Jake Gellar-Goad's blog

Four stories of organizing

I used to be an organizer. That was my profession. I'm not any more. Those jobs are largely centered in and around Raleigh, DC, and other major cities and I'm sticking to Winston-Salem. I'm still an activist though. In fact, just last week I led the charge with the help of some great people in officially organizing the LGBTQ Democrats of Forsyth County. It was actually a year in the making of conversations and relationship building. I thought that was important in 2019, 50 years after Stonewall, and ahead of the 2020 elections.

I've been doing some writing this weekend. I don't know if anyone would enjoy my stories of organizing. I'm sure bits and pieces of them have appeared on Blue NC before over the years in real time. Memories ebb and flow over time, and like all good stories they change a little with each retelling, but I thought there was some value in writing a few of these down as best I remembered them. Maybe stories have a place on a blog. Let me know what you think. Maybe I'll write out some more. I have a lot of them.

Youth Voting, Student IDs, Queer Rights, & Climate Change

Anyone who has read my blog history here on Blue NC knows that voting rights and LGBTQIA issues are close to my heart and political passions. One particular intersection of these interests is youth voting. Young voters more than other demographics tend to be very supportive LGBTQ rights and equality. And there's a long history in this country about deciding who has the right to vote at what age. And in North Carolina there have been attempts to roll back our pre-registration access and implement other measures that make youth voting challenging. Young voters will also get to live with the future of climate change in a way that many older voters won't have to. So we have a lot at stake in getting younger voters to the polls. In the wake of the new voter ID law and how that is impacting universities across North Carolina (I happen to work at one of them), I decided to write up a piece about youth voting and student IDs. I hope you'll check out my guest entry on the UNC School of Government blog entitled "Have you ever wondered why young people just don’t vote? Maybe it’s not them, it’s you."

Pete for America

Dear Blue NC Friends,

I'm writing in the hopes that you'll throw some support towards helping make sure Pete Buttigieg's voice continues to shape the 2020 campaign landscape. If you haven't heard of him, he's a veteran, Rhodes scholar, millennial, openly gay mayor from the Midwest. He's got some big ideas and progressive ideas and knows how to communicate them. And his presence alone is reshaping the debate and changing what kind of questions the media are asking about intergenerational justice, where climate change will be when he's the age of the current president, and about issues facing LGBTQ Americans. One of his campaign's chief goals is building their total number of campaign donors. Towards that end, I am asking, if you want his voice to be in the mix too, then give a small donation (literally even $1 or $3 dollars) here using my personalized grassroots fundraising link.

10 Years on Blue NC

Senator Barack Obama had just won the North Carolina primary against Senator Hillary Clinton the week before. Senate candidate Jim Neal, whose campaign I had interned on, hoping to see the first openly gay Senator elected at a time when my love was illegal, had just lost to Kay Hagan. And most importantly, our state had finally mattered in a truly electrifying presidential primary. That's when I signed up for an account at Blue NC, on May 12th 2008. It was time to start posting on a site I had been reading and using to inform my voting and activism.

When We Rise

Just finished watching the When We Rise four-episode mini-series. It has been airing on ABC this week, but is also available on Hulu, which is how I saw it. At the end of one of the episodes, Cleve Jones asks what the current generation has gone through and done for gay liberation. That naturally made me think through my own political experiences in this area, which of course is only one facet of my broader activism interests.

#NCPride2015 Photo Blog

In continuing my nearly annual tradition of posting a NC Pride photo blog here on Blue NC, I have some more photos to share! Though rainy, this was the first NC Pride since marriage equality became the national law of the land, which gave a certain spirit to all the festivities. As usual there were no shortage of political causes and politicians on hand to celebrate and get their message out there.

The 2010s revisited

I wrote this blog entry over a year ago as a fictional retrospective on the 2010s from 50 years out and what it meant for LGBT equality. It occurred to me recently that much of what is written there has come pass, so I thought I'd look back at that checklist.

Transgender day of remembrance 2014

Today is the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance that started in the late 90s. It is often marked by words, prayers, moments of silence, and the reading of the names of people who have faced violence and death over the past year. Policy and elections are places we often look to make changes, but I feel like events like this are important too for changing the culture and supporting each other in the LGBTQ and allied community. Not that there isn't policy to address.

Did you know our government doesn't allow gay and bi men to donate blood?

There is so much work to be done for LGBT equality beyond just fighting for marriage equality. Marriage equality is incredibly important to the emotional, financial, familial, and political equality for so many LGBT couples and it is something I've written about here often over the years. But it's not the only LGBT equality issue out there.

One way to mentally divide up the struggles the LGBT community faces is into those that actively ban gay people from participating, those protections that are missing under the law, and then just the hearts and minds battle to have truly lived equality.


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