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Creating LGBTQ Potato Head Families

Hasbro is introducing its new gender-neutral “Potato Head” toy dropping the “Mr.” from its name after almost 70 years. Starting this fall the gender-neutral Potato Head toy will be available as both a standalone toy & in boxed sets that allow children to create their own Potato Head families. Though Hasbro is officially renaming the Mr. Potato Head brand to Potato Head to better reflect the full line be rest assured the iconic Mr. & Mrs. Potato Head characters aren’t going anywhere & will remain Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head. Rich Ferraro, GLAAD’s Chief Communications Officer stated, “Hasbro’s decision to introduce Potato Head as a gender-neutral toy is the latest move in a larger movement towards greater diversity & inclusion in toys & media aimed at kids. By offering a toy that exists outside of the binary of male & female, Hasbro is helping kids to simply see toys as toys, which encourages them to be their authentic selves outside of the pressures of traditional gender norms.” The new Create Your Own Potato Head Family is a celebration of the many faces of families allowing kids to imagine & create their own Potato Head family with 2 large potato bodies, 1 small potato body & 42 accessories. The possibilities to create your own families are endless with mixing & mashing all the parts & pieces. Create Your Own Potato Head Family is compatible with most standard Potato Head offerings & is a great addition to your Potato Head collection for kids ages 2 & up. Potato Head has provided endless creative possibilities to preschoolers for almost 70 years & will continue to do so with the new Create Your Own Potato Head Family.

Social Media Safety For LGBTQ People

GLAAD has announced plans for its newest initiative the GLAAD Social Media Safety Index. The report will rate social media platforms on how safe they are for LGBTQ users & provide recommendations for policy & product updates. The inaugural Index will launch in Spring 2021 & is supported by Craig Newmark Philanthropies & the Gill Foundation. The inaugural Social Media Safety Index an upcoming report will rate social media platforms on LGBTQ safety & kick-off broader advocacy efforts to hold social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter & YouTube accountable on LGBTQ content, advertising & policy. Tech leaders including Kara Swisher, Maria Ressa, & Liz Fong-Jones are advising on the Index. Sarah Kate Ellis GLAAD President & CEO stated, “Social media is a lifeline for LGBTQ people, but too often we face real harm that goes unchecked by the platforms. LGBTQ policies & product updates have long been low on priority lists, even as the tech industry is finally waking up to the issues that marginalized communities face on their platforms. Drawing on GLAAD’s proven track record of leveraging similar reports & programs to advance LGBTQ inclusion in Hollywood, our Social Media Safety Index will hold social media platforms accountable & provide a roadmap for creating safer & more inclusive online spaces.” The Social Media Safety Index will present a distillation of thought leadership in the field gleaned from conversations with leading tech experts. GLAAD has a long history of advocating for LGBTQ safety & inclusion across social media having consulted directly with social media platforms on some of the most significant policy & product updates. Plans for a launch panel event will be announced in coming weeks. For More Info... 

 

LGBTQ Leaders On Equality Act Passage

With the U.S. House of Representatives again passing the Equality Act (H.R.5) in a vote of 224-206 LGBTQ Leaders applaud the importance of its protections for our LGBTQ community, women, people of faith, people of color, immigrants & people with disabilities. Sarah Kate Ellis GLAAD President & CEO stated, “The House passage of The Equality Act is a victory for all Americans & for our country’s core values of equal treatment under law. This landmark civil rights law secures those protections for every LGBTQ person, to live without fear of discrimination… It is time to move together to ensure LGBTQ people have the chance to belong, to participate & to succeed in all areas of American life.” Winnie Stachelberg, Center for American Progress added, “The ongoing pandemic has exposed & exacerbated the inequities that LGBTQ Americans have endured for decades. The continued absence of federal protections threatens to forestall economic recovery & delay the rollout of vaccines for millions of LGBTQ Americans who defer or altogether avoid medical care for fear of discrimination. The Senate must send the bill to President Biden’s desk for his signature as soon as possible.” Kierra P. Johnson National LGBTQ Task Force Executive Director National LGBTQ Task Force concluded, “We applaud the House vote on the Equality Act & we now look to the Senate & begin in earnest what should be a bipartisan effort to protect LGBTQ people. This is what we know: LGBTQ people in 29 states are not protected by anti-discrimination laws. This patchwork of equality is indefensible - the Equality Act must be passed by the Senate so all LGBTQ Americans will be protected from discrimination.” Recently I talked to Kierra Johnson about The Task Force's upcoming virtual events & her spin on our LGBTQ issues. LISTEN 

Faith Leaders Support The Equality Act

With the U.S. House of Representatives about to vote on the Equality Act national religious leaders are speaking out in support of LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections. The Center for American Progress held a virtual conference on behalf of the Faith for Equality coalition, LGBTQ & faith leaders to discuss the importance of passing this crucial civil rights legislation. More than 100 faith groups have endorsed the Equality Act which would provide consistent & explicit nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ Americans including employment, housing, credit, education, public spaces & services, federally funded programs & jury service. Rabbi Jared Saks, of Congregation Bet Ha’am in South Portland, Maine stated, “The most central theme throughout Jewish scripture is equality—fair treatment of those who are at the greatest risk. In 29 states, we can still be evicted from our homes, thrown out of restaurants & denied loans, among other things, for who we are & who we love. For too long, we have lived without the critical protections that the Equality Act will provide—protections that should be secured for each one of us, regardless of where we live in this nation. The current patchwork of protections is insufficient.” Scott Simpson, Public Advocacy Director at Muslim Advocates concluded, “The scourge of discrimination against American Muslims of all backgrounds is happening nationwide. The scourge can be summed up in three words: ‘No Muslims allowed.’ … Muslims & people perceived to be Muslim are often discriminated against in public accommodations that will be newly covered by the Equality Act—airlines, taxis & ride shares, health care providers, food banks, shelters, gyms & rec centers & so many places where American Muslims just want to go about their day-to-day business free from discrimination.”

LGBTQ Black History Virtual Events

Celebrating Black History Month & kicking off how our LGBTQ community is moving forward in these challenging times there are two virtual events this week to check out. The first event is entitled Honoring the Past, Making History Today LGBTQ Black History Month: Honor, Celebrate & Dream is on Thursday, February 25th at 7P EST/ 4P PST via Zoom. Richard A. Fowler, American Storyteller, Richard Media Company Cofounder & Fox News Contributor is moderating the event with panelists including Imani Rupert-Gordon, NCLR Executive Director, Dominique Morgan, Black & Pink Executive Director, David Johns, National Black Justice Coalition Executive Director & Kierra Johnson, National LGBTQ Task Force Executive Director This event is free & open to the public but you must register: To Register… The second event is entitled The State Of The LGBTQ Union takes place on Friday February 26th at 4P EST/ 1P PST also via Zoom. This discussion is co-presented by GLAD, the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition & the National LGBTQ Task Force & will cover some of the big issues our LGBTQ community faces. This event will address the intersecting local, state & national issues concerning to our communities & the opportunities we have to move forward toward equality & justice. Panelists will include Mary L. Bonauto GLAD Civil Rights Project Director, Tre’Andre Valentine Executive Director of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition & Kierra Johnson, National LGBTQ Task Force Executive Director. The event will be moderated by Jason Wu GLAD’s Executive Director. This event is also free & open to the public but you must register. To Register… Recently I talked to Kierra Johnson, National LGBTQ Task Force Executive Director in this exclusive audio interview about what she hopes to accomplish at The Task Force & her spin on our LGBTQ issues. LISTEN 

LGBTQ TV Award Show Virtual Event

Free Queer TV network Revry has partnered with Q.Digital & Lexus for the first-ever television broadcast of Q.Digital’s Queerties, the annual award show produced by entertainment site Queerty celebrating the best in LGBTQ culture & media. The awards ceremony will stream live Wednesday February 24th at 6P PST / 9P EST on Revry including Revry’s third-party channels on Samsung TV Plus, Roku Channels, Xumo, Stirr, Apple TV as well as on Queerty’s homepage, Facebook & YouTube pages. Damian Pelliccione Revry CEO & Co Founder stated, “We couldn’t be more excited to broadcast the Queerties this year. To showcase such incredible, diverse queer talent across all our channels, over 250 million households & devices will allow everyone to tune-in & enjoy the fantastic show Q.Digital produces!” The show will be hosted by RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 12 Miss Congeniality Heidi N. Closet & Queerty Editor-in-Chief Dan Tracer & include an exciting musical performance by Bright Light Bright Light. This year Q.Digital & Lexus will present Angelica Ross with the Groundbreaker Award & Billy Eichner will receive the MVP Award. Heidi N. Closet added, “I’ve been voting for the Queerties as a fan for years, so it’s very exciting to not only be a nominee this year but the host of the show! I’m honored to help celebrate so many amazing & diverse members of our community & the incredible work they put out during such a challenging year.” The event will dawn a virtual red carpet with celebrity appearances by Nicco Annan, James Bland, Isis King, Jai Rodriguez, Cameron Esposito, Shangela, Jinkx Monsoon, BenDeLaCreme, Willam, Alaska, HBO’s Veneno star Isabel Torres, Netflix’s The Prom star Jo Ellen Pellman & many more. For More Info...

Hear Audio Chats w/ LGBTQ Leaders @OUTTAKE VOICES™

Mayor Lori Lightfoot LPAC Virtual Event


Celebrating Black History Month, LPAC (Lesbian Political Action Committee) is hosting their first virtual event of 2021 with Mayor Lori Lightfoot of Chicago on Tuesday February 23rd from 7:30P to 8:30P EST via Zoom. Mayor Lightfoot will talk about her trailblazing role as the first LGBTQ person & first Black woman elected to lead Chicago & the first Black woman elected to serve as mayor of one of America’s ten largest cities. In addition to Mayor Lori Lightfoot LPAC’s newest endorsees will be joining the conversation including Darden J. Rice, Elisa Crespo, Crystal Hudson, Kristin Richardson Jordan & LaWana Slack-Mayfield who will talk about the importance of local politics & the 2021 election cycle. LPAC is the only organization whose mission is to build the political power of LGBTQ women. LPAC’s focus is on electing candidates particularly LGBTQ women who share our values: LGBTQ & women’s equality, women’s health & social justice while helping coalesce LGBTQ women as a concrete & powerful political demographic. LPAC was founded in 2012 by a group of LGBTQ women seeking to create a place & voice at the power table for our community. They do this by endorsing & investing in candidates directly & supporting them through independent expenditure campaigns. They’ve raised more than $6.3 million & endorsed more than 150 candidates. The LPAC Mayor Lori Lightfoot & 2021 Election Kickoff virtual event on Tuesday February 23rd from 7:30 to 8:30P EST & is sponsored by Laura Ricketts & hosted by Alix Ritchie. Tickets begin at $25. For More Info & Tix…

Hear Audio Chats w/ LGBTQ Leaders @OUTTAKE VOICES™

Boston Pride Goes Virtual Once Again

Boston Pride & the City of Boston have announced that this year's Pride festivities will be celebrated virtually due to the ongoing pandemic. Boston Pride will be creating a series of virtual events in June to commemorate Pride Month & the 50th anniversary of Boston Pride. Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh stated, "While I know this was a difficult decision to make, postponing Boston's 2021 Pride Parade & Festival is the right choice as we continue to prioritize the health & safety of all during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In Boston, we are committing to living by the values of inclusion, diversity & acceptance, & that will never change. Our city will continue to support Boston Pride & when safe to do so, the Pride Parade & Festival will be back & stronger than ever." Linda DeMarco, President of Boston Pride concluded, “We had hoped to commemorate Boston Pride’s 50th anniversary in June 2021 after having to cancel last year’s Parade & Festival due to the pandemic. We know that the pandemic has severely impacted the LGBTQ+ community & we are working on virtual events to bring together the community in June. Over the last several months, we have pursued the difficult but necessary work of transformation & we want those efforts to be a central part of our Pride celebrations this year. Our community is concerned about racial equity, the resurgence of white supremacy, the needs of BIPOC members of the LGBTQ+ community & the dangers that transgender individuals, particularly transgender women of color, face. We are inviting the community to participate in Pride with those concerns in mind.” Virtual events being planned for June include the Pride Flag Raising at City Hall Plaza & the Pride Lights ceremony with more virtual events to be announced in the coming weeks. 

LGBTQ Leaders On Equality Act Reboot


The Equality Act (H.R. 5) has been reintroduced by Congressman David Cicilline (D-RI) & Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR). This national legislation will finally establish a minimum standard of civil rights protections for our LGBTQ community, people of faith, people of color, women & people with disabilities. Erin Uritus, CEO of Out & Equal Workplace Advocates stated, “It is time for Congress to act. Every day that passes without the Equality Act means our nation’s laws are woefully lagging behind our basic ideals of equality & fairness. LGBTQ Americans are vulnerable to discrimination & having their protections hang in the balance across virtually every sphere of daily life. Nobody should have to live in fear of discrimination because of who we are or who we love.” Brian K. Bond, Executive Director of PFLAG National added, “For LGBTQ+ people around the country, navigating life means navigating a patchwork of legal protections that can determine whether you can access basic rights where you live or visit. The Equality Act would change that. That is why we are calling on Members of the House of Representatives & Senators to pass the Equality Act…President Biden has affirmed his support of the Equality Act & remains ready to sign. PFLAG calls on Congress to pass the Equality Act now.” Kierra Johnson National LGBTQ Task Force Executive Director concluded, “It is not widely known that only 21 states & 330 cities have passed LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections, which leaves half of LGBTQ people living in the other 29 states without comprehensive statewide laws. It is time for our Federal government, now with the support of the Biden-Harris administration to pass the Equality Act & have it signed into law.”  For More Info: thetaskforce.org

Hear Audio Chats w/ LGBTQ Leaders @OUTTAKE VOICES™

LGBTQ Health Care Environments

A new report entitled “Organizational Strategies & Inclusive Language to Build Culturally Responsive Health Care Environments for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender & Queer People” provides tangible examples of organizational strategies & inclusive language that can be easily integrated into standard patient-facing processes, forms & materials. The report covers methods for improving outreach & marketing materials, registration forms, medical history forms & nondiscrimination statements. Hilary Goldhammer, SM & Lead Author stated, “One of the key lessons we have learned from the field is that health care organizations want to become more inclusive, but do not always have the tools to do so. People working in all aspects of health care, from the front lines to the executive offices, appreciate specific and actionable examples of what they can say, write, do & show to ensure that LGBTQIA+ patients feel welcome & safe. Many of these recommendations have the potential to improve the experience of all patients in a given practice. For example, collecting, recording & consistently using the affirmed names of transgender or gender diverse patients is important because the affirmed name often does not match the name & gender marker on their insurance card. But this practice also benefits any patient who goes by a nickname or a middle name instead of a first name. Sometimes small changes like this can create big returns with regard to respecting patients’ lives & identities.” The report was authored by leading educators & clinical experts on LGBTQIA+ health care from The Fenway Institute, Fenway Health, Brigham & Women’s Hospital & Massachusetts General Hospital. Read Full Report…

Hear Audio Chats w/ LGBTQ Leaders @OUTTAKE VOICES™

Save Historic LGBTQ Landmark (AUDIO)

The San Francisco Historic Preservation Commission will hold a virtual public hearing Wednesday February 17th at 12:30P PST / 3:30P EST to address securing a local landmark designation for the San Francisco home of pioneering LGBTQ advocates Phyllis Lyon (1924-2020) & Del Martin (1921-2008). The home located at 649-651 Duncan Street in San Francisco, CA was recently purchased by a private owner & is at risk of demolition to make way for new development. Their home became the meeting space for the Daughters of Bilitis the first social & political organization for lesbians in the country founded by the couple & friends in 1955. A historic landmark designation will protect the property from significant alterations that could erase the groundbreaking LGBTQ civil rights history it represents. Katherine Malone-France, Chief Preservation Officer of the National Trust for Historic Preservation stated, “The Lyon-Martin house powerfully illustrates chapters of our nation’s story that are far too often left out of the narrative. Preserving this property is an act of equity, an opportunity to bring attention to the ongoing fight for LBGTQ+ equality & anti-discriminatory policies in which Phyllis Lyon & Del Martin & their home played such a significant role.” Woody LaBounty San Francisco Heritage President & CEO concluded, "This is a property with international significance & is a civil rights monument. It should be recognized, preserved & ideally used to continue the work to which Del Martin & Phyllis Lyon devoted most of their lives.” I talked to Dr. Gayle E. Pitman about her children’s book entitled “When You Look Out the Window: How Phyllis Lyon & Del Martin Built a Community” about the importance of preserving our LGBTQ history in this exclusive interview. LISTEN

LGBTQ Virtual Winter Party (AUDIO)

This week I talked with Kierra Johnson the new Executive Director of the National LGBTQ Task Force about their upcoming virtual Winter Party Festival & what she would you like to see happen for our LGBTQ community in the Biden-Harris administration. To begin with The National LGBTQ Task Force has announced that the 2021 Winter Party Festival the org’s largest annual fundraising event will be held virtually from March 4th through March 6th, 2021. Funds raised from the Festival will support the Task Force’s “All of Me, All the Time” campaign to secure nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people. The Winter Party Festival will be hosted by Tina Burner a New York-based drag performer & comedian currently appearing on the 13th season of the hit VH1 series RuPaul’s Drag Race. The Festival will also feature a special appearance by Melbourne-based dance-pop diva Zoe Badwi debuting her new song “We Are” a collaboration with DJ Dan Slater who will open this year’s Main Event. Throughout the 3-day festival Burner & other special guests will talk about the Task Force’s “All of Me, All the Time” campaign aimed at persuading people to contact their U.S. Senators & Representatives to pass the Equality Act. Johnson joined the Task Force in 2018 as Deputy Executive Director but was already engaged with the organization previously serving on the National LGBTQ Task Force’s board of directors & its National Action Council. As a bisexual Black woman Johnson becomes one of few out queer-identified women of color at the helm of a national LGBTQ organization. I talked to Kierra about what she hopes to accomplish at The Task Force, their upcoming virtual events & her spin on our LGBTQ issues. LISTEN 

For More Info & Tix: winterparty.com

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The Republican Party Gilded & Framed

As we enter into the next chapter of American history after the minority voted 57 senators to convict former president Donald J. Trump to 43 votes to shamelessly acquit we will now watch & witness a modern day remake of Oscar Wilde’s "The Picture of Dorian Gray". In Wilde’s philosophical novel Dorian expresses the desire to sell his soul to ensure that the picture rather than he will age & fade. So let’s place this gold-framed portrait in the attic of moral conscience & watch what happens to people who stand firmly on the wrong side of history. Already the GOP is slowly facing the dilemma that their party has been infiltrated by Trump’s band of followers filled with extremist rightwing, violent, domestic terrorists who carried out the deadly siege on January 6th at the U.S. Capitol. Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD President & CEO stated, “The verdict does not reflect the truth understood by a majority of Americans, that Donald Trump recklessly & maliciously directed his supporters to attack the Capitol & our democracy. The Trump administration will forever be defined by misinformation & violence, tactics the former president weaponized against LGBTQ people & other vulnerable communities before turning them loose on our government on January 6th. Senators voting to acquit are now & for all of history recorded for their cowardice in failing to hold the former president accountable for his lawless, destructive behavior. Let this be a turning point for our country, where we demand a return to shared core values of truth, safety & integrity to protect the least among us, especially from those chosen to lead us.”

Hear Audio Chats w/ LGBTQ Leaders @OUTTAKE VOICES™

HUD Revives LGBTQ Commitment

While Trump’s second impeachment trial has been going on, the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) announced that it will administer & enforce the Fair Housing Act to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation & gender identity. The HUD directive begins implementation of the policy set forth in Biden’s Executive Order 13988 on Preventing & Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation. Rep David N. Cicilline Equality Caucus Chair stated, “No person should ever lose their home because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. It is un-American. I am pleased that HUD is taking action today to crack down on discrimination against LGBTQ+ people. This is a big step in the right direction, & I thank President Biden for his leadership on this important issue. LGBTQ+ people should be able to live their lives free from the fear of discrimination, regardless of which party controls the White House. That’s why, in the weeks ahead, it is critical that Congress pass the Equality Act to establish permanent federal protections against discrimination in housing, education, employment & other key areas of day-to-day life. I look forward to working with the President & my colleagues to get the job done.” Erin Uritus, CEO, Out & Equal Workplace Advocates concluded, “Unfortunately, housing discrimination is the lived reality for many LGBTQ people in our country & this is especially true for the transgender community. Thankfully, President Biden is bringing the full force of the federal government to bear so that no LGBTQ American will be denied a roof over their head just because of who they are or who they love.”

AIDS Memorial Black Lives Exhibition

During Black History Month the National AIDS Memorial is honoring Black lives lost to AIDS with a specially curated selection of 56 blocks of the AIDS Memorial Quilt. The virtual exhibition uses the beauty & power of the Quilt to bring to light stories of the countless men, women & children who have died & the impact AIDS has had on Black Americans. John Cunningham, Executive Director of the National AIDS Memorial stated, “This virtual exhibition shares stories of hope, healing & remembrance to honor Black lives lost to AIDS. Our hope is that it helps raise greater awareness about the ongoing struggle with HIV & the impact systemic barriers have to positive health outcomes, particularly among the Black community.” Raniyah Copeland, President & CEO, Black AIDS Institute added, “Today, Black Americans face the highest impact of HIV/AIDS compared to all other races and ethnicities. This highlights the need to center Black & LGBTQ people in the fight to end the epidemic. By sharing these powerful stories from the Quilt, we can continue to advocate for Black people living with HIV, defy stigma & create awareness around prevention & treatment options available today that can end HIV in Black communities over the next decade.” Gert McMullin, National AIDS Memorial Quilt Conservator concluded, “We selected Quilt panels for this exhibition that tell some of the many stories of Black Americans who lost their lives to AIDS & whose loved ones honored them by stitching their stories, their memories, their hopes into the Quilt. These stories are of children, women & men who we lost to AIDS & who all are remembered through the Quilt.” The exhibition is free to the public & can be viewed now through March 31, 2021. For More Info...

Hear Audio Chats w/ LGBTQ Leaders @OUTTAKE VOICES™

Trump Discriminatory Regulation Halted

The Biden Administration has halted the discriminatory U.S. Department of Health & Human Services rule that would have eliminated essential protections preventing service providers from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, & other characteristics when providing HHS grant-funded services. Currey Cook, Lambda Legal Senior Counsel & Youth In Out-Of-Home Care Project Director stated, “We are thrilled to see this Administration taking immediate steps to prioritize the safety & wellbeing of the communities that HHS is charged with protecting, particularly when it comes to their ability to access the critical services that HHS funds. If this Trump administration rule were ever to become law, our plaintiffs – youth & alumni in foster care & advocacy organizations dedicated to safety & equity for LGBTQ children & families, LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness & LGBTQ seniors - would be harmed, along with other youth & families who would face potential denial of services & discrimination.” Alphonso David Human Rights Campaign President concluded, “Discrimination should not be allowed in federally-funded programs -- it’s plain & simple. We thank Lambda Legal for their leadership on this lawsuit & commend the Biden administration on taking immediate steps to prioritize the well-being & safety of our communities by halting implementation & undertaking a review of a Trump-era policy that would have endangered access to critical services for LGBTQ people, religious minorities & women.” The Biden-Harris administration agreed to postpone the rule’s effective date stating that the Trump-era policy is under review & agreed to advise the court on its progress. The court order issued postpones the effective date of the rule for 180 days until August 2021.

Jennifer Dane Leads LGBTQ Military Org

The Modern Military Association of America (MMAA) the nation’s largest LGBTQ military organization has selected Jennifer Dane as their new executive director. Dane is a U.S. Air Force veteran & has served as the organization’s interim executive director since February 2020. Joshua Fontanez, Chair of the MMAA Board of Directors stated, “Over the last several months, Jennifer has stepped up to lead & truly moved this organization forward in our fight to advance fairness & equality for the LGBTQ military & veteran community. Her collaborative leadership style & clear vision for modern military & veteran families are a perfect fit for the vitally important work we have ahead of us.” Jennifer Dane MMAA Executive Director concluded, “I’m honored & humbled to be entrusted with this role at a critical juncture in our movement’s history. We’ve come so far & achieved so much thanks to the selfless advocates who never gave up in their fight to overturn discriminatory policies & ensure today’s modern military families have the support they deserve. With so much left to accomplish, I’m proud to lead this organization forward & double down in our incredibly important work to support & defend the LGBTQ military & veteran community.” Jennifer a Air Force veteran served as an intelligence analyst focusing on geopolitical, terrorism & threat vulnerability issues. The Modern Military Association of America formed through the merger of the American Military Partner Association & OutServe-SLDN creating a united voice for the LBGTQ military & veteran community. They work to make a real difference in the lives of our modern military families through education, advocacy & support. For More Info... 

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Supremes Icon Mary Wilson Dies (Audio)

I was very sad to hear that the legendary singer Mary Wilson had died. I talked to Mary in this exclusive audio interview when she was appearing at the Richmond Ermet Aid Foundation’s event “Help Is On The Way 24 Celebrating Music, Legends & Icons” in 2018. Wilson was a founding member & longest member of the legendary singing group The Supremes. Wilson remained with the group following the departures of other original members Florence Ballard in 1967 & Diana Ross in 1970 until the group disbanded in 1977. Since then she released three solo albums, five singles & two best-selling autobiographies, “Dreamgirl: My Life As a Supreme” & “Supreme Faith: Someday We'll Be Together”. Wilson also used her fame & flair to promote humanitarian efforts to end hunger, raise AIDS awareness & encourage world peace. When I asked what her personal commitment was to LGBTQ civil rights Wilson stated, “I have been involved in this fight against AIDS & HIV for years & now you know obviously it’s become something that we all are aware of. So a lot of my friends are in that community & so I want to be a part because they are my friends, my very dear friends. For me it wasn’t even a no brainer. I do it because it’s part of what I do for the people I love.” We also talked about the civil rights movement in this country & the heartbreak of LGBTQ teen suicide which as a mother & grandmother she addressed beautifully about the importance of strong family values in these difficult times. Rest In Peace Mary Wilson. LISTEN  

For More Info: reaf-sf.org 
DOWNLOAD INTERVIEW on iTunes

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LGBTQ Community Combating COVID

In this country we’re dealing with over 27 million COVID cases & over 463K deaths from this pandemic in the past year. We must make sure that government strategies addressing the COVID pandemic include targeted assistance for our LGBTQ communities to ensure that LGBTQ Americans are not overlooked in the rollout of further COVID relief efforts. A new report from the Center for American Progress highlights the significant challenges & inequities that LGBTQ Americans face when trying to access adequate health care & health insurance & the stigma & discrimination they experience in their physical care & mental health. Caroline Medina, a policy analyst for the LGBTQ Research and Communications Project at the Center for American Progress stated, “The public health & economic crises created by the COVID-19 pandemic are compounding existing disparities experienced by LGBTQ people, particularly among LGBTQ people who are Black & Latino, women & low-income. An equity-centered, comprehensive strategy to address the destructive effects of the pandemic on our public health & health care infrastructure will require ensuring that the needs of LGBTQ communities are integrated throughout the response of all levels of government.” LGBTQ people are at greater risk of suffering severe illness from COVID-19 due to experiencing at higher rates than heterosexual & cisgender people chronic health conditions that compromise their immune systems. Even with vaccines rolling out across the country the short & long-term health implications of the pandemic are far from behind us. The Biden administration as well as state & local governments have a responsibility to create targeted policies for populations most in need including LGBTQ people their families & their communities. 

Hear Audio Chats w/ LGBTQ Leaders @OUTTAKE VOICES™

Super Bowl LV LGBTQ Inclusive Ads

At least four LGBTQ inclusive ads are set to air on CBS during Super Bowl LV this Sunday February 7th. Sarah Kate Ellis GLAAD President & CEO stated, “During one of biggest nights in sports & media, global brands like M&M’s, Michelob ULTRA, Logitech & Paramount are raising the bar for inclusion by featuring LGBTQ icons after last year’s record number of inclusive ads. More brands should now step up year round, as including LGBTQ people in ads is good for business & good for the world. GLAAD is working to grow the quality & the quantity of LGBTQ people in advertising, as it can have a profound impact on LGBTQ visibility & acceptance, especially during cultural events like the Super Bowl.” The Logitech ad features Lil Nas X the out Grammy Award-winning rapper, singer & songwriter. The M&M ad features out Emmy-Award winner Dan Levy. The Michelob ULTRA ad features iconic professional tennis star Billie Jean King & the Paramount+ ad features RuPaul for about a second. Last year there were at least eleven LGBTQ inclusive ads from Amazon Alexa, Budweiser, Doritos, HGTV, Microsoft, Olay, Pop Tarts, Sabra, Tide, TurboTax, & Under Armour aired during Super Bowl LIV. Also out Offensive Assistant Coach of the San Francisco 49ers, Katie Sowers also took the field as the first woman & openly gay coach in Super Bowl history. Since I have an Emmy Award myself from CBS Sports NFL Today I will bring her off the shelf to watch the game safely in my living room as I hope many of you will be doing during this pandemic that has turned our world upside down. Stay Safe & Healthy.

Mike Pence Joins Heritage Foundation

The Heritage Foundation has announced that former Vice President Mike Pence will join the organization as a distinguished visiting fellow. What a perfect place for Pence to hone his radical religious right perspective. Kay C. James Heritage President stated, “Over the course of the past four years, our team at Heritage has worked closely with members of the Trump administration on a host of policy accomplishments. That’s why I am excited Vice President Mike Pence will join forces with Heritage to ensure we continue to advance conservative principles & policy solutions. His allegiance to the Constitution & commitment to advancing a conservative policy agenda make him an outstanding fit for The Heritage Foundation.” Not only does The Heritage Foundation rejects the scientific consensus on climate change, Heritage has also fought against laws like The Matthew Shepard & James Byrd Hate Crimes Act & the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). They criticized the Obama Administration for just about anything it did to advance LGBTQ acceptance. They’ve also spent considerable time over the past six years making the case that religious employers & business owners should have a right to use so-called "religious exemptions" as a way to discriminate against LGBTQ workers & customers. The Heritage Foundation brands itself as a beacon of the intellectual conservative establishment. In reality it serves as a pipeline of hate, dedicating significant energy to extremist policy recommendations to deny access to abortion & birth control & to harm our LGBTQ community. So we congratulate former VP Mike Pence for finding his home at last.

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Creating LGBTQ Potato Head Families

Hasbro is introducing its new gender-neutral “Potato Head” toy dropping the “Mr.” from its name after almost 70 years. Starting this fall t...

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