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LGBTQ Leaders & Allies Speak OUT

This has been the most challenging year worldwide due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We want to end 2020 by thanking our loyal global audience for supporting OUTTAKE MEDIA’s mission through thick & thin. We also want to thank all the LGBTQ leaders, filmmakers, actors, authors & allies who appeared on OUTTAKE VOICES our audio podcast series that’s syndicated on iTunes including activists Monica Roberts & Yuval David from the National LGBTQ Task Force’s Creating Change Conference, actor Brian Edward, Mariah Hanson, founder & producer of the legendary Club Skirts Dinah Shore Weekend, filmmaker Astrid Ovalles, Imani Rupert-Gordon the new Executive Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, author Sarah F. Pearlman, filmmaker Nicole Conn, MTV reality star Jonathan Calixto, “Queer As Folk” actor Michelle Clunie, Robert Lo tech entrepreneur, activist Adrian Shanker, filmmaker Wendy Jo Carlton, Black LGBTQ leaders including HRC president Alphonso David, Civil Rights Attorney Michele Rayner, Minneapolis City Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins & Nadine Smith, Equality Florida Executive Director. UK writer-journalist Matthew Todd, Attorney Shannon Minter, actor & philanthropist Phillip P. Keene, actors Jason Stuart & Mitch Hara, Filmmaker Cindy L. Abel, Colonel Patsy Thompson & Barbara Brass, Executive Director of the National LGBTQ Task Force Rea Carey, Cheryl Osimo, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition, actors/authors Robin Hopkins & Jaimie Kelton, author Opa Hysea Wise, author Boze Hadleigh, singer/songwriter & actor Sam Harris & author Chuck Latovich. We also wish to thank publicists Mona Elyafi at ILDK Media, Cathy Renna at Target Cue & Michele Karlsberg at MK Marketing & Management for providing us with some fabulous voices. We've lined up some amazing guests for 2021 & lots of exciting projects to come. We Wish Everyone A Safe & Healthy New Year. LISTEN

Pink Martini Virtual New Year's Events

The fabulous band Pink Martini will be presenting virtually three different & wonderful ways to Wring Out the Old & Ring in the New Year Thursday December 31st. First their uncut version of the full 90-minute virtual concert "Good Riddance 2020!" which was filmed at Pink Martini World Headquarters in Portland debuts at 9P Paris time & again at 9P Eastern/6pm Pacific on 12/31 after which it will be available for streaming by their online concert presenter Our Concerts Live on demand for 48 hours. In addition Oregon Public Broadcasting will be televising a 57-minute edited version for free in Oregon at 9:30P on 12/31 & their friends at NPR Music will feature a 57-minute edited audio version of the concert as part of their annual national New Year's Eve show Toast of the Nation. The show will include new & old holiday favorites featuring Thomas Lauderdale on piano & China Forbes on vocals. So check your local NPR listings for time & availability for that event. All versions of this brand new concert "Good Riddance 2020!" will feature China Forbes on vocals with guest appearances from Storm Large, Ari Shapiro & more. Musicians include Gavin Bondy trumpet, Robert Taylor trombone, Philip Emilio Baker upright bass, Dan Faehnle guitar, Nicholas Crosa violin, Timothy Nishimoto percussion & vocals, Brian Lavern Davis percussion, Miguel Bernal percussion, Reinhardt Melz percussion & Andrew Borger drums & percussion. So since we’re all stuck at home for New Year’s Eve everyone’s favorite “little orchestra” Pink Martini will bring some much-needed festivity directly to your living room this New Year’s Eve. Say “Good Riddance” to 2021 & ring in the New Year in style this December 31st with a show that’s fun for the whole family. Tickets start at $15. For More Info & Tix…

Hear Audio Chats w/ LGBTQ Leaders @OUTTAKE VOICES™


"The Girl In The Boston Box" (AUDIO)

This week I talked with author Chuck Latovich about his new must-read thriller "The Girl In The Boston Box" that follows two characters’ stories linked by the urban legend of hidden rooms in the city’s historic buildings used for shocking crimes. First we meet Caitlyn Gautry pursuing a Harvard doctorate in architecture who chooses a controversial subject for her thesis based on the architectural myth of "The Boston Box". As she investigates this folklore she takes the reader on a contemporary & historical journey through the city of Boston as she uncovers this underlying mystery. The other character is Mark Chieswicz rejected by his family over twenty years ago because of his sexual orientation struggles to understand a cryptic clue about his estranged brother’s murder in a dangerous attempt to hold onto a life-changing but tainted inheritance. Eventually these two seemingly unrelated narratives cross paths as they expose tales of sex, death & scandal. "The Girl In The Boston Box" gives all readers whether heterosexual or LGBTQ a good time through a balance of an intriguing story, with atmosphere, character & solid writing. One of the interesting factors about Mark Chieswicz’s narrative is that being gay is just part of the complexities of his character, not the story itself. Anyone who is interested in Boston for whatever reason will learn a good deal about the city by reading this captivating & entertaining book. I talked to Chuck about what he would like to accomplish with his new mystery novel "The Girl In The Boston Box" & his spin on our LGBTQ Issues. LISTEN  

For More Info… 

Hear Audio Chats w/ LGBTQ Leaders @OUTTAKE VOICES™


Supporting Our LGBTQ Community

We must continue supporting our LGBTQ community as we head into the New Year & finally say good riddance to 2020. With COVID still raging we hope our community stays healthy & strong. Though vaccines may provide light at the end of the tunnel we still have to survive these challenging times to bask in that light. Think about how we lived through AIDS listening to the science & safe sex. Another sad statistic we need to embrace is that this has also been the deadliest year on record for transgender Americans. Our global community will survive these dark times & hearts & minds will change. So here are a couple orgs we support to see this change happen when we can all just be our authentic selves. The National LGBTQ Task Force works to build a future where everyone can be free to be their entire selves in every aspect of their lives. Today despite all the progress we’ve made to end discrimination millions of LGBTQ people face barriers in every aspect of their lives in housing, employment, healthcare, retirement & basic human rights. By training & mobilizing millions of activists across our nation & events like this year’s virtual Creating Change Conference January 27th to January 31st they are committed to deliver a world where you can be you. For More Info…  Then there’s the Victory Institute the only national organization dedicated to elevating openly LGBTQ leaders who can further equality at all levels of government. Through their trainings, professional development programs & yearly conferences, Victory Institute prepares hundreds of out individuals to launch an influential career in politics, government, business & advocacy. Right now there are more than 1,000 openly LGBTQ elected & appointed officials now serving around the world. That number needs to double in 2021.  For More Info…

Injunction Halts Trump’s Diversity Ban

U.S. District Judge Beth Labson Freeman issued a preliminary injunction preventing the Trump Administration from implementing the President's Executive Order banning workplace diversity training. Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center & other plaintiffs were represented pro-bono by attorneys at Lambda Legal & Ropes & Gray who filed a lawsuit (Diversity Center v Trump) last month requesting that the court bar the Trump administration from implementing its recent executive order that prohibits federal contractors & grantees from conducting workplace diversity trainings or engaging in grant-funded work that explicitly acknowledges & confronts the existence of structural racism & sexism in our society. Judge Freeman's injunction stops the Executive Order from having any effect as to any & all federal contractors & grantees nationwide. Adrian Shanker, Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center Executive Director stated, "Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center cannot compromise the quality or content of the training we provide. That's why we sought an injunction to stop President Trump's Executive Order banning diversity training from going into effect. Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center is proud to provide training to make workplaces more equitable & this injunction protects our ability to do so." In addition to Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center plaintiffs are B. Brown Consulting, Dr. Ward Carpenter, Los Angeles LGBT Center; The Diversity Center in Santa Cruz, CA, AIDS Foundation of Chicago, CrescentCare in New Orleans, LA & SAGE based in New York City. Lambda Legal’s attorneys working on the case include Camilla Taylor; Karen Loewy, Scott Schoettes, Currey Cook, Omar Gonzalez-Pagan, Avatara A. Smith-Carrington, Alexis Paige & Cheryl Angelaccio. They are joined by pro-bono co-counsel from Ropes & Gray including Douglas Hallward-Driemeier, Kirsten Mayer, Nathalia Sosa, Jessica Soto, Thanithia Billing, Annie Monjar, Jennifer Cullinane, Ethan Weinberg, Fred Boehrer & William Richard Allen. For More Info…

New UCLA LGBTQ Well-Being Center

UCLA Fielding School of Public Health has launched a new center to promote the health of sexual & gender minorities through research & partnerships with our LGBTQ community, community-based organizations, public health officials & policymakers in Los Angeles & beyond. The UCLA Center for LGBTQ Advocacy, Research & Health or “C-LARAH” (derived from the Latin hilaris, meaning cheerful) will be directed by Matthew Mimiaga, a Fielding School professor of epidemiology renowned for his research working with sexual & gender minorities at the intersection of HIV, substance use & mental health. Professor Mimiaga stated, “Both here at home & around the world, LGBTQ populations have a higher prevalence & incidence of life-threatening physical conditions, mental health challenges & certain chronic & infectious diseases, along with significant barriers in accessing & maintaining healthcare & treatment. C-LARAH & its partners will collaborate on research-informed ways to both reach members of this historically marginalized population & serve them holistically.” Amit Paley, The Trevor Project CEO & Executive Director concluded, “I’m excited for the UCLA Center for LGBTQ Advocacy, Research & Health to open its doors & help shape policies that directly impact the lives of LGBTQ young people. Limited LGBTQ-inclusive research, plus the lack of systematic data collection on LGBTQ communities, can make it even more difficult to address the unique mental health challenges of LGBTQ youth & the obstacles to care that they face. The Trevor Project recognizes a clear need for greater investment in advocacy & research that can better inform public policies that support the needs of LGBTQ youth. We look forward to working with the center to educate policymakers, advocate for LGBTQ youth & provide unique insight into their mental health.”           For More Info: ph.ucla.edu

Ten Years After “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

President Barack Obama signed the repeal of the military policy known as “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” ten years ago on December 22nd 2010 ending the ban of LGBTQ servicemembers. Brian K. Bond, a member of the Obama-Biden White House staff who worked closely on the repeal (2009-2011) & current Executive Director of PFLAG National stated, “‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ was always bad policy. When President Obama signed the repeal 10 years ago, it was the culmination of the combined efforts of scores of former & active duty LGBTQ+ service members whose lives were impacted by this policy, together with LGBTQ+ advocates & allies, congressional champions & leaders in the Department of Defense. It was a bipartisan effort I am proud to have been a part of, recognizing that it was only a step toward a fully inclusive military force. Yet its remnants, specifically anti-transgender policies, continue to affect our military readiness, unit cohesion, recruitment & retention. PFLAG’s military families, inclusive of openly LGBTQ+ servicemembers & servicemembers whose children are LGBTQ+ struggle to navigate discrimination -- some having moved to find gender-affirming health care, inclusive education & safe housing.” President-elect Biden has promised he would move to immediately end the ban on transgender military service on the first day of his presidency, an achievable pledge that does not require the support of Congress or the development of any new policy provisions. Aaron Belkin Palm Center’s Director concluded, “We are confident that President-elect Biden will immediately reverse the ban on transgender military service upon taking office. Few actions are as straightforward & as consistent with the president-elect’s values as ending this unnecessary ban that punishes our troops & harms our national security.” 

Winter Solstice Comes Out Of Darkness

Winter Solstice 2020 arrived at 5:02A EST & tonight another special astronomical event will take place. A rare ‘double planet’ conjunction as Jupiter & Saturn will be in alignment appearing closer together in the evening sky than they have in nearly 800 years & won’t appear this close again until 2080. Winter Solstice is the shortest day of the year with only 9 ½ hours of sunlight here in the northeast. Though we may have a little relief knowing that as the Winter Solstice marks the shortest day of the year & the longest night days will be getting longer & in less than a month this presidential darkness will end. Just one year ago we dealt with Trump’s impeachment & one year later the light at the end of the tunnel is beginning to appear as we approach January 20th. But let's return to the Winter Solstice also known as Yule with a little history about solstice as witches & warlocks celebrate this date as the birth of the Sun God since from this point forward the days get longer. Wiccan celebrations include Yule logs, Yule trees & Mistletoe which all sounds a lot like our traditional Christmas celebrations. There are many customs associated with the Winter Solstice that derive from stories of a mighty battle between the dark & the light. Very similar to what we are still experiencing here in America. As our LGBTQ community celebrates our Yuletide Gay the shortest day & longest night whether alone or with pandemic social distancing measures in the northern hemisphere just remember that the southern hemisphere is basking in sunshine & enjoying the first day of summer. Happy Solstice!

Brooklyn Community Pride Center

Brooklyn Community Pride Center has announced that Sonelius Kendrick-Smith has been named the new president of the Center's board of directors. Sonelius first joined the board in 2016 & has been serving as treasurer & chair of the governance committee. He's head of corporate treasury & taxable fixed income solutions for DWS a majority owned subsidiary of Deutsche Bank & brings a vision of continuing their work to help build Brooklyn Community Pride Center into the borough's premiere place for LGBTQ people to celebrate, heal, learn, create, organize, relax, socialize & play. Floyd Rumohr, CEO Brooklyn Community Pride Center stated, "Sonelius's passion for & commitment to our shared vision at Brooklyn Community Pride Center is exemplary. As chair of our governance committee, Sonelius has developed structures to build our governance capacity & is already leading the charge in his new role to help us raise significant resources that will sustain & grow the organization through converging crises toward a brighter future for LGBTQ+ Brooklynites." Sonelius steps into this new leadership role at a pivotal time in Brooklyn Community Pride Center's history. As they close out a year made difficult by the pandemic they are also weeks away from opening their new headquarters in Crown Height's Bedford-Union Armory. After signing the 30-year lease in February 2020 the public opening of the new location which will also include an LGBTQ focused mental health clinic operated by Callen-Lorde is now anticipated to take place in March or April 2021. The Center will retain the Restoration Plaza location as the first of several satellite sites.                For More Info: lgbtbrooklyn.org

Hungary Passes New Anti-LGBTQ Laws

The Hungarian Parliament has passed a package of laws this week including some that specifically target & discriminate against their LGBTQ citizens. The new laws bars gay & lesbian couples from adopting children in Hungary. Alphonso David, Human Rights Campaign President stated, “The Hungarian Parliament has blatantly & maliciously attacked the human rights of LGBTQ people & their families. These measures are discriminatory & leaders in Hungary must right this wrong by reversing these antiquated & harmful laws.” The new law defines family as man as the father & a woman as the mother excluding gay & lesbian couples & making it harder for single parents to adopt. Hungary only recognizes civil unions for gay & lesbian couples & the ruling Fidesz party opposes allowing legal marriage for same gender couples. In May Hungary made it illegal for transgender people to change their gender identity on identification documents & earlier that month the country lost points in a ranking of European countries for LGBTQ rights by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans & Intersex Association (ILGA) because of “policies targeting LGBTQ communities.” The Háttér Society a leading LGBTQ advocacy organization in Hungary addressed why these laws are harmful for all Hungarians citizens & children. The Háttér Society is one of the oldest & largest LGBTQI NGOs in Hungary. It operates a telephone hotline, a legal aid service, an HIV/AIDS prevention program & an archive documenting the history of the LGBT movement in Hungary.  For More Info...

United Kingdom Blood Donation Evolves

This week the UK announced that it would loosen restrictions on gay & bisexual men donating blood eliminating its current 3-month deferral period in exchange for individual risk-based assessments. Ethan Spibey, Founder of FreedomToDonate in the UK stated his group has been campaigning for these restrictions to be updated for more than six years & they "warmly welcome" this announcement adding "Simply being a man who has sex with men is not a good enough reason to exclude someone from donating blood." Last April the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s (FDA) revised recommendations on gay & bisexual men & other LGBTQ people in the United States from donating blood by reducing the deferral period from 12 months to 3 months. Mathew Lasky, GLAAD's Director of Communications stated, "The U.K. has taken a critical step in aligning their blood donation policy with science instead of stigma. As the FDA continues to reconsider its blood donation policies here in the United States, the decision in the United Kingdom offers further proof that US blood donation policies for gay & bisexual men & other LGBTQ people, are outdated, out of line with science & must change to be based on individual assessments rather than discriminatory blanket bans." Peter Tatchell, Director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation concluded, “After three decades of state-sponsored homophobia, blood donation discrimination against gay & bisexual men is to end. The new policy is based on risk factors, not sexual orientation.” I talked to Peter a couple years ago about what he hopes to accomplish with his work & his spin on our LGBTQ issues. LISTEN  

For More Info: petertatchellfoundation.org

New Federal Rule Allows Discrimination

This week the Trump administration published a new regulation that gives faith-based service providers a license to discriminate. Maggie Siddiqi, Director of the Faith & Progressive Policy Initiative at Center for American Progress stated, “This far-reaching regulation will harm the missions of 10 different federal agencies. The government directs taxpayer funds to faith-based & other nonprofit organizations for the purpose of better serving the American people not for the purpose of funding religious organizations. The Trump administration has repeatedly politicized religious communities by claiming to specifically direct funding toward their social service work a clear violation of the separation of church & state all while reducing overall funding for social services. Let it be clear: The sole objective of this regulation is to remove critical protections for the government’s intended beneficiaries & to send a message that religious organizations can discriminate against religious minorities, LGBTQ people or women. Individuals in desperate need of housing assistance, access to health care, job training, food assistance & other critical services may be denied the right to access those services simply because of who they are or how they choose to pray.” Sharita Gruberg, Senior Director of the LGBTQ Research & Communications Project at CAP concluded, “This regulation prioritizes religious exemptions to the law for taxpayer-funded faith-based service organizations while eliminating requirements to ensure access to critical services. The administration alleges that no one will lose access to services as a result of the regulation & dismisses the tremendous amount of evidence that shows the negative impact on LGBTQ people & others. But it is hard to imagine any alternative consequence of this regulation. In fact, it seems likely that this is the intended outcome.”

Film “Gay Chorus Deep South” (VIDEO)

The critically-acclaimed MTV Documentary Films’ “Gay Chorus Deep South” will premiere Sunday December 20th at 9P ET/PT on Pop, Logo & Pluto TV. This feature documentary directed by David Charles Rodrigues tells the story of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus as they embark on a tour of the American Deep South in response to a wave of discriminatory anti-LGBTQ laws & the divisive 2016 election. Rodrigues stated, "I was inspired by the Chorus's music & message as a start to heal America's divide." Led by Gay Chorus Conductor Dr. Tim Seelig & joined by The Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir the tour brings a message of music, love & acceptance to communities & individuals confronting intolerance. Over 300 singers travelled from Mississippi to Tennessee through the Carolinas & over the bridge in Selma. They performed in churches, community centers & concert halls in hopes of uniting Americans in a time of difference. Dr. Tim Seelig, San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus Conductor & Artistic Director concluded, “Our tour was a Herculean effort & we truly felt we made a significant impact across the south, never imagining it would have such an after-life! The fact that this amazing story of love & acceptance will now be shared with people across the globe is beyond our wildest dreams.” The journey also challenged Seelig & other Chorus members who fled the South to confront their own fears, pain & prejudices on a journey towards reconciliation. The conversations & connections that emerge offer a glimpse of a less divided America where the things that divide us—faith, politics, sexual identity—are set aside by the soaring power of music, humanity & a little drag. For More Info…        WATCH TRAILER

Movie 'Ham: A Musical Memoir' (AUDIO)

This week I talked with Sam Harris about his new must-see film “Ham: A Musical Memoir” based on the Tony Award nominee & multi-platinum recording artist’s critically acclaimed book. The Global Digital Releasing film is currently available on Laemmle’s virtual platform before heading to BroadwayHD where it will begin streaming exclusively January 7th, 2021. “Ham: A Musical Memoir” is produced by Suzi Dietz, directed for the screen by Andrew Putschoegl, directed for the stage by Ken Sawyer & features musical director/co-composer Todd Schroeder. The original stage production in which Harris plays twelve different characters was developed & directed by Tony & Emmy-Award winning actor Billy Porter. “Ham” ran in New York & Los Angeles & was filmed at The Pasadena Playhouse. The play received Ovation Awards for Best Musical, Best Actor & Best Musical Director. “Ham: A Musical Memoir” is the comic & poignant true story of Sam Harris’s life growing up gay in Oklahoma’s Bible Belt during the 60s & 70s as a sensitive & prodigiously talented kid who dreams of playing Helen Keller at age 5, wishes he was Jewish at 10, finds his voice in the black church at 15 & falls in love with a boy who looks just like Cary Grant which led to depression & a suicide attempt. Sam then fled to Los Angeles where he sang at every dive in town until finally ending up on a new TV show called “Star Search” winning the hearts of America which led to opportunities on Broadway, television, albums & Carnegie Hall. I talked to Harris about what he hopes to accomplish with “Ham: A Musical Memoir” & his spin on our LGBTQ issues. LISTEN  

Watch Feature Film...

REAF Virtual Holiday Gala & Concert

This year Richmond/Ermet Aid Foundation is presenting their benefit concert "Help is on the Way for the Holidays 19” virtually on December 13th from 6P to 11P PST via YouTube. This fabulous concert will feature many outstanding performance clips from the last 18 years of their outstanding holiday concerts featuring stars including Adam Lambert, Catt Adams, Carol Channing, Latoya London, Shaw Ryan, Nancy Sinatra, Mary Wilson, Leslie Jordan, Shawn Ryan, Sharon McNight, Susan Anton, Jason Brock, Rip Taylor, cast members from Book Of Mormon & many more. So don your most glamorous apparel in the comfort of your living room, treat yourself to an exquisite meal & raise a glass as you celebrate a once-in-a-lifetime event. There will also be a fabulous silent auction kicking off at 6P PST that will run until December 16th. While Richmond/Ermet Aid Foundation are not able to produce their usual in-person gala this year they invite you to join them for this virtual gala concert & relive the excitement of past events through clips cultivated from their 18 years of outstanding holiday performances with stars of stage & screen & many other surprises all benefitting REAF & Raphael House. Kenneth Henderson, Executive Director of the Richmond/Ermet AID Foundation stated, “People think the AIDS epidemic is over & we don't need to pay attention to it anymore. Events like "Help is on the Way" serve not only to raise funds for local AIDS services but to remind people that there's still a need for funding them. More people are living with HIV & AIDS than ever before in history.” Tickets begin at @25 foe general admission. For More Info & Tix…

True Colors United Online Holiday Event

The biggest stars in music are coming together virtually for the 10th annual "Cyndi Lauper & Friends Home for the Holidays!" event on Friday December 11th via Tik Tok & Sunday December 13th via YouTube. Home for the Holidays is a 21st century virtual concert experience with Cyndi Lauper & her friends for a star-studded evening to end homelessness among our LGBTQ youth. Appearing will be Adam Lambert, Jason Isbell & Amanda Shires, Bette Midler, Billie Eilish, Billy Porter, Billy Steinberg, Boy George, Brandi Carlile, Brittney Howard, Carson Kressley, Cher, Dolly, Parton, Harvey Fierstein, Henry Rollins, Jackson Browne, Judy Gold, Justin Tranter, Kim Petras, King Princess, the Cast of Kinky Boots, LL Cool J, Meg Meyers, Phoebe Bridgers, Sharon Osbourne, Shea Diamond, Taylor Swift, Tom Kelly, Tracy Young, Whoopi Goldberg & the Youth Pride Chorus. In the United States 4.2 million youth experience homelessness each year with LGBTQ youth 120% more likely to experience homelessness than their non-LGBTQ peers. True Colors United is committed to changing that. True Colors United implements innovative solutions for youth homelessness that focus on the unique experiences of LGBTQ young people. Now is the time to make sure all young people experiencing homelessness have access to life-saving services without fear of discrimination or violence. The 10th Annual Cyndi Lauper & Friends Home for the Holidays! event is a fabulous way to address this crucial issue especially during this pandemic. This is an unique way to support True Colors United & our LGBTQ community while experiencing some great performances.             For More Info & Tix...

Trump Administration Last Ditch Efforts

In 42 days the Trump reign will end & Joe Biden will be inaugurated as the 46th president on January 20th 2021. In the meantime we are still being traumatized by the current administration’s inappropriate actions & misguided agenda. With a raging pandemic Melania Trump announced that the White House tennis pavilion is complete stating “It is my hope that this private space will function as both a place of leisure & gathering for future First Families…” & claiming it was “funded by private donations.” Meanwhile still clinging to the last days of his presidency the Trump Labor Department is giving contractors a broad license to discriminate by misusing the language of religious freedom. Maggie Siddiqi, Director of the Faith & Progressive Policy Initiative at the Center for American Progress stated, “This rule is the latest effort by the Trump administration to undermine nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people, religious minorities & women. It provides an exemption to federal contractors, which employ 1 in 5 American workers that will allow them to fire or hire employees in the name of religion. The federal contractors that qualify for this exemption would even include for-profit organizations. Far from protecting religious freedom, this rule actually allows employees to be discriminated against because of their religious beliefs or lack thereof. When this rule was first proposed last year, 110 religious leaders and 17 faith-based organization signed a letter opposing it. The final version of this rule does very little to alleviate those concerns. Among the bevy of actions that President-elect Joe Biden plans to take in his first days in office to undo the damage caused by his predecessor, the incoming administration should act swiftly to reverse this rule change & restore protections for millions of American workers from unlawful discrimination.” Tennis Anyone??

Boston Gay Men’s Chorus Virtual Video

BGMC kicked off the holiday season with their latest virtual video release “Up On The Housetop”. This is an incredibly playful rendition of the second-oldest secular Christmas song with “Jingle Bells” being the oldest. Composed in 1857 by Benjamin Russell Hanby who was the son of a minister active in the Underground Railroad & Abolitionist movement the song is one of the first to depict the rooftop delivery of Christmas gifts by Santa Claus. BGMC is dedicating “Up On The Housetop” to everyone struggling with isolation during the on-going pandemic. Reuben M. Reynolds III BGMC Music Director stated, “We just love this song. It’s fun, it’s light & it captures the sillier side of the holiday season—which is something that we all need right now.” “Up On The Housetop” is the latest in a series of BGMC@Home videos released by BGMC since the COVID-19 pandemic forced the chorus to halt live performances for public health reasons. Using their smart phones & other at-home recording equipment BGMC members individually recorded their parts in “Up On The Housetop.” The song is presented in BGMC’s signature virtual video style which recreates the experience of seeing the chorus onstage by grouping the individual cells of singers according their assigned section (Tenor 1, Tenor 2, Baritone, Bass). As viewers watch the video the section that is primarily carrying the song during the performance dominates the screen. It’s also why BGMC’s ASL interpreter Dr. LeWana Clark is visible throughout the performance. Craig Coogan BGMC Executive Director concluded, “The Boston Gay Men’s Chorus has been sharing stories through song about our community to audiences around the world for more than 38 years now. We can’t perform for live audiences right now, but we can still sing & share our stories in other ways that inspire change, build community & celebrate difference.” “Home for the Holidays,” a 30-minute showcase of holiday songs from the Boston Gay Men's Chorus will air on WCVB Channel 5 Boston on Saturday December 12th at 11:35P & again on Sunday December 13th at 1P.


For More Info: bgmc.org

Nutcracker Dance Along Goes Virtual

The Dance-Along Nutcracker is one of San Francisco’s most treasured LGBTQ holiday events & this year it’s going virtual for 2 fabulous performances on Saturday December 12th at 7P PST & Sunday December 13th at 11A PST via YouTube. Since they can’t travel to visit their favorite uncle for the holidays this year Clara & Fritz dream up their own adventures on board The Nutcracker Express filled with exotic destinations & surprise guests this will be a show you won’t want to miss. Enjoy & dance along at home to favorite themes from The Polar Express, festive holiday tunes & of course music from The Nutcracker ballet. This year’s virtual show will bring back memories from previous adventures & add all new performances from the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band & several extra special guests. Part comedy musical, part dance-it-yourself ballet & part symphonic concert The Nutcracker Express features all of the holiday fun & tradition you’ve come to expect from Dance-Along Nutcracker but this year you can join in from the comfort of your own living room. The 2020 Dance-Along Nutcracker is free but you need to join the guest list to come aboard & if you’re able to make a $15 per person or any amount donation will help to cover production costs. A few days before the show attendees on the guest list will receive an email with a link to the YouTube livestream to attend either or both shows. The show is approximately 75 minutes long. Donations beyond production costs will be used to commission the composition of a new piece of concert band music from a Black, Indigenous or Person of Color (BIPOC) composer.            For More Info & Register…

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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...

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