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We're closing out 2023 on a high note by thanking our loyal global audience & contributors for supporting OUTTAKE MEDIA’s mission to always deliver the truth especially all the LGBTQ leaders, filmmakers, actors, authors & allies who appeared on OUTTAKE VOICES our audio podcast series in '23 now syndicated on over 25 podcast platforms worldwide. Thanks to writer-filmmaker & fierce LGBTQ ally Joe Gantz, BGMC documentarian Craig Coogan, LGBTQ pioneer activist Virginia (Ginny) Apuzzo, LGBTQ Victory Fund CEO Annise Parker, Campaign for Southern Equality Emma Chinn, founder of Velvet Ibiza Carine de Mesmaeker, National Black Justice Coalition’s Victoria Kirby York, Publisher of Boston Spirit Magazine David Zimmerman, author Boze Hadleigh, KindRED Pride Foundation’s Alison Burgos, Provincetown International Film Festival’s Andrew Peterson, Latina filmmaker Sue Zarco Kramer & cast of “Swipe NYC” including Lisa Edelstein & Richard Schiff, director Sophia Castuera & writer Ali Edwards, producer Fermin Rojas & director Mike Syers, director Sam Shahid, actors Jason Stuart & Mitch Hara, Drag Diva Randy Roberts, founder & producer of The Dinah Mariah Hanson & Red Carpet celebrities, executive producer Paula S. Apsell, author Laury A. Egan & Rev. Richard Emmanuel. We also wish to thank publicists Mona Elyafi at ILDK Media, Cathy Renna at Target Cue & Mark Umbach at Lucky Break PR for providing us with fabulous voices. As we head into 2024 with over 600 anti LGBTQ bills in states across the country, women's rights continue to be on the chopping block, antisemitism & hate crimes on the rise & all as we head towards the presidential election, we've lined up some amazing guests to address these issues with lots of exciting projects TBA. We Wish Everyone A Safe & Healthy New Year. LISTEN

Ohio Transgender Health Ban Vetoed

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has vetoed HB 68 bill that would have banned medical care for transgender adolescents. Gov. DeWine stated, “It is the parents who know their child best.” As you know across the nation federal district courts have enjoined similar bans enacted by other states finding that they violate parents’ fundamental right to make medical decisions for their children & also unlawful discrimination against transgender people. However, both the Eleventh Circuit & the Sixth Circuit recently reversed federal district court decisions in Alabama, Tennessee, & Kentucky. Shannon Minter NCLR Legal Director concluded, “Governor DeWine’s veto marks a major turning point in what has become a tragically politicized battle. Research has shown that the public overwhelmingly believes that parents, not the government, should make medical decisions for their families. This attack on safe, effective & well-established medical care has already caused enormous anguish & harm to Ohio families, who can now breathe a sigh of relief that their children can continue to receive the healthcare they need. Governor DeWine did the right thing by listening to parents, doctors & young people & taking the time to understand the facts, rather than catering to political expedience. He has given other elected officials a powerful example of how to respond to these dangerous & harmful bills with similar courage, integrity & deliberation.” NCLR represents transgender adolescents & their parents in Alabama & Kentucky & has asked the Supreme Court to review the Sixth Circuit’s decision. Attorneys representing transgender youth & their parents in Tennessee have made a similar request. 

American Society on Aging & SAGE USA

SAGE the world’s oldest & largest non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of LGBTQ elders announced its curation of a new special edition of the American Society on Aging (ASA) Generations Journal 2023 that addresses our LGBTQ elders. According to the ASA the quarterly Generations Journal is devoted to bringing together the most useful & current knowledge about a specific topic in the field of aging, with emphasis on practice, research & policy. This year’s special edition focuses on breaking down the barriers of ageism & focusing on a case against structural ageism in our society. Michael Adams SAGE CEO stated, “The decision by SAGE to curate a special collection of articles on ageism for the American Society on Aging’s Generations Journal is particularly timely. Our essay collection analyzes ageism as a systemic bias – like racism & sexism & explores its deep links to ableism, given that bias about age is often linked to bias about disability. The essays reflect a reality that is often overlooked: that aging, ageism & ableism affect different socio-economic groups differently. That’s why organizations like ours exist.” Leanne Clark-Shirley, ASA interim President & CEO concluded, “We’re seeing ‘ageism’ & ‘ableism’ appear more frequently in media & advocacy, but learning the terms is not enough to solve either of these problems. ASA is so proud to publish this issue of Generations Journal that not only defines, but articulates the intersection of ageism & ableism with other social ills, while putting forth concrete examples of how we can dismantle their root causes.” Founded in 1978 & headquartered in NYC SAGE is a national organization that offers supportive services & consumer resources to LGBTQ older people & their caregivers. 

Las Vegas LGBTQ Classic Sports Event

The annual Sin City Classic Sports Festival takes place over Martin Luther King Weekend January 11th to 14th in Las Vegas. Each year the festival brings together our LGBTQ community for a weekend of competition & camaraderie. The Greater Los Angeles Softball Association announced that at least 19 sports will be participating in the 17th annual Sin City Classic Sports Festival with additional days of competition & a new exhibition in Rodeo. Jason Peplinski, Sin City Classic Co-Executive Director stated, “The Sin City Classic has become a staple of the LGBTQ+ sports community. Each year we work hard to create a safe space for our athletes to gather for a weekend of competition, fun & mostly importantly – community. As the festival grows & evolves with a diverse roster of both sports & participants, this year we’re welcoming the LGBTQ+ Rodeo to show off their sport to our attendees.” Additional sports competitions at this year’s festival include Bowling, Bridge, Cheerleading, Cornhole for Charity, Soft Tip Darts, Steel Tip Darts, Dodgeball, Flag Football, Golf, Indoor Rowing, Kickball, Pickleball, Soccer, Softball, Tennis, Ultimate Frisbee, Indoor Volleyball, Sand Volleyball & Wrestling & Grappling. For the past 16 years the tournament has grown to include 24 sports & approximately 10,000 athletes & fans. Each January during the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend the festival kicks off with the Opening Night Registration Party held at the Flamingo Las Vegas. Competitions & nightly social events then take place around the city with the weekend culminating in the Closing Party. This year’s Closing Party takes place at the LINQ Promenade’s Brooklyn Bowl. The annual Sin City Classic Sports Festival is presented by Lexus. 

Federal Trans Healthcare Trial In Florida

A federal trial concluded challenging Florida’s SB 254, the first state law attempting to deprive transgender adults of healthcare. Florida SB 254 & related Boards of Medicine rules restrict access to medical care for transgender adults & criminally ban medical care for transgender adolescents. Plaintiff Lucien Hamel testified that SB 254 has prevented him from being able to access necessary care for himself as an adult anywhere in Florida. Hamel stated, “Being forced to abruptly stop my medical care this summer has been devastating for both me & my family. I received my care from a competent medical provider that I really trusted. Then I was told that Florida law suddenly won’t let APRNs & Nurse Practitioners provide the care I need. I can’t get an appointment with a physician anywhere in the state. There’s no medical basis for this change – it’s just preventing transgender Floridians like me from getting care. I’m scared & frustrated because I know my health will continue to decline the longer I have to wait, putting incredible stress on me, my wife & our child.” Shannon Minter, Legal Director, National Center for Lesbian Rights concluded, ”As the testimony presented in this trial overwhelmingly showed, there is no medical basis for this dangerous & unprecedented law, which has taken the extreme step of restricting medically necessary care even for adults & imposing criminal penalties on doctors & other health care professionals simply for doing their jobs. This is massive government overreach & it should be permanently enjoined.” Plaintiffs’ attorneys included GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRC), National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), Southern Legal Counsel (SLC) & Lowenstein Sandler LLP 

Missouri Transgender Youth Health Ban

LGBTQ advocates have launched an emergency program to help Missouri families navigate the implementation of SB49 which prohibits healthcare professionals from providing gender-affirming hormone therapy & puberty blockers for trans youth until they turn 18. Susan Halla, Board President of TransParent stated, “Every parent wants what is best for their child, & for many parents of transgender youth, the best thing for our children is accessing this best-practice medical care. It’s disgusting that extreme politicians in Missouri have inserted themselves into our families’ private medical decisions, leaving us to scramble for options that support & affirm our children. We are honored to support the launch of this project in Missouri & join in solidarity with every family who is working their hardest to love and care for their children.” Katy Erker-Lynch Executive Director of PROMO Missouri added, “Within two weeks of SB49 taking effect, hundreds of patients across the state lost access to life-saving, medically necessary health care. These same bodily autonomy rights will be under attack in the upcoming legislative session with multiple bills already filed targeting queer, nonbinary & trans communities. It is imperative we implement creative new strategies like the Southern Trans Youth Emergency Project to ensure families can continue to access the care they need.” Allison Scott, Director of Impact & Innovation at the Campaign for Southern Equality concluded, “This has been a devastating year for so many families of transgender youth & we are honored to work with partners across Missouri to connect families with funding and provider information to preserve continuity of care for as many people as possible. No law can stop the transgender community from charting our paths to thriving & living authentically our community will make sure of that.” 

Catholic Church LGBTQ Policy Evolves

As Massachusetts celebrates the 20th anniversary of Marriage Equality in 2024 Pope Francis continues LGBTQ policy changes in the Catholic Church now allowing priests to bless same gender unions. In a document released by the Vatican the Pope confirms an expanded definition of “blessing” that clears the way for recognition of same gender couples. Though the new policy change stops short of allowing priests to perform marriage ceremonies or civil unions it does makes clear that blessings should not be denied outright to couples seeking them. Perhaps the new policy will prevent some sectors the Catholic Church from demonizing our LGBTQ community but they’re still running about 20 years behind. Marianne Duddy-Burke, Executive Director of DignityUSA stated, “It is clear from this statement that sacramental recognition of same-sex relationships is not yet on the table. However, the Pope has expressed support for civil unions & legal protections of same-sex couples & our families. Perhaps even more importantly, significant majorities of Catholics in many countries already believe that same-sex couples’ relationships are holy, blessed & equivalent to marriage. It may take time, but we fully expect that the official church will achieve this recognition, as well. We encourage pastors across the country & around the globe, to take advantage of this new permission to bestow blessings on same-sex couples who ask for this sign of affirmation. It will help many feel more supported by our church.” DignityUSA has blessed same-gender relationships since the 1970s & has called for equal access to marriage for LGBTQ people for over 25 years. 

Ohio Passes Transgender Youth Ban

UPDATE: Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine Vetos HB 68...
While you were busy with your holiday festivities the Ohio state legislature passed Sub. HB 68 a bill that bans essential health care for transgender youth & prohibits them from participating in school sports. Now Governor Mike DeWine has less than ten days from receiving the bill by the Secretary of State to veto the bill, sign it into law or do nothing & allow the bill to become law automatically. Maria Bruno, Policy Director of Equality Ohio stated, “Governor DeWine's veto of HB 68 is crucial to preventing further harm to children & families in Ohio. If HB 68 becomes law, politicians would be overruling parents on their child’s most personal, important medical care. This bill is two bills in one: it would ban & even criminalize lifesaving medical treatment endorsed by every major medical association in the country & overrule existing, thoughtful OHSAA & NCAA participation policies in order to prevent a handful of kids from playing school sports with their friends, further alienating & villainizing transgender & gender nonconforming youth. This isn’t just government overreach, it’s a cruel weaponization of state power against kids. Equality Ohio will continue to fight for trans youth & we are grateful for the thousands of community members, businesses & lawmakers who have spoken out against this bill. To the transgender youth in Ohio: we see you & we love you. Ohio is your home & we will never stop fighting for you.” According to Equality Ohio 585 people submitted testimony to lawmakers to reject these efforts since HB 68 was introduced compared to only approximately 40 supporters of the bill many of whom were not from Ohio. 

Carol Day San Francisco Event (AUDIO)

The historic Roxie Theater in San Francisco is hosting Carol Day on Thursday December 21st at 6:30P presented by OUTlook & Frameline. The event will be celebrated as a Todd Haynes' holi-gay of holy style with trivia, prizes, giveaways & more. Costumes are greatly encouraged so get as creative as you want since there are plenty of options from both the Cate Blanchett & the Haynes catalogs or just arrive with a pair of gloves you don't intend to return home wearing. Frameline's final 2023 screening of Carol will be an event not to miss with themed couples' costumes & make sure to bring your angel flung out of space & remember "there are no accidents." Written by out lesbian Phyllis Nagy, Carol endured an 18-year journey to bring it to the screen. Nagy delivers a beautiful & honest story within the conventional norms of the 1950’s. The now classic lesbian XMAS feature film is about a young woman in her 20s, Therese Belivet (Rooney Mara) who is working as a saleswoman in a Manhattan department store & dreaming of a more fulfilling life when she meets Carol (Cate Blanchett) an alluring woman trapped in a loveless, convenient marriage. As an immediate connection sparks between them the innocence of their first encounter becomes more challenging as their love deepens. When the film first came out in December of 2015 I talked to writer-director Phyllis Nagy in this exclusive audio interview about her screenplay that won the New York Film Critics Circle for Best Screenplay & was nominated for an Oscar Best Adapted Screenplay. LISTEN  

North Carolina Law Hurts LGBTQ Kids

In North Carolina LGBTQ organizations Campaign for Southern Equality, PFLAG Asheville & Youth OUTright have file a Title IX complaint against Buncombe County Board of Education for implementing SB49 an Anti-LGBTQ State law. Craig White, Supportive Schools Director at the Campaign for Southern Equality stated, “We file this complaint more in sorrow than in anger. It was clear that the BCS policy committee did what they could to reduce the harm caused to LGBTQ young people by S.B.49. But less harm is not no harm & after hearing the testimony of students, families & educators, it was clear that we have to take all possible steps to prevent the provisions in this discriminatory state law from going into effect in Buncombe County.” KT Merseles a Board member at Asheville PFLAG added, “SB49 – the ‘Don’t Say LGBTQ+’ bill in NC – is a cruel attempt to stigmatize & marginalize LGBTQ children, faculty & their families in the state. This is part of a crusade against the LGBTQ population, designed to rile up an extremist base nationwide. The policies passed recently in the Buncombe County School Board violate our children’s rights to a safe & non-discriminatory environment in schools. Asheville PFLAG will continue to advocate alongside the Campaign for Southern Equality & Youth OUTright to ensure the civil rights of our families are upheld.” Adrian Parra, Executive Director of Youth OUTright WNC concluded, “Youth OUTright sees SB49 for what it is: A deceptive, violent piece of policy that targets already marginalized LGBTQIA+ youth & families. Censorship, forced outing & adding undo burden to our school personnel will do nothing but create an even more hostile environment for all youth….” 

Ron DeSantis Continues LGBTQ Attacks

In Fort Lauderdale parents, students & community leaders joined Equality Florida to call out Governor DeSantis' attacks on their rights & freedoms. As we have been reporting under DeSantis schools & classrooms have become the center of his obsession with his culture war attacks. Instead of focusing on improving the educational opportunities for students DeSantis has pursued an agenda of government intrusion & control by denying transgender students access to basic rights, threatening teachers, censoring honest & accurate history, restricting access to AP courses & expanding book bans. Jennifer Solomon, Equality Florida’s Parents & Families Support Manager stated, “Parents & families are fed up with right-wing extremists turning our classrooms into political battlefields with their banning books, censoring curriculum, whitewashing history & attacking of LGBTQ students — all at the expense of our kids & their futures. Enough is enough. Every student who steps into a school deserves to feel safe, welcomed & included. Parents will continue to speak out until the attacks on our parental rights & on our children stop. School districts have a responsibility to protect all students.” Andy Cardona, a transgender high school student added, “My school life consisted of relentless fear, guilt & pain. This is the reality of transgender children in Florida today. What I find fundamentally lacking is a sense of humanity in these conversations.” Jeff Delmay, parent of a middle school student concluded, “These anti-LGBTQ laws passed in Tallahassee & pushed by our governor directly affect our schools & make it harder for us to raise our children safely. I teach my son to respect his friends & his classmates for all that they are, including what makes them unique. I expect our schools to do the same.”
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Conversion Therapy High Court Decision

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected a challenge to Washington's state law protecting LGBTQ minors from conversion therapy by declining review of Tingley v. Ferguson a Ninth Circuit decision affirming the validity of Washington state’s law prohibiting licensed mental health professionals from subjecting minors to the harmful practice of conversion therapy that attempts to change a young person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Mathew Shurka, Co-Founder of NCLR’s Born Perfect Program stated, “Today’s decision is a huge relief for LGBTQ minors in Washington & throughout the country. These laws play a critical role in protecting LGBTQ minors & their families from this dangerous practice, which drives LGBTQ youth to self-hatred & despair & which tragically isolates LGBTQ youth from their families. As a survivor of this damaging practice, I know firsthand how damaging these practices can be.” Shannon Minter, NCLR Legal Director concluded, “The Ninth Circuit correctly held that Washington’s law is a regulation of mental health treatment, not speech. When state-licensed therapists are providing treatment to patients, states can & do require them to provide safe, competent & ethical care. Every major medical & mental health association in the country has warned that conversion therapy is unnecessary, ineffective & harmful. In one study, more than 60 percent of youth subjected to conversion therapy attempted suicide. That is why nearly half the states in this country have enacted laws to protect youth & their families from these serious harms.” Born Perfect is a survivor-led campaign created by the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) to end conversion therapy. 

Our Global Humanitarian Crisis (AUDIO)

This week I talked with Rev. Richard Emmanuel founder of The Church, a non-profit organization established in 1968 in East Gloucester, MA that is dedicated to raising individual & collective consciousness while increasing spiritual awareness. I called on Emmanuel a visionary & dedicated political activist to give us his brutally honest spin on where our world may be headed in 2024. With religious wars raging in Middle East & the war in Ukraine among others, we are confronted with a global humanitarian crisis. Rev. Emmanuel addresses the fact that Christianity, Judaism & Islam are at war with one another causing a younger generation to become both weary of global conflict & wary of hierarchical institutions. Currently in this country we’re under attack by white national domestic terrorists, fending off over 600 anti LGBTQ bills in states across the country, women’s rights are on the chopping block & antisemitism is on the rise all as we head into the 2024 election. Emmanuel questions the uncomfortable truths that western religions continue the patriarchal myth that males are superior to the females of the human species. Richard also approaches the human experience as a life cycle of 4 stages. The cycle mirrors the planetary earth seasons consisting of Spring, Summer, Fall & Winter as the four phases of being human as in childhood, young adulthood, middle age & elder-hood. I talked to Rev. Emmanuel about how we can regain a sense of humanity in a world spiraling downward & his spin on our LGBTQ issues. LISTEN  

Outer Cape Chorale Holiday Events

If you happen to be in Provincetown, MA this weekend & looking to get into the holiday season spirit the Outer Cape Chorale is presenting three Glorious concerts this weekend first at Provincetown Town Hall on Friday December 8th at 7P & Saturday December 9th at 5P then at Nauset Middle School in Orleans, MA on Sunday December 10th at 3P. The holiday spirit concerts promise to be fabulous with 3 Glorias & secular songs of joy & celebration, including a surprising premier. Marcy Feller who will be performing stated, “It will be a beautiful event, sure to lift your spirits & I have a solo! See you there.” The Outer Cape Chorale under the artistic direction of Allison Beavan consists of a brass ensemble with 120 singers. They will be performing John Rutter’s Gloria & a commissioned World Premiere of Reindeer Cantata by Robert Grady. The Outer Cape Chorale was founded in 2002 by Jon Arterton & a dedicated group of supporters. The Chorale has performed continuously since that time presenting distinctive musical programs from classical to jazz, from Broadway to the Beatles, from choral classics to music from Africa. The Outer Cape Chorale are singers who love to make music & strive for excellence in singing & enjoy their time together in doing so. Singing, laughing & dedicating their energies to the choral art form all roll into one fabulous experience for all. So whether you are a singer or a listener the Outer Cape Chorale is the source for a rich musical life. All concerts are free so no ticket needed but contributions welcomed. 

BETTY Holiday Event City Winery Boston

After their sold-out show in NYC BETTY the award-winning indie rock trio of Alyson Palmer, Elizabeth Ziff & Amy Ziff known worldwide for soaring harmonies, joyful live shows & LGBTQ equality activism will perform BETTY - Holiday Show Live Sunday December 10th at 7P at City Winery in Boston with special guest Hayley Reardon. BETTY stated, “We love playing Boston, the crowds are great & they get crazy with us! Boston is one of our favorite communities to play for. So excited to do our holiday show at City Winery. Be there!” Since forming in 1986 the band’s distinctive sound has been heard in concert & on TV with The L Word theme song. The indie pop trio consists of Alyson Palmer on vocals, bass, guitar & Elizabeth Ziff on vocals, guitar, electronic programming with her sister, Amy Ziff on vocals & cello. BETTY uses beguiling melodies, compelling lyrics & signature harmonies to create energetic live shows that mix music, performance art, politics & comedy. BETTY plans to tour globally in the spring with their new album performing festivals all over the world including cities & towns large & small all across the USA, Canada, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Russia, Lithuania, Estonia, Austria, Portugal, France, England, Greece, India, Argentina, Mexico, South Africa & more. Their melodies & rhythms are infectious in every language. The appeal is limitless. In addition to concerts they tour with The BETTY Effect a non-profit organization created to hold equality & empowerment workshops for women, girls & our LGBTQ community. Tix $35 & $25

Library Book Bans Violates Free Speech

As the ACLU & other organizations address the national book banning crisis in our nation’s libraries Sheila Nevins now head of MTV Documentary Films & former president of HBO Documentary Films has directed & produced “The ABC's of Book Banning” a 27-minute account of resistance to book bans in Martin County, Fla. The must-see short doc is currently available on numerous streaming services & focuses on Florida children’s opinions on the freedom to read. In the meantime this epidemic against free speech is spreading across the nation. In New Hampshire there has been a controversy in recent months since the commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Education (DOE) suggested that the Dover School District consider whether or not to ban the books “Boy Toy” & “Gender Queer” from its high school library on the basis of “developmental inappropriateness” though “Gender Queer” was not actually available at that library. This suggestion came after the DOE released an unworkable, unclear & overly broad “Objectionable Material Policy'' in September 2023. The ACLU of New Hampshire & GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) have sent a letter to Frank Edelblut the Commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Education warning that his department’s communications with the Dover School District are “alarming & extraordinary” & that the DOE’s insinuations that the District should consider whether or not to ban two books as “developmentally inappropriate” could create First Amendment concerns if such a ban occurred. Open your eyes America & address these attempts to strip of our rights in plain sight. WATCH  

Boston Gay Men's Chorus Holiday Event

Boston Gay Men's Chorus is thrilled to announce their upcoming Green & Gleeful concerts after performing to sold-out audiences at Provincetown's Holly Folly. Following their successful kickoff BGMC returns to New England Conservatory's Jordan Hall in Boston for a series of enchanting performances on December 10th, 16th, 17th & 18th. Under the guidance of Music Director Reuben Reynolds who always delivers a fabulous musical experience that captivates & uplifts audiences. Reynolds stated, "Green & Gleeful is an opportunity for us to celebrate the holiday season with our community through the power of music. It's a chance to spread joy, inspire resilience & foster a sense of togetherness." Sarah Shoffner BGMC Executive Director concluded, "Green & Gleeful is more than a concert; it's a celebration of community, resilience, & the sheer joy of the holiday season. We invite everyone to join us for these incredible performances that are sure to fill your hearts with warmth & cheer!" The Green & Gleeful holiday extravaganza will leave you feeling merry & bright. So step into a festive holiday world where the Grinch takes flight as a magical journey filled with whimsy & glee. The Grinch will bring holiday cheer for all to see with singing & special dance performances & dazzling lights this show will steal your heart. Experience the joy, the laughter & the fun in Green & Gleeful a show for everyone. Don’t miss this zany adventure where the Grinch’s spirit shines bright & fills your holiday season with cheer & delight. Founded in 1982 Boston Gay Men's Chorus is committed to diversity, inclusion & the celebration of LGBTQ rights. BGMC strives to create a more harmonious & accepting world. 

World AIDS Day Commemorates 35 Years

Commemorating the 35th Anniversary of World AIDS Day, the National AIDS Memorial is presenting a series of powerful conversations honoring the history of the AIDS movement highlighting current progress & providing hope for the future. On December 1st at the National AIDS Memorial Grove in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park speakers will bring to life the faces & stories of this pandemic that has taken the lives of 32 million people worldwide & offer hope & support to the 1.2 million people estimated to be living with HIV in the U.S. today. John Cunningham, Chief Executive Officer of the National AIDS Memorial stated, “We commemorate the 35th Anniversary of World AIDS Day by doing what we do best – uplifting the voices that contribute to the broader, intersectional narrative of health & social inequities that defines the AIDS movement. Through brave conversations with those on the front lines, we seek to personalize & contextualize where we have been, where we are & what remains to be done to fight stigma & discrimination & to build a more just, equitable & healthy future for all people, in every community.” Greg Louganis, OlympicGold Medalist, longtime AIDS/HIV survivor & LGBTQ activist will be honored with the National Leadership Recognition Award. Louganis concluded, “The most important thing is speaking up & speaking out. The more people get to know you, the more we lessen the stigma. Every person is so much more than the label we give each other. It is really key that we connect on a human level & be empathetic to the challenges that each of us have.” The National AIDS Memorial Grove is the only federally designated memorial to the pandemic. 

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