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Outright Celebration of Courage Event

Outright International will honor the fabulously talented Billy Porter with the Outspoken Award at their upcoming 28th annual Celebration of Courage awards & gala on June 3rd in NYC. The organization’s Outspoken Award recognizes LGBTQ groups or individuals & allies that contribute to advanced awareness & equality for LGBTQ people. Billy Porter the Emmy, Grammy & Tony award-winning actor, singer, director, producer, composer, playwright & activist will be recognized for his unwavering advocacy & powerful voice across various movements. Porter has made significant contributions to the entertainment industry, earning accolades & acclaim for his remarkable talent & dedication to social causes. Porter stated, “Around the world, there are millions of LGBTIQ people who are unable to live their lives openly & safely. That is why I am honored to receive the Outspoken Award & join forces with Outright International to say enough is enough: enough with denying LGBTIQ people their basic dignity & humanity; enough with holding back my community’s right to live lives of joy & happiness. I will continue to speak out & stand with Outright until every LGBTIQ person in every corner of this planet knows they are loved & seen.” BeBe Zahara Benet will host the 2024 gala. Maria Sjödin, Outright International Executive Director concluded, “One of Outright International’s four pillars is Celebrate & even in the midst of adversity, we hold space at our gala and through our awards to commemorate the resilience & victories of a vibrant & brave LGBTIQ global movement. We celebrate LGBTIQ activists everywhere & we thank activists like Billy Porter & BeBe Zahara Benet for lending us their talents, voice & platform to help us keep pushing for change.” 

Provincetown Film Festival 26th Year

The Provincetown International Film Festival is celebrating 26 years & runs Wednesday June 12th to Sunday June 16th in Provincetown, MA. This year’s Filmmaker on the Edge is Andrew Haigh the acclaimed English writer/director best known for WEEKEND, 45 YEARS, LEAN ON PETE & most recently ALL OF US STRANGERS starring Andrew Scott & Paul Mescal. Haigh also wrote & produced the HBO series LOOKING & its film sequel LOOKING: THE MOVIE. Haigh will be in Provincetown to receive the award in conversation with resident artist John Waters on Saturday June 15th. Lisa Viola PIFF Artistic Director stated, “Ever since his film WEEKEND screened at PIFF in 2011, we have been tremendously impressed with Andrew Haigh as his films embody both truth & desire while offering a deep, emotional connection & an original narrative voice. We eagerly look forward to welcoming Andrew to Provincetown for a lively & memorable conversation about his exciting film career.” PIFF also announced that Colman Domingo will be honored with this year’s Excellence in Acting Award. Domingo who received an Academy Award nomination for RUSTIN will also be in town to support SING SING his latest film also starring Paul Raci & Clarence Maclin. Anne Hubbell, PIFF’s Executive Director stated, “We are so happy to be honoring Colman Domingo for his incredible body of work, including his transcendent performance in SING SING. He exemplifies the commitment to creativity & community that fuels PIFF.” Opening night film will be OUTSTANDING: A COMEDY REVOLUTION & this year’s festival will close with Nathan Silver’s BETWEEN THE TEMPLES. 

LGBTQ Students Title IX Protections

GLSEN applauds the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) for its ongoing work to resolve Title IX violations & complaints of sex-based harassment & discrimination affecting LGBTQ students. To further this action Melanie Willingham-Jaggers GLSEN’s Executive Director calls on Congress to include a $22 million increase in USED-OCR funding to ensure all schools take sufficient measures to protect students from discrimination & harassment stating, "These resolutions highlight both progress & the ongoing challenges in creating safe & inclusive learning environments. GLSEN is committed to ensuring that all students, especially LGBTQ+ students, feel affirmed & safe in their schools. The OCR’s report clearly shows that schools still have much work to do to comply with Title IX & protect all students from discrimination." The latest OCR Annual Report underscores the critical need for continued vigilance & action to ensure safe, discrimination-free learning environments for all students. GLSEN calls on Congress to increase funding for the OCR to safeguard the civil rights of all students, particularly LGBTQ students. GLSEN continues to advocate for proactive measures by schools to address & prevent discriminatory experiences & comprehensive training for school staff on LGBTQ issues & inclusion. This includes addressing policies that affirm students' gender identities & sexual orientations as well as funding for the OCR to ensure timely & thorough resolution of complaints. The latest OCR Annual Report underscores the critical need for continued vigilance & action to ensure safe, discrimination-free learning environments for all students & GLSEN remains dedicated to this mission & urges schools & policymakers to prioritize these efforts. 

South Carolina Trans Healthcare Ban

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster has signed H.4624 into law which is a broad intrusion into medically necessary healthcare for transgender South Carolinians. The law takes effect immediately banning medically necessary healthcare for transgender youth under the age of 18 in South Carolina including puberty blockers, hormone therapy & surgery as well as prohibiting public funds & Medicaid from being used to cover the cost of transition-related healthcare for transgender people of any age. H.4624 also encourages school professionals to “out” students to their parents if they ask to go by a different name or pronouns potentially before they are ready to share. Chase Glenn, a leader in the SC United for Justice & Equality coalition & the Executive Director of Alliance for Full Acceptance stated, “Across the state, from the Lowcountry to the Upstate, South Carolinians are mourning the passage of H.4624, which will make it immeasurably harder for transgender youth & many adults to access the life-saving healthcare that they need & deserve. But let me be clear: This loss does not crumble a movement. Our movement supporting transgender people in South Carolina is louder & stronger than it’s ever been. We’ve marched at the State House, we’ve told our stories & we’ve made sure our lawmakers heard from us. Now, we will do everything in our power to support our community through this crisis.” Over the past 5 months thousands of South Carolinians have taken action against H.4624 with families of trans youth, countless medical professionals & educators all in agreement that this bill is a cruel & dangerous assault on trans youth & adults in South Carolina that ignores the guidance of every major medical organization. 

NIVEA & PFLAG Launch New Campaign

NIVEA is launching "Proud In Your Skin" a new campaign with PFLAG National that goes beyond skincare celebrating diversity, advocating for equity & inclusion & fostering meaningful connections through the power of care. Tracy Feehan, US Vice President NIVEA & Media Communications stated, "At NIVEA, our dedication to helping others through the power of care is at the core of everything we do & that extends beyond skincare. Through our partnership with PFLAG National, we understand the importance of collective action in driving impactful change. Together, through 'Proud In Your Skin,' we aim to build meaningful connections & reinforce that people are not alone so they can feel safe & proud in their skin." Brian K. Bond, CEO of PFLAG National added, "We are thrilled to collaborate with NIVEA on the 'Proud In Your Skin' campaign. ‘Proud In Your Skin' is one of the ways we're showing that love takes pride. Through this partnership, we aim to amplify voices & empower LGBTQ+ people & their loved ones to find community as they embrace their path towards authenticity, fostering positive social connections along the way." NIVEA is a Beiersdorf brand & the world's #1 skin care brand. Andrea Mondoni, General Manager, Beiersdorf North America concluded, "Embracing initiatives that amplify our dedication to care, which is at the root of our core values is essential in everything we do & shows the conscious effort that Beiersdorf is making to celebrate diversity. I'm excited about the possibilities our partnership with PFLAG National holds & I extend a warm invitation to all to join us on this inspiring journey." 

Out Film CT Reveals Festival Highlights

Out Film CT the Nutmeg State's longest-running & most diverse film festival announced the special event movies for their 37th Connecticut LGBTQ Film Festival. Returning to its traditional Pride Month run from June 14th to 22th the opening night film will be “Love & Revolution” on Friday June 14th at Cinestudio on the campus of Trinity College in Hartford at 7:30P followed by the Opening Night party. The closing night film will be held at the Connecticut Science Center in downtown Hartford. The closing night film will be “Young Hearts” on Saturday June 22nd at Connecticut Science Center at 7P followed by the Closing Night Party. In addition there will be some virtual-only exclusives for film fans to enjoy at home. Shane Engstrom Out Film CT Festival Director stated, "The pandemic & its aftermath has given the festival committee a chance to throw everything up in the air & test new things. Our audience has made it clear that the Connecticut LGBTQ Film Festival is a highlight of their Pride Month celebrations. We listened to the community & are happy to be back in the month of June! Last year, a third of our attendees participated virtually, so we're bringing home-viewing exclusives. We're also tightening up the in-person schedule so that people who want to attend screenings & events can attend easily." Individual film admissions are $13 for general admission & $11 for seniors. Opening & Closing Night films including post-screening parties are $30 for general admission & $25 for seniors. Free tickets are available to full-time students to all shows with student ID & individual in-person & virtual film tickets will be on sale in the coming weeks. 

Marriage Equality 20th Year (VIDEO)

In Massachusetts May 17th marks the 20th anniversary of marriage equality. It was a watershed moment in the history of civil rights when the landmark Goodridge ruling designated the constitutional right of gay & lesbian marriages in Massachusetts. At midnight on May 17th in 2004 Cambridge, MA became the first city in the United States to issue marriage licenses for gay & lesbian couples. Mary L. Bonauto GLAD’s Senior Director of Civil Rights stated, "When the SJC decided Goodridge, it forever changed the standards for how LGBTQ+ people must be treated under law & raised the bar for equality across the country. This momentous victory would not have happened without the courage, commitment & perseverance of the fourteen Goodridge plaintiffs. Their willingness to repeatedly open themselves to public scrutiny, to share the truth of their lives with their neighbors & to face opposition from powerful leaders & institutions, ushered in legal & cultural shifts toward greater acceptance, protection & integration of LGBTQ+ people & families in our communities. We remain grateful for the powerful & empowering efforts of the Goodridge plaintiffs in making marriage equality a reality in Massachusetts & beyond.” I was there & directed & produced this historic award-winning short film “OUTTAKE: Gay Marriage 2004” shot from midnight on May 17th 2004 in Cambridge & throughout the day in Boston when marriage equality officially became the law in Massachusetts. The film became instrumental in the passage of marriage equality nationwide in 2013 & was shot by Kirsten Martin & narrated by Arline Isaacson, Co-Chair of the Massachusetts Gay & Lesbian Political Caucus. WATCH VIDEO

Robert Kesten Wins Bronze Stevie Award

Stonewall National Museum announced that its Executive Director Robert Kesten won the Bronze ‘Thought Leader of the Year: Government or Non-profit’ at the prestigious Stevie Awards. Kesten’s commitment to fighting for justice & a stronger democracy made him stand out in this category. Adrienne Mazzone, President of TransMedia Group & human rights advocate stated, “Robert Kesten winning the BRONZE Stevie® Award for “Thought Leader of The Year” was no surprise because his passion for advocacy is remarkable. I’m excited to see his future work at Stonewall National Museum.” The Stonewall National Museum Archives & Library is located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida & one of the Museum’s main causes is the fight for LGBTQ rights. Its archive is actually one of the largest LGBTQ libraries & archives in the world. Stonewall has continued to speak out against discriminatory policies for the LGBTQ such as the “Don't say Gay” bill in Florida & has raised funds for such causes coast to coast. Kesten’s human rights advocacy has taken many forms, working on the Ghanaian Constitution, coordinating & producing events leading to Ukrainian independence, producing events for the first AIDS day treatment center in the nation, pushing for the decriminalization of homosexuality in Ukraine (the first Soviet Republic to do so), challenging book banning, LGBTQ inclusion in schools & navigating anti-LGBTQ sentiments. Kesten also worked on the West Bank during the Intifada & was brought into Egypt & Tunisia during the Arab Spring to try and establish human rights cities. The Stevie Awards receive more than 10,000 entries each year from organizations in more than 60 nations. Honoring organizations of all types & sizes and the people behind them the Stevies recognize outstanding performances in the workplace worldwide. 

Bigotry Lives On In Mississippi Trans Ban

Republican Governor Tate Reeves has passed a new law in Mississippi restricting transgender people’s use of bathrooms, locker rooms & dormitories in public education buildings. The new Mississippi law that took effect immediately only allows students to enter spaces that correspond to their sex assigned at birth. Mississippi is now one of 22 states challenging the new Title IX regulations in courts which updated Title IX regulations last month to clarify that federal law requires schools to ensure that students are treated consistent with their gender identity in sex-separated spaces like bathrooms & locker rooms. Melanie Willingham-Jaggers, GLSEN Executive Director stated, "Mississippi's continued attacks on transgender students are not just dangerous for students, they’re also enshrining discrimination into state law that clearly conflicts with federal civil rights protections. GLSEN vehemently condemns the signing of this hateful policy, which not only attempts to strip away the rights of transgender youth but also perpetuates a culture of fear & discrimination. By enacting transphobic measures that target some of the most vulnerable members of our community, Governor Reeves & the leaders of Mississippi’s legislature demonstrate a callous disregard for the well-being & safety of all students. It's particularly egregious that these actions come in the wake of Nex Benedict's tragic death, a stark reminder of the real-life consequences of such hateful legislation. Hate breeds hate & these policies only serve to fuel the flames of intolerance & violence. We refuse to stand idly by as bigotry masquerades as legislation & we will continue to fight tirelessly until every student is given the respect, protection & opportunity they deserve." Nina Simone definitely got it right 60 years ago in her classic song “Mississippi Goddam”. 

Victory For Transgender Health Care

With over half of U.S. states passing bills threatening transgender rights the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit has issued a decision upholding the lower court’s ruling that the Houston County, Georgia Sheriff’s Office violated federal anti-discrimination law when it denied coverage for transgender health care to Sergeant Anna Lange. The historic victory is the first decision by a federal appellate court affirming that it is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against transgender people in an employee health plan. The ruling is immediately binding for employers in Georgia, Florida, & Alabama. Gabriel Arkles Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF) Co-Interim Legal Director stated, “Today, the Eleventh Circuit upheld the well-reasoned ruling of the U.S. District Court that treating Sergeant Anna Lange differently because she is transgender is discriminatory. Houston County & Sheriff Talton have once again lost in court, after spending some two million dollars on lawyers to try to deprive Sergeant Lange of medically necessary care that costs orders of magnitude less solely to discriminate against transgender people.” Plaintiff Anna Lange concluded, “Today’s victory is a win not just for me, but for all transgender Southerners who deserve equal access to life-saving transition-related care. I have proudly served my community for decades & it has been deeply painful to have the county fight tooth & nail redirecting valuable resources toward denying me basic health care – health care that the courts & a jury of my peers have already agreed I deserve. I’m pleased to see that yet another court has deemed those efforts to be unfair and illegal.” 

NCLR Champions for Justice Gala Event

The NCLR Champions for Justice Gala takes place at The Conservatory in San Francisco, CA on Saturday May 18th from 5:30P to 11:30P. The Gala will be filled with inspiration, community & celebration with a reception, dinner & after-party with DJ Christie. This year NCLR will be honoring two prominent advocates Nadine Smith & Alok Vaid-Menon who embody the courage & dedication to our LGBTQ community. NCLR will be awarding Nadine Smith, Equality Florida Executive Director with the 2024 Vanguard Award. Nadine has been a champion for justice in Florida leading the charge to defeat discriminatory legislation & was named one of the state’s “Most Powerful & Influential Women” by the Florida Diversity Council. Alok Vaid-Menon is a celebrated comedian, poet, author, actor & public speaker cementing their status as a transformative force across contemporary art, culture & advocacy. Alok has earned the reputation as a trailblazer for gender fluidity & LGBTQ representation & is set to take center stage in 2024 embarking on an unprecedented year reshaping film, comedy, fashion & literature. For over four decades NCLR has been blazing a trail of civil rights wins for all LGBTQ people. They are quite literally fighting for our lives. After years of progress with discrimination protections in housing, education, sports & employment, marriage equality, adoption & family building, protecting reproductive rights & ending conversion therapy, they take on the gravest backlash against our LGBTQ community. The NCLR Champions for Justice Gala is an evening dedicated to celebrating our collective impact & building even greater strength for the future of our LGBTQ movement. For Info & Tix… 


Target Caves To Anti-LGBTQ Backlash

It’s very disturbing to learn that the Target Corporation will no longer be stocking LGBTQ themed pride merchandise in about half of its 2000 stores mostly in southern states. The controversy is centered around female-style swimsuits item that can be used to "tuck" male privates outraged many consumers in the spring of 2023 with backlash so severe that some stores were told to relocate their Pride Month displays to avoid sparking a "Bud Light situation." Remember Bud Light had received anti-LGBTQ backlash after using transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney in a promotional campaign. A Target spokesperson stated, "We’re offering a collection of products including adult apparel & home & food & beverage items curated based on consumer feedback. The collection will be available on Target.com & in select stores based on historical sales performance." Kelley Robinson, Human Rights Campaign President stated, “Pride merchandise means something. LGBTQ+ people are in every zip code in this country & we aren’t going anywhere. With LGBTQ+ people making up 30% of Gen Z, companies need to understand that community members and allies want businesses that express full-hearted support for the community. That includes visible displays of allyship. Target’s decision is disappointing & alienates LGBTQ+ individuals & allies at the risk of not only their bottom line but also their values.” Over the last couple of decades it has been so encouraging to see mainstream companies supporting diversity & Pride celebrations. As our LGBTQ community & allies gears up for Pride festivities across the nation next month let’s be aware & only support companies that do not cave into homophobic rhetoric from rightwing hatemongers. 


South Carolina Trans Families In Crisis

Families of transgender youth in South Carolina are grappling with the passage of H.4624 a broad intrusion into medically necessary healthcare for transgender South Carolinians. The core component bans medically necessary healthcare for transgender youth under the age of 18 in South Carolina including puberty blockers, hormone therapy & surgery. Southern Trans Youth Emergency Project announced that South Carolina trans families are now eligible for grant funding & patient navigation services in case Governor McMaster signs the bill into law. Through STYEP families can receive accurate information about H.4624 patient navigation to identify out-of-state gender-affirming care providers & emergency grants of $500 for immediate needs, including travel, medication & other logistics. Ivy Hill, Director of Gender Justice for the Campaign for Southern Equality & a lifelong South Carolinian stated, “It has been an honor to organize alongside so many courageous trans & queer South Carolinians & I’m proud that our community staved off this oppressive anti-trans healthcare legislation for more than three years. But now that the bill is poised to become law, it’s up to all of us to preserve continuity of care for as many people as we can. That’s what this project is all about: Supporting trans youth & their families & ensuring they know that no law can stop the transgender community from charting our paths to a future where all of us can thrive & live authentically.” The Campaign for Southern Equality has also set up an information desk for transgender adults in South Carolina where they can reach out to request information about how H.4624 may or may not impact them, report a denial of care or insurance coverage or learn about other resources. For More Info…

Family Equality Annual NYC Gala Event

Family Equality the fab org that protects LGBTQ families is honoring LGBTQ icons Roberta Kaplan & Ken Ohashi at their annual NYC "Night at the Pier" fundraising Gala Monday May 13th from 6P to 9:30P at Pier Sixty. Roberta Kaplan is the renowned litigator who successfully argued before the Supreme Court of the United States on behalf of LGBTQ activist Edith Windsor in United States v. Windsor. Recently Kaplan worked alongside Family Equality & Equality Florida on the "Don't Say Gay" lawsuit in Florida resulting in a historic settlement earlier this spring that essentially nullified the law & Roberta also won the defamation trial of E. Jean Carroll vs. Donald J. Trump last January. Ken Ohashi is the CEO for Brooks Brothers who under his leadership the company has developed partnerships with GLSEN, the Trevor Project & Family Equality among others. The evening will also include special appearances by Chasten Buttigieg, author, teacher, LGBTQ rights advocate, E. Jean Carroll, journalist, author & advice columnist, Zander Moricz, a lead plaintiff in the "Don't Say Gay/Trans" lawsuit. There will also be show-stopping Broadway performances from Cabaret, Hell's Kitchen, The Outsiders & The Wiz featuring Deborah Cox. This year’s “Night at the Pier” fundraising gala is produced by Bruce Cohen & Zac Walker. Family Equality was founded in 1979 at the National March on Washington for Lesbian & Gay Rights. Family Equality has spent more than 40 years ensuring that everyone has the freedom to find, form & sustain their families by advancing equality for our LGBTQ community through advocacy, community & education.                      For Info & Tix… 

Billy Stritch Trio To Perform At Birdland

The Billy Stritch Trio is performing at the Birdland Theater Friday May 10th through Sunday May 12th for two shows nightly at 7P & 9:30P. Stritch stated, “I’m so delighted to be returning to the Birdland Theater for six shows this weekend! Birdland has long been my performing home in New York & it’s an honor to be part of the family there. I’ll be joined by Michael O’Brien on bass & Eric Halvorson on drums & we can’t wait to present our set of spring songs, swing songs & much, much more!” Billy Stritch is one of the premier singer-pianists on the New York & national jazz & cabaret scenes. A chance meeting with Liza Minnelli in March of 1991 resulted in her asking him to create vocal arrangements for the record-breaking extravaganza Liza Stepping Out at Radio City Music Hall. In addition to his 25-year collaboration with Liza, Billy toured with the legendary Tony Bennett as Tony’s pianist & musical director. As a solo entertainer Stritch has performed his own shows including tributes to Mel Tormé & Cy Coleman in concert halls & nightclubs across the country. Billy also serves as musical director for such leading vocalists as Linda Eder, Christine Ebersole & Linda Lavin. When not on the road he’s the pianist for Jim Caruso’s Cast Party open mic night every Monday at Birdland Jazz Club. Stritch has been named Best Musical Director 4 times by BroadwayWorld & Billy’s 2022 birthday engagement at Birdland was the winner of Best Vocal Jazz Show of the year. Birdland Theater is located at 315 West 44th Street in NYC & tickets run from $30 to $40. For Info & Tix… 


REAF's "One Night Only" Benefit Cabaret

The Richmond/Ermet Aid Foundation (REAF) is presenting a special One Night Only Benefit Cabaret featuring Grammy Award-winner Melissa Manchester & special guest Bruce Vilanch along with the cast members of "Funny Girl". The reviews are in & the new Broadway touring cast is a hit with Katerina McCimmon as Fanny Brice destined for true stardom. This not to be missed fabulous cabaret event will raise funds for REAF & Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. The "One Night Only Benefit Cabaret" takes place Monday May 20th at 7:30P at Marines' Memorial Theater in San Francisco, CA. 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 One Night Only Benefit Cabaret 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.” While you won't hear the music from the "Funny Girl" touring show you can expect to hear some other fabulous songs as cast members will be paying tribute to & singing songs made famous by many of Broadway's biggest divas. Tickets start at $40 & go up to $100 which includes the VIP party with the cast following the show. Founded in 1994, REAF provides aid for HIV programs, hunger programs & programs for homeless & underserved youth & families. They also provide a limited number of individual Small Emergency Grants. 

Molly Cook Wins Texas State Senate

Molly Cook makes history as the first out LGBTQ member in the Texas State Senate & will serve out the remaining term of now-Houston Mayor John Whitmire. Cook will be on the ballot again for the primary runoff election on May 28th where she’s competing for the full term that starts next year. Annise Parker, President & CEO of LGBTQ+ Victory Fund & former Houston Mayor stated, “For too long, the LGBTQ+ community has been the punching bag of bigots in the Texas Senate. Now, they’ll have an out LGBTQ+ peer as their colleague who will look them in the eye & make them see the Texans they’re hurting. We know Molly will not only be a powerful voice for LGBTQ+ Texans, she’ll do a wonderful job fighting for the needs of all her constituents in District 15, including myself. Between now & May 28th I’ll be doing everything I can to ensure another victory for Molly & the cause of equality.” Molly is a 6th generation Texan born & raised in the Houston area. As a registered nurse with a Master's Degree in public health policy Molly is uniquely prepared to stand against anti-LGBTQ & anti-choice legislation in the Texas Senate. She'll be an out loud voice in the Lone Star state’s upper chamber which is especially hostile to LGBTQ+ rights ensuring that our issues are prioritized & respected. Just a bit of history. In Massachusetts back in 1975 Elaine Noble was the first openly LGBTQ candidate elected to a state legislature. LGBTQ+ Victory Fund works to achieve & sustain equality by increasing the number of out LGBTQ+ elected officials at all levels of government while ensuring they reflect the diversity of those they serve. 

NewFest Pride LGBTQ Film Event

NewFest NYC’s leading LGBTQ film & media org has announced the full lineup for their 4th annual NewFest Pride film series. The 5-day festival event kicks off LGBTQ Pride Month from May 30th to June 3rd both in person in NYC & streaming featuring a mix of premieres & conversations, virtual screenings & social events. David Hatkoff NewFest Executive Director stated, “It’s no accident that this year’s NewFest Pride starts on May 30th it’s part of our not-so-secret mission to celebrate Pride 365 days a year. We can’t wait to provide a space for the community to come together for bold new films & series, thought-provoking conversations & joyful social gatherings. This moment calls for celebration & resistance & we intend to offer opportunities for both in equal measure.” Nick McCarthy NewFest Director of Programming concluded, “We’re delighted to celebrate highly anticipated films from TIFF, Sundance & SXSW making their triumphant New York Premieres & to launch the World Premiere of the evocative & textured “Haze” from NewFest alum writer/director Matthew Fifer. We look forward to filling our venues with magical queer energy as we greet returning artists, welcome new folks to the NewFest family & share unapologetically authentic, genre-expansive & multilayered LGBTQ+ stories in such a dynamic space at NewFest Pride.” NewFest Pride will showcase over 10 highly anticipated feature films & series including the New York Premiere of Fire Island documentary “A House Is Not A Disco” which will open the festival, the World Premiere of psychological thriller “Haze” & an advance screening of the Sundance crowd-pleaser “My Old Ass”. The line-up includes films & series from & starring Elliot Page, Julio Torres, Aubrey Plaza, Dakota Johnson, Trixie Mattel, Fawzia Mirza, Twiggy Pucci Garçon, Brian J. Smith, Molly Gordon & Tig Notaro. 

South Carolina Transgender Medical Ban

The South Carolina Senate voted to pass H.4624 a broad intrusion into medically necessary healthcare for transgender South Carolinians. The bill bans medically necessary healthcare for transgender youth under the age of 18 in South Carolina including puberty blockers, hormone therapy & surgery. It also prohibits public funds & Medicaid from being used to cover the cost of transition-related healthcare for transgender people of any age which could result in providers of gender-affirming care who receive public funds to restrict care & will impact transgender people insured through the state employee healthcare plan. Chase Glenn, a leader in the SC United for Justice & Equality Coalition & Executive Director of Alliance for Full Acceptance stated, “Transgender South Carolinians are loved, accepted & supported in every corner of the Palmetto State. The Senate’s decision to pass the healthcare ban today is cruel, unnecessary & will do nothing to make South Carolina better for all of us. 71% of our friends, neighbors & loved ones resoundingly believe that the government should not interfere in gender-affirming care decisions for minors if parents are involved in the care. Lawmakers have gone against the will of the people in moving forward with this bill & those who voted to rip away this life-saving medical care will be held accountable at the ballot box.” The bill now heads to the House of Representatives which passed the bill in January for concurrence since multiple amendments were passed. Advocates across the state are making a final appeal to House members urging him to reject this attack on medically necessary care. 

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Outright Celebration of Courage Event

Outright International will honor the fabulously talented Billy Porter with the Outspoken Award at their upcoming 28th annual Celebration of...

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