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Stonewall Visitor Center In NYC (AUDIO)

On Friday June 28th the Stonewall National Monument Visitor Center (SNMVC) will officially open its doors marking the 55th anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion that took place on June 28th 1969. This is the first LGBTQ visitor center within the National Park Service a bureau of the Department of the Interior. Designated by President Barack Obama on June 24, 2016 the Stonewall National Monument includes the 0.19-acre formerly known as Christopher Park & the surrounding streets including Christopher Street adjacent to the park. The Stonewall National Monument is the first U.S. national monument dedicated to LGBTQ rights & history. The historic project began 6 years ago by two Lesbian women of color & Pride Live Co-Founders Diana Rodriguez & Ann Marie Gothard who embarked on a mission to celebrate & preserve the legacy of Stonewall. Ann Marie Gothard stated, “The journey to create the Stonewall National Monument Visitor Center has been a truly remarkable & landmark moment. With the opening of the Visitor Center, we pay homage to the brave individuals behind the historic Stonewall Rebellion. We hope it stands as an enduring and resilient symbol & serves as a beacon for generations to come, providing the unique opportunity to step foot on the site where history unfolded & where the fight for LGBTQIA+ equality was ignited.” In the park in front of the center are 4 statues by George Segal of 2 gay men & on the bench 2 women who were lesbian icons in NYC shortly after Stonewall. Beth Suskin (on the right) is still with us but unfortunately we loss her wife Leslie Cohen (holding the flag) in 2022. Listen to this historic conversation I had with my friend & mentor Leslie Cohen in 2019 celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots.

Black LGBTQ Leaders & National Survey

As we celebrate Juneteenth a new survey found that nearly 2/3 of Black people believe the Black community should do more to protect Black LGBTQ people especially young people. 65% of Black people consider themselves supporters of Black LGBTQ people & rights including 57% of self-reported churchgoers & 73% of Gen-Z agree that the Black community should do more to support our Black LGBTQ community. Imani Rupert-Gordon, Executive Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights stated, “NCLR is honored to have participated in this survey by the National Black Justice Collective & HIT Strategies. Too often, the data that we use to understand the needs of LGBTQ communities doesn’t include enough Black perspectives & so the solutions don’t always work for Black people. This research highlights important perceptions & perspectives that will allow our messaging strategies & analysis to include a thoughtful, inclusive & intersectional approach to ensure that we are doing everything we can to protect all LGBTQ+ people.” Kierra Johnson, Executive Director of the National LGBTQ Task Force concluded, “It is exciting to be a part of a project that is centering the experiences of Black people related to gender, sexual orientation & democracy. Movements, decision-makers & organizations spend a lot of time assuming & or ignoring the experiences, perspectives, wishes, & fears of Black people in this country. This has led to the perpetuation of dangerous stereotypes that have cost our country time, money & progress. I hope those who take the time to dive into the research are inspired by the vulnerability shared and the opportunity that flows from listening to, trusting & being responsive to the political & cultural needs of Black folks.” 

Fusion NYC Pride Event Supporting AVP

With Pride Month in full swing NYC is ground zero with numerous events happening around the Big Apple especially during the Stonewall Anniversary & what would be more appropo then the NYC Anti-Violence Project’s FUSION Pride Party an organizational fundraiser in NYC to add to your Pride experience. The event takes place on Wednesday June 26th at ReBar Chelsea & cohosted by The Liberty Girls NYC a roller skating collective. It will feature DJ Samurai & a special performance from artist & drag queen, Julie J! K. Farrar, NYC Anti-Violence Project Content & Communications Manager stated, “As a community that continues to work relentlessly to create a more inclusive, safe & equitable world for LGBTQ+ people, we rarely take the time to celebrate each other & the work we’ve all done & FUSION is that precious time where we can leave the work at the door & be present in our queer joy in a safe space. FUSION is also a reminder of who & what we do our work for & it galvanizes our community to endure & thrive despite the ever-evolving challenges we face, particularly in this election year where fundamental rights are at stake.” The Anti-Violence Project (AVP) is the nation's largest organization dedicated to combatting violence against LGBTQ & HIV-affected individuals. In this critical year for our LGBTQ rights FUSION is a Pride Party with a purpose. FUSION goes beyond traditional celebrations to champion inclusivity, safety & activism within our LGBTQ community. FUSION AVP’s Pride Party is back at REBAR Chelsea at 225 W 19th Street in NYC. Come by for drinks, DJ & drag all while supporting the important work of this fabulous org AVP. 

Hollywood Museum Honors Jason Stuart

Actor & Comedian Jason Stuart will be honored by the Hollywood Museum with out actors Matt Bomer (Masetro, Fellow Traveler, Magic Mike), character actor Guillermo Diaz (Scandal, Law & Order: Organized Crime), Disco D.J. & Reality Star Paris Hilton among other stars on Tuesday June 25th at the historic Max Factor Building for his contributions to entertainment Industry. Jason will be featured in an exhibit to showcase his career as an actor, comedian, filmmaker & LGBTQ Activist. Jason stated, “What a thrill it is for me to include at the Hollywood Museum with the likes of Matt Bomer, Guillermo Diaz & yes, Paris Hilton! Being honored for my body of work means the world to me after a 40+ career as an actor & comedian." This is the 11th year annual celebration & has become a milestone event in showcasing the contributions of the LGBTQ community & its allies have made in the entertainment Industry. The exhibit kicked off in June in honor of Gay Pride Month curated by Bob Pranga. Also on June 24th at 2:30P Jason will be at Frameline Film Festival on a panel “Understanding SAG-AFTRA: How to Work with Union Talent” standing up for out actors. He will chat about how to make your film a union project with SAG AFTRA. He is currently the National Co Chair of the SAG AFTRA LGBTQ Committee. Currently Jason is part of the Stand Up Comedy Special “Laugh Proud” that is being considered for an Emmy Nomination from filmmaker Quentin Lee. Jason was nominated again for SMOTHERED season 2 for the Indie Series Award for Best Actor, Co-Writer & Producer after winning the Best Actor Award for the first Smothered season. LISTEN  

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South Carolina New Transgender Ban

South Carolina lawmakers have passed a state budget that includes Proviso 1.120 that requires K-12 public schools to prohibit transgender students from using restrooms or locker rooms that aligns with their gender identity. Ivy Hill, Director of Gender Justice for the Campaign for Southern Equality & a leader in the SC United for Justice & Equality coalition stated, “This was an absolute sneak attack with lawmakers weaponizing the state budget process to kick transgender youth & their families while they’re already down, further harming transgender youth & singling them out for harassment & exclusion. Schools should be a place where young people can learn & thrive but now, transgender students will have to worry about something as simple & basic as being able to use the bathroom. This policy is a humiliating invasion of privacy for trans students & forces South Carolina’s hardworking teachers & public school staff to become the gender police. Shame on these lawmakers.” A 2020 ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit in Grimm v. Gloucester County School Board found that policies excluding transgender students from using the restroom based on their gender identity violate the Equal Protection Clause & Title IX of the U.S. Education Amendments of 1972, a federal law prohibiting sex discrimination by schools. South Carolina is in the 4th Circuit’s jurisdiction. There haven’t been any reported incidents of transgender people posing a risk to public safety in restrooms in South Carolina. However, there are countless reported incidents of transgender people or people suspected to be transgender facing harassment or violence while trying to use the restroom & policies like this only increase that risk. For More Info…

Women In Comics Collective Pridefest

Women in Comics Collective International’s Creative Conference: Pridefest is happening on Saturday June 29th at Flushing Town Hall, New York from 10A to 5P. Women in Comics Collective International (WinC for short, pronounced "wink") is an artistic & informative initiative that began in May 2012. Pridefest is free & open to the public. WinC has continued its commitment to making events accessible & inclusive for those who are unable to afford commercial comic cons. Regine Sawyer, Curator & Founder of the Women in Comics Collective International stated, "During WinC Pridefest, guests will have an opportunity to celebrate & hone their creative power, events like these are transformative!" WinC serves to highlight the merit & craftwork of marginalized voices especially that of women & LGBTQ folx of color who work in various industries such as comics, publishing, gaming, media, education & multimedia. The full day of panels & workshops are designed to inspire creatives. The preliminary workshops include; Creatives in Comics & Gaming, Sequential Storytelling Workshop, Writing for Comics Workshop, Pop Culture & Melanated Queerness that addresses queer pop culture & journalism professionals in a conversation about the current state of the multimedia industry. The day concluded with Metaphysical Movement: Meditation for the Creative Mind. The WinC Creative Conference: Pridefest is sponsored by the Power of Priya via a grant from the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA). The comic features Priya, India's first female superhero & its creators were recognized by UN Women as champions of gender equality. Note, donations fund WinC also ensures accessibility to events such as Pridefest. General admission to Pridefest with a standard swag bag is free while the VIP ticket which includes a deluxe swag bag is $15. 

Stonewall Riots Reenactment (AUDIO)

This week I talked with filmmaker Kristen Lovell about the historic Stonewall Riots Reenactment that takes place on June 29th at the Stonewall National Museum, Archives & Library in Fort Lauderdale, FL. This reenactment is part of a floor to ceiling interactive Stonewall Inn Bar installation that runs now through September 2nd 2024 before kicking off a national tour. Lovell of HBO's fabulous documentary “The Stroll" currently streaming on MAX will portray Gay Liberation Activist Marsha P. Johnson for the reenactment. Johnson was one of the prominent figures in the Stonewall uprising of June 28th 1969 when police raided the establishment resulting in arrests, riots & fire sparking our global LGBTQ human rights movement. Johnson was a founding member of the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) & co-founded the radical activist group Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR) alongside close friend Sylvia Rivera. For the first time NYC’s iconic Stonewall Inn will become a nationwide traveling time machine & the set of the historic Stonewall New York Experience reenactment on Saturday June 29th from 4:30P to 7P with local police & other community members playing a role in the reenactment. Visitors are encouraged to dress in their 1960s best & consider wearing gender bending clothing which was illegal in 1969. For over 50 years the Stonewall National Museum, Archives & Library in Fort Lauderdale has tirelessly fought to tell the stories of our LGBTQ community ensuring it holds its place in the historic record. I talked to Kristen about what she hopes to accomplish with this historic Stonewall Riots reenactment & give us her spin on our LGBTQ issues. LISTEN    

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Stonewall Visitor Center In NYC (AUDIO)

On Friday June 28th the Stonewall National Monument Visitor Center (SNMVC) will officially open its doors marking the 55th anniversary of th...

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