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GLAAD Names Media Awards Nominees

GLAAD has announced the nominees for the 32nd Annual GLAAD Media Awards. The GLAAD Media Awards honor media for fair, accurate & inclusive representations of LGBTQ people & issues. Sarah Kate Ellis GLAAD President & CEO stated, "During an unprecedented year of crises & isolation, the nominees for the 32nd Annual GLAAD Media Awards reached LGBTQ people with powerful stories & inspired countless others around the world with bold looks at LGBTQ people & issues. As GLAAD continues to lead the fight for LGBTQ acceptance, this year’s nominees remind us that even in times of political & cultural division, diverse LGBTQ representation & visibility can enlighten, entertain & create lasting change.” GLAAD announced 198 nominees in 28 categories including two new categories: Outstanding Children’s Programming & Outstanding Breakthrough Music Artist. As LGBTQ representation continues to grow in Kids & Family programming, the new Outstanding Children’s Programming category recognizes television programs created for younger children that showcase LGBTQ people & families. The new Outstanding Breakthrough Music Artist recognizes LGBTQ artists who have achieved a breakthrough in the music industry during the eligibility period & whose songs, music videos, or live performances have made a significant impact on LGBTQ visibility & acceptance. This year, several categories increased from five to ten worthy nominees to recognize expanding levels of diverse LGBTQ representation across several media genres. Also this year’s recipient of the Barbara Gittings Award for Excellence in LGBTQ Media is Windy City Times Chicago’s pioneering LGBTQ news publication established in 1985 by Jeff McCourt, Bob Bearden, Drew Badanish & Tracy Baim. Congrats To All The Nominees!! For Info & Full List...

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Lesbian Literature Online Festival Event

The LGBTQ Resource Center of the Gulfport Library in Gulfport, Florida is presenting ReadOut 2021: A Festival of Lesbian Literature to be held virtually from February 26th to 28th via Zoom. ReadOut 2021 will be a unique hybrid of live-streamed interactive panels, prerecorded readings & entertainment with chat opportunities between sessions. The festival will demonstrate how Lesbian Voices Persist & Prevail in these transformative times. Well-known lesbian authors including Sally Bellerose, Elana Dykewomon, Sheree Greer, Sue Katz, Rose Norman, Jean Redmann & Susan Stinson are slated to present 90-minute live-streamed Pods (aka panels) on themes such as elder lesbian writings, Black women writers, mystery, fiction & the intersection of friendship & careers as lesbian authors. Entertainment will be provided by lesbian musicians, spoken word artists & comics. There’s also still time for submissions of 60-minute prerecorded themed sessions of multiple authors reading their work that is open to authors of all genres who write by for & about lesbians with a deadline of February 8th. Barbara Talkov, ReadOut 2021 Organizing Committee stated, “This was such an amazing gathering of lesbian writers last year & the pandemic has given us the chance to offer this incredible festival to a wider audience by virtually sharing this experience for 2021!” Community is so important in this time of COVID-19 as we all need to see & hear each other far beyond Gulfport, FL where the LGBTQ Resource Center has held ReadOut in their library for the past three years. ReadOut 2021: A Festival of Lesbian Literature is a free festival & is open to a global online audience. For More Info...

Hear Audio Chats w/ LGBTQ Leaders @OUTTAKE VOICES™

LGBTQ Equity & Inclusion In Our Schools

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation’s educational arm & the National Education Association (NEA) hosted a virtual chat focused on how to advance LGBTQ inclusion in schools, how to ensure Black & Brown LGBTQ students are supported in the classroom & the impact of COVID-19 on education. The conversation also addressed education priorities in the Biden-Harris Administration. Alphonso David HRC President stated, “Prior to COVID-19, the health experiences of LGBTQ young people were already compromised. We’re talking about high rates of bullying, high rates of harassment at school & the subsequent struggle with mental health that results from the bias and from the discrimination. For some students, the distanced learning experience… may be a reprieve from bullying at school or for those who may be terrified of being outed. But it was also probably less ideal for students who have non-affirming parents or family members & for whom the school provided some solace. … We clearly need to do a better job in creating safe, welcoming schools across the country.” Becky Pringle NEA President concluded, “We know that as we talk about those multiple identities that our students & educators bring to the education system, to our classrooms, that we need to first recognize them and we need to honor them. We need to respect them & we need to talk about that rich tapestry that those multiple identities bring to creating that culture of care, that culture of inclusion & acceptance, that culture of an environment that builds on the diversity that our students bring to our classrooms & our workspaces.” 

LGBTQ Rejoice To Trans Military Return

The Biden administration kicked off this week officially reversing Trump’s harmful & discriminatory ban on transgender servicemembers. Winnie Stachelberg, Executive Vice president for External Affairs at the Center for American Progress stated, “President Biden’s executive order rescinding the ban on transgender Americans from serving in the military is another important step toward reaffirming the federal government’s commitment to equal rights & protections under the law for LGBTQ Americans. Donald Trump’s ban was dehumanizing, harmful to military readiness & rooted in the same bigotry that defined his entire administration. Military personnel disagreed with it. Human rights activists disagreed with it. The American people disagreed with it. President Biden’s swift & decisive action to repeal the ban ensures that no American will be forced to choose between living openly as themselves and serving their country…” Aaron Belkin, Director of the Palm Center added, “Those who believe in fact-based public policy & a strong, smart national defense have reason to be proud. The Biden administration has made good on its pledge to put military readiness above political expediency by restoring inclusive policy for transgender troops…” Rea Carey, Executive Director, National LGBTQ Task Force concluded, “We are thrilled that following the swearing in of the first Black secretary of defense General Lloyd Austin, President Biden signed an executive order overturning the discriminatory ban on transgender people serving in the U.S. military. Once again, qualified, dedicated transgender servicemembers & trans people who have waited to serve our country with honor & respect may bring their talents to every branch of the service.”

Creating Change Virtual Event (AUDIO)

The National LGBTQ Task Force Creating Change Conference kicks off this week virtually from January 28th through January 31st 2021. Creating Change 2021 will feature a wide array of plenaries, day long institutes, workshops, caucus sessions & keynotes, as well as game nights, an open mic, the Opening Cruise & the Agents of Change Ball. The conference is a place for our collective LGBTQ community’s spirit to recharge, renew & advance as we face an unprecedented time in our community & our country’s history. Kierra Johnson, incoming Executive Director of the National LGBTQ Task Force stated, “This week, scores of LGBTQ people will gather at the end of a month that has seen an insurrection, an impeachment & an inauguration. It is more important than ever for queer people to come together & Creating Change could not be happening at a better time to gather, strategize & plan. We must harness the energy from our pain, our loss, our outrage from these past few years & pour it into our communities. There is a lot of work ahead of us — to right the wrongs that have been done & disrupt the cycles that keep perpetuating them. Racial equity, economic justice, immigrant rights, disability rights — these are all queer issues. Access to healthcare, community programming, accurate & inclusive education — these are queer issues. As Shirley Chisolm said, ‘you don't make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering & complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas.’ This is our time. We will raise our voices, stand in our power & create a world where equity, liberation & justice are not just ideas but our inevitable future.” LISTEN: Andy Garcia, Director of Creating Change talks conference & More:  

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Blythe Frank Provincetown Film Society

The Provincetown Film Society has announced Blythe Frank will oversee the organization as interim executive director & work closely with the staff & board to ensure the company continues to innovate & adapt to the challenges faced by COVID-19. Frank comes to Provincetown with over 15 years of independent film experience. Blythe Frank stated, “I’m excited & honored to be asked to lead the organization as the interim Executive Director. While we’re currently in the process of rebuilding, PFS also finds itself at an exciting time of reinvention with opportunities to launch new initiatives & widen its reach. It’s my hope that my lifelong love of Provincetown, years of producing films & experience across multiple areas of the industry will allow me to shape & nurture PFS’s growth in a holistic way.” Blythe produced WILD OATS starring Shirley MacLaine & Jessica Lange & was an executive producer for titles including SWING starring Michael Shannon, SPINNING GOLD starring Michele Monaghan, Jason Isaacs & Neil Patrick Harris & BEING CHARLIE starring Nick Robinson, Cary Elwes & Common. She is a member of The Producer’s Guild of America, NYWIFT & is an adjunct professor in the MFA program at Columbia University. Anthony Lawson, Board President of the Provincetown Film Society concluded, "We are thrilled to have Blythe Frank join us as interim ED. She comes to us with a wealth of experience & we look forward to working with her to resume operations & bring our programming back to the outer cape!" The Provincetown Film Society (PFS) which began as the Provincetown International Film Festival in 1999 is a non-profit arts organization dedicated to showcasing new achievements in independent film & honoring the work of emerging as well as acclaimed directors, producers & actors. 

LGBTQ Leaders Inaugural Statements

Celebrating the Biden-Harris inaugural was like a deep cleansing of the last four dark years. Here are a few LGBTQ leaders reflections entering this new dawn of so many pro-equality voices. Brian K. Bond, Executive Director of PFLAG National stated, “Following four years of administrative assaults that targeted LGBTQ+ people & transgender people in particular, PFLAG is working with the Biden-Harris Administration & our elected leaders in Congress to prioritize fixing the effects of these harmful policies. We are heartened that executive actions in the short term include undoing Trump’s final actions before leaving office to eliminate LGBTQ+ discrimination protections; reversing the transgender military ban & the Muslim ban; curbing ICE & working to reunite families separated at our borders; enforcing protections for LGBTQ+ people from workplace discrimination & ensuring a fair & complete Census in which everybody counts.” Nadine Smith Executive Director Equality Florida added, “From addressing racial inequity head-on, rolling back the ban on transgender military service members & shepherding passage of the Equality Act to codify nondiscrimination protections nationwide - the incoming administration has the chance to be the most pro-LGBTQ in American history. But it’s our duty to commit ourselves to the work of ensuring President Biden, Vice President Harris & our members of Congress make good on their promises.” Rea Carey, Executive Director, National LGBTQ Task Force concluded, “It is of great significance to the LGBTQ community that on their first day in office, this administration has made it clear that discrimination has no place in the federal government…We look forward to the day when President Biden will sign the Equality Act, which will amend the Civil Rights Act to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation & gender identity in employment, housing, public accommodations, public education, federal funding, credit & the jury system.”

Finally Democracy Returns To America

This is a day of celebration & the rebirth of democracy is this country. The thug in chief has left DC to the soundtrack of Frank Sinatra singing “My Way.” Perhaps all of us will now be able to sleep without the nightmares of looming domestic fascism. This will be a day to celebrate & tomorrow we’ll roll up our sleeves & work to get this country back on track to once again to be the land of the free & home of the brave. For me I can begin to dream again of a future of LGBTQ equality without the fear of that creating a target on my back. What wonderful fabulous doors will now open for all of us. Let’s not lose sight of what brought us here & try to think of ways we can bridge the gaps with those who’d rather create acts of violence than work towards unity. This pandemic has provided us with a universal reset & we must take advantage of this unique opportunity. It’s time to figure out what divides us & work to coming together in a way that gives everyone a chance to rise up to the best person they can be. We’ve had 4 years of watching what doesn’t work & led to the chaos of January 6th. So enjoy the day. Celebrate democracy at its best & try to let go of the horrors we have experienced & lived through for the last 4 years. This is the day when we can once again feel proud to being Americans.

Dr. Levine Historic Nomination (AUDIO)

Dr. Rachel Levine has been nominated by President-elect Joe Biden to be assistant secretary for health in the department of Health & Human Services that will make her the first openly transgender federal official once confirmed by the Senate. Rea Carey Executive Director of the National LGBTQ Task Force stated, “Dr. Levine is imminently qualified to serve as assistant secretary at Health & Human Services. Her work in Pennsylvania was exemplary & impactful to the health of all Pennsylvanians. When the National LGBTQ Task Force praised the nomination of Pete Buttigieg as Transportation Secretary, we said it should the ’the first of many firsts,’& this is exactly what we meant. The appointment of more diverse LGBTQ people at all level of the administration is imperative & that includes trans & non-binary people & people of color. We are thrilled that Dr. Levine has been nominated, especially at HHS, where the LGBTQ community has been under serious attack by the outgoing administration. She has served Pennsylvania well & when the Senate confirms her, she will serve the country well, attending to the health needs of all Americans.” Last week I was on a press conference call held by the Center for American Progress with Dr. Rachel Levine, Secretary of Health, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania discussing a new CAP report outlining how the Biden administration can & should address the health needs of our LGBTQ community especially after four years of neglect & abuse by the outgoing Trump administration. The Center for American Progress is a nonpartisan research & educational institute dedicated to promoting a strong, just & free America that ensures opportunity for all. Winnie Stachelberg, Executive Vice President, External Affairs, Center for American Progress intros Dr. Levine. LISTEN

Celebrating Martin Luther King In 2021

With Washington D.C. in military lockdown in preparations for the Biden-Harris Inauguration after Trump’s supporters treasonous display of violence failed to dismantle our democracy I can’t help wonder what Martin Luther King Jr. would think about what America has become. This summer was so hopeful with all the Black Lives Matters rallies across the nation in response to the murder of George Floyd. Then we mobilized during a pandemic to use our vote to rid this country of an administration bend on taking away the rights & protections of minorities, LGBTQ people & women. After President-elect Joe Biden & Vice President-elect Kamala Harris huge win we began to see the light at the end of this dark tunnel but Trump still wouldn’t face reality as his big lie started to manifest into the shock & horrors of January 6th. Looking back to 2017 just before the Trump inauguration when his cabinet selections appeared determined to set civil rights in this country backwards by at least 60 years the late John Lewis spoke the truth stating, "We must not be silent. I don't see this president-elect as a legitimate president. I think the Russians participated in helping him get elected & in destroying the candidacy of Hillary Clinton. I think there was a conspiracy on the part of Russians & others that helped him get elected. That's not right, that's not fair. That's not the open democratic process. When you see something that's not right you have a moral obligation to do something." So whatever happens this week standup & commit to moving America forward & never let hate win.

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...

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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  

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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...

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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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