Monday, February 8, 2016

Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is February 7th an annual day to support & strengthen our commitment to our responsibility to promote HIV testing & mobilize ourselves, our families, schools, places of worship & workplaces to take action against HIV among blacks/African Americans. This year's theme is I Am My Brother/Sister's Keeper: Fight HIV/AIDS. Afro Americans make up 12% of the US population but account for 44% of new HIV diagnoses, the highest rate of all races & ethnicities. Among all blacks, gay & bisexual black men, especially young men, are disproportionately affected. However from 2005 to 2014 new diagnoses among blacks declined by 22% with a 14% decline from 2010-2014. Among black women new diagnoses were cut nearly in half with a 25% decline from 2010-2014. Black gay & bisexual men ages 13-24 experienced a steep increase in new diagnoses but diagnoses among this group declined by 2% from 2010-2014. Sharen Duke, Executive Director of AIDS Service Center NYC stated, “It is important to take this time to educate the public & reach out to African-American New Yorkers, who make up a disproportionate number of those affected by HIV & AIDS. More than half of women with HIV are African-American, rates of HIV transmission among African American men, particularly gay & bisexual men, continue to rise & we must do all we can to move towards an end to this epidemic, an end to new infections & a ceaseless commitment to care for and get new treatments to those living with HIV.”
For Info & Events: ascnyc.org
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Sunday, February 7, 2016

Ending LGBT Conversion Therapy

New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has announced a series of comprehensive regulations to prevent the practice of so-called lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgender “conversion therapy”. New York joins five other states that have passed legislation to protect LGBTQ youth from this ridiculous dangerous practice that has been deemed harmful to patients by a wide variety of leading medical & mental health professionals. New York will now ban public & private health care insurers from covering the practice in New York State & finally also prohibits various mental health facilities across the state from conducting the practice on minors. Samantha Ames, National Center for Lesbian Rights #BornPerfect Campaign Coordinator & Staff Attorney stated, “We could not be more grateful to Governor Cuomo for standing up to the conversion therapy industry today & protecting LGBTQ New Yorkers from these dangerous & discredited practices. The regulations announced today are historic, not only representing the first time a governor has taken executive action to protect youth from conversion therapy, but also ensuring that protection doesn’t stop when they turn 18. Thanks to the tireless advocacy of survivors, mental health professionals, faith leaders & youth advocates in New York, we are one step closer to finally closing this cruel chapter of our history. We look forward to other states following Governor Cuomo’s leadership and working together toward the day all LGBTQ children know they were born perfect.” California, New Jersey, Washington D.C., Oregon & Illinois have passed legislation to protect LGBTQ youth from “conversion therapy” with leaders from several other states planning introduction of similar legislation in the 2016 legislative session.
For More Info: nclrights.org
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Saturday, February 6, 2016

Matt Thorn Leads OutServe-SLDN

The LGBT military organization OutServe-SLDN have announced that Matt Thorn has been named as Executive Director on a permanent basis. Matt has held the position of Interim Executive Director since February 2015. Congressman Mark Pocan stated, “Outserve-SLDN has been an invaluable partner in working to promote the Restore Honor to Service Members Act & Matt’s leadership in the organization gives me confidence that we will continue making progress to ensure all veterans receive the recognition & benefits they deserve. I look forward to working with Matt in his new role as we fight to improve the lives of LGBT military personnel & veterans.” John Gillespie & Jeff Mueller Co-Chairs of OutServe-SLDN Board of Directors concluded, “Over the past year Matt has demonstrated incredible commitment to the interests of our members & stakeholders. OutServe-SLDN has seen substantive forward progress for key initiatives & policies that matter most to the LGBT military community. Matt has reaffirmed the vital role Outserve-SLDN plays in the welfare of our community. His persistence, compassion & service has translated into real progress over the last year, more than we think many expected. We remain confident that Matt’s deep commitment to equality & justice will be a vital asset to our organization as we continue to navigate a post ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” military culture. We could not be more pleased with the performance of Matt as our interim Executive Director. His demonstrated track record in advocacy, social activism & nonprofit management has & will continue to serve OutServe-SLDN well”.
For More Info: www.outserve-sldn.org
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Friday, February 5, 2016

The Dinah Palm Springs Heats Up

Celebrity DJ “L Word" iconic star Kate Moennig currently appearing on “Ray Donovan” & “Orange is the New Black” star celebrity DJ Taryn Manning are joining previously announced OITNB comedian & singer Lea DeLaria (Big Boo) to celebrate 26 years of The Dinah Palm Springs, the largest lesbian event in the world that takes from March 30th through April 3rd. Mariah Hanson, founder & promoter of The Dinah stated, “We have put together the most exciting Dinah line up ever. If I could only pick one Dinah to attend, it would be this year. I'm really happy how things came together. Everyone we asked said yes & as a result we have the most star-studded, talented Dinah ever! 26 years & we're better than ever, thanks to our customers & to the amazing talent who see this event as a must do. It's going to be a supreme year.” The 2016 stellar entertainment roster is led by a strong & diverse presence of top female artists including two-time Grammy nominee Elle King, also includes celebrity DJs Samantha Ronson, UH HUH HER’s lead singer Camila Grey & Kate Moennig who together form The X-Names will also be DJing, international top model Madison Paige, rapper Angel Haze, Tracy Reyerson & Hunter Valentine with Kiyomi McCloskey & Laura Petracca’s performing their farewell concert. Also returning this year will be The Dinah Film Fest sponsored by tellofilms with all the tello stars attending including Rolla Selbak, Elizabeth Keener, Clementine Ford, Bridget McManus & more. This must-attend events take place at the Palm Springs Hilton Hotel, the PS Convention Center & Zeldaz Nightclub.
For More Info & Tix: thedinah.com
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Thursday, February 4, 2016

Boston Pride Grants Announced

Boston Pride announced the recipients of the first Boston Pride Community Fund. The fund was established to provide grants to small nonprofits & other groups that support the LGBT community. The announcement was made by Boston Pride President Sylvain Bruni & Vice President Linda DeMarco after an independent panel of community members processed all the applications received at the end of 2015. Bruni stated, “We are thrilled to announce the grant recipients of our first ever Boston Pride Community Fund. With the funds raised through various Pride events, we are now able to offer support & visibility to small & community-based projects within our community.” DeMarco concluded, “We congratulate all 2016 Community Fund recipients. And we thank profusely all members of our review panel who thoroughly reviewed every submission, in service to our community.” 2016 Boston Pride Community Fund recipients are: The Tiffany Club of New England, GLSEN Massachusetts, NAGLY Lesbian of Color Symposium (LOCS) Collective, Voices Rising Chorus, In The Streets Productions, Mystic LGBTQ+ Youth Support Network, OUT MetroWest, New England Professional Queer WoMen of Color, Tennis4All Boston & Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance. The Boston Pride Community Fund was established from contributions by community members at the Jamaica Plain & Back Bay Block Parties. It’s Boston Pride’s vision to support annually the Community Fund by giving back monies raised to small non-profit organizations & groups within the LGBT Community. These awards provide an opportunity to educate our greater community about the important work these organizations & groups are performing in service of the LGBT Community.
For More Info: bostonpride.org
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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Ella Boureau Joins Lambda Literary

Lambda Literary announced that Ella Boureau has been named the new Awards Administrator. The Awards Administrator ensures the smooth operation of the LGBT Lambda Literary Awards process from selection of judges to selection of the winners. As Awards Administrator Boureau will also manage Lambda's LGBTQ cash prizes including the Emerging Writer Award & the Outstanding Mid-Career Novelist Prize. Tony Valenzuela, Lambda Literary Executive Director stated, "Ella's passion for LGBTQ literature combined with her broad experience organizing within literary & arts communities make her ideally suited for this work. We're thrilled to have her with Lambda Literary." Ella Boureau concluded, "It has always been my impulse as a creative person to find other queer writers, to honor what they work on & to acknowledge the power that comes from connecting that often lonely pursuit to a larger world. Lambda Literary's mission is born of that same impulse & I'm over the moon to join what is undeniably one of the largest connective forces in the LGBT writing community." Ella is a writer, editor & events curator living in New York City. A graduate of The New School Ella has long been active at the intersection of art & social justice. Her writing has been featured in Guernica, Tin House, Slice Magazine, The Rumpus, Full Stop, Pretty Queer & Huffington Post. Her first play “Helps to Hate You a Little: A Lovestory” debuted at Dixon Place in Fall 2015. She is currently at work on a second play & will be co-curating a new reading series.
For More Info: lambdaliterary.org
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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Bayard Rustin Tribute (AUDIO)

To celebrate Black History Month we talked with Walter Naegle who was pioneer civil rights activist Bayard Rustin's partner for the last decade of Rustin's life who died in 1987. Rustin taught Martin Luther King Jr. strategies of nonviolence during the Montgomery Bus Boycott & reached international notoriety in 1963 as the openly gay organizer of the March on Washington. In 2013 President Obama awarded the Presidential Medal of Honor posthumously to Bayard Rustin. Naegle accepted the award on Rustin's behalf stating "Being black, being homosexual, being a political radical, that’s a combination that’s pretty volatile and it comes along like Halley’s Comet. Bayard’s life was complex, but at the same time I think it makes it a lot more interesting." When asked what his personal commitment is to LGBT civil rights Naegle stated, “My personal commitment is to be who I am as an LGBT person & more broadly a human being to support LGBT equality & issues whenever I can, which nowadays is very often speaking at colleges & community centers & libraries & lifting up the fact that Bayard was a very important leader in the civil & human rights movement who happened to be LGBT & lived during a time when these kinds of things weren’t discussed. And yet he was able to live fairly openly as a gay man. He paid the price for it but actions that were taken to try & quiet him never really succeeded. He rose above all that stuff & was able to make a significant contribution to the democratization of our society as a whole, so that is really the reason why a lot of younger LGBT folks kind of lift him up now as an inspiration & as a hero. I guess my commitment would be to sort of continue promoting his legacy & his values & to live as an integrated person myself.” LISTEN
 
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