Wednesday, June 20, 2018

US Exits UN Human Rights Council

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo & U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations (UN) Nikki Haley announced the withdrawal of the United States from the United Nations Human Rights Council. The UN Human Rights Council based in Geneva is the world's preeminent human rights institution with a mandate to strengthen the promotion & protection of human rights around the globe & to address human rights violations. The Council has been a site for progress for LGBTQ human rights over the past ten years leading to the recent establishment of the first UN Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity, a position currently held by Victor Madrigal-Borloz. OutRight Action International stated, “The US withdrawal from the Human Rights Council is symptomatic of overall US isolationism & a move away from multilateral diplomacy. This administration’s “America First” promise is rearing its head in every foreign & domestic policy decision, including this one…For many LGBTIQ people, the Human Rights Council & the United Nations as a whole are ports of last call when their own governments fail them. Without a history of progress on LGBTIQ human rights at the Human Rights Council we would have no progress to speak of within the UN system today. Withdrawing from the Council sends a message to other countries that its acceptable to walk away from the system when it doesn’t suit you to be there. Imagine, what would happen if all countries walked away from the UN because of disagreements.” For More Info: outrightinternational.org
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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

OUT On Stage Comedy Movie Event

Fathom Events & Comedy Dynamics present “OUT on Stage” a feature-length comedy movie event that will be screened in more than 250 select theaters on Tuesday July 24th through Fathom’s Digital Broadcast Network (DBN). The event is hosted by comedian Zach Noe Towers & contains 90 minutes of laugh-out-loud content from a lineup of renowned gay & lesbian stand-up comedians including Brendan Scannel, A.B. Cassidy & Janine Brito. Zach Noe Towers stated, “OUT on Stage has been a real passion project for me. What an incredible experience it’s been to bring together such a gorgeously funny group of queer comedians. Each & every person featured in the content has such a unique perspective & I’m thrilled that we’re being given a platform for those hilarious voices to be heard.” Gordon Synn Fathom Events Chief Content & Programming Officer added, “We at Fathom pride ourselves on consistently serving up diverse content for our viewers & we’re thrilled to be spotlighting such a talented group of LGBTQ+ comedians with ‘OUT on Stage’. It could not be more fitting to announce the upcoming celebration of these comedians during June, National Pride Month! We’re certain that every moviegoer will find something to love in ‘OUT on Stage’ & that they’ll share many laughs with us along the way.” Brian Volk Weiss Comedy Dynamics CEO concluded, “We strive to be at the cutting edge of comedy & bringing the laughs to the entire audience. With Out on Stage, I think we’ve continued with that tradition.”
For More Info: fathomevents.com
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Monday, June 18, 2018

Provincetown Film Festival Winners

The Provincetown International Film Festival (PIFF) announced the award winners of this year’s 20th anniversary film festival. The award winners are: HBO Audience Award/ Best Narrative Feature: AND BREATHE NORMALLY, directed by Ísold Uggadóttir, HBO Audience Award / Best Documentary Feature: TIME FOR ILHAN, directed by Norah Shapiro, The John Schlesinger Award for Narrative Feature, presented to a first time feature filmmaker: THE CAKEMAKER, directed by Ofir Raul Graizer, The judge for the John Schlesinger Award for Narrative Feature was filmmaker Dan Minahan (“Game of Thrones,” “True Blood,” SERIES 7), The John Schlesinger Award for Documentary Feature, presented to a first time feature filmmaker: A FINE LINE, directed by Joanna Jame,s The judge for the John Schlesinger Award for Documentary Feature was Richard Lawson, chief critic, Vanity Fair. Winner of the HBO Documentary Short Film was LANDLINE, directed by Matt Houghton, Here Media Best Queer Short Film: MARGUERITE, directed by Maria Gracia Turgeon, Best Narrative Short Film: WREN BOYS, directed by Harry Lighton, Best Animated Short Film: NEGATIVE SPACE, directed by Max Porter & Ru Kuwahata, Best New England Short Film: BECAUSE YOU’RE HERE, directed by Mike Syers & Best Student Short Film was GIRL FRIEND, directed by Chloe Sarbib. As previously announced, Sean Baker was presented with the 2018 Filmmaker on the Edge Award in conversation with filmmaker John Waters; Molly Shannon received the Excellence in Acting Award in conversation with film scholar B. Ruby Rich; & Chloë Grace Moretz received the Next Wave Award in conversation with Sundance Film Festival’s John Cooper.
For More Info: provincetownfilm.org
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Friday, June 15, 2018

BGMC South African Tour

The Boston Gay Men’s Chorus (BGMC) announced that it has accepted an invitation to march with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa & Gauteng Province Premier David Makhura during the country’s annual ceremonies marking Youth Day. Youth Day is a South African public holiday commemorating the June 16, 1976 Soweto uprising by students & others that sparked the political movement that eventually led to the end of Apartheid. Reuben Reynolds III, Music Director of the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus stated, “We are both honored & humbled by this extraordinary invitation to march in the annual Youth Day walk that marks such an important moment in South Africa’s history. The fact that we have been asked to participate to help highlight the needs of LGBTI people in South Africa is both a tremendous privilege & responsibility.” In a letter to BGMC from Education Chief of Staff Oupa Bodipie of the Education Department of Gauteng Province, Bodipie wrote that BGMC’s presence during the presidential Youth Day walk would “highlight & endorse the Advocacy of the LGBTI Sector.” He also invited BGMC to open the June 16th lecture on the centenary of Nelson Mandela, which will be attended by Gauteng Province Premier Makhura. Craig Coogan, BGMC Executive Director concluded, “Music is a universal language & our concerts are about sharing our stories & our humanity through song, enabling others to find common ground in our experiences. We welcome dialogue & difficult conversations, all of which inform our art & music. We are thrilled with this invitation & opportunity to support South Africans in their efforts to build community & celebrate difference.”
For More Info: bgmc.org
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Thursday, June 14, 2018

World Blood Donor Day 2018

Every year on June 14th countries around the world celebrate World Blood Donor Day (WBDD) an event established in 2004 to raise awareness of the need for safe blood & blood products & to thank blood donors for their voluntary, life-saving gifts of blood. Kelsey Louie, Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC) CEO stated, “On World Blood Donor Day, as we honor individuals across the world who voluntarily donate their blood to save lives, we must unite to call for an end to the Food & Drug Administration’s ongoing, discriminatory policy for gay & bisexual male blood donors. Modern science enables us to evaluate all blood donors equally regardless of their identity, yet men who have sex with men (MSM) are still subject to different standards that perpetuate the stereotype that all gay & bisexual men are inherently dangerous. Our government must stop reacting to HIV as it did during the dark days of the AIDS crisis. With this discriminatory policy against MSM, the FDA is not just refusing blood that will save lives, but also enforcing stigmas that fuel the HIV epidemic, shaming people into the shadows & discouraging them from coming forward to seek treatment. Amidst a stream of discriminatory policies from the federal government against the LGBT community, it is important that we remain strong & united to defend our rights, our dignity & our health.” Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC) is the world's first HIV/AIDS service organization. GMHC is on the front lines providing services to over 12,000 people living with & affected by HIV/AIDS. Programs include: testing, prevention, nutrition, legal, supportive housing, mental health & substance use services. GMHC also advocates for stronger public policies at the local, state & federal level with the goal of ending AIDS as an epidemic.
For More Info: gmhc.org
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Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Pulse Survivor Speaks OUT (AUDIO)

In this exclusive audio interview Brandon Wolf, Vice President of The Dru Project & a survivor of the Pulse Nightclub Massacre talks about his experience on that horrific night two years ago which claimed the lives of 49 people & left 53 injured most of whom were LGBTQ Latinx people & people of color. Not only was this one of the deadliest mass shootings in American history it was also the deadliest single incidence of violence against LGBTQ people in the U.S. When asked what his personal commitment is to LGBTQ equality Wolf stated, “I think we’ve made a ton of progress on equality. I think that we have a lot to be proud of as a community for how far we’ve come in such a short amount of time. There are a lot of movements in this country. There are a lot of disenfranchised groups that have been fighting for their rights as long as they can remember & they haven’t come nearly as close as we have. But my personal commitment is that we continue to move forward; that we continue to move towards a place where we don’t have to feel like we’re fighting for our rights every single day. A place where you can’t be fired just for being LGBTQ; a place where harassment and discrimination are not legalized; a place where I don’t have to go to a nightclub looking for the exits because I don’t fear someone is going to harm me for who I am. My personal commitment is to again empower young people, a new generation of leaders that are going to challenge the status quo & say we’ve done a hell of a lot of great work but we’re not done doing great work until everyone in this country, everyone no matter black, white, brown, blue, LGBTQ feel safe in their own skin & I’m personally committed to amplifying that message until we get it done." LISTEN
 
For More Info: thedruproject.org
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Monday, June 11, 2018

LPAC NYC Comedy Event (AUDIO)

“Levity & Justice For ALL” is a comedy benefit for LPAC that takes place on June 20th at The Town Hall in NYC. For the past three years LPAC has honored a true Champion of Change who embodies the values of their organization & this year they will be honoring equality activist & tennis legend Billie Jean King. Melissa Etheridge will be the special guest presenter & the stellar entertainment line up will also include comedians Chaunté Wayans, Judy Gold, A. B. Cassidy, Pat Brown, Kate Clinton, the musical group Betty & more. This is a fabulous opportunity to join 1,000+ LPAC supporters for a special night of laughter & entertainment that helps raise critical funds to support LPAC endorsed candidates for their critical 2018 midterm elections. LPAC mission is to build the political power of lesbians & queer women by electing candidates who champion LGBTQ rights, women’s equality & social justice. Founded in 2012 by experienced leaders in feminism, LGBTQ & social justice movements, LPAC has raised millions of dollars from thousands of donors across 48 states & the District of Columbia. Funds raised by “Levity & Justice for All” will be used for political education, organizing & mobilization efforts to support LPAC endorsed candidates. The event is produced by Barbara Gaines, Bruce Roberts & Urvashi Vaid. In this exclusive audio interview we talked to Stephanie Sandberg the new Executive Director of LPAC about what she hopes to accomplish, “Levity & Justice For ALL” & her spin on our LGBTQ issues. LISTEN
For Info & Tix:teamlpac.com
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