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Young LGBTQ Southerners New Report

The Campaign for Southern Equality & Campus Pride released a new 30-page report detailing the findings of the 2021 Survey of Southern LGBTQ Experiences. The report “Coming of Age as an LGBTQ Southerner” highlights responses from 4,000+ LGBTQ people in the South about a wide range of topics addressing family life to faith & religious settings to school experiences to health experiences. Dr. Austin H. Johnson Director of the Southern Equality Research & Policy Center (SERPC) at the Campaign for Southern Equality & Assistant Professor of Sociology at Kenyon College stated, “Unfortunately, the dominant narrative emerging from these data is that thousands of individuals throughout the South are not getting the social support they need & deserve at home, in schools & in their communities. This lack of support & inclusion is disempowering & may cause detrimental harm to their mental & physical wellbeing, especially when that lack of support gets compounded with clear, state-sponsored discrimination such as the passage of anti-LGBTQ laws.” Shane L. Windmeyer founder & Executive Director of Campus Pride concluded, “Right now the sad reality is that many young LGBTQ+ people are experiencing a lack of acceptance at home & in their faith communities & it’s especially troubling that younger people are often perceiving & receiving less emotional, mental & physical support & resources than older respondents. Young LGBTQ+ people are being forced to conjure immense strength & resilience to combat marginalization & isolation & it’s vital that we do everything we can, on every level of society, to support and affirm them for being who they are.” 

Jason Stuart Wins Best LGBTQ Comic

Jason Stuart has won Best LGBTQ Comedian at the Worldwide Comedy Contest & Awards that were presented at The Comedy Chateau Sunday August 28th in North Hollywood, CA. Jason was nominated among the best of the best LGBTQ comedians including Margaret Cho, Billy Eichner, Judy Gold, Hannah Gadsby, Tig Notaro, Steven Roberts, Wanda Sykes, Bowen Yang & Gina Yashere. Stuart stated, "It's an honor to be included among so many funny & diverse comedians. So much has changed since I came out in 1993 which I am so grateful for. But there is still so much more to do, as bias is still among us". This comes on the heals of Jason’s Award winning performance as Best Actor In A Comedy for The Indie Series Award for his Amazon / Revry TV show SMOTHERED he co-created with Mitch Hara. "Smothered" is a fabulous must-see comedy series that brings much needed comedic relief with a 30-minute binge session of 7, 5-minute episodes of outrageous, irreverent & laugh out loud bliss. The series is about a longtime gay couple that cannot stand each other but can’t afford to get divorced. They decide to try & save their relationship by navigating their way through couple’s therapy. They're currently shooting season 2 with guest stars Amanda Bearse, Jai Rodriguez, Aida Rodriguez, Armand Fields, Jasper Cole & more. I talked to Jason & Mitch in 2020 about what they hope to accomplish with this hysterical comedy series & their spin on our LGBTQ issues in this exclusive audio interview. LISTEN

LGBTQ Task Force Adds New Field Staff

The National LGBTQ Task Force announced that Rae Leiner joins the Task Force as their new Field Director & Elijah Nichols joins the organization as Field Organizer in the Advocacy & Action Department. Kierra Johnson, Executive Director of the National LGBTQ Task Force stated, “We are thrilled to continue building our field department. Rae Leiner & Elijah Nichols both bring rich & diverse experiences, passion & power to this vital aspect of the Task Force’s work. As the queer community continues to face unrelenting & escalating attacks at every level, Rae & Elijah will be instrumental to successfully mobilizing and engaging people in our work for liberation & equity.” Rae Leiner is a Black identified multi-racial non-binary Queer organizer, activist & parent currently residing in the Hudson Valley. An experienced facilitator, community organizer, strategic thinker, embodied practitioner & strategic relationship builder, Rae’s creative thinking & radical dreaming inform their analysis & guide their systemic approach to challenging race, class & gender injustice. Elijah Nichols utilizes over ten years of organizing & advocacy experiences to help build community & foster a commitment to the collective struggle for our liberation. Originally from Michigan, Elijah chose to attend George Mason University & completed a Bachelors in Government & International Politics with a focus on the intersection of class struggles with LGBTQ+ liberation. The National LGBTQ Task Force advances full freedom, justice & equality for LGBTQ people. They are building a future where everyone can be free to be their entire selves in every aspect of their lives. 

Campus Pride 2022 Best LGBTQ Colleges

Campus Pride the preeminent resource for LGBTQ leadership development, diversity inclusion & advocacy within higher education announced their annual Best of the Best Colleges & Universities for LGBTQ students in the United States. The list recognizes the work of 40 campuses that have made their communities safer & more welcoming environments for students, faculty & staff alike. Shane Windmeyer, Campus Pride Executive Director stated, “Campus Pride created the Best of the Best List to recognize the outstanding accomplishments of these colleges & universities, creating safer, more welcoming campuses for LGBTQ+ people. Students, prospective students & their families, along with faculty & staff members, deserve to know whether they will be safe on campus, so they can make the best choices for their own academic success & by creating inclusive, safe environments these colleges are taking responsibility for all students.” The Campus Pride list features 40 four-year campuses from across the country. These campuses have achieved 5 out of 5 stars on the Campus Pride Index (CPI), the definitive national benchmarking tool measuring LGBTQ-friendly policies, programs & practices. To earn a ranking of 5 out of 5 stars, campuses receive a percentage score from 90 to 100 based on their LGBTQ inclusive policies, programs & practices. The methodology to determine this year’s Best of the Best List was based on an overall score of 93 percent or higher. Dr. Genny Beemyn, the coordinator of Campus Pride's Trans Policy Clearinghouse concluded, "We are seeing more & more colleges earn 5 stars because campuses are doing more to support their trans students. While all colleges can & should do more to be trans-inclusive, many institutions are taking important steps forward." 

Out Leadership Welcomes New Member

Out Leadership the oldest & largest coalition of global companies working to improve LGBTQ equality in the world welcomes the D. E. Shaw group as its newest member firm. Todd Sears, CEO & Founder of Out Leadership stated, “We’re delighted that the D. E. Shaw group has joined our global community of firms that now represents over 6 million global employees. We appreciate the firm’s clear commitment to a diverse, equitable & inclusive work environment, recognizing its view that a sense of belonging drives creativity, productivity & many critical business imperatives. This closely aligns with our approach & we’re excited to start working with their firm.” Eddie Fishman, member of the D. E. Shaw group’s Executive Committee concluded, “I’m excited for our firm to be part of Out Leadership to support its important work. We look forward to working together to foster a welcoming, supportive environment where all of our people feel they belong & can reach their full potential.” Among its efforts to foster an inclusive workplace the D. E. Shaw group annually hosts its Momentum Fellowship an undergraduate program for students who self-identify as part of the LGBTQ community. The firm counts among its employee affinity groups DESC.out which seeks to foster community among LGBTQ employees & allies to promote an inclusive work environment that supports all sexual orientations & gender identities. Out Leadership partners with the world’s most influential companies to build business opportunities, cultivate talent, & drive LGBTQ+ equality forward. They believe that LGBTQ+ inclusion positively impacts business results & that including LGBTQ+ people at the most senior level of executive leadership builds business. 

AIDS Memorial Quilt Changing Pattern

The National AIDS Memorial has partnered with Southern AIDS Coalition to bring sections of the AIDS Memorial Quilt to communities throughout the Southern U.S to highlight & honor Black & Brown lives lost to HIV & AIDS as part of “Change The Pattern”. The new initiative is funded by a $2.4 million grant by Gilead Sciences. John Cunningham National AIDS Memorial CEO stated, “The National AIDS Memorial is honored to partner with Southern AIDS Coalition & Gilead Sciences to bring the Quilt to the South as a touchstone to actively engage communities most impacted by HIV/AIDS. By creating an empowering message & safe spaces for conversation, we can uplift, inspire & make progress toward ending the HIV epidemic, challenge cultural stigmas & continue the legacy of advocacy that the Quilt represents.” Dafina Ward, Executive Director of Southern AIDS Coalition added, “Just as the Quilt was founded 35 years ago as a visual representation of the need to end stigma & provide equitable resources to communities most impacted by HIV & AIDS, Change the Pattern is a call to action & change in the South…The sharing & telling of these powerful stories through the Quilt, coupled with advocacy & open dialogue, can help end HIV-related stigma and bring the stories of those we’ve lost to light.” Dr. Shanell McGoy, Director of Corporate Giving at Gilead Sciences concluded, “Gilead is so proud to support this innovative program that will use the Quilt as a powerful teaching tool & connector to raise greater awareness & help change these statistics. To end the HIV/AIDS epidemic, we must continue to examine new ways to reach & actively engage communities that continue to be disproportionately impacted by HIV.” 

LGBTQ Military Homecoming Gala Event

The Modern Military Association of America (MMAA) Homecoming Gala takes place September 8th at the Army Navy Country Club in Arlington, VA from 6P to 10:30P & is presented by USAA. The Honorable Shawn Skelly, Assistant Secretary of Defense For Readiness will be a guest speaker. Skelly is a retired United States Navy officer, national security expert & LGBTQ rights advocate. During the Obama administration she served as Director of the Executive Secretariat at the U.S. Department of Transportation & from 2013 to 2016 as a special assistant to the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology & Logistics. In 2017 she was appointed by Obama to the National Commission on Military, National & Public Service making her one of the highest-profile openly transgender presidential appointees in U.S. history. In 2017 Out Magazine named Skelly to its list of 100 most influential LGBTQ Americans. Skelly was appointed to Biden's transition team for the Department of Defense in July 2021 & was confirmed as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Readiness by voice vote. The Modern Military Association of America is the nation’s largest non-profit organization for LGBTQ service members, military spouses, veterans & allies. Formed through the merger of the American Military Partner Association & OutServe-SLDN they are a united voice for the LGBTQ military & veteran community. They work to make a real difference in the lives of our modern military families through education, advocacy & support. “Reuniting in Pride 2022” the MMAA Homecoming Gala tickets run from general admission $350 & up to veteran tickets from $150 up. Get $50 off your ticket by using the promo code: MMAA50. (Excludes VIP Tix) Attire is Black Tie or Military Equivalent. 

Riotron & Big Freedia New Video Rocks

Canadian electro-pop artist Riotron has joined forces with multi-talented queen of bounce music Big Freedia to release the new video for their song “Drop A Bomb”. The video is an eye-popping animated piece by Alex Salyer (Miley Cyrus, Trixie Mattel) in which the artists are uniquely portrayed in cartoon form for the fun-fueled, high-energy song about being yourself fearlessly without worrying who you are going to offend. Salyer stated, “The song felt like a fun reminder of how important it is to let go of insecurities, drop everything you’re doing & dance your butt off as often as you can. I want to highlight queerness in a fun, wacky & joyful way. All are welcome in my cartoon land.” Riotron added, “I wanted to create something that would really connect & resonate with the LGBTQ community. I wanted to just get the message out there to be yourself. To have that level of confidence when you walk into a place or meet new people, where you don’t have to hide who you are, you can just be yourself.” Big Freedia concluded, “I can keep paving the way for younger artists that are coming behind me. I want to inspire them to be able to be themselves & just be free & be unapologetic & to let their voices be heard as well. It was so fun! I loved the process of creating my animated image. We had a great meeting where we were able to see the basics of the animated video, & I just loved it! It really captured the fun energy of the song. Drop a bomb on ‘em!” Check it out it’s a perfect escape for a few moments in these crazy times we’re living in. WATCH VIDEO

Transgender Healthcare Ends In Florida

In Florida this weekend the Agency for Health Care Administration’s (AHCA) rule that ends Medicaid coverage for gender-affirming care officially goes into effect stripping life-saving care from thousands of vulnerable Floridians. The rule denies Medicaid coverage for transgender healthcare is just part of a broader assault on healthcare for transgender Floridians that has engulfed state agencies & the legislature. Nikole Parker, Equality Florida Director of Transgender Equality stated, “As it has been with these attacks across the board, the cruelty is the point. Gender-affirming care is lifesaving care. That care is now being shut off by a state agency that has been corrupted, weaponized & stacked with extremists by a governor desperate to fuel his own political ambitions. For many, that will mean losing access to health care they have been relying upon for decades. The transgender community, like all people, shouldn’t have necessary care stripped away by extremist politicians working overtime to stoke right-wing fervor. This cynical attack is dangerous & puts the health of thousands at risk.” Dr. Gary Howell, CEO and Chief Psychologist at the Center for Psychological Growth concluded, “As a psychologist who works with transgender & nonbinary patients, I am deeply concerned for those who will be directly impacted by this unconscionable move to deny gender-affirming care. I have already begun to see an increase in suicidal ideation in patients who fear they will be forced by the state out of their transition process. Gender-affirming care is medically necessary & lifesaving.” The DeSantis Administration assault on gender-affirming care is motivated by the Governor’s desperate desire for unchecked power & is taking a toll on Florida’s transgender community. 

Fighting Back To School Book Bans

GLAAD has issued a new guide that offers tools for responding to the rising wave of censorship that targets LGBTQ books & school curricula including ways to report book bans & discrimination as well as resources for free access to LGBTQ books & materials. The org has also joined two national efforts to fight censorship & the targeting of LGBTQ books: the Unite Against Book Bans campaign & the Banned Books Week Coalition. Sarah Kate Ellis GLAAD President & CEO stated, “Everyone deserves to see themselves reflected in the books they read & at school & that includes LGBTQ students, families & teachers. The increase in book bans & anti-LGBTQ school censorship is disturbing & we all need to come together to protect free speech & to support targeted authors, teachers, librarians & school board members. GLAAD is proud to join the Unite Against Book Bans campaign & the Banned Books Week Coalition to help ensure that LGBTQ voices are not silenced by extremists, whether in classrooms, libraries, or any media.” This comes at a time when a school district in the suburbs of Fort Worth, Texas has demanded that an illustrated version of “The Diary of Anne Frank,” as well as the Bible & dozens of other titles be removed from its shelves & digital catalogues. The “Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation” is a 2019 illustrated retelling of the famous diary from Israeli filmmaker Ari Folman & illustrator David Polonsky. The action comes after conservative activist parents & school board members challenged the content of these books. Objections reportedly included depictions of the LGBTQ community & perceived links to critical race theory.

Trans Americans Disabilities Act Victory

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has affirmed that transgender people who experience gender dysphoria are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act & the Rehabilitation Act. Though multiple district courts have previously found that transgender people cannot be excluded from the protections of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) this decision is the first such ruling from a U.S. Court of Appeals. The ruling reverses a Virginia district court’s dismissal of claims brought by Kesha Williams a transgender woman who was incarcerated in a men’s detention facility, denied access to medical treatment for her gender dysphoria & faced persistent harassment by other inmates & prison deputies. Jennifer Levi, GLAD Transgender Rights Project Director stated, “This is a huge win. There is no principled reason to exclude transgender people from our federal civil rights laws. It’s incredibly significant for a federal appeals court to affirm that the protections in our federal disability rights laws extend to transgender people. It would turn disability law upside down to exclude someone from its protection because of having a stigmatized medical condition. This opinion goes a long way toward removing social & cultural barriers that keep people with treatable, but misunderstood, medical conditions from being able to thrive.” Shannon Minter NCLR Legal Director concluded, “This is a thorough, well-reasoned opinion recognizing that the Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination against individuals with gender dysphoria. This decision sets a powerful precedent that will be important for other courts considering this critical issue.” 

Equality Forum LGBT 2022 Icons (VIDEO)

Equality Forum has announced 31 LGBT icons for their 17th annual LGBT History Month celebration in October. Malcolm Lazin, Equality Forum Executive Director stated, “In its 17th year, LGBT History Month will have archived 496 Icons in its database, making it the largest online resource for information on worldwide LGBT leaders. The Icons are searchable by a variety of means, including from a cloud of over 150 descriptive tags, such as Academy Award, Transgender & Politics.” The 2022 LGBT History Month Icons are author Hans Christian, Andersen, trans rights plaintiff Robina Asti, photographer Richard Avedon, marriage equality pioneers Ninia Baehr & Genora Dancel, WNBA’s Sue Bird, CNN news anchor Victor Blackwell, Actor Matt Bomer, banker Raphael Bostic, author Jennifer Finney Boylan, governor Kate Brown, Mexican writer Nancy Cárdenas, activist Kitty Cone, national security advisor Robert Cutler, actor/singer André De Shields, actor/singer Lea Delaria, Anna Elizabeth Dickinson, journalist Masha Gessen, Ron Gold, author Radclyffe Hall, author, Bell Hooks, trans activist Jazz Jennings, Congressman Mondaire Jones, Judge Stephen Lachs, Lawrence of Arabia, reality star Lance Loud, poet James Merrill, dancer Rudolf Nureyev, Judge J. Paul Oetken, Amy Schneider, political analyst Amy Walter & director Alice Wu. Each day of October a new Icon is featured with a video, biography, downloadable images & other resources. LGBT History Month is a free educational tool available for to the media, academic institutions, organizations & the public. Equality Forum is a national & international LGBT civil rights organization with an educational focus. Equality Forum coordinates LGBT History Month, produces documentary films, undertakes high-impact initiatives & presents the largest annual national and international LGBT civil rights summit. WATCH   

The Dinah Celebrating 31 Years (AUDIO)

This week I talked with Mariah Hanson, founder & producer of the legendary Club Skirts Dinah Shore Weekend that’s celebrating its 31st year & takes place September 21st through September 25th in Palm Springs, CA. The Dinah is continuing its legend with a show-stopping all-female entertainment line-up & has moved to one of Palm Springs’ most historic hotels The Margaritaville formerly The Riviera. Built in 1959 this newly renovated establishment will serve as party central infamous for its role of drawing iconic celebrities like Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Lucille Ball, Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Sammy Davis Jr. & Sonny & Cher. This glamorous venue will host The Black & White Ball in the Grand Ballroom Friday night September 23rd with headliner 80s pop idol Taylor Dayne who is exclusively bringing her full band to put on a rare & unique show for Dinah goers. Also headlining the Friday night event will be Haviah Mighty who just won a Juno for “Best Canadian Album of the Year” & is now on her way to take the U.S. by storm. Then on Saturday night Fletcher one of the most electrifying queer artists to burst onto the scene is taking centerstage at The Hollywood Party also in the fabulous Grand Ballroom. Of course it wouldn’t be The Dinah without the next level of epic pool parties. The weekend pool parties will be highlighted with exclusive live performances by four exciting emerging queer artists Zolita, IV4, Cassidy King & Siena Liggins who are making themselves role models as visible members of our LGBTQ community. I talked to Mariah about what she hopes to accomplish with The Dinah this year & her spin on our LGBTQ issues. LISTEN  

Provincetown Carnival Week Returns

Now that Provincetown is literally once again up & running Carnival Week has begun celebrating its 44th year now through August 20th. This year’s theme is Monsters, Myths or Legends for the weeklong festival attracting tens of thousands of guests from all over the world to enjoy parties, events, costume contests & of course the infamous Carnival parade down Commercial Street on Thursday August 18th featuring Grand Marshal Mx Justin Vivian Bond serving as a symbol of Provincetown’s inclusiveness, creativity & diversity. Since 1978 the Provincetown Business Guild has produced the Carnival Parade & Celebration as way to introduce new LGBTQ+ visitors & allies to Provincetown making their summer vacations to Ptown a part of their annual traditions. There are three big events Sunday August 14th alone starting with the Feet Over Front Street 5K in the morning, then the Let's Get Kraken Cruise at 4P & Miss Swamp Thang – Carnival Opening Party at the Crown & Anchor starting at 9P. A few other highlights throughout the week include Monday August 15th at the Brass Key's Myth of Medusa Pool Party at 1P, Tuesday's Electric Dreams: Legendary Tea Dance at The Boatslip, Wednesday August 17th Mx Justin Vivian Bond at Town Hall at 8:30P, the annual Carnival parade down Commercial Street on Thursday August 18th, then at The Boatslip on Friday August 19th is SLURP Paige Turner’s Tawdry Carnival Pool Party at 12P & the Saturday August 20th: QAF Bingo with Austin & Mackenzie. Also ladies don’t miss the PBG women’s fundraiser with the Pied Piper pop-up event that will take place for a one-afternoon girl only party at The Provincetown Brewing Co. with music curated by Boston DJ Leah L’Duke on Wednesday August 17th from 4P to 7P to support a permanent home from Provincetown institution Womencrafts. Have a blast everyone & play safe! 

Trans Children Parents Challenge Law

In Alabama parents of transgender children urge the appeals court to maintain a block on Alabama’s SB 184 that would criminalize essential medical care for their kids. Asaf Orr, NCLR Senior Staff Attorney & Transgender Youth Project Director stated, “As the district court said, governments cannot deny transgender adolescents the ability to obtain essential medical care simply because of who they are. Holding otherwise would allow states to enact discriminatory laws that harm young people and intrude into family life." Jennifer Levi, GLAD Transgender Rights Project Director added, “The district court recognized that parents, not the government, should make decisions about what’s best for their kids’ health & wellbeing. Parents want what’s best for their kids. That’s why preserving parental rights to make healthcare decisions for their children has been such a long-held American value.” Alabama’s SB 184 criminalizes parents who seek essential medical care for their transgender children, the doctors who provide this medical care & anyone else who assists transgender young people to get the care they need. Under the law, parents, doctors & others could face up to 10 years in prison & a fine of up to $15,000. The State of Alabama has appealed the district court’s May 13th order blocking the law from being enforced to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. In blocking the law the district court noted that the State of Alabama presented no evidence to contradict testimony from doctors & medical experts on the well-established safety & efficacy of medical care for transgender youth who experience gender dysphoria, including the fact that over 22 major medical organizations recognize the established course of care for transgender youth. 

Digital LGBTQ Hate Campaigns Ramp Up

In a new report released by the Human Rights Campaign & the Center for Countering Digital Hate, extremist politicians are ramping up harmful anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric ahead of the 2022 elections by 400%. Joni Madison HRC Interim President stated, “As social media platforms fail to enforce their own standards extremists are wielding dangerous influence, seeking to radicalize Americans, incite hate against LGBTQ+ people & mobilize the extremists within their base ahead of the midterm elections. But the rise of this online vitriol doesn’t just have political implications — there are deadly, real-world consequences as violent rhetoric leads to stigma, radicalization & ultimately violence. Nearly one-in-five of any type of hate crime is now motivated by anti-LGBTQ+ bias & the last two years have been the deadliest for transgender people, particularly Black transgender women. HRC, along with our partners at the Center for Countering Digital Hate, urgently calls on social media companies to act swiftly & transparently to stop the spread of extremist & hateful misinformation, including the grooming narrative.” Imran Ahmed, CEO of the Center for Countering Digital Hate concluded, “We’re in the middle of a growing wave of hate & demonization targeting LGBTQ+ people – often distributed digitally by opportunistic politicians & so-called ‘influencers’ for personal gain. Online hate & lies reflect & reinforce offline violence & hate. The normalization of anti-LGBTQ+ narratives in digital spaces puts LGBTQ+ people in danger. Facebook & Twitter claim in their rules to prohibit this kind of targeted hate & harassment but they simply don’t enforce those rules on bad actors — rules which are designed to protect others’ rights. The clear message from social media giants is that they are willing to turn a blind eye. LGTBQ+ rights have been transformed after decades of hard-won progress, but progress is fragile unless you continue to defend it.” 

ClexaCon Convention & Festival Events

ClexaCon is presenting its sixth in person event that takes place in Anaheim, California from August 26th to 28th at the Anaheim Marriott 700 West Convention Way in Anaheim, CA. ClexaCon brings together thousands of diverse LGBTQ+ fans & content creators from around the world to celebrate positive representation for LGBTQ+ women, trans & non-binary communities in the media. There will be networking events connecting filmmakers, actors & industry professionals with panels, workshops & autograph sessions for fans. ClexaCon aims to empower media creators to produce & distribute more positive LGBTQ content providing educational resources for the community to push for better representation. ClexaCon strives to lay the foundation for improved visibility within the media while encouraging more LGBTQ women to participate in creating the stories they desire. There will also be virtual access. The events schedule beginning on Friday August 26th kicks off with their Community day, evening welcome events, speed friending, optional add-on ClexaCon at Disneyland Day. Then Saturday August 27th there will be celebrity panels, meet & greets, autographs, photo ops, general panels, workshops, artist alley & the vendor floor with a special event Saturday night. On Sunday there will be more celebrity panels, meet & greets, autographs, photo ops, general panels, workshops, artist alley & a day on the vendor floor. Also during the festival will be the Pool Party, Game Night featuring Queeraoke. Some of the celebrities will include Caity Lotz & Jes Macallan (Legends of Tomorrow) on stage together & Katie Cassidy (Black Canary on Arrow) will be at ClexaCon for her first time so you’ll want to have the opportunity to purchase autographs, photo ops, meet & greets or experience a virtual one on one. 

Provincetown Swim For Life 2022 Events

Celebrating 35 years as a community tradition the Provincetown Community Compact is presenting their annual Provincetown Swim for Life & Paddler Flotilla fundraiser on September 10th. The 35th anniversary of this event takes place along the East End shoreline of Provincetown Harbor & will begin at 11A on the beach at the Breakwater & Harbor Hotels & ends at the new Cannery Wharf Park. A parallel Swim for Life also takes place September 10th at Wellfleet’s Great Pond. Jay Critchley, Director of The Compact stated, “We are thrilled to be back at the town’s new spectacular waterfront park & welcome swimmers, kayakers, volunteers, safety boaters & our fans from across the country.” The Provincetown Swim for Life & Paddler Flotilla fundraiser has raised over $6M for AIDS, women’s health & the community. Last year it attracted over 250 swimmers including 33 swimmers “Swimming in Place” around the country. Over 100 volunteers are invited to assist on land & sea including kayakers. Transport to the start will be provided by the Funk Bus & the famous Mermaid Brunch will be catered by Far Land Provisions with the world-traveling Zoe Lewis providing the music. Watch parties along the shore are organizing to cheer the swimmers on. The finish line at the big white tent will feature the Prayer Ribbons Garden a 150-foot half circle installed on the beach in front of the retaining wall to celebrate & memorialize our loved ones. The public is invited to share this post-Labor Day tradition along the shore & greet swimmers at the finish line at Cannery Wharf Park where there will be food, beverage and entertainment. You can also register to swim in your own favorite place on your own schedule. 

LGBTQ Task Force Queer The Vote Drive

With the November midterm election approaching way too fast the National LGBTQ Task Force's Queer the Vote campaign is ramping up. Queer the Vote campaign was created to educate & mobilize LGBTQ+ rights supporters during key election cycles & fight the assaults on our LGBTQ+ community. This year state lawmakers have proposed a record 238 bills that would limit the rights of LGBTQ+ people. Queer the Vote is on the frontlines as a dynamic vehicle for power-building & transformative legislative wins but they cannot do this without you. Please sign up now with the Task Force's field program for opportunities to learn about how to build campaigns, become an organizing leader in your community & create & run phone banks & text banks. You can do this remotely & in-person & your time will help build lifelong skills in organizing & community advocacy. In 2022 our LGBTQ community has been dealing with the largest wave of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation in recent memory. Despite all the progress we’ve made to end discrimination millions of LGBTQ people face barriers in every aspect of their lives including housing, employment, healthcare, retirement & basic human rights. So if you are an LGBTQ+ person or an ally interested in being a part of seismic change across the country the National LGBTQ Task Force is driving Queer the Vote to educate & mobilize LGBTQ rights supporters to train & mobilize millions of activists across our nation & build a world where you can be you. Sign-up deadline is August 10th. 

Persecution Of Brittney Griner (AUDIO)

Since March we have been covering this unfortunate situation & we knew with Russia’s homophobic agenda Brittney Griner did not have a chance for a fair & just trial. Now with her excessive sentence of 9 years in a Russian prison it’s time for the U.S. government to do everything they can to bring Brittney home. It's outrageous that Griner who has played professional basketball for both countries including leading Russia to win championship league trophies as well as helping this country win Olympics gold be stripped of her human rights & be cast off to a Russian jail for a misdemeanor charge. Kierra Johnson, Executive Director of the National LGBTQ Task Force stated, “We all know the real reason for this trial & the way Russia had handled her detention: their transparent attempt to give themselves legitimacy & threaten the U.S. & other countries they are in conflict with by holding her for as long as necessary & refusing to negotiate any return. Brittney Griner has been caught in the middle of the conflict & sanctions imposed on Russia. With tensions between the U.S. & Russia are at the highest they have been in decades we have seen the lives of Brittney & others like Paul Whelan have their futures & lives held on the whim of a government that is using them as leverage to retaliate against sanctions & the international condemnation for their actions. We will not stop advocating for her release & return to the U.S., now in the heads of the Biden Administration & the State Department. Bring Brittney home!” Last March I talked to Aron Solomon chief legal analyst at Esquire Digital about Griner’s detainment in Russia. LISTEN

West Virginia Transgender Medicaid Win

In Charleston, West Virginia federal District Court Judge Robert C. Chambers ruled that West Virginia’s Medicaid program could no longer discriminate by excluding coverage for gender-confirming surgical care for transgender West Virginia Medicaid participants. The ruling came in a lawsuit filed by Lambda Legal, Nichols Kaster, PLLP & the Employment Law Center, PLLC challenging West Virginia’s exclusion of coverage for gender-confirming surgical care. Plaintiff Shauntae Anderson stated, “I am excited to finally have access to the healthcare I deserve. The exclusion negatively affects my health & wellbeing as well as the health & wellbeing of other transgender Medicaid participants in our community. Gender-confirming care is healthcare & it is lifesaving.” Plaintiff Christopher Fain added, “This is a victory not only for me but for other transgender Medicaid participants across West Virginia. This decision is validating, confirming that after years of fighting to prove that gender-confirming care is medically necessary, we should have access to the same services that West Virginia Medicaid already provides to cisgender participants. Transgender West Virginians should never feel as if our lives are worth less than others.” Avatara Smith-Carrington, Staff Attorney at Lambda Legal concluded, “We applaud Judge Chamber’s decision to remove the discriminatory barrier to accessing medically necessary, gender-confirming surgical care for all transgender West Virginia Medicaid participants. Protecting & advancing health care for transgender people is vital, sound & just. Transgender West Virginia Medicaid participants deserve to have equal access to the same coverage for medically necessary healthcare that cisgender Medicaid participants receive as a matter of course.” 

Ann Hampton Callaway Sings Peggy Lee

RESCHEDULED: July 29, 2023 
Tony nominee Ann Hampton Callaway one of the leading pop/jazz singers of our time has created an exciting night of songs & stories in celebration of her inspiration & one of America’s most beloved artists, Peggy Lee. Callaway is bringing her fabulous one woman show “Fever—The Peggy Lee Century” to The Music Room in West Yarmouth, Massachusetts on Sunday August 7th at 7P. The show celebrates the 100th birthday of this trailblazing woman who gave the world “Fever” through six decades of iconic songs from sultry to sizzling. Fall under the spell of love songs from Peggy’s swinging Benny Goodman days through decades of hits from film & recordings that earned this iconic singer songwriter her powerhouse nickname, “The female Frank Sinatra.” This show comes after 2 sold out performances at The Art House in Provincetown with Ann & her sister Liz so don’t miss the opportunity to take in this exceptional intimate event that was written & will be performed by Ann accompanying herself on the piano. Callaway stated, “I am excited to bring my celebrated one woman show “Fever: The Peggy Lee Century” to The Music Room Cape Cod this Sunday at 7PM. I record my Peggy Lee CD this week & this show will be a celebration of not only one of America’s most iconic & brilliant singer songwriters, but also a celebration of a dream come true- to give Peggy the centennial party she deserves! Last year, the place was packed & I can’t wait to spoil my Cape Cod fans this year with some sizzling Fever!" 

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