A Movie and A Panel Discussion

If you're in the Tucson area tomorrow afternoon, join me for a showing of the documentary film, "For My Wife" at 3:00pm at the Crossroads Festival Cinema followed by a panel discussion on marriage equality and the state of legal protections for LGBT couples.

I'll be part of this panel for a multifaceted discussion of the effects of various approaches to equality on gay couples and their relationships. Also on the panel will be Dr. Melissa Levine, a local physician specializing in LGBT care and issues as well as Ray and Kathy Green, a couple from Marana.

"For My Wife" is a feature documentary chronicling the making of an activist. After the tragic death of her wife, Charlene Strong was thrust into the spotlight becoming a powerful voice for the equal rights of same-sex couples and their families, resulting in the passage of Washington State's historic Domestic Partnership legislation.

Charlene was on her way home from work in a winter storm in Seattle when a call came from her wife Kate Fleming saying she was trapped in their basement. Kate was a renowned audiobook narrator who had been working in her basement studio when their home was inundated by a flash flood.

Charlene arrived to find her wife trapped by debris. As she struggled to free her the waters continued to rise and eventually swept her away. Rescuers arrived shortly thereafter and got Kate out of the basement but she was unconscious and unresponsive.

At the hospital, nurses kept Charlene from the Emergency Room because she was "not related" frantic calls to Kate's family back east finally appeased the staff and they allowed Charlene into the room moments before Kate died.

After her death, Charlene faced the ignominy of a funeral director who refused to acknowledge their relationship and required Kate's sister to make all the arrangements. As the insults mounted, Charlene's resolve hardened. You can read the full story of her ordeal and her commitment to gaining legal protection for gay couples in Washington in this Newsweek story.

"For My Wife" has won a number of awards and promises to be an enlightening and moving film. Please join us for this offering from the Arizona International Film Festival and Reel Pride. The showing and panel discussion are being sponsored by Wingspan, Southern Arizona's LGBT Community Center.

Hope to see you there!

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