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Lesbian Icon Sally Miller Gearhart Dies

I was sad to hear about the passing of Sally Miller Gearhart who I became aware of in the 1977 film “Word Is Out” the first important LGBTQ documentary that was produced by Peter Adair & directed by Nancy Adair, Andrew Brown & Rob Epstein. Known for her lesbian separatism & activism Sally Miller Gearhart died at age 90. She was a teacher, feminist, science-fiction writer & lesbian political activist. In 1973 she became the first open lesbian to obtain a tenure-track faculty position when she was hired by San Francisco State University where she helped establish one of the first women & gender study programs in the country. Her community Women’s Land in Northern California was home to a group of lesbian women who wanted to be closer to nature & farther from men. Members of the community which fluctuated in size lived in cabins in the woods outside of patriarchal confines in Dr. Gearhart’s view. Gearhart stated, “Every culture must begin to affirm the female future. Species responsibility must be returned to women in every culture. The proportion of men must be reduced to & maintained at approximately ten percent of the human race.” She created Women’s Land in Willits a city in redwood forest country about 140 miles north of San Francisco which she considered it the culmination of her lesbian separatist philosophy stating, “I keep saying that feminism as I understand it is an ideology of possibility, not probability.” She lived there with her “land partner” Jane Gurko, her dog Bodhi & other residents who wanted to experience life closer to nature & away from men.  Rest In Peace.


Author Armistead Maupin Virtual Event

"Tales of the City" author Armistead Maupin will discuss living through two pandemics first AIDS in the 1980s & now COVID-19 today at this fabulous free virtual event on Monday August 9th from 3P to 4:30P EDT via Zoom. He will also chat about LGBTQ aging, legacy & the power of writing & creativity. Armistead stated, “I'll be talking about love & loss & how they continue to drive my stories. I promise it won't be gloomy.” Other additional guest is Wilfred Labiosa, the CEO of Waves Ahead Corp a non-profit organization in Puerto Rico focusing on the elder & our LGBT+ community. Reimagine has been hosting candlelight vigils throughout the pandemic in order to break down taboos & hold space for all that we've lost. The Reimagine Candlelight Vigil event is hosted by Reimagine & SAGE the country’s largest & oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of LGBT older people. Armistead Maupin's "Tales of the City” the Peabody Award-winning television miniseries launched in 1976 starring Olympia Dukakis & Laura Linney. Netflix is currently airing a new series updated & rebooted based on  Tales of the City that’s well worth the binge watch. Maupin is also the subject of a new documentary titled "Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin". He lives in London with his husband Christopher Turner & is about to kick off a UK tour. The Reimagine Candlelight Vigil with Author Armistead Maupin Zoom event is free but you must register. To Register…

Hear Audio Chats w/ LGBTQ Leaders @OUTTAKE VOICES™

New Report Addresses Hate Crime Laws

With a rise in hate crime violence across the country a new report from the Movement Advancement Project (MAP) & 16 leading civil rights organizations provides a groundbreaking analysis of state & federal hate crime laws. Ineke Mushovic, Executive Director of MAP stated, “At a time of rising hate violence, we need to re-examine & expand our responses. Hate crime laws serve a necessary purpose but they are inconsistent, sometimes flawed & can even harm the very communities they are meant to serve. We need to improve our hate crime laws & engage in broader solutions to reducing hate in our country. Like any law, hate crime laws alone won’t fix a problem as large as rising hate violence.” Imani Rupert-Gordon, NCLR Executive Director concluded, “Recently, we have unfortunately seen a dramatic increase in the number of violent hate crimes across the country targeting the LGBTQ community, women, people of Jewish faith, Asian people & people of color. This groundbreaking & important report will help us understand both the opportunities & limitations of hate crime laws in the United States, as well as how to improve these laws to make sure they address the root causes of hate violence while not harming the communities they are meant to make safer.” The orgs participating in the report are the Anti-Defamation League, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC (Advancing Justice – AAJC), Equality Federation Institute, James Byrd Jr. Center to Stop Hate at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Jews for Racial & Economic Justice, Lambda Legal, LatinoJustice PRLDEF, Matthew Shepard Foundation, National Black Justice Coalition, National Center for Lesbian Rights, National Center for Transgender Equality, National Council of Jewish Women, National Disability Rights Network, Sikh Coalition, Southern Poverty Law Center & the Union of Reform Judaism. 

Dr. Rachel Levine Opens USCHA (AUDIO)

U.S. Assistant Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine will speak at the opening plenary of the 2021 U.S. Conference on HIV/AIDS (USCHA) on Friday Oct. 29th at the Marriott Marquis in Washington, DC. The 2021 United States Conference on HIV/AIDS takes place October 28th to 31st. Dr. Levine stated, “I started my residency at Mount Sinai in New York City during the early ‘80s & witnessed the HIV/AIDS pandemic firsthand. We’ve made so much progress – from testing to treatments – but there is still a long way to go. We need to increase access to testing & treatment (including PrEP), ensure equitable access & expand telehealth services. NMAC continues to play a critical role towards ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic. I am delighted to speak at the opening plenary session & work with partners & attendees towards a brighter future.” Paul Kawata, Executive Director of NMAC concluded, “Secretary Levine has been a barrier breaker throughout her career in public life as well as a dedicated public servant. Her experience in public health & as a trans woman has brought a new and much needed voice and knowledge to the federal fight to end the HIV epidemic. We look forward to welcoming her to USCHA & working with her to bring the epidemic to an end.” In January I was on a press conference call with Dr. Rachel Levine discussing a Center for American Progress 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. Winnie Stachelberg, CAP Executive Vice President, External Affairs Intros Dr. Levine. LISTEN  To Register…


Bar Time Older Lesbian Stories (AUDIO)

This week I talked with author Sarah F. Pearlman about “Bar Time: A Lesbian Rite of Passage: Bar Stories by Older Lesbians” which is a new collection of writings by 26 older lesbians telling their not-to-be-erased lesbian history through stories, poetry, a play and a collection of beloved disco songs. “Bar Time” was produced by the Boston OLOC (Old Lesbians Organizing for Change) editorial team including Alice Fisher, Sarah F. Pearlman and Sue Reamer. The stories mostly come from the Boston area but also include contributors from New Hampshire, Connecticut, Florida, South Carolina, Tennessee, Minnesota, California, Washington & Melbourne, Australia. Pearlman stated, “Some of our writers were adolescents when they entered their first lesbian bar. To our generation, lesbian bars were a part of our lives & an opportunity to meet women different than ourselves. Where lesbian-feminists met bar dykes.” For most lesbians of our older LGBTQ generation bars were the only place to go to connect with other women to have their first meeting of other lesbians & connect with a lesbian social world. Before Stonewall since it was illegal to be LGBTQ, bar owners had to pay off the police to keep bars from being raided because selling liquor to gay men & lesbians was also illegal. After Stonewall things slowly changed for our LGBTQ community & by 1987 there were an estimated two hundred lesbian bars nationwide. That number has dwindled to a mere fifteen lesbian bars left in 2021. The booklet for “Bar Time: A Lesbian Rite of Passage” will be released in a few week but you can request a PDF. I talked to Sarah about what she hopes to accomplish with “Bar Time: A Lesbian Rite of Passage” & her spin on our LGBTQ issues. (Graphic by Geri Davis)  

 Request “Bar Time” PDF…

Hear Audio Chats w/ LGBTQ Leaders @OUTTAKE VOICES™

Biden LGBTQ Nominations Confirmed

The United States Senate confirmed two historic LGBTQ presidential nominees by unanimous consent. Gina Ortiz Jones was confirmed for Under Secretary of the Air Force becoming the first out lesbian to serve as under secretary of a military branch. Shawn Skelly was confirmed as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Readiness becoming the highest-ranking out transgender defense official in U.S. history. Mayor Annise Parker, President & CEO of LGBTQ Victory Institute stated, “Gina & Shawn served their country when living openly could result in discharge & a lost career, so their ascension to key leadership positions is a powerful moment for those servicemembers who served or continue to serve in silence. Their confirmation will transform perceptions of LGBTQ people within the ranks of the U.S. military, but also among the leaders of militaries we work with around the world. While they were confirmed because of their unquestionable qualifications & experience, they symbolize our continued progress & will further disrupt any lingering notion that LGBTQ people are somehow unfit to serve.” Ruben Gonzales, Executive Director of LGBTQ Victory Institute concluded, “The Biden team is building the most LGBTQ-inclusive administration in U.S. history & the impact it will have on policies & legislation is enormous. Gina & Shawn will join at least a dozen other out Defense Department appointees who understand the challenges LGBTQ servicemembers face & will make their well-being a priority. Our military, like our government, is strongest when it reflects the diversity of the people it serves & ensures all are treated with dignity & respect. Gina & Shawn are shattering lavender ceilings that will encourage more LGBTQ people to consider public service.” For More Info…

Reclaim Pride March Event In London

This is a very important LGBTQ event. The first-ever Reclaim Pride march is taking place in London on Saturday July 24th. Since we have just experienced the sad demise of Boston Pride after over 50 years of LGBTQ Pride celebrations in this city we need to wake up & address ways to bring Pride back to its roots nationally & globally & Reclaim Pride is a fabulous way to kick off this movement. Organizer Peter Tatchell stated, “Pride in London has become depoliticized & over commercialized. Reclaim Pride puts LGBT+ human rights back into Pride. We want to make Pride once again an event where our on-going demands for LGBTI+ liberation can be seen & heard. All LGBTI+ organizations, individuals & allies are invited to participate.” Linda Riley of DIVA & Lesbian Visibility Week added, “When Peter Tatchell asked if DIVA would support the Reclaim Pride March & explained the concept, there was no hesitation. The idea of taking Pride back to its roots is one that we’re absolutely behind.” Phyll Opoku-Gyimah of UK Black Pride concluded, “UK Black Pride is proud to take part in the Reclaim Pride March, which is taking place at an important & critical juncture in all our lives. Perhaps more than ever, racism within & outside of the LGBTQ community is being discussed seriously & we are here to remind one & all that until racism, transphobia & homophobia are eradicated, there will be no liberation for any of us.” Organizers ask that everyone please bring water, sunscreen & an umbrella just in case. Plus food & drink for the picnic in Hyde Park that follows. Also to please wear a mask & respect fellow protestors who want to social distance. For More Info…

Hear Audio Chats w/ LGBTQ Leaders @OUTTAKE VOICES™


Tokyo Olympics & LGBTQ Pride House

As we have reported there will be more out LGBTQ athletes competing in the Tokyo Olympics that takes place Friday July 23rd to Sunday August 8th than all the previous Summer Olympics combined. Since 1928 229 LGBT+ athletes have competed in the Summer & Winter Olympics & this year at least 162 LGBTQ athletes are headed to Tokyo a new record & 116% increase since the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. However Japan failed to improve LGBTQ rights ahead of the Olympics & brave Japanese athletes are coming out anyways. In Japan marriage equality has not been legalized & there are limited legal recognitions for gay & lesbian couples with few protections against discrimination in the workplace or in public. Japanese law also requires transgender people to be surgically sterilized if they want legal recognition of their gender identity. Our LGBTQ community in Japan hoped that the 2020 Olympics would force changes that would allow them to have a better future but that didn’t happen. Gon Matsunaka President of Pride House Tokyo stated, “We hope that we can all reaffirm the spirit of the Olympic Charter, which states that all people should be given equal opportunity to play sports without discrimination of any kind, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity & that the Games will be a celebration of an inclusive sports culture that does not exclude anyone & promotes positive change in society.” Pride House Tokyo Consortium has been working to expand understanding of LGBTQ & other sexual minorities in Japan since 2018 to create an environment in which all people can feel safe, regardless of gender, sexual orientation or gender identity. For More Info…

Hear Audio Chats w/ LGBTQ Leaders @OUTTAKE VOICES™

NHL Player Luke Prokop Comes Out

NHL player Luke Prokop announced on Twitter & Instagram that he is gay. Prokop is the first active NHL player under contract to come out as gay. Prokop is 19 years old & from Edmonton, Alberta. He was selected by the Nashville Predators in the third round of the 2020 NHL draft & signed a three-year contract with the Predators in December. Prokop stated, “While the past year & a half has been crazy, it has also given me the chance to find my true self. I am no longer scared to hide who I am. Today I am proud to publicly tell everyone that I am gay. It has been quite the journey to get to this point in my life. From a young age I have dreamed of being an NHL player & I believe that living my authentic life will allow me to bring my whole self to the rink & improve my chances of fulfilling my dreams. I hope that in sharing who I am I can help other people see that gay people are welcome in the hockey community, as we work to make sure that hockey truly is for everyone." Rich Ferraro, GLAAD Chief Communications Officer concluded, “Luke’s coming out is another milestone for LGBTQ visibility in sports that is being met with support & affirmation from league officials. By speaking out, Luke has created an inspiring moment for all young hockey fans to see they can be their authentic selves & achieve any dream. This has already been a historic year for out LGBTQ people in sports, including Carl Nassib’s coming out in the NFL, Kumi Yokoyama in soccer & record representation at the Olympic Games in Tokyo. It sends an unequivocal message of support & acceptance to LGBTQ youth in every field and arena, that you belong & you are valued, just as you are.”

Hollywood Films LGBTQ Representation

GLAAD recently released its ninth annual Studio Responsibility Index (SRI) that maps the quantity, quality & diversity of LGBTQ characters in films released by the eight major film studios. For the first time in the report’s history there were more lesbian characters than gay male characters but the report found no LGBTQ characters with disabilities, no LGBTQ characters living with HIV & transgender or non-binary characters still remain completely absent for a fourth year in a row. The study is based on GLAAD’s Vito Russo Test that sets a criteria analyzing how LGBTQ characters are situated in a narrative film. Vito Russo who I had the pleasure to cross paths with many times when I lived in NYC was an activist, historian & co-founder of GLAAD. For a film to pass the Vito Russo Test the following must be true. The film must contain a character that is identifiably LGBTQ. That character must not be solely or predominantly defined by their sexual orientation or gender identity (i.e. the character is comprised of the same sort of unique character traits commonly used to differentiate straight or non-transgender characters from one another). The LGBTQ character must be tied into the plot in such a way that their removal would have a significant effect. Meaning they are not there to simply provide colorful commentary, paint urban authenticity, or (perhaps most commonly) set up a punchline. The character should matter.  Megan Townsend, GLAAD’s Director of Entertainment Research & Analysis concluded, “We know that LGBTQ audiences are a powerful & invested audience & a quickly growing one as we see more & more people empowered to live their authentic lives. The power, passion & growth of LGBTQ audiences proves that if studios wish to be successful in retaining & expanding fans, they must tell meaningful queer & trans stories.” GLAAD found that of the 44 films released from major studios in 2020 only ten (22.7 percent) contained LGBTQ characters.  For More Info…

Hear Audio Chats w/ LGBTQ Leaders @OUTTAKE VOICES™

Achieving LGBTQ Equality In The Media

The Rainbow Lifelong Learning Institute Boston is presenting a special virtual event “Achieving LGBTQ Equality Through The Media” with Emmy winner Charlotte Robinson on Tuesday July 20th from 12P to 1:30P EST via Zoom. With the Equality Act the most important legislation that would advance our LGBTQ civil rights pending in the US Senate our community is at a standstill. Mainstream media rarely addresses our LGBTQ issues except when they reach the US Supreme Court. With LGBTQ Pride being celebrated for the past two years mostly virtual due to the pandemic it is crucial that we form a media strategy & messaging to achieve full LGBTQ equality especially with the attacks on our transgender youth & transgender women of color. Robinson stated, “We’ve all watched the influence of the media elect government officials from local politicians to the Oval Office. Over the past decades our LGBTQ community has been developing an important mainstream media presence from Ellen DeGeneres to Rachel Maddow & Anderson Cooper to David Muir. However where we go from here is crucial to achieving full equality.” Take a journey with Emmy winner Charlotte Robinson as she talks about LGBTQ media representation through the decades & where we go from here. With her lifetime commitment to LGBTQ civil rights in 2004 Charlotte produced & directed the acclaimed short film OUTTAKE addressing marriage equality that morphed into the online news & entertainment network OUTTAKE MEDIA LLC. The Rainbow Lifelong Learning Institute Boston offers LGBTQ seniors & friends the opportunity to build & strengthen community through educational programs & social activities.“Achieving LGBTQ Equality Through The Media” on Tuesday July 20th from 12P to 1:30P EST via Zoom is a free event but you must register.  Register For Event…

Hear Audio Chats w/ LGBTQ Leaders @OUTTAKE VOICES™

Camp Pride Summer Leadership Event

Campus Pride the national nonprofit organization dedicated to creating safer more inclusive communities for LGBTQ & ally people on college campuses has announced the schedule for their 15th annual Camp Pride Summer Leadership Academy being held virtually July 16th to 18th. Shane Windmeyer Campus Pride Executive Director stated, “Camp Pride is one of the longest-running LGBTQ summer leadership camps for youth across the country & the only one of its kind for college students. It continues to be the premier national training academy for social justice & grassroots activism for LGBTQ & ally young adults at colleges & universities." This year’s Camp Pride will be held online for all registrants & live-streamed on Campus Pride’s Instagram in a limited capacity. Registration is $265 for three days of online programming; however a limited number of fee waivers are available to trans, queer people of color & students going to rural colleges to attend for free. Campus Pride is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year as the leading national nonprofit organization dedicated to building future leaders & creating safer more inclusive communities for LGBTQ people & allies at colleges & universities. Founded in 2001 Campus Pride offers a wide variety of programs & resources for students & prospective students, including the Campus Pride Index, HBCU Clearinghouse, Trans Policy Clearinghouse, Lambda 10, Stop the Hate & Safe Space trainings as well as their annual Camp Pride leadership camp. LGBTQ & ally students & advisors can still register & apply for financial aid to attend Camp Pride. For More Info…

Hear Audio Chats w/ LGBTQ Leaders @OUTTAKE VOICES™

LGBTQ Athletes At The Tokyo Olympics

There will be more out LGBTQ athletes competing in the Tokyo Olympics that takes place Friday July 23rd to Sunday August 8th than all the previous Summer Olympics combined. At least 121 publicly out LGBTQ athletes are headed to Tokyo for the Summer Olympic Games which is more than double the number who participated at the 2016 Rio Games. According to Outsports Canadian swimmer Markus Thormeyer stated, “Competing at the Olympics as an openly gay athlete is pretty amazing. Being able to compete with the best in the world as my most authentic self at the biggest international multi-sport games shows how far we’ve come on inclusion in sport. I’m hoping that by competing at these Games I can show the LGBTQ community that we do belong & we can achieve anything we put our minds to.” Outsports also reports that the United States has the most out athletes at the Tokyo Olympics with more than 30 LGBTQ out athletes. Team USA is currently followed in the number of publicly out LGBTQ athletes by Britain (13), Netherlands (11), Canada (11), Australia (8) & New Zealand (8). Lesbians on the list outnumber gay men by about a 7-1 margin with women’s soccer having more than 30 out players. Unfortunately Japan has failed to improve LGBTQ Rights ahead of the Olympics but Japanese athletes are coming out anyways. Gon Matsunaka head of the Japan’s first permanent LGBTQ community center hopes the games will prove a catalyst in creating a society in which LGBTQ discrimination is no longer accepted & diversity is embraced. So let’s cheer on our brave & talented out Olympians & take advantage of this global opportunity to further LGBTQ equality. 

LGBTQ Human Rights Conference Event

Human rights defenders & activists will gather globally both in person & virtually in Copenhagen from August 17th to 19th for the Human Rights Conference the most significant LGBTI+ conference in 2021. The conference is part of the World Pride & Euro Games in Copenhagen & Malmö that takes place August 12th to 22nd & is open for human rights defenders & activists, elected officials, academics, NGOs, media, Pride organizers & sports leaders in the field of LGBTQ rights. The goal is to include all representations under the LGBTI+ acronym in the program & to be highly aware of intersectionality in their planning. This includes representation in relation to geography, racialization, ethnicity, age, gender, disability, gender identity, gender expression, sexuality, religion & appearance. The three-day conference takes place in a hybrid form with physical elements for participants in person & full online access to content sessions to facilitate the engagement of as many people as possible. The program consists of special statements by high-level officials & community members, eight plenaries, over 40 break-out sessions, networking sessions & meet & greets. Topics will include Politics & Law, Education, Labor Market & Civil Society, Intersectionality & Global Trends, Borders, Decolonization & Racism, Technology & Online Communities, Arts, Sports & Culture, Pride as a global Human Rights Movement, Breaking the Binary, Sexual well-being & Health & more. For decades Denmark has been amongst the most progressive nations in the world for LGBTQ equality. They decriminalized homosexuality in 1933. Gender confirmation surgery first took place there in 1951 & they introduced anti-discrimination legislation in 1987 & two years later legalized gay & lesbian partnerships. Registration for online participation is free of charge. For More Info… 

Hear Audio Chats w/ LGBTQ Leaders @OUTTAKE VOICES™


OUT In Colombia IGLTA Impact Award

The IGLTA Foundation has announced that LGBTQ tour company OUT in Colombia is the recipient of the 2021 Impact Award that honors responsible tourism development. The award was launched this year in partnership with The TreadRight Foundation a non-profit organization created by The Travel Corporation’s family of brands to recognize a smaller business member (fewer than 10 employees) of the International LGBTQ Travel Association whose initiatives encourage sustainable tourism in three key areas: environment, community & diversity & inclusion. Sam Castañeda Holdren, Founder & CEO of OUT in Colombia stated, "With every one of our tours, we seek to introduce LGBTQ+ travelers to the new definition of all-inclusive, where you can travel well, travel out & make a difference all at the same time. It is truly an honor to be recognized by IGLTA, the IGLTA Foundation & The TreadRight Foundation for our efforts to give back to the community through responsible & sustainable tourism. As we strive for equality through travel, we hope that every new experience & cultural exchange leads to more compassion & understanding, while uplifting the diverse communities of the world." Theresa Belpulsi IGLTAF Board Chair concluded, “With all of the recent challenges our industry has faced, it’s important that we celebrate the work tourism businesses are doing to move the world forward in a better way. There are so many small IGLTA business members doing great work under the radar & with this new award, which we’ll present annually, they’ll get a much-deserved moment in the spotlight. We’re thrilled to recognize OUT in Colombia this year for their efforts.” For More Info…

Hear Audio Chats w/ LGBTQ Leaders @OUTTAKE VOICES™

Boston LGBTQ Pride Calls It Quits

Boston Pride after over 50 years of LGBTQ Pride celebrations in the city has decided to call it quits. Boston Pride Board of Directors including Linda DeMarco President, Malcolm Carey Treasurer, Martha Plaza Clerk, Deborah Drew & Tina Rosado released this statement, “For years, we have volunteered our time with Boston Pride because we care about & are passionate about the LGBTQIA+ community. We strived to foster an environment of diversity & unity within our organization & the community. Over the past 50 years, Boston Pride has facilitated programs & events that have changed our society & promoted equality, but we know there is still work to be done. Over the past year, we have invested time & energy to address the concerns of the community, both with our Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Access work with Dorrington & Saunders & by forming the Transformation Advisory Committee comprised of members of the LGBTQIA+ community to help bring change to our organization. We are grateful for all who have been involved in this process. It is clear to us that our community needs & wants change without the involvement of Boston Pride. We have heard the concerns of the QTBIPOC community & others. We care too much to stand in the way. Therefore, Boston Pride is dissolving. There will be no further events or programming planned & the board is taking steps to close down the organization. We know many people care about Pride in Boston & we encourage them to continue the work. By making the decision to close down, we hope new leaders will emerge from the community to lead the Pride movement in Boston. This decision was made with a heavy heart, out of love & hope for a better future.” For More Info…

Hear Audio Chats w/ LGBTQ Leaders @OUTTAKE VOICES™

Tokyo Olympics Are Really Going To Pot

First we dealt with the disappointment that track & field sprinter Sha'Carri Richardson became ineligible to compete in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics that take place Friday July 23rd to Sunday August 8th because she tested positive for legally obtained THC following her 100 meter final at the U.S. Trials. Richardson is the fastest American woman sprinter & was suspended for 30 days for the drug violation. Though there are still lots of LGBTQ athletics to root for losing Richardson was a blow. Now we learn that Japan has declared a state of emergency for Tokyo during the 2021 Olympic Games. Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced the fourth state of emergency in the host city of Tokyo & surrounding prefectures to curb a rise in COVID-19 infections. Under the new restrictions that will start on July 12th & run until August 22nd bars & restaurants will be asked to suspend alcohol sales & workers will be asked to stay at home if possible. Next we’re just waiting to hear if spectators will be allowed at Olympic venues. UPDATE: There will be no spectators at the Tokyo Olympics. Perhaps the games will take place with some sort of futuristic bubble presentation like the NBA Finals adapted last year. I’m sure if you listen very carefully you can probably hear Comcast & NBC Sports scrambling to come up with a plan whichever way it goes. The motto for the Tokyo Olympics is “United by Emotion” which were suppose to happen last year but postponed because of the global pandemic. Perhaps the new motto should be “United by Disappointment.”

New Guiding Principles In The Media

A group of leading advocacy organizations including NARAL Pro-Choice America, Giffords, United We Dream & the LGBTQ Task Force have joined forces to launch a new initiative, Guiding Principles for Inclusive, Accurate & Unbiased Coverage. As issues such as abortion, immigration, gun violence & LGBTQ equality are prominently in the national media spotlight the orgs are equipping reporters & newsrooms with recommendations for including critical perspectives of impacted communities to avoid amplifying disinformation & contextualizing sources & important public opinion information. Cathy Renna, National LGBTQ Task Force Communications Director stated, “Across the country, legislators are working diligently to restrict the rights of LGBTQ people – in many cases specifically targeting transgender & non-binary youth & adolescents. This year, we have seen a record number of not only anti-transgender legislation but of violent deaths of transgender people than ever before, almost all trans women of color, which has placed a unique focus on the transgender community in the media. Under this spotlight, reporters have a responsibility to represent our community in a nuanced, unbiased & accurate way. The National LGBTQ Task Force is proud to help create these Guiding Principles to assist reporters in covering this harmful & complicated legislation. We have embraced & addressed the need to talk about our work at the intersections & how all of these issue areas connect us. By creating this guide, we hope to read stories that capture the humanity of our community, dispel disinformation & include the perspectives of LGBTQ people.” The National LGBTQ Task Force advances full freedom, justice & equity for LGBTQ people building a future where everyone can be free to be their entire selves in every aspect of their lives. 

Violence Cancels Tbilisi Pride Event

In Tbilisi, Georgia yesterday rightwing homophobic radicals blocked off the capital’s main avenue to prevent a planned LGBTQ Pride March & then launched a violent attack injuring over 20 journalists covering the celebration as well as numerous members of our LGBTQ community. Anti-LGBTQ groups waving Georgian flags also scaled the Tbilisi Pride headquarters tearing down rainbow flags & ransacking the office. LGBTQ organizers of the Tbilisi March For Dignity then cancelled the event saying authorities had not provided adequate security guarantees. This homophobic attack came after Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili made a statement earlier in the day that said it was inappropriate to hold a Pride march arguing that it would create confrontation & was "unacceptable for a large segment of the Georgian society." He also claimed that the "radical opposition" led by exiled former President Mikheil Saakashvili's United National Movement was behind the march & sought to create "unrest." Tbilisi Pride Organizers stated that although they could not go out "in a street full of violence" supported by the government & church, they would continue to advocate for LGBTQ rights stating, "We would like to tell the supporters clearly that the fight for dignity will continue, this is an indispensable process that despite the hate groups, the Patriarchate & the government's resistance, will not stop." Tbilisi Pride needs our help. Tbilisi Pride represents the union of LGBTQI people & allies. They strive for civil rights of LGBTQ people to make political, legal & social changes in Georgia. 

Ann Hampton Callaway Live (AUDIO)

This week I talked with singer songwriter Ann Hampton Callaway one of America’s most gifted artists in pop & jazz about her upcoming live performances as COVID restrictions continue to lift. First up Ann will be performing her very popular one woman show "The Streisand Songbook" on July 13th at 8P at a new venue on Cape Cod, The Music Room Gallery & Wine Bar in West Yarmouth, MA. With over 100 Symphony performances to rave reviews, this show is 90 minutes of soaring, sizzling hits & gems of the diva of divas so definitely check it out. Then it’s on to the Patio Stage at Strathmore in Bethesda, MD where she will be joined by Billy Stritch to perform “The Linda Ronstadt Songbook” on July 16th. Ann will then be traveling across the country to Costa Mesa, CA to perform “The Linda Ronstadt Songbook” on July 25th at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts. On July 29th she will perform at the Vail Jazz Festival & finish the month with her popular virtual show Callaway Hideaway live stream "Ann Hampton Callaway Sings The 70's" on July 31st. Continuing her national tour on August 13th & 14th she will be performing "Ann Hampton Callaway - Broadway Classics" at the Arts Garage in Delray, FL & will end the month virtually with Callaway Hideaway live stream on August 29th presenting "Ann Hampton Callaway - Songs I Wish I'd Written". Then if COVID restrictions continue to lift globally she will be off to the UK to perform “The Judy Garland Songbook" & "Ann Hampton Callaway - Cinematic Serenade" in London. I talked to Ann about what she hopes to accomplish with her work & her spin on our LGBTQ issues. LISTEN

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Boston Lesbian Visibility Week Event

This year's Lesbian Visibility Week runs now through April 28th & focuses on the theme "United, Not Uniform" a commitment ...

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