Monday, September 16, 2013

It’s a Noun! It’s a Verb! It’s … GLAD Answers!

Post by Laura Kiritsy

Earlier this month we unveiled GLAD Answers, a reboot of our Legal Info Line, the information and referral service GLAD has run since the organization was founded. After 35 years, it was time to freshen things up a bit. Given that these days many people contact us by email and live chat, the idea of an “Info Line,” which conjures up a telephone in the minds of most, seemed a bit outdated. The name GLAD Answers better encapsulates what this service does: no matter how you get in touch with us, if you’ve got questions we’ve got answers.

Personally, I love the clever construction of GLAD Answers. As Carisa Cunningham, our director of public affairs and education is fond of saying, “It’s a noun! It’s a verb!”

Along with the snappy new name and this awesome new logo, 

we’ve added some other new features that will enable us to help more people throughout New England who have questions or concerns about their legal rights as LGBT people :
·         A dedicated URL,
·         An enhanced live chat function
·         A new, direct email address:
·         Use of an interpretation service for non-English speakers

Friday, September 13, 2013

The Power of Perseverance: a Black Gay Man Reflects on the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington

David Wilson in front of the
Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in DC
Fifty years ago I felt like I was living in two countries, two communities, two neighborhoods; among two distinct races and cultures, but in one class of poverty. I was born in an all- black housing project, but my parents thought opportunities would be better in an all-white housing project so we moved from the South End to Roslindale when I was five years old.  My parents, both Pennsylvania transplants, worked as domestics for white families west of Route 128, a secret I held closely because of shame, guilt and pride.

The message to this only child was keep your head down, fit in, get along, study hard, go to college, get a good job, marry, have children and you’ll be equal. During those formative years in this predominantly white environment, I felt pretty equal to my peers, attending school, playing sports, and accepting invitations to hang out with friends after school. We were all poor and living on some form of government assistance.

Our family moved to Dorchester when I was 16 so I could meet other black kids and experience black culture. My mother was hopeful that I’d date black girls and attend church on a more regular basis. For the first time in my life I felt un-equal. The clothes, shoes, music, cars were not the same as in my old neighborhood, and for the first time in my life class differences and cultural differences were very evident. Neighborhood and racial disparities were reflected in our stores, food choices, streets, and city services that I had taken for granted in my old neighborhood but now understood were absent in my black neighborhood.

At the same time, my brothers and sisters south of the Mason-Dixon line not only lived in segregated, marginalized neighborhoods like I did, they suffered under local, state and federal Jim Crow laws that prohibited equal access to housing, employment, education, full citizenship and basic human rights.