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Kids Online Safety Act Is LGBTQ Unsafe

Despite widespread opposition from dozens of LGBTQ, civil liberties & human rights groups Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer intends to file cloture & move the dangerous & misguided Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA) to a floor vote in the Senate. Hundreds of parents of transgender youth have begged lawmakers to consider alternatives to KOSA. Fight for the Future Evan Greer stated, “This is not about protecting kids. This is about Senators getting to claim they’re protecting kids ahead of the election. It makes me sick to my stomach. Experts have repeatedly warned that KOSA would make kids less safe, rather than more safe. Lawmakers could have advanced strong privacy, antitrust & algorithmic justice legislation to actually address the harm of Big Tech & crack down on surveillance-driven business practices that harm young people & adults. Instead, they’re advancing what amounts to a blank check for censorship that can and will be used to suppress lifesaving online resources. LGBTQ youth have led the charge against KOSA & they’ve succeeded in forcing some important changes to text. But despite misleading claims from supporters, the changes to KOSA have not addressed the fatal flaws with the bill. Leader Schumer’s decision to put KOSA on the floor is deeply cynical. With vocal opposition from the chair of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, House leadership & even the youngest member of the House, Maxwell Frost, KOSA currently has no path to becoming law. The recent Supreme Court decision makes it clear even if it somehow did become law, it would be almost immediately overturned because it’s blatantly unconstitutional. So Big Tech will continue getting away with murder, because Senate leadership are choosing to score political points rather than advance thoughtful legislation. 
For shame.” 

Harmful Bills Targeting LGBTQ Kids Pass

New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu has signed a series of discriminatory bills that directly target our LGBTQ youth especially transgender kids in the “Live Free or Die” state. These measures are not only a step backward but a blatant attack on the rights & dignity of young people creating division & perpetuating harm. Devon Chaffee, ACLU of New Hampshire Executive Director stated, “These unconstitutional bills - now signed into law - are cynical attacks on some of the most vulnerable youth in our state & will have devastating impacts on transgender & LGBTQ+ students who already face discrimination & isolation just for being their authentic selves. Our politicians are continuing to fail trans youth: these laws are not actually about fair sports, healthy classrooms or overall wellbeing, but rather imposing discriminatory views & pushing transgender people out of public life. We condemn Governor Sununu’s signing of these bills & stand with transgender & LGBTQ+ Granite Staters & their families - we cannot & will not allow politicians to strip away their rights.” Melanie Willingham-Jaggers GLSEN Executive Director concluded, "Governor Sununu’s decision to sign a series of bills that target LGBTQ+ youth is deeply misguided, especially on the eve of updated Title IX protections that specifically protect LGBTQ+ students from discriminatory school policies. The laws approved by Governor Sununu are designed to marginalize & stigmatize some of our most vulnerable children, denying them the basic right to a safe & supportive learning environment. This is a betrayal of New Hampshire's values of freedom & fairness. To our LGBTQ+ youth in New Hampshire: we see you, we stand with you & we will never stop fighting for your right to live authentically & without fear. These cruel policies will not go unchallenged." 

LGBTQ Youth Inclusive Learning Update

GLSEN the fabulous org that creates safe & inclusive K-12 schools & learning environments for our LGBTQ youth has released its “Inclusive Learning Research Brief” providing crucial data on the importance of inclusive instruction, school books & school media centers as school resumes this fall. Melanie Willingham-Jaggers, GLSEN Executive Director stated, "At GLSEN, we believe that every student deserves a learning environment where they feel seen, valued & respected. The findings in our new research brief highlight the undeniable positive impact of LGBTQ+ inclusive learning on LGBTQ+ youth. We call on educators, administrators & policymakers to act on these insights & commit to creating classrooms where all students can thrive." Chris Schmeckpeper-Kobzina, GLSEN Collier County Chapter Lead concluded, “In Florida, the surge in censorship, book bans & attacks on LGBTQ+ youth has created an increasingly hostile environment for our students. The need for inclusive resources has never been more urgent. When LGBTQ+ youth see themselves reflected in their curriculum & library books, it not only validates their identities but also fosters a sense of belonging & safety. This research brief underscores the critical need for educators & policymakers to champion inclusivity & ensure that all students have access to supportive & affirming resources in our schools.” For decades GLSEN has examined the relationship between being taught any positive representations of LGBTQ people, history & topics at school & LGBTQ youth wellbeing & educational success. The new “Inclusive Learning Research Brief” utilizes important data to evaluate the impacts of LGTBQ inclusive school libraries, textbooks & other instructional materials as well as school internet access. 

Elon Musk Making America Unsafe Again

After pledging to donate $45 million a month to a new super political-action committee backing former president Trump's reelection campaign he also announced plans to move SpaceX & Twitter/X from California to Texas. Musk identified the SAFETY Act which bans schools from outing transgender & nonbinary students who opt to use their preferred pronouns in the classroom as his last straw with the state. Melanie Willingham-Jaggers, GLSEN Executive Director stated, “Elon Musk’s recent efforts to spread misinformation about a California law designed to support transgender youth are deeply troubling. The SAFETY Act recognizes that families, not state officials, are best positioned to navigate the conversations about a child coming out & their gender identity. This law prevents school staff & politicians from intervening in these deeply personal discussions, ultimately protecting & strengthening the relationship between parents & their transgender children. We commend Governor Newsom & the California legislature for their leadership in advancing these essential legal protections. By spreading misinformation about this law, Musk perpetuates a harmful pattern of promoting transphobia & using his platform to attack the LGBTQ+ community. GLSEN left Twitter last year due to its increasing hostility towards LGBTQ+ individuals, particularly youth, under Musk’s leadership. His actions—both through policy changes that facilitate anti-LGBTQ+ attacks & through his own rhetoric—create a hostile environment. At GLSEN, we remain steadfast in our commitment to protecting the rights and safety of LGBTQ+ youth & advocating for inclusive school environments where every child can thrive.” GLSEN is the leading education organization dedicated to creating safe & inclusive K-12 schools & learning environments for LGBTQ youth. 

Mime Troupe Performs American Dreams

The San Francisco Mime Troupe kicked off their 65th Season with AMERICAN DREAMS - A New Musical now through September 8th. The American Dream used to mean a job, a house, a car, a spouse, 2.5 kids & a 4 dog but what does it mean now? For some it is a good tide raising all boats, for others it is a tsunami that destroys everything. For some it is unity, for others it is dissolution. A handshake or a gun. One citizen’s dream has become another’s nightmare & those who fan the flames of the differences will gladly profit while democracy burns. AMERICAN DREAMS - A New Musical features a four-person cast that includes veteran SF Mime Troupe collective members Andre Amarotico (Oliver, Harold), Michael Gene Sullivan (Gabriel Pearse, Chancellor Quisling) & features Lizzie Calogero (Meliae Higgins, Emma) & Mikki Johnson (Paine Pearse). The musical is about Gabriel Pearce a Black man tired of liberal failures on the day after the presidential election. Giving up on progressivism wasn’t easy but casting his vote for a Conservative who promises to be grateful could mean a dream come true. However, for his daughter Paine - a teacher at a university caught between protesting students & threats to funding it’s a nightmare or was the lost election just a dream or will A.I. catch fire like Paine’s boyfriend Oliver sees in his nightmares. Whether you’re asleep or Woke what some see as nightmares others see as… American Dreams. AMERICAN DREAMS – A New Musical was written by Michael Gene Sullivan, Music & Lyrics by Daniel Savio with Velina Brown director & Dred Scott musical director. 

Boston Pride Drag Cruise Island Escape

We are entering very challenging times in America as reality & fantasy merge into the theatre of the absurd. How we move forward from here is completely up to our individual perceptions & common sense. Before the political events of the weekend I had fortunately signed up for the Boston Harbor Islands National & State Park Pride in the Park Community Cruise to Spectacle Island. The ferry departed promptly from Boston’s Long Wharf North at 4:30P at the Ferry Center building & Gate A2 adjacent to Christopher Columbus Park & the Long Wharf Marriott. The line to board extended the length of the wharf as friendly organizers checked in hundreds of passengers placing rainbow beaded bracelets on our wrists. Escaping from the summer heat & nonstop redundant news coverage of the weekend political events this cruise became the perfect diversion to regroup with the Boston LGBTQ community for a free 3-hour getaway. Once the ferry departed from the gate & the sea air washed over me, I knew I was at the right place at the right time surrounded by like minds & friends. As we approached Spectacle Island I felt my heart open & embraced an unforgettable evening filled with music, art activities & drag performances hosted by the iconic Mizery! We packed a picnic dinner but purchase food & snacks were available from Zaz. The event on Spectacle Island was non-alcoholic but there was a DIY mocktail bar & water was provided. Then we were entertained for hours by the fabulous Mizery & her team of drag queens lip synching & dancing to classic disco. As adventure came to an end we returned to Boston watching the sun set over the skyline & knew that after our 3-hour tour we were ready to take on tomorrow. Catch Mizery tonight at Club Cafe for Drag Bingo.

LGBTQ Leaders Address Title IX Rollback

House Republicans have passed Congressional Review Act (CRA) that reverses the Biden Administration’s crucial Title IX changes that clarified & expanded protections for our LGBTQ students. The CRA strips the Education Department of its power to protect LGBTQ youth from discrimination in school. Melanie Willingham-Jaggers, GLSEN Executive Director stated, "In their relentless campaign to push LGBTQ+ children back into the closet, House Republicans have passed another futile bill that would erase civil rights protections & tie the hands of federal enforcement agencies charged with ensuring safe schools. If the Congressional Review Act resolution becomes law, essential updates to Title IX will be undone, leaving LGBTQ+ youth without vital protections against bullying, harassment & assault. GLSEN stands with the broad coalition of students, educators, parents, mental health professionals & community members who want to ensure that schools are safe & secure learning environments, free from harassment & discrimination. It’s deeply troubling that so many members of Congress would stand in the way of federal actions that could help communities across the country reach that goal & we look to the Senate to prevent such a regressive resolution from advancing any further.” Allen Morris, National LGBTQ Task Force Policy Director concluded, “Transphobia & misogyny are at the root of today’s House proceedings. Repealing protections for LGBTQ youth, in particular trans youth & those whose safety is compromised on campuses & other spaces is unconscionable & hateful. Congress must act swiftly to overturn this dangerous ruling & reimplement the protections established by the Biden Administration. We also implore the Senate to hold the line for transgender lives & the larger LGBTQ+ community. Now is not the time to fold to political pressure or give extremists a platform for hatred, discrimination & violence to thrive.” 

Berlin Pussy Riot Staged Rage Takeover

Pussy Riot staged a performance of RAGE at Berlin’s Neue Nationalgalerie with 60 Pussy Riot members participating involving a large-scale installation, smoke sculpture, their signature balaclavas & directed by Nadya Tolokonnikova. Berlin police estimated over 2500 people in attendance even through the Berlin rain & witnessed a rainbow appearing during the performance. A rainbow is considered an extremist symbol in Russia according to the latest law labeling LGBTQ symbols. Pussy Riot Siberia is the name of the music core of this performance that included Nadya Tolokonnikova, Max Lawton, Riley Bray & John Caldwell. Nadya Tolokonnikova stated, “This performance is dedicated to all who lost their freedom & life fighting with the dictatorship. Love is stronger than death.” Klaus Biesenbach, director of the Neue Nationalgalerie concluded, “A loud & peaceful act of solidarity to all political prisoners who lost their freedom for speaking out, like Nadya herself when she performed in Moscow, at age 22, in 2012 when she was sentenced to nearly 2 years of prison.” Nadya Tolokonnikova’s RAGE exhibition is running now through October 20th at Austria’s museum OK Linz. Pussy Riot is a Russian feminist protest & performance art group based in Moscow that became popular for its provocative punk rock music which later turned into a more accessible style. Founded in the fall of 2011 by 22-year-old Nadya Tolokonnikova the group staged unauthorized, provocative guerrilla gigs in public places. These performances were filmed as music videos & posted on the internet. The group's lyrical themes included feminism, LGBTQ rights & opposition to Russian President Vladimir Putin & his policies including links to the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church. 

Circus Bella 15th Park Season (AUDIO)

This week I talked with transgender acrobat Toni Cannon about Circus Bella's new show "WOW!" that’s happening now through July 20th celebrating its 15th annual Circus in the Parks Season in San Francisco, CA. This fabulous exhilarating show that launched last month continues to delight & astonish audiences of all ages. Experience the mesmerizing magic of "WOW!" offering a modern twist on one-ring circus & presenting a captivating blend of circus enchantment & madcap mayhem. Circus Bella’s diverse troupe of acrobats, aerialists, jugglers & clowns from the Bay Area & beyond performs to the lively tunes of Rob Reich & the 6-piece Circus Bella All-Star Band. Circus Bella thrives in its mission to produce & present high-quality Circus Arts entertainment accessible to all audiences. Their vision is to be a classical circus attuned to the present. They pursue excellence in a modern one-ring circus combining past traditions with forward-thinking sensibilities & flair. Circus Bella honors diversity & universal human potential as a proud member of the multinational circus community. In celebrating the beauty of circus art they delight in unifying people with experiences that cross age, culture & language barriers with joyous performances. Their new show "WOW!" is written & directed by Abigail Munn with music composed by Rob Reich & costumes by Autumn Adamme. Performances run approximately 60 minutes & are free to the public but bring picnic blankets & small folding chairs to all locations since Circus Bella does not provide audience seating at events. I talked to Toni about what he hopes to accomplish performing with Circus Bella & his spin on our LGBTQ issues. LISTEN  

LGBTQ Health Care Protections Blocked

A District Court judge has ordered a nationwide preliminary injunction that blocks enforcement of the newly finalized LGBTQ non-discrimination protections under Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for Americans who experience discrimination based on their gender identity. Kelley Robinson, Human Rights Campaign President stated, “The discrimination LGBTQ+ people will continue to experience under this injunction is indefensible. This ruling is not only morally wrong, it's also bad policy. Everyone deserves access to the medical care they need to be healthy & thrive. Instead, this court has sided with the fringe groups & politicians who want to bully our community at every opportunity. This isn’t over: all LGBTQ+ people should receive the health care they deserve and be able to make informed decisions about our own bodies.” The consequences of this preliminary injunction will impact many patients across the country including denial of coverage for hormone replacement therapy (HRT) that trans people regularly need. It will also allow verbal or physical abuse from doctors or other medical providers directed at LGBTQ+ patients & the ability to turn away LGBTQ people in emergency situations because of their gender identity. Without enforcement of Section 1557 against discrimination based on gender identity health care providers who receive federal funding may also be encouraged to discriminate, limit or deny coverage & under some circumstances deny critical access to necessary medical services for patients in need. This all happened as the Biden-Harris administration who promised to stand with transgender young people took a position opposing best practice gender-affirming surgeries for transgender youth.

Connecticut LGBTQ Film Fest Winners

Out Film CT, Connecticut’s LGBTQ Film Festival announced the winners of the prestigious Audience Award & Jury Award for the 37th installment of this festival featuring the work of LGBTQ filmmakers & storytellers from around the globe. Shane Engstrom Out Film CT Festival Director stated, “Our audience enthusiastically embraced the return of the festival to June & they appreciated the opportunity to watch the best of LGBTQ+ cinema from all over the world. Based on the extremely high Audience Award scores, it’s clear that our audience embraced these international stories, awarding their top three picks to films from Spain, Austria & Belgium." Winner of the Audience Award for Best Feature went to “Love & Revolution” (Spain) a sassy comedy about a young man who comes out with the help of a group of revolutionaries & the transformation of his very traditional mother into a surprisingly active crusader for LGBTQ rights in 1977 Spain. The Winner of the Jury Award for Best Feature went to “Listen Up!” (Norway) about a goofy, awkward, yet ultimately loveable 13-year-old Pakistani immigrant living in Norway who uses his wickedly offbeat sense of humor to decode integration, gender identity, class & family dynamics. For the first time the Out Film CT Jury has awarded a Best Ensemble Award to the cast and crew of the short film The Fuscos. Engstrom concluded, “The Jury was very impressed by the cohesive performances in the film & it was clear from the cast & crew’s presence at the festival that their close relationships went far beyond their roles. Their film & their presence brought joy, smiles & laugher.” This year’s Out Film CT included 70+ features, documentaries & short films across in-person & virtual screenings. 

New Transgender Refuge Map Project

In order to combat the violence & dehumanization of our transgender community the Queer Equity Institute (QEI) has announced a new project aimed to quantify the safety of the trans community in individual states & to give the community the tools & education they need to fight back against attacks. Leigh Finke, Executive Director of the Queer Equity Institute & the first out trans elected member of the Minnesota State Legislature stated, “This is a dangerous time for trans people across America. There is a well-funded, nationally coordinated movement to dehumanize trans people across America. The result of this effort allows for acts of violence & the denial of our basic human rights. This hateful movement has created an environment where anti-transgender politicians have been allowed to pass hateful legislation. Often, acts of violence & even murder go unpunished if our community does not bear the burden of immediately & forcibly bring public attention to those cases. The Trans Refuge Project is an effort for everyone concerned with the safety & humanity of the trans community to fill the protection gap that is being created by the failure of politicians & others to fight against these acts of hate.” The Trans Refuge Project is beginning its work in the Midwest specifically in Minnesota, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio & Wisconsin. In those states the Trans Refuge Project is using collected data as well as outreach to allies to build awareness & identify opportunities to create safe spaces for the trans community. QEI is also doing outreach in other states to draw attention to the gaps in safety & access that members of the trans community face & point them to resources that can help. 

Help Is On The Way 30th Concert & Gala

The Richmond/Ermet Aid Foundation is presenting its 30th Anniversary "Help is on the Way" Concert & Gala on Sunday July 14th at the Marines' Memorial Theater & Beacon Grand Hotel in San Francisco. "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. The concert will feature cast members from the Broadway touring cast of "Mrs. Doubtfire" including its star Rob McClure & while you won't hear the music from the " Mrs. Doubtfire " touring show you can expect to hear some other fabulous songs as cast members join guest performers from Broadway, TV & Film. Additional entertainers will include Grammy Award-winner Debby Boon, Jason Brock from X-Factor, Broadway “Wicked” star David Burnham, Broadway star Sam Harris (The Life) & Star Search winner, Tony Award Winner Faith Prince, Broadway star of “Phantom of the Opera” Lisa Vroman, Broadway star Jennifer Leigh Warren, Jazz Star Paula West & Broadway star/comedian Bruce Vilanch with Musical Director Michael Orland. "Help is on the Way" 30th will also honor Bruce Vilanch with REAF's Lifetime Achievement Award & this event will be  dedicated to the memory of long-time REAF supporter Jon Leitner. Kenneth Henderson, Executive Director of the Richmond/Ermet AID Foundation stated, “People think the AIDS epidemic is over & we don't need to pay attention to it anymore. Events like "Help is on the Way" serve not only to raise funds for local AIDS services but to remind people that there's still a need for funding them. More people are living with HIV & AIDS than ever before in history.” The 30th Gala event consists of a Broadway-style performance & a nightclub-themed after party with the cast. The event benefits Project Open Hand & REAF’s Small Emergency Grants Program. 

Ode To Lesbian Icon Stormé Delarverie

When I lived in New York City during the 1980’s I had the privilege of knowing Stormé Delarverie. During that time Stormé was an institution at the lesbian bars The Duchess & The Cubby Hole as security working the door & keeping you in line with her no-nonsense look. Sometimes I would have a conversation with her about what it was like to be gay before & after The Stonewall Riots. She was often referred to as the "Rosa Parks" of the gay rights movement. Stormé is credited for having thrown one of the first punches during the Stonewall Uprising in June 1969. She was not someone who tolerated injustice though she faced it on an almost daily basis throughout much of her life. Stormé was a black lesbian who often appeared as a black man although she could easily have passed for a white woman she chose not to do so. Her love of people made Stormé an advocate & she stood up to all injustice whenever she encountered or heard about it. Stormé was a fierce woman who stood up for our LGBTQ community on countless occasions. She passed away peacefully in her sleep at 93 in 2014. As we celebrate the 55 Anniversary of Stonewall, I always think about Stormé & icons like Sylvia Rivera & Marsha P. Johnson. Listen to filmmaker Kristen Lovell talk about the historic Stonewall Riots Reenactment where she plays Marsha P. Johnson that takes place this Sunday June 29th at the Stonewall National Museum, Archives & Library in Fort Lauderdale, FL.  

Harlem Pride 15th Annual Celebration

Harlem Pride’s 15th Annual Celebration Day Festival takes place this Saturday Jun 29th on 12th Avenue at 133rd Street in NYC providing access to resources, food & live performances hosted by Dominique Jackson & Marquise Vilson. Performers include, Billy The Goat, Damez, Gia Love, Siaira Shawn, Alicia Kelly, Big Body Kweeng, Lyfe, Daesha Richards, Noah Lee Richards, JChris, Damarcko & Waylon. Sounds provided by DJ Jeremy Lamar. Carmen Neely, Co-Founder & President of Harlem Pride stated, “The annual festival is designed for open-ended appeal to our diverse community. There is something truly energizing, exciting & empowering about presenting Harlem Pride because it solidifies the notion of SGL / LGBTQ people as contributing members of our larger Harlem community. It also demonstrates the strength, vitality & unity of our community within the collective fabric of New York City.” There will also be speakers including Kierra Johnson, Executive Director of the National LGBTQ Task Force. Over 20,000 attendees from all walks of life will descend on Harlem’s 12th Avenue for the showcase of community organizations, artists, businesses & merchants. The very first Harlem Pride Day Celebration was held on Saturday June 26th 2010 & is always held during the last full weekend in June. That inaugural event hosted approximately twenty vendors, over 2,500 attendees, numerous artists organized by Rob De Anthony of Our Youth & several volunteers. Harlem Pride, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded in 2010 & born out of the desire to celebrate the Same Gender Loving/LGBT community & its role and contributions to Harlem's rich history. The organization works to empower Harlem’s SGL/LGBTQ community (which includes family, friends, & allies) & improve its physical, mental & economic health & wellness. 

Biden Will Pardon LGBTQ Veterans

President Biden has announced that LGBTQ U.S. veterans convicted because of their sexual orientation by the military during the last 60 years prior to the demise of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” will be pardoned. Biden stated, “Despite their courage & great sacrifice, thousands of LGBTQI+ service members were forced out of the military because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Some of these patriotic Americans were subject to court-martial & have carried the burden of this great injustice for decades.” Brian K. Bond, CEO of PFLAG National concluded, "PFLAG families have advocated for the dignity & respect due our LGBTQ+ heroes in uniform since the dark days of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' & the shadow discharges that predated that discriminatory policy. As someone who worked on repeal during the Obama-Biden administration I met incredible patriots that just wanted to serve their country. Thank you to the Biden-Harris administration & those who continue to fight for military families' freedom to serve. This welcomed day is long overdue for thousands of LGBTQ+ veterans & their families." This comes last week after a federal court in San Francisco refused to dismiss a class-action lawsuit brought by more than 35,000 LGBTQ veterans against the Defense Department claiming they were wrongfully discharged because of their sexual orientation & disqualified for veterans benefits. We got into this mess when Republican Dwight Eisenhower was elected president & issued Executive Order 10450 on April 27th 1953 that revoked Truman’s Loyalty Board Program Executive Order 9835 of 1947 resulting in over 5,000 Federal gay & lesbian government employees fired & thousands of military members dishonorably discharged that began The Lavender Scare & witch hunt of the 1950’s & continued until 1975. Just a little LGBTQ history as we gear up for the 55th anniversary of Stonewall.

Supreme Court Takes Trans Youth Case

The United States Supreme Court has announced that they will consider arguments in United States v. Skrmetti the case challenging Tennessee’s ban on gender-affirming care for trans youth. Arguments will likely be heard in the Fall of 2024 with a decision expected by the Spring or early Summer of 2025. Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD President & CEO stated, "The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to consider the question of transgender Americans’ ability to be treated with dignity & respect will be a significant reflection of the values our nation stands for. Sweeping categorical exclusions on mainstream consensus health care for any group of Americans are discriminatory, as many federal courts have already affirmed, including in Florida earlier this month. Transgender people already face disproportionately high levels of discrimination & harassment seeking health care & in their everyday lives, which are exacerbated for Black, Indigenous & other transgender people of color, low-income transgender people, those struggling with housing insecurity or homelessness & those living in rural areas with few options for care. It is urgent that the Court see all citizens as worthy of life & liberty, values all Americans support.” Allison Scott, Campaign for Southern Equality Director of Impact & Innovation concluded, “This is a high-stakes moment for transgender youth & their families & we’re glad that trans youth & their families will have their day in court to make the case that the bans are unconstitutional, interfere with private medical decisions & severely harm families. Everyone who needs gender-affirming care should be able to access it affordably & close to home & our team will never stop working to make that happen.” 

PIFF Filmmakers Speak OUT (AUDIO)

This week I talked with filmmakers at the 26th annual Provincetown International Film Festival (PIFF) press luncheon at the Boatslip Resort & Beach Club in Provincetown, MA. First I talked to director Stephen Soucy about his documentary “Merchant Ivory” that pulls back the curtain on the fascinating lives of filmmakers Ismail Merchant & James Ivory. Next I chatted with director Fawzia Mirza & producer Andria Wilson Mirza about their feature film “The Queen of My Dreams”. Then I talked with director Taylor James, actor Kanoa Goo & producer Katie White about their short film “ILY, BYE”. Next I talked to director Tyler C. Peterson about his short film “Stan Behavior”. I then chatted with director Sarah McCarron & music producer Rascal Miles about their short film “The Bend” about a trans man migrating from Tennessee to Minneapolis who gets stranded in rural Wisconsin & encounters a fisherman. Next director Marco Calvani talked about his feature film “High Tide” that was shot in Provincetown about an undocumented Brazilian immigrant searching for purpose when he encounters Maurice creating a memorable tribute to love & loss. I concluded our conversation with veteran producer Christine Vachon who produced the 2023 Oscar nominated film “Past Lives” about what she’s working on now. The Provincetown Film Society, Inc. (PFS) is a non-profit year-round organization & home of the Provincetown International Film Festival. PIFF creates a unique international platform for the west & east coast entertainment industry to experience the diversity & community of Provincetown. PFS is also dedicated to showcasing the work of acclaimed & emerging directors, producers and actors. I also had an opportunity to talk with all the filmmakers about their spin on our LGBTQ issues as we approach the crucial 2024 presidential election. LISTEN 

Stonewall Visitor Center In NYC (AUDIO)

On Friday June 28th the Stonewall National Monument Visitor Center (SNMVC) will officially open its doors marking the 55th anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion that took place on June 28th 1969. This is the first LGBTQ visitor center within the National Park Service a bureau of the Department of the Interior. Designated by President Barack Obama on June 24, 2016 the Stonewall National Monument includes the 0.19-acre formerly known as Christopher Park & the surrounding streets including Christopher Street adjacent to the park. The Stonewall National Monument is the first U.S. national monument dedicated to LGBTQ rights & history. The historic project began 6 years ago by two Lesbian women of color & Pride Live Co-Founders Diana Rodriguez & Ann Marie Gothard who embarked on a mission to celebrate & preserve the legacy of Stonewall. Ann Marie Gothard stated, “The journey to create the Stonewall National Monument Visitor Center has been a truly remarkable & landmark moment. With the opening of the Visitor Center, we pay homage to the brave individuals behind the historic Stonewall Rebellion. We hope it stands as an enduring and resilient symbol & serves as a beacon for generations to come, providing the unique opportunity to step foot on the site where history unfolded & where the fight for LGBTQIA+ equality was ignited.” In the park in front of the center are 4 statues by George Segal of 2 gay men & on the bench 2 women who were lesbian icons in NYC shortly after Stonewall. Beth Suskin (on the right) is still with us but unfortunately we loss her wife Leslie Cohen (holding the flag) in 2022. Listen to this historic conversation I had with my friend & mentor Leslie Cohen in 2019 celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots.

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Kids Online Safety Act Is LGBTQ Unsafe

Despite widespread opposition from dozens of LGBTQ, civil liberties & human rights groups Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer intends ...

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