Monday, November 24, 2014

New Uganda Anti Gay Agenda

The government of Uganda has shown their evil hateful agenda once again against our Ugandan LGBT community. The new law would make almost every LGBT person who rents homeless. The new bill includes language that potentially criminalizes any landlord or owner or renter of a property where an “unnatural act (gay sex)” takes place. Though the bill does not appear on the agenda for the next Ruling Party Caucus on December 13th politicians in Uganda have promised the bill will be introduced by Christmas. Jonathan Cooper, Director of the Human Dignity Trust stated, “Under this Bill, if a landlord rents accommodation to a gay man or lesbian knowing that they may engage in intimacy in their home, that landlord will face the prospect of a 7 year prison sentence. Why would that landlord take the risk? Gay men & lesbians already renting accommodation risk being evicted. If this Bill becomes law, the tyranny against the LGBTI community in Uganda continues. This wanton persecution must stop.” Tim McCarthy a filmmaker dedicated in helping LGBT Ugandans concluded, “Homophobes know that the only way to get good people to hate gays is to dehumanize gays; make them homeless, hungry & alone. Our perfect Voices of the Abasiyazzi Project counters that by humanizing gays, sharing hope & creating allies.” There will be a benefit concert Sunday November 30th at the Unitarian Universalist Meeting House of Provincetown Massachusetts at 3P to support The Voices of the Abasiyazzi Project.
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Saturday, November 22, 2014

JFK Supported LGBT Equality

This is always a bittersweet day marking the anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Last year on the 50th anniversary we explored whether JFK would have supported LGBT equality. Pretty quickly we discovered that his closest & dearest friend in the world for 30 years was Lem Billings who was a gay man. Their relationship was documented in a book by author David Pitts entitled “Jack & Lem” published by Avalon. In the book in what the author calls “an extraordinary friendship,” are the details about Lem having his own room in the White House & how Jackie Kennedy dealt with having a third person in her marriage & other bits of lost history that aren’t taught in any school text books. Jack & Lem met while at prep school in the 1930s & from that point on were inseparable until the day Kennedy was assassinated. Pitts worked for 2 years to persuade Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. to grant him research access to documents that have been locked away for decades. Letters between the 2 friends, recorded phone calls & even an 800+ page transcription of an oral history that Lem Billings gave after the death of the president. Pitts also combed through hundreds of photographs never seen by the public, many of which he was allowed to publish in the book & he interviewed anyone & everyone he could who knew Jack & Lem so he could tell as accurately as possible the story of a president & his gay best friend. So we can most definitely conclude that if JFK has lived beyond 1963 LGBT civil rights would have been on his agenda.
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Friday, November 21, 2014

LGBT Immigration Discrimination

Though President Obama has taken executive action to extend relief to millions of undocumented immigrants it’s unclear to what extent LGBT undocumented immigrants will be included in that relief. According to GetEqual over 267,000 LGBT undocumented immigrants live each day afraid of being deported & many to countries that criminalize homosexuality. For these individuals deportation is almost a certainly death sentence. Because of Obama’s action being narrowly tied to family & work these are 2 key areas where LGBT people experience discrimination & many undocumented LGBT folks will be left out of this relief package. LGBT undocumented immigrants are 15 times more likely to be targeted for sexual violence while in detention centers. They are more likely to be raped, denied medication & kept in solitary confinement for extended periods of time. We need LGBTQ identified undocumented folks to be placed on the low-priority list for deportation in order to keep them out of a detention system that has been proven again & again to abuse & mistreat them. If the U.S. government cannot ensure the safety of those in its care President Obama must keep LGBT identified folks out of the system. Let’s ask Obama as he exercises his executive authority to expand administrative relief to millions of undocumented immigrants to ensure the safety of over 267,000 LGBT undocumented immigrants who face tremendous detention abuse.
Sign Petition: getequal.org
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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Trevor Live LGBT Event

The Trevor Project will host its 16th annual “TrevorLIVE Los Angeles” the high-profile evening of music, comedy & entertainment on December 7th at the Hollywood Palladium. The event brings together top entertainers, advocates & corporate leaders to support the org’s life-saving, life-affirming work for LGBTQ youth in crisis. This year the Trevor Hero Award goes to NBC Entertainment’s Chairman, Robert Greenblatt for his ongoing support of the LGBT community. The 20/20 Visionary Award will be awarded to Yahoo which will be accepted by Sandy Gould, SVP, Talent Acquisition, for its efforts to advance an empowering future-focused message for LGBTQ young people & its allies nationwide. Skylar Kergil, a transgender artist, musician & YouTube personality will receive the Youth Innovator Award for his passions surrounding LGBTQ rights & advocacy in the community. Abbe Land, Executive Director & CEO of The Trevor Project stated, “All of our honorees this year are not only supporters but also strong role models. Their continued efforts have helped broaden the public awareness of the LGBTQ community. Whether it is through the development of diverse television programming, being a proponent of tolerance & equality in the work force, or openly sharing their story, they’ve all become pioneers who continuously push the boundaries & given a voice to our younger generation.” TrevorLIVE LA is produced & directed by Adam Shankman who will celebrate his 5th consecutive year directing the event. The star-studded evening includes performances by: Katharine McPhee, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Alex Newell, Melora Hardin & Marc Shaiman. There’ll be special appearances by Brittany Snow, Katherine Heigl, Dan Bucatinsky, Lisa Kudrow, Kelly Osbourne, Beth Behrs, Wentworth Miller, Matt McGorry, Jason Collins, Hal Sparks, Billy Eichner, Jay Ferguson, Jack Falahee, Ryan Eggold, Elisabeth Rohm & Lt. Governor Gavin Newsome.
For Info & Tix: thetrevorproject.org
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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

New LGBT Healthcare Report

New research from the Center for American Progress shows that the Affordable Care Act is making significant headway in connecting lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgender individuals & their families with affordable, high-quality health insurance coverage but more remains to be done. The report shows that in 2013 one in three LGBT people eligible for financial assistance to gain coverage under the Affordable Care Act were uninsured. By 2014 that number had dropped to one in four or 26 percent. In the past year since the first open enrollment period under the ACA, the rate of uninsured among low & middle-income LGBT adults fell 8 percentage points or 24 percent. Kellan Baker, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress & lead author of the report stated, “The substantial drop in uninsured among LGBT individuals eligible for financial help to access coverage underscores the importance of the health reform law for promoting both the health & economic security of LGBT people & their families. LGBT health is an LGBT equality issue—especially for LGBT groups that are particularly likely to live in poverty, such as women, people of color & transgender people.” The report’s findings show significant drops in uninsured across the board for different LGBT groups as well as positive experiences among those who explored their options through Medicaid & the marketplaces, enrolled in coverage & attempted to access health care using their new coverage.
For More Info: americanprogress.org 
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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Listen Derrick Gordon Speaks OUT

Friday night Derrick Gordon became the first openly gay Division 1 men's basketball player to compete in a collegiate game starting as a shooting guard & contributing to Massachusetts defeating Siena 95-87 at the Mullins Center. Gordon scored 17 points on 3-of-12 shooting, added nine rebounds, three assists & two steals. Gordon came up big at the free-throw line, hitting 11 of his 12 attempts. In April 2014 Gordon came out to his family & teammates. Gordon subsequently chose to come out publicly stating, "I just didn't want to hide anymore, in any way ... I've been waiting & watching for the last few months, wondering when a Division I player would come out & finally I just said, 'Why not me?'". He further said that Jason Collins becoming the first openly gay player in the National Basketball Association inspired him to come out. Gordon's family was mixed in their responses to his coming out but he received praise from Collins & Michael Sam, who became the first openly gay player in the National Football League. Last May at the GLAAD MEDIA Awards I talked to Derrick Gordon about being the first out NCAA basketball player, about his NBA aspirations & the future of LGBT athletes in this exclusive audio interview:
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Friday, November 14, 2014

Jazz Jennings To Be Honored

Equality Florida will be hosting their 12th Annual Equality Florida Broward Gala at the Hyatt Regency Pier Sixty-Six Panorama Ballroom in Fort Lauderdale on Sunday November 16th. The highlight of the event will be the presentation of the Voice for Equality award to South Florida resident Jazz Jennings, who was recently announced as one of the “25 Most Influential Teens of 2014” by Time magazine. At just 14 years old, Jazz is a nationally recognized transgender teen advocate & has been featured on 20/20, 60 Minutes & The Oprah Winfrey Show. She is also co-author of I Am Jazz, an autobiographical children’s book about her experiences growing up as a transgender girl. "Jazz always knew she was different from other kids," reads the back of the 32-page book. "She had a girl's brain and a boy's body. This is her story." Stratton Pollitzer, Deputy Director of Equality Florida stated, “This amazing young woman inspires us all with her courage & candor, demonstrating what is possible when we share our stories. We are proud to recognize her for the impact she already has made on the lives of transgender youth & their families here in Broward County and across the nation.” More than 500 LGBT community, business & political leaders & allies are expected to attend. The 12th Annual Equality Florida Gala takes place on Sunday November 16th at 6P at the Hyatt Regency Pier Sixty-Six Panorama Ballroom 2301 SE 17th Street in Fort Lauderdale.
For More Info & Tix: eqfl.org
LISTEN: “Sharon Isbin: Troubadour” New APT Documentary
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