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GLAAD Reports Where We Are On TV

GLAAD the premiere LGBTQ media advocacy org has announced the findings of its annual Where We Are on TV report. This report analyzes the overall diversity of primetime scripted series regulars on broadcast networks & assesses the number of LGBTQ regular & recurring characters on primetime scripted cable programming & original scripted streaming series on Amazon, Hulu & Netflix for the 2020-2021 TV season. Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD’s President & CEO stated, “In the midst of a destructive pandemic, a long overdue cultural reckoning with racial injustice & a transition into a new political era for this country, representation matters more than ever as people turn to entertainment storytelling for connection & escape. This time of unprecedented change matched with increased demand represents an opportunity to break new ground with stories we have not seen before & create LGBTQ characters that do not reinforce harmful stereotypes.” Right now LGBTQ inclusion is still enormously impacted by a small handful of creators who prioritize it. Characters on series from just four out power players (Greg Berlanti, Lena Waithe, Ryan Murphy & ally Shonda Rhimes) last year accounted for 14 percent of all LGBTQ characters. This year, that percentage increased with these creators’ series representing 17 percent of all LGBTQ representation (62 of 360 characters) on TV appearing on their 16 series included in this year’s study. This means nearly one in every five LGBTQ characters appears on a series that is tied to one of just four creatives. This year’s study found that of the 773 series regular characters scheduled to appear on broadcast scripted primetime television this season, 70 (9.1 percent) are LGBTQ. This is a decrease from the previous year’s record high percentage of 10.2 percent & the first season to mark a decrease in this percentage since it last fell in the 2013-14 report. 

International Peace Honors Goes Virtual

A select group of international personalities will join the inaugural International Peace Honors presented by PeaceTech Lab on Sunday January 17th at 8PM EST to celebrate the most prominent world leaders & change-agents of our time whose common goal is to build a more just & equitable future. Those honored will include Ricky Martin, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Opal Tometi, Vint Cert, Amazonian Chief Raoni & Ricardo Montaner will be recognized during this international event with live performances to honor 2020’s most outstanding leaders of change. The event will live stream on PeaceTech Lab’s YouTube channel. Sheldon Himelfarb, PeaceTech Lab President & CEO stated, “We live on a planet where cell phones outnumber people & 1 million new Internet users come online every day. We must recognize our collective responsibility as peace-builders to do more to enlist these modern tools in solving the world’s biggest challenges.” Award presenters include basketball icon Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors, actress & activist Eva Longoria, musician & environmentalist Sting, celebrity chef & humanitarian Jose Andres & more. Performing will be an international list of superstars will deliver special performances including Spanish artist Alejandro Sanz, Colombian singer Camilo & wife Evaluna Montaner, activist Sting & Italian singer-songwriter Laura Pausini. Natalia Jimenez GRAMMY® & Latin GRAMMY® winner will host the International Peace Honors. Established by the United States Institute of Peace, PeaceTech Lab is committed to using technology, media & data to prevent violence & build prosperous & peaceful communities around the world. The event is free but you must register. For More Info...

Hear Audio Chats w/ LGBTQ Leaders @OUTTAKE VOICES™

Removing The Mirror Of Evil In America

National lawmakers are set to debate & vote on Trump’s historical second article of impeachment Wednesday for “Incitement of Insurrection” of the deadly January 6th attack on the US Capitol building after telling a mob of his supporters to "fight like hell" to overturn the result of the 2020 election an election he lost fair & square. Trump's incitement of this mob is proof that he is a danger to our country & our democracy. On Tuesday the House voted in favor of a measure calling on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove President Donald Trump from office. However in a letter to Pelosi hours earlier Pence said he did not support taking such an action. This is probably a good thing because if Pence had removed Trump there was still a possibility that he could pardon Trump of the charges that will be brought forward over the next few weeks. Being that Trump engaged in High Crimes & Misdemeanors by inciting violence against the Government of the United States the 14th Amendment should also come into play for Trump & his Congressional supporters that states that “No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President & Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any state, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any state legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any state, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”

The Film Maudit 2.0 Virtual Festival

L.A. Performance Space & Gallery Highways will virtually present its Second Annual Film Maudit 2.0 festival January 12th to January 24th. The festival features over 125 works of cinema from 25 countries including films rarely if ever seen in festivals including works addressing socio-political issues & taboo subject matter that challenges conventional artistic assumptions & sexual mores. The festival will present online screenings of 18 feature films, 21 shorts programs, specially commissioned programs & new film scored performed by artists who reflect the diversity of Los Angeles. Patrick Kennelly Festival Artistic Director stated, “There is a connecting spirit to all of the works in Film Maudit 2.0, each selected to engage a different facet of the cinematic imagination. These radical “cinema-sations” are guaranteed to not just entertain, but to challenge the mind & shock the senses. The idea of the festival is changing & we see this as a positive development for independent filmmakers. We decided to really take advantage of this year’s challenges & embrace the potential reach of the exciting new virtual frontier by creating an online experience that is very much an inclusive, interactive & engaged real-time festival experience through the interactive website." Film Maudit 2.0 festival is inspired by French avant-garde filmmaker & writer Jean Cocteau who created the original Festival du Film Maudit (literally “cursed films”) in 1949 aiming to celebrate overlooked, shocking & experimental films. Special programs include a fundraising screening of erotic art pioneers Annie Sprinkle & Beth Stephens’ “Water Makes Us Wet” featuring a live stream Q&A & more. All films at the festival are free & available online January 12th through January 24th. For More Info… 

Trump Continues To Hurt Americans

While Trump was inciting his deadly siege of the Capitol his administration was busy finalizing one of its last acts of persecution against women, LGBTQ people & religious minorities. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) will publish a final discriminatory rule change on the basis of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, religion, gender identity & sexual orientation for organizations receiving taxpayer dollars to serve the American people. It also removes the explicit requirement to treat gay & lesbian marriages equally as required under the U.S. Constitution. Sharita Gruberg, Senior Director for the LGBTQ Research & Communications Project at the Center for American Progress stated, “For four years, the president & his administration officials have taken every opportunity to defend & expand widespread discrimination at the expense of the health & welfare of the American people. HHS administers more than half a billion taxpayer dollars through grants to provide the public with critical services, money that will now be permitted to go to organizations that pick & choose whom they will serve. The LGBTQ community is hardly alone in being targeted by this rule change. Millions of other Americans are at risk of losing access to critical services in the midst of an economic crisis & pandemic. These services include childcare programs, health care, homeless shelters, programs for seniors, foster & adoption services, violence prevention, & much more. By the time this rule goes into effect, Trump will be out of office. But the stains of his ruinous tenure will outlive his administration & will require the full attention of his successor. President-elect Joe Biden can & should act swiftly to delay & ultimately reverse these changes.”

Creating Change Conference (AUDIO)

This week I talked to Andy Garcia, Director of Creating Change at the National LGBTQ Task Force about their 33rd annual conference entitled “The Power Of You” that takes place virtually from January 28th through January 31st 2021. Every year the Creating Change team curates a diverse, timely & provocative set of workshops & this year will be no exception despite the challenges of having the conference online. From activism to faith to fundraising with some timely twists on popular workshops like “Sex in the Times of COVID” the Creating Change Conference will have programs of interest to diverse activists & cover a lot of ground in this unique time for LGBTQ+ communities. There will also be keynote speakers & celebrities. Dominique Jackson best known for her leading role of Elektra Abundance on the FX television series Pose will be this year’s opening keynote speaker & there will be several performances by Big Freedia. Closing Keynote Speaker will be activist author adrienne maree brown & Sandra Valls will host the event. This will be the third Creating Change Conference managed by Garcia & the first held virtually that will include four plenary sessions, 16 day long institutes & 48 workshop & caucus sessions. The four day long event run by the National LGBTQ Task Force is a space for learning, connecting & growing as LGBTQ activists, leaders, allies & changemakers. With all the insanity going on in our country this is a fabulous opportunity to connect with our community & help move our LGBTQ civil rights forward. I talked to Andy about what he hopes to accomplish with this year’s Creating Change Conference & his spin on our LGBTQ issues. LISTEN  

For More Info…

Hear Audio Chats w/ LGBTQ Leaders @OUTTAKE VOICES™

Trump Attempts To Kill Our Democracy

Unless this assault on our country is quickly resolved we will be subjected to more attacks by this desperate madman who is still being permitted to walk freely with access to all our country’s intelligence including nuclear power within his grasp. Watching his militia storm the US Capitol was a painful wake-up call that probably barely scratches the surface of the depth of his corruption. This is the time to remember that, “Nothing is so bad it can’t get worse” & remove 45 from his position of power. Rea Carey, Executive Director of the National LGBTQ Task Force stated, “Donald Trump has been, continues to be & will remain a threat to democracy, the U.S. Constitution & human life every day he remains in office. While his attempted coup has failed, he & his supporters are a threat to democracy & will be as long as he is in power. The National LGBTQ Task Force & National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund calls for the immediate removal of Donald Trump under the 25th Amendment. Even if today were January 19th, the time left in Trump’s term would be too long. If Donald Trump were to stay in office for a mere 24 hours it would be too long & too risky. If Trump is able to make one more call to the Acting Secretary of Defense, it would be one call too many. If Trump is able to push through one more regulation, it would be one too many… We condemn the violence in Washington, DC & in communities across the country that has been incited by today’s attack on the Capitol building. We are better than this. To move forward we must begin by making the strongest statement possible & remove Trump from office using the power of the 25th amendment.”

The Center New Activists In Residence

Since 1983 New York City’s The Center has been supporting, fostering & celebrating our LGBTQ community. They have announced their first Activist-in-Residence Fellowship Program recipients in connection with The Center’s Rise Out program to contribute to social justice movements by continually investing in the next generation of Black & Indigenous leaders & other leaders of color who are committed to advancing equity & opportunity on behalf of the LGBTQ community in New York State. After a competitive application process with over 40 applications submitted Domic Bradley & Joshua Allen have been selected as the next wave of changemakers for 2021. In addition to receiving a $15,000 stipend towards their projects they will receive hands-on support from Center leaders to propel their work to the next level. Dominic Bradley is a Brooklyn-based nonbinary artist & educator reared in the crunk-era “Dirty South.” Dominic works in multiple disciplines including visual art, writing & performance. Dominic’s project will focus on the support of BIPOC LGBTQ New Yorkers through innovative mental health supports. Joshua Allen is a nonbinary artist & activist from Brooklyn, NY. In 2016 they founded the Black Excellence Collective an organizing hub for & by Black LGBTQI+ young people & served as a co-organizer & co-host of the 2020 Brooklyn Liberation March. Joshua’s work will focus on a youth mentorship program for Black TGNC & queer youth. The Center thanks Jan Siegmund & Susie Scher at Goldman Sachs Gives for sponsoring & making it possible to offer this initiative. For More Info...

Hear Audio Chats w/ LGBTQ Leaders @OUTTAKE VOICES™

Brooklyn Changes Gender Binary Rule

The Brooklyn Democratic Party voted unanimously to approve a long awaited & historic change that repeals the gender binary requirement allowing only men & women to run for party office in Brooklyn, New York. The Party’s rule change will allow transgender, gender non-conforming & non-binary (TGNCNB) individuals to openly serve on County Committee beginning in the 2022 election cycle. Samy Nemir Olivares, District Leader AD53 & a member of the Gender Taskforce stated, “This victorious rule change belongs to the queer community in Brooklyn, advocates, as well the brave TGNC plaintiffs who put their lives on the public eye & took on a lawsuit to open the path for everyone to run & serve regardless of their gender identity or expression. No one should be denied participation in politics for who they are or how they identify & the binary rule denied the existence of TGNC people. This was a powerful vote to open the doors & remove barriers that prevented people from all genders to have a seat & a vote at the table. As a Queer Brooklynite who fought for this change, I’m very proud & thrilled we were able to take this historic step forward towards inclusion to recognize the humanity of those living beyond the gender binary & welcome their equitable participation. It should have not taken a lawsuit, a taskforce & six months to recognize that everyone deserves a seat at the table, but I’m pleased to see public education that changed hearts & minds & made this progress possible. But we can’t stop here, a seat at the table doesn’t guarantee you can speak or vote, so we need to move beyond diversity & inclusion towards empowerment & leadership.” 


LGBTQ Civil Rights Moving Forward

With the 117th United States Congress we have a chance to move our LGBTQ community forward as a record number of women & LGBTQ people elected are sworn in. Then on January 20th with the beginning of the Biden & Harris administration perhaps there is light at the end of the tunnel after we have endured four dark years of attacks by the Trump administration to limit & remove our civil rights as American citizens. Alphonso David HRC President stated, “Over the last four years, the Trump-Pence administration has systematically attacked the most vulnerable of communities & enacted policies that have undermined our fundamental civil rights. The 117th Congress has the opportunity to not only put our democracy back on track but deliver real positive change for LGBTQ people’s daily lives -- including prioritizing passage of the Equality Act, crucial federal legislation that would finally guarantee explicit protections for LGBTQ people under our nation's existing civil rights laws.” Rea Carey, Executive Director National LGBTQ Task Force concluded, “There is so much work to be done starting with undoing the harmful policies of the outgoing administration, policies like limiting access for trans & nonbinary people to homeless shelters, making schools less safe for LGBTQ+ young people & empowering healthcare providers to turn away LGBTQ+ patients.” Now with the critical Georgia Senate runoff elections in just two days we have the opportunity to flip the United States Senate & finally end the road-blocks keeping our LGBTQ community from achieving full equality.

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GLAAD Reports Where We Are On TV

GLAAD the premiere LGBTQ media advocacy org has announced the findings of its annual Where We Are on TV report. This report analyzes the o...

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