Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Transgender Military Ban Update

U.S. District Judge Marvin Garbis in the District of Maryland has issued a preliminary injunction in Stone v. Trump a case brought by the ACLU challenging Trump’s transgender military ban. This new ruling affirms the nationwide preliminary injunction issued in Doe v. Trump on October 30th. Rick Zbur, Executive Director Equality California stated, “Today’s ruling is another crucial blow to the Trump Administration’s discriminatory ban against transgender service members & those seeking to serve. President Trump’s ban violates constitutional protections & causes serious harms both to our nation’s military & to transgender Americans. Today’s ruling brings us closer to a permanent end.” In Doe v. Trump, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) & GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) argued that Trump’s ban, first announced in a series of tweets, is irresponsible & discriminatory because qualified & able transgender Americans who wish to enlist have been barred from doing so. They also argue that transgender service members have been demeaned & stigmatized, denied health care & faced with the prospect of discharge & the loss of their professions, livelihoods, health care & the post-military retirement they have worked hard to earn. On October 30, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Judge Kollar-Kotelly granted NCLR & GLAD’s motion for a nationwide preliminary injunction. NCLR & GLAD also are co-counsel in Equality California’s suit, Stockman v. Trump, which also challenges the ban. Oral argument in Stockman v. Trump is scheduled for Monday, December 11th in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. For More Info: eqca.org
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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

BGMC Holiday Concert Series

The Boston Gay Men’s Chorus (BGMC) is proud to present “Believe” a unique blend of traditional & contemporary holiday music all wrapped up in BGMC’s signature blend of class & camp. Performances are on December 2nd as part of Holly Folly in Provincetown & on December 10th, 15th, 16th, & 17th at New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall in Boston, MA. Reuben M. Reynolds, III BGMC Music Director stated, “The Christmas story is about journeying home & the celebration of family. Our holiday concert reflects those themes in surprising & meaningful ways. Our selections will conjure & capture the holiday season’s feelings of peace, joy & the comfort of going home & sharing time with family, be it biological or chosen including new arrangements of beloved classics like ‘Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas,’ & ‘O Holy Night’ & a unique piece that blends ‘Ave Maria’ with pop singer Sinead O’Connor’s moving ode to motherhood, ‘This is to Mother You.’” Believe will feature soprano Sonja Tengblad, a versatile performer with credits spanning the Renaissance era through current composers of our time. The concert is named for the song “Believe” which is from the animated musical film The Polar Express. The meaning of the song—if you believe in yourself & the people around you, that’s all that matters—will be carried throughout the concert. Craig Coogan BGMC Executive Director concluded, “We ask, ‘Do you believe? And after experiencing this concert, we know you’ll answer, ‘yes!’ Believe will have you believing in the spirit of the holidays.”
For Info & Tix…
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Monday, November 20, 2017

Cracked Christmas Theater Event

Ryan Landry's Gold Dust Orphans present their new must-see Christmas themed musical mystery production entitled "Whatever Happened To Baby Jesus?" at the Ramrod Center for the Performing Arts at Machine Night Club 1254 Boylston Street in Boston, MA. Opening night is November 30th & runs through December 23rd at 8P. The show tells the tale of somebody has stolen the bright & shiny Baby Jesus from the downtown nativity display & murdered the Preacher's wife to boot but who could it be? Drawing on the cult movie classic “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?” years pass till Blanche Hudson who is a physically challenged movie star goes to spend the Christmas holidays at the Marvel Family Farm in her hometown of Mapleton, Vermont. But wait! Along comes Baby Jane Hudson her crazy mentally challenged sister & haunted by their pasts the Hudson sisters soon begin haunting each other until no one is safe! Ryan Landry plays the role of Blanche Hudson & longtime Orphan collaborator Larry Coen takes on the iconic part of Baby Jane. Surrounded by a supporting cast of new Orphan favorites the audience is sure to be surprised & delighted as the plot twists & the tables turn. Audiences will not be disappointed in this over-the-top production & can expect to gasp in horror with delight as the Orphans dance, sing & satirize their way through 90 minutes of rock solid fun as "Whatever Happened To Baby Jesus" will keep you on your toes & at the edge of your seat!
For Info & Tix…
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Saturday, November 18, 2017

LGBTQ Nutcracker Holiday Event

Hailed as one of the “Best Bets for Holiday Dance” the Dance-Along Nutcracker is one of San Francisco’s most treasured holiday events that takes place at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on December 9th & 10th. Exemplifying San Francisco Lesbian & Gay Freedom Band’s mission for the last 32 years the Dance-Along Nutcracker has been San Francisco Holiday Event bringing together the community with a show that takes children, families, couples & singles on a magical holiday journey. This year’s theme is entitled “Nutcrackers of the Caribbean” blending Tchaikovsky’s classic Nutcracker Suite with a fun-filled musical production brimming with wit, artistry & ingenuity. The 2017 Dance-Along Nutcracker® includes a dazzling array of local celebrities. Written by SFLGFB’s own trumpeter Heidi Beeler, “Nutcrackers of the Caribbean” takes the audience on a high seas adventure with Clara, Fritz & Captain Drosselmeyer as they seek out the buried treasure of Peg Legs Tchaikovsky & when the “Dance-Along” sign flashes the audience is invited to tug on their tutus & pirouette along with the cast. Even landlubbers who don’t want to dance have a blast! The Dance-Along Nutcracker is led under the baton of SFLGFB’s Artistic Director Pete Nowlen, Flynn De Marco directs with choreography by Marilynn Fowler. It is an event & a celebration where truly no barriers exist; be it age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or even talent. As a result, the Dance–Along Nutcracker® has become a holiday favorite for families, couples & singles of all sexual orientations & gender identities.
For Info & Tix…
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Friday, November 17, 2017

Out & Equal LGBT Brazil Forum

Out & Equal Workplace Advocates, the world’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated LGBT workplace equality held its second annual Out & Equal LGBT Brazil Forum in São Paulo, Brazil. The event convened 300 attendees from more than 125 Brazilian & multinational companies at the Renaissance Hotel to discuss strategies for advancing LGBT workplace inclusion in Brazil & to encourage networking for LGBT & ally professionals from across diverse industries. Jamie Dimon, the Chairman and CEO of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. & Brazilian judge & attorney Dra. Maria Berenice Dias, a national expert on LGBT & family law, delivered keynote remarks at the event. Steve Roth, Senior Director of Global Initiatives at Out & Equal stated, “We are thrilled with the strong response & the tremendous growth we’ve seen in the Out & Equal Brazil Forum in just one year. From our first event last year we’ve more than doubled in size & dramatically increased senior executive participation. For us, that’s a clear sign of the strong & growing commitment to advancing LGBT workplace inclusion here in Brazil.” José Berenguer, CEO of J.P. Morgan Brazil concluded, “It was a pleasure to serve as Presenting Sponsor of the Out & Equal Brazil Forum for the second consecutive year & to feature our Chairman & CEO, Jamie Dimon, at this year’s Forum. “Our support of this event & Jamie’s presence there reflect our deep, global commitment to advancing LGBT workplace equality. We’re very proud of our partnership with Out & Equal.”
For More Info: outandequal.org
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Thursday, November 16, 2017

Montana State Senate Reversal

In the midst the observance of Transgender Awareness Week that takes place from November 13th to Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20th that honors the memory of those whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence, the Montana State Senate has passed an anti-transgender bill SB 10 that aims to undo the work by the Montana Department of Public Health & Human Services (HHS) to make it easier for Montanans to change birth certificate gender makers. Senate Bill 10 was introduced as part of Montana’s current special session, called to address the state’s budget shortfall. Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD stated, “The Montana Senate is failing all their constituents by focusing their efforts on discrimination & bigotry during an emergency special session to fix the state budget. This bill is a clear effort to walk back progress & create complicated & discriminatory roadblocks for trans Montanans seeking documents that accurately reflect who they are.” The Montana HHS held a public hearing last month for a proposed rule change that, if enacted, would longer require a court order saying the person has completed gender confirmation surgery in order to correct the gender on their birth certificate. Now, the state legislature is working to stop the proposal from going into effect. After being introduced this week SB 10 advanced through committee & the Senate & is now moving the House.
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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Marriage Equality Win In Australia

Finally marriage equality comes closer for our LGBTQ community in Australia with 61.6% of the vote. While the survey itself is not legally binding, Australia’s prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull has vowed the momentum of a YES vote would cause a bill to legalize marriage equality to “sail through” parliament with a goal of passing marriage equality by the end of the year. Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD President & CEO stated, “With the rising tide of anti-LGBTQ laws & crackdowns around the world, citizens of Australia stood up for fairness & equality by supporting the right for everyone to marry the person they love. Now it is on the Australian government to heed the will of its people & pass fully equal marriage without exemptions.” Of course anti-equality politicians & activists in Australia have already launched a plan to distort these results by rallying behind a marriage bill that would override non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ Australians through religious exemptions. In America on November 18th we’re coming up on the 14th anniversary when the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in 2003 ruled in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health stating, "We declare that barring an individual from the protections, benefits & obligations of civil marriage solely because that person would marry a person of the same sex violates the Massachusetts Constitution." It took 10 years after that ruling to win marriage equality throughout the USA. Congratulations Australia & stay strong because in the end love always wins.
For More Info: equalitycampaign.org.au
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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

UN Olympics LGBTQ Truce

Ahead of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea in February all 193 United Nations Member States adopted the Olympic Truce Resolution maintaining language protecting against discrimination based on sexual orientation. The Truce is negotiated every two years & promotes “civility among nations” during the Olympics. The truce goes into effect one week prior & one week following the games. This year a reference to Principle 6 which houses the non-discrimination clause that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation came under attack by Egypt & Russia. Thankfully their efforts failed. Jessica Stern, Executive Director of OutRight Action International stated, “While Egypt & Russia tried to export & sanction discrimination against lesbian, gay & bisexual Olympians, they failed. States decided to send a clear message that there is no place for discrimination at the Olympics. We're thankful for civil society & for the mobilization that took place to ensure that reference to Principle 6 stayed in the Truce. Today, we were victorious.” In a joint campaign by OutRight Action International & Athlete Ally professional athletes all around the world came out in support of the inclusion of Principle 6 releasing a letter calling on states to respect non-discrimination based on sexual orientation. Hudson Taylor, Founder & Executive Director of Athlete Ally added, “Today, we’re thankful for UN Member States around the world who stood up for universal values such as diversity, respect, inclusion & fair play. The decision to keep an explicit reference of Principle 6 within the Olympic Truce Resolution is an important step for the full dignity & protection of the LGBTQ community around the world. We thank the athletes who spoke out in the lead up to such an important vote.”
For More Info:outrightinternational.org
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Saturday, November 11, 2017

Transgender Military Veterans Day

California’s Attorney General Xavier Becerra has filed a motion to intervene as a party plaintiff in Stockman v. Trump, the suit fighting the transgender military ban. Filed on behalf of Equality California members & seven individual plaintiffs being harmed by the ban, Stockman v. Trump challenges the constitutionality of President Donald Trump’s August 25 directive banning transgender people from enlisting or serving openly in the military. Attorney General Becerra stated, “We must honor the service & sacrifice of all members of our military by fighting for them when their rights are attacked. California will not allow President Trump’s illegal, discriminatory & un-American actions to harm our people or our military. Marginalizing transgender servicemembers or any transgender American who wishes to serve our country faithfully & courageously will not occur on our watch.” Rick Zbur Equality California Executive Director added, “Having the support of California’s Attorney General is invaluable in our fight against this administration’s reckless & dangerous actions. This ban is having untold, negative impacts on our transgender service members & those who have taken steps to join the military & having this support from California’s chief law enforcement official shows us that our state will fight alongside us for justice & equality.” A hearing in Stockman v. Trump is scheduled for November 20th in the United States District Court for the Central District of California. Equality California & the seven individual plaintiffs in Stockman v. Trump are represented by the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) & Latham & Watkins LLP.
For More Info: eqca.org
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Friday, November 10, 2017

Broadcast TV LGBTQ Depiction

GLAAD the global LGBTQ media advocacy organization released its annual “Where We Are on TV” report which analyzes the overall diversity of primetime scripted series regulars on broadcast networks & assesses the number of LGBTQ characters on cable networks & original streaming series. While the report found the highest percentage of LGBTQ regulars on broadcast television (6.4%) since GLAAD began tracking broadcast series 22 years ago, the report brought to light the continued lack of diversity among LGBTQ portrayals on television. In all forms of television that GLAAD tracks LGBTQ characters are still predominantly white with 77% of LGBTQ characters on streaming, 62% on broadcast, 64% on cable. The majority of LGBTQ characters are men with 55% of LGBTQ characters on broadcast & cisgender. There are only 17 transgender characters across all three platforms tracked that includes broadcast, cable & streaming originals. Sarah Kate Ellis, President & CEO of GLAAD stated, “As LGBTQ acceptance in government & the broader American culture reverses course, television is a critical home for LGBTQ stories & representation matters more than ever. At a time when the Trump administration is trying to render LGBTQ people invisible, representing LGBTQ people in all of our diversity in scripted TV programs is an essential counterbalance that gives LGBTQ people stories to relate to & moves the broader public to support LGBTQ people & families.” Though there has been a record-high percentage of LGBTQ characters on broadcast TV, diversity & complex stories are still lacking.
For More Info: glaad.org
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Thursday, November 9, 2017

GMHC Wins Excellence Award

GMHC (Gay Men’s Health Crisis) has been named one of three winners of the 2017 New York Community Trust Nonprofit Excellence Awards. The awards will be presented at a program & networking reception on Friday December 1st. The Nonprofit Coordinating Committee of New York (NPCC) awards recognize excellence in nonprofit management in areas including governance, finance, diversity, human resources, information technology, fundraising, communications & overall focus on results. Kelsey Louie, GMHC CEO stated, “As the AIDS epidemic has changed, GMHC has evolved to provide new services & meet the changing needs of our more than 12,000 annual clients. To be recognized by the Nonprofit Excellence Awards as we commemorate our 35th year is not only humbling, but an affirmation that we’re doing things right & making the proper strategic, data-driven decisions to help us end the AIDS epidemic.” Sharon Stapel, President & Executive Director of NPCC added, “NPCC’s Awards program is a unique opportunity for all nonprofits to assess & receive expert feedback on their management practices. NPCC believes this year’s winners demonstrate innovative & replicable practices & we are pleased to reward their excellence in management.” The other two winners are Brooklyn Community Services & Children’s Aid which reflect the wide range of the 45 qualified award applicants from throughout the area. All three winners will participate in the December 1st awards presentation, that will include the Best Practices Workshop, a moderated panel discussion during which they will share the management practices that led to their selection.
For More Info: gmhc.org
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Wednesday, November 8, 2017

What A Difference A Year Makes

Yesterday at the voting polls it was hard not to reflect how much our world has been turned upside down since last year’s presidential election. Fortunately this year’s elections results have given us an inkling of hope that our election process can be turned around. So maybe if we all work hard & support candidates that are committed to advancing LGBTQ civil rights, women’s equality & social justice we can get back on track. LPAC, the country’s first & only lesbian political action committee, endorsed several victorious candidates in New Jersey & Virginia. Ana Cruz LPAC Political Strategy Chair stated, “LPAC is thrilled that several candidates we endorsed, including Phil Murphy, Danica Roem, Jennifer Carroll Foy, Kelly Fowler & Elizabeth Guzman, will now be in leadership positions in New Jersey & Virginia. More than ever, with the current political climate & challenges to the rights of the LGBTQ community, women & other marginalized groups, we need progressive & fair-minded politicians fighting for us. These candidates will be our advocates & champions when we need them most, especially as we approach another critical election cycle in 2018.” LPAC a Super PAC has raised millions of dollars since it was founded in 2012 to engage LGBTQ women to be involved in electoral politics at every level & to have a real & meaningful seat at political tables.
For More Info: teamlpac.com
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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Boston Pride InterPride Roles

Boston Pride continues to take a major role in InterPride, the international organization that ties together more than 220 Prides from across the globe with two of its leaders in key positions. Boston Pride Vice President Linda DeMarco was recently elected Co-President of InterPride at its annual meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana last month. Boston Pride President Sylvain Bruni was elected as an InterPride Regional Director representing the North East Regional States. This adds to the strength & commitment to InterPride from Boston Pride which is one of the five founders of the org. InterPride was established in 1982, in Boston, when representatives from various Pride organizations across the U.S. gathered to share their common experiences & support each other. DeMarco stated, “It is truly an honor to lead InterPride as it has its roots in Boston where the commitment to advocating for the LGBTQ community is without question. I look forward to leading InterPride as we need to ensure that all Prides around the world are represented & have a voice.” DeMarco is Co-President with Brett Hayho of Australia. Together they will set the vision & the agenda for InterPride & its board of 49 members from across the globe. Previously DeMarco served as InterPride’s Treasurer. In 2012 we talked to Boston Pride when they hosted the 30th Annual InterPride World Conference on OUTTAKE VOICES. Boston Pride produces events & activities to achieve inclusivity, equality, respect & awareness in Greater Boston & beyond. Boston Pride Week 2018 will be held June 1st to 10th.
For More Info: bostonpride.org
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Monday, November 6, 2017

San Francisco Trans Film Festival

Founded in 1997 the San Francisco Transgender Film Festival is the world’s first & longest running transgender film festival & is celebrating its 20th anniversary. SFTFF 2017 runs from November 10th to 13th at the Roxie Theater in San Francisco & to celebrate this milestone it will feature a special expanded International program & an Opening Night Anniversary Gala. Shawna Virago Artistic Director stated, “We were founded at a time in 1997 when funders would not support transgender film festivals or filmmakers & so for years, we have had to survive & thrive on our transgender smarts, sweat & love from the community. The San Francisco Transgender Film Festival provides a powerful counter-narrative to the increasingly assimilationist world of transgender reality stars & celebrities. Hollywood gets it very wrong. Come see trans & gender-variant people telling our own stories. Come see trans characters played by trans actors & help us celebrate our milestone 20th Festival!” From sexy shorts to inspiring animation, from gender-busting music videos to hard-hitting documentaries, SFTFF 2017 truly has something for everyone & all genders are welcomed to attend. SFTFF was founded in 1997 as the world’s first transgender film festival & is built upon grassroots, social-justice-seeking, anti-oppression principles. Originally a bi-annual festival, SFTFF expanded to an annual festival in 2003 by audience demand. This year’s Festival will feature films from more than a dozen countries around the world & will feature a closed-captioned-for-Deaf-&-hard-of-hearing audiences program with ASL interpretation.
For More Info & Tix: sftff.org 
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Saturday, November 4, 2017

A Transgender Calling Of Faith

Reverend Otto O’Connor has become the first openly transgender minister of the First Parish Malden & one of the first openly transgender religious leaders in the Boston area. O’Connor’s appointment ended a two-year search becoming the 36th minister at the Unitarian Universalist First Parish Malden in Massachusetts. Reverend O’Connor stated, “I’m ready to get started on the work we’re doing together to achieve a more just & compassionate world. From DACA to hurricanes, I see a world that is so in need of healing & care. Worship is a place where we’re reminded of how we can live out those values in our daily lives. For me in my journey in order to feel integrated enough to lead a congregation, I needed to go through with that process of transitioning & the self discovery that happens as part of it.” O’Connor grew up in Canada & moved to New York to attend Cornell University. For the last seven years he has lived in Massachusetts serving our LGBTQ community at MassEquality before going to theology school. O’Connor attended Andover Newton Theological School completing a two-year residency at First Parish in Sherborn, Massachusetts. His gender transition took place during his time at school which he describes as a physical & spiritual awakening. Reverend O’Connor concluded, “One of the things that I feel I’m brought here to do is help folks live out their vision. I’m looking forward to being that force in Malden & for people who are interested in progressive change & inclusive religious communities.”
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Thursday, November 2, 2017

Gender Conference East Event

Gender Conference East takes place November 3rd & 4th at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel at Newark Airport, NJ. This is an excellent opportunity to network with transgender youth & especially affirming & knowledgeable professional colleagues. Online registration is closed & Family day is full but registration will be available for November 3rd for Professional Day. Professional Symposium will be providing programming across disciplines to sharpen your knowledge or get an introduction on how to better serve gender-expansive youth & their families. Friday evening there will be a Meet & Greet a chance to meet other families & make some early connections, hosted by Vanessa & Ron Ford. Saturday November 4th is for children & youth providing specific programming for elementary, middle, high school & young adults to supportive spaces where they can be themselves & meet kindred spirits. On Saturday evening there will be a Pizza Party to unwind & relax after a full day of programing. Gender Conference East’s mission is to provide a safe & supportive space dedicated to the needs of children & youth across the gender spectrum, as well as their families & the professionals working with them. Using collaborative principles to shape this event, the organizers seek to shape this event as the needs of families, providers & partners & young people evolve over time.
For More Info: genderconferenceeast.org
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Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Boston INK Event At Machine

Kristen Porter is presenting INK, a fabulous tattoo themed Second Saturday & Closing Bash event for the LGBTQ community & friends on November 11th from 9P to 2A at Machine Nightclub, 1254 Boylston Street in Boston, Massachusetts. Kristen stated, “Second Saturday 11.11 will also mark the exact 10th year anniversary of Second Saturday at Machine. Under both these auspicious dates, it feels right, that now is the time to have November Second Saturday be both our celebration & our closing party! Let’s come together one more last call to celebrate all the love & friendship that has been found & forged at Second Saturday this decade at this blow out bash!” Hosting the event will be Sarah Maillet, celebrity famous inked model & the Ideal Americana Tattoo Company with Thais V. There will be a best tattoo contest entitled GOT INK? To enter your tattoo into the contest just arrive before 11P & show the judges in the lounge room your ink. Winners will be announced on main stage at midnight & the grand prize will be a free tattoo. Dance to the seamless spins of the best in current pop/dance, hip-hop & throwback favorites with resident DJ Gay Jim, formerly of Kiss108 from 10P on. Kristen Porter Presents was founded in 1998 & has a mission to partner entertainment with philanthropy. Their events are inclusive of all our LGBTQ community & are transgender/gender non-conforming/non-binary/genderqueer folk & welcoming of all who respect women. This is a 21+ event & tix are $10.
For More Info…
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