Saturday, June 25, 2016

Military To Lift Transgender Ban

As of July 1st the Pentagon announced the repeal of its ban on transgender service members. Top personnel officials plan to meet as early as Monday to finalize the details of the plan & Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work could sign off on it by Wednesday. Final approval would come from Defense Secretary Ash Carter & the announcement will be on the eve of the Fourth of July weekend. This plan would direct each branch of the armed services over a one-year period to implement new policies affecting recruiting, housing & uniforms for transgender troops. Victoria Rodríguez-Roldán, J.D., Director, Trans/Gender Non-Conforming Justice Project, National LGBTQ Task Force stated, “This final remnant of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell will now be put to rest. This decision is a great victory for the many trans people who have served & sacrificed in the military over the years. They also served in fear of being discharged from the service for simply being who they are. Thankfully this now will change. We look forward to hearing more implementation details.” Kristin Beck (Ret. Navy SEAL) & Shane Ortega (Ret. SSG) | National Transgender Military Liaisons, Military Freedom Coalition concluded, "We are elated at the news of the pending repeal of the transgender military ban & are thankful to everyone who worked so hard to see this day come to pass. We look forward to working with our military brothers & sisters to see successful implementation. We march forward into an age of greater equality."
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Friday, June 24, 2016

Millions Raised For Pulse Victims

Equality Florida's fundraising efforts for the victims' families & survivors of the Pulse Nightclub Shooting have raised over 6 million dollars. The vast majority was from a GoFundMe campaign that has drawn more than 114,000 contributors from across the world & all facets of society as well as pledges from corporate sponsors & grassroots fundraising efforts locally & globally. In working with their partners at the National Center for Victims of Crime (NCVC) they are expediting the process of fund disbursement to ensure there is no gap in the safety net for these families. They expect funds to be dispersed as quickly as eight weeks via the NCVC's National Compassion Fund. It is imperative that all victims' families & survivors call NCVC's Victim Hotline or visit VictimConnect.org so that victims’ families & survivors have access to these critical financial resources. The NCVC will work with partners to quickly verify their identity, identify their expenses & process disbursements. Undocumented victims’ families & survivors qualify for these financial resources & as victims of crime, are protected. In a world where marriage equality only recently became a possibility & domestic partnership is not widely available, it is Equality Florida's top priority to ensure they address the unique needs of the LGBTQ & Latino/a communities impacted from the Pulse Nightclub Shooting.
For More Info: victimconnect.org
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Supreme Court & LGBT Immigrants

The U.S. Supreme Court handed down two decisions on separate court cases that will affect millions of LGBTQ people especially undocumented immigrants & people of color. Russell Roybal, Deputy Executive Director, National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund stated, “The decisions by the Supreme Court are bitter sweet. On the one hand, the court upheld aspects of affirmative action in higher education so vital in reducing inequality & delivering equity. Unfortunately, the court reached a deadlock in the case of United States v. Texas, thereby keeping intact a lower court’s decision striking down the President’s executive action providing relief to millions of undocumented immigrants. Within the LGBTQ community, there are over 260 thousand undocumented immigrants living in the US that still lack a pathway to citizenship & a fighting chance at accessing the promise of America. Congress must act now to stop the needless deportations of LGBTQ people & their families by passing comprehensive immigration reform." The National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund works to secure full freedom, justice & equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender & queer (LGBTQ) people. For over forty years, they have been at the forefront of the social justice movement by training thousands of organizers & advocating for change at the federal, state & local level.
For More Info: thetaskforce.org
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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Congressman Pocan Sit-in Solidarity

Democratic House of Representatives lawmakers have entered the second day of their sit-in to demand a vote on overdue gun control legislation. I woke up to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi this morning on CSPAN & I can’t stop watching it. Speaker Paul Ryan formally adjourned the body until July 5th yesterday & the sit-in began. They’re streaming from their computers & displaying the hashtag #NOBILLNOBREAK. We contacted U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan (WI-02), Co-Chair of the LGBT Equality Caucus to get his spin & statement to share with our LGBT community & fierce allies. Pocan stated, “Democrats are united in the steadfast belief that we must pass common sense measures to prevent further gun violence in this country. Since Speaker Paul Ryan & House Republicans will not stand up to the National Rifle Association (NRA) & the gun manufacturers, my Democratic colleagues & I have held the House Floor to demand action. Speaker Ryan may have turned off the Floor cameras in an attempt to silence us, but we will continue to stand up and give a voice to the majority of Americans who demand commonsense gun safety reforms. The mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando took the lives of 49 innocent individuals. The gun violence epidemic affects our communities every day & it is past time for Congress to address this issue. Enough is enough. House Democrats will no longer settle for moments silence and are demanding real moments of action.” Contact your US Representatives & show your support.
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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

New York Liberty Pride Night

New York Liberty the NYC based Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) team will celebrate Pride Night presented by Resorts World Casino NYC when it hosts the Chicago Sky at Madison Square Garden this Friday June 24th at 7:30P. The team will be donating $5,000 to the One Orlando Fund created to provide a way to respond to the needs of the Orlando community in the wake of the tragedy at Pulse Nightclub. The Liberty’s Pride Month partner Resorts World Casino NYC will make a matching donation of $5,000 for a total of $10,000 donated to the fund. This year’s Pride Night celebration will provide #OrlandoUnited wristbands for the first 5,000 fans in attendance, a NOH8 Campaign photo shoot in Chase Square from 4P to 8P with a special musical performance by Lez Zeppelin & Whitney Day will perform as the guest DJ. Isiah Thomas, Team President stated “For 20 seasons, the New York Liberty has created an inclusive environment where all fans can be united through the game of basketball & come to Madison Square Garden to feel welcome & accepted. As the horrific events in Orlando have demonstrated, it is as critically important now as it has ever been, to stand with the LGBTQ community & offer them our love & support.” Ryan Eller, President of Resorts World Casino NYC concluded, “It is more important now than ever before to stand with the LGBTQ community in the face of the horrific attack in Orlando. Resorts World is proud to support Madison Square Garden & the New York Liberty’s celebration of Pride Night. This partnership is a cornerstone of our commitment to the LGBTQ community & a celebration of diversity that makes our city & country so great.”
For Tix…
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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Guns Continue To Kill Americans

The U.S. Senate had a chance to turn this country around & pass gun control measures. Unfortunately but predictably they failed on not one but four attempts to finally make America a civilized country. Rick Zbur Equality California Executive Director stated, “Slightly more than a week has elapsed since the worst mass shooting in history, in a country where the regularity of mass shootings horrifies the world. The U.S. Senate has followed the now-predictable pattern of proclaiming that their “thoughts & prayers” are with the victims, while denying those same victims any meaningful action on their behalf. They did not act on behalf of the six year olds gunned downed in Newtown. They did not act on behalf of social workers gunned down in San Bernardino & once again, they have refused to act when 102 young, mostly Latino mostly LGBT people were gunned down in Orlando. We had tangible hope that thoughts & prayers would this time result in real protections – for the LGBT community, which has suffered staggering rates of violence long before Orlando & for all Americans who want to be able to leave home to see a movie or send their child to school without fear that that kiss goodbye will be final. We are disappointed. Orlando is a call to action, for Equality California & for the LGBT community as a whole, to mobilize in support of meaningful gun safety reforms that will protect the LGBT community, our families & the broader communities we call home.” Equality Florida is collecting contributions via this GoFundMe page to support every single victim of the horrific shooting at Orlando's Pulse Nightclub. This includes victims’ families, survivors, and those in the club who may not have suffered physical injury but in need of support. They have a goal of 7 million dollars & are just under 5.7 million dollars.
To Donate @ GoFundMe…
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Monday, June 20, 2016

Provincetown Film Festival Kudos

The Provincetown International Film Festival (PIFF) announced the award winners of this year's festival & Lisa Viola as its new Artistic Director. Viola will replace Connie White who has been with the festival since its inception.The award winners are: HBO Audience Award / Best Narrative Feature: THE INNOCENTS directed by Anne Fontaine HBO Audience Award / Best Documentary Feature (tie): THE MUSIC OF STRANGERS: YO-YO MA AND THE SILK ROAD ENSEMBLE, directed by Morgan Neville & POLITICAL ANIMALS directed by Jonah Markowitz & Tracy Wares HBO Short Documentary Award: TERRITORY, directed by Eleanor Mortimer. The John Schlesinger Award, presented to a first time feature filmmaker (narrative): BLOOD STRIPE, directed by Remy Auberjonois The John Schlesinger Award, presented to a first time feature filmmaker (documentary): OFF THE RAILS, directed by Adam Irving. Here Media Award - Best Queer Short Film: ONE LAST NIGHT, directed by Kerem Blumberg. Best Narrative Short Film: THUNDER ROAD, directed by Jim Cummings. Best Animated Short Film: GLOVE, directed by Alexa Haas & Bernardo Britto. Best New England Short Film: BLACK CANARIES, directed by Jesse Kreitzer. Best Student Short Film: THE MINK CATCHER, directed by Samantha Buck. Special Mention: ¡MAIS DURO!, directed by Camila Saldarriaga. The Short Film Jury consisted of Ian Samuels (filmmaker, MYRNA THE MONSTER), Lisanne Skyler (filmmaker, BRILLO BOX (3¢ OFF)) & Kim Yutani (Senior Programmer, Sundance Film Festival). As previously announced, Ang Lee was presented with the 2016 Filmmaker on the Edge Award in conversation with PIFF resident artist John Waters at Town Hall on Saturday night. Cynthia Nixon received the Excellence in Acting Award in conversation with film critic & professor B. Ruby Rich. The festival also announced the dates for next year's event as June 14th to 18th in 2017.
For More Info: ptownfilmfest.org
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