Friday, November 29, 2013

Provincetown Black Friday & More

Instead of heading to the malls on Black Friday we suggest taking a different route. Provincetown on Black Friday is the LGBT alternative. The whole town is on sale. You can find great gift choices all around town, since many of the stores are having end of season sales & holiday specials & the UU Meetinghouse is holding a holiday Crafts Fair both Friday & Saturday with gifts for everyone. Then check out the annual Casino Night hosted by the Provincetown Business Guild at the Crown & Anchor. Play blackjack, Texas holdem, roulette, spin the money wheel & more in a glittery evening while supporting a great organization. Saturday offers the anticipated pleasure of the Annual Lighting of the Lobster Pot Tree. Now in its 10th year Provincetown artist Julian Popko & family build the unique tree right in the heart of Provincetown's Lopes Square. Stacked with over 100 real lobster traps borrowed from local lobstermen, the tree is lit with thousands of fabulous decorations & holiday lights. Later in the evening on Saturday catch a special holiday edition of the famous “Illusions” Drag Revue night at the Crown & Anchor. This is Provincetown's longest running & most electrifying Drag Revue that makes a special Thanksgiving Weekend appearance. This Las Vegas style revue features 4 of America's top female impersonators who perform at 8:30P. There are also plenty of restaurants open & you can dance the night away at The A House or the Retro-Active Video Lounge at The Crown. See You There…:)
For Info & Tix: onlyatthecrown.com
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Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving For LGBT Families

We always have something to be thankful for on Thanksgiving Day but this year our LGBT community has historically moved closer to equality in this country. As we celebrated 10 years of marriage equality in Massachusetts 15 other states have passed gay marriage. The US Supreme Court has ruled Prop 8 & DOMA unconstitutional & the federal government has finally recognized legally married gay & lesbian couples with federal rights & benefits for their families. Without a doubt these are amazing achievements but our work will not end until we have achieved marriage equality in all 50 states. As ENDA the Employment Non-Discrimination Act slowly moves forward in Washington we will not be safe until this bill passes providing a safe workplace environment for all of our LGBT community, regardless on whom they choose to love. As we continue our momentum to full equality in this country we must keep on educating those who just don’t get it until they do. My grandmother always said everyone wants the same thing; “A roof over their heads, food in their bellies & someone to love.” Let’s all remember that simple definition of life as we enjoy this holiday. So from our family to yours have a Fabulous & Safe Thanksgiving Day....:)
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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

LGBT Homeless Youth Epidemic


As we get ready to celebrate Thanksgiving we reflect on the fact that every year thousands of LGBTQ youth are kicked out of their homes, rejected by their families & left to fend for themselves on the streets. Alarming statistics reveal that 40% of all homeless youth identify as LGBTQ. This means that this holiday season, thousands of LGBTQ youth won't be sitting down to holiday meals with their family, they'll be doing whatever they can to survive. Zach had to go through exactly this kind of traumatizing experience. Despite being rejected by his family & enduring homelessness, he beat all the odds & became a beacon of hope for youth in his community. He's committed his life to creating a better world for LGBTQ youth & organizes with one of our favorite LGBT organization GetEQUAL in Mississippi in order to push back on the kinds of discrimination & hatred that so many young people face each day. Zach stated, "Being a homeless teenager was one of the most difficult times of my life. I'm honestly not sure what the worst part was -- not knowing where I was going to live, whether or not I was going to be able to finish high school, or the rejection from the people I loved most because of something I had no control over. After the rejection from my family, I spoke out about my story once or twice & GetEQUAL took notice of me. Becoming a member of the GetEQUAL family changed my life. It gave me direction. It gave me the sense of belonging I had been searching for. For the first time in a very long time, I felt like I was exactly where I was supposed to be. Now, fighting for equality alongside my fellow activists is what defines me. I fight so that no other kid has to go through what I went through as a teen. Mississippians still have a hard fight ahead of us. However, my life experiences & having a huge support system through GetEQUAL have given me the drive to keep fighting.”
For More Info & Donate:getequal.org 
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Monday, November 25, 2013

LGBT Democracy Council Event


The Democracy Council has announced the launch of its new LGBT Global Rights Initiative. The new initiative, which is the first of its kind at a mainstream international development organization, will work directly with LGBT activists in repressive societies, including Russia & Iran providing resources, tools & training to grassroots organizations. James Prince, President of the Democracy Council stated, “As Secretary of State Kerry & former Secretary Clinton have emphasized, LGBT rights are human rights. We are proud to be explicitly including LGBT equality in our work & call on others to join us. We don’t tell activists what to do & we don’t seek the spotlight. Our core competency is getting on the ground, working in the trenches to support local activists in their brave struggle for equality. We work to give them the tools & resources to do the work they want to do.” Prince added that the Democracy Council has consulted extensively with longtime international LGBT activists in the design of the LGBT Global Rights Initiative & will continue to do so throughout the project. The Council is launching the initiative with a benefit on December 7th in Los Angeles. Olympic gold medalist Greg Louganis, the Olympic gold medalist who has been outspoken regarding the safety of LGBT athletes at the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi, will be among the speakers. Louganis added, "The situation for LGBT people in Russia & in other parts of the world, is horrific. With its impressive track record, the Democracy Council is poised to make a real, immediate impact."
For More Info: democracycouncil.org 
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Friday, November 22, 2013

JFK & His Gay Best Friend

With the fiftieth anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination we thought we’d explore 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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Thursday, November 21, 2013

LGBT U.S. Immigration Event


While Congress debates legislation to reform our broken immigration system it's imperative that safeguards for vulnerable groups like LGBT immigrants are considered. The Center for American Progress is having a special event entitled “Dignity Denied: LGBT Immigrants in U.S. Immigration Detention” on Wednesday Nov. 25th from Noon to 1:30P at 1333 H St. NW, 10th Floor in Washington, D.C. Experts, stakeholders & members of the LGBT community will discuss the dangers that LGBT immigrants face in our current immigrant detention system including what has been done so far & ways to improve the system going forward. A new report on the topic will also be released. There will be a personal reflection by Krypcia a transgender asylum seeker who was kept in solitary confinement. Feature speakers will also include, Olga Tomchin, Soros Fellow, Transgender Law Center, Royce Murray, Policy Director, National Immigrant Justice Center & Christina Fialho, Co-Founder/ Executive Director, Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement. The event will be moderated by Sharita Gruberg, Policy Analyst, LGBT Immigration Project at the Center for American Progress. The Department of Homeland Security detains on average, 34,000 people each day in immigration detention facilities. These facilities are treacherous environments for LGBT immigrants who are vulnerable to abuse & mistreatment due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. Reports of abuse from attorneys & complaints against Immigration & Customs Enforcement revealed through Freedom of Information Act requests paint a picture of the dangers LGBT immigrants face in ICE custody. In response to these problems, ICE has taken numerous steps to address the particular needs & vulnerabilities of LGBT immigrants, but more reforms are needed. Space is extremely limited. RSVP required. A light lunch will be served at 11:30A.
To RSVP & INFO: americanprogress.org 
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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Trans Day of Remembrance 2013


November 20th marks the 15th annual Transgender Day of Remembrance when people from all across the globe pause to remember those who have lost their lives to anti-transgender violence. Transgender women particularly transgender women of color are disproportionately subjected to hate violence. According to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs 44% of all LGBT murder victims in 2010 were transgender women. Actress Laverne Cox who stars in “Orange is the New Black” stated, “When we celebrate Transgender Day of Remembrance today, as we mourn I want to charge each & every one of you to find ways you can resist & raise awareness in your own lives to make the lives of trans people better & to create more gender self-determination & gender freedom for yourselves.” Cox is the first trans woman of color to have a leading role on a mainstream scripted TV show. Transgender Day of Remembrance marks the end of Transgender Awareness Week, a national campaign to raise visibility & awareness of transgender people & issues, which began November 12th. Transgender Day of Remembrance was founded in 1998 by graphic designer, columnist & activist Gwendolyn Ann Smith, a trans woman to memorialize the murder of Rita Hester in Allston, Massachusetts. Since its inception it has been held annually on Nov. 20th & has evolved from the web-based project started by Smith into an international day of action.
For More Info: masstpc.org 
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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Anti Gay Uganda Protest In UK


Gay activists & allies rallied outside the Ugandan High Commission in London Monday to protest against “Uganda’s witch-hunts & show trials of LGBT people.” The protest was timed to coincide with two high profile gay court cases that took place in Uganda involving Sam Ganafa & Bernard Randall. Ugandan gay rights leader Samuel K Ganafa appeared in court at Nabweru Monday over allegedly trumped up accusations of sodomy & infecting a man with HIV. He was remanded in Kasangati prison until his next court date on Nov. 25th. At least three of his colleagues may also face charges. Ganafa is the executive director of Spectrum Uganda & the Chair of Sexual Minorities Uganda. Also on trial is a retired expatriate British gay man, Bernard Randall & his Ugandan friend, Albert Cheptoyek which was adjourned until Dec. 4th. Bernard faces charges of trafficking obscene publications. This charge relates to private intimate videos. These videos only became public & police knowledge after Bernard's laptop was stolen & his personal videos were leaked to the media. Albert is being charged with gross indecency. Peter Tatchell, Director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation, who attended and spoke at the protest stated, “We are protesting against the homophobic witch-hunts & show trials in Uganda. These prosecutions violate Uganda’s own constitution & the African Charter on Human & People’s Rights, both of which guarantee equal treatment & non-discrimination to all citizens. The criminalization of homosexuality is contrary to these human rights obligations, which Uganda has agreed & pledged to uphold. All charges should be dropped and Uganda’s colonial-era anti-homosexual laws repealed. Uganda is known as one of the worst countries in the world to be gay. The maximum penalty for same-gender relations is life imprisonment & a bill before the parliament in Kampala proposes the death penalty for repeat homosexual offenders. In addition, there are widespread homophobic threats & mob violence - often fuelled by anti-gay Christian fundamentalists who are supported by right-wing evangelical pastors in the US.”
For More Info: petertatchellfoundation.org 
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Sunday, November 17, 2013

Marking 10 Years of Gay Marriage


Ten years ago in a 50-page 4 to 3 ruling on November 18, 2003 the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that, "We declare that barring an individual from the protections, benefits & obligations of civil marriage solely because that person would marry a person of the same sex violates the Massachusetts Constitution." It was GLAD (Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders), the architects of marriage equality in America who kicked off a marriage equality revolution with their groundbreaking decision in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health. The decision made the Commonwealth the first place in the United States where gay & lesbian couples could marry. On Wednesday November 20th, Mary L. Bonauto, the Civil Rights Project Director for GLAD & the attorney who argued Goodridge before the SJC will reflect on the intervening years & the road ahead for LGBT equality at Old South Meeting House at 6:30P entitled “The Goodridge Decision: 10 Years Out.” The event is free. Since Massachusetts opened the door to marriage equality 16 states & the District of Columbia have followed. In the past year the U.S. Supreme Court finally struck down the unconstitutional Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) which denied federal recognition to legally married gay & lesbian couples. Fittingly the Old South Meeting House at 310 Washington Street in Boston was the scene of some of the most dramatic & stirring meetings leading up to the American Revolution. Today the treasured National Historic Landmark remains an active center for civic dialogue & free expression in the heart of downtown Boston. The museum is a fitting location for the event because it was at Old South Meeting House that our LGBT community celebrated the Goodridge victory with a rally on November 18, 2004. “The Goodridge Decision: 10 Years Out” talk is co-sponsored by Old South Meeting House & GLAD & is made possible by funding from the Lowell Institute.
For More Info: glad.org 
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Friday, November 15, 2013

Bronx School Invites Gay Bullying


The new Bronx LGBTQ Center expressed their concerned after learning that Cardinal Spellman High School has invited Father Donald Timone to speak at its school about LGBT issues. While they respect freedom of speech, they do not respect bullying & hate speech, especially when it negatively impacts the lives of at-risk teenagers. Fr. Timone's misinformed & unenlightened rhetoric adds to the toxic environment that drives so many LGBTQ youth to despair & beyond. Peter C. Frank, the Center's secretary stated, "No educational institution should be so irresponsible as to invite someone whose entire approach to LGBTQ individuals is based on bad science. Exodus International, a Christian ministry that formerly advocated attempts to 'pray away the gay' (i.e. conversion therapy), recently disbanded after admitting that a person's sexual orientation cannot be changed & that reparative therapy is in fact harmful." Fr. Timone is affiliated with COURAGE, an organization that treats gay, lesbian, bisexual & transgender people as addicts curable by participation in a 12-step program, instead of accepting & respecting them as the loving individuals they are. Courage's "free speech" promotes self-loathing among LGBTQ individuals & encourages others to hate LGBTQ people simply for being who they are, thus putting them at a greater risk of being bullied. Mr. Frank added, "Cardinal Spellman High School should instead, like Pope Francis's recent statements, be sending a message of love, inclusion & acceptance.” Rev. Carmen Hernandez, a board member of the Center concluded, "We at the Bronx LGBTQ Center want all youth to know that you are fine just as you are. There is absolutely nothing wrong with you, whether you're straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or questioning. We accept & celebrate you for who you are." The Bronx LGBTQ Center is a safe space for all who are struggling with issues of sexual orientation or gender identity. Their Youth Group meets at 4P every Friday at Union Community Health Center, 260 East 188th Street, 5th Floor, the Bronx.
For More Info: bronxlgbtqcenter.org
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Thursday, November 14, 2013

LGBT Workers of Color Unequal


According to a new report LGBT workers of color are among the most disadvantaged workers in America. This is due to discrimination coupled with a lack of workplace protections, unequal job benefits & taxation & unsafe, under-resourced U.S. schools, LGBT people of color face extraordinarily high rates of unemployment & poverty. Sharon Lettman-Hicks, Executive Director & CEO of the National Black Justice Coalition stated, “Contrary to popular stereotypes, LGBT workers are more racially diverse than the general population, making it critical to address the unique obstacles they face. Bias & prejudice based on race, sexual orientation & gender identity/expression intersect to the detriment of LGBT workers of color.” Ineke Mushovic, Executive Director of the Movement Advancement Project added, “Systemic barriers & inequities in the educational system make it harder for LGBT people of color to meet workforce qualifications. LGBT workers of color are also unfairly denied or lack access to job-related benefits that other workers take for granted, making it harder for these workers to earn a living & provide for their families. “A Broken Bargain for LGBT Workers of Color,” is co-authored by the Movement Advancement Project, the Center for American Progress & its FIRE Initiative; Freedom to Work, the Human Rights Campaign & the National Black Justice Coalition in partnership with Color of Change, the Leadership Conference Education Fund, League of United Latin American Citizens, Mexican American Legal Defense & Educational Fund, the National Action Network, the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance, Out & Equal Workplace Advocates & SEIU. This is all just another reason why we need to pass ENDA, the Employment Nondiscrimination Act now. Updates to Come...:)
Read Full Report…
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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Hawaii Passes Gay Marriage


Hawaii becomes the 16th state to pass gay marriage with a Senate vote of 19-4 with two lawmakers excused. In a special session of the Hawaiian legislature passed bill, SB1 after decades of tireless effort by dedicated Hawaiians making marriage a reality in the Aloha State for all. Senator Kahale, stated, "Same-gender relationships are part of the very fabric of native Hawaiian culture. Aloha was meant to describe openness & caring for each other. It is time for Aloha for all. My mother was born & raised in Hawaii & our family grew up with a strong sense of Aloha spirit, family values, & fairness for all." Stuart Gaffney MEUSA Communications added, "As we celebrate today, our family couldn't be prouder that Hawaii is making history as the 16th marriage equality state in the union & the second state in one week to declare equality for all families!" John Lewis MEUSA Legal & Policy Director concluded, "One of the early milestones in the freedom to marry movement was the lawsuit filed in Hawaii 23 years ago in 1991. The people of Hawaii never gave up & their long road to equality will make the wedding bells ring a bit louder & the wedding cake taste that much sweeter when the first marriages begin in Hawaii." Marriage will begin next month on Dec 2nd for gay & lesbian couples in Hawaii. One year ago at this time there were 7 states with the freedom to marry & today there are 16. We’re definitely moving forward. Congrats!!
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Transgender Awareness Week


Taking place nationwide from Nov. 12th to the 20th, Transgender Awareness Week aims to educate the public about the transgender community & the issues the community faces. The Massachusetts Transgender Equal Rights Coalition marked the start of the annual Transgender Awareness week by calling on the legislature to pass the Equal Access Bill (H. 1589/S. 643), which would protect transgender people from discrimination in places of public accommodation. It culminates in the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance, a day when people around the globe gather for candlelight vigils to memorialize those transgender people who lost their lives to bias-related violence in the past year. This year’s Day of Remembrance will pay tribute to nearly 50 victims. Mason Dunn, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition stated, “Transgender Awareness Week is about increasing the visibility of the transgender community but unfortunately, many transgender people still fear being visible because it puts them at risk for violence, harassment & discrimination. In Massachusetts, 58 percent of respondents in a transgender discrimination survey reported being harassed and mistreated in public places like buses, airports, government agencies & restaurants. The legislature can help make Commonwealth safer & more accepting by passing the Equal Access Bill. All residents of the Commonwealth, including transgender people, need access to public places & services without fear of harassment or being made to leave simply because of who they are.”
For More Info: masstpc.org
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Sunday, November 10, 2013

Anti Gay Russia Hosts Pageant


Gabriela Isler a 25-year-old Venezuelan television announcer & flamenco dancer was crowned Miss Universe in Moscow last night. As you know the decision to hold the Miss Universe TV Pageant in Moscow with Russia's new anti gay law banning "homosexual propaganda'' prompted the original co-host & gay icon Andy Cohen to withdraw. He was replaced by NBC’s openly gay announcer Thomas Roberts who hosted the show with ex-Spice Girl Melanie Brown. They dedicated the show to the people affected by the horrific typhoon in the Philippines. Roberts justified his appearance in Russia saying that he hopes to be a positive example to the gay community stating, "I think I'm here to promote that people like me deserve equal rights, because we are no different than anyone else.'' Donald Trump who owns the TV franchise acknowledged concerns about broadcasting from Russia due to the gay rights situation adding, "Certainly as you know it has been an issue & it was not taken very lightly. I talked to a lot of people. As you know, Thomas is gay. He's very proud to be here.'' However Trump who is quite homophobic when asked about marriage equality concluded, “I think I’m evolving, & I think I’m a very fair person, but I have been for traditional marriage...I am for traditional marriage, I am for a marriage between a man & a woman.”
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Saturday, November 9, 2013

LGBT Photo Event Day

The Advocate is having its annual “Day in LGBT America” photo event. For the last two years tons of our LGBT community from every corner of America are encouraged to send photos of themselves to share their lives as part of this annual special report. Last year the response was fabulous & this year they’re putting together a big LGBT photo album again for 2013. So get your cameras charged & ready because they want to see what happens in your lives from dawn to late at night all over America this Monday, November 11, 2013. They want to see every aspect of LGBT life, from the mundane to the insane, from the glamorous to the gritty, whether you’re on an adventure or experiencing a quiet moment of solace. You don’t need to be a professional photographer. Just mark your calendar & on November 11th take a self-portrait, or have a friend photograph you or your family or friends doing anything that says something about who you are as a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender person in the United States. The best photographs taken on that single day in the United States will be featured in a photo essay titled “A Day in LGBT America” on Advocate.com. Think of "A Day in LGBT America" as one way you can help dispel what the religious right tries to sell America about LGBT people & simultaneously your photos will inspire young people with the power of the project's hopeful message.
For More Info: advocate.com
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Friday, November 8, 2013

LGBT Workplace Equality Next


The passage of ENDA (Employment Nondiscrimination Act) in the Senate is a tremendous symbolic victory for our LGBT community however the version of the bill that passed the Senate contains broad religious exemptions. This means that LGBT employees can still be fired from a Catholic organization based on their sexual orientation. Also the bill will now be subjected to homophobic Speaker of the House Boehner who said earlier this week that he believed that ENDA would “increase frivolous litigation.” U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, Co-chair of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus & member of the Education & the Workforce Committee which has jurisdiction over the bill stated, “I congratulate the Senate for confirming our country’s commitment to respecting the rights & liberties of all Americans, regardless of who they love. The basic principles of ENDA are so fundamental that 80 percent of Americans already believe it is law, & the Senate has moved us one step closer to making that a reality. Speaker Boehner now has a choice—stand behind frivolous excuses & remain on the wrong side of history, or join with the majority of the American people & honor the equality deserved by all Americans.” President Obama has said about our workplace discrimination, “It's offensive. It's wrong. And it needs to stop, because in the United States of America, who you are & who you love should never be a fireable offense." The grassroots org GetEQUAL is calling on President Obama to show leadership on this issue & sign an Executive Order that would make it illegal for any company contracting with the federal government to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. This would send a message but as Chad Griffin, President of HRC concludes, “There's a lot left to do in the fight for workplace equality & while we should cherish this historic moment, we can't afford to stop working yet.”
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Thursday, November 7, 2013

London Symphony Protest


Valery Gergiev will be conducting the London Symphony Orchestra on Thursday Nov 7th at the Barbican with a performance of Berlioz. There will be a protest outside the main entrance on Silk Street from 6P to 7P. Gay activist Peter Tatchell stated “This protest takes place on the anniversary of the 1917 Russian revolution. Some people argue that Russia needs a new, non-violent democratic revolution. Putin is taking the country backward. As well as escalating repression against the LGBT community, civil liberties & dissidents are also under attack. His regime has incarcerated political prisoners in jails that resemble gulags. Gergiev endorses Putin, despite this shameful repression. That’s why we need to protest.” Gergiev, the principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra has been the target of protests in London & New York because of his pro Putin position. Last Thursday as we reported gay rights activist Peter Tatchell interrupted the beginning of an LSO concert at London's Barbican when he took to the stage & told the audience: "Gergiev defends the new homophobic law that persecutes gay Russians." On Wednesday Gergiev released a statement justifying his homophobic position stating, "It is wrong to suggest that I have ever supported anti-gay legislation & in all my work I have upheld equal rights for all people. I am an artist & have for over three decades worked with tens of thousands of people in dozens of countries from all walks of life & many of them are indeed my friends.” However in September Gergiev stated in the Dutch newspaper Volkskrant, "In Russia we do everything we can to protect children from pedophiles. This law is not about homosexuality, it targets pedophilia. But I have too busy a schedule to explore this matter in detail." Updates To Come…:)
For More Info: petertatchellfoundation.org
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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Gay Marriage Comes To Illinois


The Illinois House of Representatives affirmed marriage equality as the law of the land by passing Senate Bill 10 with a vote of 61-54. The bill then went to the state Senate for technical changes where it passed by a margin of 32-21 sending the legislation to the governor's desk where Gov. Pat Quinn (D) has pledged to sign the legislation into law. Brian Silva, Marriage Equality USA Executive Director stated, "I am so proud of the work MEUSA & our partners in the Illinois coalition accomplished! The dedication this summer to redoubling efforts, reevaluating strategy & expanding our work has paid off for thousands of LGBT families in the Land of Lincoln.” Tracy Hollister, MEUSA Program Manager added, “Over the last several weeks, the love & commitment of our National Equality Action Team (NEAT), volunteers & partners across the country gave voice to the support for loving & committed couples in Illinois. We join Illinois in celebrating this victory for love, fairness & for all families!” Illinois becomes the 15th state to pass marriage equality joining California, Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, the District of Columbia, several counties in New Mexico & six Native American tribal jurisdictions which have all legalized marriage licenses for gay & lesbian couples. 
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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Senate Moves ENDA Forward


ENDA is moving forward in the Senate. This is the first time the Senate has taken on LGBT employment discrimination in almost 20 years. Currently only 17 states & the District of Columbia prohibit discrimination based on gender identity & sexual orientation while an additional 4 prohibit employment discrimination based only on sexual orientation. According to recent polls more than two-thirds of Americans including 56% of Republicans support a federal law protecting LGBT people from discrimination in the workplace. Additionally non-discrimination policies based on sexual orientation & gender identity are already in effect at a majority of our nation’s largest companies. Congressman Mark Pocan (WI), co-chair of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus stated, “When someone in the United States goes to work afraid they could be fired merely because of who they are, we are not living up to our ideals of equality before the law. Today the Senate sent a clear message that in this country you should be judged on the work you do, not on who you love. The Employee Non-Discrimination Act is bipartisan, commonsense legislation that ensures all Americans have the opportunity to thrive & succeed in the workplace, no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity. I urge the House to follow the lead of the Senate, a majority of Fortune 500 companies & the American people & ensure our workplaces are free from discrimination of any kind.”
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