Landry is at it AGAIN

jeff-landry-speaksWe just learned Attorney General Jeff Landry has taken it upon himself to once again attack the LGBT community, this time by filing a lawsuit seeking to block the enforcement of Governor Edwards’s all-inclusive executive order. His sole reason for the lawsuit is the Executive Order’s non-discrimination protections for our entire community: protections Forum for Equality and our partners were instrumental in securing.

This is another disgusting action taken by a person who was elected to defend and represent the best interests of our state and all citizens. Instead he continues to choose a path of hatred, ignorance and oppression. As we have always done, we will continue the fight for full equality.

The Attorney General’s office is entrenched in a battle of bias, but we will not back down from the fight – we are in it to win it. Help us in our fight against the attacks on our community and make a sustaining donation here. With your help, we will win.
With Equality,
SarahJane Brady

Executive Director

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Thank you (again!), Governor John Bel Edwards!

14444859_1783196785301116_720266234209050875_oJust this past Wednesday, reports came out that Attorney General Jeff Landry took it upon himself to block numerous government legal contracts for the sole reason they contain non-discrimination protections for the LGBT community: protections that Forum for Equality and our partners were instrumental in securing. We are proud to share that Governor John Bel Edwards’s Office just announced it will file a lawsuit against the AG over this action.

To quote our Governor, “I believe he is on the wrong side of the law and the wrong side of history on this issue.” Furthermore, after meeting with the Attorney General, the Governor had this to say: “When we had that talk he basically told me that if I wanted him to approve those contracts, I would have to sue him. I am going to oblige him on that.”

We couldn’t agree with him more. Will you take a moment to send the Governor an e-mail thanking him for his leadership?

Events like this remind us the marriage battle wasn’t the end – but we will never stop fighting until we have full equality under the law, and it is important we support allies like our Governor when they support us against these sorts of attacks.

And if you have not purchased your tickets to our Acclaim Awards Gala on October 8, please do so now!

Yours in Equality,

Signature Chris Otten



Chris Otten, Chair, Forum for Equality Louisiana

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AG Landry Continues to Discriminate

The news just came out about Attorney General Jeff Landry blocking numerous state government legal contracts for the sole reason they contain non-discrimination protections for the LGBT community: protections that Forum for Equality and our partners were instrumental in securing. Governor John Bel Edwards signed an inclusive Executive Order putting these protections into place this past spring.

Forum for Equality worked very hard to have these non-discrimination measures put into place, and we will not back down. Now, more than ever, we need your support as we continue to push back against discrimination.

Next Saturday will be our All-American Acclaim Awards Gala. We will be focusing on the impact of our collective voice in the upcoming elections, and also how important it is that we continue to stand up in a state where the LGBT community still faces an uphill battle. We would love to have you there with us and to have your support in our fight! Find out more information here.

With Equality,

SarahJane Brady
Executive Director, Forum for Equality

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Leadership: Councilmember Susan Guidry


The All-American Acclaim Awards Gala is less than two weeks away, on Saturday, October 8. If you are feeling anxious about Election Day (we won’t remind you how close that date is), the Acclaim Awards Gala will give you an opportunity to let go and have some fun as we come together to celebrate the people who devote much of their lives and careers to uplifting our community and making Louisiana a more accepting, loving, and beautiful place to live.

Last week, you got to know a bit more about the amazing work of Louisiana Trans Advocates and Earl and Michael Benjamin-Robinson. Today, we want to introduce you to Councilmember Susan Guidry, the recipient of this year’s award for Political Leadership.

Councilmember Susan Guidry was elected to the New Orleans City Council as the District “A” representative in March, 2010 and was elected to a second term in 2014.

A native of New Orleans, Susan is a graduate of Archbishop Chapelle High School. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Secondary English Education from the University of Southwestern Louisiana and a Juris Doctorate, cum laude, from Loyola Law School. Her professional career includes working as a teacher, an attorney and a community activist.

As an attorney, Susan was a member of the litigation team that represented the Port of New Orleans and successfully settled the Port of New Orleans’ suit against its insurers for Hurricane Katrina-related damage to 22 miles of riverfront property.

Susan has served on the Council’s Utility Committee since 2010. Early on, Susan focused on an agenda growing New Orleans’ green industry and energy efficiency, including spearheading the implementation of the Council’s award-winning Energy Smart program. In late 2010, she received the Urban Conservancy’s Leadership Award for her advocacy in the New Orleans area.

Susan has served as Chair of the Council’s Criminal Justice Committee throughout her tenure on the council. In that role, she has displayed an unwavering commitment to reform New Orleans’ criminal justice system and to protect its most vulnerable residents. She tackled budget reform with all of the city’s criminal justice entities. She facilitated the agreement between the non-profit BreakOUT! and the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) that led to BreakOUT!’s involvement in shaping the language on Bias-Free Policing in the federal consent decree. Her reconciliation work with the NOPD and the Mardi Gras Indians virtually ended hostilities and inspired a new era of mutual respect between the two groups. Susan worked to end the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s office’s policy of cooperation with the Immigration Service on “ICE Holds” that kept people in jail beyond the time that existing laws allowed. She has championed various other reforms, including keeping New Orleans’ children out of the adult criminal justice system, safely reducing the city’s rate of over-incarceration and reducing penalties for marijuana possession.

Susan says that she owes much of who she is to her mother, Gail Compagno, and her husband, Hervin Guidry.

It is both a pleasure and an honor to present the award for Political Leadership to such an incredible friend and ally as Susan Guidry. I know that you don’t want to miss the opportunity to applaud her and all of this year’s Acclaim Award recipients as they each take the stage at our gala on October 8. I cannot wait to see you there!

Yours in Equality,

SJB Signature

SarahJane Brady,
Executive Director, Forum for Equality

Have you bought your tickets to the Acclaim Awards Gala? Purchase here now.

All-American Acclaim Awards Gala: Saturday, October 8, 2016
The Westin New Orleans Canal Place
100 Rue Iberville, New Orleans

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We Salute Louisiana Trans Advocates


At the All-American Acclaim Awards Gala on October 8, we will celebrate the outstanding people who empower and uplift members of our community every day across Louisiana.

The recipient of the 2016 Political Advocacy Award is Louisiana Trans Advocates.

Founded in 2011, Louisiana Trans Advocates works to strengthen trans and allied communities across the state through social support, education, empowerment and advocacy. LTA fights to advance the core human rights of self-determination and expression for all trans, gender non-conforming, and gender variant people. Earlier this year, they were part of the team that secured the Deep South’s first trans-inclusive nondiscrimination executive order from Gov. Edwards, and have helped to keep anti-LGBTQ legislation from gaining ground in Louisiana.

It will truly be an honor for us to present the Political Advocacy Award to Louisiana TransAdvocates. I look forward to celebrating LTA’s incredible work and that of all our recipientsat the gala on October 8, and I hope that you will be able to share this joyous evening with us.

Yours in Equality,



SarahJane Brady
Executive Director, Forum for Equality

All-American Acclaim Awards Gala: Saturday, October 8, 2016
The Westin New Orleans Canal Place
100 Rue Iberville, New Orleans, LA

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Congratulations, Earl and Michael!


At the All-American Acclaim Awards Gala on October 8, we will celebrate and honor the amazing people who uplift and fight for our community every day across Louisiana. Now and in the coming days, you will learn more about several individuals who are very special to us: this year’s Acclaim Award recipients.

The recipients of the 2016 Chairs’ Award are Michael And Earl Benjamin-Robinson, two exceptional advocates for equality and social justice and the first same-sex couple to marry in Louisiana. They were married by Judge Paula Brown on Monday, June 29, 2015 after fourteen happy years together. For more than a decade prior to their marriage, Michael and Earl dedicated much of their lives and careers to caring for and empowering LGBT people and persons of color.

In 2004, seeing and experiencing a tremendous void in culturally specific and relevant African American LGBT empowerment and support activities in Mississippi, Michael and Earl founded Pride of Mississippi, Inc. Pride of Mississippi was a 501(c)3 community based organization that took an innovative approach to HIV/AIDS prevention education. The CBO focused on empowering individuals through their sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. Thus, Pride of Mississippi worked to validate LGBT individuals’ experiences and their right to existence, and delivered culturally specific and relevant health education.

In 2005, Michael and Earl created Mississippi’s first LGBT safe space and resource center: The Living Room. In the same year, they also founded Mississippi’s first AIDS Awareness Walk, The Walk of Grace in partnership with Grace House, Inc.

As a result of their work on Pride of Mississippi, Michael and Earl went on to establish Mississippi Black Pride – Mississippi’s first gay pride celebration. This pride event was one of the first to work with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, offering HIV screening to attendees. This set a precedent for HIV screening activities to take place at future pride events around the country.

After moving to New Orleans in 2009, Earl and Michael continued their advocacy and social justice work, working in the areas of HIV/AIDS community planning, population health, tobacco education and prevention, violence prevention, health communications, and mental health. In 2014, Michael was instrumental in pioneering Baton Rouge’s only HIV/AIDS Awareness Walk in several years, the annual Red Wig Walk.

In late 2014, Michael and Earl began to develop The Behavioral & Community Health (BACH) Group. The BACH Group, LLC is a small population/health disparities consultation firm. In 2016, after the shooting of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, BACH took on pro bono work that consisted of convening Baton Rouge community members in discussions on police brutality, community trauma and policy consents. This organizing resulted in a published community report that outlined community-policing recommendations.

It was an incredible honor for be present for Earl and Michael’s marriage in 2015, and it will be our great pleasure to present them with the Chairs’ Award at this year’s gala. We hope that you will join us as we celebrate this couple and their many years of advocacy on October 8.

Yours in Equality,

Sean Sullivan
Chair, Forum for Equality Foundation

Purchase Tickets Here!

Saturday, October 8, 2016
The Westin New Orleans Canal Place
100 Rue Iberville, New Orleans, LA

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All American Acclaim Awards

14241429_1770737659880362_1765200972459941532_oWe hope you will join us at the Forum for Equality’s All-American Acclaim Awards Gala at the Westin New Orleans on Saturday, October 8th!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year: Election Season! Whether you are #WithHer or want to #MakeAmericaGreatAgain (or none of the above), join us for one of the most patriotic events of the year with a star-spangled silent auction, open bar, dinner and rocking entertainment provided by The N’awlins Johnnys!

Reserve your ticket and purchase your discounted Early Bird tickets here!

2016 Acclaim Award Winners:

Leadership: Councilmember Susan Guidry
Political Advocacy: Louisiana Trans Advocates
Chairs Award: Michael and Earl Benjamin-Robinson
Do you and your friends want to enjoy the dinner together? If so, sign up to be a Table Captain where 10 of you can share a table! All Table Captains are invited to our Patron Party in appreciation of your commitment to making the Acclaim Awards Gala the best event of the year! Send me an email at to sign up.

I look forward to celebrating with you at one of the most memorable events of the year!
Yours in Equality,

SarahJane Brady

Executive Director, Forum for Equality

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