Chris Mason is the Cambridge based GLBT Commissioner who is almost complete his journey across all contiguous 48 states promoting equality and video documenting what he sees. Here is a recent email from him that is a call to fellow GLBT community members and supporters:
The way we win full equality for LGBT people is by telling our personal stories. This has been proven again and again in states across the country.
Driving Equality has been collecting stories from lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgendered folks, straight allies, clergy members, and elected officials in every state. I will compile these stories in a documentary and use the film to push for full equality.
In the past two weeks I have collected stories from Montana, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, South Dakota, and North Dakota. In Montana I met Ken, a gay man who served in the military. It was his job to investigate and kick out service members for being gay. (Watch clip)
In Idaho I talked with Sam, a young man who, after coming out to his parents, was forced into aversion therapy to try to "cure" him. He was subjected to cruel psychological tactics and electroshock therapy. (Watch clip)
In Utah I met with folks at the Pride Center in Salt Lake City. I learned about the influence of the Mormon church, the real deal behind Prop 8, and the two boys that were arrested for kissing in the city. (Watch clip)
In Wyoming I stopped in Laramie and got to know the town where Matthew Shepard was killed. Then I spoke with Joe of Wyoming Equality, who grew up in the state and sees real progress being made for LGBT people. (Watch clip)
Next I hit South Dakota and met with folks at the Black Hills Center for Equality. I learned what it was like to grow up gay in a red state. (Watch clip)
Then it was off to North Dakota, where I had the opportunity to meet with Lieutenant Greg Lemke. Lieutenant Lemke serves as the Fargo Police Department's GLBT liaison officer. I was lucky enough to be in Fargo on the day that Lieutenant Lemke was teaching the sexual orientation diversity class to the local police academy. (Watch clip)
These are the kinds of stories I am collecting as I travel the country. You can read about them, watch the video clips, see the photos, and follow me on the road online at: http://drivngequality.com
These are the United States of America, yet for the LGBT community they are anything but. We can be considered equal under the law in one state, with employment, housing, and hate-crimes protections, even equal marriage rights, but if we travel just a few hours and cross state lines, our rights disappear. Legally, our relationships no longer exist. Drive a few more hours and we can be fired just for being who we are.
For the LGBT community, these are not the United States of America. Driving Equality will highlight the patchwork of laws and amendments that govern the unequal treatment of LGBT people in America.
Today, I need your help to complete the journey. I do not yet have enough funds to make it home. As it stands right now, I will be stuck in Ohio in just over a week. I need funds for gas, food, film, and lodging.
If you have not made a contribution yet, now is the perfect time to give. Every bit helps. If you have already made a donation, please consider giving just a bit more. This is the home stretch!
$15 buys food for a day and keeps my strength up.
$25 gets a campsite for the night and a hot shower in the morning.
$50 pays for five rolls of film.
$75 fills a tank of gas for the Driving Equality van.
$100 makes you a State Sponsor, with your name or organization listed on the website and in the final credits of the film, and helps ensure the production of the documentary.
$250 makes you a Regional Sponsor, with your name or organization listed on the website and in the final credits of the film, and helps ensure the production of the documentary.
$500 makes you a National Sponsor, with your name or organization listed on the website and in the final credits of the film, and helps ensure the production of the documentary.
$1000 makes you a International Sponsor, with your name or organization listed on the website and in the final credits of the film, and helps ensure the production of the documentary.
Please contribute today to help us tell our stories. This is how we win.
You can donate online here, or mail a check made out to Driving Equality to:
c/o Tom Mason
51 Peninsula Drive
Lunenburg, MA 01462