Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Pope Francis & Marriage Equality

Update: It's been reported that Pope  Francis met with Kim Davis in Washington last week & told her to stay strong. The quote below was made following their secret meeting....
We all knew that Pope Francis during his U.S. visit would make some statement that would be derogatory regarding religious freedom as a means to discriminate against our LGBT community. Well he didn’t disappoint. When reporter Terry Moran from ABC News asked “Do you support those individuals, including government officials, who say they cannot in good conscience … abide by some laws or discharge their duties as government officials, for example when issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples?” Pope Francis stated, “Yes, I can say that conscientious objection is a right that is a part of every human right. It is a right & if a person does not allow others to be a conscientious objector, he denies a right … Conscientious objection must enter into every juridical structure because it is a right, a human right. Otherwise we would end up in a situation where we select what is a right, saying, ‘this right that has merit, this one does not.'” Russell Roybal, Deputy Executive Director, National LGBTQ Task Force stated, “As a Catholic, it’s very disappointing that Pope Francis doesn’t seem to understand that politicians & government officials using religion as an excuse to impose their prejudices on the public is profoundly wrong. That’s why we separate church & state in the United States. World history is replete with examples of Catholics being discriminated against—such as in Northern Ireland where in the 1960s and 1970s Catholic families were routinely refused public housing by Protestant government officials. Discrimination was wrong then & it’s wrong today when imposed by politicians on LGBTQ gay & lesbian couples who have a legal right to be issued with a marriage license. Our faith should liberate—not discriminate. Religious liberty is a cherished right but government officials should not be allowed to cherry pick the laws they want to follow and the ones they want to ignore.”
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Monday, September 28, 2015

Manhattan Digest Fundraiser Event

Manhattan Digest is having its 2nd fundraiser this coming Friday October 2nd at GYM SPORTSBAR one of New York’s top gay bars located in the heart of Chelsea. The event will take place from 7P to 9P & a portion of the proceeds will be going to support breast cancer research. Ryan Shea Editor-In-Chief of Manhattan Digest stated, “After having an absolutely amazing first fundraiser back in March, we at Manhattan Digest have decided to do a second one in hopes that this will be even more successful than the first. Similar to last time, it will be held in the basement area of the bar, where you can come & donate money to support breast cancer research in my late mother Lisa’s memory & bid on some incredible prizes that you yourself can actually win!” There will be a silent raffle where guests can bid on some fabulous prizes from LGBT run companies like Krave & Kulture, H Bake Shop, Best Barber in Hell's Kitchen & many more. Also on the amazing list are prizes from New York restaurant hotspots like Jacob's Pickles, Haru Sushi, Bay Kitchen Bar, The New York Beer Company as well as national brands like Crunch Gym & Amazon. Their goal is to raise $5,000 for cancer research. Raffle tickets are $5 for 2 tickets, $10 for 5 tickets & $20 for 10 tickets. GYM SPORTSBAR is located at 167 8th Ave between 18th & 19th St in NYC. 
For More Info: manhattandigest.com
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Saturday, September 26, 2015

See Jane Lynch Sing Live In Carmel

Emmy & Golden Globe Award winner Jane Lynch will be appearing at the Sunset Center on Saturday September 26th located on San Carlos Street at 9th Avenue in downtown Carmel-by-the-Sea in California at 8P. With her magnificent comedic timing, luminous stage presence & remarkable wit don’t miss this fabulous show. Best known as the one-liner powerhouse coach Sue Sylvester on Fox's hit television series Glee, Lynch cut her theatrical teeth at The Second City, Steppenwolf Theatre & in many church basements all over the greater Chicago-land area. However our LGBT community will always love her for her lesbian break OUT role in "Best In Show" & The L Word. Lynch earned an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress & a Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role for her role on Glee. Jane Lynch can currently be seen hosting NBC's Hollywood Game Night & starring as the lead in this fall's new CBS sitcom, “Angel From Hell”. Jane stated, "I do revel in performing live. I love the interaction with the audience. I love how they're like another component of the experience & you don't have that with television & film. The live stuff, it surprised me how much I missed it because I hadn't really missed it. When I did Annie, I had such a blast. I love theater, I love theater people, I love putting on my own makeup, I love the schedule, I love everything about it. And now I'm having the exact same fun doing this cabaret show all over the country." Arrive at 7PM for a season opener complimentary champagne & Marich Premium Chocolates reception in the theater lobby!
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Friday, September 25, 2015

Ann Hampton Callaway At Jazz Fest

Ann Hampton Callaway is kicking off The Berklee Bean Town Jazz Festival Friday September 25th at Scullers Jazz Club in Boston, Massachusetts. Callaway is one of the leading champions of the great American Songbook, having made her mark as a singer, pianist, composer, lyricist, arranger, actress, educator, TV host & producer. On Broadway she took center stage in the Tony-nominated hit Broadway musical “Swing!” & we love her fabulously infectious theme song to the hit TV series “The Nanny”. Ann told us, "Tonight, Scullers will be alive with the hot jazz & standards as I sing Ellington, Kern, Coleman & spotlight three greats with centennials this year- Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra & Billy Strayhorn. As this is part of The Berklee Bean Town Jazz Festival, I am proud to have on the bandstand three of Boston's best- Tim Ray on piano, Dave Zinno on bass & Yoron Israel on drums. And can't wait to see what Bean Town love songs I'll make up with the crowd tonight- at the 8 & 10 shows!” Callaway is also a Platinum Award winning writer whose songs are featured on seven of Barbra Streisand's recent CD's. She has also written songs with Carole King, Rolf Lovland & Barbara Carroll to name a few. Tickets are $40 for the show & $80 for dinner & the show. See You Tonight!
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Thursday, September 24, 2015

LGBT Point Foundation Gala

Caitlyn Jenner will present the Point Horizon Award to two Point Alumni, Rhys Ernst & Zach Zyskowski on Saturday, October 3rd at the Point Foundation gala “Voices On Point” at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Los Angeles. The Point Foundation is the nation’s largest provider of financial support, leadership training & mentoring to LGBTQ students of merit. The Point Horizon Award is given to young individuals who have taken a leadership role as advocates of the LGBTQ community. Ernst, an accomplished filmmaker & artist, is Co-Producer for Amazon’s “Transparent” & created the title sequence for the series. Zyskowski is noted for his work as a Producer on the ABC Family & Ryan Seacrest Productions docu-series “Becoming Us” & also a producer on CBS’ "Big Brother." Jorge Valencia, Point’s Executive Director & CEO stated, "Point’s mission is to provide LGBTQ young people with financial support & a mentor so that they can improve society. This year at Voices On Point we will honor two Point alumni who are doing just that. Rhys & Zach have distinguished themselves professionally by creating positive depictions of the LGBTQ community for acclaimed series watched by millions. They are an inspiration to our current Point Scholars, as well as the many young people eager to use their creativity & education to make a better world.” Voices On Point will feature performances by Grammy Award-nominated singer/songwriter Stacy Barthe & actress-singer/songwriter Jackie Cruz of Netflix’ s “Orange is the New Black.” Additional attendees include Amy Landecker, stage television & film actress of Amazon’s “Transparent,” Teri Polo, Hayden Byerly & Gavin Macintosh, television actors of ABC Family's “The Fosters,” Barrett Foa, stage & television actor of CBS’ “NCIS: Los Angeles,” Ray Santiago, television and film actor of Starz’ new series “Ash vs. Evil Dead,” actress Elisabeth Röhm of “Law & Order” & “Angel” & Olympic champion Greg Louganis.
For Info & Tix: pointfoundation.org
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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Pope Francis & LGBT Equality

It’s embarrassing that in 2015 Vatican officials are still so homophobic about LGBT equality. They’re actually offended by the guest list that will be greeting Pope Francis at the White House on Wednesday including Bishop Gene Robinson the first openly gay Episcopal bishop in the US, Mateo Williamson a transgender Catholic, & Vivian Taylor a transgender Episcopalian among others. Sarah Kate Ellis CEO & President of GLAAD stated, “ I was born & raised in an Irish Catholic family. I remember receiving communion for the first time as a young girl - it was a monumental moment in my life. Now I'm raising two of my own children & I would love for them to have a positive relationship with the Church, as I did. We will be joining other national leaders at a reception for Pope Francis at the White House. What an incredible honor! But it's not enough. LGBT Catholics have felt rejected by the Church for too long. This meeting would promote great healing in our Church and society & be an incredible first step towards greater justice in the U.S. & across the globe. I strongly believe that Pope Francis has an opportunity to use his massive platform to welcome LGBT people back into the Catholic Church. Pope Francis gives us hope that families like mine will be accepted & respected. Which is why I am joining Nicholas Coppola & over 7,000 others to call on the Pope to sit down with LGBT Catholics during his visit.”
Sign Petition….
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Monday, September 21, 2015

LGBT Diversity At The Emmys

Now that marriage equality is the law of the land our LGBT community appears to be more mainstream at national awards shows than ever before. It’s now commonplace for our community to thank their spouses & partners along with the heterosexual winners. Just a few years ago this was a very bold move to come out on national television. Nowadays it’s our transgender community fight for full equality that’s taking center stage to pull on our heartstrings. When LGBT ally Jeffrey Tambor took home the award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series at the Emmys Sunday night for his role in "Transparent" he made the passionate plead for trans equality by stating, “I’d like to dedicate my performance & this award to the transgender community. Thank you for your patience. Thank you for your courage. Thank you for your stories. Thank you for our inspiration. Thank you for letting us be part of the change. God bless.” Then LGBT ally Jill Soloway who won another Emmy for “Transparent” for Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series, explained in her acceptance speech that if her real life transgender parent “Moppa” wanted to rent an apartment, 32 states laws would not protect her from housing discrimination based on her gender identity stating, “We don’t have a trans tipping point. We have a trans civil rights problem.” She then urged viewers to support what she called the Transequality bill referring to the Equality Act that would add gender identity & sexual orientation to a preexisting list of legal protections from discrimination for our LGBT community. This is all good but let’s not forget that in 28 states gay & lesbian couples can now legally marry but are still be at risk of being fired from their job, evicted from their apartment or denied a hotel room simply for who they are or whom they love.
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Saturday, September 19, 2015

The Diodes Rock Pop Montreal

Legendary punk band The Diodes concluded their week-long Canadian tour at Pop Montreal performing at the Phi Centre. The Diodes were the first Canadian punk band signed to a major label. This was the band’s first Montreal appearance in almost 30 years. The evening began with a screening of the 1977 film “Crash 'n' Burn” directed by Ross McLaren which profiles the Toronto club & the bands that played there in the summer of 1977 including The Diodes, Teenage Head, The Dead Boys & The Boyfriends. Don Pyle then presented his "out of focus talking slide show" & photo exhibition, giving fans some extra insight into Toronto's rich punk history prior to the concert. Paul Robinson lead singer of The Diodes stated, “Pop Montreal was the highlight of our tour this year. Great getting back together with all of the original members of the band, John Catto on guitar, Ian Mackay on bass, John Hamilton on keyboards plus the awesome John Andrew from the UK on drums. It never ceases to amaze me that we still have the opportunity to get up & perform our brand of music to an ever-expanding young audience of curiosity seekers who still look up to our contribution as a first wave Canadian Punk band. It was great seeing Don Pyle’s slide show outlining the birth of Punk in Toronto with its strong ties between the LGBTQ community. It was an experimental time that blurred boundaries paving the way to a much freer & open community, where as outsiders, everyone supported each other.” Ralph Alfonso, The Diodes manager of 38 years, hosted the evening.
For More Info: thediodestoronto.com

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Friday, September 18, 2015

Federal Data Lacks LGBT Citizens

When the data from the American Community Survey, or ACS was recently released they offered a treasure trove of new information about the state of America today. However, important data on the needs & concerns of LGBT Americans were once again be missing. Senior Fellow Kellan Baker of the Center for American Progress stated, “The annual release of the ACS is a reminder of how little data are collected on the needs of the LGBT community. With at least 9 million Americans identifying as LGBT as of 2011 & myriad recent changes taking place that affect this population—from the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality to open military service to the growing visibility of the transgender population—accurate data about what it’s like to be an LGBT person in the United States today are indispensable. Without these data, it is hard to know what kinds of policies should be put in place to better serve LGBT communities & to assess the effectiveness of those policies already in place. It’s time LGBT Americans were counted.” Each year U.S. federal agencies that include the departments of Commerce, Labor, Health & Human Services, Justice, Education & Veterans Affairs field surveys such as the ACS in order to help all levels of government understand the needs of local communities, tailor policies & programs accordingly & enforce nondiscrimination laws such as the Civil Rights Act, among other uses. Timely & comprehensive demographic data from these surveys on sexual orientation & gender identity would be immensely valuable in efforts to understand and address issues such as unemployment, poverty & barriers to health care among the LGBT population.
Read More Info…
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Thursday, September 17, 2015

Mutual Of Omaha Sued By GLAD

Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) has filed a claim with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) charging that Mutual of Omaha Insurance Company discriminated when it denied a gay man long term care insurance because he is taking Truvada. Truvada is a form of PrEP or Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, a medication prescribed to HIV-negative people to prevent the transmission of HIV. This is the first lawsuit in the country challenging discrimination against a person on PrEP. The plaintiff, identified as John Doe in the complaint stated, “I was being responsible & doing the right thing. Insurance companies should be begging everyone to take Truvada – not discouraging them. As someone who lived through the worst of the epidemic & saw dozens of my friends die, I want to do everything I can to stop it.” Bennett Klein, Senior Attorney & AIDS Law Project Director at GLAD added, “Mutual of Omaha’s denial is nonsensical. If our client were not taking Truvada, not protecting his health & the health of others, he would have received the insurance. We should be well beyond the days when insurers make decisions based on fear and stereotypes about HIV. The assumption is that gay male sexuality is inherently risky and unhealthy & that’s just wrong.” Truvada, approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2004 as a treatment for HIV & in 2012 as a method of preventing HIV infection, is considered by public health experts to be a major medical breakthrough in HIV prevention, with the potential to end the epidemic.
For More Info: glad.org
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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

USA Rugby LGBT Commitment

USA Rugby & International Gay Rugby has formed a partnership to help promote a diverse & inclusive environment for players at all levels of rugby & to end LGBT discrimination in all areas of the game. Helen Carroll National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) Sports Project Director stated, “Ending LGBT discrimination in all sports has been one of NCLR’s core missions for 14 years. It’s thrilling to see USA Rugby & International Gay Rugby take these steps to eradicate homophobia in the game. Their efforts will ensure a more inclusive & secure environment for all LGBT rugby players around the world & we hope other professional organization in the U.S. & abroad will follow their example.” The National Center for Lesbian Rights made history in 2001 by becoming the first LGBT national organization to tackle rampant homophobia & transphobia in sports with the launch of its Sports Project. Since the Sports Project’s inception NCLR has worked to eliminate discrimination based on sexual orientation & gender identity in sports through advocacy, outreach & litigation. Under the leadership of former NCAA women’s basketball championship coach & athletic director Helen J. Carroll NCLR has provided assistance to hundreds of high schools & universities as well as professional athletes, coaches & sport personnel. NCLR’s Sports Project works on all levels of athletic competition, from the NCAA to the NFL, to ensure that LGBT athletes can compete & participate openly & equally.
For More Info: nclrights.org
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Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Massachusetts 2015 Lobby Day

Under Massachusetts law there are no explicit protections ensuring that transgender people cannot be turned away from a hotel or denied service at a restaurant simply because of who they are. On September 17th hundreds of transgender Bay Staters will stand alongside their family, friends & allies in the Massachusetts Statehouse & together make the case to lawmakers that it’s time for full transgender equality. It’s time to pass legislation this year ensuring transgender people are protected from discrimination under our state’s public accommodation law, we need everyone to turn out for this event. The Freedom Massachusetts 2015 Lobby Day is to support updating state law to fully protect transgender people from discrimination & takes place Thursday Sept. 17th from 11:30A to 3:30P at the Massachusetts Statehouse 24 Beacon Street in Boston, MA. Jennifer Levi Transgender Rights Project Director for Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) stated, “We’ve come pretty far toward full LGBT equality here in Massachusetts. But as all of us who still experience discrimination daily in public spaces like restaurants, hotels or public transportation know - we’re not done yet. On Thursday September 17th I’ll be at the Statehouse urging lawmakers to pass legislation to ensure transgender people are explicitly protected from discrimination under our state’s public accommodation law. I hope you’ll join me. It’s going to take all of us – transgender people, friends, family members & allies – to make sure we pass this law this year. Sign up now to join me on September 17 & invite everyone you know who cares as much as you do about full equality. I’ll see you there!”
To Sign Up….
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Sunday, September 13, 2015

LGBT Celebrate Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah the Jewish New Year begins at sundown tonight celebrating of the year 5776. Rosh Hashanah starts a 10-day period of introspection & contemplation culminating in Yom Kippur the Day of Atonement. Rosh Hashanah is marked with a special rituals. Prior to the arrival of the day it is customary to send new years greetings to friends, to buy new clothing & to examine ones behavior. On Rosh Hashanah eve you eat apples dipped in honey signifying a sweet year. At Rosh Hashanah services the day is marked with a special liturgy in which we pray for the whole world. A highlight of the Rosh Hashanah service is the sounding of the Shofar a ram's horn which is meant to shock the listener into self-examination. For a few years now there’s a LGBT inclusive prayer book for Rosh Hashanah & Yom Kippur. The contemporary text for Conservative congregations acknowledges LGBT relationships by making references to "partners", faltering faith, depression, loneliness & financial difficulties has been hailed as "an extraordinary event" by the Rabbinical Assembly the New York-based organization of Conservative rabbis that is behind its creation. Rabbi Jacob Luski of Congregation B'nai Israel states that the new prayer book brings a sensitivity to "issues of the 21st century" with its gender-neutral language & practical approach. "Yom Kippur is a fast day, yet some of us have medical issues. There is a prayer for those unable to fast. There is a prayer for caregivers. It's a sensitivity we've always had, but here there is a prayer just for that. There is a prayer for remembering a hurtful parent during the Yizkor, or memorial service, on Yom Kippur.” L'shanah tovah ("for a good year") to all our LGBT Jewish Families especially to all our Jewish LGBT newlyweds!!
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Friday, September 11, 2015

Gay Grape Stomp Annual Event

For the second fabulous year the Viszlay Vineyards a family owned boutique winery located in the Russian River Valley of Sonoma County in California is having their annual Gay Grape Stomp Competition on Saturday September 12th from 4P to 7P. They’re encouraging you to arrive in your favorite wine costume. Perhaps like Lucy Ricardo did in her famous episode. Enjoy great wine & live music with classic grill fare. Viszlay Vineyards wines will be available throughout the evening to pair with your favorite costume, whether its a banana or Ethel's best friend, or anything in between. All are welcome. There will be prizes for the best costumes! The grape stomping begins at 5:30P. Special guest Lucy will MC, so you're sure to have a ball! John Viszlay stated, “As a family owned, LGBT-friendly, boutique winery located in the Russian River Valley, we specialize in making small lot, estate wines from our 10 acre vineyard. Our winery is nestled amongst the 12 varietals we grow, including the only Prosecco grapes in Sonoma County. We practice sustainable farming methods & embrace the traditional wine making styles that produce soft, elegant & balanced wines. The art & science of wine making come together through our passion, which we hope you’ll enjoy in each bottle.” Tickets are $20 online & $35 at the door.
For Info & Tix: viszlayvineyards.com
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Thursday, September 10, 2015

Provincetown 28th Swim For Life

The 28th Provincetown Harbor Swim For Life & Paddler Flotilla takes place this Saturday September 12th. Since 1987 thousands of swimmers, kayakers, volunteers & the public have been participating in this fabulous Provincetown fundraising tradition presented by the Provincetown Community Compact. Swimmers across the country will swim the 1.4 mile across Provincetown Harbor to benefit the following LGBT community organizations and LGBT ally projects: Helping Our Women, AIDS Support Group of Cape Cod, Outer Cape Health Services, Provincetown Rescue Squad, Lower Cape Ambulance, Academy at Provincetown Schools, Soup Kitchen of Provincetown & The Compact Community Fund. Last year swimmers raised over $200,000. Jay Critchley, one of the original founders of the event stated, “When people gather with passion & vision great things are accomplished. For over a quarter century, in Provincetown’s Harbor of Refuge, thousands of swimmers braved its unpredictable waters − its currents, surging tides, & their deep fears − raising $3M+ for AIDS, women’s health & the community. Celebrating its 28th year, this quintessential Provincetown tradition symbolizes the heroic efforts of a community devastated by the pandemic & its unequivocal response to it. The Swim For Life & Paddler Flotilla has become a catalyst for a nurturing community, offering connectedness, healthy exercise & continuity for those who return year after year. Our anticipation is high as we approach the 28th Swim! The Harbor waters are warm & inviting. They await us. Come test the waters, or make a donation.”
For More Info: swim4life.org
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Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Tennessee Williams Festival

The Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival will celebrate its 10th anniversary with Year TENN: A Decade of Tennessee Williams in Provincetown from September 24th to 27th. The Festival features a collection of landmark productions & brand new plays that honor the Festival's past & the legacy of gay icon Tennessee Williams in what is known as the birthplace of American Theater. The nation's largest performing arts festival dedicated to Williams examines his work, life, evolving historical significance & the playwright's own connection to the quaint gay friendly community at the tip of Cape Cod. Williams lived & wrote in Provincetown which is considered the nation's oldest continuous art colony where literary works have been a hallmark of the town. Eugene O'Neil's first produced play Bound East For Cardiff was written in Provincetown in 1916. Each year since 2006 thousands of theater lovers have made a pilgrimage to Provincetown for a fresh & intriguing perspective on Williams' plays, as performed by theater groups from across the country & international artists. In its first decade the Festival has premiered 10 new works by Tennessee Williams that have since traveled worldwide. The Parade by Tennessee Williams will be presented this year. It’s an autobiographical one-act play that traces the poetic contours of Williams’ first true love & heartbreak in Provincetown starring Ben Berry as Don & directed by Jef Hall-Flavin.
For More Info & Tix: twptown.org
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Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Harbor To The Bay AIDS Ride

Harbor to the Bay is a one-day bike ride from Boston to Provincetown, Massachusetts on September 19th with 100% of all pledges going directly to fight HIV/AIDS. Harbor to the Bay began in 2003 with an idea by the late Michael Tye, a group of Boston’s Club Café staff & dedicated friends who shared the dream to launch the 126-mile AIDS bike ride. Their idea was simple, a one-day ride from Boston (Harbor) to Provincetown (Bay) staffed completely by volunteers & a commitment that all rider pledges go directly to defeat HIV/AIDS. With millions of dollars being raised over the last 12 years, this year their goal is $500,000. So far over 250 riders have signed up and over 140 volunteer crew members. Riders also have the unique option of riding the complete or any part of the 126-mile route. Jim Morgrage, Harbor to the Bay President stated, “As we enter year 13 of this ride, let us acknowledge that our fight is not yet over. Without an increased effort on our part, we risk having to take steps backward & begin to turn away those who need our help most. Thousands of you have honored the life of Michael Tye & the thousands of New Englanders who have lost their lives to HIV. We also know that those who look down on us are smiling & grateful for all you have done over these past 12 years. This year let’s raise more money, double our efforts & ensure that no one who needs our help is turned away.” All proceeds from Harbor to the Bay will support Fenway Health, AIDS Support Group of Cape Cod, Community Research Initiative, AIDS Action Committee & The Harbor to the Bay General Fund.
For More Info: harbortothebay.org
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Monday, September 7, 2015

Labor Day For LGBT Americans

Labor Day is always bittersweet for our LGBT community. With marriage equality now the law of the land it’s time to push for a comprehensive LGBT Non-Discrimination Act. In 28 states gay & lesbian couples can now legally marry but are still at risk of being fired from their job, evicted from their apartment or denied a hotel room simply for who they are or whom they love. A majority of states as well as the federal government, still lack protections from discrimination based on sexual orientation & gender identity in employment, housing, public accommodations, credit & education. The effort to pass nationwide non-discrimination protections promises to be the next major priority of the LGBT movement following the Supreme Court’s historic marriage equality decision. Our LGBT community is still faced with the alarming facts that 1 in 10 lesbian, gay & bisexual workers report being fired because of their sexual orientation while 1 in 4 transgender workers reported being fired because of their gender identity. Nearly 1 in 3 transgender Americans reported being denied equal treatment in a retail store. Also 1 in 4 gay & lesbian couples experienced discrimination when trying to buy a home. Now with the beginning of the new school year more than half of LGBT students from kindergarten to high school seniors report feeling unsafe at school as a result of their sexual orientation & more than a third reported feeling unsafe because of how they express their gender. So enjoy your Labor Day Holiday but remember there’s still much more work to be done.
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Friday, September 4, 2015

LGBT Inclusive Affordable Care Act

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services under Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, or ACA has proposed a rule that will end discrimination in health care including discrimination based on gender identity & sex stereotyping. Winnie Stachelberg Center for American Progress Executive Vice President for External Affairs stated, “The proposed rule establishing that the Affordable Care Act’s primary nondiscrimination provision, Section 1557, applies to LGBT people is a significant victory for LGBT equality. As we saw from the recent introduction of the Equality Act by more than 200 members of Congress, the charge is growing across the country to eradicate the discrimination that LGBT people & their families continue to encounter in fundamental areas of everyday life, such as health care. These regulations are a critical component of making the right to affordable health coverage & high-quality health care a reality for everyone in America, including LGBT people & their families. We look forward to working with the Department of Health and Human Services to finalize robust regulations codifying these vital protections & to ensure that sexual orientation is explicitly included alongside gender identity & sex stereotyping in the final rule.” Although Section 1557 has been in force since the law’s passage in March 2010 the release of this proposed rule is a critical component of ensuring that all Americans are able to access the health coverage & care they need without encountering discrimination on the basis of their race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex, including gender identity & sex stereotyping.
For More Info: www.hhs.gov
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Thursday, September 3, 2015

California Passes Transgender Bills

Two landmark transgender rights bills were passed by the California State Assembly Wednesday. They were authored by Senator Mark Leno & co-sponsored by the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), Equality California & Transgender Law Center. The bills protect transgender people who work for companies doing business with state agencies & transgender children in the foster care system. Geoff Kors NCLR Government Policy Director stated, “By ensuring that the state contracts only with companies that provide equal benefits to their transgender employees, California will save money & help reduce discrimination. Equal benefits laws for employees with same-gender partners have dramatically expanded the number of employees in gay & lesbian relationships who now receive equal benefits & this bill will do the same for transgender employees.” Kevin West, a Sacramento student & nanny who entered the foster care system as a toddler added, “As a former foster youth who was in the system for 16 years, I am living proof that a supportive environment helps nurture success. My caregivers fully embraced my gender identity as a teenager & helped create a situation where other foster kids also accepted me. Not all transgender foster youth have stories like mine, but with this change in law, I’m hopeful they will.” Shannan Wilber NCLR Youth Policy Director concluded, “SB 731 provides critical guidance to child welfare professionals by making clear that all children in foster care have the right to placements that are consistent with their gender identity, irrespective of the sex listed in their court or child welfare records. By extending equal treatment to transgender children, California once again demonstrates its commitment to achieving safety, permanence & well-being for all children in the custody of its child welfare system.”
For More Info: nclrights.org
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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Addicted To Fresno NYC Debut

NEWFEST, New York’s LGBT Film & Media Arts Organization is thrilled to present the New York Premiere of director Jamie Babbit’s new comedy ADDICTED TO FRESNO on Wednesday September 2nd at 8P at the SVA Theatre. ADDICTED TO FRESNO is a dark comedy about two sisters stuck in dead-end jobs in Fresno, CA. Shannon (Judy Greer) is fresh out of sex addiction rehab when her younger lesbian sister Martha (Natasha Lyonne) lands her a job as a maid at a local hotel. The film stars Judy Greer (JURASSIC WORLD), Natasha Lyonne (ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK), Aubrey Plaza (PARKS & RECREATION), Fred Armisen (PORTLANDIA, LATE NIGHT WITH SETH MYERS), Ron Livingston (OFFICE SPACE), Jessica St. Clair (PLAYING HOUSE), Kumail Nanjiani (SILICON VALLEY), Molly Shannon (SNL) and Clea Duvall (ARGO). Greer, Lyonne & filmmakers Jamie Babbit & Karey Dornetto will all be present at the screening, Q&A & afterparty with special guests from OITNB & LOOKING are also scheduled to attend. NewFest’s Executive Director Robert Kushner stated, “When BUT I’M A CHEERLEADER premiered at NewFest in 2000, it made instant LGBT icons out of both Jamie Babbit & Natasha Lyonne. We are delighted to have the chance to give NewFest’s audience a chance to experience this hysterical reunion of director, star & producer, which also features some of the funniest comedic performers around in supporting roles. This screening will also serve as a very fun kick-off leading up to the presentation of the new & expanded NewFest which takes place October 22nd to 27th at the recently renovated Bow Tie Cinemas in Chelsea, with additional programming at The LGBT Center in the West Village. We are excited to have once again partnered with Outfest to program the festival.”
For More Info: newfest.org 
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