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LGBTQ Groups Demand Tech Protections

On the last day of Pride Month 24 groups including Fight for the Future, GLAAD, the National Black Justice Coalition & the National Lawyers Guild are asking Congress & the FTC to address big tech monopolies, fight Section 230 carve outs & crackdown on private & government surveillance to better protect our LGBTQ community. Our safety & freedom is more important than ever especially with the surge of recent anti-LGBTQ+ attacks on our community. Evan Greer Fight for the Future Director stated, “Pride Month should be a reminder of the incomplete work to liberate LGBTQ+ folks, especially those left out by the mainstream movement. This year, threats to queer & trans people’s safety, freedom & bodily autonomy are multiplying & technology can and must be a force for liberation, not oppression. Congress & the FTC have an obligation to listen to organizers & use their power to protect our community.” Jenni Olson GLAAD Senior Director of Social Media Safety added, “Like other industries before it, Big Tech’s products should be safe for consumers—both here in the US & around the world. Congress & the FTC must take leadership now to protect LGBTQ people & all of us, from the myriad of harms being inflicted on society by social media companies.” The letter to Congress concludes, “This Pride Month, you have the opportunity to honor our lives with action, instead of empty platitudes. Fighting monopoly power, preventing Section 230 rollbacks & cracking down on surveillance will help prevent technology from amplifying the existing dangers to our community.” 

Deborah Bowie onePULSE Foundation

Deborah Bowie has been appointed executive director of onePULSE Foundation the nonprofit established following the June 12, 2016 tragedy to honor & preserve the legacy of those killed in the Pulse Nightclub massacre. Bowie joins onePULSE at an important time with the foundation recently embarking on a new three-year strategic plan & entering the next crucial phases of the final design, construction & operation of the National Pulse Memorial & Museum & Orlando Health Survivors Walk. Earl Crittenden, Chairman of the onePULSE Foundation Board of Trustees stated, “We are extremely pleased to welcome Deborah as our Executive Director. Deborah’s depth of knowledge & breadth of experience, combined with her strategic vision & unwavering dedication & passion, makes her uniquely qualified to lead onePULSE into this next stage of our journey to realize the National Pulse Memorial & Museum.” Bowie concluded, “I am honored & privileged to serve as Executive Director of onePULSE Foundation. I look forward to working with our exceptionally talented staff & board members, our dedicated partners & the community, to help drive onePULSE’s mission to create & support a memorial that opens hearts, a museum that opens minds, educational programs that open eyes and legacy scholarships that open doors. I, too, understand what it means to have to rebuild every aspect of who you are after such a life-changing tragedy. It is with this additional sense of purpose & drawing on my own personal grief journey, that I will strive to continue the advancement of onePULSE’s incredible work.” Bowie's sister was fatally shot in a highly publicized triple homicide in Miramar, FL in 1994 & brings a notable public & nonprofit sector experience to onePULSE as well. 

LGBTQ Out Film Connecticut Winners

Out Film CT announced the winners of the 35th annual Connecticut LGBTQ Film Festival Jury & Audience Awards. “Mascarpone” won the Audience Award for Best Feature & “Invisible” won for Best Documentary. In the Jury category “Finlandia” won for Best Feature Film & “Prognosis – Notes on Living” won for Best Documentary. Jaime Ortega Festival Co-Director stated, “We had an incredibly diverse collection of films this year from over 25 different countries spanning 6 continents & the awards reflect how the audience & jury really embraced that diversity, with winners from Italy, Mexico, India, Canada & right here in the United States. We are thrilled with the audience response & are delighted to share the results of their voting as well as the festival jury's selections as the best of the festival." In the 2022 Audience & Jury Awards filmmakers will share $3,500 in prize money. Shane Engstrom Festival Co-Director concluded, "The prize money we award is meant to assist filmmakers with the funding of their future projects. This year's honorees showcased the rich diversity of our community & we hope to assist them with continuing to tell the important stories of our diverse lives that rarely make it to the local cineplex." The 35th Out Film Connecticut LGBTQ Film Festival was presented as a hybrid festival this year with feature films & short films screenings in-person screenings at the historic Cinestudio on the campus of Trinity College in Hartford, the CT Science Center, Apple Cinemas as well as via virtual streaming. From over 650 submissions audiences & the jury had the opportunity to view & vote on over 100 full-length films & shorts. 

New Play “The Lady Hamlet” (AUDIO)

This week I talked to award-winning author Sarah Schulman about the world premiere of her new play “The Lady Hamlet” at The Provincetown Theater in Provincetown, MA. that runs for 16 performances now through July 21st. It took 17 years for Schulman’s daring & romantic farce to come to fruition & I can’t wait to see it. “The Lady Hamlet” is a rollickingly smart, gender-defying comedy with big heart, deep curiosity & with serious laughs. The play is about two women born to play Hamlet set in 1920s New York City as they engage in a war of wits that leaves their colleagues & lovers caught in the crossfire. This hilariously smart & farcical costume comedy with one foot in screwball & the other in a fencing match creates a duel of divas in a fierce battle to see who will be the first & best female Hamlet on Broadway & win the off-stage hand of the fair Ophelia. Directed by David Drake, Artistic Director at The Provincetown Theater the cast of 6 includes Jennifer Van Dyck (Bway: Two Shakespearean Actors, Hedda Gabler, Dancing at Lughnasa), Kate Levy (Bway: Bernhardt/Hamlet). John Shuman (Bway: La Cage Aux Folles, TV: “Boardwalk Empire”), Anne Stott (Film: “Don't Look Up,” “The Mothership,” “Crookedfinger”) Laura Scribner (“Law & Order: Criminal Intent) & Brandon Cordeiro (Bway: The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me). “The Lady Hamlet” was developed in part through the Provincetown Theater's new play development program The Stephen Mindich Literary Project. COVID-19 safety protocols for the performance include mandatory facemasks for all patrons except while actively consuming food or drink & proof of vaccination. I talked to Sarah about the inspiration for her fabulous new play & her spin on our LGBTQ issues. LISTEN  

Supreme Court Rules Radically Religious

With the Supreme Court overturning of Roe v. Wade & abortion rights it’s time to acknowledge that the highest court has become the newest religious institution & not in a good way. This is going to take a huge toll on this country in every way possible. First of all we can no longer think that the highest court will ever rule again in a fair & equal manner. Justice Clarence Thomas has made it crystal clear of his next radical agenda stating, "In future cases, we should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence & Obergefell." Sarah Kate Ellis, President & CEO of GLAAD stated, "Thomas' concurrence is a blaring red alert for the LGBTQ community & for all Americans. We will never go back to the dark days of being shut out of hospital rooms, left off of death certificates, refused spousal benefits, or any of the other humiliations that took place in the years before Obergefell. And we definitely will not go back to the pre-Lawrence days of being criminalized just because we are LGBTQ. But that's exactly what Thomas is threatening to do to the country, even as support for marriage equality is at an all-time high of 71% & more Americans are coming out as LGBTQ with each generation. Between this threat & today's reversal of abortion rights, we can no longer trust that the Supreme Court is operating in the interests of the majority of Americans." If Justice Thomas goes after Obergefell & marriage equality I hope he also challenges Loving v. Virginia which will dissolve his own marriage.

OutRight Pride Around The World Report

OutRight Action International dedicated to improving the lives of LGBTQ people everywhere has published its annual Pride Around the World report. The report tracks the increase of Pride marches & other events aimed at LGBTQ visibility around the world, including a focus on countries where Pride was celebrated for the first time in 2021 or where heightened repression made it impossible. Through case studies on the Bahamas, Georgia, Hungary, Lithuania, Ghana, Malawi, & Rwanda the report sheds light on legal & political environments that enabled or complicated Pride events in 2021. It also analyzes survey responses from 67 activists in 45 countries, drawing out the multiple purposes of Pride, including awareness, advocacy, community building & resistance. Maria Sjödin, Acting Executive Director of OutRight Action International stated, “Pride is important for visibility, especially where people somehow have the idea that LGBTIQ people don't exist. It is also important for LGBTIQ people themselves - to be in community and get a boost for all the activism that happens all other days of the year.“ Neela Ghoshal, OutRight Senior Director of law, policy & research who led the report’s research & findings concluded, "For LGBTIQ movements around the world, Pride is a time for celebration, for advocacy & for resistance. While public displays, such as Pride, are not the ultimate goal or even a key priority for every movement, they can serve as a useful barometer of LGBTIQ movements’ capability to organize & voice their demands in various parts of the world. It is a testament to the resilience of queer movements that even in the context of COVID-19 restrictions, more countries held public Pride & visibility events in 2021 than ever before." 

Biden Proposes Historic Title IX Updates

On the 50th anniversary of Title IX President Biden has proposed updates to include strong protections for LGBTQ students. The Title IX federal law prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in our nation’s public schools & the U.S. Department of Education has issued regulations codifying federal court decisions holding that the law protects LGBTQ individuals. Included in the proposed new regulations are vigorous new protections against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The proposed changes would guarantee protections for LGBTQ students including transgender youth in public schools. Imani Rupert-Gordon, NCLR Executive Director stated, “NCLR applauds the administration’s proposal to update Title IX regulations to include historic protections for LGBTQ students. Since his election, President Biden has been relentless in his commitment to do everything in his power to protect LGBTQ Americans from discrimination in every facet of their lives – including education. For 50 years, Title IX has provided comprehensive protections from sex-based discrimination in educational programs & today on its 50th anniversary, President Biden has taken a bold step to ensure that Title IX continues its legacy of protecting every student from discrimination, regardless of who they are. These new protections will allow all students to thrive – particularly the most vulnerable transgender youth – in an environment that is truly free from discrimination.” Janson Wu GLAD Executive Director concluded, “These proposed regulations demonstrate a strong commitment to protecting educational opportunities for all students including LGBTQ students. Especially in light of ongoing state legislative attacks, we are grateful for the Administration’s strong support of LGBTQ youth.” 

Camp Pride Virtual Leadership Academy

Campus Pride the nation’s premier nonprofit dedicated to building future leaders & making college & university campuses safer & more welcoming for LGBTQ people announced that registration is open for the 16th Annual Camp Pride Leadership Academy to be held virtually from July 14th to 16th. Shane Windmeyer Campus Pride Executive Director stated, “Camp Pride moved online in the wake of the pandemic for the last two years & we learned that the virtual camp model made Camp far more accessible. This year, we continue making Camp Pride accessible to as many young activists as possible, teaching the skills they’ll employ as the LGBTQ+ community fights back against increasing attacks on our rights.” Tom Elliott Campus Pride Board Chair concluded, “Camp Pride Leadership Academy is a unique opportunity to experience community with other LGBTQ+ student leaders & allies from across the country. The resources & tools that students receive during Camp serve as the foundation for a lifelong commitment to advocacy for equality, inclusivity & social justice. As a graduate of the 2008 Camp Pride, my continued fight for a society free of anti-LGBTQ bigotry & hate still draws on the skills I learned during my Camp Pride experience.” Since 2006 Camp Pride has been recognized as the leading training program for social justice & grassroots activism for LGBTQ & ally young people on college campuses. This year’s Camp Pride will be conducted virtually with more than 150 participants expected from around the country. Registration for Camp Pride is open now until Wednesday July 15th. 

Veteran Filmmakers Speak OUT (AUDIO)

This week I talked with filmmakers, honorees & activists at the 24th annual Provincetown International Film Festival (PIFF) press luncheon that took place at Lands End Inn Provincetown, Massachusetts. First we spoke with actress Dale Dickey who was being honored with PIFF’s 2022 Excellence in Acting Award. Dale is a superbly talented veteran of film, television & the theater with over 60 film credits. Dale talked about her leading role in the feature film “A Love Song” that premiered at Sundance & won the John Schlesinger Narrative Award at PIFF. “A Love Song” is about two childhood sweethearts Faye (Dale Dickey) & Lito (Wes Studi) now both widowed who share a night by a lake in the mountains. Reuniting after 40 years the pair share childhood memories make small talk & shelter together from loneliness. Dale a fierce LGBTQ ally also addressed our LGBTQ issues & her own survival in the entertainment industry. Then we chatted with director Jean Carlomusto a filmmaker, activist & interactive media artist whose film “Esther Newton Made Me Gay” made its North American Premiere at the festival & won the Warner Bros. Discovery Audience Award / Best Documentary Feature at PIFF. She was joined by the subject of her film anthropologist & author Esther Newton who throughout her career has questioned & challenged the status quo on gender, sexuality & anthropological methods. Her work has inspired generations of scholars to pursue research in what would eventually become the field of LGBTQ & Gender Studies. Esther talked about her work & what she hopes the film will accomplish & then gave us her spin on our LGBTQ issues. We concluded our audio montage with Jay Critchley a visual, conceptual & performance artist whose work & environmental activism has traversed the globe. Jay was honored in 2017 for his commitment to PIFF & to Provincetown. Jay’s 2022 PIFF short film selection “Cheeky: Not For Tea Dance” edited by Vanessa Vartabedian can be viewed virtually at PIFF now through June 26th. LISTEN  

Provincetown Film Festival '22 Winners

The Provincetown International Film Festival (PIFF) announced the winners of this year’s Warner Bros. Discovery Audience Awards, the John Schlesinger Awards & Short Film Prizes. The audience awards are voted on by in-person festival attendees. The Warner Bros. Discovery Audience Award / Best Narrative Feature went to “Good Luck to You, Leo Grande” starring Emma Thompson & Daryl McCormack that was directed by Sophie Hyde. The Warner Bros. Discovery Audience Award / Best Documentary Feature went to “Esther Newton Made Me Gay” directed by Jean Carlomusto. We had the pleasure of interviewing Esther Newton & Jean Carlomusto to talk about their fabulous documentary for OUTTAKE VOICES that will be broadcasted at a later date. Additionally the festival announced its status as an Academy Award-qualifying festival. This year & moving forward short films that receive Best Narrative Short, Best Queer Short & Best Documentary Short awards will now be automatically eligible to enter the Short Films competition for the concurrent season of the Oscars. The John Schlesinger Awards were also announced. These are juried awards presented to a first-time narrative & documentary feature filmmaker with a cash prize of $1,000 to each filmmaker. The John Schlesinger Narrative Award went to Max Walker-Silverman for “A Love Song”. The John Schlesinger Documentary Award went to Alex Pritz for “The Territory”. The Provincetown Film Society (PFS) that facilitates the Provincetown International Film Festival is an advocate for diverse representation in film, providing year-round programming & platforms that allow voices of all kinds to be heard via film. 

“Smothered” Second Season Cast Set

The hit Amazon Prime series SMOTHERED has announced the cast for their second season. In the first season Randy (Mitch Hara) & Ralph (Jason Stuart) who also wrote & produced the series tell the story about a gay couple navigating their way through couples therapy. Now season two follows this despicable couple we love to hate living in a studio apartment at the LGBTQ center... after a brief stay in the county jail! The diverse cast of Guest-Stars include iconic lesbian Amanda Bearse (Bros & Married With Children) who plays "Katt Kentucky" the head of the center, Armand Fields (Queer As Folk & Work In Progress) as "No-No", Emmy Winner Jai Rodriguez as “Tito”, Veteran characters actors playing the parents are Robert Costanzo (Friends) as “Gerome", Ellen Gerstein (Venom) as “Goldie", Carole Goldman (ER) as “Gena" & back as "Rita” is the iconic Carole Ita White (Laverne & Shirley). The shrinks will be played by funny ladies Nicole Lynn Evans (Superstore), Aida Rodrigues (Fighting Words) & Krishna Smitha (Call Me Kat). Also rounding out the cast are Jasper Cole, Nic Few, Kareem Ferguson, Samantha Tan & Byron Quiros as “Edwardo”. Jason Stuart stated, “Our mission was to have a diverse cast, but not talk about it in the story line in the show. Just have it be.” This season critically acclaimed theatre director Carlyle King directed all the 9 episodes for season 2 & back is editor Robb Padgett with actress Erika Ervin from America Horror Story as executive producer. Stuart won The Indie Series Award for Best Actor in A Comedy for the first season of Smothered that I chatted with Mitch & Jason about. LISTEN  

Campus Pride Student Project Awards

Campus Pride the preeminent resource for LGBTQ leadership development, diversity inclusion & advocacy within higher education announced the awarding of 11 new Social Justice Mini-Grants for Activism. Campus Pride launched its social justice mini-grant program in June 2021 as part of the organization’s 20th-anniversary celebrations with an inaugural ten awards. Each grant is worth up to $600. Grantees represent schools from across the country working on projects including creating a transgender community closet to give access to free gender-affirming garments & makeup, supporting LGBTQ+ inclusive communities for student-athletes, members of the Asian & Asian American diaspora & STEM students & curating resource guides to access LGBTQ+ services. The first class of 2022 awards includes the following schools & project themes: Washington University (St. Louis, MO) - To consolidate reproductive health resource information, making those services easier to access in the face of the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade & Missouri’s snap ban. Project by Ranen Miao. University of Texas at Austin (Austin, TX) - To support the Lotus Project, developing community for queer, trans & or women of the Asian or Asian American diaspora on campus. Project by Lilli Hime. Middlebury College (Middlebury, VT) To support the development of the new Queer & Trans People of Color (QTPOC) special interest house on campus. Project by Mila Lu. Macalester College (St. Paul, MN) - To support Pride Athletes at Macalester (PAAM), which works to create a safe space for LGBTQ+ student athletes. Project by Ramier Villarama. Texas State University (San Marcos, TX) - To study the experience of trans students who have been deadnamed or misgendered by faculty members & what actions can mend the resultantly impaired student-institution relationship. Project by Sam Owens. For A Complete List… 

President Protects LGBTQ Americans

President Biden issued a historic & sweeping executive order aimed at addressing multiple facets of discrimination against LGBTQ Americans. The order coinciding with Pride Month addresses the wave of anti-LGBTQ bills being introduced & passed in dozens of states across the country this year as well as the mental & physical health of our LGBTQ youth. It also announces a new initiative to protect LGBTQ foster youth & prevent homelessness & finally blocks federal funding for the dangerous & discredited practice of conversion therapy. The first of its kind Executive Order also includes explicit direction for the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) to publish a long-term care “Bill of Rights for LGBTQ Older Adults” & new guidance on the nondiscrimination protections for older people in long-term care settings. Imani Rupert-Gordon, NCLR Executive Director stated, “Especially in the midst of some of the most vicious attacks our community has ever faced, we are grateful to the President & this administration for embracing LGBTQI+ people & our families as full-fledged members of this nation who deserve equal consideration, protections, resources & support. This Executive Order is unprecedented in its recognition of the broad scope of issues that affect LGBTQI+ individuals from youth to old age.” Michael Adams SAGE CEO added, “This Executive Order builds on Congresswoman Bonamici’s Ruthie & Connie LGBTQ+ Elder Americans Act & takes a critical step forward in protecting & supporting LGBTQ+ elders, who face higher rates of poverty, acute social isolation & severe challenges accessing culturally competent services & supports.” Activist Ruthie Berman concluded, “Thank you, President Biden, for recognizing the health & welfare of LGBTQ+ elders who have given a great deal to the betterment of this country.” 

Gloria Allen Trans Icon & Activist Passes

Gloria Allen who founded & ran a charm school for homeless transgender youth in Chicago & was the subject of the award-winning documentary “Mama Gloria” & the critically acclaimed play “Charm” has died at the age of 76. Born in Bowling Green, Kentucky she grew up in Chicago amid the legendary drag balls on the city’s South Side & transitioned before Stonewall with the love & support of her mother Alma a showgirl & former Jet magazine centerfold & her grandmother Mildred, a seamstress for crossdressers & strippers. She pioneered a charm school for young transgender people at Chicago’s Center on Halsted offering lessons on love, makeup & manners that she received from her mother & grandmother. The young people affectionately nicknamed her “Mama Gloria.” Her life & activism were featured in the Chicago Tribune & served as inspiration for the hit play “Charm” written by Philip Dawkins. The play premiered at Steppenwolf Garage Theater in Chicago before traveling to Minneapolis, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles & New York. In 2020 she became the subject of the acclaimed documentary feature “Mama Gloria” directed by Luchina Fisher. The film was broadcast on “Afropop: the Ultimate Cultural Exchange” on World channel & PBS & was nominated for a GLAAD Media Award. The documentary brought Allen new audiences & new fame. Her story was featured in People magazine, the 19th News, the BBC & NowThisNews. In 2021 she received SAGE’s Advocacy Award for Excellence in Leadership on Aging Issues at the National LGBTQ Task Force’s annual Creating Change Conference. She died peacefully in her sleep & is survived by several siblings & numerous nieces & nephews as well as her chosen family.

Boston Gay Men’s Chorus PRIDE Concert

The Boston Gay Men’s Chorus is presenting the LGBTQ experience to the music & magic of Disney by reimagining the songs in Disney PRIDE in Concert a musical celebration of LGBTQ life, love, family & perseverance on Saturday June 25th at 8P & Sunday June 26th at 3P in Boston at Symphony Hall. From Little Mermaid, The Lion King & Mary Poppins to modern classics like Coco, Zootopia, & Wreck-It Ralph plus all the magical music of Disney Parks, this multimedia extravaganza will feature BGMC’s 250-member chorus & a 20-piece orchestra with visuals from Disney’s films & archives. Reuben M. Reynolds, III, BGMC’s Music Director stated, “Disney movies & musicals have long resonated deeply in the LGBTQ community because they often mirror our experiences in a society that hasn’t always welcomed us. Characters are often struggling to fit in & to accept themselves, they long for a love that feels unattainable, they’ve lost their family of origin & had to create a new one, yet they persevere & find joy in life. They express their alienation, desire, & determination in beautiful songs that have given solace & empowerment to generations of LGBTQ people. Naturally, we’re overjoyed at the chance to make the thematic connections between the Disney canon & the LGBTQ experience explicit by infusing the music with the stories of our lives.” Craig Coogan, Executive Director of the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus concluded, “We are grateful to partner with Disney & share their commitment to showcasing the voices & stories of diverse communities, a value that is so close to our hearts.” 

LGBTQ Literary Lammy Award Winners

Lambda Literary announced the winners of the 34th Annual Lambda Literary Awards Saturday evening at a live virtual award ceremony hosted by award-winning writer, activist & media strategist Raquel Willis. Championing works published by emerging authors & small presses this year’s winners list is once again an impressive mix of books from publishers both large & small. For just the second time in Lammy history a self-published work has been recognized with Milena McKay’s "The Headmistress" winning the Lammy for Lesbian Romance. As the Lammys have always done this year’s awards honor exciting new LGBTQ voices like Brian Broome winner in the Gay Memoir/Biography category for his masterful debut memoir “Punch Me Up To the Gods: A Memoir” & Lee Lai whose debut graphic novel “Stone Fruit” won in the LGBTQ Comics category as well as writers who have been excelling in their respective genres for years like Jeanne Thornton whose critically-acclaimed novel “Summer Fun” won the Lammy for Transgender Fiction & Sarah Schulman whose “Let the Record Show: A Political History of ACT UP New York, 1987-1993” one of the best reviewed books of 2021 & won the Lammy for LGBTQ Nonfiction. The evening’s celebration held virtually for the 2nd year due to the COVID-19 pandemic also doubled as a fundraiser to help support Lambda Literary’s programs. Lambda Literary nurtures & advocates for LGBTQ writers, elevating the impact of their words to create community, preserve our legacies & affirm the value of our stories & our lives. Their programs include the Lambda Literary Awards, the Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices & LGBTQ Writers in Schools. 

Pulse Nightclub Massacre & Gun Control

During Pride six years ago I woke up to the horrific news about the Pulse Nightclub Massacre in Orlando where 49 people were killed by a homophobic deranged person with an assault rifle. Now six years later in 2022 our country is overwhelmed by AR-15 armed domestic terrorists murdering innocent people & children & once again Congress still can’t seem to pass obvious sensible gun legislation that would prevent future brutal, hate-fueled violence attacks. Recently Brandon J Wolf, Pulse Nightclub survivor stated, “To every politician who scapegoats mental illness, saying that simply addressing our poor mental health infrastructure will end gun violence: show me the bill. Show me the bill to make physical & mental health care free at the point of care for people in this country. Show me the bill to end the for-profit scam that is our healthcare system & put in place a system that does what you say we need.” I talked to Brandon in 2018 about his experience on that horrendous night six years ago that claimed the lives of 49 people & left 53 injured most of who were LGBTQ Latinx people & people of color about what his personal commitment is to LGBTQ equality. Wolf stated, “My personal commitment is that we continue to move forward; that we continue to move towards a place where we don’t have to feel like we’re fighting for our rights every single day. A place where you can’t be fired just for being LGBTQ; a place where harassment & discrimination are not legalized; a place where I don’t have to go to a nightclub looking for the exits because I don’t fear someone is going to harm me for who I am.” LISTEN

LGBTQ Virtual HIV/AIDS Panel Event

The National LGBTQ Task Force is partnering with AIDS United for a virtual Creating Change 365 Town Hall entitled Pandemics, Politics & Progress: A Discussion about HIV/AIDS Across Generations & Communities on June 15th at 5:30P ET/2:30 PM PT via Linktree. Panelists include Moisés Agosto-Rosario (he/him), Director of Treatment for NMAC, formerly known as the National Minority AIDS Council, Dominique Morgan (she/her), Executive Director of The Okra Project & Black & Pink National, Oriol R. Gutierrez Jr. (he/him), Editor-in-Chief of POZ magazine & POZ.com, Kenyon Farrow (he/him), Managing Director of Advocacy & Organizing of PrEP4All, Charles Sanchez (he/him), Performer, Musical Director, Director & writer for WritingRaw.com & HuffPost's Queer Voices & Jade Lenore LeDuff (she/her), Public Educator, Advocate & Humanist, an Active Member, Volunteer & Leader for Black Transwomen Inc. The event will be moderated by Cathy Renna (she/her), Communication Director, National LGBTQ Task Force. Renna stated, “I am so looking forward to this. In HIV & LGBTQ+ advocacy spaces, it takes an intersectional & multigenerational sharing of knowledge & experience to build long-lasting action. We're partnering with AIDS United to hold a panel around the continued fight to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic.” Panel members will examine media approaches in the HIV & LGBTQ+ advocacy spaces through an intersectional & intergenerational lens. Panelists will share their experiences & how their advocacy translates to action. Creating Change 365 is a new series of virtual events presented by the Task Force to build community, organize & mobilize our LGBTQ+ community. To Register…

In The Aftermath Of Boston Pride

Last summer the org behind Boston Pride call it quits after over 50 years of LGBTQ Pride celebrations in the city. With Boston Pride dissolved Pride celebrations in Boston have been left to the LGBTQ entrepreneurs to carry on some sort of activities & events. However without a parade all the block parties scheduled cannot quite fill this void. For our lesbian community the traditional Dyke March will take place Friday June 10th starting at around 6:30P at the Parkman Bandstand on Boston Common. Then Lesbian Night Life takes over the hottest rooftop bar in the city at The Revere Hotel Friday night from 7P to Midnight. The party continues with Esme Women's Block Party-Boston Pride on Saturday June 11th from 2P to 7P. On Sunday June 12th there are 2 traditional block parties taking place; the Back Bay Block Party on Stuart Street in Boston from 2P until 9P & JP Block Party from Noon until 7P at 2 Perkins Street in Jamaica Plain. Then next week from June 16th to 19th Queer Cabarets will be presenting a rotating cast of intergenerational & intersectional performers that perform live - cradled by an installation of previously recorded multi-media interviews featuring area & national LGBTQ+ community members ages 20’s to 70’s & from all points on the LGBTQ+ spectrum at the Central Square Theatre in Cambridge. Expect performances of stellar music, dance, spoken word, comedy & just downright fabulousness along with the funny & often poignant reflections on gay to queer lives over the span of 100 years. However you choose to celebrate..Happy Pride Boston!  For More Info…

Rainbow Lullaby Album Launch Event


The Ali Forney Center & Broadway Records are hosting The Rainbow Lullaby’s album launch at Hush in NYC with a benefit for the Ali Forney Center on Monday June 13th from 6P to 9P. The event will feature LGBTQ Broadway stars performing numbers from the album with all proceeds going to The Ali Forney Center. Sutton Lee Seymour & Brita Filter will emcee with performances by Madge Dietrich (Kinky Boots), Ernie Pruneda (Sister Act), Richie Leone (PROJECT LEONE), Jonathan D. Burke (HARLEM), Jamie Cepero (SMASH) & album creators Ryan Bauer-Walsh & Fred Sauter. Queer activist speaker Jason Rosenberg will also be addressing the crowd to rally the community to fight the over 200 pieces of anti-LGBTQ legislation filed nationally in the last 6 months. Bauer-Walsh stated, “238 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been filed in less than three months of this year. It is crucial that we create visibility for queer families in the march towards equality as we fight this fascist legislation. This album is the first of its kind despite LGBTQ+ families having existed as long as lullabies. It is time to ensure the protection of LGBTQ+ citizens & families- it is time to rally once again as a community to protect our families!” Hush HK at 348 W 52nd Street in NYC has offered their space for the Rainbow themed benefit & will be donating 10% of the bar tab to The Ali Forney Center. Fred Sauter concluded, “The creation of queer cultural traditions is a part of arts activism & acts of protest through demonstrations of love, empathy & family are a crucial part of our way forward.” I talked to Ryan about the inspiration for creating “The Rainbow Lullaby” album in this exclusive chat. LISTEN  

LGBTQ Asylum Seekers In Sweden


West Pride the LGBTQ cultural festival in Gothenburg, Sweden is demanding that the Swedish government guarantees a legally just asylum process for LGBTQ people in their country. The current Swedish model is based on stereotyping that all LGBTQ people have the same experiences of growing up in homophobic & transphobic societies. They are therefore expected to be able to tell in detail about their experiences in asylum investigations which can be very difficult for people who are raised in cultures where LGBTQ is considered taboo, sinful & associated with legal sanctions. Emma Gunterberg Sachs, General Manager of West Pride stated, “Letting an arbitrary process decide if LGBTQ refugees are approved asylum or not is inhumane. Far too many are wrongly sent back to a lifetime of persecution, imprisonment or death. We need to stop this now.” On June 1st West Pride launched a new campaign & petition to highlight the problems with the current asylum process by highlighting six different LGBTQ refugees' stories about their path through the Swedish asylum process. They have appointed them as Pride ambassadors & honorary members of West Pride to give them the credibility they currently need to stay. In connection with the campaign West Pride is starting a petition that will be handed over to Minister for Migration Anders Ygeman on World Refugee Day on June 20th. 'Serena' from Iraq stated, "I have seen friends stoned to death because of their sexual orientation & I would never be able to return to Iraq & live as who I am. I have the courage to take my own life if I have to return." Sign Petition...  West Pride runs from June 13th to 19th. For More Info…

MBCC Against The Tide Fundraisers

Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition (MBCC) is hosting its annual statewide Against the Tide athletic fundraising events as both virtual & in-person events this summer. MBCC will hold two in-person events kicking off on Saturday June 18th at DCR’s Hopkinton State Park in Hopkinton, MA for the 30th year & then on Saturday August 13th at DCR’s Nickerson State Park in Brewster, MA for the 23rd year. These events will feature 1-mile recreational or competitive swims, ½-mile recreational swim, 5K or 10K runs, 3-mile walk & a 1-mile USMS sanctioned swim. Cheryl Osimo, MBCC's Executive Director stated, "We are grateful to the many people who continue to support MBCC & we’re so encouraged by how well our virtual events were received by participants both locally & nationally in 2020 & 2021. In 2022, we hope that providing multiple virtual & in-person event options will give even more people a chance to be a part of the Against the Tide events to swim, walk & run in support of breast cancer prevention." Additionally MBCC will host two virtual events each with an 8-day participation window. First the Against the Tide June Virtual Event will run June 11th to 18th & Against the Tide August Virtual Event will run August 6th to 13th. Registration for both the virtual & in-person options is $40 for an individual participant & $100 for a family registration up to 5 family members. MBCC is the leading breast cancer organization dedicated to preventing the environmental causes of breast cancer through community education, research advocacy & changes to public policy. For More Info... 

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