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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!" 

New Horror Film “They/Them” (AUDIO)

This week I talked with Brazilian actor & musician Darwin Del Fabro about the new horror film “They/Them” (pronounced “They Slash Them”) he’s featured in. The slasher film is written & directed by John Logan & produced by Blumhouse Productions. “They/Them” had its World Premier at the Outfest film festival in Los Angeles last month & will have its streaming premier on Peacock beginning August 5th. “They/Them” is a queer empowerment story set at a controversial LGBTQ conversion camp & stars Kevin Bacon as Owen Whistler the camp director, Carrie Preston as Dr. Cora Whistler Owen’s wife, Anna Chlumsky as nurse Molly & joined by seven campers played by Theo Germaine, Quei Tann, Anna Lore, Monique Kim, Darwin, Cooper Koch & Austin Crute. The campers come from all different backgrounds. Kim (Anna Lore) & Stu (Cooper Koch) come from affluent families & are reluctant to address their sexual orientations. Then there’s Quei Tann’s Alexandra who faces being disowned by her family unless she successfully completes the camp’s regiment & Toby (Austin Crute) who negotiated a free trip in trade for his stay as camper Veronica (Monique Kim) attempts to work through her bisexuality while Gabriel (Del Fabro) wants to feel accepted after being bullied for so long. As the camp's methods become increasingly concerning & extremely unsettling the campers must work together to protect themselves especially when an axe murderer begins covertly claiming victims & they must figure out if this butchering culprit could be one of them. I talked to Darwin about what he hopes “They/Them” will accomplish & his spin on our LGBTQ issues. LISTEN  

States Suing Over Title IX Inclusion

With less than 100 days until the midterm elections it’s time to do what you can do to make equality the name of the game. Neo-Nazi movements combined with other White Supremacist groups are organizing & mobilizing to do everything possible including arming themselves against peace loving citizens. Last month Attorney Generals from over 20 states including Tennessee, Indiana, Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia & West Virginia had a federal judge put a temporary hold on the Biden Administration’s correct application of LGBTQ & Trans nondiscrimination laws under Title IX. For these states $29 billion in school lunch funding depends on the schools complying with the new rules surrounding gender identity & sexual orientation in schools. Last week in "Don't Say Gay" Florida a memo from Florida Education Commissioner Manny Diaz has been distributed to disregard federal Title IX protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation & gender identity becoming the latest weaponization of state agencies by the DeSantis Administration against LGBTQ Floridians. It’s just common sense that all students no matter their background, sexual orientation or gender identity deserve to feel safe & welcomed in schools. Transgender youth must be included in Title IX protections as well as our LGBTQ kids. If you live in one of the states mentioned above contact your representatives & let them know you stand for equality & in November vote for compassionate forward-thinking people & remove these hatemonger bullies from public office.

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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 th...

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