Monday, April 24, 2017

Wicked Queer Film Festival Kudos

Wicked Queer Boston’s LGBT Film Festival which celebrated its 33rd year has announced their 2107's Best in Show. Jury Award Narrative Feature went to “Heartstone”. Audience Award Narrative Feature went to “Thirsty.” Audince Award Short Film Best of the Fest went to “Sisak”. Best on Program Trans was “Walk For Me’, Women's “Pool” (Piscina) Students & First Timers was “Moving-On”, Current Mood: Youth was “Dare & Truth”, Qwocmap “Que Siga La Cumbia” Social Justice/Sex Workers was “The Night Cleaner” International was “Seeing through the Eyes of Crocodiles” & Shorts Spotlight: España was “My Brother” (Mi Hermano) Jury Award Documentary went to “Small Talk” & Audience Award Documentary went to “Jewel's Catch One”. When I talked to James Nadeau, Executive Director of Wicked Queer Boston’s LGBT Film Festival last month about how he sees our LGBTQ community moving forward in a Trump administration Nadeau stated, “What I’m seeing within the filmmaking community is that it’s really sparked an activism that I haven’t seen in a really longtime. For those of us who are of the generation who grew up with friends dying of AIDS I think we’re seeing a resurgence of political activism in the community that is not about to give up the freedoms we fought for which I find very heartening. It’s clearly in reaction to Trump and I think that’s a good thing. I think we need to get fired up & be a more active, politically active community.”
For More Info: wickedqueer.org
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Sunday, April 23, 2017

NCLR 40th Anniversary Event

The National Center for Lesbian Rights was founded in 1977 with the commitment to advance the civil & human rights of our LGBTQ community & their families through litigation, legislation, policy & public education. Their 40th Anniversary Celebration Dinner & Party with both take place May 20th at Innovation Hangar at The Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco. The evening will feature Executive Director Kate Kendell & will celebrate 40 years of NCLR’s victories & accomplishments in the movement for LGBTQ equality. Last year when I asked her what personal commitment is to LGBT civil rights Kendell stated, “I feel like it’s been such an enormous privilege to really interweave the personal & the political. I mean I am a lesbian; I identify as a queer woman in a longtime relationship, married to my wife & raising two kids. So I feel everyday I have to walk the talk of what it means to do this work at the highest level, at the most effective level. I am part of the very community that I am serving so I feel particularly accountable. I feel accountable to my soul at the same time I feel accountable to my community to really always be a very fierce advocate & even though I live in a relative privilege as a white woman with a decent job with a good income & a good education I know a lot of people in our community don’t have that & I feel like our charge doing these jobs is to be there for the vulnerable in our community. So it feels every day very personal to get it right.”
For More Info & Tix: nclrights.org 
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Friday, April 21, 2017

Day of Silence Against Bullying

The Day of Silence is coordinated nationally by the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) & this year takes place April 21st. It’s a day in which students from around the country take a vow of silence to bring attention to the anti-lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgender name-calling, bullying & harassment faced in schools by students, teachers & other school staff. Over 500,000 students from nearly 6,500 junior high & high schools in all 50 states & Puerto Rico have participated over the years. Participating students take a vow of silence to call attention to and signify the prevalence of the silencing of those in the LGBTQ community. The first Day of Silence was held in 1996 at the University of Virginia, was started as a way to illustrate how bullying & harassment can silence those affected. Students in middle school all the way through college are encouraged to take part. Those who sign up for the Day of Silence hand out cards to others explaining their silence & why they have chosen not to talk. In part, these cards say: “My deliberate silence echoes that silence, which is caused by harassment, discrimination & prejudice. I believe that ending the silence is the first step towards fighting these injustices. Think about the voices you are not hearing today. What are you doing to end the silence?” What started as a class project with 150 participants has now expanded to a worldwide demonstration involving thousands of schools across the country & globally.
For More Info: nationaltoday.com
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Thursday, April 20, 2017

National Honor LGBT Elders Day

“National Honor Our LGBT Elders Day” is May 16th when we pay tribute to the contributions of our LGBT older adults who have moved our community forward through their persistence & sacrifices. Throughout the country we will honor the challenges, struggles & triumphs that older LGBT adults have made to bring our community closer to equality. The day of recognition was inaugurated by The LGBT Health Resource Center of Chase Brexton Health Care in Baltimore in 2016 to pay tribute to the sacrifices & successes of LGBT older adults & thank them for leading the fight to expand LGBT rights. There are an estimated 3 million LGBT adults over the age of 55 throughout the U.S. Nate Sweeney, Executive Director of The LGBT Health Resource Center of Chase Brexton Health Care stated, “Whether they fought quietly or stepped into the spotlight, LGBT elders have made a difference for all LGBT people. We’re proud to offer a chance for LGBT communities across the country to thank these individuals for what they’ve given us. The gains made in recent years toward LGBT equality are a direct result of those who came before us. More than ever, it’s important that our community hear their stories, learn from their experiences & carry their example forward as we continue the fight for equality.” National Honor Our LGBT Elders Day was added to the National Day registry in 2016 by The LGBT Health Resource Center.
For More Info: chasebrexton.org
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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

GLAAD To Honor Debra Messing

GLAAD the LGBTQ media organization announced that they will be honoring Debra Messing with the Excellence in Media Award at the 28th annual GLAAD Media Awards on May 6th at the New York Hilton Midtown in NYC. Sarah Kate Ellis GLAAD CEO & President stated, "Debra Messing is a champion of the LGBTQ community & many marginalized groups today. Through laughter, warmth & pure heart both on & off-screen, she accelerates acceptance & inspires everyone to raise their own voices.” The Excellence in Media Award is given to those who have promoted equality & acceptance of LGBTQ people. The Will & Grace star joins a list of previous recipients that includes Robert De Niro, Russell Simmons, Kelly Ripa, Patti LaBelle, Tyra Banks, Julianne Moore, Glenn Close, Barbara Walters, Bob and Harvey Weinstein & Diane Sawyer. ." Messing has consistently shown her commitment to LGBTQ youth including participating in Spirit Day, GLAAD's annual anti-bullying campaign, by 'going purple' in October. Messing will be returning to her role as Grace Adler from Will & Grace as part of a recently announced 12 episode revival series on NBC. The 28th annual GLAAD Media Awards will be hosted by Ross Matthews & will include special guests Whoopi Goldberg, Don Lemon, Rami Malek, Janet Mock, Trevor Noah, Christian Slater & Survivor's Zeke Smith who was recently outed on the reality series as transgender. The 28th Annual GLAAD Media Awards are presented by Delta Air Lines, Hilton, Ketel One Vodka, Liberty Mutual Insurance & Wells Fargo. Funds raised at the GLAAD Media Awards supports GLAAD’s work to accelerate acceptance for our LGBTQ community & to protect the progress that we have fought so hard for.
For Info & Tix: glaad.org
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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Diversity Honors Gala Benefit

The third annual Diversity Honors at Hard Rock Live will take place on May 6th presented by Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida. The gala will benefit Harvey Milk Foundation & The Pride Center at Equality Park. The globally renowned celebration serves as a kick-off to Harvey Milk Day events around the world & spotlights those who are transforming lives by living authentically and advancing inclusiveness. Stuart Milk, co-founder of the Harvey Milk Foundation stated, "The Harvey Milk Foundation is excited to begin 2017 Harvey Milk Day events, which marks the 40th anniversary of uncle Harvey's historic election to public office, by co-hosting this important gala where we come together to honor men & women who remind us all that diversity is a strength & diversity is a value that defines us not only as the South Florida community, but as a nation." This year’s stellar honorees include legendary entertainer Tiffany Arieagus; community leader Ilene Berliner; transgender advocate Jessica Norton; CEO of Stoli Group USA Patrick Piana & CEO of Compass in West Palm Beach, Florida Tony Plakas. The 2017 honorees for the Harvey Milk Foundation Awards: Milan Rosza Youth Award, Lilla Watson Global Recipient & the Milk Honors Medal will be announced shortly. This fabulous gala event will begin with a cocktail reception & a variety of silent auction items. A seated three-course dinner will be followed by a memorable awards presentation hosted by Craig Stevens, WSVN evening news anchor. The charitable evening will culminate with a Stoli After-Party also to be held at Hard Rock Live.
For Info & Tix: diversityhonors.com
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Monday, April 17, 2017

Boston Pride Latin LGBTQ Events

Boston Pride has renamed its 2017 Latin@ Pride program to Latinx Pride which kicks off this weekend & runs April 21st to 23rd. The name change was decided by the organization’s Board of Directors to show a commitment to inclusiveness of non-binary & non-gender conforming individuals in our LGBTQ community. Sylvain Bruni, President of Boston Pride stated, “Our commitment to diversity & inclusion must be reflected in the names of our programs. This is a deliberate message to members of our community who do not identify as male or female: this is your Pride & you are welcome here.” Events include Noche Latina at The Alley at 14 Pi Alley, Boston, MA from 10P til closing with DJ Carlo & special guest Androgina DFlowers Corban in her upcoming presentations en route to the crown of Miss Colombia Oneida plus 2017 Department of the Atlantic from Boston. Then on Sunday April 23rd there will be a Dragapalooza Paint Party for Charity at Jacque’s Cabaret at 79 Broadway in Boston, MA starting at 4:30P hosted by Kamden T. Rage with special performances by Tatiana Jackson, Alexandra D’ior, Amanda Playwith, Violencia Exclamation Point & Kandi Dishe. Do not stress if you haven’t painted since grade school, this is for beginners. Show starts at 7P which is a 21+ event with raffles & other prizes at the event. All proceeds benefit the Boston Latinx Pride!
For More Info & Tix: bostonpride.org
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Saturday, April 15, 2017

Equality California New Campaign

Equality California announced the launch of a new media campaign called “#ResistHate” to recognize & promote California’s commitment to diversity. The campaign seeks to promote a statewide culture of solidarity that resists fear, bigotry & hate. The campaign instead encourages unity among the state’s LGBTQ community & all communities that experience prejudice, injustice & discrimination. The new year-long campaign features images evoking love, unity & California pride & will appear on 125 billboards in various markets across the state. Rick Zbur, Executive Director of Equality California stated, “’Resist Hate’ is a message of unity & solidarity for all Californians. LGBTQ people are black & white, Muslim & Jew, immigrant & native born & everything in between. This campaign empowers us to help unite the many communities of which LGBTQ people are a part & to resist all attempts to divide our communities. We want all of California’s diverse communities to know that whoever you are – LGBTQ, Muslim, undocumented or a member of any other group that has been targeted or feels less safe as a result of recent divisive messages – we stand with you. We must assert the values of tolerance & inclusion that set our state apart & make it a beacon of hope and acceptance for the rest of the nation.” The first billboards are being installed this month in greater Los Angeles & the remainder will be installed across the state throughout 2017. Hopefully this is a valuable campaign that should spread nationwide in these troubling times.
For More Info: eqca.org
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Friday, April 14, 2017

Boss Of The Free World

We have lost the position of "Leader of the Free World" with Trump becoming POTUS. What we are left with is Boss Of The United States. We no longer have a leader in the position president but a boss or you could call him CEO of the USA. Over the last week thanks to his dangerous position he has claimed to have designated his military chiefs the decisions of bombing Syria & Afghanistan. Now they have dropped the “Mother of all bombs”, a 20,000-pound bomb that cost $16 million to kill 36 Islamic State militants in Afghanistan sending the message that we’re serious maniacs to be reckoned with. Heed that warning world. Before leaving for his Mar-a-Lago retreat in Palm Beach, Florida Trump stated, "Everybody knows exactly what happened & what I do is I authorize my military. We have the greatest military in the world & they've done their job as usual. So, we have given them total authorization." Then Boss Trump addressed the “Mother of all bombs” & North Korea stating, “I don’t know if this sends a message. It doesn’t make any difference if it does or not. North Korea is a problem. The problem will be taken care of.” It has been reported that The National Security Council has presented Boss Trump with options to respond to North Korea's nuclear program including putting American nukes in South Korea or killing dictator Kim Jong-un, multiple top-ranking intelligence & military officials. So now we get to wait & see what North Korea does in response to the US military reality show of force.
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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Sofia Coppola To Be Honored

The Provincetown International Film Festival (PIFF) has announced that Academy Award-winning writer/director Sofia Coppola will be named the 2017 Filmmaker on the Edge. Coppola will be in attendance to accept the award in conversation with resident artist John Waters on Saturday June 17th at Provincetown's historic Town Hall. Coppola received the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for the comedy-drama “Lost in Translation” & became the third woman to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Director. Her latest film “The Beguiled” starring Elle Fanning, Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst & Colin Farrell will be released by Focus Features on June 23rd. Additionally the festival announced that actress & director Chloë Sevigny will receive the Excellence in Acting Award. Sevigny will accept in conversation with Eugene Hernandez, deputy director of the Film Society of Lincoln Center & co-publisher of Film Comment. Christine Walker, Executive Director of PIFF & CEO of the Provincetown Film Society stated, "During one of the most galvanizing moments for women in recent political history, we are thrilled to honor two women who have already altered the lens through which we see women in Hollywood. Sofia Coppola is the deft auteur whose imprimatur is unapologetically feminine. Chlöe Sevigny is the fearless iconoclast whose work is remarkable simply because she inhabits it." The festival will kick off with “Mr. Roosevelt” written, directed & starring Noël Wells (Netflix's "Master of None"). Wells will be in attendance for the Opening Night Gala on Wednesday June 14th. The Provincetown International Film Festival runs June 14th to 18th in Provincetown, Massachusetts.
For Info & Tix:ptownfilmfest.org
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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Harming Our Transgender Students

A new report that was delivered to U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos shows the impact of anti-transgender policies on 150,000 transgender youth. As politicians in states like Texas & North Carolina continue to fight to restrict transgender students’ access to bathrooms, the Movement Advancement Project (MAP) & GLSEN in partnership with the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) & the National Education Association (NEA) have released a new report Separation & Stigma: Transgender Youth & School Facilities showing how profoundly harmful & unnecessary policies that exclude transgender students from school facilities that match their gender can be on these children. Ineke Mushovic, Executive Director of MAP stated, “Having inclusive school policies does nothing to diminish schools’ legal obligation to ensure safe education facilities & to act if a student behaves inappropriately or tries to invade someone’s privacy. If any student attempts to abuse an inclusive policy, schools can & will take action. & schools can also offer privacy options for any student who simply feels uncomfortable. On the surface, the argument is about bathrooms, but at a deeper level, it is about whether or not transgender students will be included in our public education system. Put simply, if transgender students cannot safely access a bathroom, they cannot safely attend school.” MAP, GLSEN, NCTE & the NEA sent the report & an open letter to U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, highlighting the hundreds of local school districts across the country, as well as 13 states & the District of Columbia, that have proven they can successfully implement laws & policies protecting transgender students from discrimination while still meeting the needs of all students.
Read Report…
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Saturday, April 8, 2017

Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day

In honor of National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day on Monday April 10th Advocates for Youth, an organization that champions efforts to help young people make informed & responsible decisions about their reproductive & sexual health will partner with youth activists to raise awareness of the impact of HIV & AIDS on young people. Daniel Driffin, co-founder of THRIVE SS, a Georgia based organization that works to stop HIV stigma in the south stated, “National Youth HIV AIDS Awareness Day is important to me since close to 25% of new infections are between the ages of 13-24. I learned my HIV status at 22 & with the advancements of treatment as prevention, we can significantly decrease other young people from becoming positive.” The day will feature a briefing on Capitol Hill & a Facebook Live chat, as well as events sponsored by more than 20 allied organizations in cities throughout the country to talk about the prevalence of HIV & AIDS among young people & highlight their work to fight the disease & the stigma surrounding it. One in five new HIV infections occur in people ages 13 to 24 making youth activism imperative in the fight for an AIDS-free generation. On National Youth HIV &AIDS Awareness Day young people will ask their peers & policymakers to sign the National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day Bill of Rights that calls for the right to live free from oppression, the rights to education, prevention, treatment & care, and the right to live without criminalization, discrimination & stigma.
For More Info: aids.gov
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Friday, April 7, 2017

Chechnya Assault On Gay Men

LGBTQ people in Chechnya are in extreme danger & the international community must act immediately. On April 1st Novaya Gazeta reported that more than 100 gay men have been arbitrarily detained & at least three have been murdered by Chechen authorities for their alleged “non traditional” sexual orientation. Independent sources have confirmed the mass detention, described acts of torture & suggested that the number of men killed may be as many as 20. In response to the crisis the Russian LGBT Network is currently evacuating people from Chechnya who may be at risk for kidnapping, arrest or otherwise in harm’s way. Jessica Stern, Executive Director of OutRight Action International stated, “The perpetrators of this malicious campaign must be held accountable for the systematic detention, torture & killings of innocent men in Chechnya. No government should get away with such wanton human rights violations. Using a violent attack on men accused of being gay to legitimize islamophobia is dangerous & misleading. It negates the experiences of queer Muslims & essentializes all Muslims as homophobic. We cannot permit this tragedy to be co-opted by ethno-nationalists to perpetuate anti-Muslim or anti-Russian sentiment. The people & their government are never the same.” A spokesman for Chechnya’s leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, denied the allegations stating, “You cannot arrest or repress people who just don’t exist in the republic. If such people existed in Chechnya, law enforcement would not have to worry about them, as their own relatives would have sent them to where they could never return.”
For More Info: lgbtnet.org
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Thursday, April 6, 2017

World OutGames Pulse Point Event

The LGBTQ World OutGames Miami has announced the presentation of “Pulse Points” a tribute to the Orlando massacre at Pulse Nightclub from 6P to 10P on June 1st at the New World Center, 500 17th Street, Miami Beach, Florida. This experiential memorial will fuse together elements of dance, poetry, music & visual arts with 49 artistic expressions in remembrance of the 49 lives lost one year ago. Carol Coombes, World OutGames Miami Director of Cultural Arts stated, “World OutGames celebrates unity & inclusiveness & we are proud to present Pulse Points as an artistic tribute to a tragic time in history. This will be a space free of racism & bias that will transform negativity into a courageous forward direction, sending a global message of compassion, hope & love.” Curated by Octavio Campos & Cameron Basden, “Pulse Points” will unite as many as 200 artists from all different genres who will pay their respects moving forward. Guests will enjoy special performances by the Orlando Gay Chorus plus experience other participating artists: Adora, Fushu Daiko, Dale Andree, Diana Garlee, Ray Sullivan, Oscar Fuentes, Sandra Portal-Andreu, Karelle Levy, Mosaic Dance Project, Ana Mendez, Fred Fejas, Pioneer Winter, Kandi & Rollin Stirman, Octavio Campos, Camposition, Dance NOW! Miami, Antonia Wright, David Rohn, Augosto Soledade Brazzdance (ASBD), Labomamo, Carl Hildebrand, Natasha Tsakos, Miami Gay Men's Chorus, Reading Queer, Ceci Fernandez, Rick Delgado, Gio Profera & James Cubby. World OutGames Miami is a 10-day global event that takes place from May 26th to June 4th 2017 which brings to life three significant pillars of Sports, Culture & Human Rights.
For More Info: outgames.org
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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

LGBT Workers Equality Advances

Finally in a groundbreaking decision the Federal 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 8 to 3 Tuesday that The Civil Rights Act prohibits workplace discrimination against LGBT employees. The court found that such discrimination is a form of sex discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which is the federal law prohibiting employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin & religion. The decision came in Lambda Legal's case on behalf of Kimberly Hively an instructor at Ivy Tech Community College who was fired for being a lesbian which makes the Seventh Circuit the highest federal court to reach this conclusion & could finally change the national landscape of employment law for our LGBT community. Selisse Berry, CEO & Founder of Out & Equal Workplace Advocates stated, “The checks & balances set up in this country are working just as they should. Today one of our most conservative courts ruled that it is unconstitutional to fire someone simply because they’re gay or lesbian. The courts ruled in line with what our country’s largest corporations have known for decades— that having a diverse & authentic workforce is not just the smart thing to do, it’s the right thing to do. We look forward to the court’s decision being upheld through what is sure to be an arduous appeals process. We will continue to stand with every LGBT person in this country that has ever had to choose between the career they love & the person they love until we are all treated equally under the law.”
For More Info: lambdalegal.org
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Tuesday, April 4, 2017

LGBT Executive Networking Event

Boston Spirit Magazine’s eleventh annual LGBT Executive Networking Night takes place on Wednesday April 26th at the Copley Marriott Hotel from 6P to 9P. The Keynote Speaker this year will be fierce LGBTQ ally & comedian Kathy Griffin. Join more than 1,000 LGBT corporate professionals & 50 exhibitors for a great night of networking & professional development. There will also be some incredible sessions on personal & professional development. This year’s sessions include; Best Practices for Corporate Diversity & Inclusion & LGBT Employee Resource Groups & Socially Responsible Investing: An introduction into LGBT friendly investing. So don't miss out on hearing Kathy Griffin speak about the current political insanity, check out the professional development sessions, the chance to meet with 50+ exhibitors & the opportunity to network with approximately 1,000 other LGBTQ professionals from the Greater Boston area. Many of the attending exhibitors are hiring so if you are in the market for a new career be sure to bring resumes & cards. There will also be free appetizers & a cash bar. Boston Spirit Magazine’s eleventh annual LGBT Executive Networking Night is sponsored by Eastern Bank, Fidelity Investments, Partners Healthcare, National Grid, Saks 5th Avenue, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Burns & Levinson, Rockland Trust, TD Bank, Blue Cross Blue Shield of MA, Wells Fargo, John Hancock, Keolis, Workplace Equality Index & Tufts Health Plan. There is a $15 admission fee at the door to attend the event.
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Sunday, April 2, 2017

GLAAD Awards Los Angeles (Audio)

The first leg of the 28th Annual GLAAD Awards took place last night Saturday April 1st in Los Angeles at The Beverly Hilton. Patricia Arquette actress & activist received the Vanguard Award for her role as an ally to our LGBTQ community & as a fierce advocate for her late sister transgender actress Alexis Arquette stating, “She wanted to help move the world forward to a time in the future where every trans kid could live up to their potential… help move the world forward to a time where trans were seen as complete, whole & equal human beings… whatever mark I have made in activism will pale in the light of Alexis’ bravery.” “Moonlight” won for Outstanding Film continuing its winning streak. Writer Tarell Alvin Mccraney accepted the award on behalf of the film stating, “We win when we give our children, the ones who are going missing in the night, or wondering how much they matter to us, to each other, to the law… give them the courage, the tools & resources to scatter their light across the cinema walls & make the face of heaven so fine. We won for Moonlight today, but how are we winning tomorrow?” Amazon’s Transparent won Outstanding Drama Series & Outstanding Comedy Series. In this exclusive audio byte we talked to fierce LGBTQ allies Judith Light & Jeffrey Tambor at the GLAAD Media Awards about the importance of using their celebrity to make change for LGBTQ & gender equality stating, “What is most important is that lives are being saved." LISTEN:
For Info & Complete List: glaad.org
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