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Yucatán Increases LGBTQ Protections

Yucatán has become the 22nd Mexican state to modify its constitution to make marriage “the free & voluntary legal union of two people with equal rights, duties & obligations.” The state’s congress also banned so-called conversion therapy which falsely claims to alter individuals’ sexual orientation. Although marriage equality has been legal in Mexico since 2015 when the country’s Supreme Court (SJCN) declared it unconstitutional to prohibit marriage between gay & lesbian couples before this new ruling couples had to apply for a pardon to be married in the state of Yucatán. Mexico’s status as a popular LGBTQ-friendly destination has been reaffirmed in the past three months with the approval of marriage equality not only in Yucatán but in Baja California & Sinaloa as well. State Minister of Tourism Michelle Fridman Hirsch stated, “Making the legal process for same-sex marriages opens up the state of Yucatán to the opportunity to attract even more weddings to our destination a source of economic impact that is welcomed particularly with the pandemic. We celebrate the steps taken by our congress & look forward to continuing our work to offer our visitors a destination that is rich with culture, history, modernity & above all, welcoming and safe to all.” This constitutional change strengthens Yucatán’s potential to evolve into Mexico’s newest LGBTQ+ destination. Yucatán is home to lots of professional wedding planners who can coordinate all details of a gay & lesbian couple’s special day. The international airport of capital city Mérida offers nonstop flights from Miami, Houston, Dallas, San Diego & Oakland/San Francisco.

LGBTQ Equality Florida Smith & Wolf

Two Equality Florida staff members will serve on the United States Commission on Civil Rights’ Florida Advisory Committee for the next four years. The Commission announced the reappointment of Nadine Smith, Equality Florida Executive Director to her role as Chair of the committee & the appointment of Brandon Wolf, Equality Florida Media Relations Manager to the committee for the first time. The Florida Advisory Committee is one of 51 groups that advise the Commission on a range of issues impacting civil rights policy. Nadine Smith stated, “The work of safeguarding civil rights protections is critical to the future of democracy. It is an honor to be reappointed as Chair of this committee & to continue guiding these efforts over the next four years. The results of our in-depth investigation into voting rights exposed many areas that call out for leadership & action. We will continue sounding that alarm.” Brandon Wolf concluded, “It is an incredible honor to be called upon to serve the people of Florida in this capacity. Advancing civil rights protections for all Americans is a responsibility that falls on each of us. I look forward to giving voice to our community as we press forward on fulfilling the promise of our nation.” Established as an independent, bipartisan, fact-finding federal agency, the US Commission on Civil Rights’ mission is to inform the development of national civil rights policy & enhance enforcement of federal civil rights laws. They pursue this mission by studying alleged deprivations of voting rights & alleged discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, age, disability, or national origin, or in the administration of justice. For More Info…

Susie Mosher Presents The Lineup

We caught The Lineup with Susie Mosher at Birdland in NYC & this spontaneous extravaganza every Tuesday is a must-see. On Tuesday August 31st The Lineup presents another unique nonstop musical performance that will deliver an unforgettable night of quintessential NYC entertainment from 8:30P to 10P. Actress/singer Mosher hosts this fabulous over the top LGBTQ friendly variety show event with musical director Brad Simmons, John Miller on bass & Clint De Ganon on drums at Birdland located at 315 West 44th Street in NYC. Mosher stated, “I am so lucky to be in a position to showcase a diverse & remarkable group of talented performers every Tuesday. Every week I feel like I’m throwing a party & I love picking the right collection of guests to make the evening special. Comedians, singers, dancers, it’s a recipe for a good time. This week we have JW’s Inspirational Singers of NYC, they were on America’s Got Talent and did quite well. Juson Williams puts this incredible group together & they are each amazing. So excited to have them. Then Farah Alvin is singing & she has a magical voice, she is a singers singer, well known to all in NYC. Also a young up & coming singer songwriter, Maddie Pizzarelli, who happens to be the daughter of Guitar Giant John Pizzarelli & Broadway star Jessica Molaskey, is a bright shining light who I am thrilled to have on the show. The whole Lineup is brilliant, if I do say so myself. Come see for yourself! Tuesday 8:30 at the world famous Birdland.” Tickets are $20 & there’s an additional $20 food or drink minimum per person so come for dinner which is a fabulous way to spend the evening & support this historic club which is a fully vaccinated venue. For Info & Tix...


The Dinah Is Back On Track (AUDIO)

This week I talked with Mariah Hanson, founder & producer of the legendary Club Skirts Dinah Shore Weekend that’s celebrating its 30th anniversary & takes place September 29th through October 3rd in Palm Springs, CA. The Dinah is back on track for an exceptional 5-day event with an epic slate of Top Ten Billboard headliners, rising pop stars & celebrities in compliance with the City of Palm Springs COVID safety protocol. All attendees, entertainers & staff are required to show proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test result or proof of full vaccinations to attend the festival. That said headlining The Dinah is Grammy-award winner Macy Gray on Saturday October 2nd at the Palm Springs Convention Center. Gray’s unmistakable rasp, unshakable grasp on soul & funky spirit has ensured Macy her status as a 21st century icon since her arrival with the triple-platinum How Life Is in 1999. Selling over 25 million total albums globally she has collaborated with everyone from Ariana Grande to Galactic with her voice consistently resounding throughout pop culture. Sharing the stage with Gray is another Grammy-award winner Yung Baby Tate. Making a splash at the Girl Spot Pool Party on Friday October 1st is leading non-binary artist & actor Kat Cunning with a traffic-stopping voice & powerful presence. The Dinah has discovered so many emerging talents that it’s excited to present two bands to watch in 2021 including Boi Band & Smeared Lipstick who will respectively headline the opening & closing parties at AsiaSF Palm Springs. I talked to Hanson about what she hopes to accomplish with The Dinah in these difficult times and her spin on our LGBTQ issues. LISTEN  

For More Info & Tix: theDinah.com 


New Southern LGBTQ Research Program

As I continue my road trip down to North Carolina for the week the Campaign for Southern Equality (CSE) has announced the launch of the Southern Equality Research & Policy Center (SERPC). This is a new program focused on conducting independent research & developing policy recommendations to promote the legal & lived equality of LGBTQ people in the U.S. South. Dr. Austin H. Johnson, Director of the SERPC at the Campaign for Southern Equality stated, “More than one-third of all LGBTQ+ people in the United States are Southerners – yet there has historically been a distinct lack of research on the population. Less than ten percent of social research on LGBTQ people has been focused on those in the South & these limited data underline significant disparities in key areas of life, including in families, workplaces, schools & public life. Through the Southern Equality Research & Policy Center, we aim to center these experiences through a data-driven lens that allows us to more fully understand & ultimately, better serve – LGBTQ Southerners.” Dr. Abigail Bowen, Deputy Director of the SERPC at the Campaign for Southern Equality concluded, “The South is home to sustained legislative efforts to undermine the dignity & equality of LGBTQ people. As we continue to push back against these attacks, one vital tool must be inclusive data collection & analysis to understand the lived experience of LGBTQ Southerners. We are honored that the Southern Equality Research & Policy Center will allow us to collect & explore data specific to our community so our movement can continue to refute myths, articulate the effects of policy & secure protections for LGBTQ people across the South.” Based in Asheville, NC, the Campaign for Southern Equality promotes full LGBTQ equality across the South. Their work is rooted in commitments to equity in race, gender & class. For More Info…

New Short AIDS Film "Surviving Voices"

The National AIDS Memorial has released Surviving Voices Mini-Documentary "Substance Users, the Recovery Community & AIDS". The documentary focuses on the stories of people living with HIV overcoming addiction, fear, stigma & their triumphs, resilience & hopes featuring the voices of both AIDS survivors & advocates. The film tells the story of AIDS through the voices of survivors of the pandemic now in its 40th year. More than 700,000 U.S. lives have been lost since the first cases of AIDS were first reported in 1981. Today more than 1.2 million people are living with HIV with a disproportionate impact in communities of color & in southern U.S. states. Surviving Voices is screenings at several film festivals including Frameline45 & SF Queer Film Fest. John Cunningham National AIDS Memorial Chief Executive stated, "The National AIDS Memorial is honored to have our Surviving Voices mini-documentary featured at these influential film festivals. It speaks to the important work our organization is doing to share these powerful personal stories of hope, resilience & the journey of survivors around the issue of HIV/AIDS & addiction in an authentic and powerful way." The National AIDS Memorial's Surviving Voices mini-documentaries is produced & directed by Jörg Fockele & funded through a grant by Chevron a long-standing partner of the National AIDS Memorial. Community partners include the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, The Elizabeth Taylor 50-Plus Network, Stonewall Project & the Castro Country Club. Jörg Fockele concluded, "I hope that these mini-documentaries will be as inspiring for current & future generations confronting their own challenges as they were for us when we filmed them." For More Info…

San Francisco Divas & Drinks Event

Get your motor running for the 45th Anniversary of Dykes on Bikes® to be celebrated on Friday August 27th from 6P to 10P at Divas & Drinks @ The Academy in the San Francisco's Castro. The event is hosted by Donna Sachet & featuring DJ Rockaway of PLAY & Olivia Travel. The celebration will also include an introduction of local LGBTQ women leaders by NCLR Executive Director Imani Rupert-Gordon. San Francisco Dykes on Bikes® Women's Motorcycle Contingent is an organization committed to creating a local, national & international community of women motorcyclists & friends of women motorcyclists. Their mission is to support philanthropic endeavors in the LGBTQ & women's communities & to reach out to empower a community of diverse women through rides, charity events, Pride events & education. The Academy is an LGBTQ+ social club open to all focusing on promoting genuine social interactions while offering engaging programming in collaboration with nonprofit organizations, local businesses & leading community members. The indoor/outdoor venue features a private back garden & guests will receive the second in their collectible series of shot glasses honoring legendary SF lesbian bars. COVID-19 safety regulations requires masks indoors as well as proof of valid vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours for those who wish to remain indoors. So get your motor running on August 27th for Divas & Drinks at The Academy “Dykes on Bikes 45th Anniversary” celebration! For this special event Dykes on Bikes will roar down to 2166 Market Street to receive well-deserved commendations. Tickets are $10. For More Info…

Trump Rollback Rule Will Go To Court

A federal court permitted plaintiffs to continue to pursue several claims in Boston Alliance of LGBTQ+ Youth (BAGLY) et al v. HHS a lawsuit challenging the Trump-Pence Administration’s rule that attempts to undermine healthcare nondiscrimination protections contained in Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The federal government had filed a motion to dismiss the case but the court allowed many of the claims to proceed while postponing consideration of others that are part of other court cases challenging the rule & dismissing only some limited parts of the suit. Ellen LaPointe Fenway Health CEO stated, “We are gratified that the court is allowing this lawsuit to proceed. Everyone deserves & is entitled to high quality health care that is delivered with compassion. No one should ever be denied access to care because of their sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, reproductive health needs, HIV status, or limited proficiency in English. This lawsuit seeks to ensure that everyone – including the most underserved and at-risk people in our communities – is afforded access to quality health care.” The lawsuit was filed against the Trump-Pence Administration on July 9, 2020 asserting that the new rule violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. The discriminatory rule was published on June 19, 2020 just days after the June 15, 2020 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Bostock v. Clayton County which found that it is unlawful sex discrimination to discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The lawsuit also asserts that the new rule will embolden discrimination & harm LGBTQ patients & people who are seeking or who have obtained reproductive health care, further stigmatize abortion & other pregnancy-related care. For More Info…

Campus Pride Announces Mini Grants

Campus Pride is celebrating its 20th anniversary year as the leading national nonprofit organization dedicated to building future leaders & creating safer, more inclusive communities for LGBTQ people & allies at colleges & universities. As the preeminent resource for LGBTQ leadership development, diversity inclusion & advocacy within higher education they are awarding 10 Social Justice Mini Grants for Activism. These 10 grants form the inaugural class of projects supported by Campus Pride under a program launched in June 2021. Each grant is worth up to $600. Grantees represent schools from across the country working on projects ranging from producing an original play with trans artists to developing & lobbying administrators to adopt more inclusive policies to forming a mentorship program for LGBTQ+ students to an LGBTQ+ art installation on campus. The inaugural awards includes: William Paterson University, New Jersey - Creation of LGBTQ+ student mentorship program, University of Connecticut, Connecticut - Production of original play with trans artists, University of Connecticut, Connecticut - Development of legislation to be presented to school administration to protect LGBTQ+ students on campus, Brigham Young University, Utah - Support for BYU Pride for community event permitting, George Washington University, Washington D.C. - Development of a course focusing on crystal methamphetamine use in the Black gay community, focusing on safe & effective supporting care, George Washington University, Washington D.C. - Development of an LGBTQ+ sexual health class, University of Central Florida, Florida - Providing gender-affirming binders to trans students, Pennsylvania State University, Pennsylvania - Creation of art installation featuring LGBTQ+ artists, with proceeds from ticket sales going to financial assistance for students’ gender affirmation surgeries, University of Maryland, Maryland - Support for care packages to LGBTQ+ youth homeless shelter & Baldwin Wallace University, Ohio - Installing menstrual product dispensers in gender-neutral campus restrooms. Campus Pride will continue awarding Social Justice Mini Grants for Activism throughout 2021. To Apply & More Info…

Pete & Chasten Buttigieg Are Adopting

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg & his husband Chasten announced they are adopting a child & becoming parents. Secretary Buttigieg is the first out LGBTQ person ever confirmed for a Cabinet level position by the U.S. Senate. Buttigieg spoke about wanting to have children on the campaign trail back in April 2019. On Twitter Pete Buttigieg stated, “For some time, Chasten & I have wanted to grow our family. We’re overjoyed to share that we’ve become parents! The process isn’t done yet & we’re thankful for the love, support & respect for our privacy that has been offered to us. We can’t wait to share more soon." Mayor Annise Parker, President & CEO of LGBTQ Victory Institute concluded, “On the campaign trail, Pete & Chasten upended stereotypes & transformed perceptions for millions of Americans less familiar with LGBTQ people & their lives. As parents, they will now shine a national spotlight on LGBTQ families, who often face daunting challenges because of outdated policies that narrowly define what families are. Their adoption is an opportunity to have a national dialogue about creating a legal & legislative framework that supports all parents & children. Yet this is primarily about love & family & we are absolutely thrilled for Pete & Chasten & know they will be fantastic fathers.” The LGBTQ Victory Institute works to achieve & sustain global equality through leadership development, training & convening to increase the number, expand the diversity & ensure the success of openly LGBTQ elected & appointed officials at all levels of government. For More Info…

PFLAG Mourns Paulette Goodman

Paulette Goodman who served as PFLAG National President from 1988 until 1992 has died. Goodman was born in a Jewish family growing up in Nazi-occupied Paris until her family moved to the United States in 1949. When her daughter came out to her in 1981 she got involved with PFLAG eventually helping to found PFLAG Metro DC in 1983 serving as its first president. In 2019 Goodman stated, “When I found out about my gay child, I realized it was the same situation. You’re guarded about who you are, because you don’t know who’s going to be supportive...I didn’t want my child to go through what I went through, being in the closet is stifling.” Brian K. Bond PFLAG National Executive Director concluded, “Paulette Goodman showed the world what it means to be a loving PFLAG parent & ally. Her experiences as a Jewish girl growing up under Nazi occupation informed the work she did throughout her life & she brought that experience, that empathy, that drive to her work with LGBTQ+ kids & their families. PFLAGers everywhere can look to her as a role model, for once she went through her experience with her own child and got the support she needed, she used that experience to educate others & then advocate for the wellbeing and equality of all LGBTQ+ people. She was the embodiment of what we tell PFLAG members: ‘Once you no longer need PFLAG, PFLAG needs you.’ PFLAG needed & was so lucky to have Paulette Goodman. Our hearts are with her family & all who knew and loved her.” PFLAG is the first & largest organization for LGBTQ people, their parents & families & allies. For More Info… 


New Census Confirms LGBTQ Hardships

The U.S. Census Bureau has released data on our LGBTQ households experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic which showed that LGBTQ households were nearly twice as likely to experience food insecurity & were also more likely to experience financial insecurity, lost income & difficulties making housing payments. Jay Brown, Human Rights Campaign Senior Vice President of Programs, Research & Training stated, “The Census Bureau’s new data only continues to highlight what we have long known—LGBTQ+ Americans disproportionately bear the brunt of economic hardships from food insecurity to unemployment. This disparity is further fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic, as the LGBTQ+ community is more likely to work in front-line service jobs, have their hours cut & face housing & employment discrimination.” Overall about 13.1% of LGBTQ adults live in a household where there was sometimes or often not enough to eat in the past seven days compared to 7.2% of non-LGBTQ adults. 36.6% of LGBTQ adults live in a household that had difficulty paying for usual household expenses in the previous seven days, compared to 26.1% of non-LGBTQ adults.19.8% of LGBTQ adults live in a household with lost employment income in the past four weeks compared to 16.8% of non-LGBTQ adults. Among those living in homes that were rented or owned with a mortgage or loan 8.2% of LGBTQ adults said they were not at all confident that their household will be able to make their next housing payment on time compared to 6% of non-LGBTQ adults. Also especially LGBTQ people of color have been more likely than the general adult population & their white counterparts to have become unemployed during the pandemic & more than half of transgender & transgender people of color had lost work hours in the Summer of 2020 while one in five became unemployed. For More Info…

James Hormel LGBTQ Trailblazer Dies

James (Jim) Hormel who was the first openly gay United States Ambassador appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1999 has died at age of 88. Hormel was an LGBTQ philanthropist & trailblazer & grandson of George A. Hormel founder of Hormel Foods. Imani Rupert-Gordon NCLR Executive Director stated, “We are saddened by the news of the passing of our dear friend, Jim Hormel. Jim made history as the first openly gay US ambassador when appointed to Luxembourg by President Clinton in 1999. But long before his appointment & for decades beyond, James C. Hormel helped all of us make history.” NCLR’s former Executive Director Kate Kendell added, “Jim’s passing leaves a gaping hole in many hearts. From my earliest days at NCLR, Jim invested in both me & our work. His support, love & friendship through the years helped sustain me through many challenging moments. He embodied an impish joy even as his resume lauded many accomplishments. We will miss everything about him & I know NCLR will continue to fight on in his legacy.” John Podesta, Founder & chairman of the Center for American Progress concluded, “Ambassador Hormel’s passing is a profound loss for so many, but particularly for the progressive movement & members of the LGBTQ community, whose lives & rights he fought to advance through decades of public service, philanthropy & activism… While he will be dearly missed, we remain steadfast in our dedication to the mission to which Jim dedicated so much of his life—ensuring that all people are treated with dignity & entitled to equal protection under the law.”

USCHA Conference Switches To Virtual

NMAC has announced that their 2021 US Conference on HIV/AIDS will move from an in-person conference to a virtual meeting due to the continued spread of the Delta variant of the COVID virus. The virtual conference will take place December 2nd & 3rd via Zoom. Paul Kawata, Executive Director of NMAC stated, “This is not the announcement we wanted to make. We were very hopeful that we could hold an in-person USCHA this year. However, the health & safety of our constituents must be our primary concern. The continued spread of the Delta variant & the data from both the Provincetown outbreak & the study released at the IAS conference in Berlin about the impact of COVID on people living with HIV led us to this decision. We are as disappointed as everyone else by the need to make this decision, but we could not, in good conscience, potentially put attendees at risk of exposure.” While there are obvious differences between meeting in person & virtually there will still be opportunities for live engagement that allow for networking, skills-building & discussion. Faculty will be present to answer questions & discuss their presentations in real-time. Conference lounges hosted in Zoom will feature facilitated discussions, health & wellness segments & music breaks. Conference sponsors will be able to engage with attendees at their virtual booth. Registrants will also be able to chat with other attendees logged into the platform. Workshops will address: Racism & Race, Best Practices in Telehealth, Biomedical HIV Prevention, Addressing Issues Around COVID, Ending the Epidemic-Next Steps, Prioritizing People Living with HIV, Public Policy, Trauma-Informed Care/Mental Health & Track en Español. For More Info & Registration…


LGBTQ Victory In North Carolina

The City Council of Charlotte, North Carolina has unanimously & with bipartisan support passed a nondiscrimination ordinance that protects its LGBTQ residents. This is a major turnaround since 2016 when the Council's nondiscrimination ordinance passed & triggered the North Carolina General Assembly to pass HB2 which at the time was the worst anti-LGBTQ bill in the country that specifically targeting transgender people. Allison Scott, Director of Impact & Innovation at the Campaign for Southern Equality stated, “Leaders across North Carolina – including our U.S. Senators from NC – should look at what’s happening in our state: Communities are taking a stand to protect LGBTQ people from discrimination, which leads to safer, more inclusive places to live, work & raise families. It’s time now to ensure that no LGBTQ North Carolinian is left vulnerable to discrimination & that will require action from elected officials at every level of government.” Daniel Valdez, President of Charlotte Pride concluded, “With the new protections passed tonight, Charlotte finally joins its peer cities in protecting LGBTQ residents & visitors to our city. Tonight’s vote is a strong sign that Charlotte has finally turned a page in our decades-long fight for equality in our city. We’re hopeful that Mecklenburg County & other area towns and cities will follow Charlotte’s example.” Charlotte is now the tenth community in North Carolina to pass a nondiscrimination ordinance like this joining Apex, Asheville, Buncombe County, Carrboro, Chapel Hill, Durham, Greensboro, Hillsborough & Orange County. Based in Asheville, NC the Campaign for Southern Equality promotes full LGBTQ equality across the South. 

Lambda Literary Writers Virtual Retreat

The Lambda Literary Writer’s Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices is taking place virtually for free now through August 14th via Zoom. For the first time Lambda Literary is presenting a week-long public Reading Series that celebrates the emerged & emerging queer, trans & nonbinary Faculty, Fellows & Writers-in-Residence to attend their 2021 virtual retreat. Join over 60 LGBTQIA+ writers as they perform excerpts of their literary art. Each Reading Series event includes ASL interpretation & is closed captioned. This is the first time in Lambda Literary retreat's 14 year history that their Reading Series is open to the public. Participating August 9th are authors Arielle Burgdorf, Celeste Chan, C. Julian Jiménez, Natalie A. Martínez, Erica Frederick, David Paul, Stephan Nance, Megan Xotchilt, Camille Washington, Nik Traxler, Rose Himber Howse, Rukmini Girish & Court Stroud. Participating August 10th are authors Erik Brown, Elliot Joyce, Isaiah Holbrook, Kayla Upadhyaya, andie millares, Cherri Buijk, Celeste Yim, Jesús I. Valles, Danielle Buckingham, Lane Stanley, D. Nolan Jefferson, Chad Morgan & Craig Willse. Participating August 11th are authors Mimi Tempestt, Jack Kaulfus, JET Toomer, Trystan Reese, Jubi Arriola-Headley, Doctora Xingona Diana Alvarez, Jaime Estepa, Dior Stephens, Katie Jean Shinkle, Dionne Richardson, Dale Corvino & Elizabeth Evers. For over 30 years Lambda Literary has championed LGBTQ books & authors. No other organization in the world serves LGBTQ writers & readers more comprehensively than Lambda Literary. They believe that LGBTQ literature is fundamental to the preservation of our culture & that LGBTQ lives are affirmed when our stories are written, published & read. Lambda Literary Writers Virtual Retreat is sponsored by Books Are Magic the Reading Series featuring Samuel Ace, Nicole Dennis-Benn, Saeed Jones, Monica Palacios, Robin Talley & over 60 more LGBTQ writers. 

Provincetown Virtual Concert Sundays

Provincetown’s Great Music on Sundays concert series continues for their 23rd season on Sunday August 8th at 5P virtually via their YouTube channel. They’ll be presenting “Music Without Borders” featuring 5 musicians, 11 instruments, 5 countries, 8 composers, 2 spiritual hymns, a performance composed spontaneously using looper electronics as it was filmed, a beloved Bulgarian lullaby & a blues composition in 9 beats & much more in a concert spanning 300 years of music. Great Music on Sundays @5 is Provincetown’s longest-running concert series with more than 340 concerts presented by more than 100 performers since 1999 providing music without borders for thousands of concertgoers & lovers of great music. John Thomas, Producer & Pianist stated, “We believe that safely presenting music for the emotional & spiritual health & benefit of our communities is an essential service. There is something for everyone at Great Music on Sundays @5. Tell your friends. Spread the good word. Join us every Sunday through September 12th with a new concert each week. All concerts are available to watch 24/7 on our YouTube channel. You’ll have a front row seat every time!” Performing “Music Without Borders” this Sunday August 8th will be John Thomas on piano, Ken Field on saxophones, Justin Torrellas on woodwinds & Chanthouen Varon Collins on cello. So tune for this fabulous online concert via YouTube Sunday August 8th. The concerts are free but all concerts are presented thanks to your generous donations & you can contribute through our PayPal or Venmo. For More Info…

Biden LGBTQ Judicial Nominees

President Biden has announced a historic slate of judicial nominees including Justice Beth Robinson who was nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit & Charlotte Sweeney who was nominated for the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado. If confirmed Justice Robinson would be the first openly LGBTQ woman to serve on any federal circuit court & Sweeney would be the first openly LGBTQ federal judge in Colorado. Sharita Gruberg, Center for American Progress Vice President for LGBTQ Research & Communications stated, “President Biden’s nomination of Vermont State Supreme Court Justice Beth Robinson, who would be the first openly LGBTQ woman to serve on any federal appellate court, is a historic & an important step. An accomplished jurist & attorney, Justice Robinson is eminently qualified to serve on the 2nd Circuit. The judiciary is strengthened when it reflects the diversity of America—including LGBTQ Americans. This diversity is even more critical given far-right activists’ continued attempts to use the legal system to dismantle the basic civil rights of LGBTQ people, particularly transgender people. The nomination of Justice Robinson—as well as Charlotte Sweeney, who would be the first openly LGBTQ federal judge in Colorado—is a critical step forward for the federal bench.” According to 2019 findings from the Center for American Progress LGBTQ people comprised fewer than 1 percent of sitting judges despite comprising 5.6 percent of the total U.S. population. Since we are all well aware about how the last administration stacked our court system with unqualified discriminatory & homophobic judges let's hope these qualified judges are swiftly confirmed.

Adrian Shanker Appointed To PACHA

The Biden-Harris Administration has appointed Adrian Shanker to the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA). Adrian is the founder & executive director of Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center in Allentown, PA & a leader in LGBTQ+ health policy especially in addressing disparities & barriers to care. During the COVID-19 pandemic Adrian led a broad coalition of HIV advocates in Pennsylvania to work with the Pennsylvania Department of Health on Phase 1A COVID-19 vaccine prioritization for people living with HIV. Shanker was sworn in by Dr. Rachel Levine the Assistant Secretary for Health at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS). Shanker stated, “I am deeply honored to be appointed by the Biden-Harris Administration to serve as a member of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS. Health equity is an unmet dream at the center of the challenges faced by HIV/AIDS around our country & across the globe. I am grateful that President Biden, Secretary Becerra & Assistant Secretary Levine have prioritized health equity & I am grateful for the opportunity to serve alongside the other PACHA members as we all work toward the end of the HIV epidemic.” Congresswoman Susan Wild concluded, “Throughout my time in Congress, I have worked with Adrian & have come to truly value his expertise on health policy issues related to LGBTQ people & people living with HIV/AIDS. Adrian's expertise, passion & motivation to improve health outcomes for people living with HIV/AIDS will greatly benefit the Biden-Harris Administration & I applaud his appointment to the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS.” Shanker is also editor of the critically-acclaimed anthology Bodies & Barriers: Queer Activists on Health which he discussed on OUTTAKE VOICES in our exclusive audio interview. LISTEN  

For More Info…

Lesbian Literature Virtual Festival

The LGBTQ Resource Center of the Gulfport Library in Gulfport, Florida is presenting three fabulous virtual events for the month of August. First is Read Out Write On with Sonja Franeta & Winn Gilmore on Wednesday August 11th at 7P EDT via Zoom. Sonja Franeta is a writer, educator, translator & activist. She wrote Pink Flamingos: 10 Siberian Interviews in Russian in 2004 translating it into English in 2017. She published My Pink Road to Russia in 2015. Born in the Bronx, New York to an immigrant Yugoslav family & now retired Sonja Franeta splits her time between Florida & Spain with her partner & their two cats. Winn Gilmore is a celebrated author from Birmingham, Alabama where she lives part of the time. Winn Gilmore’s stories have appeared in Sinister Wisdom, Herotica & On Our Backs. The story she read in the Memory Pearls of Readout 2021 is called “The Oyster” & it is part of a work in progress. Next is R. J. Samuel on Wednesday August 18th at 7P EDT via Zoom. R. J. Samuel has published five novels including An Outsider Inside. She currently lives in Atlanta. The program concludes with Betty Jean Steinshouer on Saturday August 28th at 2P EDT via Zoom. Betty Jean Steinshouer wrote Long Road from Red Cloud: Life Lessons from Willa Cather & will talk with author friend Edie Daly about how the conclusions she reached in the book have informed her ongoing feeling & understanding about Willa Cather whom she has spent her life studying & portraying. Steinshouer will show us short videos about Cather's rightful place in history & culture. The events are free but a donation will help fund these fabulous events. 

LGBTQ Community & COVID Vaccination

When the COVID vaccination first became available to my age group I was unable to get vaccinated due to my travel plans. I was headed to Provincetown for a month to work on my film script & at that time Ptown had an effective mask mandate so I felt safe. My wife & I have been very responsible with masking & a self inflicted bubble isolation. We have a handful of friends & family that we have stayed in touch with throughout the pandemic both virtually & in person. This has worked for us. I was a bit hesitant about the vaccine at first watching people having bad reactions to the second shot & even the first. A survey back in April stated that of LGBTQ adults 42% said they would likely get vaccinated, 29% of Black LGBTQ adults said they would very likely get vaccinated & 38% of bisexual adults & 32% of bisexual women said they would very likely get vaccinated. While we were in Ptown in April we experienced for the first time vaccination discrimination. Some friends canceled our dinner plans with them because we were unvaccinated. This was very concerning & quite the wake-up call. When we went back to them & explained that we were very safe, both tested negative for COVID & planned to get vaccinated when we returned to Boston they decided to go ahead with dinner plans. When we left Provincetown all the mask mandate signs were removed in accordance with the Commonwealth lifting restrictions. You could feel this was premature. Once back in Boston we followed through with getting the vaccination & got both shots of Pfizer without any complications. Since then we have continued to wear our masks inside public domains. Now that the Delta Variant is threatening our country all I can advice our LGBTQ community & allies who are still not vaccinated is make the choice you can live with.

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