PHOTOS: Tan-Mercados Join Out4Immigration at San Francisco Pride

The 2009 San Francisco LGBT Pride Parade seemed more energetic and purposeful this year. So many people are tired of second-class citizenship in America and want the change that President Barack Obama promised as a candidate. Nowhere was this purpose more evident than with the Out4Immigration contingent. This year, celebrity guests Shirley Tan, Jay Mercado, their handsome young sons and their advocate, Melanie Nathan were Out4Immgration’s celebrity guests. This warm and loving family has endured so much on behalf of equal immigration rights for same-sex binational couples and their families. It was an honor to be marching with them, and photographing them throughout the march.

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First: Shirley, Jori, Jash and Jay, with Melanie Nathan (center)
Second: The Tan-Mercado twins with Out4Immigration President Belinda Ryan
Third: Waving to the crowd.
Fourth: Styling in the ’62 Rolls, generously provided by a kind donation and the support of the San Francisco Pride Board.

To read more about the Shirley Tan story and equal immigration rights, please see Melanie Nathan’s on-the-frontlines for equal rights’ blog, O-blog-dee-o-blog-da.

If you are a Facebook member, click here to see more photos of Out4Immigration.

Shirley Tan and Family to March with Out4Immigration at San Francisco Pride

Pacifica family and Out4Immigration seek equal immigration rights for LGBT families and passage of the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA)

San Francisco, CA — June 23, 2009 — Shirley Tan, her partner Jay Mercado, and their two children will join Out4Immigration — the all volunteer, grassroots advocate for same-sex binational couples and their families — at the San Francisco 2009 Pride Parade on Sunday, June 28th. Together, they will be marching for equal immigration rights for same-sex binational couples to remain together in the U.S. by urging Congress to pass the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA).

“We are proud that Shirley, Jay and their two sons are joining us in the San Francisco Pride Parade. This family’s struggle in the U.S. immigration system is one so many same-sex binational families face. It is unconscionable that Americans are still denied the right to sponsor their same gender partner for immigration,” said Belinda Ryan, co-founder and president of Out4Immigration. (Read more)

The Death of Censorship

This is a difficult video to watch. It is the death of a teenage girl, known as Neda, who was shot by a sniper on the streets of Tehran a few days ago, amid the political unrest and the desperate attempts of the Iranian government to censor it. My source for this is PR Squared, and I refer you to their excellent commentary on the video and the changes in the way we now get our information. As PR Squared writes, “The filters are off. The collective is self-aware. The masses are the media.” (Read more)

‘Jew Lo from the Block’ Premieres at Frameline Film Fest, June 27

Jew Lo from the Block premieres Saturday, June 27 at the Frameline Film Festival at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco. It’s a short silly send-up that asks the question, what if superstraight superstar J Lo from the South Bronx was actually a Jewish lesbian and from Long Island?

The five-minute short, directed by Brynn Gelbard, is

the tale of a Jewish American Princess from Long Island who dashed out of the closet to San Francisco and emerged a star. Along the way, she meets, Devorah, the quirkiest number one fan ever, and together these saucy soulmates set off on a comedic adventure soon to turn heads across the globe.

A must-see campy funfest — it will be shown as part of the “Dyke Delights” program. Click here for tickets.

Social Media and the Election in Iran

Lots of commentating today on social media and aftermath of the Iranian presidential election. So, we’ve picked one to roll with.

Here’s a well-done post from one of our colleagues in Australia, Elias Bizannes, who takes a look at the remarkable impact ubiquitous computing and ubiquitous connectivity to the Internet has and its potential to disrupt even the most tightly controlled police state in the world. In “The Internet, Iran, and Ubiquity,” Elias explores “how these new technologies are transforming everything, and disgracing the mass media in the process.” and adds to the argument that “Social media is having a remarkable impact. Not only are we getting better quality reporting of events (with the mass media entirely failing us), but it’s enabling mass collaboration on a grand scale. One where even a government has the risk of being toppled.” (Read more)

‘Web 2.0’ Declared Millionth Word in English Language

We thought you’d like to know. From the

It could have been “coddies”, “chengguan”, “slumdog” or even “fundoo”. “Jai Ho!” would have been fun. Even “noob” wouldn’t have been that bad. But when a group of US wordsmiths in Texas claimed today that the millionth word in the English language was Web 2.0, there must have been collective sigh of disappointment among those lexicographers who hadn’t already declared the idea preposterous.

The Global Language Monitor (GLM), based in Austin, calculated that a neologism is created on average every 98 minutes and that “Web 2.0”, a term for the next generation of internet applications, should be formally crowned the millionth word. (read more)

Mommy Blogger Photo Swiped by Czech Grocery Store

From the “You-Can’t-Make-This-Stuff-Up” files — a Missouri-based mommy blogger — that’s a mommy who writes tirelessly (or some may say tiresomely) about her children’s day-to-day — saw the family Christmas card photo she posted to her blog, swiped, and plastered in a Prague grocery store window.

Mommy Blogger Danielle Smith, who blogs at, was notified by a “Facebook friend” traveling in the Czech Republic that a photo she saw promoting a Prague grocery store’s free delivery service appeared to the Smith family’s Christmas photo.

“You go from having a mommy website to finding your picture 5,000 miles away,” [Smith] said. It was both a little flattering and a little creepy, she said.

And a little hard to do much about, apparently. While under US law, permission is needed before an image or likeness is used in an advertisement, the law can get murkier when an image goes international. Add to that, we’re talking a mom & pop shop in Prague, not Walmart in a St. Louis ex-burb.

Source, including photo: St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Interviews Same-Sex Binational Couple About Unjust US Immigration Policy

Embedded video from CNN Video

In tandem with the historic Senate hearing last week on the Uniting American Families Act, CNN reporter Mallory Simon worked with Out4Immigration to produce this story for CNN’s website that appeared on the morning of the hearings (June 3).

This supplemental video of one of the couples featured in the story is heartbreaking. Judy is a 61-year-old American citizen. Karen is her 68-year-old partner from the UK. And they are being forced to live their retirement years often separated from one another, using precious life savings to travel to each other’s countries see each other. One supposes if Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) couldn’t look Shirley Tan and her sons in the eye over America’s unjust immigration laws, he wouldn’t feel too much compassion for Judy and Karen.

But if you are reading this far, and have watched the video, no doubt you do feel compassion for this couple — and more than 36,000 like them in similar situations. Please help support the Uniting American Families Act in Congress. Visit Out4Immigration to find out what you can do to fix this horrible oversight in US immigration law.

Celebrity Twittering Another Celebrity’s Death Gets a Mention in the Obit

In a new twist for Twitter, the fact that actor Rainn Wilson (“The Office”) tweeted the death of actor David Carridine this morning has made the AP obituary of the 72-year-old actor, found in his hotel room in Bangkok, an apparent suicide. Tweeted Wilson,

“R.I.P. David Carradine. You were a true hero to so many of us children of the 70s. We’ll miss you, Kwai Chang Caine.”

You can follow Rainn Wilson at @rainnwilson — you know you want to.