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Florida Trans Youth Medical Ban Lawsuit

Four Florida families have filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging the Florida Boards of Medicine & Osteopathic Medicine’s new rules banning the medically necessary healthcare for their transgender children's needs. Last summer Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo & the Department of Health asked the state Boards of Medicine & Osteopathic Medicine to adopt a categorical ban on all treatment of gender dysphoria for people under eighteen years of age. In February & March of 2023 the Boards adopted formal rules prohibiting all access to safe, effective medical treatments for transgender youth who have received a gender dysphoria diagnosis but who have not yet begun puberty-delaying medication or hormone treatments. Surgeon General Ladapo & all members of the Florida Boards of Medicine & Osteopathic Medicine are defendants in the families’ suit challenging the ban. The bans contradict guidelines established through years of clinical research & recommended by every major medical association including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association & the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. Sarah Warbelow, Human Rights Campaign Legal Director stated, “It’s alarming to see such a concerted, top-down effort to target a small & vulnerable population. The Florida Surgeon General, Department of Health & Boards of Medicine should be focused on the real & serious public health issues Florida faces, not on putting transgender kids & their families in harm’s way.” Shannon Minter, Legal Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights concluded, “Parents, not the government, should make healthcare decisions for their children. This policy crosses a dangerous line & should concern anyone who cares about family privacy or the ability of doctors to do their jobs without undue government interference.” 

Uganda Passes Anti LGBTQ Citizens Bill

The Uganda’s parliament has passed the Anti-Homosexuality Bill & it's now up to President Yoweri Museveni to sign the bill into law. Matuba Mahlatjie, Outright International Communications & Media Manager stated, "This bill is an undisguised assault on the fundamental human rights of LGBTQ people, their friends, family members & other allies. It even criminalizes journalists, publishers & human rights defenders who recognize LGBTQ people’s rights, landlords who rent premises to them & development partners & donors who support their advocacy in pursuit of full equality. If signed into law, members of the LGBTIQ community will face losing their jobs, being evicted from their homes & losing access to affirming healthcare services. People convicted under this legislation will be placed on record as sex offenders which they’d have to disclose. Under this law, the death penalty has been reserved for so-called “aggravated” homosexuality, including for “serial offenders” who are convicted repeatedly for consensual same-sex acts. The passage of the bill follows the government’s closure of the human rights organization Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) in August 2022 & the refusal to register several other organizations that work to advance LGBTQ people’s human rights. The Ugandan government also threatened in February 2023 to close the UN Human Rights office in the country, seeking to silence the voices of allies. The build-up to the passing of this bill was infused with homophobic rhetoric which further makes LGBTIQ people vulnerable to violence, exclusion & isolation, as our partners on the ground report. Outright calls on President Museveni to immediately veto the bill. We pledge our support to Ugandan activists who sacrifice their safety to defend human rights & we call on more support to ensure these activists’ safety in their quest to prevent this odious bill from becoming law.” 

Diversity Honors 7th Annual Gala Event

The Diversity Honors celebration returns for its seventh year benefiting the Harvey Milk Foundation & The Pride Center at Equality Park on Saturday, April 1st at 7P hosted by Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida. The event recognizing those who are transforming lives by living authentically & advancing inclusiveness & this year the foundation will honor Commissioner Nicole M. Ramirez with the prestigious Harvey Milk Medal, Carol Moran with The Pride Center at Equality Park Alan Schubert Award & Stoli Group’s Global CEO Damian McKinney with the 2023 Global Business Leadership Award. Additional honorees for this year’s event include Florida State Senator Shevrin “Shev” Jones, Drag TV Star & Entrepreneur Latrice Royale, South Florida Symphony Orchestra’s (SFSO) President & CEO Jacqueline Lorber & Music Director Sebrina María Alfonso & the Bears of South Florida. Miriam Richter, Harvey Milk Foundation Director stated, “Once again, we are honored to be back with our wonderful event partners at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, supporting two world-class organizations & celebrating extraordinary LGBTQ+ leaders & allies who have lifted our spirits, strengthened our communities & pushed us towards progress. In addition to our outstanding local honorees, we are privileged to be recognizing one of the trailblazing leaders of the LGBTQ+ movement, Nicole Murray Ramirez, as well as a trailblazer of the global business community, Damian McKinney.” Under McKinney’s leadership the Stoli Group’s global CEO the spirits brand has flourished & is unwavering in its support of worldwide LGBTQ initiatives & innovative activations. Tickets to this fabulous event are $250 per person for the cocktail chic event which includes an open bar, poolside dining & live entertainment. 

InterPride 40th Anniversary Global Gala

InterPride the org that presents WorldPride announced it will be hosting its inaugural InterPride Global Gala to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the org’s work in our LGBTQ community. Headlined by Grammy-nominated singer Deborah Cox & emceed by Emmy winner Jai Rodriguez it will be a night of music, dance & stories in honor of the organization’s efforts to advance the global Pride movement & bringing social & cultural equity to communities across the globe. The event will take place on Saturday April 29th at the Avalon Hollywood Theater & Bardot Lounge in Los Angeles, CA. Hadi Damien & Natalie Thompson InterPride Co-Presidents stated, “InterPride works to bring visibility to parts of the world where LGBTQIA+ communities are under-represented & we’re pleased to partner with the much-celebrated long-standing ally Deborah Cox, whose activism is recognized globally & whose presence & partnership will help us raise vital funds to continue our work. The Gala will commemorate InterPride’s 40 years of bringing together Pride organizers internationally to network, share knowledge & maximize impact & we’re thrilled to commemorate the achievement with a night to remember.” In addition to Cox, actor & Emmy Award-winning host Jai Rodriguez there will be a special appearance from CoCo Montrese. In addition to RuPaul’s Drag Race, Montrese has graced the stages in Las Vegas taking on impersonations of Janet Jackson & Tina Turner among others. Renowned British DJ Nica Ricci will also be performing in the evening providing a soundtrack to impress. InterPride brings together Pride organizations from around the world as well as regional, national & local Pride networks. InterPride has over 375 member organizations in over 70 countries. Its work impacts millions worldwide through their members. 

Velvet Ibiza Epic Lesbian Event (AUDIO)

This week I talked with Carine de Mesmaeker, the creator & founder of Velvet Ibiza the all-inclusive fabulous five-day party for LGBTQ women that takes place May 2nd to May 7th at Cala Martina in Ibiza, Spain. De Mesmaeker rents out the entire resort so there’s no need to venture anywhere, the party is literally on your doorsteps. The all inclusive 5-day & 5-night party event includes transportation from the airport, a bungalow, meals, activities, all parties & drinks until around 10:30P. Celebrating its 7th year Velvet Ibiza attracts a vast international crowd with LGBTQ women traveling from all over the globe for one big giant celebration for our community. From the pool parties, sports tournaments, yoga classes, club nights & now the infamous duck race to the top queer female DJs from Europe & America dropping the sickest beats, Velvet Ibiza has it all. This year Velvet Ibiza is focusing on single women adding speed dating to the mix. All the dance parties & special events take place at the host hotel Cala Martina that’s located in the historical Hippie Market one of the few places in Ibiza where you can still find the unique retro hippie essence. It was founded in 1973 & for that reason it is currently the largest & oldest market on the island. A second hotel Paraiso Beach right next to Hotel Cala Martina has also been retained as well so there’s no reason to go anywhere unless of course you want to go shopping, head to the beach or explore the island. I talked to Carine about her inspiration for creating Velvet Ibiza & her spin on our LGBTQ issues. LISTEN  

Outfest Fusion LGBTQ Film Festival

Outfest Fusion takes place March 24th to April 2nd In Los Angeles & globally online. Catch their features program that’s now live. This year their LGBTQ & QTBIPOC festival will host Sundance favorites “Little Richard: I Am Everything” & award-winner “The Stroll” a West Coast premiere. They’ll also be showcasing the US premiere of “Soft” Joseph Amenta’s tender coming-of-age feature debut as well as the North American premiere of “Kenyatta: Do Not Wait Your Turn” which follows Philadelphia politician Malcolm Kenyatta’s unprecedented bid for US Senate with the director Tim Harris, producer Lee Daniels, Al Roker & Kenyatta himself in attendance. Also showing at this year’s festival are “Finding Her Beat”, “Follow The Protocol”, “Soy Niño”, “Summer With Hope” & “The Harvest”. This year they will be awarding the 2023 Outfest Fusion Achievement Award to Outfest alum Elegance Bratton recognizing his many accomplishments including his award-winning feature “The Inspection” & his efforts to elevate queer Black stories in Hollywood & beyond. The award recognizes an individual who has made a significant contribution to LGBTQ visibility in stories, arts & media & was previously given to Stephanie Beatriz, Michaela Coel & Cheryl Dunye to name just a few. Outfest helps LGBTQIA+ storytellers overcome barriers to entry into the entertainment industry by providing critical skills, access & support to both emerging & established filmmakers. Outfest's new All Access Passes for the festival are now on sale. The pass provides fans the ultimate festival experience with access to all galas, screenings, workshops, parties & special events in-person & online. 

Black LGBTQ Org Congressional Appeal

The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) a leading Black LGBTQ+ civil rights org has unveiled its Federal Policy Agenda for the 118th Congressional Term offering its recommendations for urgently needed action to address pressing public policy issues facing our Black LGBTQ community to ensuring their freedoms & equal protection under the law. NBJC is prioritizing three policy pillars this legislative session: Awareness, Access & Accountability. Those policy recommendations also include passing the Equal Rights Amendment, the Improvement of Section 230, Protecting ACA & Expanding Health Care, the Real Education for Healthy Youth Act, Every Child Deserves a Family Act & Ending the HIV/AIDS Crisis. Dr. David J. Johns, Ph.D. NBJC Executive Director stated, “We’re releasing our updated policy agenda at a time when hate-fueled right-wing forces seek to use us to divide the Black community & mobilize conservatives to join their ranks. The 118th House of Representatives is being held hostage by a loud minority who care more about dangerous & divisive elite capture rather than defending democracy or unifying our nation. Our hope is that our policy approach contributes to changing narratives about the beautiful diversity that has always existed within our & all communities & increasing meaningful participation in the public policy-making process.” The policies NBJC will continue to fight & campaign for include: The Equality Act, The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, The Student Loan Debt Relief Act, the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act of 2019 & several Biden-Harris Administration executive actions. The National Black Justice Coalition is America’s leading civil rights organization dedicated to the empowerment of LGBTQ people including people living with HIV. 

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Florida Trans Youth Medical Ban Lawsuit

Four Florida families have filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging the Florida Boards of Medicine & Osteopathic Medicine’s new rule...

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