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Senate Passes Marriage Equality Act

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

World AIDS Day National Observance

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

Truth About The Kids Online Safety Act

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

One Night Only Benefit Cabaret Event

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

TCM Presents “Boys Don’t Cry" (AUDIO)

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

LGBTQ Leaders React To Club Q Attack

Saturday night at Club Q in Colorado Springs five members of our LGBTQ community were murdered & 18 more were wounded. Our hearts are broken for the lives that were lost, those they leave behind & our entire LGBTQ community having once again to be confronted by another senseless hate crime. Mardi Moore, Executive Director of Out Boulder County in Colorado stated, “While we are no stranger to violence, each time this happens it sends devastating ripples throughout our entire community. We grieve together when one of our LGBTQ siblings is taken from us by violence. We fear for our own safety & the safety of those we know & love. We are angry when anyone is killed because of who we are or who we love, & we lament that political attacks on our community embolden hate & make us all less safe. We rage because this happens far too often & the toll that hatred & violence takes on our community is far too high. Out Boulder County remains committed to improving the lives of LGBTQ people while they are living, fighting like hell to keep them alive & grieving for those we lose.” Dr. David J. Johns, Executive Director of the National Black Justice Coalition concluded, "When ignorance is weaponized to become hate, people suffer. When hate-filled people are without communities that love & support their ability to celebrate diversity, embrace democracy & prioritize mental wellness, they can cause harm—to themselves & others. People die when hateful people have access to guns & live in communities & a country that prioritizes people over weapons of mass destruction. We’ve seen this before & sadly, it will continue to happen until we collectively do better.” We stand in solidarity for the victims of this terrible shooting & their loved ones.

Colorado LGBTQ Community Murdered

As we come together as a community for Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) at least 5 people were murdered & 18 injured in a shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs late last night. Authorities report that the suspect is in custody. This horrific shooting is reflective of the 2016 attack at Pulse nightclub in Orlando when a gunman killed 49 people & wounded at least 53 & adds to Colorado being the site of some of the most heinous mass shootings in US history including Columbine High School in 1999 & the 2012 movie theater shooting in Aurora. We have 2 years to get some substantial gun legislation passed in this country to hinder these senseless killing. As we honor Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) today & this week we remember the transgender & nonbinary lives taken this year by anti-transgender hatred & bigotry. With each life taken our community loses so much. In 2022 at least 32 transgender & nonbinary people have been killed & there were probably more because too often these stories go unreported or misreported. This is a national epidemic especially for our Black & Latinx trans women who continue to be disproportionately impacted by these fatal acts of violence & no surprise Florida remains the epicenter. As DeSantis ramps up his unrelenting transphobia in state agencies he’s weaponizing for his own political gain by putting the lives of transgender people at risk passing the Transgender Youth Sports Ban & Don’t Say LGBTQ laws to eliminating life-saving healthcare for over 9,000 transgender Floridians on Medicaid & trying to restrict gender-affirming care for trans youth. Now is the time we all need to speak out & act against homophobia, transphobia, racism & hatred of all kinds. 

Feminist Icons On Iran Women’s Revolt

Women’s Media Center Co-Founders Gloria Steinem & Jane Fonda addressed the Women’s Revolution in Iran at the organization’s Women’s Media Awards. Jane Fonda stated, “The Women's Media Center feels it crucial to emphasize our solidarity with the Women's Revolution in Iran. This is not only because to date more than 300 protestors have been killed & 14,000 arrested--including 63 journalists. This revolution is exploding all over Iran—the likes of which have never been seen in the entire region. It was triggered by the death on September 16th of a 22-year-old Kurdish woman, Mahsa Jina Amini, three days after she was detained by the so-called ‘morality police’ for an alleged violation of the country’s harsh strictures on women’s clothing. Within days, protests burst out across the country in spontaneous grief, rage & defiance by women burning their head scarves, cutting their hair & chanting, ‘Women. Life. Freedom….” Gloria Steinem, WMC Co-Founder concluded, “The United States imposed sanctions on senior officials from Iran’s intelligence & law enforcement branches, condemning what Secretary of State Tony Blinken called ‘Mahsa’s tragic & brutal death.’ But that is nowhere near enough. We want more action. We want more sanctions. The Women’s Media Center calls on women everywhere to move in solidarity with Iranian women & with this Women’s Revolution & with the men supporting these women…Women & girls, our sisters, are trapped in their country with no voice out to the world. We can offer them that voice. Iranian women need to know that we are with them & with the Global Women’s Movement, which won't be stopped...” 

Respect Of Marriage Protections For All

Now that the U.S. Senate has voted 62-37 for cloture on the Respect for Marriage Act, H.R. 8404 will to move forward to the Senate floor. Kelley Robinson HRC Incoming President stated, “The devastating United States Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade was a clear reminder that we are just one Supreme Court decision away from losing too many of our hard fought for rights. In the concurring opinion, Justice Thomas made the outrageous suggestion that Lawrence v. Texas & Obergefell v. Hodges should be next to be challenged. It is clear there is an urgent, dire need to ensure, once & for all, that the days of debate around marriage equality are over. The will of the people is on our side.” Sarah Kate Ellis GLAAD President & CEO concluded, "Any Senator who votes against this bill is casting a vote that harms LGBTQ Americans & is out of touch with a bipartisan supermajority of Americans who support the freedom to marry. Since the first legal marriages for same-gender couples took place in 2004, marriage equality has improved the lives of countless LGBTQ people & their families. As extremist politicians push anti-LGBTQ playbooks on the state level & right-wing U.S. Supreme Court justices overturn other legal precedent, the bipartisan Respect for Marriage Act is an opportunity for our leaders to come together to send a message of equal treatment for everyone. All married couples, including same-gender & interracial couples, are worthy of dignity, respect & equal protection under the law.” Let’s get this done & pass Respect for Marriage Act.

New Guide "Pickleball Is Life" (AUDIO)

This week I talked with author Erin McHugh about her new must-read book “Pickleball Is Life: The Complete Guide to Feeding Your Obsession” just in time for the holiday season. Pickleball is the fastest growing sport in America. It’s easy to learn but impossible to master making it the sports craze that’s sweeping the nation. Nearly 5 million people nationwide have picked up their paddles & taken to the court. In her new book McHugh highlights the rules & the fun of the game in a fabulous handbook format published by HarperCollins & delightfully illustrated by Jackie Besteman. “Pickleball Is Life” is the first book of its kind celebrating the wild & wonderful world of pickleball taking the readers on a journey from the sport’s quirky origins to its modern-day cult following. Erin shares a vast pickleball history & knowledge including etiquette tips, a DIY court, obscure rules & pointers for good-natured trash talk. Along the way with its visual graphs & illustrations you’ll be inspired to get on board to the current trend that has embraced everyone of all ages & attracted a huge celebrity following. Erin also includes interviews with members of the three founding families from Bainbridge Island, Washington who are still very much involved in the sport & its growth. People of all athletic abilities & backgrounds have fallen in love with pickleball but it’s also an excellent way to exercise, interact & socialize with others something we’re all craving now more than ever. In this exclusive audio chat I talked to Erin about her inspiration for writing her new book & her spin on our LGBTQ issues. LISTEN  

Wicked Queer Documentary Film Fest

Wicked Queer, Boston’s LGBTQ Film Festival is presenting their first ever documentary mini fall fest WQ Docs that kicks off Friday November 18th & runs until Monday November 21st. Opening night documentary will be “Esther Newton Made Me Gay” by filmmaker Jean Carlomusto on November 18th at 7P at the Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Avenue in Boston, MA. Newton has spent six decades writing about & forging queer communities. "Esther Newton Made Me Gay" is a rare look at queer history & gender studies through a living lesbian icon encompassing amazing archival footage peppered with Esther’s other passion of dog training poodles. Then on Saturday November 19th WQ Docs presents "Uýra: The Rising Forest" at 12P also at the Museum of Fine Arts. Uýrais a trans-indigenous artist travels through the Amazon forest on a journey of self-discovery using performance art & ancestral messages to teach indigenous youth & confront structural racism & transphobia in Brazil. Next is "A Run for More" with director Ray Whitehouse & producer Andre Perez on November 19th at 3P at the Museum of Fine Arts. The film is about Frankie Gonzales-Wolfe a transgender woman in Texas expected to encounter resistance to her campaign for city council. Then on Sunday November 20th is "Casa Susanna" about the straitlaced 1950s & 60s, cross-dressing men & transgender women found temporary refuge, community & joy gathering at a house in the Catskills at the Museum of Fine Arts at 2P. Then "Nelly & Nadine" on November 20th at 5P at Brattle Theatre in Cambridge & closing WQ Docs Film Festival will be "The Radical" on November 21st at 7P at the Brattle. 

Indiana Trans Sports Ban Challenged

Eight transgender women athletes filed a friend of the court brief with the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Indiana challenging Indiana’s transgender sports ban, House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1041. The athletes who vary in age, sport, geography & level of competition include well-known athletes Hailey Davidson & Kayla Ward. All speak to the profound personal, social & emotional strength they have gained through sports. David Brown, Legal Director for the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund stated, “Virtually every athletic regulatory body including the NCAA, World Athletics & the International Olympic Committee has had policies in place for years that allow for transgender people to participate fairly. All athletes benefit from inclusive & supportive policies that incentivize the development of critical life skills. What we are seeing with this law & similar laws across the country is yet another attempt to politicize trans lives & fearmonger to win elections, with absolutely no regard for reality or the devastating impacts these laws have on transgender young people.” The amicus curiae brief was filed in the lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana on behalf of A.M. a 10 -year-old girl who plays on her school’s all-girls softball team. HEA 1041 would deny A.M. the ability to play with her team because she is a transgender girl. According to the complaint filed in the lawsuit playing softball has helped A.M. to more fully experience her life as a girl. Not allowing her to do so would be a painful, constant reminder that she is not accepted by the world as the girl that she is. 

U.S. Senate Wins Pro-Equality Majority

What a pleasure after months of ranting loud mouth obnoxious MAGA extremist candidates the Dems have delivered a pro-equality majority who will be returning to the U.S. Senate in 2023. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada was re-elected as well as Senator Mark Kelly of Arizona last night resulting in a pro-equality majority. The runoff race in Georgia between incumbent Senator Raphael Warnock & Herschel Walker on December 6th in Georgia will either expand the majority or have no impact on control of the Senate with Vice President Kamala Harris stepping in to break any ties. Sarah Kate Ellis, President & CEO of GLAAD stated, “With the results of House control still undetermined, LGBTQ people & other marginalized communities can rest a little easier knowing that a pro-equality majority is projected to return to the U.S. Senate. This is especially critical for the next 2 years in order to ensure that pro-equality judicial nominees continue to be confirmed along with basic protections being passed for LGBTQ people, abortion rights & voting rights. It’s clear that Americans are ready to turn the page on extremism & candidates who campaign on taking rights away. We must thank young people — large numbers of whom are LGBTQ — women & voters of color for defying the odds of history.” So Far in the Biden administration the Senate has confirmed a record number of federal judges with the vast majority 76% are women & included are the first out lesbians appointed & confirmed to the federal bench & the first Black woman to the U.S. Supreme Court, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson. So we now have 2 years to set the course for a progressive narrative that reflects who “We The People” actually are. Let's get this done. 

"Love Is All You Need?" Virtual Event

The nonprofit onePULSE Foundation that was established following the June 12th 2016 tragedy to honor & preserve the legacy of those killed & to create a sanctuary of hope will present a free virtual screening & panel discussion of the short film "Love Is All You Need?" on Wednesday November 16th from 7P to 8:30P EST. The concept of the film follows the life of an ordinary heterosexual girl who is bullied in a world where everyone is LGBTQ. This breakthrough controversial film written & directed by K. Rocco-Shields not only reverses the meaning of the terms but also addresses the social & cultural prejudices that emerge with hate & bullying. There will be a Q&A following the screening with panelists including the filmmaker K. Rocco-Shields, Heather Wilkie, MA, LMHC, Zebra Coalition, Felipe Sousa-Lazaballet, Hope CommUNITY Center & Leah Hornik, college student. The event is part of onePULSE’s Conversation Starters which is a component of a broader Conversation Series sponsored by JPMorgan Chase & Co., CITY Furniture, Orlando Utilities Commission & Northrop Grumman. When asked what her personal commitment is to LGBTQ civil rights Shields stated, “My personal commitment to LGBTQ civil rights is through the power of cinema; we can make a difference & impact the world. I give this lecture at different universities around the United States about how to use media for social change. In short basically we can track media, television, film, as a springboard to represent minority cultures & bring them to public awareness. I talked to Shields in 2014 about her short film & her spin on our LGBTQ issues in this exclusive audio interview. LISTEN  

LGBTQ Military Service Policy Challenge

Just in time for Veterans Day Lambda Legal has filed a legal challenge to the U.S. Military policy that prevents people living with HIV from enlisting in the U.S. Armed Forces. The discriminatory policy requires that applicants for appointment & enlistment as well as individuals being inducted into military Services be screened for HIV & denied entry if they test positive. Kara Ingelhart, Senior Attorney at Lambda Legal stated, “The existing policy is out of step with science & unlawfully excludes people living with HIV from performing as members of the U.S. military. A positive HIV status alone has no effect on a person’s ability to safely serve. Because HIV disproportionately impacts LGBTQ+ people & people of color, this discriminatory policy is not only outdated, but is also a serious equity issue that has a significant impact on communities who already face countless systemic barriers to accessing full life in America. Striking this policy would help expand opportunities for over 1.2 million people in the U.S. living with HIV — 42% of which are Black & 21.7% are Latinx.” Lambda Legal & co-counsel Winston & Strawn LLP, Perkowski Legal, PC & Scott A. Schoettes, Esq. filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia on behalf of three individual plaintiffs who have been denied enlistment based on their HIV status. Bryce Cooper of Winston & Strawn concluded, “The military ban on Americans living with HIV is yet another holdover from a long era of needless discrimination. The time has long passed for this senseless policy to end.” 

Maura Healey Shatters Lavender Ceiling

Democratic Attorney General Maura Healey has won the Massachusetts gubernatorial race. Healey stated, “Tonight, I’m honored to be the first woman & the first openly gay person ever elected Governor of Massachusetts. In Massachusetts, we strive to be a place of equality & opportunity for all – a place where you can be who you are & be proud of it. And let me promise you, we’re going to stay that way no matter what happens in the rest of the country. The people of Massachusetts have given us an historic opportunity tonight & a mandate to act. So here’s my plan: we’ll ignore the noise & focus every day on making a difference in their lives. From the start, our job will be to make our state more affordable so that people can come here, stay here & grow their businesses here. We’ll cut taxes, fix our roads & bridges & invest in education & job training. We’ll take on the climate crisis & create clean energy jobs. As long as I am governor, women will always have the freedom to control their own bodies & they will always have access to safe, legal abortion. Tonight, I have a message to all the little girls & boys I’ve met along the way whose smiles & joy reminded me, affirmed for me, what this is about & what we can be. I hope tonight shows you that you can be whatever you want to be. That heart & hard work can take you wherever you want to go. I want you to know that tonight, we made history. In Massachusetts we lift people up. We come together & we lead. Together, we will build a stronger Massachusetts for everyone…Now, let’s get to work.”

Florida Restricts Care For Trans Youth

The Florida Boards of Medicine & Osteopathy finalize their rules restricting lifesaving care for our transgender youth on Friday. This puts in place a freeze frame for trans youth already accessing gender-affirming medical care & effectively prohibit new care for trans youth under the age of 18 making Florida the first U.S. state to limit & partially ban such treatment through an administrative process. Similar measures in Alabama & Arkansas are currently blocked in court. Nikole Parker, Equality Florida Director of Transgender Equality stated, “With young lives on the line, another state agency has placed the political ambitions of Ron DeSantis over its duty to protect Floridians. These rules, as written, put transgender youth at higher risk of depression, anxiety & suicidality. Those are the facts purposely ignored by a Board of Medicine stacked with DeSantis political appointees who have put their toxic politics over people’s health & wellbeing. Transgender Floridians exist. We are part of this community. Gender-affirming care is lifesaving care & it is care that is supported by every major medical organization, an overwhelming majority of medical providers & should be left to young people, their families & their doctors. Not politicians. Shame on the Florida Boards of Medicine & Osteopathy for trading the suffering of transgender youth & their parents for cheap political points.” The National LGBTQ Task Force has joined forces with Equality Florida & Equality Texas to fight anti-LGBTQ extremism ahead of midterm elections including a new animated ad campaign. Recently I talked to Cathy Renna Communications Director for the National LGBTQ Task Force about what she hopes to accomplish with this ad campaign & her spin on our LGBTQ issues. LISTEN:  

NCLR 45th Anniversary Gala Event

The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) will celebrate its 45th anniversary with the first in-person Champions for Justice Dinner + Party since 2019 on Friday November 11th at the Marriot Marquis & Metreon Cityview in San Francisco. NCLR will bestow their Justice Award to Kansas Representative Sharice Davids, Voice & Visibility Awards to actress & producer Abbi Jacobson & philanthropist & award-winning independent musician Gina Chávez & Courage Awards to Doctors Morissa Ladinsky & Hussein Abdul-Latif & Cameron Wright. This year’s gala dinner will be hosted by standup comic, actor & writer Cameron Esposito. Imani Rupert-Gordon NCLR Executive Director stated, “After several tough years for the LBGTQ community & our families, I am thrilled to be welcoming all of NCLR’s friends & supporters to our 45th-anniversary celebration on November 11th in San Francisco. Despite the many challenges we have faced over the past few years, we still have much to celebrate, including our historic wins this year on behalf of transgender youth in Alabama & Utah. Even though it is clear there is still much work to be done – including defeating laws like “Don’t Say Gay or Trans” in Florida, we know that our fight for justice puts us on the right side of history. As we gather on November 11th for our Champions for Justice Dinner & Party, we do so knowing that we are stronger than ever and we will continue to forge forward – together. For 45 years, NCLR has been at the forefront of the fight for LGBTQ equality & for the next 45 I know we will lead with the bravery in our heart that is written into the DNA of the National Center for Lesbian Rights.” 

Midterm Elections Campaign Ad Burnout

First of all in these beyond challenging times you must vote because no matter what happens the majority of people in this country are still compassionate loving people & not the haters that are so insecure that they have to carry assault rifles. Remember that in the 2016 election 40 million democrats did not vote & look where the country is today. This weekend we are going to be inundated on broadcast TV by hateful political ads spuing hate speech about anyone the GOP disagrees with. Now that we barely survived 45’s unconstitutional wrath without any lawful consequences where we go from here as a society is questionable. For our LGBTQ community we went from becoming a more diverse nation during the Obama’s administration finally working towards equality to aggressive attacks on our community & communities of color by states passing legislation that bans hundreds of books & censors curriculum covering slavery or mentioning LGBTQ people. This year alone more than 160 state bills to restrict trans rights have been proposed across the country. Then we have this appalling shift in social media with Elon Musk amplifying anti-LGBTQ conspiracy theories. We’re in a war between good & evil with a fine line defining free speech, hate speech & censorship. How we work through this as a nation & as a society will determine our future. Now a quick summation to mainstream media. Do not amplify the claims by election deniers. As frightening as it may be an astonishing 60% of voters in the midterm election will have an election denier on the ballot next week. It is vital to our democracy that we protect the integrity of our elections & the media must refuse to support widespread & unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud. Updates to come...

Ali Forney Center Celebrating 20 Years

Celebrating the 20th anniversary of its founding the Ali Forney Center is presenting “We Are Family Dance-A-Thon” fundraising experience on Trans Day of Remembrance that takes place Sunday November 20th from 11A to 6P at the Knockdown Center. Alex Roque, President & Executive Director of the Ali Forney Center stated, “Throughout our history, LGBTQ+ people have built chosen families because so many of us have been denied family & acceptance & sadly the same is true for the homeless young people in our care. The “We Are Family Dance-A-Thon” pays honor to our roots, our chosen family & serves to build community for our youth reminding them that they are not alone, that they are worthy of being cared for & that they are worthy of all that family represents - acceptance, care & love.” The event will also commemorate The Ali Forney Center’s namesake a gender non-binary peer counselor of & advocate for homeless LGBTQ youth who was killed on the streets of NYC while also supporting a new generation just in time for the Holidays. This high-energy fundraiser will be filled with celebrated performers from Eva Reign star of Amazon Prime’s Anything’s Possible who alongside NYC drag artist Marti Gould Cummings will be the host for the day to Junior Mintt, Nicky O, Dahlia Sin, Thee Suburbia, Jason Rodriguez, Bhawk Snipes & dance-fitness studios Forward Space & Dance Church. The event will also fuse the celebratory aspect of a dance-a-thon with the very best of the NYC nightlife scene along with LGBTQ chefs cooking up a storm to keep the troupes going. 

The Good Bad & Ugly Midterms (AUDIO)

First of all you must vote if you haven’t already in this crucial midterm election. Just remember that in 2016 40% of eligible voters in the US did not vote especially young Americans didn’t exercise their right to vote with less than half of eligible voters under 30 voting. In the 2020 election the Ugly learned that their fraction of the population didn’t cut it to win the election legitimately so they succumbed to ridiculous denial conspiracy theories & then with January 6th & now the attack on Paul Pelosi brazen violence. So it’s up to you whether we continue to live in a democracy or let a small delusionary sector of the country blatantly strip away your rights. Now back to our LGBTQ community being targeted by extremist candidates & the anti-LGBTQ+ organizations supporting them with anti-LGBTQ & anti-trans messaging strategies by making their final pitch to voters & funneling tens of millions of dollars into political ads & mailings attacking transgender youth & spreading misinformation. This isn’t going to stop no matter how the midterms turn out. However the National LGBTQ Task Force has joined forces with Equality Florida & Equality Texas to fight anti-LGBTQ extremism ahead of midterm elections including a new animated ad campaign. The ads are in English markets & also target Latino audiences with Spanish subtitles. The campaign raises awareness around the increasingly aggressive attacks on our LGBTQ community & communities of color including legislation that bans hundreds of books & censors curriculum covering slavery or mentioning LGBTQ people. Recently I talked to Cathy Renna Communications Director for the National LGBTQ Task Force about what she hopes to accomplish with this campaign & her spin on our LGBTQ issues. LISTEN:

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Senate Passes Marriage Equality Act

The U.S. Senate has passed the Respect for Marriage Act with a bipartisan vote of 61-36. We want to thank U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)...

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