coalition continues to seek Nevada residents who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or straight allies to join the effort. Equality Days is focused on creating greater visibility for Nevada’s LBGT community.

“We’re looking forward to another productive Equality Days with a strong presence of fair-minded Nevadans who value acceptance and equality,” said Candice Nichols, co-chair of SOFE and executive director of the Gay & Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada. “It’s critical to meet in person with our legislators to share our stories and demystify the LGBT community. When we change hearts and minds, equality wins.”

Stand OUT For Equality with its hosting organizations has secured several national LGBT speakers for Equality Days 2011 events. Allyson Robinson, associate director of diversity for the Human Rights Campaign, will speak at the governor’s manson reception Monday night. Rick Jacobs of The Courage Campaign and LGBT Civil Rights Legend and AIDS Quilt Creator Cleve Jones will be the keynote speakers at Tuesday’s luncheon.

Participants must register to take part in Equality Days. Registration information and more details on travel and accommodations can be found at www.standoutforequality.com. The cost to register for Equality Days is $35. The cost for the governor’s mansion reception is $25 per person, $10 per person for the Friday night after-party and $25 per person for Tuesday’s lunch. These fees offset the costs of the events. Travel expenses are the responsibility of the participant.

To date, Equality Days is supported by the following organizations: Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada, Human Rights Campaign, Stand OUT For Equality-The Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada, Lambda Business Association, Progress NOW Nevada, American Civil Liberties Union, Stonewall Democrats of Northern Nevada, Si Se Puede Latino Democratic Caucus, Log Cabin Republicans, League of Women Voters of Las Vegas Valley, League of Women Voters of Nevada, Nevada Women’s Lobby, Nevada Stonewall Democratic Caucus, Unitarian Universalist of Northern Nevada, Q Vegas Magazine, Abundant Peace Church, American Association of University Women Las Vegas Branch, Build Our Center, Inc., Clark County Democratic Black Caucus, The Courage Campaign, Culinary Workers Union Local 226, Equality Nevada Community Services, Golden Rainbow, PFLAG of Carson Region, Stonewall Democratic Club of Southern Nevada, Southern Nevada NOW, UNLV Spectrum and UNR Queer Student Union.

In 2009, Stand OUT For Equality organized the first officially recognized Special Day at the Nevada Legislature for the LGBT community called “Equality Days.” This lobbying effort introduced the LGBT community to the legislative process and Nevada’s legislators to the LGBT community. More than 80 Nevadans participated in 2009, and the effort was credited as being instrumental in the passage of S.B. 283 (domestic partnerships) and S.B. 207 (unlawful discrimination in public accommodations).

EQUALITY DAYS EVENT SCHEDULE AND ACTIVITIES

Monday, March 28
2 p.m. Lobby Training & Issue Orientation at Nevada Legislative Building
Hosted by PLAN and the ACLU

6 p.m. Reception at the Governor’s Mansion
Hosted by Human Rights Campaign
Speaker: Allyson Robinson, Human Rights Campaign Associate Director of Diversity

8:30 pm. After Party at Firkin and Fox Pub & Restaurant
Hosted by Log Cabin Republicans

Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Equality Day at the Nevada Legislature
7:30 a.m. Breakfast with Registration at Nevada Legislative Building
Hosted by Stonewall Democrats of Northern Nevada

8 a.m. Committee Meetings

11 a.m. Floor Sessions in Senate and Assembly

12 p.m. Equality Days Luncheon at Carson Nugget
Hosted by Stonewall Democrats of Southern Nevada
Speakers: Rick Jacobs of The Courage Campaign and LGBT Civil Rights legend and AIDS Quilt Creator Cleve Jones.

1 p.m. Committee Meetings

All information can be found at www.standoutforequality.com.

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