Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Mary Bonauto Gets Genius Grant

The MacArthur Foundation announced that Mary L. Bonauto, Civil Rights Project Director for Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), has been awarded a 2014 MacArthur Fellowship, sometimes referred to as a “genius grant.” Bonauto is one of the architects of marriage equality in this country. She successfully argued & won the Goodridge v. Department of Public Health case in 2003. The Fellowships are awarded annually to “talented individuals who have shown extraordinary originality & dedication in their creative pursuits & a marked capacity for self-direction.” Bonauto stated, “This award is a testament to the justice-seeking work of innumerable people all across the nation. I deeply appreciate the Foundation’s vote of confidence in our movement’s work as we strive to remove barriers to LGBT people’s full participation in society. So many have given so much to bring us to this point – whether our courageous plaintiffs or people whose names history may never know & every bit of it has mattered. This honor is an investment in a better future for all.” Gary Buseck, GLAD’s Interim Executive Director & Longtime Legal Director added, “We are thrilled for Mary & for the LGBT movement. Mary is without a doubt one of the most visionary & hardworking people in our movement & at the same time one of the most genuinely modest. Not only is this award well-deserved recognition for Mary, but it’s an opportunity for us to highlight the movement for LGBT equality & all that remains to be done.” Congrats Mary!!
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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Laverne Cox At Liaison Nightclub

Liaison Nightclub the new game-changing LGBT nightlife venue created by Victor Drai & set on the Las Vegas Strip at Bally’s, will celebrate its Grand Opening on Saturday, Sept. 20th with Emmy-nominated actress Laverne Cox from the hit television series “Orange Is The New Black.” Michael Ryan, General Manager of Liaison stated, “Having Laverne Cox join us for this monumental night is legendary. Like Laverne, we are blazing a new path for the LGBT community & it’s exciting to welcome her to Las Vegas as we celebrate our grand opening.” In addition to Laverne Cox, the grand opening party will feature surprise guests & special performances & will celebrate the glitz & glamour of old Hollywood. The 7,000 square foot nightclub features sexy dark finishes of gold & black & the opulent design features an abundance of mirrors & Venetian-style chandeliers. Intimate, yet large enough to provide the social experience that is a signature of Drai’s venues, Liaison offers two club rooms, two DJ’s, multiple bars, stage & plenty of space for surprise performances. Doors open at 10P & Liaison Nightclub is taking reservations. Cox was honored with GLAAD’s Stephen F. Kolzak Award in LA in April. I talked to Laverne on the Red Carpet at the NYC GLAAD Media Awards about how she was dealing with her fabulous career in this exclusive audio byte:
 
For More Info: liaisonlasvegas.com
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Monday, September 15, 2014

GLAAD Game Changers Gala

GLAAD honored Google, YouTube, Golden State Warriors President & COO Rick Welts & Prop 8 plaintiffs Kris Perry & Sandy Stier at GLAAD Gala San Francisco: Game Changers at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square. Google, YouTube received the inaugural Ric Weiland Award presented by YouTube stars Tyler Oakley & Hannah Hart to Arjan Dijk Vice President Marketing at Google. Rick Welts, President & COO of the Golden State Warriors received GLAAD's Davidson/Valentini Award for his work to promote LGBT inclusion in professional team sports presented by Golden State Warriors Assistant Coach Jarron Collins, twin brother of Jason Collins, the NBA's first openly gay active player. GLAAD also recognized Kris Perry & Sandy Stier, lead plaintiffs in Hollingsworth v. Perry the landmark case that struck down California’s Proposition 8, with the Presidential Local Hero Award at the event. Peter Paige, the executive producer of The Fosters, presented the award to Perry & Stier. Perry Stated, "Almost five years ago we prepared for the first & hopefully last trial we will ever be a part of! That trial changed our lives forever; a trial where I shared my experience of growing up gay in California's conservative Central valley & how harmful feeling less than was to me." In this exclusive audio interview I chatted with Kris Perry & Sandy Stier who talked about their experience being filmed for HBO’s documentary THE CASE AGAINST 8 leading up to the Supreme Court decision that found Prop 8 unconstitutional & about what affect the experience had on their family.
   
For More Info: glaad.org
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Saturday, September 13, 2014

Chicago LGBT Film Festival

Celebrating 32 years The Chicago LGBT International Film Festival, Reeling Film Festival begins on Thursday, September 18th at The Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport Avenue with a screening of BOY MEETS GIRL, directed by Eric Schaeffer. BOY MEETS GIRL stars Trans actress Michelle Hendley in her debut with this winning, touching romantic comedy. Hendley plays Ricky, a trans girl in small town Kentucky lamenting her uneventful love life to her best friend since childhood, Robby (Michael Welch), whose love life is shallow but plentiful. He playfully suggests she try dating a woman & mere moments later Francesca (Alexandra Turshen) walks into her life, leaving her flustered & wondering if she should keep a more open mind. Complications arise, of course, when Francesca reveals that she is engaged & that her family is not as welcoming of trans folks as she is. BOY MEETS GIRL may appear as a simple love story but it’s told well & it absolutely cannot be missed. Director Eric Schaeffer is set to attend the screening, along with trans actress Michelle Hendley. There will be a pre-screening reception at 5:30P prior to the 7:30P screening. Reeling32: The Chicago LGBT International Film Festival runs September 18th to 25th.
For Info & Tix: reelingfilmfestival.org
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Friday, September 12, 2014

New Fabulous Film PRIDE

PRIDE is one of the best films of the year. Winner of the Queer Palm at Cannes Film Festival PRIDE takes you on an emotional & historical ride with our LGBT community in the United Kingdom. The film was inspired by an extraordinary true story that began in 1984 when Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister & the National Union of Mineworkers were on strike. This motivated a London-based group of brave gay & lesbian activists to form “Lesbians & Gays Support The Miners” (LGSM) to raise money to support the strikers’ families. At first the Union rejected their support but a small mining village in Wales came together with LGSM after addressing their own homophobia & changed hearts & minds in the UK forever. The cast is led by Bill Nighy (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel), Imelda Staunton (Maleficent), Dominic West (The Hour), Paddy Considine (Submarine), Andrew Scott (Sherlock), Joseph Gilgun (Lockout), George MacKay (How I Live Now) & Ben Schnetzer (Warcraft). PRIDE is directed by Tony Winner Matthew Warchus (God of Carnage) from a screenplay by Stephen Beresford, the dramatic comedy was produced by David Livingstone with Cameron McCracken, Christine Langan & Natascha Wharton serving as executive producers. This must-see CBS Film opens in theaters September 26th. Be prepared to laugh, cry & be inspired.
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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Gay Marriage & US Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court will consider whether to grant review of appeals to Virginia’s Bostic case along with four other cases challenging the constitutionality of gay & lesbian marriage bans in Utah, Oklahoma, Wisconsin & Indiana. The cases will be considered at the Justices’ private conference scheduled for September 29th. Adam Umhoefer, Executive Director of American Foundation for Equal Rights stated, “Gay & lesbian couples in Virginia should not have to wait another day to enjoy their right to marry. The distribution of our case for the Court’s consideration brings us one step closer to our mission of marriage equality for all Americans. Our Constitution’s guarantee of liberty & equality soon will be realized for all loving & committed couples, no matter what state they reside in.” The Highest Court is expected to release an Orders List on October 6th that will indicate which, if any marriage equality case or cases it will consider for its 2014-2015 term. The Supreme Court has the option to grant multiple marriage cases, grant only one, delay consideration of any cases, or deny all of them. Should the Court grant review in Bostic, the Justices will go on to consider whether Virginia’s marriage ban violates the Due Process & Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. If the Court denies review in Bostic, the July 2014 decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit that struck down Virginia’s marriage ban will be binding & gay & lesbian Virginians will be able to marry in the Commonwealth. Updates to Come…:)
For More Info: afer.org
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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Primary Elections In Five States

Tuesday September 9th we have primary elections in Delaware, New York, Rhode Island, New Hampshire & Massachusetts. We want to remind our LGBT community in these states to be sure to get out & vote. Here in Massachusetts we have a chance to elect candidates who support pro-choice & LGBT equality. The 3 democratic gubernatorial candidates in Massachusetts are all LGBT supportive with Attorney General Martha Coakley leading. The race for Attorney General is way too close to call but we have the opportunity to vote for a candidate who is not only openly gay but a former Assistant Attorney General who is the most accomplished, competent, personable, progressive & experienced candidate for the position. Maura Healey has been a champion of LGBT rights for years. She was instrumental challenging & defeating the Defense of Marriage Act. Also a new report just released shows that young people between ages 18 & 30 turned out to the polls in the last 2 presidential election cycles at the highest rates since 1992 & played a particularly important role in the 2012 votes on marriage equality. Hannah Hussey, Research Associate for Center for American Progress LGBT Research & Communications Project stated, “The last few election cycles have made clear that the youth demographic is becoming far more engaged than it had been & that young people are passionate about a broad range of progressive causes. This analysis shows that young voters are defining new modes of political engagement & illustrates how progressive movements can capitalize on that.” Primary elections are important so go to the polls today in these 5 states & vote.
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