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Extremists Targeting Transgender Youth

As the North Carolina House passes HB808 a bill that will prohibit the initiation of all gender-affirming medical care for transgender people under the age of 18 the United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky granted a preliminary injunction blocking a law in Kentucky that bans necessary medical care for transgender youth. In response to the North Carolina discriminatory legislation Lore Lane from Southern Equality stated, “As someone who relies on gender-affirming care, my heart is breaking & quite frankly, full of righteous anger, watching the NCGA ram through legislation that would block transgender youth from being able to access this care. This care is life-saving. It is life-affirming. It allows people to live authentically & gives us the best chance to thrive & most importantly, it is our inalienable human right. It is absolutely outrageous that the NCGA would insert themselves into private & personal medical decisions – decisions that should always be left to providers & patients.” In response to the Kentucky injunction Shannon Minter NCLR Legal Director stated, “This decision is a huge relief for the families targeted by this unnecessary & harmful law, which prevents doctors from doing their jobs & parents from making medical decisions for their own children. We are grateful that the court carefully considered all of the evidence & recognized that there is no support for this dangerous & unprecedented law.” So this is where our country is at. Instead of state legislators addressing crucial issues like fully funding public schools, establishing universal Pre-K & ending childhood hunger they’re bent on targeting our transgender youth from being their authentic selves. 

Arizona Signs Conversion Therapy Law

Arizona’s Governor Katie Hobbs has made history by signing an executive order prohibiting licensed therapists from subjecting minors to conversion therapy the dangerous practice that seeks to change a young person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. With her order Arizona is now the 27th state to protect youth from this deadly practice whether by legislation, regulations, or executive actions. Mathew Shurka, Co-Founder of Born Perfect stated, “We applaud Governor Hobbs for her leadership in protecting LGBTQ youth & their families from this deadly practice, which has been rejected as unethical & harmful by every leading medical & mental health association in the country. As a survivor of conversion therapy, I know how much this means to others who have been subjected to this abuse.” Conversion therapy has been rejected as unnecessary, ineffective & harmful by every major medical & mental health organization in the country including the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association & the American Academy of Pediatrics. According to The Trevor Project’s 2023 U.S. National Survey on the Mental Health of LGBTQ Young People, 15% of LGBTQ young people reported being threatened with or subjected to conversion therapy & those who had reported being subjected to the practice were more than twice the rate of attempting suicide in the past year. Born Perfect is a survivor-led campaign created by the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) in 2014 to end conversion therapy by passing laws across the country that protect LGBTQ children & young people, fighting in courtrooms to ensure their safety & raising awareness about the serious harms caused by these dangerous practices. 

Help Is On The Way 27th Concert & Gala

The Richmond / Ermet AID Foundation is having its star-studded AIDS benefit concert & gala “Help Is On The Way 27th Broadway & Beyond” on Sunday July 16th from 7:30P at the Marines’ Memorial Theatre at 609 Sutter Street in San Francisco, CA. "Help Is On The Way" is one of San Francisco’s longest-running benefit concerts featuring a bevy of stars from Broadway, TV, film & the recording industry. It's an elegant evening of wonderful music, delicious food & beverages tastings. Kenneth Henderson, Executive Director of the Richmond/Ermet AID Foundation stated, “We’re very excited about this year’s gala. This concert will feature so many amazing voices from the Broadway touring cast of “Les Miz” in addition to Broadway stars Lisa Vroman & David Burnham but will have a good amount of comedy as we remember & pay tribute through video clips to our late grand diva, Carole Cook & the hysterical Leslie Jordan who was a true REAF fan favorite. This event is truly a labor of love as all our performers give their time & talent to support our cause and the Ava cues we support— in this case Project Open Hand.” Also performing will be Leanne Borghesi, Ava Nicole Francis, Debby Holiday, Marta Sanders & Del Shores. This Gala Event consists of a Broadway-style performance & a nightclub-themed after party with the cast. The silent auction coincides beginning at 6:30P & concludes at the end of intermission. The event benefits Project Open Hand & REAF’s Small Emergency Grants Program. 

HHS Hosts LGBTQ Pride Summit Event

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) hosted a Pride Summit featuring hundreds of advocates & allies from our LGBTQ community & leaders from across the Biden-Harris Administration. The HHS Pride Summit highlighted key accomplishments of the Biden Administration including efforts to improve access to health care services, health equity, support for identity affirmation & civil rights as well as forward-looking conversations about continued support for our community. Secretary Xavier Becerra opened Summit with remarks that highlighted the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to expanding health equity, supporting gender-affirming care & defending LGBTQ rights. He also detailed numerous ways HHS had celebrated Pride month. Secretary Becerra stated, “Supporting the LGBTQI+ community is a top priority for me & HHS. Equity runs at the heart of every initiative we take on here. We are facing daunting challenges right now – with some politicians spewing hateful rhetoric & imposing restrictions against the LGBTQI+ community. But, thanks to the leadership of President Biden, I am confident we will make it through this moment.” LGBTQ leaders who participated in the summit included: Assistant Secretary for Health Admiral Rachel Levine, Kelley Robinson, President of the Human Rights Campaign & Imani Rupert-Gordon, Executive Director at the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Arli Christian, Trans Justice Strategist from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Casey Pick, Director of Law & Policy for the Trevor Project, Julie Seaver, Executive Director of the Compass LGBTQ Community Center of Florida, Robert Salcido, Executive Director of the Center-Pride Center San Antonio & Kelley Blair, Founder of the Diversity Center of Oklahoma among others.

Pride 2023 Now More Than Ever (AUDIO)

As NYC & other cities across the country are celebrating the 54th anniversary of the Stonewall Riot with their annual Pride parades & events we must address that our community once again is under enormous threat with the surge of over 600+ anti-LGBTQ state bills so far this year. The escalation of anti-LGBTQ rhetoric especially targeting our trans community are disturbing & devastatingly but are not new. I remember hearing about the Stonewall Riots in NYC in the summer of 1969 on my transistor radio. Then ten years later in 1979 I marched in my first NYC Pride at the 10th anniversary of the Stonewall Riot. The New York Times reported that “Homosexuals’ Parade Marks 10th Year of Rights Drive…With sympathetic parents in the line of march, tens of thousands of homosexual men & women walked from Christopher Street to Central Park yesterday to Commemorate the 10th anniversary of the “Stonewall Riot” which many consider the beginning of the national homosexual‐rights movement.” I remember being scared that someone from work may see me that could have resulted in the loss of my job but fortunately that did not happen. We have fought hard to gain the rights that we have & we’re succeeding. The radical right homophobes are afraid of our accomplishments or they wouldn’t be attempting to take away what we have achieved. Our beautiful younger generation who grew up during the Obama administration fear not. This is just a bump in the road to winning full equality. This past week Congress reintroduction of Equality Act. It going to take some time but be patient. In the meantime celebrate pride, be proud of who you are & what we have accomplished. I talked to lesbian Icon Leslie Cohen about the 50th anniversary of Stonewall & her spin on the future of our LGBTQ civil rights in this exclusive audio interview. LISTEN

Bobby Wetherbee To Be Honored

Bobby Wetherbee, Provincetown’s longest performing cabaret artist, singer, pianist & LGBTQ Icon will be honored by GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) with the Justice For All Award at its 42nd annual Summer Party on July 22nd at the Pilgrim Monument & Provincetown Museum from 4P to 7P. Wetherbee stated, “It’s a thrill & a gift to welcome people to this magical town—just as I was welcomed so many years ago & help them connect with each other through music. Likewise, GLAD’s legal work makes it possible for LGBTQ people to live openly & more safely, which lets us come together & build community. I’m grateful & proud to be honored by GLAD, especially right here in Provincetown.” Janson Wu GLAD Executive Director concluded, “Bobby Wetherbee embodies why Provincetown is a cherished haven for LGBTQ people worldwide: his welcoming & affirming spirit, his pride in being a gay man & living authentically & the joy and connection he brings to so many with his outsized talent are magnetic. We’re thrilled to honor Bobby this year for his singular contributions to Provincetown’s community & culture over six decades.” In addition to honoring Wetherbee GLAD’s Summer Party will feature celebrity emcee Varla Jean Merman, fun-filled live & silent auctions including custom art, travel experiences, family adventures & other unique items. There will also be an open bar, delicious food & spectacular views. Families are welcome to bring their children & fun kids’ activities will be provided. I talked to Bobby in 2012 about his fabulous career & his spin on our LGBTQ issues. LISTEN  

LGBTQ Filmmakers Talk Movies (AUDIO)

This week I talked to filmmakers at the 25th annual Provincetown International Film Festival (PIFF) press luncheon at the Boatslip Resort & Beach Club in Provincetown, Massachusetts. First I spoke with director Sophia Castuera & writer Ali Edwards about their first feature film “August At Twenty-Two” that’s receiving a lot of buzz & will be available on most VOD streaming outlets next month. The film is about actress Cal (played by Edwards) who falls in love with her best friend’s girlfriend Em (Lilli Kay). “August At Twenty-Two” is an evocative & deeply felt portrait of young artists struggling to find their way in their work & their lives. Sophia & Ali talk about their inspiration for creating this film & share their spin on our LGBTQ issues. Next I chatted with producer Fermin Rojas & director Mike Syers about their short film “There Are Things To Do” about LGBTQ activist & author Urvashi Vaid who passed away last year. Vaid was an outspoken immigrant, lesbian & woman of color who was an LGBTQ superhero & believed in human rights for all people. The film chronicles her life in Provincetown & her 34-year relationship with partner/wife comedian Kate Clinton who inspired her call to action that resulted in achieving equality for our LGBTQ community. I concluded our montage with director Sam Shahid whose documentary “Hidden Master: The Legacy of George Platt Lynes” uncovers the life & work of photographer George Platt Lynes. Best remembered for his dazzling celebrity & fashion photographs of the 1930’s & 1940’s, Lynes was forced to keep his male nude photos hidden from the public. Shahid hopes his film will help reclaim this gifted artist’s full legacy & lasting influence as one of the first openly gay American artists. LISTEN 
 

North Carolina Passes Trans Sports Ban

The North Carolina Senate has passed House Bill 574 which will prohibit transgender students from participating in school sports consistent with their gender identity. So far in 2023 more than 525 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been introduced in statehouses across the country. A total of 78 pieces of legislation have been enacted into law this year with more than 220 of these bills specifically designed to restrict the rights of transgender people which is the highest number of bills targeting transgender people in a single year to date. Advocates for women & girls in sports support trans-inclusive policies & oppose efforts to exclude transgender students from participating in sports. This includes the National Women’s Law Center, the Women’s Sports Foundation, Women Leaders in College Sports & others including prominent female athletes like Billie Jean King, Megan Rapinoe & Cheryl Reeve.Cathryn Oakley, Human Rights Campaign Senior Director for Legal Policy stated, “HB 574 is a targeted attack against the LGBTQ+ community & it’s a completely unnecessary bill. Women’s sports face many real challenges, including chronic underfunding, unequal pay, lack of access & harassment & abuse of athletes. None of those challenges are addressed by an attempt to prevent transgender students from participating in school sports alongside their friends.” Earlier this year the Biden Administration issued proposed rules affirming that Title IX protects transgender students from discrimination in athletics & that state laws banning participation of transgender athletes are violations of federal law. Also more than 300 major U.S. corporations have stood up & spoken out to oppose anti-LGBTQ legislation being proposed in states across the country. 

Fenway LGBTQ Walk Strides For Action

 
Fenway Health announced that its annual fundraiser “AIDS Walk Boston” has been renamed “Strides for Action” reflecting a broadened focus that recognizes & supports the significant unmet needs of our LGBTQ community. Strides for Action will take place at 8A on Sunday October 1st at Carson Beach in Boston, MA. With over 500 anti-LGBTQ bills introduced in 41 state legislatures so far this year & over 76 bills already signed into law across America this new fundraising event will address the demand for programs & services addressing the broader needs of our LGBTQ community including disparities that affect BIPOC communities that continues to increase. Ellen LaPointe Fenway Health CEO stated, "We are incredibly grateful for the dedication & generous support that has come from literally thousands of walkers & community partners over nearly four decades. The money raised at Strides for Action will allow us to positively impact the lives of people living with HIV & AIDS & LGBTQIA+ people in our communities right here in Massachusetts who rely on Fenway Health’s care & services. It will also support critical research & advocacy to fight rising hatred & legislative assaults on LGBTQIA+ people which threatens the health & wellbeing of millions throughout the United States. We know that stigma & discrimination are taking a toll on our community & so it feels right to broaden the Walk’s focus in this way." This year Fenway Health has set a Strides for Action fundraising goal of $700,000 to support lifesaving care & services for the community. Presenting sponsors include Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Beth Israel Lahey Health (BILH), Moderna & Point32 Health. 

BGMC Pride Concert Whitney & Friends

The Boston Gay Men’s Chorus is performing “Whitney & Friends” Friday June 16th at 8P, Saturday June 17th at 8P & Sunday June 18th at 3P at the New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall in Boston, MA. Step into a time machine & relive the magic of an era defined by the incredible music of Whitney Houston but also from her legendary friends including the soulful Mariah Carey to the incomparable Aretha Franklin & the dazzling Alicia Keys. Prepare to be serenaded by the voices that shaped generations celebrating Pride with the anthems that made our hearts race & spirits soar. Also the Board of Directors of the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus (BGMC) announced that Sarah Shoffner has been named its new Executive Director. Shoffner has been serving as BGMC’s Interim Executive Director since last August. Al O’Connell BGMC Board Chair stated, “Sarah’s passion for & experience with the arts, audience engagement, fundraising, relationship building & cultivating community & business partnerships is exactly what BGMC needs in a leader now & into the future. The pressures of near-historic inflation & changing audience expectations have created a new performing environment that is almost unrecognizable from its pre-pandemic origins. Sarah has navigated this new environment with uncompromising skill, grace, courage & leadership. We are thrilled that Sarah accepted our offer to remain at the helm of BGMC.” Shoffner concluded,“I am excited to set the stage for years to come with new opportunities to advance BGMC’s artistry & impact & I’m incredibly proud to be able to do so during a time when music’s power to build community & broaden understanding is needed now more than ever.” Happy Pride Boston & don’t miss “Whitney & Friends” this weekend. For Info & Tix…

Hear Audio Chats w/ LGBTQ Leaders @OUTTAKE VOICES 

San Francisco Pride Brunch & Movie

The annual Gary Virginia & Donna Sachet's Pride Brunch is celebrating 25 years honoring the San Francisco Pride Parade Grand Marshals which is one of the most high-profile & festive events of Pride Week. This beloved tradition marks a major milestone this year & is a rare opportunity to meet & hear from the Grand Marshals as you mix with movers & shakers enjoying hosted bars, entertainment, fine cuisine & beautiful décor at the Westin St. Francis San Francisco on Union Square on Saturday June 24th from 11A to 2P. This is an opportunity to participate in their exciting live auction & benefit drawing with all proceeds support PRC’s lifesaving, integrated social, legal & behavioral health services for those affected by HIV/AIDS, mental health issues & substance use. Pride Brunch continues to be the event of the season honoring the rich history of LGBTQ culture & liberation. Then on Wednesday June 28th there will be a free screening of “To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar" at The Castro at 6:30P. Emceed by Donna Sachet bring your Pride month to a close with a fabulous free movie night at the historic Castro Theatre thanks to a generous donor matching funds your attendance will help to support Equality California's efforts to defend the rights of drag performers. Just by attending you will help to support Equality California's efforts to defend the rights of drag performers in California. Other special programming will be announced soon. “To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar" free movie night at The Castro is sponsored by Comcast. For Movie Info…  For Brunch Info & Tix…

Pulse Nightclub Massacre Memoriam

During Pride 7 years ago I woke up to the horrific news about the Pulse Massacre in Orlando where 49 people were killed at an LGBTQ nightclub by a homophobic deranged person with an assault rifle. Yet Congress still can’t seem to pass obvious sensible gun legislation that would prevent future brutal, hate-fueled violence attacks. Brandon J Wolf, Pulse Nightclub survivor stated, “To every politician who scapegoats mental illness, saying that simply addressing our poor mental health infrastructure will end gun violence: show me the bill. Show me the bill to make physical & mental health care free at the point of care for people in this country. Show me the bill to end the for-profit scam that is our healthcare system & put in place a system that does what you say we need.” In the years that followed onePULSE Foundation was created to manage the design & construction of the permanent national memorial & museum dedicated to the PULSE tragedy. onePULSE’s mission is to create & support a memorial that opens hearts, a museum that opens minds, educational programs that open eyes & legacy scholarships that open doors. Its vision is to establish a sanctuary of healing & a beacon of hope by memorializing the lives taken, the lives saved & all the lives affected by the Pulse nightclub tragedy of June 12, 2016. I talked to Brandon in about his experience on that horrendous night 7 years ago that claimed the lives of 49 people & left 53 injured most of who were LGBTQ Latinx people & people of color. LISTEN  

GLAAD & Ty Herndon Nashville Concert

GLAAD & Ty Herndon, Grammy-nominated & Dove award-winning country artist joined forces once again to present a spectacular evening of music & unity at The Concert for Love & Acceptance on Wednesday, June 7th at the esteemed Wildhorse Saloon in Nashville. The star-studded event showcased a powerful coalition of artists & celebrities who are dedicated to accelerating acceptance for our LGBTQ community. Herndon stated, “With all that’s going on in the world, this event has gained a new level of significance. I’m so grateful to the artists & fans who came together to send a message of love and acceptance from here at CMA Fest to LGBTQ people all around the globe.” The 2023 Concert for Love & Acceptance featured an exceptional lineup of talent including Chrissy Metz, Maddie & Tae, Terri Clark, Pam Tillis, Sam Williams, Brooke Eden, Chapel Hart, Desmond Child, Billy Gilman, Jamie Floyd, Brandon Stansell, Bryan Ruby, Wendy Moten, Shelly Fairchild, Justin Fabus, Auti, Autumn Nicholas, Jada Cato, Jason Catron & Matt Bloyd. The annual event provides a platform for artists, supporters & allies to come together in a spirit of love, unity & acceptance through the power of music ignites conversations, challenges stereotypes & promotes positive change within the country music industry & beyond. The Concert for Love & Acceptance aims to raise awareness & support for Ty Herndon's Foundation for Love & Acceptance. For almost 10 years the Foundation has been at the forefront of fostering understanding, compassion & equality for our LGBTQ community. 

LGBTQ Pride Month Under Attack In USA

Celebrating Pride this June is beyond parades with 525 anti-LGBTQ bills introduced in 41 state legislatures so far this year & over 76 bills already signed into law across America. In recent weeks anti-LGBTQ media outlets have incited boycotts against Target, Bud Light, The North Face, Kohl’s, Disney & other brands who show public support for our LGBTQ community. Then we’re confronted with far-right anti-LGBTQ agitators showing up in increasing numbers at school board meetings nationwide attempting to ban books that simply state different types of families exist & Pride flag burnings have been reported near school property in California & other states as well. This week for the first time in their 40-year history the Human Rights Campaign has officially declared a state of emergency for LGBTQ people in the United States. Kelley Robinson, HRC President stated, “LGBTQ+ Americans are living in a state of emergency. The multiplying threats facing millions in our community are not just perceived — they are real, tangible & dangerous. In many cases they are resulting in violence against LGBTQ+ people, forcing families to uproot their lives & flee their homes in search of safer states & triggering a tidal wave of increased homophobia & transphobia that puts the safety of each and every one of us at risk. As we kick off LGBTQ+ Pride Month, HRC will be working tirelessly to educate and arm the LGBTQ+ community with information & resources to ensure their safety — whether they’re planning summer travel through regions that are becoming increasingly hostile to LGBTQ+ people, or whether they already live in a state where legislative assaults & political extremism are continuing to put a target on our backs.” 

Queer Women of Color Film Festival

This year the Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project will premiere 30 films in 6 screenings during their free 19th Annual San Francisco International Queer Women of Color Film Festival that runs from June 9th to 11th at the Presidio Theatre at 99 Moraga Avenue in San Francisco, CA. From the lush sageness of memory, movement & Indigenous traditions of environmental stewardship to the transformation of grief & the mycorrhizal relationships between love, collective care & disability justice the Festival Focus "Forever Rooted" liberates spores of sovereignty & survivance. The Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project (QWOCMAP) began in 2000 with funding from California Arts Council for award-winning San Francisco filmmaker Madeleine Lim to conduct a series of free workshops serving queer women of color emerging media artists. Since then over 250 new films have been created through their training program single-handedly increasing the number of films by & about queer women of color. These politically insightful, socially relevant & personally poignant works challenge all forms of racial, political, economic, sexual & gender stereotyping & offer new dynamic representations of queer women of color. In addition to their own screenings & boutique film Distribution Program they distribute QWOCMAP films to Bay Area & international film festivals, universities & grassroots organizations around the world. All films are subtitled for Deaf & Hard-of-Hearing & Audio Described for the Blind & Low Vision & ASL interpretation will be provided along with many other forms of accessibility. The 19th annual Queer Women of Color Film Festival is free of charge. 

Louisiana Bills Attacking LGBTQ Youth

Louisiana legislators have advanced 3 discriminatory bills targeting LGBTQ youth. The extreme legislation passed by the Senate included a Gender Affirming Care Ban (HB 648), a “Don’t Say LGBTQ+” Bill (HB 466) & a Pronoun Restriction Bill (HB 81) which will be sent to Gov. John Bel Edwards for signature or veto. The Gender Affirming Care Ban (HB 648) would ban physicians from providing age-appropriate, best practice health care for transgender minors under the age of 18. The “Don’t Say LGBTQ+” Bill (HB 466) prevents students & educators across the state from having & providing safe, inclusive classrooms. The Pronoun Restriction Bill (HB 81) allows schools to forcibly out & intentionally misgender transgender & non-binary students. Cathryn Oakley Human Rights Campaign State Legislative Director & Senior Counsel stated, “From doctors’ offices to classrooms, Louisiana’s extremist legislators show no shame in assaulting the freedoms of those different from them. Blocking teachers from providing the safe & inclusive spaces that LGBTQ+ youth so desperately need is an unconscionable act. There is absolutely nothing inappropriate about being LGBTQ+ or in acknowledging LGBTQ+ issues & people. Furthermore, denying transgender & non-binary youth access to best-practice, life-saving medical care puts their lives in very real danger. These bills are a desperate & cruel effort by radical politicians in Louisiana to marginalize & erase the LGBTQ+ community, particularly transgender youth. The Human Rights Campaign strongly condemns these discriminatory bills & calls on Gov. Bel Edwards to veto them.” So far in 2023 more than 530 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been introduced in statehouses across the country. A total of 74 pieces of legislation have been enacted into law this year & more than 225 of those bills would specifically restrict the rights of our transgender community.

Provincetown Int’l Film Festival (AUDIO)

This week I talked with Andrew Peterson, Director of Programming of the Provincetown International Film Festival that takes place June 14th to June 18th in Provincetown, MA. PIFF is celebrating its 25th year with over 100 films that include diverse BIPOC & LGBTQ filmmakers as well as wildly talented first-time filmmakers along with PIFF’s longstanding commitment to gender parity. The opening night film will be “Cora Bora” starring Megan Stalter & directed by Hannah Pearl Utt. Written by Rhianon Jones “Cora Bora” follows the story of Cora a messy millennial & struggling musician. When she goes home to Portland to win back her girlfriend Cora realizes there’s a lot more than her love life that needs salvaging. As we announced earlier Stalter will receive the festival’s Next Wave Award this year. “Theater Camp” from directors Molly Gordon & Nick Lieberman is set to close the festival. It tells the story about staff members of an upstate New York theater camp who must band together when their beloved founder falls into a coma. Also honored this year will be Bruce LaBruce with the Filmmaker on Edge Award, Billy Porter the Emmy, Tony & Grammy Award-winning actor will be honored with this year’s Excellence in Acting Award & along with Megan Stalter, writer, director & actor Julio Torres will receive the Next Wave Award. There will also be lots of fabulous special events & parties. I talked to Peterson about what he hopes to accomplish at the 25th annual Provincetown International Film Festival & his spin on our LGBTQ issues. LISTEN  

LGBTQ Concert For Love & Acceptance

GLAAD & country music artist Ty Herndon’s annual “Concert For Love & Acceptance” takes place Wednesday June 7th at 7:30P at the Wildhorse Saloon in Nashville, Tenn. Chrissy Metz, Brooke Eden, Jada Cato, AUTI & Jason Catron will be joining the stellar line-up of performers including Maddie & Tae, Terri Clark, Pam Tillis, Desmond Child, Wendy Moten, Billy Gilman, Shelly Fairchild, Justin Fabus, Chapel Hart, Sam Williams, Jamie Floyd, Brandon Stansell & Bryan Ruby. Herndon stated, “We’ve come a long way in Nashville & in country music since GLAAD & I came together to host this show for the first time in 2015 but we still have a long way to go, as evidenced by the onslaught of attacks against our LGBTQ community by politicians. Love & acceptance should never be up for debate at the courthouse or at the state house & I’m so proud that this event has grown year over year to become what it is today. I feel like we need it now more than ever.” Anthony Allen Ramos GLAAD’s Vice President of Communications & Talent concluded, “Right now it is more crucial than ever to take a stand in Tennessee & show love & support for LGBTQ people & so many amazing artists in country music are joining The Concert for Love & Acceptance & stepping up to the plate to do so. This show will serve as an important reminder that LGBTQ people have a place in country music & that we must be treated fairly & with respect.” The Foundation For Love & Acceptance founded by Herndon is dedicated to harnessing the power of music & media to support mental health & addiction recovery, LGBTQ & other at-risk youth & Nashville’s country music community. 

Pride Month Battle Of The Good & Evil

Celebrating Pride Month this year began with controversies battling over 500 anti-LGBTQ bills erupting across the nation so far in 2023 attempting to derail diversity & inclusion. Then we had to deal with recent pushback by businesses like Anheuser-Busch & Target falling prey to rightwing extremist groups’ hate & intimidation strategies. Kelley Robinson, HRC President stated, “This year, we need more than just a rainbow logo. Going into Pride Month – a protest for our fundamental rights & a celebration of visibility & queer joy – businesses play a bigger role than ever before in championing LGBTQ+ inclusion & representation. The LGBTQ+ community is experiencing the worst year on record for anti-LGBTQ+ legislation – over 520 bills that aim to strip us of our very existence, dignity & history, from the doctor’s office to the classroom to the sports field.” At the same time GLAAD has released their 9th annual Accelerating Acceptance study which revealed that a record number of non-LGBTQ Americans support equal rights for the LGBTQ community. The Study also shows that an overwhelming majority of non-LGBTQ Americans now believe that LGBTQ people should have the freedom to live their life & not be discriminated against & that schools should be a safe & an accepting place for all youth as Florida ramps up its book banning agenda. Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD President & CEO concluded, “Media, content creators & corporate leaders need to lead & respond to hate with undeterred support for the LGBTQ community, including LGBTQ employees, shareholders & consumers. Allyship is not easy, but when values of diversity, equity & inclusion are tested, we must defend them unequivocally." 

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