Thursday, March 31, 2016

LGBT Major Health Survey

A new analysis by the Center for American Progress found that a growing number of U.S. states & territories are incorporating questions about the health of LGBT people into the world’s longest continuously conducted health survey. In 2015 a record 25 states included sexual orientation & gender identity or SOGI questions in their Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System or BRFSS using a standard question module developed by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. An additional 11 jurisdictions asked different sexual orientation & or gender identity questions on their 2015 BRFSS. Kellan Baker, Center for American Progress Senior Fellow & author of the report stated, “Despite recent advancements, LGBT people & their families still face discrimination throughout daily life. By asking demographic questions about sexual orientation & gender identity on major surveys such as BRFSS, researchers, policymakers, community advocates & service providers gain important insights into health disparities experienced by vulnerable groups such as the LGBT population. It is time for all surveys to include questions that allow for a fuller understanding of the experiences of LGBT people & their families in health, employment, criminal justice, military service & other key areas of life.” BRFSS is an extensive nationwide system of telephone surveys conducted by all states, the District of Columbia & most U.S. territories. It is the premier source of health data that inform a wide range of funding decisions & activities conducted by both public & private players at the federal, state & local levels. The Center for American Progress analyzed the 2015 BRFSS questionnaires from all 50 states, the District of Columbia & the U.S. territories currently conducting the survey to determine how many asked about sexual orientation & gender identity & whether they used the standard SOGI module.
Read Full Report…
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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Tennessee Anti LGBT Bills

Tennessee is currently considering passing two homophobic so-called “religious freedom” bills that targeted the state’s LGBT residents. The two bills are HB1840 which is anti-LGBT counseling legislation & the HB2414 bill targeting transgender students in Tennessee. Both HB1840 & HB2414 exemplify the most intrusive forms of government overreach, trafficking in fear-mongering, rather than facts, around LGBT issues. HB1840 would put the state in the position of micromanaging professional standards of the counseling profession a profession that already adheres to a strict code of ethics while also limiting the access of clients to counselors when they are most vulnerable. HB2414 would represent further state disruption of local school districts that are making common sense accommodations for their students & would go so far as to regulate a student’s access to restrooms. Both bills are backlash anti LGBT discriminatory legislation after the Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court ruling granted gay & lesbian couples the right to marry nationwide. Chris Sanders, Executive Director of the Tennessee Equality Project stated, “These bills represent not only a direct attack on the LGBT residents of Tennessee, but a direct threat to our state’s reputation as a place that is welcoming for business & tourism. We call on all Tennessee residents, businesses, and lawmakers who share our vision of a fair, hospitable & welcoming state to reject these discriminatory bills as the wrong direction for our state.” So the question is will Tennessee become “the next” state to enter into the contentious national debate surrounding LGBT equality & religious freedom legislation?
For More Info: tnep.nationbuilder.com
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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

LGBT Rights & Religious Freedom

With Georgia Governor Nathan Deal coming to his senses & announcing that he would veto Georgia H.B. 757 which is the so-called religious liberty bill that would sanction discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgender Georgians we wish he would contact North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory & stop this senseless LGBT homophobic legislation. Winnie Stachelberg, Executive Vice President for External Affairs at the Center for American Progress stated, “Gov. Deal’s rejection of Georgia H.B. 757 provides an important reminder that religious liberty & equal protection under the law are complementary values. Religious freedom is already among the rights enshrined in the First Amendment of our Constitution. Maintaining a balanced approach to religious liberty is vital for fostering economic growth & reflecting the vibrant diversity of our communities & country. Unfortunately, in most of Georgia & a majority of states, many Americans remain unprotected from discrimination due to who they love, how they express their gender, their reproductive health care decisions & more. Guarding against the use of religion to discriminate not only requires resisting overly broad religious exemptions laws but also requires passing comprehensive nondiscrimination protections at the local, state & federal levels that ensure our communities remain welcoming for all Americans”. Hopefully North Carolina will wake-up & do the right thing & end their anti gay law which was passed last week. We must not become complacent in this very crucial election year with so much at stake for our LGBT community especially with the GOP candidates commitment to remove every civil right we have worked so hard to obtain.
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Monday, March 28, 2016

Georgia Anti Gay Bill Demise

Under pressure of losing billions of dollars in state revenue from the film & television industry & over 500 companies that joined Georgia Prospers a coalition devoted to opposing discrimination Governor Nathan Deal has just announced he will veto HB 757 the anti-gay "religious freedom" bill. Governor Deal stated, "I do not think we have to discriminate against anyone to support the faith based community. I believe it is about the character of state & the character of our people." Many major studios & media conglomerates including Disney, Time Warner, AMC & Viacom urged Governor Deal to veto the bill including 34 entertainment industry giants that made clear they will pull their business out of the state should it become law. The NFL also warned it might refuse to hold a Super Bowl in Georgia should the governor sign the bill into law. This homophobic attempt of using religion to discriminate against our LGBT community is continual backlash emerging from marriage equality becoming the law of the land nationwide. Hopefully North Carolina will wake-up & do the right thing & end their anti gay law which was passed last week. We must not become complacent in this very crucial election year with so much at stake for our LGBT community especially with the GOP candidates commitment to remove every civil right we have worked so hard to obtain.
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Friday, March 25, 2016

North Carolina March Madness

As you may have heard North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory has signed HB2 into law which removes vital anti-discrimination protections from LGBTQ people & other groups such as veterans. Rea Carey, Executive Director, National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund stated, "LGBTQ North Carolinians are waking-up to find that they are the targets of a new law designed to deny them basic protections. It's outrageous & immoral. Sadly the new law will deeply impact the economy, potentially federal funding & the reputation of North Carolina. The new law supersedes minimum wage & paid leave ordinances passed at the local level. It explicitly targets the transgender community in ways that impacts the most vulnerable such as transgender children & something as basic to human life as going to the restroom. This law is expansive & damaging to many beyond the LGBTQ community. The public will also be shocked at the fact that veterans who have put their lives on the line are now going to have vital protections removed from them through this law. It says a lot when the only thing certain politicians have to offer in the market place of ideas in the run-up to the general election are policies & laws based on hatred. The North Carolina state motto is 'To be, rather than to seem.' I urge all LGBTQ North Carolinian to be themselves, to be fully out & proud, 'be you' regardless of this ridiculous & spiteful law. Know that all LGBTQ people & our allies across the nation are with you. Know that freedom, justice & equality in your state has only been delayed but it will not be denied."
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Thursday, March 24, 2016

Discharged Gay & Lesbian Military

Congressman Mark Pocan (D-WI) & Congressman Charles Rangel (D-NY) have sent a letter to Chairman Mac Thornberry requesting the House Committee on Armed Services hold a hearing on the challenges faced by gay, lesbian & bisexual service members who were discharged from the military on the basis of their sexual orientation. The letter states, “Unfortunately, too many service members still bear the scars of this discriminatory policy. Since World War II, more than 100,000 individuals are estimated to have been discharged from the military due to their sexual orientation. Today, the records of thousands of gay, lesbian & bisexual veterans are tarnished with discharge statuses other than honorable. This status affects both their access to benefits they have earned from their service & their opportunities in civilian life, potentially hindering employment opportunities and the right to vote. Even those discharged under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” who received an honorable discharge status risk facing discrimination & a violation of privacy because the Narrative Reason for their discharge may include “Homosexual Conduct,” “Homosexual Act,” or “Homosexual Marriage.” Representatives Pocan & Rangel previously introduced the Restore Honor to Service Members Act in July 2015, which would help service members discharged solely due to their sexual orientation correct their military records to reflect their honorable service & reinstate the benefits they earned. The Restore Honor to Service Members Act has 113 cosponsors, including 4 Republicans, in the House & 38 cosponsors in the Senate.
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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Director Ang Lee To Be Honored

The Provincetown International Film Festival (PIFF) announced that fierce LGBT ally & Academy Award winning director Ang Lee will be honored with the 2016 Filmmaker on the Edge Award to be presented during its 18th edition running June 15th to 19th in Provincetown, MA. Lee will accept the award in conversation with resident artist John Waters on Saturday June 18th at Provincetown's historic Town Hall. The two time Academy Award-winning director (LIFE OF PI, BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN) Lee's filmography also includes CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON & SENSE AND SENSIBILITY. He is currently in post-production on his next feature BILLY LYNN'S LONG HALFTIME WALK. Andrew Peterson, PIFF's Director of Programming stated "Given Ang Lee's beautiful artistry, remarkable versatility & towering command of craft, it's long been a dream of ours to honor him with our Filmmaker on the Edge Award & 2016 is the year that dream comes true! We are honored & thrilled to celebrate him & his already legendary career." Previous recipients of the Filmmaker on the Edge honor include David Cronenberg, Darren Aronofsky, Quentin Tarantino, Mary Harron, Todd Haynes, Gus Van Sant & Christine Vachon. Additionally the festival announced that prolific filmmaker Effie T. Brown whose credits include DEAR WHITE PEOPLE, IN THE CUT & BUT I'M A CHEERLEADER will host the third annual Evan Lawson Filmmakers' Brunch on Sunday, June 19th. Christine Walker, Executive Director of PIFF & CEO of the Provincetown Film Society concluded, "It is no coincidence that we chose to honor two filmmakers who have recently sparked serious discussion about diversity & racial stereotyping in the film industry. Through Ang Lee's masterful storytelling & Effie's behind-the-scenes fierceness both filmmakers remind us that a powerful bridge to the cultural divide is an empathetically-told story about our shared human condition."
For More Info: ptownfilmfest.org
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Monday, March 21, 2016

LGBT Adoptions Federal Support

A new report released by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services shows increasing national support for adoptions by LGBT parents. The National Survey on Family Growth which studies attitudes toward a broad range of social issues, including those impacting our LGBT community shows support for adoption by same gender parents is up from 55% to 75% among women & from 47% to 68% among men. Cathy Sakimura, National Center for Lesbian Rights Family Law Director stated, “The Department of Health & Human Services report reflects the growing support for the LGBT community that we have seen over the last decade. As more people learn about LGBT families, they have learned about loving families & that same gender parents & their children deserve dignity & respect, just like any family. Over the last 10 years, the stories of same gender parents & their children have been widely shared through media & social conversation across the country & many more people personally know families with same gender parents.” Earlier this month we reported that NCLR made history when the United States Supreme Court unanimously reversed Alabama’s refusal to recognize a lesbian mother’s prior adoption of her three children in Georgia. Since its start in 1977 NCLR has reshaped the legal landscape for LGBT parents & their families through its precedent-setting litigation, legislation & public education initiatives.
For More Info: nclrights.org
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Saturday, March 19, 2016

Ultimate LGBT Wedding Expo

The Ultimate LGBT Wedding & Anniversary Expo takes place Sunday March 20th at the Motor City Casino Hotel in Detroit from noon to 5P. The event is being hosted for the sixth year by Between The Lines & has been expanded from an LGBT wedding expo into a wedding & anniversary expo. This expansion recognizes the many occasions being celebrated by LGBT couples & their families following the U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing marriage equality in June 2015. Susan Horowitz, Editor & Co-publisher of Between The Lines who co-producer of the event with her co-publisher & wife Jan Stevenson stated, “So many couples have been together for decades, which makes the Supreme Court decision an acknowledgement of the commitment they’ve already made as couples & families.” Stevenson concluded, “The ruling is a major step forward in lived equality — the goal that someday, LGBT people will have full equality in every aspect of their lives — so we’re excited to celebrate that with our most ambitious expo yet.” The expo continues to be Detroit’s only LGBT specific destination for couples planning their wedding to meet with more than 100 inclusive vendors. It’s also a place where couples & families can meet with vendors who are ready to help them celebrate all the special occasions in their lives including anniversaries, vow renewals, graduations, bar & bat mitzvahs, adoptions, baby showers & more.  It’s going to be an afternoon of big fun, live music & entertainment, some spectacular prizes & a celebration of love & family.
For More Info: btlweddingexpo.com 
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Friday, March 18, 2016

PFLAG Honors Kristin Chenoweth

PFLAG National the nation's largest organization uniting LGBT families & allies announced it will honor Kristin Chenoweth the Emmy & Tony Award-winning actress & singer at their 8th Annual Straight for Equality Awards Gala on Monday April 4th at the Marriott Marquis New York in Times Square. Chenoweth will receive the Straight for Equality in Entertainment Award. PFLAG National President Jean Hodges stated, "Kristin Chenoweth has long been an ally that PFLAG National has wanted to honor. We are thrilled that this year we will have the opportunity to do so at our largest event of the year. Kristin truly proves that to be a person of faith & an ally to the LGBTQ community do not have to be mutually exclusive." Kristin Chenoweth stated, “I am truly honored to be recognized by PFLAG National, an organization that has spent over 40 years on the frontlines working with people who are LGBTQ, their families & allies. I speak out as an ally because it’s my truth, it’s what’s in my heart. And, with all of the negativity out in the world, I think it’s especially important for LGBTQ youth to hear people of strong faith supporting them; I’m proud to be one of them.” Dr. Melissa Harris-Perry & Wells Fargo will also be honored at the 8th Annual Straight for Equality Awards Gala. Alec Mapa will host the evening. Also announced is a special performance from the 2015 Tony Award winner for Best Musical FUN HOME. Additional honorees & special guests to be announced.
For Info & Tix: straightforequality.org
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Thursday, March 17, 2016

Senate Supreme Court Stonewall

President Obama has nominated Judge Merrick Garland to the U.S. Supreme Court yet some members of the U.S. Senate including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are still refusing to consider Obama’s Supreme Court nominee. The Constitution contains a clear process that it’s the president’s job to nominate a candidate & then it is the Senate’s job to ensure that candidate gets a fair hearing. When it comes to our nation’s highest court the American people are entitled to justice instead of party politics & temper tantrums from politicians who’d rather let the next president fill the seat. Scalia’s seat has now been vacant for a month & there’s just too much at stake to have a prolonged vacancy on the Supreme Court. Rea Carey, National LGBTQ Task Force Executive Director stated, “President Obama nominated Judge Merrick Garland to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. Judge Garland is a highly qualified candidate & now the U.S. Senate must fulfill its obligation of holding a fair hearing & vote on his confirmation to the Court. Delaying to fill the Supreme Court vacancy has serious implications for the lives of millions of people for generations to come. Too much is at stake including the future of voting rights, racial justice, economic justice, immigration reform, reproductive rights & full equality for LGBTQ people. We urge the Senate leadership not to play politics with our judicial system and move the hearing & voting process forward swiftly. Failing to hold a fair hearing is not only morally wrong but it is also a complete disregard to the Constitutional responsibilities of the Senate.”
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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Boston Celebrates LGBT Film

Wicked Queer: The Boston LGBT Film Festival has announced its program for the 32nd edition with films from over 20 countries & more than 40 programs that takes place from March 31st to April 10th in Boston & Cambridge venues. New England’s largest celebration of queer cinema has something for everyone beginning with “Viva,” the Sundance hit set in contemporary Havana about a gay hairdresser who wants to be a drag performer attempting to reconcile with his hostile dad at the Institute of Contemporary Art. The screening will be followed by an opening night reception at EMPIRE restaurant & lounge. The following night in April 1st is Wicked Queer’s Cambridge opening at the Brattle Theatre with “That’s Not Us,” a romantic comedy that follows three twenty-something couples as they travel to a beach house to enjoy the last days of summer that aren't as serene as they seem to be. Following the screening is a reception to follow at PARSNIP restaurant & lounge in Harvard Square. There will also be a kick-off event at POST 390 this Sunday March 20th for the festival’s 5th annual preview party where they will be screening trailers & talking film over a fantastic brunch. Wicked Queer: The Boston LGBT Film Festival is sponsored by SHOWTIME & operates in partnership with the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, The Institute of Contemporary Art, The Brattle Theatre & Arts Emerson.
For Film Info & Tix: wickedqueer.org
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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Chronicling Lesbian Feminism

Boston OLOC (Old Lesbians Organizing For Change) will be meeting on Sunday April 4th from 2P to 4P to present “When Lesbian Feminism Came To Town”. Guest speakers will include Lois Johnson & Sheri Barden addressing “When Radical Lesbian Feminists Entered the Gay Scene”, Loretta Wrobel will talk about “Free to be Me”, Marsha Gerstein takes on “Lesbianism? Feminism? This Movement was About Me Too” & Sue Katz concludes with “A Feminist Dyke: Here, There & Across Seas”. Alice Fisher, Founding Member of OLOC-Boston stated, “They say old folks like to tell stories about the past. Old Lesbians Organizing For Change continues to build stories about the past as well as the present & the future. We have lived through a time of enormous social change, with many of us being the creators of that change. Come listen & add your stories to our history.” OLOC Boston events are open to all lesbians, including transgender lesbians, who want to attend a group & create a community of older lesbians & those of any age who support OLOC’s mission that includes being committed to support, respect & the empowerment of older lesbians, sharing their experience & understanding their position as older lesbians & claiming their strengths, celebrating their lives, inventing aging solidarity with allies for racial, economic & social justice. The event takes place at Brookline Senior Center, 93 Winchester Street in Brookline, MA. Following the event there will be an early dinner at Sichuan Garden, 295 Washington Street in Brookline Village, Brookline.
For More Info: spearlman@hartford.edu
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Monday, March 14, 2016

LGBT Napa Valley Wine Train

The LGBT Wine Train Pride Ride will take place on March 19th on the historic Napa Valley Wine Train supporting Bay Area LGBT communities by benefiting the groundbreaking Richmond/Ermet Aid Foundation. Although this is the sixth time in the last five years the Napa Valley Wine Train has offered an LGBT event on board this is the first Wine Train Pride Ride event with their new partner & beneficiary the Richmond/Ermet Aid Foundation. Ken Henderson Executive Director & Event Producer for The Richmond/Ermet Aid Foundation stated, “If you didn't drown this weekend, you still have time to book your seat on the Napa Valley Wine Train Pride Ride next Saturday evening for an amazing 3-hour train ride through the wine country, enjoying a fabulous multi-course, gourmet dinner followed by a rockin' afterparty back at the train depot. Come join us for this really fun event that benefits REAF. This will be the first LGBT event run by the new management at the Napa Valley Wine Train.” It all starts with a chorus of popped corks a delightful tasting of JCB’s outstanding No. 69 Crémant de Bourgogne. Sip the pink-hued bubbles while you mingle with prominent Napa Valley LGBT wine professionals Cezanne Hendricks, Christopher Barefoot, Eric Murray, Ryan Graham & David Mahaffey. Your wine hosts will be right alongside you to share their expertise as you enjoy an exquisite multi-course culinary experience created by Executive Chef Kelly MacDonald.
For Info & Reservations… 
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Sunday, March 13, 2016

LGBT Virtual College Fair

Access & affordability to higher education is an ongoing concern for many prospective students & their families but for LGBTQ youth picking the right college is also a matter of safety, support & acceptance. Campus Pride the leading national educational organization for LGBTQ & ally college students & campus groups is hosting a national online college fair on Thursday March 17th from 3P to 9P EST featuring live chats with 50+ college reps, G+ hangout & Twitter Q&A at #LGBTQCollege411. The fair is free to youth & families highlighting LGBTQ friendly colleges, scholarships & college prep resources. Shane Windmeyer, Executive Director of Campus Pride stated, “Today prospective students & families want to know which campuses are LGBTQ friendly & they expect there to be specific LGBTQ inclusive programs, policies & services on campus. The online fair showcases these LGBTQ-friendly campuses & allows them to outreach for diversity when it comes to gender identity & sexual orientation. Campus Pride believes strongly that access & opportunity go hand in hand. We must give all LGBTQ & ally youth access to education in safe spaces where they can learn & be accepted holistically.” This year the online fair includes 50+ colleges including Columbia College Chicago, New York University, Ohio University, Drexel University, Gustavus Adolphus College Georgia Tech, University of Pennsylvania & more. Fair attendees have the possibility to win up to $5000 in prizes.
To Register Online: CampusPride.org
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Friday, March 11, 2016

International Gay Polo Week

The Gay Polo League’s (GPL) Seventh Annual International Gay Polo Week is taking place March 31st through April 3rd at the International Polo Club Palm Beach in Wellington, Florida presented by Discover The Palm Beaches & Palm Beach County Sports Commission. The event will feature fabulous tailgate competitions, exclusive VIP parties, polo tournament matches, an after-ceremony party & concludes with Sunday Brunch. Jorge Pesquera, President & CEO for Discover The Palm Beaches stated, "The International Gay Polo Tournament is an exciting & action-packed event that celebrates diversity. We're fortunate to have such a world-class event in the Winter Equestrian Capital of The World. The International Gay Polo Tournament helps us showcase one of our 'best in class' sports experiences, while reaffirming The Palm Beaches' way of life relative to genuine hospitality & inclusiveness." Kayla French, Director of Marketing & Business Development for Palm Beach County Sports Commission concluded, "We are very excited about partnering with Discover The Palm Beaches in presenting this one-of-a-kind tournament. This is a very special event for our community that will create a huge tourism impact." Prior to Gay Polo Week The Palm Beaches’ LGBTQ community will celebrate PrideFest in Lake Worth, Fla. on March 19th & 20th organized annually by Compass the largest gay & lesbian center in the U.S. Southeast. The two-day event welcomes nearly 25,000 people & celebrates local community pride with live music, market area with vendors from across The Palm Beaches.
For Info & Tix: gaypolo.com
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Thursday, March 10, 2016

Puerto Rico Gay Marriage Ruling

In the string of national marriage equality backlash United States District Judge Juan Pérez Gímenez recently ruled that since Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States & not a state, that the historic Obergefell v. Hodges marriage equality decision by the U.S. Supreme Court does not apply to the Commonwealth. The National LGBTQ Task Force is describing this homophobic & anti-marriage equality ruling by a Puerto Rican-based U.S. federal judge as “bizarre & controversial” to say the least. Victoria Rodriguez-Roldan, Trans/Gender Non-Conforming Justice Director stated, "Judge Pérez Gímenez's bizarre & controversial ruling runs at variance with the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, which has been issuing marriage licenses since the historic Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court ruling, alongside the other states & territories of the nation. It also flies in the face of the United States Constitution & the fact that Supreme Court rulings apply to the whole of the United States & territories. We look forward to Judge Pérez Gímenez’s ruling being almost certainly overturned by the U.S. First Circuit in Boston. Of course, this judicial attempt at defying the Supreme Court could have been avoided if the Commonwealth Legislature itself had acted on the multiple bills that had been brought before it that would amend Article 68 of the Civil Code — the same-gender marriage ban — to make it compatible with Obergefell by defining marriage in a gender neutral fashion.”
For More Info: thetaskforce.org
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Wednesday, March 9, 2016

March Madness & LGBT Diversity

As NCAA March Madness begins Campus Pride, Soulforce & a coalition of over 80 lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgender, sports, religious & youth advocacy groups have signed a letter calling on NCAA to divest from all religious-based institutions who have made Title IX requests to discriminate against LGBTQ youth. The NCAA has long held as core values a commitment to diversity & inclusion of all people regardless of sexual orientation & gender identity. Shane Windmeyer, Executive Director of Campus Pride stated, “Religion-based bigotry is the basis for the vast majority of prejudice & discrimination LGBTQ people face, especially young people. The NCAA cannot stand for this outright discrimination among its member institutions & we urge them to take action to ensure an inclusive sports culture that is safe & fair for all athletes, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.” Jordyn Sun, National Campus Organizer at Soulforce added, “As people of faith or spirit, we call upon the NCAA to act on its stated values as an LGBTQ inclusive organization & divest from these schools who are willfully & intentionally creating unsafe environments for LGBTQ students. No athlete should play sports under the specter of fear and discrimination. Instead, these schools should simply follow the law.” LGBTQ young people face high rates of harassment & violence, especially transgender youth & LGBTQ youth of color. The Title IX waiver allows campus administrators to deny transgender students admission, usage of public accommodations & protections against anti-LGBTQ actions from students & faculty all based on a student’s gender identity.
For More Info: campuspride.org
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Tuesday, March 8, 2016

International Women's Day 2016

International Women's Day (IWD) celebrated on March 8th was originally called International Working Women's Day & started as a Socialist political event combining the culture of many countries, primarily in Europe, especially those in the Soviet Bloc. The earliest Women’s Day observance in the USA was held on February 28th 1909 in New York organized by the Socialist Party of America in remembrance of the 1908 strike of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Every year there’s a theme & this year it’s "Pledging For Parity" asking that every man & women take a pledge to take a concrete step to help achieve gender equality whether to help women & girls achieve their ambitions, call for gender-balanced leadership, respect & value difference, develop more inclusive & flexible cultures or root out workplace bias. Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton stated, “Equal pay is not yet equal. A woman makes 77 cents on a dollar & women of color make 67 cents. We feel so passionately about this because we are not only running for office, but we each, in our own way, have lived it. We have seen it. We have understood the pain & the injustice that has come because of race, because of gender. And it's imperative that we make it very clear that each of us will address these issues.” Gloria Steinem concluded “If you say, I'm for equal pay, that's a reform. But if you say. I'm a feminist, that's a transformation of society.”
For More Info: internationalwomensday.com
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Monday, March 7, 2016

Alabama Lesbian Supreme Win

The United States Supreme Court reversed an Alabama Supreme Court decision refusing to recognize a lesbian mother’s prior adoption of her three children in Georgia. This summary reversal restores V.L. full rights as an adoptive parent. The adoptive mother, V. L. stated, “I am overjoyed that the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the Alabama court decision. I have been my children’s mother in every way for their whole lives. I thought that adopting them meant that we would be able to be together always. When the Alabama court said my adoption was invalid & I wasn’t their mother, I didn’t think I could go on. The Supreme Court has done what’s right for my family.” Cathy Sakimura National Center for Lesbian Rights Family Law Director who is representing V.L. added, “The Supreme Court’s reversal of Alabama’s unprecedented decision to void an adoption from another state is a victory not only for our client but for thousands of adopted families. No adoptive parent or child should have to face the uncertainty & loss of being separated years after their adoption just because another state’s court disagrees with the law that was applied in their adoption.” In addition to the National Center for Lesbian Rights, V.L is represented by Adam Unikowsky & Paul Smith of Jenner & Block & Alabama attorneys Heather Fann of Boyd, Fernambucq, Dunn & Fann, P.C. & Traci Vella of Vella & King, Attorneys at Law.
For More Info: nclrights.org
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Saturday, March 5, 2016

Black Lesbian Conference 2016

Beyond Bold & Brave is presenting the “The Evolution of Our Community” Black Lesbian Conference 2016 that takes place on March 25th and 26th in Harlem. BLC 2016 aims to unite transgender & cisgender lesbians of Black/African-descent & their allies of various ages, socio-economic, educational & life work histories. The goal of the conference is to responsibly & honestly discuss & address important issues & concerns in a respectful, welcoming & authentic environment. This is the first black lesbian conference ever to be held in Harlem & the first event of its type in New York City in over thirty years. The Conference is hosted by the Barnard Center for Research on Women (BCRW) & will open on Friday, March 25th at the Barnard’s Diana Center. The featured keynote address will be given by Dr. Marjorie J. Hill, CEO of the Joseph Addabbo Health Center in New York. Dr. Hill’s decades of pioneering LGBTQ public health work includes her appointment by Mayor David Dinkins as the first Director of the Mayor's Office for the Lesbian & Gay Community, Assistant Commissioner for the Bureau of HIV/AIDS at the New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene; and CEO of Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC). The Conference will continue on Saturday, March 26th with panels & workshops on a variety of topics including: The State of our Black Lesbian Community: An Intergenerational Perspective, Black Lesbian Poets: Bringing the Political to The Page & Stage, Whole Health & Wellness For LGBTQ Transgender & Cisgender Women, What Does It Mean to Draw A Line?: Black Lesbian Separation as Respite From Oppression, Black Lesbian Community Activism: From the 70’s to Now & Black Lesbian Youth & Their Experiences With Homelessness & Gender Roles.
For More Info: alum.barnard.edu
LISTEN: Beth Shipp Talks Lesbian Political Action Committee
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Friday, March 4, 2016

GLAAD To Honor Demi Lovato

GLAAD announced that multi-platinum selling recording artist Demi Lovato will be honored at their 27th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles at the Beverly Hilton on April 2nd. Lovato will receive GLAAD's Vanguard Award presented to media professionals who have made a significant difference in promoting equality & acceptance. Sarah Kate Ellis GLAAD President & CEO stated, “Demi Lovato has consistently used her platform as a successful artist to send messages of acceptance & support to LGBT people everywhere. She is an extraordinary ally who is committed to helping young people embrace who they are & live the lives they love.” Lovato has consistently shown her commitment to LGBT youth participating as an ambassador for GLAAD's annual anti-bullying campaign Spirit Day wearing purple to show her support for LGBT youth. During a world tour Lovato recorded a message for LGBT fans in Latin America, offering support & urging bullying victims to use the resources of Todo Mejora, the It Gets Better Project's Chilean affiliate. Previous Vanguard Award honorees include Kerry Washington, Jennifer Lopez, Kristin Chenoweth, Charlize Theron, Elizabeth Taylor, Antonio Banderas, Drew Barrymore, Janet Jackson & Sharon Stone. For the first time in nearly a decade the GLAAD Media Awards will be televised exclusively on Logo in a one-hour special premiering Monday, April 4 at 10PM ET/PT. The New York GLAAD Media Awards ceremony will take place May 14th at the Waldorf Astoria in NYC & OUTTAKE VOICES™ will be on the Red Carpet reporting all the celebrity dish.
For More Info & Tix: glaad.org
LISTEN: Mariah Hanson Talks The Dinah Palm Springs 2016
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Thursday, March 3, 2016

San Francisco Equality Awards

Equality California will honor U.S. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, actor & activist George Takei, businessperson & philanthropist Kathy Levinson & former San Francisco Supervisor & civic leader Bevan Dufty at the 2016 San Francisco Equality Awards for their extraordinary service to the LGBT community. The awards will take place on Saturday, April 2nd at the Westin St. Francis on Union Square. Rick Zbur, Executive Director of Equality California stated, “House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi truly sets the standard for everything an LGBT ally should be. She was one of the first members of Congress to not just oppose LGBT discrimination, but to openly advocate for us, long before it was politically safe or expedient to support our community. She has never wavered in her advocacy for the LGBT community. The boldness of her support on the national stage has helped ease the way for the enormous progress we have made since then at every level of government. George Takei has served as an example & role model, not only for the LGBT community but for everyone seeking to live an open, engaged & authentic life. Throughout his life, George has refused to accept anything other than full equality for LGBT people, for immigrants & for all disadvantaged communities. His dignity, humor & commitment to social justice has made him one of our community’s leaders & most prominent voices. His warmth & courage are an inspiration to all of us.”
For Info & Tix: eqca.org
LISTEN: Mariah Hanson Talks The Dinah Palm Springs 2016
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Wednesday, March 2, 2016

South Dakota Supports Trans Kids

Good news out of South Dakota. Governor Dennis Daugaard has vetoed House Bill 1008 that would have restricted transgender & gender non-conforming students’ access to school restrooms & locker rooms. Rea Carey, Executive Director, National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund stated, “We would like to thank Governor Daugaard for vetoing this bill, which if made law would have been a direct attack on transgender & gender non-conforming children & young people at school. It’s good to see decency & dignity prevail over appalling discrimination targeting some of the most vulnerable in an environment where they should be protected. We also want to thank all the advocates, groups, businesses, parents & allies that worked so hard to achieve this victory.” Mara Keisling Executive Director of National Center for Transgender Equality added, “Governor Daugaard has demonstrated true leadership in listening to the hundreds of transgender South Dakotans & their families who would have been directly impacted by this bill. He has made a carefully informed decision that protects all students in South Dakota. His example shows that scare tactics can be overcome by understanding who trans people really are.” While this is a major victory for fairness there is still much more work to be done to combat the pervasive attacks on transgender people in South Dakota & around the country. What happened in South Dakota is a huge step on the way to ensuring that all transgender people can live full lives, safely & without fear of discrimination.
For More Info: transequality.org
LISTEN: Activist Brian Silva Talks Winning Nondiscrimination
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Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Boston Wicked Queer Film Festival

The 32nd Wicked Queer Boston LGBT Film Festival is kicking things off at their annual preview party at Post 390 Restaurant in Boston on Sunday, March 20th for a fabulous brunch prepared by Chef Nick Deutmeyer & his team. It’s an opportunity to watch trailers for festival films, network, hangout & learn more about the festival that runs March 31st to April 10th. James A. Nadeau, Executive Director stated, “We are proud to announce the 32nd edition of the Boston LGBT Film Festival. Now known as Wicked Queer: The Boston LGBT Film Festival, we are still the same old festival bringing you the best in contemporary films for, by, and about the lesbian, gay, bisexual & trans community. Join us for 11 days of cinema that celebrates the diversity of our community with films from Russia, Syria, South Africa, Cuba & many more communities around the world. From romantic comedies to powerful documentaries, the Boston LGBT Film Festival promises to be an event you don't want to miss.” The Wicked Queer Boston LGBT Film Festival’s mission is to present the past, exhibit the present & develop the future by supporting & displaying LGBT media works that challenge, encourage & educate through the medium of the moving image & the power of queer cinema. There will also be a few special screening leading up to the festival.
For Info & Tix: wickedqueer.org 
LISTEN: Mariah Hanson Talks The Dinah Palm Springs 2016
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