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LGBTQ Supporters Arrested In Malaysia

Over the weekend in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia eight members of Ahmadi Religion of Peace & Light were arrested during a protest in solidarity with our LGBTQ community. Their protest outside the downtown Sogo shopping mall on Saturday July 29th was prompted by the recent public caning of two alleged lesbians & other crackdowns on our LGBTQ community in Malaysia. The Ahmadis were arrested & are being detained at Dang Wangi police headquarters without access to lawyers or families. Hadil El-Khouly, the Human Rights Outreach Coordinator of the Ahmadi Religion of Peace & Light UK stated, “They have been detained for over 24 hours for protesting in support of LGBT+ human rights. They are now awaiting a court order to charge them. During detention, they were interrogated by police about their religious beliefs. This protest was a response by believers from the Ahmadi Religion of Peace & Light to the persecution of the LGBTQ+ community by the Malaysian government, which has escalated recently. We do not support the oppression of LGBTQ+ people. Our doors are open to everyone. We have many members of the LGBTQ+ community. Some of them have been jailed in Turkey, Iran & Egypt.” London-based human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell who has supported Malaysian human rights campaigns & the rights of Ahmadi Muslims for many decades concluded, “This is a laudable brave example of one persecuted minority supporting another. Ahmadis are an oppressed religious minority in Malaysia. Unlike mainstream Muslims, the Ahmadi Religion of Peace & Light accepts LGBT+ people & supports their human rights. What they did was very courageous. I fear they will pay a heavy price under Malaysia’s draconian anti-protest laws.” I talked to Peter in this exclusive podcast about global LGBTQ rights in 2018. LISTEN   

Callaways Play Provincetown Art House

The Tony-nominated Callaway sisters Ann Hampton Callaway & Liz Callaway will be performing Wednesday August 2nd to Saturday August 5th at 6P at The Art House, in Provincetown, MA presented by Mark Cortale. Back by popular demand don’t miss their fabulous new show As Long As We're Together which earned them the 2023 MAC Award for Best Duo Show. Bringing their cool sizzle to the summer Liz & Ann Hampton Callaway raise the roof with Broadway showstoppers, standards & pop classics from their hit shows Sibling Revelry, Boom! & Broadway the Calla-way! as well as some special surprises. Liz stated, "Nothing makes me happier than singing with my sister, Ann & what could be better than singing together in one of our favorite places on the planet- P-town!” Ann concluded, “Singing great songs with my beloved sister in a place that has the most openhearted audiences we know is a recipe for madcap fun, inspiration & joy.” Accompanying the Callaways is their one man-orchestra Alex Rybeck as they infuse new life into songs from Stephen Sondheim to Harold Arlen to Carly Simon as Anns sultry, jazz-flavored sound compliments Liz's clear bell tones. Expect a rousing Ptown night of harmony, hilarity & the soaring sounds of this legendary sister act. For those Callaway virgins Ann Hampton Callaway is a Tony® nominee & was recently voted by Broadway World as "Performer of the Year" & "Best Jazz Vocalist". Liz Callaway is a Tony® nominee & Emmy Award-winning actress, singer & recording artist. Tickets are selling fast & run from $50 for General seating to $100 for VIP. 

Kids Online Safety Act Not So Safe

A new version of KOSA (Kids Online Safety Act) was introduced by Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) & Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) that actually makes the bill worse, not better. KOSA has always been a bill that makes kids less safe not more safe by empowering rightwing attorneys general to cut kids off from lifesaving information & online. In the Blackburn substitute the section that was already too weak to prevent the bill from being weaponized against LGBTQ content has been weakened further. Her version of KOSA still allows state attorneys general to dictate what content can be seen by younger users & this would be a disaster for LGBTQ rights, abortion rights, education rights & free expression. Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) & Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) brought up concerns about KOSA’s threat to LGBTQ online communities. Their remarks echoed problems that LGBTQ, civil rights & digital rights advocates have been raising since KOSA was first introduced. Senator Markey stated, “I would like to say that over the past few months I’ve heard concerns from my constituents & civil rights groups about the Kids Online Safety Act & its potential impact on LGBTQ youth & other online communities. I commend the authors for their work on the bill, but I want to continue to work to modify the bill to help fix the concerns that the LGBTQ community has been raising. More work needs to be done.” Senator Cantwell Concluded, “I’ve heard some advocates, particularly in the LGBT community, about continuing concerns with this legislation. We will continue to work with them on this.” 

Michigan Law Protects LGBTQ Youth

Governor Whitmer signed a bill prohibiting licensed therapists in Michigan from subjecting minors to conversion therapy, the dangerous practice that seeks to change a young person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. In June 2021 the Governor issued an executive order barring the use of state funds for conversion therapy. The new law both codifies that directive & prohibits state-licensed therapists from subjecting minor patients to conversion therapy. Mathew Shurka Born Perfect Co-Founder stated, “We are thrilled that Michigan is taking this important step to protect LGBTQ youth & their families from this deadly practice, which has been rejected as unethical & harmful by every leading medical & mental health organization in this country. This is a huge step forward for LGBTQ people in Michigan & sends a much-needed message of recognition & support to LGBTQ youth at a time when they are under attack in many states.” Now 27 states protect our LGBTQ youth from this deadly practice, whether by legislation, regulations, or executive actions. 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 Youth 15% 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. 

New Film august at twenty-two (AUDIO)

Lady Parts Productions presents “august at twenty-two” an extraordinary 84-minute gem of a film that’s helmed in front & behind the camera by a team of queer female & nonbinary storytellers in their early twenties that’s now available to rent & buy on all TVOD/Digital platforms across North America by Gravitas Ventures. The feature film is the directorial debut for Latina director Sophia Castuera & stars Ali Edwards who plays Cal an actress floundering after college & is shocked to discover that her childhood soulmate has a serious girlfriend Em (Lilli Kay) who Cal unexpectedly falls in love with. As Cal gets swept up in her new social life she begins neglecting her best friend Bobby who is becoming increasingly concerned about her rapidly changing focus. As Bobby & Cal's friendship disintegrates so does Cal's sense of self. Meanwhile her relationship with Em develops in unexpected & incendiary ways. The film addresses multiple coming of age stages then coming out the other side feeling the glow of self-realization & newfound confidence which this film embraces. “august at twenty-two” is also written by Ali Edwards, produced by Mary Elizabeth Monda with director of photography Melina Valdez & edited by Amir Mosallaie. Lady Parts Productions was founded by Ali Edwards, Mary Elizabeth Monda & Sophia Castuera who are three fierce advocates for creating positive social change through their work that explores the queer & female perspectives. I talked to director Sophia Castuera & writer/actress Ali Edwards at the Provincetown International Film Festival about the inspiration behind “august at twenty-two” & their spin on our LGBTQ issues. LISTEN  

"Trot for Trans Lives" Orlando Finale

The National Center for Transgender Equality in partnership with the TRANSContinental Run & with Pride Cup sponsorship is hosting a family-friendly in-person & virtual 5k run/walk “Trot for Trans Lives” on Saturday July 29th beginning at 8A EST. The in-person race will begin & end at the Luminary Green Park in Orlando, Florida. Orlando is the final stop for Cal Dobbs a transgender athlete who has been running across the southern United States spanning from California to Florida to raise awareness of the current challenges faced by our transgender community in today’s political climate. Dobbs stated, “This event & my journey across the country are not about changing minds. They are about showing love & solidarity to the transgender & intersex communities under attack in America, as well as for our friends, families, & the allies who support us. As an educator, I believe that the narratives of hate towards our communities are born out of ignorance & are not representative of most people. Ignorance is an invitation to educate.” Devon Ojeda, National Center for Transgender Equality Senior Organizer added, “Trot for Trans Lives aims to exhibit solidarity & compassion for the transgender & intersex communities that have been affected by the unprecedented surge of anti-transgender legislation introduced this year.” Dobbs concluded, “Trot for Trans Lives is about celebrating trans joy & community. It is about showing that we will not allow these ongoing political attacks to define or divide us. We are a resilient community that leads with love & spunk & will continue to live our lives with Pride!” 

Hit Comedy Series 'Smothered' (AUDIO)

This week I talked with actors Jason Stuart & Mitch Hara about the second season of their hit comedy series “Smothered” currently available on all major streaming services including Amazon, Apple, DirecTV & Revry. Jason Stuart (The Birth Of A Nation) & Mitch Hara (Mutant Olive) have co-written, co-starred & co-produced this series about a longtime gay couple that can’t stand each other but can’t afford to get divorced. With the success of the first season that was named one of the best comedy series by Amazon & was nominated for the Spotlight Award at the Indie Series Awards which Jason won Best Actor In a Comedy Series for the first season of “Smothered”, Jason & Mitch have upped their game. Season 2 of “Smothered” boasts an impressive cast of guest stars that include Amanda Bearse (Married w/ Children/Bros), Jai Rodriguez (Bros/Queer Eye), Carole Ita White (Laverne & Shirley), Armand Fields (Queer as Folk) & more. “Smothered” second season follows the boomer-aged gay couple Randy & Ralph who still can't stand each other & still can't afford to get a divorce so they attempt to salvage their hideous relationship in therapy hell before they kill each other & everyone else. Both Stuart & Hara were also nominated for Best Actor & the series for Best Digital Series at the Queerty Awards. “Smothered “season 2 is directed by acclaimed theatre director Carlyle King who is making her Television début. I talked to Jason & Mitch about what they hope to accomplish with “Smothered” & their spin on our LGBTQ issues. LISTEN  
Hear Audio Chats w/ LGBTQ Leaders @OUTTAKE VOICES 

Arizona Federal Court Blocks Trans Ban

In Arizona a federal judge blocked enforcement of an Arizona law that bars transgender girls from playing on girls’ sports teams. The court ruled that the new law most likely violates the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution & Title IX by singling out transgender girls & barring them from competing on girls’ teams. Kate & Robert Roe, parent Plaintiffs stated, “We’re happy with this decision, of course & our daughter is thrilled to join her friends playing the sports they all love. We’re so grateful that the court understood that all girls deserve the opportunity to participate in school sports.” Helen & James Doe, also parent Plaintiffs added, “We are pleased by the court’s decision. Our daughter & all girls deserve the opportunity to reap the benefits of school sports. We are relieved that the judge saw past the misconceptions & harmful rhetoric used to demonize transgender girls. Our daughter is looking forward to making new friends & playing the sports that she loves.” Rachel Berg, National Center for Lesbian Rights concluded, “We are very pleased with the Court’s decision that allows our clients to play on girls’ sports teams while this case proceeds. The Court recognized the law is overbroad & cannot survive constitutional scrutiny. We look forward to securing a permanent ruling.” The court’s ruling on the preliminary injunction bars enforcement of the ban to the plaintiffs while the remainder of the litigation proceeds through the Arizona federal court. The plaintiffs are represented by the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), Debevoise & Plimpton LLP & Osborne Maledon P.A.

Florida Board of Education Trans War

The Florida Board of Education voted to adopt 5 new rules targeting our LGBTQ community & expanding the DeSantis war on academic freedom. The rules introduce punishment for transgender students & staff who access restrooms that align with their gender identity, expand anti-LGBTQ censorship efforts to extracurricular activities, impose new barriers to students having their names & pronouns respected in school & limits the ability to teach accurate & honest Black history & LGBTQ-inclusive history. These alarming efforts by the DeSantis regime weaponizes state agencies & legislative processes against our LGBTQ community in service to his political ambitions. Jennifer Solomon, Equality Florida Parents & Families Support Manager stated, “This politically-motivated war on parents, students & educators needs to stop. Our students deserve classrooms where all families are treated with the respect they deserve & all young people are welcomed. Instead, the DeSantis Administration continues to wield the state against us, insisting that politicians know better than we do how best to educate our children. Let parents be parents. Let educators be educators & stop turning our kids’ classrooms into political battlefields to score cheap points.” Among the rules adopted are Rule No. 6A-10.086 which threatens students with discipline for using a restroom other than one that reflects their sex assigned at birth & Rule No. 6A-10.081 that threatens an educator’s credentials for using a restroom other than one that reflects their sex assigned at birth. The Florida Board of Education approved the new series of rules despite an overwhelming show of opposition from members of the public. 

Annual PFLAG Parent Day Virtual Event

PFLAG National will host its 3rd annual PFLAG Parent Day on Sunday July 23rd at 2P ET/11A PT across ABC Owned Television Stations’ streaming platforms & PFLAG National social channels. Brian K. Bond, Executive Director of PFLAG National stated, “PFLAG Parent Day is a celebration of families & the parenting people fighting for a better world. Ultimately, it’s a reminder: all of us can work together to create a world where everyone is celebrated, empowered & loved.” Openly lesbian ABC7 Eyewitness News reporter Christiane Cordero will host the event. Cordero concluded, “I feel so fortunate to host this year’s virtual PFLAG Parent Day celebration. I invite you to watch, listen & learn as we share stories of those working to make their homes, communities & the world a more inclusive place for LGBTQIA+ people & those who love them.” PFLAG Parent Day now in its third year is a special event to celebrate LGBTQ affirming parents & all the people who fill a parenting role for LGBTQ kids of all ages. The event is especially crucial this year with our LGBTQ community & their families under legislative attacks including threats to their lives, livelihoods & civil rights in almost every state across the country. Inspired by the same unconditional love that urged PFLAG founder Jeanne Manford & other parents to get off the curb & march alongside their LGBTQ loved ones 50 years ago parenting people in 2023 are taking action & fighting back. The PFLAG Parent Day presentation will premiere on PFLAG National & ABC Owned Television Station streaming platforms & is produced by PFLAG National with support from the ABC Owned Television Stations & executive producer Philip D’Amour. 

The Dinah Epic Performance Lineup

The Dinah celebrating 32 years as the longest running music festival for queer women announced its epic performance lineup for 2023 including Princess Nokia, Doechii, Phem, G Flip, Xana, Keeanna Kee & Black Box. The Dinah takes place September 20th through the 24th at the Margaritaville Resort & Spa Palms Springs’ most iconic hotel for the world’s biggest, largest, & most renowned annual music festival for LGBTQ women. Mariah Hanson, founder & producer of The Dinah stated, “The Dinah is as much about celebrating our queerness unfiltered & in the most authentic way as it is about elevating the inspiring new young queer voices of the moment – the queer idols of tomorrow – who are bettering the lives of the LGBTQ+ community & allies around the world.” Making their highly expected Dinah debut is a new generation of queer artists bubbling up & developing new sounds defining the major music trends. Not only are queer talents more & more visible but they’re also on top & there’s no better proof of that than the emergence of Princess Nokia. The electrifying gender-nonconforming queer NY Rapper & newest star to be is set to deliver an explosive headlining performance on Saturday night September 23rd. Also returning this year The Dinah will be showcasing two artists as part of its “Emerging Artist Contest”. The two winners (TBA) will headline the opening & closing parties at Reforma Palm Springs. Among the weekend’s high points will be the Dinah’s legendary pool parties showcasing a string of galvanizing queer emerging performers & of course the hottest DJ’s. 

Equality Florida International Drag Day

Equality Florida celebrated International Drag Day to remind our community that Drag is art. Drag is community. Drag is protest. Drag is not a crime. Nadine Smith, Equality Florida Executive Director stated, “For decades, drag has been an essential part of our fight for LGBTQ liberation. It’s been used as a form of expression & protest & a source of entertainment & joy. During the Stonewall riots, drag queens & transgender women played a significant role in resisting police violence & oppression & drag performances have continued to serve as a form of protest against discrimination, homophobia, biphobia & transphobia. The contributions of drag throughout history have been critical in promoting greater acceptance & understanding of the LGBTQ community. Right now, Governor DeSantis & his right-wing allies are threatening drag artists with vague, unconstitutional laws — attempting to make us fearful & push LGBTQ people back into the closet. But we’re not going to stand for it. Because an attack on the drag community is an attack on all of us. That’s why dozens of allies to the drag community came together for our #DragIsNotACrime photoshoot in Wilton Manors & St. Petersburg to get drag makeovers & let me tell you... they were STUNNING. DeSantis’ attacks on drag, like the dehumanization of transgender people, are about enforcing rigid stereotypes & policing how all of us express our identities. That’s why it’s so important we continue to join in on these acts of joyful resistance to DeSantis’ censorship & discrimination agenda & fight back!. DeSantis can’t ban our joy, our Pride, our art, our families, our history or our existence.” 

Texas Trans Youth Healthcare Ban Crisis

LGBTQ advocates & allies have launched emergency resources to help Texas families plan for the anti-transgender law SB14 that takes effect September 1st prohibiting Texas healthcare professionals from providing medically necessary healthcare for trans adolescents for the treatment of gender dysphoria & threatens doctors’ licenses if they do. Southern Equality, Equality Texas & the Transgender Education Network of Texas Families have announced that families of trans youth in Texas are eligible to request support navigating the landscape of healthcare providers & paying for the increased costs. Though the ACLU of Texas, ACLU National, Lambda Legal, Transgender Law Center & others have filed a lawsuit challenging SB14 these families need support now. Allison Scott Director of Impact & Innovation at the Campaign for Southern Equality stated, “We hope to see SB14 blocked from ever taking effect but we also must be clear-eyed about the political reality we are facing & families of trans youth across Texas have already faced so many wrenching decisions. We’re honored to be working with Equality Texas & Transgender Education Network of Texas to connect families with funding & provider information to preserve continuity of care for as many people as we can. No law can stop the transgender community from charting our paths to thriving & living authentically – our community will make sure of that.” Emmett Schelling Executive Director of Transgender Education Network of Texas concluded, “To the youth of Texas & the parents who support them, we want you to know that no matter what happens with SB14 or any other law, you are worthy of dignity, equality, joy & respect…We will never stop working to support transgender Texans & we are sending love, support & strength far & wide.” 

Discriminatory National Defense Bill

Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has allowed far-right amendments to National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that threatens healthcare for transgender service members & attacks LGBTQ service members & their families. The amendments include a ban on medically-necessary gender affirming care for service members & their families. As you know gender affirming care is supported by every major medical association including the American Medical Association (AMA) which collectively represents millions of American doctors. David Stacy, Vice President of Government Affairs at the Human Rights Campaign stated, “House Republicans have a choice this week. They can reject these politicized amendments that single out transgender service members & their families or they can embrace the anti-LGBTQ+ extremists in the House of Representatives. We call on the House to reject these cynical & cruel attacks on the LGBTQ+ community, which fly in the face of overwhelming evidence & are being used as a political weapon. Injecting their self-ignited culture war into this national defense bill is a recipe for disaster.” This is happening at the same time that the Biden administration is taking steps to eradicate harmful discrimination in federally-funded social service programs. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) issued a proposed regulation this week that entities grants from HHS to administer programs meeting essential human needs that must serve LGBTQ people on an equal basis with others implementing the Supreme Court’s Bostock v. Clayton County decision which held that federal sex discrimination laws prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation & transgender status.

Supreme Court Sets Inequality Path

With the Supreme Court’s recent decisions against affirmative action & our LGBTQ rights once again under attack we’re in a terrible downward & backward trend as we cope with the most troubling & harmful rulings that the Court has issued since last year’s demise of Roe v Wade. Lisa Rice National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) President & CEO stated, “In its 6-3 ruling against affirmative action plans at Harvard and University of North Carolina, the Court ignored nearly 50 years of precedent & the lower court’s factual analysis. It also ignored stark truths about systems of bias, created by centuries of race-based laws & policies, that still harm millions of people every day…Our neighborhoods are more segregated today than they were 100 years ago & communities of color have far fewer resources & amenities than do predominately White communities. Those amenities include clean land, air & water; healthcare facilities; internet services; full-service grocery stores; banks & credit unions & the like. It is important to note that the Court’s ruling is limited, only applying to those universities & is not an outright ban on affirmative action in college admissions. In another disappointing & alarming turn of events, the Court’s decision in 303 Creative v. Elenis essentially gives some businesses cart blanche to discriminate against LGBTQ+ individuals under the guise of protecting free speech. Finally, the Court’s decision to block President Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan will prevent millions of Americans from gaining the financial freedom from the burden of student loan debt that they need to buy a home, start a business, or just thrive. The decision presents a particular hardship for women & students of color, especially Black students & will hamper equitable growth in the economy.” NFHA works to dismantle longstanding barriers to equity & build diverse, inclusive, well-resourced communities. 

Eureka O’Hara Joins LGBTQ Camp Pride

Camp Pride 2023 begins Wednesday July 12th with special guest star Eureka O’Hara of HBO’s “We’re Here” in Charlotte, NC. Campus Pride’s Annual LGBTQ Student Leadership Camp offers crucial support, advocacy training to student leaders, faculty & staff across the country. Shane Mendez Windmeyer Campus Pride Founder, CEO & Executive Director stated, “Camp Pride offers college students, faculty & staff an opportunity to build community & create action plans to improve LGBTQ+ quality of life on their campuses & communities. These students have had a difficult year in which their identities were often under attack, so they need a safe space where they can gather with peers to support one another & strategize around issues they face on campus. This year, they will also benefit from the insights of former Camp Pride alumni who are returning to provide leadership, expertise & mentorship.” Since 2007 LGBTQ college students have gathered at Camp Pride to develop campus organizing, social justice & leadership skills. Each year students come from a wide range of educational settings including two-year, four-year, rural, southern, minority-serving (HBCU, TCU & HSI) & religiously-affiliated colleges & universities & from all over the country. In addition to the student leadership camp Camp Pride will hold a concurrent Advisor Academy for professionals who work with LGBTQ students on campus. Since 2001 Campus Pride has been the leading national organization dedicated to building future LGBTQ and ally leaders & creating safer communities at colleges & universities. Camp Pride takes place July 12th through July 16th at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, NC the nation’s premiere summer leadership academy for undergraduate LGBTQ & ally students. For More Info…

 

Tennessee Transgender Health Ban Law

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has issued a ruling allowing SB1 a ban on gender-affirming care in Tennessee to take effect. This reckless decision is a preliminary one with a full ruling on the injunction to come before September 30th. Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara Executive Director at the Campaign for Southern Equality stated, “This whiplash of decisions makes clear exactly why the government should not be inserting itself into private medical decisions that should be left to families & doctors. Now, Tennessee families of transgender youth are being forced into a period of unprecedented & wholly unnecessary - legal chaos as they navigate how to ensure that their children can access the health care they need & deserve. We want families to know that, through the Southern Trans Youth Emergency Project, we are here to help families connect to care in states where it is legal & provide emergency funding to help families. No one should have to leave their home state for life-saving healthcare, but in this tumultuous period, CSE & our partners will be there to offer support every step of the way & will keep fighting tooth & nail for full legal equality for transgender youth & the entire LGBTQ+ community.” Molly Rose Quinn Executive Director of OUTMemphis concluded, “This is state-sanctioned cruelty against Tennessee families, who are only seeking health care for their kids as best they can. They’ve faced unrelenting confusion & heartbreak this year because they’re afraid the state will take away their ability to live free & happy lives in the Volunteer State. We are doubling down on navigation services & support for trans youth & their families. Don’t give up. OUTMemphis is behind you in this fight & we won’t stop until Tennessee is a safe & affirming state.” 

Florida Colleges Close LGBTQ Centers

On July 1st Florida’s S.B. 266 took effect prohibiting any state or federal funding from supporting diversity, equity & inclusion programs at the state’s institutions of higher education. This resulted in the dismantling & closure of LGBTQ support offices & programs in Florida’s public colleges & universities. Shane Mendez Windmeyer Campus Pride Founder, CEO & Executive Director stated, “The repercussions of Florida’s S.B. 266 are creating a climate of fear for students & young people who rely on LGBTQ+ & other inclusion-focused centers & that fear is apparent, from students, faculty, staff, all the way up through campus administrators to college presidents. It is deeply disappointing that Florida college presidents have not banded together & found another way to keep these centers open, by securing alternative funding or rallying together in opposition to the law’s implementation.” Manny Velásquez-Paredes, director of the LGBTQ Center at the University of North Florida concluded, “It is truly a sad experience, when our political leaders use people as pawns in their political games. It is clear to every rational human being that diversity, equity & inclusion are meant to create awareness & embrace, celebrate & include our differences. However, politicians have chosen to engage in political culture wars & have decided the best way to beat us is to divide us. Their attacks on the LGBTQ+ community have been deeply felt this past legislative session with over 500 anti-LGBTQ+ bills introduced in the US. Are they afraid of the LGBTQ+ community, or are they afraid of our voting power? Because these attacks on the LGBTQ+ community only make us stronger, we are taking names & will be voting against all of those who introduced an anti-LGBTQ bill, or voted to pass one.” 

“Swipe NYC” New Featurette (AUDIO)

This week I talked with Latina filmmaker Sue Zarco Kramer & cast members of “Swipe NYC”, Sue’s semi-autobiographic dramedy featurette that has already won film festival awards across the country. First I talked to Sue & the film’s star Lisa Edelstein (House, Girlfriends Guide to Divorce) who plays Syd a newly divorced empty nester who throws herself into the vulnerable, scary, sexy world of online dating. Each date serves as a metaphor of Syd picking up the broken pieces of her life & regaining her sense of sexuality, confidence, empowerment & independence. Along the way she encounters her stellar cast of supporting actors including Richard Schiff (Wakanda Forever, The Good Doctor, The West Wing) & Bridget Moynahan (Blue Bloods, I Robot) among others. I also had the opportunity to get their spin on the current WGA Writer’s Strike & address our LGBTQ issues. Then I talked with Richard Schiff who plays Steve about how he got involved in the film & what he hopes to accomplish with his career. Next I chatted with Angela Wong Carbone who plays Jane & David Kelsey who plays Luke about their roles & how David would like to see “Swipe NYC” developed into a streaming series. The film is also produced by Kelsey along with Bridget Moynahan, Heather Sederquist, Cheryl Bayer & Sue Zarco Kramer. Additional cast includes Omari K. Chancellor, Justin Marcel McManus, Christiane Seidel, David Walton & Brennie Tellu. “Swipe NYC” premiered at The Beverly Hills Film Festival last April winning the best audience award & will be in San Francisco at the Jewish film festival on July 29th & August 4th winning the coveted freedom expression award. LISTEN  

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