Saturday, February 24, 2018

Georgia Breaking LGBTQ Hearts

The Georgia State Senate by a vote of 35-19 has passed Senate Bill 375 which is another discriminatory religious exemption bill that allows taxpayer-funded agencies to deny adoption requests from LGBTQ couples & refuse service to LGBTQ youth. Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD stated, “Senate Bill 375 is a dangerous step backward that would codify permission to discriminate against the LGBTQ community into Georgia state law. This bill is not about freedom of religion, which is one of our nation’s fundamental values, but rather about imposing one’s personal religious beliefs on others to discriminate against loving foster or adoptive parents simply because of their identity & deny services to LGBTQ youth.” Fran Hutchins Equality Federation Deputy Director added, “As someone who was adopted myself I find it deeply insulting that a few politicians are putting LGBTQ youth & families at risk for discrimination. Every child deserves a loving family & place the call home.” Jeff Graham, Executive Director at Equality Georgia concluded, “This legislation goes out of its way to make it harder for loving & committed gay & lesbian couples to start a family & unfortunately, it’s children in need of permanent homes who will pay the steepest price.” Georgia is one of 10 states with no child welfare non-discrimination protections for sexual orientation or gender identity. Legal protections for LGBTQ youth are essential but SB 375 only target this already vulnerable community with more discrimination.
For More Info: equalityfederation.org
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Friday, February 23, 2018

Rock The CASA Benefit Concert

Rock The CASA is the annual non-profit concert that takes place in California founded by San Francisco Bay Area ABC-7 New Anchor Dan Ashley for the purpose of benefiting charitable organizations that serve children in need. This year Rock The CASA 2018 takes place on Saturday March 3rd at Lesher Center for Performing Arts in Walnut Creek, CA & will feature rock & LGBT icon Melissa Etheridge. Ashley's new band that includes Mariah Carey's lead guitarist & music director will be opening for Melissa. The event will be supporting Court Appointed Special Advocates, Friends Of Camp Concord & Big Brothers Big Sisters. Ann Wrixon, Executive Director, CASA of Contra Costa County stated, “Rock the CASA is our highest visibility event- not only providing the organization with much needed funds, but also getting our name in front of thousands of potential volunteers, which is the lifeblood of our work with abused & neglected children. Most remarkably, Dan Ashley has created Rock the CASA so that it is truly philanthropic. We could not be more grateful for the support of Rock the CASA.” Founded in 2015 by Ashley, Rock The CASA is a labor of love combining Dan’s passions in music, philanthropy, community & helping children in need. The annual Rock The CASA benefit concert has raised over $150k to support CASA of Contra Costa County & Friends of Camp Concord. The event has sold-out 2 years in a row & will continue to grow in order to help more kids & make the world a little bit brighter.
For Info & Tix: rockthecasa.org
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Thursday, February 22, 2018

LGBT Economic Summit Event

Golden Gate Business Association (GGBA) will host the Western Business Alliance (WBA) LGBT Economic Summit & Conference from March 15th to 16th at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco. GGBA will gather twenty-one LGBT chambers of commerce from throughout the Western United States for this important event which will focus attention on issues of critical importance to our collective business communities including LGBT homelessness, the needs of LGBT millennials, leveraging the power of disruptive technologies in order to create a new level of LGBT entrepreneurs, removing the barriers to economic prosperity for the Transgender community & ‘thinking outside the box’ in order to access capital to grow our businesses. The conference will also include GGBA’s Power Lunch series that was launched in 2015 to showcase extraordinary LGBT entrepreneurs, high performing LGBT businesses & key stakeholders who are transforming the world. Since its inception the Power Lunch has achieved national recognition for its ability to tell compelling stories of triumph over adversity, community empowerment & the commitment to economic prosperity. This year The Power Lunch IV Co-Chairs are the Honorable Mark Leno & Helen Russell. GGBA was founded in 1974 as the world’s first LGBT chamber of commerce & holds a special place in the history of the ever-changing economic landscape on the local, national & international levels. The WBA was founded in 1994 as an opportunity for LGBT chambers throughout the Western United States to advocate on behalf of the LGBT economic equality movement, share ‘best practices’ & serve as the collective voice of the LGBT business community in the West.
For Info & Tix…
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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Transgender Troops Ban (AUDIO)

Since the Trump administration’s ban on transgender service members has been temporarily blocked by four federal courts we still haven’t heard about what the Department of Defense will do as we reach today’s February 21st deadline to reinstate a full ban on transgender troops. Aaron Belkin Palm Center Director sated, “On Aug. 25, 2017 President Trump directed Defense Secretary Mattis to reinstate a full ban on transgender troops, setting a Feb. 21, 2018 deadline for an implementation plan. As Sec. Mattis prepares to release the road map for implementing President Trump’s ban he should keep in mind that four federal courts have blocked the ban from going into effect & have ruled that the only constitutional option is to apply the same standards to every service member, meaning that troops who are fit for duty can serve. Applying a single standard to all service members is not only the sole legal option, but is the best way to promote military readiness. Transgender troops have been serving openly in the U.S. military for nearly two years & have been widely praised by commanders. All available research, including the military’s own extensive study of the issue & the results of a thorough study by the RAND Corporation, indicates that inclusive policy promotes readiness by ensuring equal treatment & drawing on all available talent. Eighteen foreign militaries allow transgender troops to serve openly & none have reported any compromise to readiness. The Trump administration should not politicize the evidence to score political points with its anti-LGBT base.” Last Summer in this exclusive podcast I talked to Matt Thorn, President & CEO of OutServe-SLDN about this crucial issue. LISTEN
For More Info: outserve-sldn.org
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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

LGBT Healthcare In Jeopardy

The Trump administration’s proposed budget would sharply reduce global & domestic spending for HIV care & prevention as well as reduce access to Medicaid & move categories of healthcare spending such as federal investment in community healthcare centers from mandatory to discretionary spending. The education centers & special projects program are central to pioneering & evaluating innovative HIV care models that improve access to and retention in care for vulnerable populations disproportionately burdened by HIV such as gay men & transgender women & particularly gay men & transgender women of color. Sean Cahill, Director of Health Policy Research at the Fenway Institute & Director of Curriculum & Policy at the National Center for Innovation in HIV Care stated, “The proposed cuts in domestic HIV prevention & treatment would undermine the dramatic progress seen since the implementation of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy. It’s impossible to overstate the deadly impact these proposals could potential have. We have been lulled into believing that HIV & AIDS is no longer a concern globally thanks to the scale up of treatment. But these advances mean nothing if you’re cut off from life-saving medicine. This budget proposes a radical rejection of the social compact that has sustained our country for half a century. It would also undermine important progress we have made in preventing & treating HIV here & in Africa. It casts our most vulnerable people aside & leaves them to fend for themselves without the resources they need to succeed. We urge Congress to reject these proposed cuts & maintain the bipartisan support that HIV prevention & treatment have traditionally received.”
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Monday, February 19, 2018

Academy of Friends Gala Event

Join Academy of Friends' for their 38th Annual Academy Awards Night Gala that benefits HIV/AIDS Services in the Bay Area on Sunday March 4th from 5P to 11P at City View at Metreon 135 4th Street in San Francisco, California. In typical Academy of Friends' fashion everyone at the event will enjoy food provided by the Bay Area's finest restaurants & caterers with wine & champagne by amazing vintners while attendees watch the 90th Academy Awards presentation. This year VIP attendees have early entry at 4P with an amazing list of food & wine tasting selections provided by Gibson, Eight Tables, Nightbird & The Caviar Company. General admission will enjoy food from Serpentine, Bluestem Brasserie, The Alembic, Maybeck's, Rooh, Nomica, China Live, Perle, Precita Park: Le Marais, Uno Dos tacos & Mr Espresso. This year’s wine sponsors are Lambert Bridge Winery & Rodney Strong Wine Estates. Enjoy live entertainment & an after party featuring Polyglamorous! This is a 21+ event & 100% of tickets sales will be distributed to Academy of Friends HIV/AIDS Services that has been in existence & evolving for over 38 years. Through this fabulous annual Academy Awards Night Gala Academy of Friends has raised almost $9 million to support more than 73 HIV/AIDS service organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area. Tickets are $200 to $750.
For More Info & Tix…
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Friday, February 16, 2018

American Weapons Of Madness

Once again another horrific school shooting has happened in America this time in Parkland, Florida about 20 minutes away from where we are broadcasting OUTTAKE VOICES™ all this week. Seventeen innocent kids & staff gunned down by a deranged teen who proudly wore his Trump Make America Great Again hat & is a member of a white supremacy organization. Yet our biased GOP leadership does nothing to pass gun control banning these assault weapons once & for all & condemn these appalling discriminatory groups. Kristen Clarke, President & Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law stated, “This administration has failed to confront the growing tide of white supremacy in our country. Their words & their policies have emboldened white nationalists at every turn. Reports indicate that Nikolas Cruz belonged to a white nationalist militia & received paramilitary training through them prior to Wednesday’s tragic shooting. These reports, if true, mean that Cruz was radicalized right here on American soil. Now is the time to confront the violence arising from the growing white supremacist movement that is striking terror in communities & tearing away at the fabric of our country. We express our deepest sympathies to the victims of the Parkland, Florida shooting; we can honor them by fully confronting the white nationalist movement intensifying across our country.” The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization & was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination.
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Thursday, February 15, 2018

San Francisco Gay Chorus Gala

The San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus announced a stellar lineup of honorees & VIP guests for their 40th Season Crescendo Gala that takes place on February 24th at the Fairmont San Francisco presented by Zendesk. As it celebrates its 40th anniversary this year SFGMC will honor two-time Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Mary Lambert with the Inspiration Award for her achievements in advancing LGBTQ equality. The evening will also honor renowned Emmy-winning, Grammy & Tony Award-nominated composer Andrew Lippa with the Vanguard Award & Ken McNeely President of AT&T Pacific Region with the Corporate Leadership Award. Funds raised will benefit the newly launched music education program RHYTHM: Reaching Youth Through Music. Chris Verdugo, Executive Director of SFGMC stated, “In light of our 40th Anniversary, we will celebrate what SFGMC is at its core – family - while paying tribute to three honorees whose own lives & advocacy work have entered around theirs. With RHYTHM, we’re aiming to spread the message of love & community to the younger generation. Our ultimate goal is to support them living their authentic lives.” Special guests will include actor & activist Wilson Cruz, Pitch Perfect’s Kelley Jakle, son of newly elected Alabama Senator Doug Jones, LGBTQ activist Carson Jones, acclaimed author & activist Armistead Maupin & President of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors London Breed. Guests will be entertained with special performances by Mary Lambert, Andrew Lippa & members of the Chorus.
For Info & Tix: sfgmc.org
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Tuesday, February 13, 2018

GLAAD To Honor Britney Spears

GLAAD announced that it will honor Britney Spears the multi-platinum Grammy Award-winning pop icon at their 29th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles at Beverly Hilton on Thursday, April 12th. Spears will receive GLAAD’s Vanguard Award is presented to media professionals who have made a significant difference in promoting equality & acceptance of LGBTQ people. Sarah Kate Ellis, President & CEO of GLAAD stated, “An irrefutable icon, Britney Spears has entertained the world while also embodying the spirit of GLAAD’s Vanguard Award by speaking out on significant issues that face her fans – from the Dream Act to anti-transgender bills in Texas. She is a force in the music world who has used her global platform to share messages of love & acceptance, something that the world needs today more than ever.” Previous Vanguard Award honorees include Jennifer Lopez, Cher, Kerry Washington, Elizabeth Taylor, Whoopi Goldberg, Antonio Banderas, Drew Barrymore, Janet Jackson, Demi Lovato, Eric McCormack, Josh Hutcherson & Patricia Arquette. Spears is a longtime ally & supporter of the LGBTQ community. She has consistently stood up for LGBTQ youth on GLAAD’s Spirit Day by going purple on social media to speak out against bullying. Additional special guests & honorees from the GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles will be announced in the coming weeks. The GLAAD Media Awards honor media for fair, accurate & inclusive representations of LGBTQ people & our issues. The GLAAD Media Awards also fund GLAAD's work to accelerate acceptance of the LGBTQ community. The 29th Annual GLAAD Media Awards are presented by Delta Air Lines, Ketel One Vodka & Wells Fargo.
For Info: glaad.org
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Monday, February 12, 2018

Transgender Kids At Risk

Trump’s Education Department announced it will not investigate or take action on any complaints of discrimination filed by transgender students who are not permitted to use the facilities that match their gender identity. Rebecca Isaacs, Executive Director, Equality Federation stated, "The Trump Administration’s attacks on LGBTQ people & our families just keep getting more cruel. It is unconscionable to tell youth that their complaints of discrimination won’t even be heard. Every student in America, including transgender students, should have a fair opportunity to fully participate & succeed in school! We want trans youth to know that they are loved & supported & we are fighting alongside them for equality. All of Equality Federation’s state-based member organizations, from Equality Florida to Equality Ohio to Equality California, are proud to support & celebrate transgender & nonbinary youth & their families. We will continue working to make sure every school, town & state is inclusive & provides a level playing field for everybody." The news comes almost a year after the departments of Justice & Education rescinded the Obama-era guidance that any school receiving federal money must treat a student's gender identity as his or her sex which included allowing individuals to use the bathroom conforming to their identity.
For More Info: equalityfederation.org
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Friday, February 9, 2018

Turkish LGBTQ Activist Released

Ali Erol a leading LGBTQ human rights defender & co-founder of Kaos GL Association Turkey’s first registered LGBT organization has been released from detention after being arrested in the home he shares with his partner February 2nd in Ankara, Turkey. Though Erol has been released his case is still under judicial review & the prosecution will continue. Erol will be required to appear before the police periodically & is banned from leaving the country. The exact reasons surrounding his arrest & prosecution has been kept confidential by authorities though Kaos GL reports that the police had a warrant for his social media posts. Yildiz Tar, Media & Communications Coordinator at Kaos GL stated, “Secrecy is a very common strategy in Turkey. First they detain, ask questions about something, then they prepare the charges & we can only learn it in trial or just before the trial.” Jessica Stern, Executive Director at OutRight Action International added, “The ambiguity of the case & seemingly arbitrary reasons for Ali Erol’s arrest speaks to the deteriorating situation faced by LGBTIQ & all, human rights defenders in Turkey. The blanket ban on LGBTIQ events already trampled on the rights to assembly, now even the rights to express oneself freely is being punished. The Turkish government needs to stop violating the human rights of its citizens immediately.” In November 2017 the governor of Ankara banned all LGBTI related events in the Turkish capital, citing that such events could spur public animosity from other groups & the need to maintain safety & security. Since the ban, LGBTIQ organizations have been on alert & face increasing pressure.
For More Info: outrightinternational.org
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Thursday, February 8, 2018

Judicial Attack On LGBTQ People

The momentum against our LGBTQ community in this country has been increasing ever since the Trump administration came to be. The most discouraging has been Trump’s agenda to pack federal courts with judges who have demonstrated hostility towards civil rights for LGBTQ people & other marginalized groups. Federal judges are suppose to be impartial in interpreting the law but Trump & his chief congressional enabler, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are ramming through a record number of homophobic extremists to lifetime appointments on the federal judiciary. Fully one-third of Trump nominees have anti-LGBT records & no one is doing anything to prevent this horrendous travesty on our judicial system. Some examples are the Fifth Circuit nominee Stuart Kyle Duncan who leads a law firm that has made a boutique practice of smearing LGBTQ people. The we have Texas district court nominee Matthew Kacsmaryk has expressed disbelief of the very concept of being transgender & denounced even the limited LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections passed in Utah on the ground that any protections whatsoever legitimize LGBT people in society’s eyes. Unfortunately other anti-LGBT nominees have already been confirmed including Deputy White House Counsel Greg Katsas, the legal architect of the transgender military ban & adviser on numerous anti–civil rights actions by the Trump White House was narrowly confirmed to the powerful D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals late last year & Steven Grasz who wrote that the possibility of Nebraska courts recognizing gay & lesbian marriages performed in Hawaii was a “grave danger,” was confirmed to a lifetime appointment on the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. In this exclusive podcast our LGBTQ legal organizations talk about this alarming anti-LGBTQ judicial trend. LISTEN:
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Wednesday, February 7, 2018

The Laramie Project Cycle Event

This year marks 20 years since the murder of Matthew Shepard generated worldwide headlines & mobilized our LGBTQ community & allies in 1998. The Wandering Theatre Company after their award-winning run at Washington D.C.'s Capital Fringe Festival & a successful limited run of The Laramie Project in Off-Broadway in 2017 will bring its bold new staging of contemporary classic The Laramie Project to New York City's Access Theatre from February 21st to March 4th. In addition there will be several back-to-back productions of The Laramie Project & The Laramie Project: 10 Years Later, know as The Laramie Cycle. Director Natalie Villamonte Zito stated “I decided to bring a production of ‘The Laramie Project’ to the stage three days after the presidential election in 2016. Since that election we have only seen hate crimes spike against many diverse communities, from LGBTQ people to Muslims, African Americans, immigrants, women & so many other groups. After the success of our 2017 production we decided to bring the full Laramie Cycle to the stage, which has only been produced a handful of times. As we mark two decades since the murder of Matthew Shepard it is more important than ever to talk about how we can all make a difference & combat hate. These plays, which have been seen by over 30 million people have been one of the most impactful pieces of theater in history. Our production brings some elements that I hope add to the experience, including the inclusion of Matthew Shepard – a silent, moving presence & moving reminder of the loss that impacted Laramie & the world.”
For Info & Tix: thewanderingtheatrecompany.org
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Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Jim Obergefell Joins SAGE Board

SAGE, the nation’s largest & oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of LGBT elders announced that Jim Obergefell, the named plaintiff in the landmark marriage equality Supreme Court case Obergefell v. Hodges is joining its Board of Directors. Michael Adams, SAGE's CEO stated, “We are deeply honored to add Jim’s expertise & energy to our board. Having accompanied Jim & our beloved friend Edie Windsor on a groundbreaking journey toward marriage equality, we continue to be awed by Jim’s unwavering commitment and outspoken voice in support of the entire LGBT community.” Elizabeth F. Schwartz, SAGE board co-chair, adds, “The LGBT movement has achieved great change by telling our stories. Jim Obergefell shared the painful passing of his husband & his fight to be recognized as a spouse brought us marriage equality. Jim’s decision to bring his big heart & sharp mind to SAGE’s board speaks volumes about his continuing work toward equality for our most vulnerable community.” Obergefell concluded, “I’m excited to serve on the board of an organization that does so much to help those who paved the way for younger LGBTQ generations. Our elders’ courage & sacrifices helped create a more supportive & welcoming world for us & SAGE fights to ensure that they are able to enjoy the same. It’s an honor to work with SAGE on their behalf.” In 2016 I talked to Obergefell in this exclusive audio podcast on the red carpet at the GLAAD Media Awards about LGBTQ equality & more. LISTEN:
For More info: sageusa.org
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Monday, February 5, 2018

Fort Lauderdale Love Pride Event

Pride Fort Lauderdale will be celebrating the nation’s only “Love Pride” on Sunday, February 11th from noon to 8P on the iconic Fort Lauderdale Beach. Headlining the event will be Grammy Award-winning singer & songwriter Estelle & internationally-acclaimed actress, singer & flamenco guitarist Charo. Richard Gray, Vice President, LGBTQ Market, of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau stated, “We’re so excited to celebrate with residents & visitors from across the world in Greater Fort Lauderdale where they can be free to be who they are. We are a welcoming destination to all people, regardless of whom they choose to love, how they choose to identify, the color of their skin, or what religion they believe in & we are looking forward to another successful world-class festival.” Miik Martorell, President of Pride Fort Lauderdale added, “We have held annual celebrations & tributes to the LGBT+ community & its unique culture for 40 years & are excited to host another inclusive & diverse Pride Fort Lauderdale this year. We think celebrating ‘Love Pride’ is fitting just before Valentine’s Day & to celebrate how inclusive Greater Fort Lauderdale is.” This is the 41st anniversary for the festival. It is also the region’s first Transgender Pride, with an appearance by leading transgender model & singer Laith Ashley, star of the Oxygen network’s series “Strut.” Celebrity DJs Tracy Young, Deanna & Power Infiniti will be spinning from the main stage throughout the day. This is a free event.
For More Info: pridefortlauderdale.org
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Friday, February 2, 2018

Boston Black History Film Event

In commemoration of Black History Month, Lesbians of Color Symposium Collective, Fenway Women's Health Team, Flashback Sunday, Black Pride & Wicked Queer proudly presents the documentary “The Passionate Pursuits of Angela Bowen” on Thursday February 8th from 6P to 8P at Fenway Community Health Center, 1340 Boylston Street in Boston, MA. For six decades Bowen has influenced & inspired untold numbers, speaking out as strongly for the Arts & Black & Women’s Rights as she has for LGBTQ Rights. Candid, compelling, and inspiring, “The Passionate Pursuits of Angela Bowen” depicts Bowen's life across the decades, with archival footage, timeless musical selections, photographs and interviews. The film is about the life of Angela Bowen, a black lesbian feminist writer & activist who grew up in inner city Boston during the Jim Crow era & became a classical ballerina & famous dance teacher & professor. The film depicts Bowen’s life across the decades from the early fifties, with historic footage, photographs & interviews including her dance mentor, dance partner, former husband, partner, children, activists, scholars, dance & university students. Bowen’s candid & compelling stories allow us to understand how race, class, gender, age & sexuality played into her decisions & choices, her mission & strategies for survival. “The Passionate Pursuits of Angela Bowen” by filmmaker Jennifer Abod challenges & inspires its audiences to pursue their own dreams with tenacity & courage but not for themselves alone. Light refreshments will be provided & there will be an intergenerational talkback following the screening.
This is a free event.
For More Info: fenwayhealth.org
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Thursday, February 1, 2018

Boston Older Lesbians Health Chat

Boston OLOC (Old Lesbians Organizing For Change) presents “Older Bodies Older Brains: Brains, Bones & the Challenge of Aging” with physicians Elizabeth Kass & Jamie Redgrave on Sunday February 4th from 2P to 4P at the Brookline Senior Center at 93 Winchester Street in Brookline, Massachusetts. Dr. Elizabeth Kass & Dr. Jamie Redgrave will discuss cognitive changes, osteoporosis prevention, arthritis & other medical issues connected to aging Sarah Pearlman Founding Member of OLOC-Boston stated, “Boston OLOC is proud to host our 5th program on age & medical issues with physicians, Elizabeth Kass of Fenway Health & Jamie Redgrave of Harvard University Health Services. Liz will be addressing both normal & abnormal cognitive changes & Jamie will talk about osteoporosis & osteoarthritis, conditions that are common among older women.” Alice Fisher, Founding Member of OLOC-Boston concluded, “No question, aging is accompanied by health issues. One key to good health is prevention & the other noticing signs that can alert you to problems. Bring your questions on February 4th & join Liz Kass MD of Fenway Health & Jamie Redgrave of Harvard University for another Boston OLOC Sunday afternoon.” OLOC Boston programs & events are open to lesbians of all ages, including transgender lesbians. OLOC’s mission includes their commitment to creating communities of older lesbians & solidarity with allies for racial, economic & social justice. Following the event there will be an early dinner at Lemon Grass at 239 Harvard Street in Brookline, MA.
For More Info: spearlman@hartford.edu
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