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Outright Celebration of Courage Event

Outright International will honor the fabulously talented Billy Porter with the Outspoken Award at their upcoming 28th annual Celebration of Courage awards & gala on June 3rd in NYC. The organization’s Outspoken Award recognizes LGBTQ groups or individuals & allies that contribute to advanced awareness & equality for LGBTQ people. Billy Porter the Emmy, Grammy & Tony award-winning actor, singer, director, producer, composer, playwright & activist will be recognized for his unwavering advocacy & powerful voice across various movements. Porter has made significant contributions to the entertainment industry, earning accolades & acclaim for his remarkable talent & dedication to social causes. Porter stated, “Around the world, there are millions of LGBTIQ people who are unable to live their lives openly & safely. That is why I am honored to receive the Outspoken Award & join forces with Outright International to say enough is enough: enough with denying LGBTIQ people their basic dignity & humanity; enough with holding back my community’s right to live lives of joy & happiness. I will continue to speak out & stand with Outright until every LGBTIQ person in every corner of this planet knows they are loved & seen.” BeBe Zahara Benet will host the 2024 gala. Maria Sjödin, Outright International Executive Director concluded, “One of Outright International’s four pillars is Celebrate & even in the midst of adversity, we hold space at our gala and through our awards to commemorate the resilience & victories of a vibrant & brave LGBTIQ global movement. We celebrate LGBTIQ activists everywhere & we thank activists like Billy Porter & BeBe Zahara Benet for lending us their talents, voice & platform to help us keep pushing for change.” 

Provincetown Film Festival 26th Year

The Provincetown International Film Festival is celebrating 26 years & runs Wednesday June 12th to Sunday June 16th in Provincetown, MA. This year’s Filmmaker on the Edge is Andrew Haigh the acclaimed English writer/director best known for WEEKEND, 45 YEARS, LEAN ON PETE & most recently ALL OF US STRANGERS starring Andrew Scott & Paul Mescal. Haigh also wrote & produced the HBO series LOOKING & its film sequel LOOKING: THE MOVIE. Haigh will be in Provincetown to receive the award in conversation with resident artist John Waters on Saturday June 15th. Lisa Viola PIFF Artistic Director stated, “Ever since his film WEEKEND screened at PIFF in 2011, we have been tremendously impressed with Andrew Haigh as his films embody both truth & desire while offering a deep, emotional connection & an original narrative voice. We eagerly look forward to welcoming Andrew to Provincetown for a lively & memorable conversation about his exciting film career.” PIFF also announced that Colman Domingo will be honored with this year’s Excellence in Acting Award. Domingo who received an Academy Award nomination for RUSTIN will also be in town to support SING SING his latest film also starring Paul Raci & Clarence Maclin. Anne Hubbell, PIFF’s Executive Director stated, “We are so happy to be honoring Colman Domingo for his incredible body of work, including his transcendent performance in SING SING. He exemplifies the commitment to creativity & community that fuels PIFF.” Opening night film will be OUTSTANDING: A COMEDY REVOLUTION & this year’s festival will close with Nathan Silver’s BETWEEN THE TEMPLES. 

LGBTQ Students Title IX Protections

GLSEN applauds the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) for its ongoing work to resolve Title IX violations & complaints of sex-based harassment & discrimination affecting LGBTQ students. To further this action Melanie Willingham-Jaggers GLSEN’s Executive Director calls on Congress to include a $22 million increase in USED-OCR funding to ensure all schools take sufficient measures to protect students from discrimination & harassment stating, "These resolutions highlight both progress & the ongoing challenges in creating safe & inclusive learning environments. GLSEN is committed to ensuring that all students, especially LGBTQ+ students, feel affirmed & safe in their schools. The OCR’s report clearly shows that schools still have much work to do to comply with Title IX & protect all students from discrimination." The latest OCR Annual Report underscores the critical need for continued vigilance & action to ensure safe, discrimination-free learning environments for all students. GLSEN calls on Congress to increase funding for the OCR to safeguard the civil rights of all students, particularly LGBTQ students. GLSEN continues to advocate for proactive measures by schools to address & prevent discriminatory experiences & comprehensive training for school staff on LGBTQ issues & inclusion. This includes addressing policies that affirm students' gender identities & sexual orientations as well as funding for the OCR to ensure timely & thorough resolution of complaints. The latest OCR Annual Report underscores the critical need for continued vigilance & action to ensure safe, discrimination-free learning environments for all students & GLSEN remains dedicated to this mission & urges schools & policymakers to prioritize these efforts. 

South Carolina Trans Healthcare Ban

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster has signed H.4624 into law which is a broad intrusion into medically necessary healthcare for transgender South Carolinians. The law takes effect immediately banning medically necessary healthcare for transgender youth under the age of 18 in South Carolina including puberty blockers, hormone therapy & surgery as well as prohibiting public funds & Medicaid from being used to cover the cost of transition-related healthcare for transgender people of any age. H.4624 also encourages school professionals to “out” students to their parents if they ask to go by a different name or pronouns potentially before they are ready to share. Chase Glenn, a leader in the SC United for Justice & Equality coalition & the Executive Director of Alliance for Full Acceptance stated, “Across the state, from the Lowcountry to the Upstate, South Carolinians are mourning the passage of H.4624, which will make it immeasurably harder for transgender youth & many adults to access the life-saving healthcare that they need & deserve. But let me be clear: This loss does not crumble a movement. Our movement supporting transgender people in South Carolina is louder & stronger than it’s ever been. We’ve marched at the State House, we’ve told our stories & we’ve made sure our lawmakers heard from us. Now, we will do everything in our power to support our community through this crisis.” Over the past 5 months thousands of South Carolinians have taken action against H.4624 with families of trans youth, countless medical professionals & educators all in agreement that this bill is a cruel & dangerous assault on trans youth & adults in South Carolina that ignores the guidance of every major medical organization. 

NIVEA & PFLAG Launch New Campaign

NIVEA is launching "Proud In Your Skin" a new campaign with PFLAG National that goes beyond skincare celebrating diversity, advocating for equity & inclusion & fostering meaningful connections through the power of care. Tracy Feehan, US Vice President NIVEA & Media Communications stated, "At NIVEA, our dedication to helping others through the power of care is at the core of everything we do & that extends beyond skincare. Through our partnership with PFLAG National, we understand the importance of collective action in driving impactful change. Together, through 'Proud In Your Skin,' we aim to build meaningful connections & reinforce that people are not alone so they can feel safe & proud in their skin." Brian K. Bond, CEO of PFLAG National added, "We are thrilled to collaborate with NIVEA on the 'Proud In Your Skin' campaign. ‘Proud In Your Skin' is one of the ways we're showing that love takes pride. Through this partnership, we aim to amplify voices & empower LGBTQ+ people & their loved ones to find community as they embrace their path towards authenticity, fostering positive social connections along the way." NIVEA is a Beiersdorf brand & the world's #1 skin care brand. Andrea Mondoni, General Manager, Beiersdorf North America concluded, "Embracing initiatives that amplify our dedication to care, which is at the root of our core values is essential in everything we do & shows the conscious effort that Beiersdorf is making to celebrate diversity. I'm excited about the possibilities our partnership with PFLAG National holds & I extend a warm invitation to all to join us on this inspiring journey." 

Out Film CT Reveals Festival Highlights

Out Film CT the Nutmeg State's longest-running & most diverse film festival announced the special event movies for their 37th Connecticut LGBTQ Film Festival. Returning to its traditional Pride Month run from June 14th to 22th the opening night film will be “Love & Revolution” on Friday June 14th at Cinestudio on the campus of Trinity College in Hartford at 7:30P followed by the Opening Night party. The closing night film will be held at the Connecticut Science Center in downtown Hartford. The closing night film will be “Young Hearts” on Saturday June 22nd at Connecticut Science Center at 7P followed by the Closing Night Party. In addition there will be some virtual-only exclusives for film fans to enjoy at home. Shane Engstrom Out Film CT Festival Director stated, "The pandemic & its aftermath has given the festival committee a chance to throw everything up in the air & test new things. Our audience has made it clear that the Connecticut LGBTQ Film Festival is a highlight of their Pride Month celebrations. We listened to the community & are happy to be back in the month of June! Last year, a third of our attendees participated virtually, so we're bringing home-viewing exclusives. We're also tightening up the in-person schedule so that people who want to attend screenings & events can attend easily." Individual film admissions are $13 for general admission & $11 for seniors. Opening & Closing Night films including post-screening parties are $30 for general admission & $25 for seniors. Free tickets are available to full-time students to all shows with student ID & individual in-person & virtual film tickets will be on sale in the coming weeks. 

Marriage Equality 20th Year (VIDEO)

In Massachusetts May 17th marks the 20th anniversary of marriage equality. It was a watershed moment in the history of civil rights when the landmark Goodridge ruling designated the constitutional right of gay & lesbian marriages in Massachusetts. At midnight on May 17th in 2004 Cambridge, MA became the first city in the United States to issue marriage licenses for gay & lesbian couples. Mary L. Bonauto GLAD’s Senior Director of Civil Rights stated, "When the SJC decided Goodridge, it forever changed the standards for how LGBTQ+ people must be treated under law & raised the bar for equality across the country. This momentous victory would not have happened without the courage, commitment & perseverance of the fourteen Goodridge plaintiffs. Their willingness to repeatedly open themselves to public scrutiny, to share the truth of their lives with their neighbors & to face opposition from powerful leaders & institutions, ushered in legal & cultural shifts toward greater acceptance, protection & integration of LGBTQ+ people & families in our communities. We remain grateful for the powerful & empowering efforts of the Goodridge plaintiffs in making marriage equality a reality in Massachusetts & beyond.” I was there & directed & produced this historic award-winning short film “OUTTAKE: Gay Marriage 2004” shot from midnight on May 17th 2004 in Cambridge & throughout the day in Boston when marriage equality officially became the law in Massachusetts. The film became instrumental in the passage of marriage equality nationwide in 2013 & was shot by Kirsten Martin & narrated by Arline Isaacson, Co-Chair of the Massachusetts Gay & Lesbian Political Caucus. WATCH VIDEO

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Outright Celebration of Courage Event

Outright International will honor the fabulously talented Billy Porter with the Outspoken Award at their upcoming 28th annual Celebration of...

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