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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.

Black LGBTQ Leaders & National Survey

As we celebrate Juneteenth a new survey found that nearly 2/3 of Black people believe the Black community should do more to protect Black LGBTQ people especially young people. 65% of Black people consider themselves supporters of Black LGBTQ people & rights including 57% of self-reported churchgoers & 73% of Gen-Z agree that the Black community should do more to support our Black LGBTQ community. Imani Rupert-Gordon, Executive Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights stated, “NCLR is honored to have participated in this survey by the National Black Justice Collective & HIT Strategies. Too often, the data that we use to understand the needs of LGBTQ communities doesn’t include enough Black perspectives & so the solutions don’t always work for Black people. This research highlights important perceptions & perspectives that will allow our messaging strategies & analysis to include a thoughtful, inclusive & intersectional approach to ensure that we are doing everything we can to protect all LGBTQ+ people.” Kierra Johnson, Executive Director of the National LGBTQ Task Force concluded, “It is exciting to be a part of a project that is centering the experiences of Black people related to gender, sexual orientation & democracy. Movements, decision-makers & organizations spend a lot of time assuming & or ignoring the experiences, perspectives, wishes, & fears of Black people in this country. This has led to the perpetuation of dangerous stereotypes that have cost our country time, money & progress. I hope those who take the time to dive into the research are inspired by the vulnerability shared and the opportunity that flows from listening to, trusting & being responsive to the political & cultural needs of Black folks.” 

Fusion NYC Pride Event Supporting AVP

With Pride Month in full swing NYC is ground zero with numerous events happening around the Big Apple especially during the Stonewall Anniversary & what would be more appropo then the NYC Anti-Violence Project’s FUSION Pride Party an organizational fundraiser in NYC to add to your Pride experience. The event takes place on Wednesday June 26th at ReBar Chelsea & cohosted by The Liberty Girls NYC a roller skating collective. It will feature DJ Samurai & a special performance from artist & drag queen, Julie J! K. Farrar, NYC Anti-Violence Project Content & Communications Manager stated, “As a community that continues to work relentlessly to create a more inclusive, safe & equitable world for LGBTQ+ people, we rarely take the time to celebrate each other & the work we’ve all done & FUSION is that precious time where we can leave the work at the door & be present in our queer joy in a safe space. FUSION is also a reminder of who & what we do our work for & it galvanizes our community to endure & thrive despite the ever-evolving challenges we face, particularly in this election year where fundamental rights are at stake.” The Anti-Violence Project (AVP) is the nation's largest organization dedicated to combatting violence against LGBTQ & HIV-affected individuals. In this critical year for our LGBTQ rights FUSION is a Pride Party with a purpose. FUSION goes beyond traditional celebrations to champion inclusivity, safety & activism within our LGBTQ community. FUSION AVP’s Pride Party is back at REBAR Chelsea at 225 W 19th Street in NYC. Come by for drinks, DJ & drag all while supporting the important work of this fabulous org AVP. 

Hollywood Museum Honors Jason Stuart

Actor & Comedian Jason Stuart will be honored by the Hollywood Museum with out actors Matt Bomer (Masetro, Fellow Traveler, Magic Mike), character actor Guillermo Diaz (Scandal, Law & Order: Organized Crime), Disco D.J. & Reality Star Paris Hilton among other stars on Tuesday June 25th at the historic Max Factor Building for his contributions to entertainment Industry. Jason will be featured in an exhibit to showcase his career as an actor, comedian, filmmaker & LGBTQ Activist. Jason stated, “What a thrill it is for me to include at the Hollywood Museum with the likes of Matt Bomer, Guillermo Diaz & yes, Paris Hilton! Being honored for my body of work means the world to me after a 40+ career as an actor & comedian." This is the 11th year annual celebration & has become a milestone event in showcasing the contributions of the LGBTQ community & its allies have made in the entertainment Industry. The exhibit kicked off in June in honor of Gay Pride Month curated by Bob Pranga. Also on June 24th at 2:30P Jason will be at Frameline Film Festival on a panel “Understanding SAG-AFTRA: How to Work with Union Talent” standing up for out actors. He will chat about how to make your film a union project with SAG AFTRA. He is currently the National Co Chair of the SAG AFTRA LGBTQ Committee. Currently Jason is part of the Stand Up Comedy Special “Laugh Proud” that is being considered for an Emmy Nomination from filmmaker Quentin Lee. Jason was nominated again for SMOTHERED season 2 for the Indie Series Award for Best Actor, Co-Writer & Producer after winning the Best Actor Award for the first Smothered season. LISTEN  

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South Carolina New Transgender Ban

South Carolina lawmakers have passed a state budget that includes Proviso 1.120 that requires K-12 public schools to prohibit transgender students from using restrooms or locker rooms that aligns with their gender identity. Ivy Hill, Director of Gender Justice for the Campaign for Southern Equality & a leader in the SC United for Justice & Equality coalition stated, “This was an absolute sneak attack with lawmakers weaponizing the state budget process to kick transgender youth & their families while they’re already down, further harming transgender youth & singling them out for harassment & exclusion. Schools should be a place where young people can learn & thrive but now, transgender students will have to worry about something as simple & basic as being able to use the bathroom. This policy is a humiliating invasion of privacy for trans students & forces South Carolina’s hardworking teachers & public school staff to become the gender police. Shame on these lawmakers.” A 2020 ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit in Grimm v. Gloucester County School Board found that policies excluding transgender students from using the restroom based on their gender identity violate the Equal Protection Clause & Title IX of the U.S. Education Amendments of 1972, a federal law prohibiting sex discrimination by schools. South Carolina is in the 4th Circuit’s jurisdiction. There haven’t been any reported incidents of transgender people posing a risk to public safety in restrooms in South Carolina. However, there are countless reported incidents of transgender people or people suspected to be transgender facing harassment or violence while trying to use the restroom & policies like this only increase that risk. For More Info…

Women In Comics Collective Pridefest

Women in Comics Collective International’s Creative Conference: Pridefest is happening on Saturday June 29th at Flushing Town Hall, New York from 10A to 5P. Women in Comics Collective International (WinC for short, pronounced "wink") is an artistic & informative initiative that began in May 2012. Pridefest is free & open to the public. WinC has continued its commitment to making events accessible & inclusive for those who are unable to afford commercial comic cons. Regine Sawyer, Curator & Founder of the Women in Comics Collective International stated, "During WinC Pridefest, guests will have an opportunity to celebrate & hone their creative power, events like these are transformative!" WinC serves to highlight the merit & craftwork of marginalized voices especially that of women & LGBTQ folx of color who work in various industries such as comics, publishing, gaming, media, education & multimedia. The full day of panels & workshops are designed to inspire creatives. The preliminary workshops include; Creatives in Comics & Gaming, Sequential Storytelling Workshop, Writing for Comics Workshop, Pop Culture & Melanated Queerness that addresses queer pop culture & journalism professionals in a conversation about the current state of the multimedia industry. The day concluded with Metaphysical Movement: Meditation for the Creative Mind. The WinC Creative Conference: Pridefest is sponsored by the Power of Priya via a grant from the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA). The comic features Priya, India's first female superhero & its creators were recognized by UN Women as champions of gender equality. Note, donations fund WinC also ensures accessibility to events such as Pridefest. General admission to Pridefest with a standard swag bag is free while the VIP ticket which includes a deluxe swag bag is $15. 

Stonewall Riots Reenactment (AUDIO)

This week I talked with filmmaker Kristen Lovell about the historic Stonewall Riots Reenactment that takes place on June 29th at the Stonewall National Museum, Archives & Library in Fort Lauderdale, FL. This reenactment is part of a floor to ceiling interactive Stonewall Inn Bar installation that runs now through September 2nd 2024 before kicking off a national tour. Lovell of HBO's fabulous documentary “The Stroll" currently streaming on MAX will portray Gay Liberation Activist Marsha P. Johnson for the reenactment. Johnson was one of the prominent figures in the Stonewall uprising of June 28th 1969 when police raided the establishment resulting in arrests, riots & fire sparking our global LGBTQ human rights movement. Johnson was a founding member of the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) & co-founded the radical activist group Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR) alongside close friend Sylvia Rivera. For the first time NYC’s iconic Stonewall Inn will become a nationwide traveling time machine & the set of the historic Stonewall New York Experience reenactment on Saturday June 29th from 4:30P to 7P with local police & other community members playing a role in the reenactment. Visitors are encouraged to dress in their 1960s best & consider wearing gender bending clothing which was illegal in 1969. For over 50 years the Stonewall National Museum, Archives & Library in Fort Lauderdale has tirelessly fought to tell the stories of our LGBTQ community ensuring it holds its place in the historic record. I talked to Kristen about what she hopes to accomplish with this historic Stonewall Riots reenactment & give us her spin on our LGBTQ issues. LISTEN    

National LGBTQ Wall Of Honorees 2024

The International Imperial Court Council & the National LGBTQ Task Force will add 6 individuals at the 6th annual National LGBTQ Wall of Honor at the historic Stonewall Inn. The ceremony will take place on June 27th at 6P at 53 Christopher Street in NYC. Nicole Murray Ramirez Founder of the LGBTQ Wall of Honor & City/County Commissioner stated, “As a Latino & LGBTQ activist for over 55 years I strongly believe more than ever that any community, indeed any civil rights movement, that doesn't know where it came from & whose shoulders it stands on doesn't really know where it's going.” This year’s 2024 honorees are Cecilia Gentili who was an Argentine American advocate for the rights of transgender people & sex workers. David Mixner the political activist & author best known for his work in anti-war & gay rights advocacy. Sakia Gunn a 15-year-old African American lesbian who was murdered in 2003 in what has been deemed a hate crime in Newark, NJ. ABilly S. Jones-Hennin an LGBTQ rights activist based in Washington, D.C. Charles Henry the first openly gay law enforcement officer & sergeant with the NYC Police Department & Larry Baza a lifelong advocate of the arts & served as chair of San Diego’s Commission for arts & culture. Kierra Johnson, Executive Director of the National LGBTQ Task Force concluded, “Seeing the names of Sakia Gunn, Cecilia Gentili & ABilly S. Jones-Hennin on the Wall of Honors, along with dozens of icons, trailblazers & movement leaders, reminds me that courage is the lifeblood of our movement, forging a path forward, inspiring us to continue our fight to insist on the right to exist freely and authentically.”

MBCC 25th Anniversary Cape Cod Event

Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition will host a special 25th Anniversary Cape Cod Against the Tide event at DCR’s Nickerson State Park with a new Fisherman’s Landing location at Cliff Pond on Saturday June 8th in Brewster, MA. There will be swim events, USATF-Certified 5K/10K Runs & a 3-mile Fitness Walk. Then the weekend after join MBCC at DCR’s Hopkinton State Park on Saturday June 15th, 2024 for Against the Tide’s 32nd year in Hopkinton, MA. MBCC will also host a virtual Against the Tide from June 8th to June 15th for those who would like to participate in Against the Tide & support the mission of cancer prevention from any location. Cheryl Osimo, Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition Executive Director stated, “I feel so honored to invite everyone to support MBCC's mission of breast cancer prevention. Funds raised for Against the Tide are used to continue & expand our unique programs to prevent breast cancer. We collaborate with research organizations, both local & national & academic professionals, to identify & educate about toxic chemicals in our environment that may cause breast & other cancers. We make our webinars & educational modules available free. We also advocate for changes to public policy in order to eliminate these chemicals from the places where we work & live. We strive to change the legacy of breast cancer for future generations. People from all over New England & the country come to the Cape to support MBCC's work & the athletic components offered at Against the Tide & you can too!” 

Stopping Discriminatory Book Banning

In a powerful move to uphold intellectual freedom & ensure access to inclusive & affirming materials in public libraries & school libraries, Minnesota, Colorado & Vermont have passed legislation restricting book banning. These states join California, Illinois, Maryland & Washington State in a collective effort to safeguard the freedom to read & promote inclusivity. Melanie Willingham-Jaggers, GLSEN’s Executive Director sated, "By passing these laws, Minnesota, Colorado & Vermont are taking a definitive stand against censorship & in favor of educational freedom. We know that an inclusive school curriculum acts as a window for young people into the diverse world around them, as well as a mirror to reflect their own experiences & identities. These legislative victories ensure that all students have the opportunity to see themselves represented in the books they read." According to GLSEN's National School Climate Survey only 4 in 10 students who attended school in person reported that they could find books or information on LGBTQ-related topics such as LGBTQ history in their school library. Research shows that learning about LGBTQ history & people benefits all students, fostering a more inclusive & understanding school environment. With these new laws Minnesota, Colorado & Vermont are leading the charge in the fight against censorship joining a growing list of states committed to protecting the freedom to read. This collective action underscores a national movement to ensure that libraries continue to serve as inclusive spaces that champion intellectual freedom & diverse perspectives. Founded in 1990 GLSEN is dedicated to creating safe & inclusive educational environments for LGBTQ students in the United States. 

The Dinah Celebrating 33 Years Line-Up

The Dinah announced its annual entertainment line-up for the 33rd edition of the world's largest event & music festival for queer women with Lauren Jauregui, Iniko, KiNG MALA, Lauren Sanderson, Lucy & La Mer & Sherrelle Holmes. Mariah Hanson, The Dinah founder & producer stated, "The Dinah's musical line up strives to present the boldest & best in queer or queer friendly music, focusing on signed artists who are either breaking out or have achieved an impressive level of success. But so many unsigned artists wanted to play The Dinah. So, I developed the Emerging Artist Contest, which showcases unsigned artists & offers them a level of exposure that serves to both expand their fan base & expose them to a larger audience. It's been a huge success." The iconic festival that runs September 25th through the 29th in Palm Springs, CA kicks off one of its main events “The Black & White Ball” with award-winning artist Lauren Jauregui the multi-platinum Cuban American singer-songwriter & former member of girl group Fifth Harmony. Adding to the pulsating & exhilarating fabric of The Dinah is multi-talented Brooklyn native Iniko who takes center stage at the Hollywood Party on Saturday night. Also bringing glitz & glamour to the Dinah’s Hollywood Party is Lauren Sanderson who made a memorable sneak appearance during The Dinah 2022 joining queer icon Fletcher on stage & whipping the crowd into a frenzy. Another highly anticipated headliner is KiNG MALA the LA-based alternative pop music artist, born Areli Castro is set to take the stage during the Saturday pool party. Also bringing the heat to the festivities Whitney Peyton kicks off the pool party weekend-series Friday afternoon. The Dinah 2024 a must-attend queer party destination takes place September 25th to 29th at The Margaritaville Resort in Palm Springs, CA. 

Celebrate Pride With Pride Flag Bobble

Kicking off Pride Month the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame & Museum unveiled a limited-edition Pride Flag Bobble. Phil Sklar National Bobblehead Hall of Fame & Museum Co-Founder & CEO stated, "In celebration of Pride Month, we are honored to create the first-ever bobble of the Pride Flag. The rainbow flag has been a symbol of Pride worldwide for nearly 50 years & we are confident this bobble will be a must-have for people in the LGBTQ community & everyone who supports them.” The bobble is of the Progress Pride Flag which was introduced in 2018 features the common red (life), orange (healing), yellow (sunlight), green (nature), blue (serenity) & violet (spirit) horizontal stripes. Evolving from the Philadelphia Pride Flag the redesigned Progress Flag added a chevron along the hoist that features black, brown, light blue, pink & white stripes. White, pink & light blue were added to represent the trans community. While the black & brown stripes still represented communities of color, the black stripe is also a nod to the individuals that the community lost during the HIV/AIDS crisis in the 1980s & 1990s. Daniel Quasar, who designed this version of the pride flag stated, “The arrow points to the right to show forward movement, while being along the left edge shows that progress still needs to be made.” The original rainbow flag was designed by Gilbert Baker who passed away in 2017 had eight colors. The next year the design was changed to use six colors partly to make it easier to mass produce the flags. The various colors came to reflect both the immense diversity & the unity of our LGBTQ community. 

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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 th...

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