Friday, August 28, 2015

LGBT Reaction to Rentboy Bust

The gay escort site Rentboy.com in NYC was raided by federal authorities this week as part of an investigation into money laundering & illegal prostitution. Federal agents arrested Rentboy.com CEO Jeffrey Hurant & six of the company’s employees on prostitution charges. The agents also seized their homes, bank accounts & $1.4 million. Kate Kendell President of National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) stated, “Like Amnesty International, the World Health Organization & other medical & human rights organizations, NCLR strongly opposes criminal prosecution of sex work by adults. Experience & evidence have shown that criminalization serves only to make those who are vulnerable to harms associated with sex work even more vulnerable. The criminal charges against Rentboy.com by the Department of Homeland Security & the Department of Justice are misguided & a terrible waste of resources. We are especially concerned about the negative impact on LGBT individuals who have been driven to sex work after being rejected by their families & experiencing other types of discrimination. NCLR strongly recommends that the federal government adopt a strategy aimed at providing essential supports – education, jobs, housing – to LGBT youth & adults who have been marginalized by these serious harms.” If you venture to the Rentboy.com site you will see Homeland Security’s statement: “This domain has been seized by ICE-Homeland Security Investigations, pursuant to seizure warrant issued by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York under the authority of 18 U.S.C. §§ 981 for violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956.” Interesting that they bust a gay site while all the NYC heterosexual escort sites remain open.
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Thursday, August 27, 2015

LGBT Elders of Color Boston Event

The LGBT Elders of Color is having a Flashback Sunday Affair on Sunday August 30th from 2P to 5P. They will be celebrating the Supreme Court’s landmark marriage equality decision & equal rights for everyone. Bob Linscott LGBT Aging Project Assistant Director stated, “We hope you are enjoying your summer, truly ‘The Summer to Remember.’ Who could have predicted that we would have marriage equality in our lifetime in all 50 states, but it happened. We are also celebrating the Supreme Court’s other landmark ruling on the Affordable Care Act, which is a huge victory for everybody, especially LGBT people. These exciting events came on the coattails of our legislature’s indefinite extension of The Massachusetts Commission on LGBT Aging, which is the first of its kind in the nation that makes every senior center a welcoming place for all.” There will be music, dancing, food & beverage at the Flashback Sunday Affair on Sunday August 30th. The event is free but a suggested $10 donation will help fund this & future events. The Flashback Sunday Affair will be held at Central Boston Elder Services at 2315 Washington Street in Boston, Massachusetts. This is a festive gathering for LGBT Elders of Color & their friend & allies. The event is sponsored by The Fenway Health Institute, LGBT Aging Project & Central Boston Elder Services.
Please RSVP by calling: 617.396.4926
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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Sibling Revelry Plays Provincetown

Ann Hampton Callaway & her sister Liz Callaway are bringing their award-winning "Sibling Revelry" concert to The Provincetown Theater on August 28th & August 29th at 8P in Provincetown, Massachusetts. This is a fabulous performance you won’t want to miss. The Callaway sisters originally from Chicago have performed throughout the world, together & as solo artists, from Concert Halls to Broadway stages. They’re now bringing their unique fusion of cabaret & Broadway to closeout The Provincetown Theater’s Broadway Concert Series. This is the first time they have performed “Sibling Revelry” in Provincetown. Ann Hampton Callaway stated, "It feels historic that Liz & I are making our Provincetown debut with "Sibling Revelry" this weekend at The Provincetown Playhouse. It is said that you don't get your gay card unless you've seen our show, so knowing how fabulous P-town is, two sold out shows on August 28th & 29th will not be a surprise!" Liz Callaway added, "One of my favorite places to visit is Provincetown & one of my favorite people to sing with is my sister, Ann. Provincetown & Ann, what a perfect combination! Can’t wait to make our long awaited P-Town Sisters' Debut!” Tickets are going fast but there are still a few left for both shows. Tickets range from $72 to $95 for VIP seating with $3.50 added to each ticket to support The Provincetown Theater Foundation.
For Info & Tix: provincetowntheater.org
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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

GLSEN Respect Awards 2015

GLSEN the leading national LGBT education organization focused on ensuring safe & affirming schools for all students will honor fierce LGBT allies Jessica Biel & Justin Timberlake with the Inspiration Award at GLSEN’s Respect Awards in Los Angeles on Friday, October 23rd at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. In addition past honorees Bob Greenblatt, Marilyn & Jeffrey Katzenberg, Jim Parsons & Todd Spiewak, & Julia Roberts & Danny Moder will return as honorary co-chairs to help celebrate GLSEN’s 25th anniversary. Dr. Eliza Byard GLSEN Executive Director “We are thrilled to announce the honorees for the 2015 GLSEN Respect Awards - Los Angeles, two vocal & committed allies to the LGBT community who are also devoted to charitable works that improve the lives of youth. Jessica Biel & Justin Timberlake have consistently been visible & committed allies. We are also happy to welcome back past honorees Bob Greenblatt, Marilyn & Jeffrey Katzenberg, Jim Parsons & Todd Spiewak & Julia Roberts & Danny Moder. We are inspired & honored by their continued leadership & support for the GLSEN Respect Awards.” Jessica Biel & Justin Timberlake will be honored with the Inspiration Award for their long-standing commitment to improving the lives of children. They have also been vocal supporters of the LGBT community, using their profiles to raise awareness among fans & advocate for positive changes.
For Info & Tix: glsen.org
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Monday, August 24, 2015

U.N. Addressing LGBT Rights

U.S Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power & her Chilean counterpart Ambassador Cristian Barros Melet conducted the first ever U.N. Security Council meeting on LGBT rights Monday. Open to all U.N. member states, the gathering focused on the appalling abuse & violence being perpetrated against LGBT people in areas in which ISIS exerts control. Chad Griffin HRC President stated, “The gruesome images & videos documenting ISIS's horrific violence are a haunting reminder of humankind's capacity for evil. By convening this meeting, Ambassadors Power & Melet have made clear that these human rights abuses against LGBT people are not only deeply heinous & inhumane, but also a matter of utmost importance to global security.” In its path of destruction across Iraq & Syria, ISIS has released several images & videos documenting the brutal execution of those accused of being LGBT. The International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) has created a timeline of attacks against allegedly LGBT people, including executions that often involve throwing men from roof tops or stoning them to death. In a particularly shocking example, ISIS released videos of the public execution of four gay men on Twitter on the same day the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality, using the hashtag “Love Wins”. We now have 19 countries with marriage equality& in two countries gay & lesbian marriages are legal in certain jurisdictions. However in 10 countries worldwide, gay & lesbian activity is punishable by death & 75 countries criminalize & hundreds of transgender individuals have been brutally murdered just in the last year.
For More Info: iglhrc.org
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Sunday, August 23, 2015

Massachusetts Transgender Update

When it comes to transgender rights Massachusetts has modernized the standard & process for changing gender markers on birth certificates. The proof of surgery is no longer required. Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) has worked extensively with advocates & policymakers in Massachusetts & throughout New England to implement this vital change. With this revision Massachusetts joins Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont & five other states plus D.C. in modernizing the process by which transgender people can receive an accurate birth certificate. Jennifer Levi, Director of GLAD’s Transgender Rights Project stated, “This is a critical advance for Massachusetts’ transgender citizens. When transgender people cannot get identity documents that accurately reflect a person’s gender identity, we are vulnerable to discrimination, harassment & violence.” GLAD will be honoring Jennifer Finney Boylan, the first best-selling transgender author in the U.S. whose writings, teachings & activism have significantly illuminated & articulated transgender experience with this year’s GLAD 2015 Spirit of Justice Award in October. Jennifer Boylan stated, “GLAD has been a leader in defending the rights of LGBT people since its inception. I am personally very grateful for their work, not only as an advocate in solidarity with the fine work GLAD does, but also because they defended me, & people like me, in the state of Maine. Their work to defeat the bill that would have stripped human rights protections from trans Mainers meant, quite literally, the difference between living a life with dignity, or its opposite, in my home state.” The 16th Annual Spirit of Justice Award Dinner takes place at the Boston Marriott Copley Place on October 16th. In this exclusive audio byte we talked to Jennifer about what she would like to see happen for LGBT equality in the next few years:
For More Info & Tix: glad.org
Listen: GLAD Advocates & Activists Discuss LGBT Equality
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Friday, August 21, 2015

Illinois Ends Conversion Therapy

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner signed House Bill 217 into law, making Illinois the fifth jurisdiction behind California, New Jersey, the District of Columbia & Oregon to protect LGBTQ youth from the dangers of conversion therapy. Samantha Ames National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) #BornPerfect Campaign Coordinator & Staff Attorney stated, “We are thrilled that Illinois has joined the rapidly growing number of states leading the way to protect LGBTQ youth from conversion therapy. Illinois families can now have confidence that the mental health professional they turn to in times of uncertainty may not use their state license to profit from their children’s pain. Most importantly, Illinois kids can now rest easy in the knowledge that they cannot be forced or coerced to undergo dangerous & discredited treatments to fix who they are. Today brings us one step closer to the day when all LGBTQ youth know they were born perfect.” Chad Griffin Human Rights Campaign (HRC) President concluded, "With this tremendous step, LGBT youth in Illinois are now protected from a dangerous & appalling practice based on junk pseudoscience that amounts to nothing less than child abuse. Discredited by every major mental health, medical & child welfare organization, conversion 'therapy' uses fear & shame to tell young people the only way to find love & acceptance is to change the very nature of who they are. We thank Governor Rauner, as well as members of the state legislature on both sides of the aisle, for putting politics aside & the well-being of children first. We will continue to work with our allies to secure these crucial protections in every state across the nation."
For More Info: nclrights.org 
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