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We Want To Hear From You…

Your questions, comments and concerns are always welcome at Equality Hawaii. To ensure the fastest possible response, please remember to include your e-mail and/or telephone number in the body of the e-mail.

General Inquiries: info@equalityhawaii.org 

Equality Hawaii, Post Office Box 25384, Honolulu, HI 96825

Legislative: Rebecca Copeland: rebecca@equalityhawaii.org

Website Corrections: info@equalityhawaii.org

 

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EQUALITY HAWAII is the largest organization in Hawaii advocating for LGBT people and their families. Our sister organization, EQUALITY HAWAII ACTIONFUND, works to advance political leaders who support full equality for our community. Each election year, we review candidates’ positions on LGBT issues and endorse those we feel will best represent us. To learn more, contact Rebecca Copeland.

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In collaboration with transgender community leaders, educators and social service agencies EQUALITY HAWAII works to ensure full economic, political and cultural equality for Hawaii’s transgender people. In the current legislative session, we are focusing on bills that would ensure transgender people in Hawaii have equal access to health services. To learn more, click here and contact Rebecca Copeland.

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“Conversion Therapy”–attempting to change a person’s sexual orientation–is widely discredited by psychiatrists and psychologists. Two bills have been introduced in Hawaii– HB1675 and SB2615–that would prohibit teachers and licensed professional counselors from engaging in efforts to change the sexual orientation of a person under 18. To read the bills and track their progress click here (HB1675) and here (SB2615), and contact the introducers in the Senate and House of the Hawaii State Legislature.


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EQUALITY HAWAII supports legislative efforts to prevent bullying and to create safe-schools laws in Hawaii. To learn more about how you can help, read this Civil Beat article about Hawaii’s Keiki Caucus, and contact Sen. Suzanne Chun Oakland.

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Hawaii’s Sen. Brian Schatz is a champion of the “Restore Honor To Service Members Act.” EQUALITY HAWAII supports Sen. Schatz’s efforts through education and outreach to our members. To learn more about the bill, and to thank Sen. Schatz for his leadership, click here.

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The Equality Act (#equalityforward) would amend the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity across the U.S. To learn more about the Equality Act, visit the Human Rights Campaign’s website.

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Hawaii’s CARE Act: helping family caregivers who care for a loved one so they can live independently in their own home. LGBT elders are particularly vulnerable and the CARE Act would help recognize and support their chosen families and the love and care they provide. To learn more, visit AARP Hawaii’s website.


EQHI logo 3366 at 72EQUALITY HAWAII is a 501(c)(4) non-profit organization that works for advocacy and legislative education on issues facing the LGBT community and their allies. Our Board: Mathew Bellhouse-King • Rebecca Copeland • Scott Larimer • Jacce Mikulanec • Danny Castro • Gigi Lee Our Advisory Board: Donald L. Bentz • Rev. Dr. Jonipher Kwong • The Hon. Steven Levinson • Bradford Kaiwi Lum • Dr. David McEwan • Ken Plonsky • Evan Wolfson

EQHI ActionfundNEWlogoEQUALITY HAWAII ACTIONFUND is a 527 political action committee (PAC) dedicated to advancing candidates who support equality for Hawaii’s LGBT people and their families. Our Board:  Travis Knott • Jacce Mikulanec • Rebecca Copeland  

 

Equality Hawaii ‘Ohana


Mathew Bellhouse-King / Board Member

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Specializing in bullying prevention, Mathew has worked throughout the Pacific region to help create safe school environments. He collaborates with parents, educators, administrators and community members to develop culturally responsive training and deliver professional development workshops. Mathew also served as a field organizer for Hawaii United for Marriage, the successful campaign for marriage equality in our state. Mathew is published both nationally and internationally. His dissertation on homophobic attitudes was presented at the XXIX International Congress of Psychology in Berlin and published in the International Journal of Psychology. His research on recognition memory is cited by the Harvard Medical School and International Journal of Neuroscience. Mathew received his BA in Honors Psychology from Bishop’s University in Quebec, Canada and has called Hawaii home since 2007. MathewBKing@gmail.com


Danny Castro / Board Member

CASTROheadshotDanny Castro Born in Montana, Danny moved to the San Francisco area in 1976 where he met his partner of 35 years, Allen Castro. They have been domestic partners in California since the 1980s and were married in San Francisco in 2004, only to have their marriage nullified by the California Supreme Court. They registered as reciprocal beneficiaries when they moved to Hilo in 2005.   Since marching with Harvey Milk in the 1970s, Danny has been active in the movement for equal rights. He continues to participate as a member of the GLBT Caucus of the Hawaii Democratic Party and as a delegate to the Hawaii County and State Democratic Conventions in 2010. Danny is an active member of Human Rights Campaign, ACLU and Lambda Legal.


Rebecca Copeland / Board Member

COPELAND headshotRebecca is an attorney who concentrates her practice in the areas of appeals. She maintains an active blog devoted to appeals at Record On Appeal. She currently serves on the Hawaii State Bar Association’s Board as an Oahu Director, a Board Member of the City and County of Honolulu’s Zoning Board of Appeals, a Board Member on the Hawaii Commission on Professionalism, and a Board Member for the Hawaii LGBT Legacy Foundation. She founded the Hawaii State Bar Association’s Appellate Section, and served as the Section’s Chair from 2012-2013. Rebecca graduated from St. Mary’s University School of Law in San Antonio, Texas, and under undergraduate degree from Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas. Rebecca@equalityhawaii.org


Travis Knott / Board Member

KNOTTheadshotTravis was born and raised in California, but calls Hawaii home after moving to the islands in 1999. He is actively involved with the Honolulu Museum of Art and The Contemporary Museum’s (now merged) Gala events, and the annual Humpback Whale Sanctuary Ocean Count. He works as a Financial Advisor at Ameriprise Financial, where his specialties include Domestic Partner Planning, Retirement Distribution and Charitable Gifting. Travis and his partner DJ celebrated their 18th Anniversary in 2012 in a Civil Union Ceremony. Travis@equalityhawaii.org. 


Scott Larimer / Board Member

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Scott is a native of Illinois and lived in Champaign until moving to Hawaii in 2008. It took nearly 15 years of vacation before the ultimate decision to call Hawaii home. A graduate of the University of Illinois with a Bachelors of Arts in Landscape Architecture, Scott’s career has been a mixture of Landscape Architecture, Commercial/Retail/Industrial Development and now Residential Real Estate, as a Realtor Associate with Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties. Community volunteering has always played a role in Scott’s life dating back to his years in Champaign, serving on the Board of McKinley Foundation 2004-2008, a member and active volunteer of a local Theatre Company and volunteering services for the Boys & Girls Club. Locally in Hawaii, you may find him ushering at the Diamond Head Theatre and now proudly working with Equality Hawaii. Scott@equalityhawaii.org



Gigi Lee 
/ Board Member

LEEheadshotTeacher, photographer, artist and musician, Gigi Lee is dedicated to the arts and to students of the arts.   A former public school instructor, she now teaches voice, piano and drama privately, while maintaining a strong business as a professional photographer, licensed officiant, makeup artist, musician and singer and performing regularly at music venues throughout the island.  Her services are in high demand among same-sex couples marrying under Hawaii’s new marriage law: By early 2014, she had already been part of more than 20 weddings for gay and lesbian couples.   A resident of Kailua, Gigi formerly taught theater for the Windward School District and created a theater arts program for Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility.  In 1993, she founded the Windward-based youth theater group, Allegra Performing Arts, and served as its executive director, focusing primarily on serving at-risk teens and young adults.   She also formerly provided the performing arts program for the Boys and Girls Club in Kailua while also working as a performing arts teacher at Kailua High School. Gigi is a certified educational sign language interpreter for the deaf and hard-of-hearing.    In all of these capacities, Gigi has worked with thousands of youth in Hawaii.Through her own past personal struggles and experience with the youth, Gigi has seen the effects of intolerance and prejudice and is committed to invoking change on behalf of Hawaii’s LGBT community. Gigi@equalityhawaii.org.


Jacce Mikulanec / Board Member

MIKULANECJacce Mikulanec moved to Hawaii in 1999 to attend graduate school at the University of Hawaii. After finishing his master’s degree in anthropology, he worked for members of the Honolulu City Council, Hawaii State House of Representatives and former Lieutenant Governor (and current U.S. Senator) Brian Schatz. Jacce currently works in policy and government relations for a small non-profit organization focused on early childhood education. In addition, he serves on the board of the Japanese American Citizens League – Honolulu. JMikulanec@gmail.com 



Donald L. Bentz
/ Community Advisor

BENTZheadshotDonald L. Bentz was founding Executive Director of Equality Hawaii and is currently  Executive Director of the Sacramento LGBT Community Center. He has been involved – professionally and as a volunteer – with organizations dedicated to equality for 21 years. While treasurer for the Human Rights Task Force (Tampa, FL), he helped coordinate two ballot initiatives before moving on to become the president of Pride Tampa Bay, which became the largest Pride in Florida and the second largest in the Southeast. Don served as the media chair for the Hillsborough County GLBTA Democratic Caucus. He was the Tampa Bay Business Guild’s 1998 Citizen of the Year, a presenter of sponsorship strategies at the 1997 National AIDS Fundraising Conference and was one of the first openly gay members of Leadership St. Petersburg (Class of 2001). He recently received his Masters of Public Administration at the University of Southern California, one of the nation’s top public policy institutions. Don has served in public relations and development positions with the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, Tampa AIDS Network, The Florida Aquarium and Life Foundation.



The Rev. Dr. 
Juniper Kupono Kwong / Community Advisor

KWONGheadshotThe Rev. Dr. Jonipher Kūpono Kwong is a Congregational Life Staff member for the Pacific Western Region of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA). He also serves on the Worship Arts Team for General Assembly and is a Program Leader for the UU College of Social Justice. Dr. Kwong obtained his Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees from Claremont School of Theology. Dr. Kwong is a Congregational Life Staff member for the Pacific Western Region of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA). He also serves on the Worship Arts Team for General Assembly and is a Program Leader for the UU College of Social Justice. Dr. Kwong obtained his Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees from Claremont School of Theology.  He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Film Studies from the University of California at Santa Barbara. He currently resides in Long Beach California with his husband of 17 years and their 9 year old cat.


The Hon. Steven H. Levinson / Community Advisor

LEVINSONheadshotRetired Justice Levinson’s 40 years of legal experience include a one-year clerkship with the Hawaii Supreme Court, 17 years in private practice, three years as a circuit court judge (Criminal Division) of the Hawaii First Circuit Court and 17 years as an Associate Justice of the Hawaii Supreme Court, from which he retired at the end of 2008. During his tenure on the Supreme Court, he authored 271 published opinions, of which 231 were published opinions of the court, including Baehr v. Lewin (1993), which was the first appellate decision in American history to hold that a state’s marriage laws were presumptively unconstitutional for discriminatorily prohibiting same-sex couples from marrying. He authored numerous opinions addressing the lawful limits of governmental intrusion into the private affairs of individuals, the legitimacy of police interrogations and searches and seizures, and other related subjects. He was the Court’s liaison to the State Bar Association and the Hawaii Justice Foundation and served as chair and member of various commissions and task forces pertaining to the Hawaii Penal Code, the Code of Judicial Conduct, drug policy and jury innovations. He was a member of the Board of Trustees of Temple Emanu-El for ten years and has been actively involved in Hawaii’s Speech League and the Center for Civic Education’s “We The People” program. He received the 2006 Allies for Justice Award from American Bar Association’s Section on Individual Rights and Responsibilities and the National Lesbian and Gay Law Association and the 2010 Champions of Justice Award from the Hawaii State Bar Association. He is presently a board member of the ACLU of Hawaii and serves on its litigation and legislation committees.