Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Prop 8 Lawyers Request U.S. Supreme Court

Proposition 8 Plaintiffs’ attorneys are ready to defend their victories before the U.S. Supreme Court. The proponents of California’s Proposition 8 have asked the United States Supreme Court to review the landmark federal appeals court ruling in Perry v. Brown (now Hollingsworth v. Perry) that found Proposition 8 unconstitutional. Proposition 8 stripped gay & lesbian Californians of the fundamental freedom to marry. Plaintiffs’ lead co-counsel David Boies stated, “The Supreme Court has long held that the freedom to marry is one of the most fundamental rights—if not the most fundamental right—of all Americans. As we have said from the very beginning of this case, the denial of that fundamental right seriously harms gay & lesbian Americans & the children they are raising. Today’s petition presents the Justices with the chance to affirm our Constitution’s central promises of liberty, equality & human dignity.” The American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) is the sole sponsor of Perry v. Brown the federal constitutional challenge to California’s Proposition 8. Adam Umhoefer, AFER Executive Director stated, “Two federal courts & a majority of Americans agree: discriminatory laws like Proposition 8 have no place in the United States of America today. This petition by the anti-marriage forces is the last gasp of a dying argument that cannot overcome our Constitution’s guarantee of liberty & equality for all.” Updates to Come…:)

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Democrats Come Out For Gay Marriage

Finally there’s more positive forward movement in this country for our LGBT community coming from the DNC. The Democrats are officially including gay marriage in their preliminary platform for the fall. The Democratic Party platform drafting committee approved the language over the weekend to endorse gay marriage in addition to other pro-LGBT positions as part of the Democratic Party platform. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), who sits on the committee, told the Washington Blade on Monday that the 15-member panel unanimously backed the inclusion of a marriage equality plank after a national hearing over the weekend in Minneapolis. Frank stated, “I was part of a unanimous decision to include it. There was a unanimous decision in the drafting committee to include it in the platform, which I supported, but everybody was for it.” This is why Obama had to evolve about his position on gay marriage because it just wouldn’t fly any other way. Also a Democratic National Committee staffer who’s familiar with the process said the language in the platform approved on Sunday not only backs marriage equality but also rejects DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) & has positive language with regard to the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. So now when you receive those daily annoying emails from the DNC asking for money, send them some. Updates to Come…:)

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Monday, July 30, 2012

Jobriath AD The First Gay Rock Star (Audio)

Out of all the films we have reviewed this LGBT film festival season our favorite was JOBRIATH AD a gripping documentary directed by Kieran Turner. JOBRIATH AD is about the first openly gay rock star that arrived on the glam-rock scene in the 1970’s. This mesmerizing documentary spotlights his life, music & groundbreaking influence on the music industry. Jobriath stated at the time, “I am the true fairy of rock.” His brief but fascinating career as an openly gay performer, sometimes called ‘the American Bowie’ is uncovered by this enthralling documentary. Adored by MORRISSEY & THE PET SHOP BOYS this is a celebration of a singer-songwriter whose legacy will now be rediscovered. This is the true story about a multi-talented performer who was 30 years ahead of his time & who unfortunately didn’t live long enough to see the contribution he made to the music industry & our LGBT community. Promoted as the “The American Bowie,” “The True Fairy of Rock & Roll,” Jobriath’s reign was brief lasting less than 2 years & 2 albums. He signed on to scheming manager, Jerry Brandt’s over-hyped publicity machine, was shunned by the gay community in the 70's & dismissed by most critics as all flash, no substance. Jobriath was eventually excommunicated from the music business & retreated to the Chelsea Hotel, where he died forgotten in 1983 at the age of 37, one of the earliest casualties of AIDS. However, in the years since his death, new generations of fans have discovered his music through acts as diverse as, THE PET SHOP BOYS, GARY NUMAN, JOE ELLIOT of DEF LEPPARD, & MORRISSEY, all of whom have cited Jobriath as an influence.
You can catch the film Tuesday July 31st in Austin, Texas at the Ritz on S Lamar at 10:45P with a Q & A following the film with the director.
Listen to exclusive audio interview with director Kieran Turner:


For More Info: jobriaththemovie.com

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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Gay Marriage Allies Give Historic 2.5 Million

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos & his wife Mackenzie have made a $2.5 million donation to secure marry equality for gays & lesbians in Washington State. Washington United for Marriage (WUM) is the statewide coalition working to defend the state’s law protecting civil marriage for same-gender couples & this historic $2.5 million gift from Jeff & MacKenzie Bezos is believed to be the largest individual gift in the country to secure or protect the freedom to marry. With the Bezos’ gift, WUM has now raised over $5 million towards its broad, statewide campaign to approve Referendum 74 in November. Zach Silk, Campaign Manager for Washington United for Marriage stated, “The extraordinary contribution from Jeff & MacKenzie Bezos will make an enormous difference for our campaign to defend Washington’s marriage law. While it provides an amazing base for the work ahead, we hope it spurs others to invest because we’re a long way from November & we face opponents with deep pockets who are committed to spending millions to defeat us.” Washington United for Marriage (WUM) is a coalition of organizations, congregations, unions & businesses working together to defend civil marriage for loving, committed same-gender couples. WUM believes marriage & family are about love & commitment, working together, bettering the community, raising children & growing old together. It believes in a Washington that supports strong families & values freedom & equality. Updates to Come...:)

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Friday, July 27, 2012

Gay Ally Lisa Lampanelli In Provincetown

Tonight July 27th Comedian Lisa Lampanelli is coming to Provincetown to perform 2 shows 8P & 10P at Town Hall 260 Commercial Street. Lampanelli is a fierce ally of our LGBT community. Last year when members of the Westboro Baptist Church planned to protest her show in Topeka, Kansas she promised to donate $1000 to the Gay Men's Health Crisis for every protester that attended. After an initial count of 44 protesters Lisa rounded the donation to an even $50,000, crediting the donation as being "made possible by the WBC." When she appeared on Season 5 of "Celebrity Apprentice" this year she raised an additional $48,000 for GMHC. "LL" is Comedy's Lovable Queen of Mean. This equal opportunity offender is a regular on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" & Howard Stern's Sirius satellite radio shows. She has appeared on "Late Show with David Letterman," "Lopez Tonight", "Chelsea Lately" & "Jimmy Kimmel Live". This Fall, Lisa will bring her talents to Broadway when she mounts her one-woman show, "Bring Back the Fat Chick." However there’s nothing like seeing her live & in Provincetown. See You There!
For Tix: brownpapertickets.com
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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Gay Hate Crime in Washington DC

While the current US House of Representatives stand by their anti gay position a gay yoga teacher & his boyfriend were brutally beaten by homophobic thugs after a night out in Washington DC. Michael Hall Jr, 29, was left with a broken jaw & fractured cheekbone after a group of teenagers attacked him & his partner Michael Roike as they walked home from dinner Sunday night. Michael Roike stated, “Four or five kids just came out of nowhere without any warning. We didn’t think it was a robbery because they didn’t immediately ask for something. They just came out swinging & hitting. I can’t think of another reason other than we got out of a fancy town car & we were walking in a not great part of town at a late hour. We were probably holding hands. It could have been because we’re gay, but I don’t know for sure.” The police are investigating the incident as a suspected hate crime. Roike added that he couldn't think of any other reason why they would have been targeted. While Roike only suffered minor injuries, Hall had to be operated on at Howard University Hospital. Friends of the couple have now set up a Facebook group for people to support Hall's recovery & donate money to pay for the required surgery: Facebook.com
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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

U.S. Supreme Court Must End DOMA

In the continuing saga of gay marriage in America, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley is urging the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the appeals court ruling that found DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) unconstitutional & make their ruling on this case calling for an unprecedented high court decision “one of national importance.” Gay marriage has been legal in Massachusetts for 8 years yet because of section 3 of DOMA which has been found unconstitutional time & again, legally married gay couples do not receive any federal rights, benefits & protections that heterosexual couples receive. This is the same situation in the other states that have marriage equality. As we reported earlier this month the Obama administration has requested that gay marriage be put on the fast track to the U.S. Supreme Court this fall but in the meantime DOMA continues to cause hardship to legally married couples in this country. Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley stated, “The Defense of Marriage Act is a discriminatory & unconstitutional law that harms thousands of families in Massachusetts & takes away our state’s right to extend marriage equality to all couples. It is our firm conviction that in order to truly achieve marriage equality, all couples must enjoy the same rights & protections under both state & federal law. If the Supreme Court chooses to examine this case, we will look forward to once again making clear that DOMA & its pervasive discrimination is unconstitutional & should be ended.” Updates to Come..:)
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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

No Chick-Fil-A For Bert & Ernie

The anti gay company Chick-Fil-A is already feeling the effect of their homophobic position in the pocketbook. On Monday The Muppets took a stance on gay marriage & severed ties with Chick-Fil-A. The Henson Company decided to end its relationship with the fast food chain after the company’s chief executive, Dan Cathy, told a Baptist magazine that he & the Chick-Fil-A Company support “the traditional family,” last week. The Jim Henson Company announced that it did not wish to partner with Chick-Fil-A on any future endeavors. This summer the company had provided Muppets toys for Chick-Fil-A children’s meals with Jim Henson's Creature Shop toys marketing campaign that runs from mid-July until August 18. According to a company statement, Chief Executive Lisa Henson is a “strong supporter of gay marriage & has directed us to donate the payment we received from Chick-Fil-A to GLAAD." The Jim Henson Company isn’t the first to denounce the restaurant’s anti gay position. Last weekend Boston Mayor Thomas Menino vowed to block the restaurant from coming to the city. You have to love our mayor here in Boston. After all Massachusetts is celebrating its 8th year of marriage equality. Chick-Fil-A is trying to do some damage control though representatives were unavailable for comment. They posted a statement on their company’s Facebook page declared that the chain would "treat every person with honor, dignity & respect - regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender.”
Updates to Come…:)
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Monday, July 23, 2012

Administration on Aging LGBT Inclusion

There’s historic news about LGBT inclusion from the Administration on Aging. The AOA, the federal agency responsible for funding & programs for our country's older adults has finally released an announcement recognizing LGBT older adults among those populations of "greatest social need" when planning for & providing services throughout the country. This shows that the Obama Administration's Administration on Aging has taken significant steps to recognize that LGBT older adults exist & to ensure that there is money available to support programs that aim to reduce their isolation, thus improving their quality of life. The LGBT Aging Project & their colleagues across the country have long advocated for such a ruling that would include LGBT older adults in these guidelines & they applaud AOA for making this announcement. In response to questions received about the inclusion of LGBT & other populations that may be included in the definition of "greatest social need," AOA issued a new Frequently Asked Question (FAQ). The new FAQ reads as follows:
Q: Does "greatest social need" as defined in the Older Americans allow communities to target funds to populations they identify as experiencing cultural, social or geographic isolation other than isolation caused by racial or ethnic status?
A: While the definition of "greatest social need" in the Older Americans Act includes isolation caused by racial or ethnic status, the definition is not intended to exclude the targeting of populations that experience cultural, social or geographic isolation due to other factors. In some communities, such isolation may be caused by minority religious affiliation. In others, isolation due to sexual orientation or gender identity may restrict a person's ability to perform normal daily tasks or live independently. Each planning & service area must assess their particular environment to determine those populations best targeted based on "greatest social need".
This is significant inclusion but until our LGBT community has the same federal rights & benefits & protections as heterosexual couples discrimination & hardships against LGBT elders remains appalling. Updates to Come…:)
For More Info: LGBTAgingProject.org
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Sunday, July 22, 2012

All About VITO: Jeffrey Schwarz (AUDIO)

We interviewed Jeffrey last May when he screened VITO at the Boston LGBT Film Festival. Schwartz talked about his new documentary VITO & LGBT Issues.
Listen to Exclusive Audio Interview:



VITO will be making its TV debut on HBO on July 23rd at 9p EST. VITO. Vito Russo was a founding member of three pivotal gay rights groups starting with the Gay Activists Alliance in the early 1970s. Russo was also a key voice in the creation of both Act Up the AIDS activist group credited with revolutionizing the federal approval process for new drugs & the influential media watchdog the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. The Vito Russo Award is named in his memory at the GLAAD Media Awards each year & is presented to an openly gay or lesbian member of the media community for their outstanding contribution in combating homophobia. Russo also wrote the groundbreaking book The Celluloid Closet in 1981 that was later turned into the documentary of the same name that brought attention to how our LGBT community had been censored & depicted in unacceptable cruel stereotypes since the beginning of film. Vito Russo died way too early of AIDS in 1990 at the age 44. VITO is an important documentary that everyone in the LGBT & the heterosexual community should see.
For More Info: vitorussomovie.com
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Saturday, July 21, 2012

GLAD Provincetown Summer Party 2012

Today, Saturday July 21st from 4P-7P is the 30th anniversary of GLAD (Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders) Annual Summer Party in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Since 1978 GLAD has been providing litigation, advocacy & educational work in all areas of LGBT civil rights & the rights of people living with HIV/AIDS. When GLAD goes to court they go to win & this year has been no exception with the Federal Court of Appeals ruling on the unconstitutionality of section 3 of DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act). Earlier this month we reported that Obama has put this case on the fast track to the US Supreme Court so we have truly something to celebrate this summer but they need your help. If you can’t attend the party then you can contribute by bidding on auction items online. GLAD's Summer Party Auction will run online now through Thursday, July 19 at 1pm & close at the event on Saturday, July 21st at the Pilgrim Monument in Provincetown. The highest online bid becomes the opening bid at the Summer Party. Political humorist Kate Clinton will be returning as our auctioneer extraordinaire! You don't want to miss this exciting auction - travel packages, unique experiences, massages, theatre & much more. There’s something for everyone.
View Online Auction & Proxy Bids: biddingforgood.com/glad
The Summer Party is held outside in the heart of Provincetown on the grounds of Pilgrim Monument & Provincetown Museum. Enjoy the view of the harbor, mingle with other GLAD supporters & learn more about their ground-breaking cases. Summer fare is provided by Above & Beyond Catering & complimentary cocktails by Barcardi, Barefoot Wines & Samuel Adams. Children are welcome to attend at no charge & will enjoy a range of fun activities.
For More Info & Tix: glad.org
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Friday, July 20, 2012

Boy Scouts of America Remain Anti Gay

The homophobic stance that the Boy Scouts of America have taken just shows us that even though we have come along way in our pursuit of equality we have a distance to go. It’s so archaic that the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) announced that their secret committee ruled to keep in place their policy banning gay scouts & gay scout leaders. R. Clarke Cooper, Executive Director of The Log Cabin Republicans stated, “As an Eagle Scout, Order of the Arrow member & National Eagle Scout Association member, I find the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) decision to continue to exclude gays from its membership extremely disappointing. It sends the message that gay youth are not fit to serve God & country, solely because of who they are. This is absolutely the wrong policy for the BSA, one of the most prominent youth development organizations in the United States.” One day after the Boy Scouts of America announced that their secret committee had ruled in favor of keeping the organization's ban on gay scouts & gay scout leaders, Jennifer Tyrrell, the mom from Ohio who was ousted as the den leader of her 7 year old son's Cub Scout pack because she's gay, delivered more than 300,000 petition signatures to Scouts' headquarters calling for her to be reinstated & for the Boy Scouts of America to end their anti-gay policy. Tyrrell said that no secret committee will be able to silence the overwhelming number of people who want to see the Boy Scouts join organizations including the Girl Scouts of the USA, the 4-H Club, Boys & Girls Club & the United States Armed Forces in ending the ban. Updates To Come…:)
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Thursday, July 19, 2012

New Leader For Marriage Equality USA

As we reported back in December two powerful LGBT groups, Marriage Equality New York (MENY) & Marriage Equality USA (MEUSA) consolidated. Now they have announced the appointment of a new full-time Executive Director, Brian Silva effective August 1st. Silva stated, “2012 is a historic year for marriage equality, with the issue on the ballot in 4 states this November & legal challenges to DOMA & Prop. 8 moving forward to the Supreme Court. This is an incredibly exciting time for our movement & I am looking forward to rolling up my sleeves immediately as MEUSA expands grassroots efforts across the country to win equal marriage rights nationwide.” MEUSA Board Co-President Cathy Marino-Thomas added, “The strength of Marriage Equality [USA] has always been its volunteer staff, chapter leaders & countless individuals. MEUSA needed an Executive Director with proven skills to harness that energy to empower & expand the national & local initiatives that have made us such a critical partner in this movement – we know we have found that in Brian Silva & we look forward to many more successful campaigns to come under his leadership.” A member of MENY since 2008, Silva helped coordinate MENY’s participation in the 2009 National Equality March in Washington DC, multiple Equality & Justice Days in Albany & chaired the 2010 7th NYC Wedding March across the Brooklyn Bridge. In the spring of 2011, Silva became Deputy Executive Director, leading MENY’s participation in the New Yorkers United for Marriage Coalition formed by Governor Andrew Cuomo. After the state-level marriage equality bill was passed, Silva assumed the role of Executive Director of MENY, jump-starting MENY’s role on a national level by coordinating phone banks & assisting out-of-state marriage organizations to help marriage efforts in New Hampshire & New Jersey, as well as MENY’s membership in the federal Respect for Marriage Coalition.
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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Target Stores Now Carry Gay Cards

Target continues to try to cash in on our LGBT community by now providing gay greeting cards in their stores. What a difference a few years makes since they were exposed for donating a sizable amount of money to an anti-gay politician in Minnesota. Remember Lady Gaga locked heads with them over a marketing deal for her BORN THIS WAY CD release due to their homophobic position. Lady Gaga stated last year, "Part of my deal with Target is that they have to start affiliating themselves with LGBT charity groups & begin to reform & make amends for the mistakes they've made in the past ... our relationship is hinged upon their reform in the company to support the gay community & to redeem the mistakes they've made supporting those [anti-gay] groups." Last May Target offered a line of tacky LGBT tee shirts just in time for Gay Pride that were only offered online but the new gay cards are actually available in stores & placed on their card racks under the headings of "For Two Special Men" & "For Two Special Women.” With other Minnesota-based companies like General Mills coming out for gay marriage, Target hasn’t taken that step but with a proposed constitutional amendment on that state’s November ballot to ban marriage equality everything is on the line in Minnesota for our LGBT community.
Updates to Come…:)
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Monday, July 16, 2012

Other Sheep LGBT Rwanda Seminar

This past weekend Rev. J. Elie Gasana, Other Sheep Coordinator for Rwanda & Democratic Republic of the Congo, hosted a one-day LGBT workshop in Gisenyi, Rwanda. Other Sheep Executive Director Rev. Stephen Parelli offered 2 papers in French & Alfred Ssekabanja of Uganda Victim Support Organization was guest speaker. Twelve clergy & one lay leader, whose ministries range from the local to national level in Rwanda, participated. The attendees were arranged into discussion groups, with designated leaders, to read & interact between themselves on the 2 papers & to prepare written questions for Parelli to address before all the attendees. The first paper, authored by Parelli, dealt with his own journey through his ex-gay experience. The second paper, authored by Dr. Ralph Blair addressed the Bible texts traditionally used to condemn sexual minorities. Each attendee received a hard copy of each paper. The majority of the time was spent on the first paper with discussion & questions around homosexuality as an orientation. Parelli said, "Whatever questions you have about homosexuality, ask the same question about heterosexuality & you will have your answer." Alfred Ssekabanja, guest speaker from Uganda & himself Rwandan, shared his personal story as to how he came to work on behalf of the human rights of LGBT people in Uganda. He said he must help affirm the human rights of LGBT people even at the risk of being rejected by the church. He said he cannot stand silent in Uganda & watch the discrimination, rejection & even the possible death of LGBT people. Uganda cannot become another Rwanda where people are judged 'by their nature & not by their character.' He said if we have learned nothing from the Rwanda genocide, we will still discriminate. In group discussion, one member evoked the word 'kwihanganirana' which means: "I am different; you are different; but we must live together." This report was provided by Other Sheep Executive Director Rev. Stephen Parelli. Updates to Come…:)
For More Info: othersheep.org
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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Media Giant Reuters Supports Equality

The media company Reuters stated that an amendment to ban gay marriage in Minnesota would be bad for business. Already prominent companies including General Mills & St. Jude Medical have made a stand against the proposed amendment on the November ballot. This is homophobic overkill in Minnesota since that state already has a law against gay marriage but anti gay marriage opponents say the amendment is necessary to put the ban in the state constitution. In a statement, Thomson Reuters said it doesn’t believe the amendment “would be good for Thomson Reuters or the business community in the state.” Spokesman John Shaughnessy said Thomson Reuters, headquartered in New York City, has almost 8,000 employees in Minnesota, most based in the Minneapolis suburb of Eagan & 60,000 around the world. “We believe the Minnesota Marriage Amendment, if passed, would limit our ability to recruit & retain top talent,” several Minnesota-based company executives wrote in an email to employees. It’s about time that a media giant has taken such a positive stand on marriage equality. In an attempt to change hearts & minds in Minnesota LGBT Minnesotans have launched www.greatminnesotaouting.com. The concept is to come out online to reach neighbors, friends & colleagues who are more likely to support gay rights if they’re aware they know a gay or lesbian person. The campaign collects videos produced by LGBT Minnesotans telling their friends & neighbors of their part in the LGBT community & making an appeal to them to vote no on the amendment. The Great Minnesota Outing is acting on statistics that show people who know a LGBT person are far more supportive of gay rights, especially if they hear a direct appeal about the marriage amendment.
For More info: greatminnesotaouting.com
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Saturday, July 14, 2012

Gay Military Requested For San Diego Pride

San Diego Pride officials are asking gay & lesbian uniformed active duty service members & their families to join their pride parade. Active duty gay military have received approval from the Office of the Secretary of Defense & their commanding officers to march in the America’s Pride Parade Military Contingent while wearing their uniforms. Gay veterans have long been allowed to wear their uniforms & now their active duty brothers & sisters will be able to march in uniform alongside them with Pride. In a videotaped message released in June, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta stated: “Before the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ you faithfully served your country with professionalism & courage. And just like your fellow service members, you put your country before yourself. And now—after repeal, you can be proud of serving your country & be proud of who you are when in uniform.” In 2011, San Diego made global news as being the first city in the United States to have a gay active duty military contingent in a Pride Parade. With the theme of America’s Pride, San Diego Pride is looking to continue to break exciting new ground & push forward on issues of equality. “The promise of America grounded in the Constitution, contained in our Pledge of Allegiance, inscribed on the Statue of Liberty and enunciated by generations of our nation’s leaders is that America stands for liberty, for justice, for equality for all. This has been America’s Pride,” announced Dwayne Crenshaw, executive director of San Diego LGBT Pride. San Diego Pride is July 20th & 22nd & so far they have over 300 individuals signed up for this one contingent.
For More Info: sdpride.org/military
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