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Queer Women of Color Film Festival

This year the Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project will premiere 30 films in 6 screenings during their free 19th Annual San Francisco International Queer Women of Color Film Festival that runs from June 9th to 11th at the Presidio Theatre at 99 Moraga Avenue in San Francisco, CA. From the lush sageness of memory, movement & Indigenous traditions of environmental stewardship to the transformation of grief & the mycorrhizal relationships between love, collective care & disability justice the Festival Focus "Forever Rooted" liberates spores of sovereignty & survivance. The Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project (QWOCMAP) began in 2000 with funding from California Arts Council for award-winning San Francisco filmmaker Madeleine Lim to conduct a series of free workshops serving queer women of color emerging media artists. Since then over 250 new films have been created through their training program single-handedly increasing the number of films by & about queer women of color. These politically insightful, socially relevant & personally poignant works challenge all forms of racial, political, economic, sexual & gender stereotyping & offer new dynamic representations of queer women of color. In addition to their own screenings & boutique film Distribution Program they distribute QWOCMAP films to Bay Area & international film festivals, universities & grassroots organizations around the world. All films are subtitled for Deaf & Hard-of-Hearing & Audio Described for the Blind & Low Vision & ASL interpretation will be provided along with many other forms of accessibility. The 19th annual Queer Women of Color Film Festival is free of charge. 

Louisiana Bills Attacking LGBTQ Youth

Louisiana legislators have advanced 3 discriminatory bills targeting LGBTQ youth. The extreme legislation passed by the Senate included a Gender Affirming Care Ban (HB 648), a “Don’t Say LGBTQ+” Bill (HB 466) & a Pronoun Restriction Bill (HB 81) which will be sent to Gov. John Bel Edwards for signature or veto. The Gender Affirming Care Ban (HB 648) would ban physicians from providing age-appropriate, best practice health care for transgender minors under the age of 18. The “Don’t Say LGBTQ+” Bill (HB 466) prevents students & educators across the state from having & providing safe, inclusive classrooms. The Pronoun Restriction Bill (HB 81) allows schools to forcibly out & intentionally misgender transgender & non-binary students. Cathryn Oakley Human Rights Campaign State Legislative Director & Senior Counsel stated, “From doctors’ offices to classrooms, Louisiana’s extremist legislators show no shame in assaulting the freedoms of those different from them. Blocking teachers from providing the safe & inclusive spaces that LGBTQ+ youth so desperately need is an unconscionable act. There is absolutely nothing inappropriate about being LGBTQ+ or in acknowledging LGBTQ+ issues & people. Furthermore, denying transgender & non-binary youth access to best-practice, life-saving medical care puts their lives in very real danger. These bills are a desperate & cruel effort by radical politicians in Louisiana to marginalize & erase the LGBTQ+ community, particularly transgender youth. The Human Rights Campaign strongly condemns these discriminatory bills & calls on Gov. Bel Edwards to veto them.” So far in 2023 more than 530 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been introduced in statehouses across the country. A total of 74 pieces of legislation have been enacted into law this year & more than 225 of those bills would specifically restrict the rights of our transgender community.

Provincetown Int’l Film Festival (AUDIO)

This week I talked with Andrew Peterson, Director of Programming of the Provincetown International Film Festival that takes place June 14th to June 18th in Provincetown, MA. PIFF is celebrating its 25th year with over 100 films that include diverse BIPOC & LGBTQ filmmakers as well as wildly talented first-time filmmakers along with PIFF’s longstanding commitment to gender parity. The opening night film will be “Cora Bora” starring Megan Stalter & directed by Hannah Pearl Utt. Written by Rhianon Jones “Cora Bora” follows the story of Cora a messy millennial & struggling musician. When she goes home to Portland to win back her girlfriend Cora realizes there’s a lot more than her love life that needs salvaging. As we announced earlier Stalter will receive the festival’s Next Wave Award this year. “Theater Camp” from directors Molly Gordon & Nick Lieberman is set to close the festival. It tells the story about staff members of an upstate New York theater camp who must band together when their beloved founder falls into a coma. Also honored this year will be Bruce LaBruce with the Filmmaker on Edge Award, Billy Porter the Emmy, Tony & Grammy Award-winning actor will be honored with this year’s Excellence in Acting Award & along with Megan Stalter, writer, director & actor Julio Torres will receive the Next Wave Award. There will also be lots of fabulous special events & parties. I talked to Peterson about what he hopes to accomplish at the 25th annual Provincetown International Film Festival & his spin on our LGBTQ issues. LISTEN  

LGBTQ Concert For Love & Acceptance

GLAAD & country music artist Ty Herndon’s annual “Concert For Love & Acceptance” takes place Wednesday June 7th at 7:30P at the Wildhorse Saloon in Nashville, Tenn. Chrissy Metz, Brooke Eden, Jada Cato, AUTI & Jason Catron will be joining the stellar line-up of performers including Maddie & Tae, Terri Clark, Pam Tillis, Desmond Child, Wendy Moten, Billy Gilman, Shelly Fairchild, Justin Fabus, Chapel Hart, Sam Williams, Jamie Floyd, Brandon Stansell & Bryan Ruby. Herndon stated, “We’ve come a long way in Nashville & in country music since GLAAD & I came together to host this show for the first time in 2015 but we still have a long way to go, as evidenced by the onslaught of attacks against our LGBTQ community by politicians. Love & acceptance should never be up for debate at the courthouse or at the state house & I’m so proud that this event has grown year over year to become what it is today. I feel like we need it now more than ever.” Anthony Allen Ramos GLAAD’s Vice President of Communications & Talent concluded, “Right now it is more crucial than ever to take a stand in Tennessee & show love & support for LGBTQ people & so many amazing artists in country music are joining The Concert for Love & Acceptance & stepping up to the plate to do so. This show will serve as an important reminder that LGBTQ people have a place in country music & that we must be treated fairly & with respect.” The Foundation For Love & Acceptance founded by Herndon is dedicated to harnessing the power of music & media to support mental health & addiction recovery, LGBTQ & other at-risk youth & Nashville’s country music community. 

Pride Month Battle Of The Good & Evil

Celebrating Pride Month this year began with controversies battling over 500 anti-LGBTQ bills erupting across the nation so far in 2023 attempting to derail diversity & inclusion. Then we had to deal with recent pushback by businesses like Anheuser-Busch & Target falling prey to rightwing extremist groups’ hate & intimidation strategies. Kelley Robinson, HRC President stated, “This year, we need more than just a rainbow logo. Going into Pride Month – a protest for our fundamental rights & a celebration of visibility & queer joy – businesses play a bigger role than ever before in championing LGBTQ+ inclusion & representation. The LGBTQ+ community is experiencing the worst year on record for anti-LGBTQ+ legislation – over 520 bills that aim to strip us of our very existence, dignity & history, from the doctor’s office to the classroom to the sports field.” At the same time GLAAD has released their 9th annual Accelerating Acceptance study which revealed that a record number of non-LGBTQ Americans support equal rights for the LGBTQ community. The Study also shows that an overwhelming majority of non-LGBTQ Americans now believe that LGBTQ people should have the freedom to live their life & not be discriminated against & that schools should be a safe & an accepting place for all youth as Florida ramps up its book banning agenda. Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD President & CEO concluded, “Media, content creators & corporate leaders need to lead & respond to hate with undeterred support for the LGBTQ community, including LGBTQ employees, shareholders & consumers. Allyship is not easy, but when values of diversity, equity & inclusion are tested, we must defend them unequivocally." 

Capital Pride Alliance Honorees Event

Capital Pride Alliance has announced the recipients of the 2023 Capital Pride Honors that will be hosted by Penn Social on Friday June 2nd at 7P kicking off their annual Capital Pride Celebration week. Admiral Rachel Levine, Assistant Secretary for Health at the Department of HHS will be honored with the Paving the Way Award & longtime activist Earline Budd is receiving a Super Hero Award. The Paving the Way Award acknowledges an individual who or organization that has provided exemplary contributions, support & or advocacy that has positively impacted the LGBTQ community & whose leadership has inspired continued progress. The Capital Pride Hero Award recognizes individuals who have furthered the causes important to LGBTQ community in the national capital region. These heroes have brought about positive changes to our lives and our community. Ashley Smith, President of the Board of Directors of the Capital Pride Alliance stated, “The Capital Pride Alliance extends our thanks & gratitude to members of the community, which has numerous individuals, leaders & activists dedicated to fighting for LGBGTQ+ rights for all of us. We are fortunate to have such a vibrant honoree selection process, with so many outstanding individuals who were nominated. We are very pleased to celebrate these individuals at the 2023 Capital Pride Honors.” In addition to receiving their awards at the Capital Pride Honors the honorees will also serve as Marshals with Admiral Levine & Earline Budd serving as Grand Marshals in the Capital Pride Parade. The Capital Pride Alliance located in Washington, DC is a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving the needs of the LGBTQ community all year long, through educational programs, major events, fundraising, outreach & advocacy. 

Random House Files Book Ban Lawsuit

In Florida during the 2021-2022 school year 566 books were banned across 21 school districts according to data tracked by PEN America the nonprofit organization that defends free expression. So far in the 2022-2023 Florida school year 357 books have been banned across 13 school districts. Penguin Random House, free-speech organizations, parents & authors have filed a federal lawsuit in Pensacola. The suit alleges that administrators & school board members in Florida’s Escambia County School District are violating the First Amendment as well as the 14th Amendment, the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution because the books singled out are disproportionately books by non-white & or LGBTQ authors & often address themes or topics related to race or our LGBTQ community. Suzanne Nossel PEN America CEO stated, “In Escambia County, state censors are spiriting books off shelves in a deliberate attempt to silence pluralism & diversity. In a nation built on free speech, this cannot stand. The law demands that the Escambia County School District put removed or restricted books back on library shelves where they belong. Children in a democracy must not be taught that books are dangerous." Nihar Malaviya, CEO of Penguin Random House concluded, "Books have the capacity to change lives for the better & students in particular deserve equitable access to a wide range of perspectives. Censorship, in the form of book bans like those enacted by Escambia County, are a direct threat to democracy & our Constitutional rights. We stand by our authors, their books & the teachers, librarians & parents who champion free expression. We are proud to join forces with our longtime partner PEN America.” 

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Queer Women of Color Film Festival

This year the Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project will premiere 30 films in 6 screenings during their free 19th Annual San Francisco Int...

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