Check out Seven Days post about the RU12? LGBTQ Disability Network event Queer Crips featuring John Kallacky- http://www.sevendaysvt.com/vermont/queer-crips/Event?oid=2348081
Check out Seven Days post about the RU12? LGBTQ Disability Network event Queer Crips featuring John Kallacky- http://www.sevendaysvt.com/vermont/queer-crips/Event?oid=2348081
"i am..." is a peer led support & discussion group for people wanting to start the week off in a supportive space. Everyone is welcome. Melanie Jannery will facilitate this group at RU12? Community Center's Conference room located at 255 South Champlain Street in Burlington every Monday at 10:00 AM. Questions? [email protected]
SafeSpace, a member program of The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP), stands in solidarity with survivors and victims of sexual assault in commemorating the 14th annual National Sexual Assault Awareness Month. During this month, NCAVP raises awareness about this form of violence within and against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and HIV-affected (LGBTQ and HIV-affected) communities and calls for an end to sexual assault.
Sexual assault is an act of violence in which someone conducts sexual activity without another person’s consent. Sexual assault offenders exert power and control over survivors through coercion, manipulation, shame, pressure, violating boundaries, and other tactics. Sexual assault can overlap with other forms of violence and can be committed by strangers, acquaintances, friends, family members, and intimate partners. In NCAVP’s 2013 report Intimate Partner Violence in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and HIV Communities, NCAVP members reported that almost 10% of LGBTQ and HIV-affected survivors of intimate partner violence experienced form of sexual abuse or harassment from a partner in 2012. Additionally, NCAVP members reported that 3.1% of hate violence reports were sexual violence in the report Hate Violence Against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and HIV-Affected Communities in the United States in 2012. The Centers for Disease Control’s National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey found lifetime prevalence rates of sexual violence for LGB individuals were similar or higher than non-LGB people, while other research has found very high prevalence rates of sexual violence against transgender people.
Discrimination against LGBTQ and HIV-affected people contributes to LGBTQ and HIV-affected sexual violence survivors feeling pressure to not out other LGBTQ and HIV-affected people as having committed sexual violence. LGBTQ and HIV-affected survivors of sexual assault may experience increased barriers to reporting sexual violence such as fear due to threats from an abusive partner to out the survivor’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or HIV-status. Additionally, LGBTQ and HIV-affected survivors may experience disbelief, indifferent, biased attitudes from law enforcement and service providers, and a lack of culturally appropriate and sensitive resources.
In recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, NCAVP commits to continue to support LGBTQ and HIV-affected survivors of sexual assault by advocating for political strategies to address and end this violence, documenting its impact, and assisting NCAVP member programs to support LGBTQ and HIV-affected sexual violence survivors. NCAVP calls on community members, anti-violence organizations, and public officials to take action in recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness Month to end sexual assault in our communities.
Set to be released at the "16th Annual LGBTQA Celebration: The Big Reveal" on 5/2/14, the new name of the RU12? Community Center, as chosen from public feedback and board member vote, has been officially announced over a month earlier than planned.
At a public forum held yesterday at Main Street Landing, Kim Fountain announced the decision of changing RU12's name as of 5/2/2014 to:
RMUFC of VT - Resource Management for Unified Family Connection
To add a fun element, and to help the center be more marketable to the community, we also created a logo that uses our offical acronym of RMUFC. This will be our brand's public face:
Rainbow Mountains Uni-pug & Fairies Center of VT
With Georgia, our lovable pug-mascot, as the offical mascot.
Celebrate our new name with us at the "16th Annual LGBTQA Community Celebration: The Big Reveal" on 5/2/14. BUY YOUR TICKETS TODAY!
RU12? Community Center Annual LGBTQA Celebration: The Big Reveal
Excitement has been building steadily around this event over the last six months. With our roots planted firmly in our past, RU12? is extending our community-centered work across Vermont and scaling up the Center happenings. From our move back to Burlington last summer and showing the works of local LGBTQ artists at the Art Hop to co-hosting the Pride Dance, we are presenting more and more opportunities for our community and allies to get out into the world and celebrate. The momentum continues building and in the coming months, we will produce Pride Vermont, feature such notable artists as John Killaky in the Center space, present one of our popular Town Hall Series on growing our LGBTQ families, and offer a host of new and exciting social and educational opportunities.
All of these amazing new events and programs will happen under a new Center name!! Join us and be the first to hear it as we do our tantalizing Big Reveal.
Of course, what would all the newness be without a shift in our biggest event of the year? Join us at Echo for an evening featuring tasting stations with the most amazing dishes designed to impress, by three of Vermont’s leading caterers.
May 2, 2014
Echo Lake Aquarium in Burlington, Vermont
Cocktail reception at 6:00PM
Tasting Stations open at 7:00PM
Silent and Live Auctions
Leunig’s Bistro and Lounge
Catering by Dale
The Vermont Pride Awards
Each year, RU12? honors Vermont community members and businesses who go above and beyond to ensure that our LGBTQ community thrives in a dynamic, safe, and exciting environment.
The Vermont Pride Award for Activism
The Vermont Pride Activism Award is being presented to the Peep Show. Peep Show is a sassy, irreverent drag and burlesque show, celebrating camp in all things. Producers Jonathan Bitchman and Quechee George create a queer-friendly, sex-positive, and above all, inclusive performance space/environment. Their community driven philanthropic effort showcases new and seasoned talent from Burlington to Boston to NYC. Throughout the show, Jonathan and Quechee let the audience know about everything from where to find support for survivors or violence to where to find an HIV test. At the end of the evening, they pay their performers and the rest is donated to support RU12?. http://peepshowvermont.tumblr.com
The Vermont Pride Community Award for Community Service
The Northeast Kingdom LGBTQA Advisory Committee
The Northeast Kingdom LGBTQA Advisory Committee provides cultural education and awareness on behalf of LGBTQ-identified individuals, with special emphasis on aging adults, living in the rural Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. The Committee hosts social and educational events and provides education and technical assistance that is LGBTQ affirming, to staff of programs, agencies and organizations that provide services to aging adults.
The Vermont Pride Award for Business of the Year
National Life Group
National Life Group, a company with strong Vermont roots. They are very much a part of our communities, supporting such organizations as Pride VT, VT CARES, Outright VT, and the Gay and Lesbian Fund of VT. Their Human Resources Center has the very Vermont title, “The People Center” and their benefits are fully supportive of LGBTQ individuals and families. With “Do Good, Be Good, Make Good.” as a set of corporate values, it is no wonder that they are such a strong supporter of Vermont’s LGBTQ communities.
National Life Group is a diversified family of financial service companies that has successfully forged a strong identity as a product innovator offering personalized service. Companies in the group offer a comprehensive portfolio of life insurance, annuity and investment products to help individuals, families and businesses pursue their financial goals.
The Live and Silent Auctions
This year, our auctions are bigger than ever, with items for every budget and interest. Businesses and individuals from across Vermont and all the way to Beijing have donated to the auctions. You will be able to bid on everything from an in-home dinner for eight prepared by Leunig’s Donnell Collins and her amazing staff; summer passes to St. Michael’s Playhouse; and hand blown glass vases to tattoo time and yoga passes. Proceeds support the Center’s social gatherings, educational events, and direct services for the LGBT community.
Thank you to our generous sponsors:
Looking to open an account at a good bank? Or are you a current account holder at TD Bank?
TD Bank is continuing their support of the local LGBTQ community by raising money for RU12? Community Center. When you open a new, non-interest bearing checking account and use the code "A2226" you could earn $25 from TD Bank for yourself, and they will donate $50 to RU12? Community Center!
What can a $50 donation do for RU12? Community Center?
If you get a couple friends to join you, you will all
Current account holders can add the code of "A2226" to their checking account to earn a $10 donation toward RU12? Community Center. Every dollar counts!
Visit William Cross at the Winooski TD Bank branch, or give him a call at (802) 655-3110 for more details on this fundraiser, and to get started today.
Thanks for your support!
In the rural state of Vermont, many of us face the challenge of social isolation, and may find it difficult to meet others with similar backgrounds and interests. Adding in a factor such as being an HIV+ Vermonter can add an unbearable element to the isolation we already experience.
The “Living With HIV” social support group provides a safe, confidential space for HIV+ individuals to gather and share their experiences and advice on living with the virus. Group participants come together to talk, connect, and find support around a number of issues including coping with stigma, disclosure, and dealing with health care providers.
A goal of this group is to enable participants to become more empowered to take on the many challenges of living with HIV such as dating, safer sex, and managing stress and finances. It meets the first and third Thursday of each month at 6:30pm, at Burlington-area locations. Please message [email protected] or call John at (802) 860-7812 for more information and meeting locations.
RU12?'s LGBT Elders SafeSpaces Network cultural awareness training program is thrilled for the opportunity to be exhibiting at the Gerontology Symposium today at Burlington's Hilton Hotel! We've been mingling and networking with elder-care providers of all different kinds (medical, mental health, education, case management, etc.) talking about our cultural awareness work around the state. Exciting stuff! If you are attending the symposium, please stop by, chat with Jean and help yourself to a clementine. :)
Stuck in the Middle with You
(A Crossdresser's Invitation)
Maybe not stuck. More like wandering. But that's only because of our natural bias toward viewing life and our journeys through it as a straight path with a destination, point A to point B. What about all the great terrain in between?
This is my perspective as a crossdresser. The shame of veering off of point A as a stereotypical heterosexual male is bad enough in our society, but to my surprise, I have found that I also face difficulty in the LGBTQ community. When I tell people I am a cross dresser, many presume that I have a goal of transitioning my gender to female. For those who are transitioning, this is fantastic and you have my full support. I do not have this goal. I'm still happily tethered to the roots of my gender identity. I am a man, husband, father, even a grandfather.
For those who insist that I must be confused or I haven’t yet admitted that I want to transition my gender, I reply, "Chill out!" My compass on this trek is my heart, not my head. Constant questions that are code for ‘are you sure you haven’t thought about this?’ are just as responsible for stirring up confusion on this journey as what I hear from people trying to convince me that there is something wrong with crossdressing. Risking the vulnerability of the unknown is scary, especially in the face of doubts from others, but I am committed to exploring and acknowledging my authentic self.
Anyone else out there on a similar journey? Any interest in coming together to share stories, support and honoring our basic human need for connection?
Initially, I envision scheduled meetings at the RU12? Community Center on S. Champlain Street. From there we can mix it up with social outings, such as dining out, shopping sprees, makeover sessions, athletic activities. Maybe some volunteer/outreach work.
If interested, shoot me an email. The sooner the better. Spring afternoons on Church Street are fabulous with shoulder length hair brushing over bare shoulders and long flowing dresses embracing the rest! In the words of Bon Scott, former lead singer of my favorite rock band, AC/DC, "It's a long way to the top if you want to rock & roll"...so slip on a dress and go out and have fun!
Looking forward to hearing from you,
A Portrait of Decorum
Decorum is sort of an old-fashioned word; you rarely hear it used in casual conversation nowadays. It's not hard to imagine why such a word that encompasses all the niceties of polite social behavior has fallen so far out of our collective national lexicon. We live in a world of ever-increasing instant gratification. We no longer communicate with friends or loved ones with long hand-written letters diligently delivered by the Post Office person we know by name. Today we rely on technology—we text, Instagram, Tweet, Snapchat, Facetime or Facebook our lives. But is this truly progress? What in reality is the social cost to the virtual worlds we create for ourselves? One thing most likely missing from the barrage of daily spam you receive is a petition for propriety, prudence, decency, modesty, or etiquette. In short, a call for the return of decorum.
I've had the luxury to ponder this issue and do some serious self-reflection on my own personal issues and moral hesitations when confronted with doing the "right thing" vs. that which is "convenient." And to be completely honest, I found myself lacking. What prompted this introspective trek of mine? On a very snowy February 13, 2014, in the tiny but beautiful rural hamlet of St. Johnsbury, Vermont, I had the distinct honor of interviewing Ms. Charlene Willey. Ms. Willey is a true lady in the finest sense of that expression. And it was my encounter with Ms. Willey that both reaffirmed my faith in humanity's best attributes, as well as left me questioning the moral obligations my community has to its brothers and sisters who are not fortunate enough to live in an urban environment.
GLAM boys Javier, Mike, Johnny and Lucas banded together to drop in to a sandwich mixer at INCLUDE, the QSA on Champlain College's campus.
Every Monday, students gather together to talk about LGBTQ issues on campus and in their personal lives in a welcoming, fun environment. This week, GLAM and INCLUDE pooled together to bring sandwich fixin's to the group to give us a chance to discuss the RU12? Community Center and extend an invite to utilize the center's free Wifi and coffee for homework study groups.
Would YOU be interested in joining up with INCLUDE or hosting your own queer-friendly homework hangout at RU12, complete with free high-speed Wifi, computer lab, coffee, and LGBTQ library resources? Email [email protected] to express interest!
Notes from a community member:
On Friday, January 31, 2014, I had the distinct pleasure to attend RU12?’s 1st ever Date Night Queer-e-oke Event at Bob Bolyard’s Karaoke at the St. John’s Club. I can only say I feel a deep sense of sadness for all those queer folk who missed out on such a wickedly entertaining event. What made it so spectacular? Glad you asked; was it the wellspring of astonishing talent exhibited by our brothers, sisters and allies? Was it the extensive range individual performers showed from rap to 80’s classics to country to the bright lights of Broadway show tunes? Yes, those were certainly factors. Was it the hilarity of bets waged and lost? “Frenemies” for the night, provoking songs to be sung by individuals who might not have otherwise opted to do so? Maybe. But even more fun was having the script flipped on the agitator who was allegedly shocked by the power and the passion of the performances rendered. Perhaps it was the thrill of watching as the “winner” of the bets conceded that they were the overall “loser” of the competition. For the sake of confidentiality and for what is left of my own shredded dignity, I will refrain from naming names. Nevertheless, this too made the night one to remember.
But most of all this blogger believes that sitting in the middle of a group of friends, some I’ve known for years and others I’d only met that night, laughing, singing, and cutting a rug on the dance floor makes a cold VT Friday night in January something magical. I was free to be exactly me and simply enjoy my community while doing something excessively silly and fun. So, where were you on Friday January 31? Was it a magical night? A night to remember? If not, next time RU12? is having Date Night Queer-e-oke, put on your dancing shoes, show up, be ready to laugh (a lot), and join in with other members of your community to celebrate the reality of our awesome uniqueness.
This week, GLAM is launching a new monthly event... "Board Gaymes" and chill time before heading out to dance the night away at First Friday.
First Friday at Higher Ground began after the closing of Burlington's beloved gay bar, Pearls, in 2006. At first a dance party for women, First Friday expanded to include ALL segments of the LGBTQ community. Through the years, this event has become a staple of our community and a place to get together with friends, meet new people, and get crazy on the dance floor to amazing local DJs.
RU12? Community Center will open starting at 6pm this Friday for the Board Game event, and will close at 9:30pm so guys can head over to Higher Ground. Early bird tickets to Higher Ground can by bought for $5 at the Higher Ground box office, or online here
Wondering about how to meet people other LGBTQ safely on campus? Questions about how to help a queer friend experiencing intimate partner violence? Need help but unsure where to get it?
As part of Stalking Awareness Month, SafeSpace will be eating cookies and drinking milk with staff from UVM's LGBTQA and Women's Centers today, as part of a dialogue with LGBTQ and Allied UVM community members about LGBTQ relationships.
Today at the Allen House, 12noon-1pm.
The Samara Fund, part of the Vermont Community Foundation, has been a huge supporter of RU12? Community Center. We have been able to do everything from truly committing to a statewide expansion to strengthening the safety nets for LGBT seniors in the NEK because the Samara Fund has been there supporting LGBTQ issues. Now, you can help them out by taking this survey. They are seeking your opinion on needs and services that are important to you and the broader LGBTQ community in Vermont.
Click here to participate:
As our thank you for participating, at the end of the survey you will be able to vote for your favorite Vermont-based LGBTQ organization to receive a mini-grant of $250. The organization with the most votes at the end of the survey period will receive this gift of appreciation. You can also use this link to share the survey on your Facebook page:
Kim Fountain, Executive Director
RU12? Community Center's LGBTQA Grief and Loss group takes place on the third Thursday of the month. The next group will be on Thursday, January 16th, 2014 at 6pm at the Center’s space at 255 S. Champlain St., Suite 12 in Burlington.
This is a social support group for those interested in giving voice to their experience(s) with loss and listening to others.
We welcome those experiencing loss of all kinds including death of a loved one, loss of or change in health, familial and other beloved relationships and more. Topics could include but are not limited to: grieving, letting go, resolution, moving on, self-image, rituals, and learning. For more information email: [email protected] or call the Center at (802) 860-7812.
With DOMA's demise, GLAD (Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders) are currently in the process of educating as many LGBTQ community members about their rights as they relate to taxes and federal benefits. The fact sheet images below are a good start, and GLAD will also be hosting two upcoming webinars:
GLAD also has their GLAD Answers program, a legal information service where community members can call and reach a live person on the other end to ask questions, get referrals, and find out more about their own legal situation.
We hope this information is helpful for Vermont's LGBTQ families!
Tuesdays: 12pm - 6pm
Thursdays: 12pm - 6pm
By appointment: Evenings & Weekends