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OUTTAKE MEDIA Expands The Platform

We're closing out 2022 on a high note by thanking our loyal global audience & contributors for supporting OUTTAKE MEDIA’s mission especially all the LGBTQ leaders, filmmakers, actors, authors & allies who appeared on OUTTAKE VOICES our audio podcast series now syndicated on iTunes & 25+ podcast apps worldwide. Thanks to performer Susie Mosher, attorney Portia Wood, writer-actor Chris Baker, actor-activist Yuval David, poet Eileen Myles, legal analyst Aron Solomon, activist Amberlyn Boiter, actor-producer David Millbern, Father James Martin & director Shannon Post, Reverend Nicole Garcia, National LGBTQ Task Force, Anne Hubbell, Provincetown International Film Festival plus PIFF honoree actress Dale Dickey & director Jean Carlomusto, Esther Newton & artist filmmaker Jay Critchley. Then shout out to author Sarah Schulman, Tammy Shaklee, relationship expert H4M, artist Jumper Maybach, actor Darwin Del Fabro, Mariah Hanson, The Dinah founder, race car driver Travis Shumake & author Cory Silverberg. Also thanks to The Dinah Red Capet Celebs including singer-songwriters Cassidy King & Riela entrepreneur Nik Kacy, Jeopardy! winner Amy Schneider, Breanne Williamson, Rose Garcia “The Real L Word”, Taylor Dayne 80s pop icon, Canadian rapper Haviah Mighty, Zolita Cuppie, Haley Grable & Brianna Murphy from “Tampa Baes”, singer-songwriter IV4, DJ Alex D, artist Melanie Posner “Tampa Baes” & singer songwriter Fletcher. As we survived the Midterms thanks to Cheryl Osimo, MBCC, Cathy Renna, The Task Force, author Erin McHugh, filmmaker Kimberly Peirce, Sarah Shoffner, BGMC & Dr. Jason Peplinsk. We also wish to thank publicists Mona Elyafi at ILDK Media, Cathy Renna at Target Cue & Mark Umbach for providing us with fabulous voices. We've lined up some amazing guests for 2023 & lots of exciting projects to come. We Wish Everyone A Safe & Healthy New Year. LISTEN

Supporting Your LGBTQ Organizations

As 2022 comes to an end we are all inundated by an enormous number of organizations asking for funds. At all cost we must ensure with whatever way we can help that our LGBTQ community continues to thrive in 2023. Sadly in 2022 70% of LGBTQ people have reported experiencing discrimination & we’re facing over 300 anti-LGBTQ bills advancing in legislatures across the country surpassing 2021 which was the worst year on record for introducing & enacting anti-LGBTQ legislation in state houses across America. So as 2022 comes to a close think about states like Florida where DeSantis is ramping up his unrelenting transphobia weaponization of state agencies for his own political gain & putting the lives of transgender people at risk by passing the Transgender Youth Sports Ban & Don’t Say LGBTQ laws as he eliminates life-saving healthcare for over 9,000 transgender Floridians on Medicaid & attempts to restrict gender-affirming care for trans youth. Now is the time we all need to speak out & act against homophobia, transphobia, racism & hatred of all kinds. We also feel that in the coming year it is crucial to see our LGBTQ communities on all screens big & small in positive, affirming ways to celebrate how far we have come in the last few decades & how important it is to amplify our voices. In 2023 OUTTAKE MEDIA will be announcing a new project that will expand our platform to help address this need. In the meantime support your local LGBTQ organizations to preserve our stories as the radical right continues to try & erase our very existence with hateful propaganda & legislation across the country.

Henry Berg-Brousseau In Memoriam

Over 35 transgender & gender non-conforming people have been murdered in 2022 in this country which doesn’t included those who have taken their own lives because of the difficulties finding acceptance. Sadly one of those individuals was Henry Berg-Brousseau a transgender rights advocate whose story helped inspire opposition to trans-restrictive legislation in Kentucky who died this month at age of 24. Henry was the deputy press secretary for politics for the Human Rights Campaign. Kelley Robinson HRC President stated, “Losing Henry is an unfathomable loss to the Human Rights Campaign family. Henry was a light – deeply passionate, deeply engaged & deeply caring. His colleagues will always remember his hunger for justice, his eagerness to pitch in, his bright presence & his indelible sense of humor. He could always be counted on to volunteer for a project, hit send on a press release from wherever in the world he was, or share a kind word in the elevator up to his office.” His mother Kentucky State Senator Karen Berg added, “The vitriol against trans people is not happening in a vacuum. It is not just a way of scoring political points by exacerbating the culture wars. It has real world implications.” Robinson concluded, “In honor of Henry’s life, we must come together & speak out against injustice. We must fight for our transgender family. We must celebrate his light & honor him by continuing to fight for full equality for all. Our thoughts are with his parents, his sister, his entire family & our whole community.” 

LGBTQ Civil Rights Global Evolution

As the year comes to a close it’s time to reflect on the many recent advances our LGBTQ communities achieved around the world in 2022. Before we address pros & cons in the USA let’s address some marriage equality advances that were achieved globally including in the Dutch Caribbean where the Joint Court of Justice ruled that gay & lesbian partners in Aruba & Curaçao must be allowed to marry each other. In Mexico all couples gained the right to be married regardless of sexual orientation & finally in the US the landmark Respect for Marriage Act was signed. However, our global LGBTQ community is still under attack with anti-LGBTIQ laws proposed in places like Afghanistan, China, Ghana, Honduras, Hungary, Iraq, Malaysia, Poland & Uganda. Now some of the cons in this country include more than 300 anti-LGBTQ bills were proposed this year by longtime anti-LGBTQ groups. Radical right politicians have had a field day smearing LGBTQ people & allies with false & repulsive slurs with a 406% increase of the slurs online as bills like “Don’t Say LGBTQ” passed in Florida. GLAAD has documented at least 141 attacks & increasing violence against drag events in 47 states including armed white supremacists terrifying children at drag story hours & good old Fox News continues to be busy filling the airways with anti-transgender fearmongering & disinformation. Then we have the book banning movement that has challenged or banned thousands of books with the majority about LGBTQ characters & this is just the tip of the iceberg. So, this is not a time to become complacent. We have work to be done in 2023.

Drag Queens LGBTQ Antarctica Cruise

VACAYA led nearly 200 LGBTQ global explorers on December 7th from Ushuaia, Argentina for their two & a half day crossing of the Drake Passage where at 5:12P on December 10th they stepped foot on “The Ice” in Neko Harbor, Antarctica making history with the first successful all LGBTQ expedition cruise to Antarctica. Randle Roper VACAYA Co-founder stated, “It’s taken over 200 years of Antarctic exploration to get here, but with VACAYA, the LGBT+ community has now officially left their mark on the 7th continent! The incredible work of the VACAYA team, our Expedition Leaders & our fearless Captain made this journey possible.” Out & proud Le Boreal Captain Florian Richard added, “I thank VACAYA for such an open minded & fun sailing. I’m proud to be a part of this history-making expedition.” Christopher Chandler-Liu of Washington, DC concluded, “Even at 28 years old, it’s really fantastic to be able to check off this most bucket-y of bucket list destinations, recognizing I’ve had incredible fortune to explore a place on earth so few people ever get to experience. I would have never been able to do this without VACAYA. I am now part of LGBT+ travel history & am humbled by the magnitude of this moment. Antarctica changes you in incalculable ways & my world will never be the same.” VACAYA pronounced vuh-kai’-uh is a fresh new approach to LGBT+ travel. VACAYA charters entire ships & resorts so LGBTQ travelers have the freedom to express their individuality, make personal connections, celebrate life, rev up or simply relax… together. 

Barbados Advances LGBTQ Civil Rights

As we celebrated the return of Brittney Griner & the Respect of Marriage Act signed into law in this country Barbados has repealed its outdated buggery & gross indecency laws. Kenita Placide, Executive Director for the Eastern Caribbean Alliance for Diversity & Equality stated, "Access to justice is never easy for LGBTIQ persons. We see this historic win in Barbados as a stepping stone to acknowledge & render justice to vulnerable people who are not necessarily acknowledged by the law.” Maria Sjödin, Executive Director of Outright International concluded, “With the repeal of similar laws in Antigua & Barbuda & St. Kitts & Nevis, this ruling caps a historical year for LGBTIQ human rights in the region. The progress we have seen this year in the Eastern Caribbean is unprecedented and comes as a result of years of advocacy, community building & organizing. While the decriminalization happens as a result of a legal challenge, the verdicts do not happen in a vacuum. We congratulate ECADE, Butterfly Barbados & Equals for this win & could not be more proud of our partners who tirelessly fight to end these colonial-era laws.” Outright is dedicated to working with partners around the globe to strengthen the capacity of the LGBTIQ human rights movement, document & amplify human rights violations against LGBTIQ people & advocate for inclusion & equality. Founded in 1990, with staff in over a dozen countries, Outright works with the United Nations, regional human rights monitoring bodies & civil society partners. Outright holds consultative status at the United Nations where it serves as the secretariat of the UN LGBTI Core Group. 

Cris Williamson Virtual Holiday Concert

The legendary Cris Williamson will be presenting her Annual Holiday Show livestream featuring some faves from her 2 holiday albums Snow Angel & Winter Hearts along with some seasonal surprises on Sunday December 18th at 3P PT, 4P MT, 5P CT & 6P ET on her Facebook Music Page. Cris stated, “As the days grow shorter & the dark grows longer, let us look ahead to the return of the Light. It won’t be long now… we can endure all of it. Let us increase our compassion for ourselves & all the living world. So join me, join us, won’t you? - this Sunday December 18th for some holiday time together.” Decades before indie labels were the norm & years before women had any real access to the industry Williamson was busy changing the face of popular music. In 1975 the twenty-something former schoolteacher recorded “The Changer & The Changed” for her brainchild Olivia Records, the first woman-owned woman-focused record company. Her music & voice quickly became the soundtrack of a movement & was the cornerstone of what would become known as "women's music," music created, performed & marketed specifically to women. Today that recording "The Changer & the Changed" remains one of the best-selling independent releases of all time. For Cris the music became the vehicle for something larger. Her lyrics appear on a regular basis in books & thesis papers. Her albums are part of the curriculum for women's studies courses & thousands of people who may not even know her name join their voices in "Song of the Soul" around campfires & places of worship. She is embraced by women & our LGBTQ community. 

Las Vegas LGBTQ Sports Event (AUDIO)

This week I talked with Dr. Jason Peplinski, Commissioner of the Greater Los Angeles Softball Association (GLASA) & Co-Executive Director of the Sin City Classic Sports Festival that takes place January 12th to 15th in Las Vegas, Nevada. GLASA created the Sin City Classic in 2008 as an LGBTQ softball tournament meant to provide a safe & competitive atmosphere for LGBTQ athletes. Over the past 16 years the tournament has grown into the largest annual LGBTQ sporting event in the world including 24 sports & approximately 10,000 athletes & fans. As the Sin City Classic continues to grow & evolve this year they’re adding 2 new competitions: pickleball one of the fastest growing sports globally & sand volleyball. Hosted at the Flamingo Las Vegas GLASA remains committed to creating the best experience possible for a diverse roster of dedicated athletes who participate & the fans & allies who come to enjoy the festival. The Sin City Classic Sports Festival kicks off with the Opening Night Registration Party held at the Flamingo Las Vegas. Competitions & nightly social events then take place around the city with the weekend culminating in the Closing Night celebration to be held at the LINQ Promenade’s Brooklyn Bowl as a way to celebrate the weekend’s activities. The festival will also be presenting the 2nd annual Ken Scearce Leadership Award. The award was created in 2022 to honor the memory & legacy of Ken Scearce the Executive Director of the festival who passed away in 2021. I talked to Jason about what he hopes to accomplish at this year’s Sin City Classic Sports Festival & his spin on our LGBTQ issues. LISTEN  

Georgia Sued In Transgender Lawsuit

The Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund along with co-counsel Bondurant Mixson & Ellmore LLP have filed a lawsuit against the State of Georgia for denying transgender related healthcare. Plaintiffs include Micha Rich & Benjamin Johnson who are both employees of Georgia government agencies & are being denied transgender related healthcare. Plaintiff Micha Rich stated, “I love my job. I love what I do & that I get to work in service of the public good. But my employer should not be able to deny me healthcare because of who I am. For years I had to put off living my life fully while I waited to have the medical treatments that my doctors & I knew I needed. I grew up in Georgia, I went to college in Georgia & now I work for the state of Georgia. I want to see Georgia lead on treating people fairly.” Plaintiff Benjamin Johnson added, "For many years I have felt that my body does not match the image I have of myself. When I was able to get the medical treatment I needed, I finally felt whole. I feel like this is the person I was meant to be & my mental health has improved drastically." Rich is a staff accountant at the Georgia Department of Audits & Accounts & Johnson is a media clerk at a Georgia elementary school. Both men have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria for which the treatment is social & medical gender transition as recommended by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health. Jeff Graham Executive Director of Georgia Equality concluded “Access to quality healthcare is a critical issue for all Georgians. Ensuring that transgender Georgians are treated fairly as other employees is a fundamental right.” 

Marriage Equality Pioneers Celebrate

Mainstream media skimmed over the importance of the Respect of Marriage Act bill signing ceremony that took place at the White House yesterday where thousands of our LGBTQ community & allies assembled to celebrate this historic event. Among those attending was plaintiff Julie Goodridge & Mary Bonauto lead counsel in the case of Goodridge v. Department of Public Health which made Massachusetts the first state in which gay & lesbian couples could marry in 2004. We’re grateful to President Biden & the Congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle who finally came together to pass the Respect of Marriage Act into this law. We’ve fought for decades to get here so let’s take the joy & energy from this celebration to continue the work for full freedom, safety & justice for all people. Michael Adams SAGE CEO stated, “I am grateful to the bipartisan efforts that went into passing the Respect for Marriage Act and for President Biden who has championed LGBTQ+ rights during his time in office. After facing lifetimes of discrimination & decades lacking legal & social recognition, LGBTQ+ elders have waited long enough for reliable protection of their right to marry under federal law. The signing of this landmark legislation not only protects same-sex couples; it also comes at a critical time as numerous states work to pass anti-trans & anti-LGBTQ+ laws that harm our LGBTQ+ community. The message must be loud & clear – LGBTQ+ people are entitled to the same dignity, rights & protections as all Americans & we must all keep working until that goal is fully realized.” Watch our Historic 2004 Marriage Equality Video   

Amtrak & Out Professionals Partnership

Out Professionals has announced a corporate partnership with Amtrak. The partnership will help champion a new Out Pro chapter in Washington DC. As part of Amtrak’s partnership employees of Amtrak including their Express Pride Employee Resource Group (ERG) will receive complimentary memberships to Out Pro which entitles them to free attendance at networking & career-building events, a skills-building library & more. Amtrak can also recruit employees from Out Pro’s diverse membership which will enable Amtrak to help find new employees with networking opportunities & tools for career advancement. Qiana Spain, Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resource Officer at Amtrak stated, “This partnership will help Amtrak fill the many new jobs necessary to deliver world class train service to the nation. We are thrilled to partner with Out Professionals in our collective pursuit to excel together.” Charlie Conard, President of Board of Directors at Out Professionals concluded, “Increasingly, forward-thinking companies like Amtrak are participating in Out Pro. It shows their commitment to diversity & the LGBTQ Community as well as gives them face-to-face access to motivated, community-conscious professionals. Amtrak’s support will help us continue to grow our national network of city chapters, helping both established & aspiring LGBTQ professionals by matchmaking between talent & opportunity.” Founded in 1983, Out Professionals is the leading nonprofit networking organization for LGBTQ professionals in the United States advancing their careers by creating meaningful networking events & other career-building & life-enriching programming. Out Pro is expanding nationally & currently has chapters in Los Angeles, Houston, Philadelphia, San Diego with a roaming chapter in Connecticut. Out Pro hosts events that benefit LGBTQ professionals while providing a virtual community to benefit those who live in less populated areas. 

LGBTQ Marketing Beyond The Rainbow

A new global insights study on LGBTQ marketing & its future has come to our attention. The study entitled “Beyond The Rainbow” surveyed 7,500 LGBTQ & non-LGBTQ people in the United States, United Kingdom & Canada to better understand how our LGBTQ community is addressed in the media & advertising. The study is intended to equip brands, advertisers, marketing communicators & others in the industry with actionable data & insights to help build a more inclusive future. The study published long overdue new data calling for more authentic representation of LGBTQ identities in advertising, the need for long-term support beyond Pride month & the role of queer media in culture & brand communications. Michael Houston, President of WPP in the US stated, “In a world where the LGBTQ+ community continues to face discrimination & violent attacks – both in the workplace & in life – the power that our industry has to create change should not be underestimated. As a global company of over 100,000 creative thinkers and makers, WPP has a responsibility to educate & empower our people, our clients & our allies to positively & meaningfully influence the cultural representation of the LGBTQ+ community through marketing, advertising & communications. Right now is an incredible moment & opportunity for brands around the world to use their influence to impact society for good.” WPP Unite is the LGBTQ+ community living across WPP’s network of 100,000+ people worldwide. They are focused on driving insightful & authentic representation of LGBTQ+ people within media & promoting greater inclusion of LGBTQ+ people within the work & workplaces of the marketing & communications industry. 

Brittney Griner Finally Free (AUDIO)

WNBA star Brittney Griner has finally been released from Russian detention & is on her way back to the United States. Moscow swapped the athlete for convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout commuting his 25-year prison sentence. Griner had been in Russian custody since her arrest at an airport near Moscow in February. Kierra Johnson, National LGBTQ Task Force Executive Director stated, “From day one, our hearts have been with Brittney Griner, her wife Cherelle, her family & countless fans. So many raised their voices to call for her return, a movement to #freeBG that included the WNBA, the LGBTQ community around the world & millions of fans & others. Number 42 has been hanging on my wall as a daily reminder of the violence & discrimination Black people, LGBTQ folks & women regularly endure in this country & around the world. After being held for months in a Russian prison on drug charges, we are overjoyed & relieved she has been released today in a one-for-one prisoner swap for international arms dealer Viktor Bout. We thank President Biden & all those who relentlessly negotiated & advocated for her release & return to her family. Now her jersey will be a celebration & reminder of the resilience of our people & the power of our community. We advocate for the swift return of every American being held against their will as political pawns of governments that have wrongfully detained them, especially Paul Whelan. No one should have to endure what these families have & we must continue to fight for their freedom.” Last March I talked to Aron Solomon chief legal analyst at Esquire Digital about Griner’s detainment in Russia. LISTEN

Mexico LGBTQ Inclusion Commitment

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRCF) launched its 6th annual survey evaluating LGBTQ workplace inclusion within major Mexican businesses & multinationals. This year 252 employers have earned top ratings in the 2023 HRC report & total participants have increased to 298 from last year’s total of 262 reflecting a growing commitment in Mexico to creating LGBTQ inclusive policies & practices in their workplaces. RaShawn Hawkins, Director of the HRC Foundation’s Workplace Equality Program stated, “Inclusive workplaces increase engagement & productivity, lift up disadvantaged communities & help a business’s bottom line. Everyone wins - LGBTQ+ people, our co-workers & customers - when employers work to advance policies & practices focused on LGBTQ-inclusion & belonging. It’s the right business decision & it’s the right thing to do. HRC celebrates this year’s honorees for showing the way forward & we’re grateful to our implementing partners on the ground in Mexico for their collaboration & commitment to this work.” Fernando Velázquez, HRCF Equidad MX Implementing Partner added, “This year’s results are truly inspiring. The growing number of businesses committed to promoting LGBTQ+-inclusive policies & practices in Mexico indicates that more & more corporate leaders understand & value the equity & benefits of inclusive workplaces. We continue to see growth—32% of this year’s participants are Mexican companies.” Francisco Robledo, HRCF Equidad MX Implementing Partner concluded, “This year reflects the first major evolution of the program’s criteria & we were pleased with the progress. Corporate respondents were asked questions about their commitment to LGBTQ+ diversity & inclusion education & training, an area in which is a great opportunity for growth.” 

Supreme Court LGBTQ Equality Agenda

The radical right Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in 303 Creative, LLC v. Elenis on Monday December 5th a case which takes to task Colorado's ban on businesses & other places of public accommodation discriminating against our LGBTQ community. The case is reminiscent of the homophobic  arguments in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights which resulted in a narrow 2018 Supreme Court decision & the same right wing law firm Alliance Defending Freedom is again attempting to overturn Colorado's anti-discrimination law. Like the Colorado baker a Christian graphic designer who creates custom wedding websites for her clients is refusing to create websites celebrating gay & lesbian marriages. Andy Thayer, co-founder of the LGBTQ Gay Liberation Network stated, "Now that anti-LGBTQ forces have packed the court's majority with the judges they want, they're taking a second bite at the apple. With no hint of irony, they're recycling the same arguments used a generation ago to try to stop equal access to public accommodations by Blacks." Roger Fraser LGBTQ Gay Liberation Network concluded, "While the 'Straights Only' case doesn't directly target racial & religious groups' equal access to public accommodations, it isn't hard to see that the attack on LGBTQ rights in this respect puts everyone's rights at risk. It's part of a broad spectrum attack, escalating with last June's dismantling of Roe v. Wade, that jeopardizes the gains that generations of civil rights activists fought & in some cases died for." So here we go again while we wait for Biden to sign into law the Respect of Marriage Act.

Provincetown’s 25th Holly Folly Festival

The annual LGBTQ holiday themed Holly Folly Festival takes place from December 2nd to the 4th in Provincetown, MA. Since 1997 Holly Folly has been an opportunity to gather & celebrate the Oh So Gay season in Ptown & today our LGBTQ community travels from around the globe to enjoy the festival. There are special performances, art, fine dining & holiday shopping experiences from fabulous shops, pop-up markets, boutiques & galleries that line Commercial Street. During the day check out the Holiday Market at Canteen that has quickly become a holiday tradition starting Friday December 2nd from 11A to 5P at 225 Commercial Street. Then the gayest holiday show returns to Town Hall when the Crown & Anchor presents an all-star line-up that includes some of your favorite Provincetown talents to kick off the season on Friday December 2nd at 8:30P. The infamous Jingle Bell Run + Brunch takes place on Saturday December 3rd from 1A to 1P. The course starts at Fanizzi’s for coffee & a run through Provincetown to the Lobster Pot Tree with as little clothing as you dare for this frosty fun-run. Then warm-up for the annual ugly holiday sweater tradition returning to Harbor Lounge on Saturday afternoon at 5P. Also don’t miss Paige Turner’s ‘Drag Me to Christmas’ as this oversized Barbie wants a lot this Christmas & isn’t taking no for an answer. ‘Tis the season to be greedy, so come be a misfit, get your stocking stuffed & celebrate the true meaning of Christmas—Paige Turner style featuring over-the-top parodies & holiday classics like Mariah Carey, Bing Crosby, parodies as well as original holiday songs written for Miss Turner on Sunday December 4th at Post Office Cafe & Cabaret. 

BGMC Holiday Concerts Return (AUDIO)

This week I talked with Sarah Shoffner the new Executive Director of the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus (BGMC) about their upcoming holiday concert series entitled “Joyful & Triumphant & Gay.” Founded in 1982 this fabulous 200+ voice ensemble is presenting their first live holiday concert since 2019. Performances under BGMC Music Director Reuben Reynolds are December 4th at 3P at Mechanics Hall in Worcester & evening performances December 9th, 16th, 17th & 18 at New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall in Boston, MA. The title of the show is a tribute to Dean X. Johnson the accompanist & assistant director of the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus (NYCGMC) who died of AIDS in 1998 at age 42. Johnson composed “Joyful & Triumphant!” with fellow NYCGMC member Jeff Baron at the height of the AIDS crisis in 1992. “Joyful & Triumphant & Gay” opens with the traditional French carol “Sing We Now of Christmas” & features classics like Bruckner’s “Ave Maria” & “Locus iste” alongside modern holiday fare that includes Cyndi Lauper’s “Christmas Conga”, “A Place Called Home” from “A Christmas Carol: The Musical” & Kylie Minogue’s “Christmas Isn’t Christmas ’Til You Get Here.” The concert will also feature two pieces by American composer Jacob J. Narverud including “Sisi Ni Moja” which means we are one in Swahili & a performance of the powerful “Ukrainian Bell Carol” as a reminder of the horrible human costs of war & our capacity for joy despite them. The chorus will also debut a new suite by BGMC Principal Accompanist & Assistant Music Director Chad Weirick which draws on classic carols & Christmas music to reflect his experience of the COVID-19 pandemic. I talked to Sarah about what she hopes to accomplish with BGMC & her spin on our LGBTQ issues. LISTEN  

Senate Passes Marriage Equality Act

The U.S. Senate has passed the Respect for Marriage Act with a bipartisan vote of 61-36. We want to thank U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Susan Collins (R-ME), Rob Portman (R-OH), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) Thom Tillis (R-NC) & Feinstein (D-CA) for their leadership & support of the Respect for Marriage Act (RMA). Senator Tammy Baldwin stated, "Millions of same-sex & interracial couples made this moment possible by living openly as their authentic selves, changing the hearts & minds of people around them. This legislation will protect the hard-fought progress we’ve made on marriage equality & I look forward to the Respect for Marriage Act becoming the law of the land." President Biden concluded, “With today’s bipartisan Senate passage of the Respect for Marriage Act, the United States is on the brink of reaffirming a fundamental truth: love is love, & Americans should have the right to marry the person they love. For millions of Americans, this legislation will safeguard the rights & protections to which LGBTQI+ & interracial couples & their children are entitled. It will also ensure that, for generations to follow, LGBTQI+ youth will grow up knowing that they, too, can lead full, happy lives & build families of their own. Importantly, the Senate’s passage of the Respect for Marriage Act is a bipartisan achievement. I’m grateful to the determined Members of Congress especially Senators Baldwin, Collins, Portman, Sinema, Tillis & Feinstein whose leadership has underscored that Republicans & Democrats together support the essential right of LGBTQI+ & interracial couples to marry. I look forward to welcoming them at the White House after the House passes this legislation & sends it to my desk, where I will promptly & proudly sign it into law." WATCH HISTORIC VIDEO   

World AIDS Day National Observance

In San Francisco the National AIDS Memorial will commemorate World AIDS Day with two powerful events on November 30th & December 1st as the community comes together to remember & celebrate those lost to HIV/AIDS & all who are surviving & thriving today. The programming will focus on “Changing the Pattern for a Future without AIDS.” During the events Cleve Jones founder of the AIDS Memorial Quilt & advocate for health, social & LGBTQ rights will be honored with the National AIDS Memorial Lifetime of Commitment Award. The annual tradition of gathering in the Grove on the eve of World AIDS Day for the National AIDS Memorial’s annual Light in the Grove Gala returns for an evening of light, art, friends & remembrance, immersed in nature on November 30th from 6P to 9:30P. Light in the Grove is attended by over 600 guests who will experience a moving candlelight reflection at the Circle of Friends & then walk through the spectacularly illuminated Redwood Grove featuring artistic performances to a warmly lit event Gala tent. Formal program begins at 7:15P with Cleve Jones being honored. Tickets are still available for this private event with all proceeds supporting the programs of the National AIDS Memorial. Then on Thursday December 1st from 11A to 2P the National AIDS Memorial annual World AIDS Day National Observance will bring together the community for dialogue, fellowship & remembrance at the National AIDS Memorial Grove in Golden Gate Park. A few years ago I talked to Cleve Jones in this exclusive audio byte about how AIDS has affected our LGBTQ community.  LISTEN 

Truth About The Kids Online Safety Act

On Monday November 28th dozens of human rights & LGBTQ organizations will be submitting a letter to Majority Leader Schumer, Chairwoman Cantwell & Ranking Member Wicker formally opposing the Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA). The letter will explain why this misleading & misrepresented piece of legislation is so dangerous for our LGBTQ community & our country. The Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA) will not make kids safer online but instead give enforcement power to attorney generals across the country empowering bad actors like Texas’s Ken Paxton to target any website for having “harmful” content including any & all LGBTQ+ content. This also includes removing info on abortion, sexual wellness, anything mentioning sexuality & resources on dealing healthily with any of the “harmful” content mentioned in the text of the bill. There has been coverage suggesting that Congressional leaders plan to include KOSA in the must-pass omnibus spending bill but not much coverage of the significant concerns with this legislation & opposition from LGBTQ & human rights groups. The list of orgs signing on to oppose this legislation includes the ACLU, GLAAD, Fight for the Future, EFF, Public Knowledge, GLSEN, American Library Association, National Center for Lesbian Rights, Human Trafficking Prevention Project, Ranking Digital Rights, the Tor Project, Wikimedia Foundation & New America’s Open Technology Institute & it's also signed by numerous state & local LGBTQ organizations particularly from states where legislators & attorneys general have attacked LGBTQ rights including Equality Texas, Equality Utah, Trans Ohio, Georgia Equality, OutNebraska, Louisiana Trans Advocates & more. Please call your Senators now to oppose this disastrous bill. 

One Night Only Benefit Cabaret Event

The Richmond/Ermet Aid Foundation (REAF) is presenting a special One Night Only Benefit Cabaret featuring cast members from the touring cast of the Tony Award-winning show AIN’T TOO PROUD in “Love’s in Need of Love, Today” with special guest Paula West. This fabulous event takes place Monday November 28th at 7:30P at A.C.T.’s Strand Theater in San Francisco. Kenneth Henderson, Executive Director of the Richmond/Ermet AID Foundation stated, “People think the AIDS epidemic is over & we don't need to pay attention to it anymore. Events like One Night Only Benefit Cabaret serve not only to raise funds for local AIDS services but to remind people that there's still a need for funding them. More people are living with HIV & AIDS than ever before in history.” Kick Off the Holidays with Cast Members from the Broadway Touring Cast of "AIN'T TOO PROUD" in REAF's First "One Night Only" Benefit Cabaret in two years after the Covid pandemic shut this series down. The Tony Award-winning show "AIN'T TOO PROUD" originated in the Bay Area at Berkeley Rep & has been a smash hit around the USA. Based on the story of The Temptations, this electrifying show showcases some of Motown's best music. Joining the cast of this great show will be San Francisco jazz icon Paula West. Tickets are on sale now for this fun & fabulous show so don't want to miss. This is a vaccinated-only event & proof of vaccination will be required to enter. COVID is still spreading & they ask audience members to remain masked when not actively eating or drinking. 

TCM Presents “Boys Don’t Cry" (AUDIO)

This week I talked with filmmaker Kimberly Peirce about her award-winning film “Boys Don’t Cry” that’s featured on the 2nd season of Turner Classic Movies series “Reframed” on Saturday November 26th at 10:15P. “Reframed” addresses famous/classic films that may have been controversial when they were released due to their themes like homophobia, misogyny, racism etc. The series airing throughout November is also taking a look at pioneering LGBTQ films from an historical perspective. Each film is shown along with a discussion from film experts about these issues. Peirce will be co-hosting the show with Ben Mankiewicz who will engage in a conversation about how this 1999 breakthrough film raised awareness to the lives of our transgender community & the discrimination they faced that unfortunately continues today. “Boys Don't Cry” directed by Kimberly & co-written by Peirce & Andy Bienen was inducted into the Library of Congress as a National Treasure in 2020. The film is a dramatization of the real-life story of Brandon Teena played by actress Hilary Swank who won a Best Actress Oscar for her performance. The story is about a trans man who attempts to find love in Nebraska but falls victim to a brutal hate crime perpetrated by two male acquaintances. The film co-stars Chloë Sevigny who was nominated for Best Supporting Actress as Teena's girlfriend Lana Tisdel. The conversation concludes with Mankiewicz & Peirce on Sunday November 27th at 10P when they present the 2005 LGBTQ award winning film “Brokeback Mountain”. I talked to Kimberly about what she hopes to accomplish with her work & her spin on our LGBTQ issues. LISTEN  

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Stonewall Visitor Center In NYC (AUDIO)

On Friday June 28th the Stonewall National Monument Visitor Center (SNMVC) will officially open its doors marking the 55th anniversary of th...

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