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ASPA Creates Organizations’s First LGBT Section

Claire Mostel

At the 2010 ASPA Conference in San Jose, CA, Erik Bergrud and I engaged in a conversation we have had many times: whether ASPA was truely the inclusive organization it claimed to be. Erik asked me to help take the first steps towards forming the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Advocacy Alliance Section (LGBT). I agreed and we talked and e-mailed over the next few months formulating how to set the wheels in motion. Thanks to the efforts of Joe Luis Irizarry and other ASPA members, the required number of signatures was collected at the 2011 ASPA Conference in Baltimore. The core group met during the conference to create the proposed section’s mission and we were on our way. Steven Bobes completed the section application process, and National Council approved the ASPA LGBT Section application on December 7, 2011.

One of ASPA’s four core values is Social Equity. “ASPA promotes dialogue on social equity issues in all areas of public service such as public budgeting, government hiring practices, diversity in academia and others.” However, the social equity emphasis has traditionally been focused on race and ethnicity. LGBT issues have not been addressed nor embraced by ASPA in policy discussions, national conference panels, workshops, etc. The ASPA modern family should be a welcoming and supportive organization for all ASPA members, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, student, practitioner or academic. Inclusion of LGBT issues sends a strong message that LGBT persons (& supporters) are fully valued and integrated into ASPA.

The mission of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Advocacy Alliance Section (LGBT) is to provide a safe and supportive environment within ASPA & its partners by:

  • Focusing on equal rights, diversity and workplace issues
  • Providing policy assistance through research and education on critical/relevant issues
  • Being a clearinghouse for information—resources and materials
  • Facilitating and supporting community engagement/development and coalition building
  • Increasing awareness of cultural competency

The Goals of the LGBT Section are to provide education, advocacy, support mentoring, and academic/practitioner engagement. The desired outcomes are issue advocacy, value diversity brought by members, and value perspectives brought to ASPA. The Section encourages critical thinking regarding intellectual, cultural, and political effects of sexual and gender differences in ASPA, as well as outside the organization. By challenging bias and intolerance, the LGBT Section will promote affirmation and support a more welcoming climate for all.

The LGBT Section Leadership team consists of:
Chairperson: Claire Mostel
Vice-Chair: Jose Luis Irizarry
Secretary: Craig Donovan
Treasurer: Steven Bobes

Directors:
Carrie Hamblen
Wally Swan
Ines Beecher

The LGBT Section will host its first official meeting at the ASPA National Conference in Las Vegas on Saturday, March 3rd, at 10:45am. The meeting is open to all ASPA members.

Section dues are $10.00; contact Patricia Yearwood [email protected] to join.

For additional LGBT Section information, contact Claire Mostel at [email protected] or 786-512-5180.

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