This is the personal Blog home of Brian M. Westbrook. I make no guarantees you will like what you see here -- or receive any value. If you're looking for my radio stuff, it has (for the most part) moved to:

15 November 2011

OutQ News: Washington United For Marriage Announces Marriage Equality Fight (11/14/11)

Originally broadcast on Sirius/XM OutQ News on 15 November 2011.

Two years after state lawmakers secured Washington State’s “everything but marriage” law, they have announced plans for the next step.

In the Seattle suburb of Bellevue, leaders from various gay rights groups joined together to announce a coalition to continue the fight for full marriage equality in the state. Washington United for Marriage outlined plans to lobby the State legislature for a gay marriage law.

While organizers explain the new law will not grant additional rights and responsibilities, it would remove the stigma associated with same-sex relationships in the Evergreen State.

The coalition, comprised of the Human Rights Campaign, the ACLU, Lambda Legal, Equal Rights Washington and dozens of local and regional business groups, recognize a tough road ahead.

Equal Rights Washington director Rod Hearne said in a statement that "countless individuals have a story to tell about why civil marriage matters to them." He added that they will work "neighbor-to-neighbor to ensure the voices of the loving and committed couples in Washington, many raising children, are heard.”

Despite Democratic control of the Senate and House, along with a supportive Governor, openly-gay State Senator Ed Murray says some conservative Democrats voting against gay rights in past efforts will need to be replaced by Republican votes.

Murray told The Seattle Times he will work with the coalition to raise funds and increase public awareness.

If gay marriage passes, Washington State would join Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont and the District of Columbia, where those unions are also legal.

READ: Full press release from Washington United for Marriage (PDF)

For more on this story, listen to my radio report (MP3), as heard on Sirius/XM OutQ News on 15 November 2011:

04 October 2011

Uber Hates Gays? (Or just the gay bars?)

Let me start by saying that I don't really think the fantastic towncar-hailing elite VIP-style private shuttle service hates those of the homosexual persuasion. In fact, I am personal friends with the author of the blog post I take mild offense to in a moment.

But really... Uber?

Are there no gay bars currently open on Capitol Hill that are worth being seen rolling out of my "private driver" whisk me off to?

In a recent blog post offering a five buck discount on Uber's services, author (and, again, my friend) Jen Joyce, Seattle-area Community Manager for Uber, listed five locations: Linda's Tavern, Neumos, Li’l Woody’s, Big Mario's, Grim's and helpful links to two additional Capitol Hill resources: CHS & Hillebrity.

Great! What about "The Gays"? How about shout-outs to the homo watering holes: Purr, The Lobby Bar, Cuff Complex, Diesel, R Place, a personal fave Poco Wine Room, or the female-friendly Wildrose (Taco Tuesday anyone!)?

Capitol Hill is more than just a gay ghetto, indeed, but the gay haunts were curiously absent in the eyes of this reader.

Okay, fine, sure... The Social was given a shout-out, but unless I missed my invitation (always a possibility) there has yet to be a grand opening for this "blessing" of a business. (See, I'm talking about 'em-- does that count?)

I love Uber. Uber loves me. (I'm told.)

Does Uber love "the gays"? (Or, more specifically, the many predominantly gay establishments on "The Hill"?)

Where would you recommend Uber's customers head with their Tuesday evening $5 discount? Wait, it's Tuesday tonight, ehh?

Cya on The (Gay) Hill!

Want to show Uber there's money to be had from the gays on The Hill? Sign up for a $10 discount (and $10 will go into my "more money for drinking" fund as well) here: (Thanks!)

05 October 2010

Lifelong's Gay Bingo: Canceled

This just in...

Lifelong AIDS Alliance, who (via. Chicken Soup Brigade) started the Gay Bingo concept here in Seattle, are not planning to continue the event in 2011.

The event, Lifelong interim Executive Director Amanda Madorno tells me, netted "a little over $60k", and the board and staff after internal consideration have decided to focus on events with higher returns.

GLAMAZONIA hosts Come As Your Mother Gay Bingo in May 2007. Photo by Brian M. Westbrook /

The non-profit has begun notifying supporters, volunteers and sponsors via. email and phone calls today. An email to the database and official press release are forthcoming, Madorno says.

Regarding the future of "Gay Bingo" in Seattle, the organization has "a couple of ideas" and plans to "sit down and talk with people".

I'm told the decision was a financial one.

There is hope by the organization that a partner will carry on the tradition and the organization focused on helping those living with or affected by HIV/AIDS will remain a beneficiary.

You can find photos from previous events on my photo site:

What do you think of the organization's decision to cancel Gay Bingo? Are you disappointed? Will you miss the event? Would you like to see it restarted? Comment away!!

More information as the story develops....

Update @14:22: Just received this note from Maurice Jones, board president:

Dear Friends of Lifelong:

As a supporter of Lifelong AIDS Alliance, you know that for more than 27 years we've been making a significant difference in the lives of people living with HIV and AIDS. We hear daily from those we serve that our services are often the difference in their ability to stay well and receive care. In addition to our housing, insurance, and nutrition services, Lifelong brings hope and dignity to an otherwise vulnerable population.

This has been a year of transition and renewal for us. We've made key changes in staff leadership, increased enrollment in our insurance program by over 400 clients, reduced barriers to housing access, and lowered the number of individuals on our nutrition program waiting list by 100. Throughout, our top priority has been and remains fulfilling our mission to prevent the spread of HIV, as well as to provide practical support services and advocate for those whose lives are affected by AIDS. We have been blessed by the support of people like you - reflecting the impact HIV and AIDS has on so many lives here in our community.

We've also taken a strategic and practical look at how we continue to fulfill our mission in light of current economic realities. Like most nonprofits, we've felt the effects of decreased giving and continuing financial pressures. To ensure we continue to meet the needs of our clients and community, the Lifelong board and senior staff have spent the last three months conducting a strategic review of our programs, services and fundraising efforts.

As we prepare for a future both challenging and rewarding, we have reduced staff, implemented across the board cost-savings, streamlined services and looked at ways to strengthen our fundraising. Through this process, we have made the decision to no longer produce Gay Bingo. Although all of us will miss the fun and energy of Gay Bingo, we know this decision is best for Lifelong and the clients we serve.

The decision to no longer produce Gay Bingo was not easy. In fact, we searched for other alternatives but none made as much financial sense to the agency and our ability to serve our clients. All of us at Lifelong will miss the Gay Bingo events. After 17 years, the history of Gay Bingo and the enjoyment it has brought to so many will always be a part of Lifelong AIDS Alliance.

We bring renewed focus and resources to the fundraising activities that have the greatest financial impact for the clients we serve. We are optimistic and excited at the potential for success as we move ahead with plans for our second annual Community Breakfast in February, our very successful Dining Out for Life event in April, and the 25th Anniversary of the Seattle AIDS Walk & 5 K Run in September 2011.

As part of our Lifelong community, we wanted you to be among the first to know. You have played an important role in the work we do and the lives of people living with HIV and AIDS. We are deeply grateful for your past participation and support and hope that we can continue to count on you as a partner and supporter through these three key events as well as our many volunteer and giving opportunities.

Looking ahead, our goal is to continue - with your generosity and support - to serve the over 3,500 clients annually who depend on us not just for services, but for caring and hope.

Thank you for your joining with us,

Maurice James

10 March 2010

"Caring for Our Community" Lifelong Agency Video

The folks at Lifelong AIDS Alliance, in conjunction with Seattle's own Sadis Filmworks created this compelling video telling how three lives are affected by the work of this community organization.

Consider how you can contribute.

Thank you, Lifelong.

08 February 2010

Google Ad Spoof: Is Tiger Feeling Lucky Today?

...cue the knock-offs.

18 August 2009

Disney D23 Expo Uncovered! Part One: Into the Archives

Ya' know when you see someone on camera and discover a whole 'nother side to them?? That just happened when I saw this promo video with my friend (and @GayDaysAnaheim colleague) Jeffrey.

Sure they probably had "produce viral video" on the marketing plan, and sure it's a shameless plug for Disney's upcoming D23 Expo at the Anaheim Convention Center Sept. 10-13 (like what I did just there? ;-) )... but this one actually works. And it's h-i-l-a-r-i-o-u-s!

Especially when Jeffrey tries to talk to the camera through an exhibit case. Priceless.

Check it out and let me know what you think, ehh?

21 January 2009

Orientation vs. Preference: Why It Matters

Often it's the subtleties in life that make all the difference. Individually, quite shruggable. Collectively, contributing to a - perhaps subconscious? - bias.

Today's example comes from a (KGW-TV/NBC, Portland) story updating readers about the latest in the Sam Adams debacle currently distracting (consuming?) my second home.

The concern begins here (the subject: Mayor Sam Adams):
He also said that this was not an issue of sexual preference; rather, it was an issue of a public official lying, in his opinion.

"I don't think this is fundamentally an issue about sexual orientation. Other people can debate that," he said.

In introducing the quote, our writer uses the volatile (and, inaccurate) term "preference". But in the quote itself (admittedly absent the full transcript of Adams' remarks), we see the word "orientation".

For reference, from

   /ˈprɛfərəns, ˈprɛfrəns/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [pref-er-uhns, pref-ruhns] Show IPA Pronunciation
1. the act of preferring.
2. the state of being preferred.
3. that which is preferred; choice: His preference is vanilla, not chocolate.

The Associated Press, in its' own stylebook recommends:
Include sexual orientation only when it is pertinent to a story, and avoid references to "sexual preference" or to a gay or alternative "lifestyle.

(I'd certainly argue the story in question passes the pertinent test.)

And, finally -- in all fairness -- is by no means the only outlet confusing the word "orientation" with the slight "preference". A quick search of Google News found other examples. (Including a [as found in Google cache, the story titled: "Editorial: Adams must go" appears to now have been removed] editorial on why the Mayor should resign. While I disagree as incorrect the use of the word "preference", in an editorial setting the word choice does give evidence to your position on the matter, context to your bias, and frankly-- a clue we won't agree.)

I encourage newsrooms everywhere to visit the website, review the NLGJA Stylebook Supplement and avoid future offensive and inaccurate mistakes.

UPDATE 21 JAN 2009 17:00 -- I emailed a copy of this post to site editors who quickly wrong back with the following responses:

"Thanks for the input, Brian. I looked up correct usage in AP and you are correct." (Eric Adams, story author)

"Right you are, it might seem to some like a small distinction but we recognize its importance - it matters to be precise in every aspect of every story, and this has been fixed." (Frank Mungeam, site manager)

I'm assured this was an oversight and feel confident the author will avoid making this mistake in the future.