Friday, April 29, 2011

Makes me really proud.

The American Journal of Public Health was voted one of the 100 most influential journals in biology and medicine over the last 100 years by Special Libraries Association. The AJPH has published my dad's commentary Public Health Implications of Same-Sex Marriage with the online first-look version available in advance of the print version in June.

AJPH First Look, published online ahead of print Apr 14, 2011
American Journal of Public Health, 10.2105/AJPH.2010.300112
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Public Health Implications of Same-Sex Marriage
William Buffie, M.D.1
1 St. Francis Hospital and Health Centers

Significantly compromised health care delivery and adverse health outcomes are well documented for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community in the United States compared with the population at large. LGBT individuals subject to societal prejudice in a heterosexist world also suffer from the phenomenon known as "minority stress," with its attendant negative mental and physical health effects.

Reports in the medical and social science literature suggest that legal and social recognition of same-sex marriage has had positive effects on the health status of this at-risk community.

Improved outcomes are to be expected because of the improved access to health care conferred by marriage benefits under federal or state law and as a result of attenuating the effects of institutionalized stigma on a sexual minority group. 

(Am J Public Health. Published online ahead of print April 14, 2011: e1-e5. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2010.300112)

The PDF full text is available now for members at

Thursday, April 28, 2011

GLAAD and Drag Queens :)

Photo by Jason Russo (
Next up in the appearances was TGIF - Thank GLAAD It's Friday! At Industry Bar (very cool place-I had never been) in Hell's Kitchen where lots of media folks from print to radio to television gathered to network and support GLAAD. it has been so fun this year having such a theme and network with my platform that I really overlap with people so often and have developed some fun new relationships! 

Ty Kuppig (Showt Magazine) & Jonathan Lovitz (Logo - Setup Squad)Photo by Jason Russo (
Thomas Roberts (MSNBC) and Patrick Abner
And of course fun to meet new people!

Ian Patrick (L) from GLSEN - we've emailed about GLSEN Respect Awards but never met!
Archley from GLAAD and  his partner Hugh and friend 
I also got to meet Jane Velez-Mitchell again, more than a brief hello this time around and had a great convo with her and her girlfriend about my platform and work in schools. She invited me to be on her show as a (hopefully!) recurring guest! Could be awesome - she called to book this week but I was so sick...not at all tv appropriate.

Then Monday night was the night I had been waiting for forever...for my roommate Matt. Sure, receiving gifts is fun and all, but I really love giving gifts, especially ones this special, that I totally luck into by being Miss NY (who supports gay rights). It was the finale of Ru Paul's Drag Race and we were VIP guests at the finale viewing party and crowning! He had no idea where we were going, and when we showed up he just died...especially when we cut the line we later learned extended 2,000 people long. It really was an experience -- so many drag queens, we met them all and got pics, and even were introduced for a picture to Raja, the winner of this season! 

Jujubee - Season 2
Tatiana - Season 2 
And Kelly Osbourne, we met her too. How fun?!
Raja's crowning moment :)
Manila Luzon - Season 3 | Big fans!!
Then I went home and died because I was so sick. But totally worth it. All I had next day was lunch with David Mixner and a meeting with Kenny Mack to talk about all things Miss NY 2011...AND Mister New York. Oh don't worry, that info is coming...

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Friendfactor rules.  Let me tell you why.  Friendfactor is a brand new and incredibly innovative initiative that brings together our innate support of our friends and our dependency on technology, as I see it.

Who: Friendfactor (, an online gay rights organization that is making gay rights about friends helping friends rather than legal issues. Chelsea Clinton and Chris Hughes, a co-founder of Facebook, are on Friendfactor's Advisory Board.

What: People (straight and gay) are setting up "Friend-Setter" pages, and asking their friends to call their legislator in support of the freedom to marry in New York. Think of it like a marathon page, but instead of asking friends for money, you're asking them for a call. You can view a beta page of this at This framing is new and super exciting!  We have Chelsea Handler and Michelle Clunie on board and are in touch with Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Kristen Bell and Andy Cohenabout setting up a page.

So guess what? I have a Friend-Setter page. And you should visit it. Now. Type in your name and zip code, and be near your phone because Friendfactor will call you, chat for a second and connect you with your Senator, so that you can tell them in your own words, or based on the script on the screen in front of you, why YOU support YOUR FRIENDS and therefore voting YES for marriage equality.
Brilliant, right?  Then, you could make your own Friend-Setter page and join the fight with us.

Friendfactor is all about bringing us together as friends because let's be honest...when we get those frequent emails of support for run/walks, or the Children's Miracle Network Fundraising for Miss America girls, or the letters of support for mission trips, are you giving money or volunteering because of the organization or cause, or is it usually because you support your friend? Friendfactor makes it so easy to support each other, gay or straight. 

And if you're able, I am also co-hosting a benefit for Friendfactor's New York Launch

Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Lavo New York - 39 East 58th Street

VIP Reception 6:00-7:00, Main Event 7:00-8:30
You can buy tickets HERE

A major influence.

I might have seemed to disappear from blog world for a little.  It's because I've been working back at Apple in addition to Miss NY appearances, as well as doing a lot of photography.  Well I've got some stuff to tell you about!  Thursday, when I flew in from Syracuse, I had a few exciting things:  Meeting with a new initiative Friendfactor, dinner with David Mixner and the Marriage Equality New York (MENY) / Real Housewives of New York viewing party.

Let me start by telling you just a little about David.  If you do a simple wikipedia search, you'll see that David "is a civil rights activist and best-selling author. He is best known for his work in anti-war and gay rights advocacy." But if you sit down for a dinner or lunch with him has I have had the great honor to do, you'll see that he is a man of so much wisdom and experience, fight and survival, joy and compassion with a yearning to empower people to continue the work that he has done, that we are capable of and responsible for carrying forward.  Unbeknownst to me, I witnessed David for the first time at the National Equality March in DC 2 1/2 years ago.  He organized it.  Then he was at the Empire State Pride Agenda Fall Dinner where I was honored this year as Miss New York. He saw me then, and he believed in me.  And has a result has supported me ever since. But it wasn't until two weeks ago that I actually met David.

Upon our first meeting, he challenged me with such beautiful metaphors and imagery about being on the edge.  If you're on the edge, no one is in front of you, yet everyone is behind you.  If you're on the edge, you see the colors of the sunset clearly and beautifully -OR- you stay behind and the person who goes to the edge can tell you how wonderful the colors looked...but you'll never experience it [life] fully.

That's all for now, but I am enamored by David and as someone said to me later that night "You totally drank the Mixner Kool-Aid!"  Yes, I did.  And I'll continue as I seek mentorship from him and read his book Stranger Among Friends.  

Video Caption: Longtime LGBT activist David Mixner talks about how far we've come since the early days of the LGBT rights movement and the need to demand nothing short of full equality from our elected officials.

On marriage:  I am not asking for the right to marriage. I'm not waiting for someone to give it.  It is mine already from the Constitution.  And I am just stepping forward to claim it.  It is not theirs to give.

Well, speaking of marriage... Immediately after eating dinner with David that first time, I went to Therapy for the MENY Real Housewives of NY viewing party for the 7th Annual Wedding March which was highlighted in their episode.  So yes, it was fun -- you could catch a glimpse here and there of me at the march on the RHoNY show, but what a lot of people don't realize is that if you listen closely, their ridiculous bickering is all filmed with my speech in the background!  And yeah, Simon and Alex, who hosted the party, are cool and super nice.  But so were the great people I met that night including new friends from HousingWorks, Impact Red and my lovely Thomas Roberts once again. More to come on those orgs as well as Friendfactor.


Monday, April 25, 2011

Syracuse trip

I don't think it's ever been 10 days since my previous blog... Oops! But it kind of explains life lately.

When I flew home from LA last Monday afternoon, I immediately went to a cocktail reception and special dinner for the Women's Campaign Forum. WCF is an organization that backs and funds female politicians in the early stages of their races. The themed question was "When do we need women doing [xyz] in politics? Now, more than ever!" Among 500 attendees at the reception were 11 Congresswomen from all over the country, specifically Carolyn Maloney whom I was there in connection to, in additional to past and future politicians. Following the reception, we went to private dinners around the city, mine hosted by Fern Hurst, with private chefs from famous restaurants in NYC.

 Co-Hosts: Sybil Shainwald, Marcia Sudolsky, Elizabeth “Betsey” Wood
Upper East Side- Fifth Avenue & 87th St.
Dinner by: Peter Yurastis, Fine Food Affairs
Special Guests:

Claire Buffie Miss New York; Patricia Duff Founder, The Common Good; Joan Helpern Co-founder, Joan & David; Annette Insdorf Director of Undergraduate Film, Columbia University; Julie Johnson Winemaker & Owner, Tres Sabores; Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (NY-14); Hoboken City Council President Beth MasonMichelle Paige Paterson Former First Lady of New York; Donald And Shelley Rubin Founders, Rubin Museum of Art 

It was such an inspiration and honor to be recognize amongst these amazing people. Of course the hot topic of the evening was whether or not I'm going to fun for office. Although I don't see it for myself right now, there have been many people this year who see that for me. But then again, I didn't see myself ever doing a pageant, but I have the best job ever. So we shall see!

Tuesday morning - early early morning - I headed back to JFK, definitely almost missing my flight: I woke up a 7;18 for an 8:30 flight from JFK (which is appx 1 hr from my house.) Well, I made it and attribute it completely to good karma. I was off to Syracuse University to deliver a keynote address at their Social Justice Awards, presented by the College of Social Work and the LGBT Resource Center. It was a very nice evening, honoring Debra Person for her work in helping women in the community through a domestic violence home and working towards opening her own home for women. Quite an inspirational story: she grew up in and out of homelessness, endured abuse, became addicted to alcohol and drugs, and the story goes on. But in her later life was able to see the problems surrounding her, and recognized those she had lived through and experienced first hand, and worked to tackle those problems head on with her own hands.
with Debra Person, recipient of the Daniel and Mary Lou Rubenstein Social Justice Award
Lorna Rose, a former Miss NY contestant, was an integral part of getting me to the University and was so wonderful to me the entire time I was there in addition to giving quite a stellar introduction to my speech! It was really great getting to know her better, meeting Molly who is president of Social Workers United, and to experience the real and relaxed Syracuse University with Lorna, Molly and Becca was so fun!
Social Workers United
The next day, I visited Upstate Children's Hospital, a fairly new and absolutely beautiful Children's Miracle Network Hospital. Following a tour of the hospital, meeting a few patients, I went to the weekly Wednesday family reception where the hospital continually seeks feedback from the patients' families in order to serve them better.

That night, the mood changed as I attended the "Take Back the Night" rally and speak out against domestic, sexual and dating violence. Hundreds of students gathered in the University Chapel and listened to a few stories and keynote address. They marched even in the rain to make a statement and create awareness of violence and returned to the chapel for a speak out. It was so moving. Person after person stood up to tell their personal story about survival. Although I have never had a direct relation to domestic violence, it even opened my eyes to the fact that it can happen to anyone, even those we least expect. Without breaking confidentiality agreed upon that night, I do want to mention the gist of one story that defied stereotype. A woman stood up to tell her story of being abused by a woman and saved by a man - perhaps the complete opposite of what we generally think of. This resonated with me, reminding once again that we can never assume anything about anyone or predetermine judgement based on "the norm" because what is normal anyway? I shared the importance of taking your personal stories into conversations, no matter how private or public because they have the biggest impact on changing and opening minds. Amazing night.

Well, one more thing...
Notes that impacted me from the keynote address - so wise and challenging:

Use the past as a place of reference, not residence.

If we spend our time looking in the rear view mirror we crash.
Challenge to GROW:1. Give your voice
2. Release - let it
and them go
3. Overcome fear
4. Win

Take your mess and make it your message.

Point at yourself...See, you point at your heart, not your head (your mind). So use your heart to influence your mind.

And that was Syracuse. Good trip.

Friday, April 15, 2011

GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles, CA

Immediately after workshop, I quickly left for JFK to fly to Los Angeles for the 2011GLAAD Media Awards. (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) I had met some JetBlue representatives at the PFLAG NYC dinner in October and reconnected with them at the NLGJA event a few weeks ago. They so generously flew me to LA for this incredible opportunity. Arianna Afsar picked me up at the airport and we had an awesome weekend together at UCLA. I was so excited that she is someone who would want to go to the awards with me, for reasons beyond celeb sighting; she is an ally as well.  I really wanted to share this experience with Arianna to give the gay community in CA a new face to think about when they hear "Miss California" and "gay rights." She has been a supporter of equality but said she had never actually been to an event like this and called it "life-changing."

Miss California Arianna Afsar and Miss New York Claire Buffie at the 2011 LA GLAAD Media Awards
Our attendance made possible by dot429, was VIP to the max! We were wearing dresses by Rolando Santana. They escorted us to the VIP reception where we are surrounded by A-list celebs on the red carpet, we had a great conversation with Kirsten Dunst who LOVES Miss America and quickly grabbed her friend to tell her who we were AND passed Arianna's test of knowing the difference between USA and MAO! We met Kristen Chenoweth and congratulated her on her Vanguard Award - also a big fan "ohh I love me some Misses!" and thanked us for being there to show our support. At our table with AllState, the people to our right recognized Arianna from American Idol and to the left recognized us both off the bat from watching Miss A! "I look forward to two events every year: the GLAAD Awards and Miss America!" How fun?

(all shows are linked to acceptance speeches) The Media Awards honored Glee and Modern Family for Outstanding TV Comedy, Lawrence O'Donnell for TV Journalism segment featuring Joel Burns, and Project Runway for Outstanding Reality TV.  GLADD also had a big concentration on youth, sponsoring hundreds of kids to be there and highlighting real, young changemakers on stage. Also honored was a woman, Janice Langbehn, who started her story with "I think it's sad that the only reason I'm up here or people know who I am is because my wife is dead." wow. She continued on to tell us her story about her wife's accident and the hospital's mistreatment, disrespect and denying access to her AND their three kids, not allowing anyone to see their dying mother or wife to say goodbye. They had all the paperwork: living will, birth certificates with both mothers' names, power of attorney, etc. but they were all still denied. Her wife Lisa died. It wasn't the hospital who called to ever apologize though, it was President Barack Obama who called and said he was sorry and wanted to let her know personally that he was signing a memorandum which protects hospital visitation rights and medical decisions for same sex partners. (read more)  Dolly Parton was a surprise guest to honor Bob Greenblatt, Chairman of NBC Entertainment, with the Stephen F. Kolzak Award and Sean Hayes gave a hilarious yet emotional presentation to Kristen Chenoweth for the Vanguard Award

More from the LA GLAAD Media Awards Photo Page  |  Video Page

All in all, the Media Awards were just amazing.  I loved experiencing it myself and even more witnessing Arianna experience something like that for the firs time.  Plus, it was just a great weekend getaway and one of my favorite transitions is when pageant friends start talking about things besides pageants ... and we did that :)  While you're at it with the YouTube video watching, check out the UCLA ScatterTones, Arianna's a cappella group.