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Diversity Honors 8th Annual Gala Event

The Diversity Honors celebration returns for its eighth year benefiting the Harvey Milk Foundation & The Pride Center at Equality Park on Saturday, March 9th at 7P hosted by Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida. The event recognizes those who are transforming lives by living authentically & advancing inclusiveness. This year the foundation will honor the fabulous, out & proud Emmy, Tony & Grammy Award-winning actor, singer, director, composer, playwright & activist Billy Porter who will receive a Harvey Milk Champion Medal. The foundation will also bestow Harvey Milk Medals to honor music pioneer, multiple Grammy Award-winner & LGBTQ activist Belinda Carlisle & Native American (Seminole/Choctaw) award-winning singer/songwriter, producer & actor Spencer Battiest. Entrepreneur Mark Hunter Seymour will receive The Pride Center at Equality Park Alan Schubert Award as well as Tatiana Williams & the Gay Men’s Chorus of South Florida will receive Diversity Honors awards. Susan Renneisen, VP of community affairs & special events for Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood stated, “Diversity Honors celebrates the vision of Harvey Milk & the dream for a better tomorrow filled with the hope for equality & a world without hate. We are honored to produce this event, in support of the Harvey Milk Foundation & The Pride Center at Equality Park, which recognizes those who are transforming lives by living authentically & advancing inclusiveness. Billy Porter, Belinda Carlisle & Spencer Battiest along with a host of local honorees are well-deserving of this salute for all they do to make the world a more united place for everyone.” Tickets to this fabulous event are $250 per person for the cocktail chic event which includes an open bar, poolside dining & live entertainment. 

Stonewall National Museum Gala Event

The Stonewall National Museum, Archives & Library’s GALA takes place the Venue Ballroom in Wilton Manor, FLA on February 24th from 6P to 10P. The event will be honoring Iconic swimmer Diana Nyad, the star & director of HBO films documentary "The Stroll" Kristen Lovell & Stacy Ritter, president/ceo of Visit Lauderdale. Stonewall National Museum, Archives & Library’s (SNMAL) “Standing on the Shoulders of Heroes Gala 2024” at The Venue will raise awareness & funds to support SNMAL’s tireless 50+ year fight to tell the stories of our LGBTQ community ensuring it holds its place in the historic record. This most significant LGBTQ library, archives & museum is a one-of-a-kind institution collecting & sharing powerful stories, hosting dynamic weekly events, launching fact based solutions to real world problems & mobilizing educators who face an ever more difficult time educating students. Robert Kesten, Stonewall National Museum Executive Director stated, “We expect over 500 guests & VIPS to attend this high-energy celebration of inspiring messages, delicious eats, entertainment, open bar, awards & live auction. This Gala is crucial to moving the needle on the ‘battleground’ for human rights.” The Stonewall National Museum, Archives, & Library is a safe welcoming place that inspires & promotes understanding through collecting, preserving & sharing the proud culture of LGBTQ people of all stories & their significant role in American society. Their Gala on February 24th begins at 6P with a cocktail reception in the Venue’s Epic Ballroom, delicious hors d’oeuvres, open bar & fabulous silent auction. Then at 7P guests will be invited into the Crystal Ballroom for more festivities including dinner with an open bar, entertainment, awards & live auction. For More Info & Tix…

Creating Change Voguing Event (AUDIO)

I had the pleasure to talk with dancer/actor Jason A. Rodriguez at the 2024 National LGBTQ Task Force Creating Change Conference that took place in New Orleans, LA. Creating Change is the foremost political, leadership & skills-building conference for our LGBTQ social justice movement. There are also fun events especially when Jason A. Rodriguez the talented dancer/actor from the hit FX series “Pose” presented a workshop on the history, importance & elements of Vogue. This year’s conference theme was “Queer Power, Action & Joy” & Jason brought the joy conducting workshops on New Way Vogue. Jason who played Lamar on “Pose” also served as the movement coach for all three seasons. Currently Rodriguez conducts New Way Vogue classes at the Ailey Studios in NYC. The workshops Jason led at the Creating Change Conference gave the attendees an opportunity to learn the 3 styles of Voguing. Stretch & precision are key to New Way Vogue allowing the voguers to show off contorted & flexible poses with precision & grace. It’s all accomplished by learning arm controls to show off your control of creating lines, shapes, illusions & face framing movements to the beat of the music in addition to poses, floor work, cat walks, duck walks & dips. Jason also served as one of the judges at the Conference’s “Agents of Change –A Night of a Thousand Stars Mini-Ball” which showcased professional & novice Voguers on the runway. I talked to Jason about his inspiration to carry on the Voguing tradition & his spin on our LGBTQ issues. LISTEN  

SAGE Joins Council For Global Equality

SAGE the fabulous org dedicated to improving the lives of LGBTQ older people announced its membership into the Council for Global Equality (CGE). The Council for Global Equality is a coalition of prominent U.S.-based human rights & LGBTIQ advocacy organizations that together encourage a clear U.S. voice for the human rights of LGBTIQ communities around the world. SAGE is the first CGE member organization focused on LGBTIQ aging that aims to make an impact by elevating the issues LGBTQ elders face globally. Around the world LGBTQ older people suffer widespread violations of their human rights based on their sexual orientation & or gender identity, compounded by the stigma of ageism. Hannah Yore SAGE’s Director of International Programs stated, “The decision to join the Council of Global Equality is a significant milestone for SAGE as we deepen our engagement internationally. We recognize the critical importance of a united front in advocating for human rights & through this partnership, we look forward to moving the conversation about LGBTIQ+ aging forward.” The Council for Global Equality is a coalition of prominent U.S.-based human rights & LGBTQ advocacy organizations that together encourage a clear U.S. voice for the human rights of LGBTQ communities around the world. SAGE is the world’s largest & oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of LGBTQ older people. Founded in 1978 & headquartered in NYC, SAGE is a national organization that offers supportive services & consumer resources to LGBTQ older people & their caregivers. SAGE also advocates for public policy changes that address the needs of LGBTQ elders, provides education & technical assistance for aging providers and LGBTQ community organizations through its National Resource Center on LGBTQ Aging & cultural competency training through SAGECare.  

LGBTQ Black Women Leaders & Allies

To celebrate Black History Month 2024 the San Francisco Bay Times & The Academy SF will honor LGBTQ Black women leaders & allies from throughout the Bay Area & Wine Country. The Divas & Drinks: Honoring LGBTQ+ Black Women Leaders & Allies event will take place at The Academy SF at 2166 Market Street in San Francisco, CA on Friday February 23rd from 6P to 10P PST. Featured guests will include National Center for Lesbian Rights Executive Director Imani Rupert-Gordon & San Francisco AIDS Foundation CEO Dr. Tyler TerMeer. The event will honor author, poet & playwright Jewelle Gomez whose latest play opens next month at the New Conservatory Theatre & Theodora Lee of Theopolis Vineyards who is the first Black woman to own a vineyard in Northern California. Guests will also enjoy a new show celebrating Black women composers Tracy Chapman, Alicia Keys & many more produced & performed by Dr. Dee Spencer founder of the jazz studies program at San Francisco State University & a talented composer in her own right & the phenomenal powerhouse singer Renée Lubin of "Beach Blanket Babylon" fame. The event will be emceed by Donna Sachet & DJ Rockaway will be spinning presented by Olivia Travel. There will be beverages for purchase & limited complimentary bites will be available & well drinks complimentary for Members. Food will also be available for purchase through The Academy. The event is sponsored by The Academy, the San Francisco Bay Times, Bacardí, Olivia Travel & San Francisco Federal Credit Union. I talked to Jewelle Gomez in this exclusive podcast in 2018. LISTEN  

Criminalizing Healthcare Across America

We're barely into the New Year & a new slate of hatred has already been introduced in states across the USA with a terrifying 300 Anti-LGBTQ Bills introduced in 2024. Multiple states have passed bans on abortion & transgender health care & Texas continues to intimidate or otherwise punish physicians or facilities in other states who provide such essential care to their residents. However eleven states including Massachusetts, Connecticut & the District of Columbia have passed health care shield laws to protect providers & patients & ensure their states remain desirable places to practice medicine. In Rhode Island last week legislators introduced the “Health Care Provider Shield Act,” (SB2262/HB7577) to protect Rhode Island’s health care system, doctors & other medical care providers & patients from hostile out-of-state laws that could negatively impact delivery of care in the Ocean State. Sponsored by Senator Dawn Euer & Representative John G. Edward the Health Care Provider Shield Act will ensure that Rhode Island health care providers aren’t penalized under the laws of other states that have banned access to established, standard-of-care reproductive & transgender health care & that patients can continue to receive quality, legal, essential medical care in Rhode Island. Senate Judiciary Chair Euer stated, “The Health Care Provider Shield Act is about protecting established, best-practice medical care that is legal in Rhode Island & ensuring that our local providers & our health care infrastructure aren’t negatively impacted by hostile laws in other states. Politicians in multiple U.S. states are engaging in alarming government overreach, banning access to essential medical care & instituting civil & criminal penalties on providers for practicing medicine in line with the professional standards of care. This bill will ensure that these out-of-state laws aren’t used against health care providers in Rhode Island.” 

Shanks New Fenway Health Interim CEO

The Fenway Health Board of Directors announced that it has hired its Chief Operating Officer Jordina Shanks as Fenway Health’s Interim CEO when Manny Lopes steps down from the role on March 15th. Scott Walker Fenway Health Board Chair stated, “The Board has every confidence in Jordina’s ability to lead Fenway Health as the search for a permanent CEO continues & making this decision in advance of Manny’s departure ensures a seamless leadership transition. Since joining Fenway Health in 2021, Jordina has expertly overseen operations across clinical & non-clinical areas. She’s directed the implementation of a patient-centered, team-based care model at Fenway Health. She has also led efforts that have improved access to care for our patients & clients & is executing strategies to improve the financial performance of the organization.” Shanks concluded, “I’m inspired every day by the incredible skill & passion that Fenway clinicians & staff in our health centers & public health clinics bring to their work when caring for our patients & clients. I’m equally inspired by the scientists, researchers & educators who are bringing new knowledge to the fields of gender affirming care, HIV treatment & prevention & health equity. I’m incredibly honored to be called to lead & serve Fenway Health in this capacity. We have made much progress coming out of the pandemic & it’s imperative that we continue to build on that momentum as we look to the future in service to LGBTQIA+ people, BIPOC individuals, people living with HIV & other underserved communities.” The Board also announced that it has hired Liliana Silva to serve as Fenway Health’s Interim Chief Operating Officer. 

Suede Returns To Scullers Jazz Club

Back by popular demand Suede will be performing at Scullers Jazz Club Friday February 16th at 7P with her longtime trio of pianist Freddie Boyle, Rich Hill on bass & Steve Langone on drums. A New York critic once said Suede's like Adele meets Diana Krall meets Bette Midler. Come see why she was Joan Rivers' opening act. Check out this Pop/Jazz/Blues vocalist & multi-instrumentalist who tours nationally & internationally filling the best rooms from Feinstein’s in San Francisco to Birdland in NYC to Blues Alley & The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC & beyond. Suede stated, “Me & my band are really thrilled to be coming back to Scullers this world-renowned club in Boston & to step on that stage we've been on many times. Every time I do step on it I think about the incredible musicians & the Masters of music who have been there before. We've played there many times including recording my DVD there live which was aired on 54 stations to date for PBS fundraising. It's a very cool Club in a very cool City, all housed in the Doubletree Suites Cambridge so people can make a whole long holiday weekend of it & be swooned by us on Friday just after Valentine's Day.” Direct from a national tour & another sold out show at Birdland, Bistro Awards magazine calls her a "masterful entertainer at the peak of her powers." Suede was a most popular headliner on Charter line Olivia Cruises for 3 decades & co-headliner with Melissa Etheridge & Sarah McLachlan on Melissa Etheridge Cruises. So Don't Miss OUT... Scullers Tickets run from $40 to $45. 

Michael J. O’Loughlin To Head Outreach

The LGBTQ Catholic ministry Outreach has announced that Michael J. O’Loughlin has been appointed the organization’s first executive director. James Martin, S.J., who began Outreach will continue to guide the organization in his new role as founder. Father Martin stated, "Everyone at Outreach is overjoyed. With his years of journalistic experience, his theological background, two books to his credit & his deep knowledge of the LGBTQ community, I can think of absolutely no one better suited for this job. This is the perfect job for Mike & Mike is the perfect person for this job." O’Loughlin will help grow the organization which publishes a news & analysis website & hosts an annual conference for those engaged in LGBTQ ministry. O’Loughlin added, “I have seen firsthand the vibrant faith active in the LGBTQ Catholic community, which provides essential energy in our parishes, schools & nonprofits. I’m looking forward to highlighting these stories & fostering community at Outreach, so that all LGBT Catholics & their families, know that they are both welcome & needed in the church today.” Sam Sawyer, S.J., editor in chief of America Media concluded, “In the two years that Outreach has existed, we’ve already seen a significant outpouring of support & a deep unmet need for its ministry of encounter & welcome to the Catholic LGBTQ community. Mike’s deep involvement with & concern for the life of the church has always been evident in his writing for America & we are excited to see how he will help more people, parishes & organizations across the church connect with the resources & opportunities for dialogue that Outreach offers.” I talked with Father Martin a few years ago on OUTTAKE VOICES™ in this exclusive podcast. LISTEN  

LGBTQ Centers Org New Board Members

Celebrating its 30th anniversary CenterLink the community of LGBTQ Centers has announced its 2024 Board of Directors & Board Officers. The CenterLink Board of Directors has elected Michelle Kristel, Partner, McCormack+Kristel, as Co-Chair, joining ongoing co-chair Marvin Webb, Executive Director, Nonprofit Financial Commons. Lance Toma, CEO of San Francisco Community Health Center was re-elected Treasurer & Jay Maddock was elected as Board Secretary. Denise Spivak, CEO of CenterLink stated, "We are very excited about the broad representation on CenterLink’s Board of Directors. This roster of seasoned professionals possesses a tremendous amount knowledge, experience & expertise. As we celebrate CenterLink’s 30th anniversary this year & look ahead to the future of our organization, we feel very lucky to have this group of directors charting the path. I look forward to working with the board to advance the work of CenterLink & support our ever-expanding network of LGBTQ Community Centers.” The other continuing members of the CenterLink Board of Directors are Sarah Anderson, Consultant, Campbell & Company; Chris Bartlett, Executive Director, William Way LGBT Community Center; Robert Boo, CEO, Pride Center at Equality Park; Cece Cox, CEO, Resource Center, Dallas; Caroline (Cara) Dessert, Esq., CEO, The San Diego LGBT Community Center; Earl D. Fowlkes, Jr., President/CEO, Center For Black Equity; Phyllis Harris, Executive Director, LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland; Joe Hollendoner, MSW, CEO, Los Angeles LGBT Center & Tandra R. LaGrone, CEO, In Our Own Voices; Paul Moore, Executive Director, David Bohnett Foundation; Stacie Walls, CEO, LGBT Life Center. Since 1994, CenterLink has strengthens, supported & connected LGBTQ community centers. The org now serves over 350 LGBTQ community-based organizations nationwide & internationally.

LGBTQ Task Force Miami Winter Party

The National LGBTQ Task Force’s Winter Party Festival 2024 returns to Miami Beach for its 31st anniversary celebration from February 28th to March 5th. Winter Party is an annual dance & music festival featuring a week-long series of events benefiting both local & national LGBTQ+ organizations. This year’s festival features a diverse mix of music, community programming & entertainment. The Winter Party Festival brings in over 10,000 attendees annually & hosts 14 events across nine exhilarating world-class Miami & Miami Beach venues. Guests will be treated to upbeat tunes from 17 international DJs including Calagna, Deanne, Sagi Kariv & more. Winter Party passes are now available. Since 1994 Winter Party has provided a safe haven for our LGBTQ & allied communities to celebrate & live freely. The National LGBTQ Task Force donates a significant portion of the proceeds raised at Winter Party & its sister event the National LGBTQ Task Force Gala to like-minded community advocacy groups in South Florida through the LGBTQ+ Equity Fund, a philanthropic collaboration between the Task Force, Our Fund & The Miami Foundation. The Task Force has given back more than $3.6 million & supported over 100 community organizations in South Florida since 2005 & will directly fund social justice causes locally & nationally. Winter Party brings nearly $4.2M in revenue to Miami, supporting over 800 local jobs in hospitality, food & beverage, retail, recreation & entertainment. Guests are encouraged to reserve tickets to this year’s fabulous events all designed to capture the energetic spirit that is Winter Party. 

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Diversity Honors 8th Annual Gala Event

The Diversity Honors celebration returns for its eighth year benefiting the Harvey Milk Foundation & The Pride Center at Equality Park o...

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