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White House & Trans Day of Visibility

The Biden-Harris administration is historically celebrating Transgender Day of Visibility with sweeping changes to administrative policies affecting our transgender community. President Biden stated, "On this Transgender Day of Visibility, we honor transgender people who are fighting for freedom, equality, dignity & respect. We also celebrate the parents, teachers, coaches, doctors & other allies who affirm the identities of their transgender children & help these young people reach their potential." Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas added, “DHS is committed to protecting the traveling public while ensuring that everyone, regardless of gender identity, is treated with respect. The new measures announced today are part of a whole-of-government effort to promote equity and inclusion in all our programs & processes. We are proud to work with our interagency partners on this effort & look forward to rapidly implementing these changes to better serve the American public.” Brian K. Bond, Executive Director of PFLAG National concluded, "We know that the work is far from over to ensure that our transgender & nonbinary loved ones are protected from the onslaught of harassment & harm that is happening in dozens of states across the country. But it helps to know that the President & the administration recognize, affirm & uplift all people, inclusive of our differences, because we all deserve the freedom to be ourselves. Thank you, President Biden, for caring about and supporting our families in meaningful ways.” Later today in recognition of Transgender Day of Visibility several trans & nonbinary youth & their families will make history at the White House for a first of its kind meeting with any administration. For More info… 

BeBe Zahara Benet San Francisco Events

There will be two days of special events with the fabulous BeBe Zahara Benet on March 31st & April 1st in San Francisco, CA. First on Thursday March 31st there will be two in person screening of the documentary “Being BeBe” at the Roxie Cinema at 7P & 9:30P with BeBe Zahara Benet, Director Emily Branham & Producer Marc Smolowitz in attendance for a Q&A with a pre-reception at 518 Valencia Street Gallery in San Francisco presented by Frameline, BraveMaker & Rainbow Railroad. Then on Friday April 1st at 8P BeBe Zahara Benet will move over to the Soma District to perform live in concert at San Francisco’s legendary nightclub Oasis which will feature BeBe performing with a 6-person band. Marc Smolowitz, CEO of 13th Gen & producer of the documentary stated, “I am so excited to be partnering with Oasis to bring both  ‘Being BeBe’ & BeBe Zahara Benet to San Francisco. BeBe is the sort of legendary global artist that San Francisco has always celebrated & this two-night offering is poised to surprise & delight both lovers of independent documentary & lovers of live music.” The film “Being BeBe” intimately charts 15 years in the life of renowned drag performer BeBe Zahara Benet (aka Marshall Ngwa) an immigrant to the United States from homophobic Cameroon who became the first winner of the wildly successful reality television franchise RuPaul’s Drag Race in 2009 & is now a leading musical artist & performer celebrating Queer & Black Excellence. The film had its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival last June of has won two major prizes at the Provincetown International Film Festival & the Sound Unseen Film Festival in Minneapolis. For Roxie Tix… For Oasis Tix...

OUTSHINE LGBTQ Film Festival In Miami

The OUTshine LGBTQ+ Film Festival Miami is back, bolder, brighter & in-person beginning April 22nd through May 1st. OUTShine returns for this 24th edition to unite the community through premier social events & programs that inspire, entertain, educate & encourage a sense of community. This year more than 45 international features & documentary screenings, panel discussions, three shorts programs, exclusive virtual showings, picturesque venues, Cocktails & Cinema Happy Hours & incredible parties will take place across various venues in Miami-Dade County. The festival will also honor Venezuelan actress, model & philanthropist Patricia Velásquez with a Vanguard Award. Mark Gilbert, OUTshine board chair & interim executive director stated, “This year’s OUTshine Film Festival theme is ‘Find Yourself Here.’ Audiences of all ages & backgrounds can find themselves represented & reflected in our films & can enjoy this experience with friends and family to spark meaningful conversations. Additionally, for the first time, in partnership with the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, we’re reaching out to Latin American visitors with special travel packages to connect them via culture & film to our already diverse Hispanic community and word-class attractions & hospitality. As part of our inclusive mission, we’ve lowered admission packages & we’re offering special pricing & at-home viewing options to reduce the financial burden for all. It’s important to us to foster a sense of belonging through these shared creative endeavors.” Tickets are available for online purchase beginning March 31st & start at just $8 for individual films with group discounts & additional offers available. For More Info…

Kim Petras Headlines NYC Pride Island

NYC Pride announced that pop superstar Kim Petras is this year’s Pride Island headliner. The first fully in-person Pride Island in 3 years will also move to a new location with the announcement of Play Lawn at Governors Island as this year’s Pride Island venue. Other marquee talent at this year’s Pride Island taking place Friday June 24th through Sunday June 26th includes Papi Juice. Lauren Cheeseborough, Pride Island Event Manager stated, “With our first ever trans headliner & our move to Governors Island, this will truly be a historic weekend in the history of Pride. The expansion of Pride Island to a 3-day event creates new experiences for the community to love & live their truth by dancing freely without fear of consequence.” Additionally, Eddie Martinez, Dani Toro & Alex Chapman will DJ live on the last day of Pride Island. Additional performers will be announced at a later date. Mario Schmitt, Pride Island Director concluded, "Pride Island is rooted in a history dating back more than 30 years. After being silenced for the past 2 years due to the pandemic, we are coming back with one of the biggest events in Pride history. We are proud to be breaking barriers by introducing our first Pride Island headliner of the transgender experience." Heritage of Pride, Inc. is the volunteer-directed organization behind the official NYC Pride roster of events. Heritage of Pride’s mission is to work toward a future without discrimination where all people have equal rights under the law. They do this by producing LGBTQIA+ Pride events that inspire, educate, commemorate, & celebrate our diverse community. For More Info… 

 

Dave Bennett Swing To Rock At Birdland

The Dave Bennett Quartet is making its Birdland Theater debut on Monday March 28th at 8:30P. Birdland Theater is located at 315 West 44th Street in NYC. Bennett a multitalented musician will be performing his acclaimed show “Swing To Rock”. The Dave Bennett Quartet presents an intense & emotional musical experience. Bennett & his band perform hard driving swing, rockabilly, jazz, pop, gospel, & original songs. Listeners will recognize the influences of Benny Goodman, Jerry Lee Lewis, The Beatles, Chris Isaak, Peter Gabriel & Phil Collins. Bennett sated, “We cover different genres. So our audiences can have a ball hearing songs that they’ve grown up with & while introducing them to my own original music. My band & I have the greatest job in the world!” You’ll be amazed as this clarinet virtuoso breaks from his Swing Era repertoire to sing rockabilly hits while accompanying himself at the piano or electric guitar. Performing with the Dave Bennett Quartet at Birdland will be Bennett on clarinet, guitar, piano & vocals along with Jeff Kressler on piano, Ed Fedewa on bass & Doug Cobb on drums. Dave has been a featured soloist at Carnegie Hall with The New York Pops & has been featured with 35 other US & Canadian orchestras including Nashville, Detroit, Rochester, Omaha, Toronto, Vancouver, Orlando, San Antonio, Jacksonville, Portland, OR & Portland, ME. Jazz festivals include The Elkhart Jazz Festival, The Suncoast Classic Jazz Festival, The Sacramento Hot Jazz Jubilee & The Redwood Coast Music Festival. Birdland is a fully vaccinated venue & all patrons must bring/ show proof of vaccine or verified medical exemption to enter. Tickets run $20 to $30. For More Info & Tix…

LGBTQ Community Moving Forward

With more than 300 anti-LGBTQ bills advancing in legislatures across the country it feels like an unprecedented legislative assault on our LGBTQ community in 2022 surpassing 2021 which was the worst year on record for introducing & enacting anti-LGBTQ legislation in statehouses across the country. Yet 45 years ago on March 26th, 1977 a group of gay & lesbian activists met with members of the Carter administration in a historic first. President Carter's Assistant Margaret "Midge" Costanza coordinated the meeting with representatives from the then National Gay Task Force (NGTF) to hear their grievances about discriminatory federal policies. George Raya a longtime LGBTQ activist who traveled to DC for the historic meeting stated, "In the past 45 years, we have had many successes - via the courts, legislation & Presidential decree. However, in many parts of the country, we can be married on Friday & fired on Monday. We need the Equality Act to be passed by Congress to provide us with strong federal protections against discrimination, making it explicitly illegal to fire someone because they are LGBT." There are only 3 surviving attendees of that meeting, Raya, Rev. Elder Troy Perry & Elaine Noble. Kierra Johnson, Executive Director of National LGBGTQ Task Force concluded, “For those of us in the Task Force family today, we know we stand on the shoulders of our founders & all of the extraordinary people who brought the organization to life in 1973. We will continue the struggle for liberation & equity in their honor & in the service of the LGBTQ community.” For More Info…

Bright Joins Human Rights Campaign


Sherise Bright has been named the new Senior Vice President of Communications & Marketing at the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). Joni Madison HRC’s Interim President stated, “I could not be more thrilled to bring Sherise Bright on board as the new leader of the Human Rights Campaign’s communications & marketing work. Sherise brings a wealth of experience from the worlds of LGBTQ+ advocacy, education, law, impact litigation, public policy & entertainment & comes prepared to roll up her sleeves to join our fight. She joins a group of incredibly talented & dynamic communications & marketing professionals whose impact, under her leadership, can only grow. With the LGBTQ+ community – particularly transgender youth – facing an onslaught of attacks in states across the country, Sherise’s talents will be put to good use communicating & advocating for the most marginalized among us.” Sherise Bright concluded, "I am thrilled to join the Human Rights Campaign at a pivotal time in our movement. With the onslaught of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, attacks on trans youth & the disproportionate deaths of Black trans women--there's so much work to do. I'm honored & ready to roll up my sleeves & get to work with my brilliant colleagues at HRC." Bright is a strategic communications & marketing leader with over twenty years of experience working in the entertainment, sports, education, legal & social justice sectors. Bright most recently served as Chief Communications Officer at Lambda Legal, where she built and led a team that rebranded the organization, redesigned its website & significantly increased major media placements. For More Info…

Political Pawn Brittney Griner (AUDIO)

This week I talked with LGBTQ ally Aron Solomon, chief legal analyst at Esquire Digital to give us his spin about WNBA star Brittney Griner’s detainment in Russia. A short summary of this unfortunate situation is that Brittney Griner was arrested on February 17th 2022 in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport upon arrival during her seventh season playing professional basketball in Russia during the WNBA’s off-season. Griner was arrested for allegedly possessing cartridges containing 'liquid with hashish oil' according to the customs service. She currently faces charges that could carry a sentence of up to 10 years in prison. Since her arrest Griner's legal team has had access to her & been able to see her several times a week. Last Thursday it was announced that she would be held without trial until at least May 19th & then finally after over a month of detainment an official from the US embassy in Moscow was granted consular access to check on her condition. What they reported is that she is being held with two other first time detainees & in good condition. Of course we all fear that Griner is being used as a political pawn especially with Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine & that this case did not get the attention it deserved because Brittney is a Black LGBTQ athlete. If this happened to a high profile male professional basketball player like Kyrie Irving or Stephen Curry it would be an entirely different situation. It is also extremely concerning with Russia’s notorious treatment of our LGBTQ community when Brittney will be safely returned to the United States & her wife Cherelle. I talked to Aron about how this case has been handled up to now & where it may go from here.  LISTEN:

 

Disney Workers 'Don’t Say Gay' Walkout

Hundreds of LGBTQ employees & their allies at the Walt Disney Company staged a walkout calling for action to stop Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay" bill after Disney CEO Bob Chapek refused to directly condemn the bill publicly. Joni Madison Human Rights Campaign Interim President stated, “We stand in solidarity with the brave LGBTQ+ employees at Disney & their allies who are calling for more from their leadership. These employees know that corporations like Disney have a real role to play in combating discriminatory legislation – not only the “Don’t Say Gay or Trans” bill in Florida, but also the attacks on transgender youth we’re seeing in states like Texas & Alabama. We are grateful to the brave employees who understand the power of their voices to make real change & whose actions have already generated progress. We are cheering you on.” Disney employs 75,000 workers in Florida & employees are calling for Disney to stop making political donations to certain Florida politicians including Governor DeSantis & commit to a plan to protect LGBTQ staff from such backward hateful legislation among other demands. Disney released the following statement: “To ALL who come to this happy place, welcome. Disney Parks, Experiences & Products is committed to creating experiences that support family values for every family &will not stand for discrimination in any form. We oppose any legislation that infringes on basic human rights & stand in solidarity & support our LGBTQIA+ Cast, Crew & Imagineers & fans who make their voices heard today and every day.” For More Info…

Trans Bodies Trans Choices Town Hall


To kick off their month long film series “Trans Bodies, Trans Choices” on Wednesday March 23rd at 6:30P EST TransLash Media is presenting a virtual town hall via Zoom. Trans Bodies, Trans Choices is a storytelling initiative centering the importance of reproductive justice for transgender, non-binary & gender non-conforming people. This virtual gathering seeks to change with an intersectional lens bringing perspectives surrounding race, disability & economic justice. Panelists include Dallas Ducar, CEO Transhealth Northampton, Cazembe Murphy, Black, Southern, queer, trans organizer, Kierra Johnson, Executive Director, National LGBTQ Task Force & Oriaku Njoku, Co-Founder & Executive Director, Access Reproductive Care-Southeast. The event will be moderated by Imara Jones, Founder & CEO of TransLash Media who stated, “We believe in telling trans stories to save trans lives. There is nothing more essential to our existence than the ability to control our own bodies, this includes reproductive health, fertility & abortion access. However we are often invisible when it comes to the discussion about reproductive justice, including choice. With the impending decision by the Supreme Court, we felt it was vital to underscore what’s at stake for trans communities in this debate especially those at the intersection of race, disability & economic justice. That’s why we launched Trans Bodies, Trans Choices.” Kierra Johnson, Executive Director, National LGBTQ Task Force concluded, “We are thrilled to partner with TransLash & amplify the stories of our trans & non-binary siblings who find themselves under attack & as we fight back against attempts to roll back reproductive rights from the state level all the way to the Supreme Court.” For More Info…

Out Leadership LGBTQ Virtual Summit

Out Leadership will host its 2nd annual OutQUORUM: “Progress & Possibility" a 2-day virtual summit that takes place March 22nd to 24th via Zoom. At the cornerstone of this virtual free event CEOs & senior executives will meet to discuss the 2022 report addressing the state of LGBTQ diversity in the Boardroom, progress to date & the challenges ahead. OutQUORUM is the first & only initiative to address the staggering under-representation of LGBTQ diversity on Corporate Boards globally. Todd Sears, Founder & CEO, Out Leadership stated, “OutQUORUM makes a strong case - the only case - for LGBTQ+ board diversity. Economic empowerment for LGBTQ+ people means seeing a pathway for success at their place of employment. Our research has shown that visible LGBTQ+ people serving in top leadership positions, especially on the board, gives diverse talent across the spectrum the confidence to see a pathway to career success. Yet, only 19 Fortune 500 corporations explicitly include LGBTQ+ people in their definition of board diversity, resulting in only 29 of the 5,670 board seats that exist in the Fortune 500 being held by out LGBTQ+ board members. That’s less than 1%. LGBTQ+ representation in boardrooms across the country & around the world must move closer to the center. Decision makers must consider board diversity the norm, not the exception. Less than 1% is inexcusable.” There will be inspiring Keynote speakers & topic sessions including Investors & Regulators: Catalysts for Change, How States can Influence & Improve Board Diversity through Policy, Navigating the Legal Storm around AB979 & the NASDAQ Listing Rule plus Q&A discussions. For Info & Registration…

Emerging Artists Theatre 29th Season

Emerging Artists Theatre in NYC kicks off its 29th season showcasing 50 performances in various stages of development at its bi-annual New Work Series (NWS) that runs March 21st to April 10th at TADA Theater in New York City’s Flatiron District. The diverse lineup includes new musicals, dance pieces, solo shows, short & full-length plays. There will be 11 LGBTQ+ shows showcased including a comical tale of queer love set in Paris, a multicultural story of a Turkish man searching for truth & a dance piece that focuses on the uncertain times we live in. Shows that have a short running time are paired with other shows to make a full evening. All shows are in various stages of development with some artists presenting a staged reading while other shows will present a more fully realized production. The performances are followed by a brief Q&A. Billy Hipkins will be performing his solo show “Prince Charming, You're Late” on Tuesday March 22nd at 7P. Hipkins stated, “We all dream of some sort of escape, don't we? So this is my fairytale of my attempted escape with a handsome Prince. A cautionary tale for the rest of you: We all want a happily ever after & we all have our dragons but escaping them in innocent fantasy is impossible, they’ll find you. So, facing them & slaying them is the only solution. Let me tell you exactly how I did exactly that. It might save you some trouble down the road as you wander through the forest of life." Emerging Artists Theatre’s New Works Series focuses on new works, new talents & new voices. All audience members must bring proof of vaccination & wear a mask during the performance. For More Info & Tix…

National LGBTQ Women's Survey Events

The National LGBTQ+ Women's Community Survey team will be hosting 3 free virtual events on April 28th, May 4th & May 12th via Zoom to discuss preliminary findings of the survey & strategizing ways of moving forward. Join Urvashi Vaid, Professor Alyasah Ali Sewell, Jaime Grant & other members of the survey team for an update on their progress. They’ll have some interesting results to spark a discussion about the data you would most like to prioritize. This long overdue groundbreaking survey is an effort to learn & collect data from the experiences of women who partner with other women. Garnering thousands of respondents to date this unique effort is led by veteran queer, lesbian, bi, trans, non-binary, researchers & activists. The survey was designed to discover all we know & what we need to know about the life experience of LGBTQ women. Their goal is to reach 20,000 participants for the study by the end of March 2022 so there’s still time to fill out the survey if you haven’t yet. The survey collects our community's stories across twenty different categories including identity, home & community, family formations, sexual & intimate life, education & employment, health & well-being, religion & spirituality, experiences of violence & discrimination, civic engagement, policing & incarceration. This is an extremely important survey that will provide information our nation needs to understand so we can evolve & bring forward real life experience to inform policy change, service delivery & action to support LGBTQ+ women. I talked to Urvashi Vaid in December about her inspiration for creating the National LGBTQ+ Women’s Community Survey & her spin on our LGBTQ issues. LISTEN

   

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South Carolina Attack On Trans Kids

This week the South Carolina Senate Education Subcommittee advanced the anti-transgender student sports bill, S.531 & it now moves to the full Senate Education committee. This bill would prohibit transgender students including those in middle, high school & college from participating in student sports. Even after powerful testimony from community members opposing the bill the subcommittee voted 3-1 to advance S.531 to the full committee with a favorable ruling. Ivy Hill a leader of the SC United for Justice & Equality coalition who also serves as Executive Director of Gender Benders & Community Health Program Director of the Campaign for Southern Equality stated, “Let’s be clear about what happened today: A bill that lawmakers know is unnecessary was advanced to full committee to score political points with anti-transgender forces around a manufactured issue. Transgender youth have played sports consistent with their gender identity for a long time & the South Carolina High School League already has a reasonable policy in place to protect transgender youth while ensuring a level playing field & a safe, friendly environment. S.531 will not solve any real problems, but it will create & is already creating a flood of them. New research has illustrated the extreme damage that bills like this have on the mental health of transgender youth, with 85% of trans or nonbinary youth saying anti-transgender bills negatively impact their mental health. That’s why I want transgender & queer youth across South Carolina to know that we love them, we support them & we will never stop fighting alongside them for dignity, respect & inclusion here in South Carolina.” During the 2022 legislative session dozens of states are considering legislation related to LGBTQ discrimination. For More Info…

Queer Icon Leslie Cohen Passes (AUDIO)

We have lost a true lesbian pioneer in the passing of Leslie Cohen. Whether opening the first upscale lesbian club Sahara in NYC in 1976 or becoming the models with her partner/wife of 45 years Beth Suskin for the iconic National Monument sculpture “Gay Liberation” in Greenwich Village commemorating Stonewall, Leslie was a mentor & icon for our LGBTQ community. After leaving NYC in the early 90’s she pursued a stellar career as an attorney in Florida & then thankfully she finished & published her memoir “The Audacity of a Kiss: Love, Art & Liberation” available on Rutgers University Press that has been nominated for a 2022 Lambda Literary Award. I first met Leslie in 1978 at Sahara that she created with three of her friends Michelle Florea, Linda Goldfarb & Barbara Russo. From May of 1976 to December of 1979 on Manhattan’s fashionable Upper East Side Sahara was the first club fronted by lesbian women instead of being controlled by Mafia Bosses. Thursday & Saturday nights the line extended around the block waiting for Paula the door manager to welcome you. Inside there were two floors of lesbians dressed to the hilt & disco blasting. For lesbians Sahara was our Studio 54 & like Studio it ended with the doors chained & locked because its success was ahead of its time. After Sahara Leslie, Beth & Michelle continued to have pop-up lesbian parties throughout Manhattan that I actually even once worked & in the Hamptons until they moved to Florida in the early 90’s. You will be missed my friend. In this intimate chat last September I talked to Leslie about her must-read memoir & her spin on our LGBTQ issues. LISTEN:  

For More Info… 

 

Creating Change Remixed Virtual Event


The National LGBTQ Task Force’s Creating Change conference will be held virtually this weekend on Saturday & Sunday March 19th to 20th via pheedloop. “Creating Change Remixed” will feature several plenary & keynote speakers, award presentations, daylong institutes & the annual House Ball. The program will also include the Annual State of the Movement Address with Task Force Executive Director Kierra Johnson & Deputy Executive Director Mayra Hidalgo Salazar. Cathy Renna, National LGBTQ Task Force Communications Director stated, “It is clear that 2022 is a critical year for all of us, as we face an onslaught of attacks on our rights & our very democracy & plan for the midterm elections, Creating Change has always been a place LGBTQ advocates, activists, leaders & allies come together to learn, connect with each other & organize for the year ahead. While I wish we were in person, I cannot wait - we have powerful plenaries, the State of the Movement & institutes & panels that represent the depth & breadth of the diversity of our community & it would not be Creating Change without some amazing social gatherings like our Agents of Change house ball & Gayme night. I hope more people will join the already 1000+ registrants this weekend!” Feature keynotes will be presented by Two Spirit activist Beverly Little Thunder & author & performance artist ALOK. In addition there will be the annual presentation of awards. This year’s honorees are Urvashi Vaid will be presented with the Susan J. Hyde Award for Longevity in the Movement, Carmen Vázquez will receive the Leadership Award in Aging presented by SAGE: José Albino, Ola Osifo Osaze will be honored with the Evelyn & Walter Haas Jr. Fund Award for Outstanding LGBTQ Leadership for Immigration Rights & Billy Lane will receive the Leather Leadership Award. Creating Change welcomes back Sandra Vallsas as the conference emcee. For Full Lineup…

Silence To Solidarity Global Concert

InterPride the international LGBTQ organization that represents & is composed of producers of the pride events community is presenting “Silence To Solidarity Global Concert” virtually on Saturday March 19th at 2P PST 5P EST via Facebook. It’s sure to be a spectacular performance with 90 minutes of fun-filled entertainment & inspirational stories. This is a fundraising event to support & aid our most marginalized global LGBTQ+ community with a portion of the donations received to be allocated to our LGBTQ+ member organizations in Ukraine to assist them through the ongoing crisis. Appearing at the event will be artists, singers, actors & activists including Michael A. Shepperd, Lyle Anthony, Jennifer Leigh Warren, Angel Bonilla, Lea Robinson, Leopold, Nieri, Mortasay, Matthew Presidente, Saro, Bandy Kiki, Philemon Chambers, Calpernia Addams, Ty Collier & more. COVID-19 took a toll on InterPride’s funds & they have exhausted most of their resources with the demand for help still very high. They need help to continue doing the great work of supporting our Pride movement & the global LGBTQ+ community. They will be broadcasting worldwide the Silence To Solidarity Global Virtual Concert on March 19th to help replenish funds. InterPride also recognizes the danger our Ukrainian LGBTQ+ community members are in because of the unprovoked attack on a sovereign nation & Russian aggression against our community they will be donating a portion of the proceeds from the Silence To Solidarity Global Concert toward efforts supporting our LGBTQ+ community in Ukraine. The concert is free & virtual but a donation is suggested to support their important work & merch is available. For More Info…

Violence Against Women Act Reboot

President Biden signed the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) & Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) jointly stated, “Finally, this historic legislation will carry major bipartisan legislation that has been in the making for years. The Violence Against Women Act, expired for too many years, will finally be reauthorized.” But this legislation comes with pros & cons. Liz Seaton, Policy Director, The Task Force concluded, “The National LGBTQ Task Force announces that the bipartisan omnibus spending package President Biden signed today contains reauthorization of the landmark Violence Against Women Act. From 2013 to 2019 when VAWA expired, it has prohibited discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation & gender identity by those providing help to victims. While it does so much more, this Act creates the first grant program dedicated to expanding and developing initiatives specifically for LGBTQ domestic violence & sexual assault survivors. Our sister organization, the National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund, participated in a working group on bill language & advocated for its passage. We must note that the omnibus package includes the unjust Hyde Amendment. It bars federal funding to cover most abortions, undermining reproductive justice & the bodily integrity of women & LGBTQ folk. This is especially true for especially Black & Brown people, people dependent for their health & survival on federal monies & people living in poverty.” So with that said let’s move forward & insist the Senate now pass the Equality Act that passed in the U.S. House just weeks after President Biden was inaugurated but still hasn’t reached the floor for a vote in the Senate. 

New Film “Queer Genius” (AUDIO)

This week I talked with award winning poet Eileen Myles (they/them) about their work & appearance in the new documentary “Queer Genius” distributed by Frameline. Eileen Myles came to NYC from Boston in 1974 to be a poet. Their books include “I Must Be Living Twice: New & Selected Poems” & “Chelsea Girls”. Myles is the recipient of 4 Lambda Literary Awards & was honored with Lambda’s Pioneer Award in 2016. Eileen also received a Guggenheim Fellowship & in 2021 was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts & Letters. “Queer Genius” is directed by award winning filmmaker Chet Pancake who chronicles five visionary queer artists including the late iconic lesbian filmmaker & producer Barbara Hammer, performance artist & actor Jibz Cameron, Black Quantum Futurism (Rasheedah Phillips & Camae Ayewa A.K.A. Moor Mother, literary & artistic creatives) & Myles who unapologetically break down barriers in their creative fields outside of mainstream culture. These intimate portraits resonate across generations as critically acclaimed & notoriously radical queer artists who have overcome personal & political obstacles to find new ways to live & share their visionary creative practices. In the lens of queer women & our LGBTQ culture the film confronts fame, failure, censorship, family, gender & sexuality. The documentary explores each artist’s “Genius” sharing their thought process, creativity & experiences as expressed through their art & embraces communal possibilities of “Genius” from a queer & generational perspective. “Queer Genius” won the Boundary Breaker Award at Buffalo International Film Festival (2020) & the Audience Award-Best Picture at Q-Fest Houston (2020) & is currently available virtually at San Francisco’s Roxie Theatre nationwide. I talked to Eileen about their involvement with “Queer Genius” & spin on our LGBTQ issues. LISTEN:  

For More Info…

Black LGBTQ Leaders Speak OUT

Since WNBA Center Brittney Griner was detained at a Russian airport last month & subsequently jailed, Black LGBTQ leaders & SGL Russian Asylum Seekers are speaking out & calling for global prayer for Griner to be brought home. David Johns, Executive Director of the National Black Justice Coalition, a leading Black LGBTQ+ civil rights organization stated, “Black & LGBTQ+ people living in Russia & in the Ukraine face the twin perils of racism in an overwhelmingly white nation & anti-LGBTQ+ harassment & persecution in a nation where the community is routinely excluded & ridiculed. We pray for & call for safety, physical & mental well-being, for all Black LGBTQ+ people in Russia, including our own Brittney Griner.” Kierra Johnson, Executive Director of the National LGBTQ Task Force concluded, “From racist discrimination & abuse reported at the Ukrainian border to attempts just last month by the Russian government to dissolve the largest LGBTQ organization in the country, it is clear that people of color & queer people in both countries are not only in the crosshairs of warring nations but of escalating racism & homophobia. Our hearts go out to all of the people suffering from war & violence in the Ukraine & Russia & we are reminded of the additional impact of war on people of color & our LGBTQ+ family who are fighting for their freedom & lives. As a queer woman of color my hope is that the Russian government is honoring the humanity of Brittney Griner & that she is being treated with respect & dignity and will be returned to the US promptly.” 

Florida Passes “Don’t Say Gay” Bill

The bigoted homophobic “Don’t Say Gay” bill has now passed both chambers in the Florida Legislature & is headed to Governor Ron DeSantis’ desk to be signed into law. Nadine Smith, Executive Director Equality Florida stated, “I know people are hurting right now. For eight weeks as we battled this anti-LGBTQ legislation in Tallahassee, we have faced some of the cruelest slurs meant to attack our very humanity & stigmatize our families. We’ve been called pedophiles by the Governor’s office. We’ve been called a “social experiment” & told that our existence is a danger to children. For many of us, these weeks in the legislature have been a painful reminder of the dark days of Anita Bryant & her anti-LGBTQ crusade that terrorized our state for decades. And for LGBTQ youth who have seen the headlines, spoke with their friends about this bill, or participated in walkouts, they’ve witnessed adults trying to erase their very existence. But know this: they may have won the day, but they didn’t win the fight or the future. We are preparing to battle in court to protect every student, every family that this bill aims to harm. And in upcoming elections, we have the opportunity to hold those who voted for bigotry accountable.” Unfortunately this bill is one of an onslaught of anti-LGBTQ bills across the country. It’s been over a year since the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Equality Act it’s time for the Senate to follow through on the promise of this highly popular bill & ensure that all people including LGBTQ communities are protected equally under the law. Equality Florida will be hosting a virtual #FreeToSayGay Town Hall today March 9th at 6P ET to gather in community & discuss what’s next. I hope everyone can join in the conversation. Virtual Town Hall…

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