Monday, February 19, 2018

California Sanctuary Cities Case Gets a Boost from LGBT Groups

The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), Transgender Law Center (TLC), Centro Legal De La Raza, and El/La Para Translatinas filed an amicus brief this week in City and County of San Francisco v. Trump, the California case challenging Trump’s executive order attacking sanctuary cities. These organizations work on behalf of LGBT immigrants, including asylum seekers and victims of trafficking. The case is currently pending before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Sanctuary policies ensure that all community members, especially those most prone to exploitation and abuse, can report crimes and discrimination, and access essential services regardless of their immigration status. These policies essentially serve as don’t-ask policies regarding immigration status for witnesses, victims, and low-level criminal arrests. The brief argues that Trump’s Executive Order would force local jurisdictions to undermine public safety by creating a permanent underclass of people who are afraid to report crimes or even discrimination and harassment to public officials. These harms are not only irreparable, they are intolerable in communities like San Francisco and Santa Clara, home to some of the largest immigrant and LGBT communities in the nation.

“Trump’s attack on communities like San Francisco and Santa Clara prioritizes dangerous and discriminatory immigration policies over public safety,” said NCLR Senior Staff Attorney Amy Whelan. “At NCLR, we’ve worked with client victims of severe domestic violence or rape who, because of sanctuary policies, felt safe calling the police and seeking the medical care and help they needed. When communities trust each other and can work together, everyone is safer.”

California is home to one-quarter of the nation’s 43.2 million immigrants. Immigrants comprise 30 percent of the San Francisco Metropolitan Area population and 37 percent of the Santa Clara, San Jose, and Sunnyvale Metropolitan Area—which is the second largest community of immigrants in the United States.

The brief details the irreparable harms communities would suffer if forced to abandon sanctuary policies, including harms to public safety, public health, and the ability to combat discrimination and other forms of abuse, all of which are compelling government interests. It cites the more than 60 law enforcement leaders who have spoken out about how the elimination of such policies makes it harder for them to do their job and keep communities safe: “If a portion of the public is afraid to report crimes and testify, the police and prosecutors cannot effectively investigate and prosecute criminal activities, including violent crimes.”

Also included in the brief are personal stories, such as from Guatemalan immigrant Danny Sigui who witnessed and reported a murder in Rhode Island. After testifying, state officials reported Sigui’s immigration status to federal authorities, and he was subsequently deported. Segui stated, ““[i]f I had known they would take my liberty, that they would take my children away from me, that they would put me [in immigration detention], I would [not have reported the crime or testified at the killer’s trial].”

In the underlying cases, the City and County of San Francisco and Santa Clara County filed federal lawsuits against President Donald Trump and members of his administration challenging his January 25, 2017 Executive Order threatening to deny all federal funding to state and local governments that fail to comply with Trump’s immigration enforcement plan. The lawsuits, which were consolidated, challenge the President’s authority to unilaterally impose conditions on federal funds—a power the Constitution places exclusively in the hands of Congress—as well as the blanket denial of all federal funds, the vast majority of which have no connection to immigration or law enforcement. The district court ruled in favor of San Francisco and Santa Clara and permanently enjoined the portion of the Order regarding federal funding. That order is currently on appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, where the amicus was filed.

Attorneys at Gibson, Dunn, & Crutcher LLP represent the amici organizations.

To read a copy of the brief, click here.

Andrea Gibson: "my whole life is just a boomerang valentine, coming right back at me"


Genderqueer poet and spoken word artist Andrea Gibson sat down with Billboard’s Soul Sisters podcast for an in-depth interview that posted on Valentines Day to discuss their new album ‘Hey Galaxy’ and to explore the ways their recent album, specifically their love poems, are politically charged simply by existing in this current climate.

They also dove into the ways that language has evolved over the past few years to explore queerness, followed by Andrea giving an impromptu and hilarious performance of their “Boomerang Valentine”.

RuPaul's Drag Race Returns for 10th Season - and Untucked is Back!

On the heels of VH1’s industry leading ten consecutive quarters of YoY ratings growth (P18-49) – the best streak across broadcast and cable – and following the three-time Emmy Award-winning season nine of “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” the fiercest competition on primetime returns with a historic 10th season. Each supersized, 90-minute episode of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” will give fans more fashion, lip-syncs and drag than ever before. The new season premieres on VH1 on Thursday, March 22, followed by the popular, Emmy  Award-nominated after-show “RuPaul's Drag Race: Untucked.”

“To celebrate a decade of Drag Race we’ve pulled out all the stops. The queens, the challenges and the shenanigans are off the mother-tucking charts,” said executive producer and two-time Emmy Award-winning host RuPaul. “And I’m thrilled that Untucked is back on VH1. ‘Cause, henny, if you ain’t watching Untucked, you’re only getting half the story. Okurrr?”

“RuPaul's Drag Race: Untucked” gives viewers an uncensored, behind-the-scenes look at each episode of the main competition. During “Untucked,” cameras reveal conversations not seen on the main show as the queens anxiously wait to learn their fate and who will need to lip sync for their life to avoid the week’s elimination.

Fischerspooner Release "Overtly Queer" New Album 'Sir'


Iconic art-pop group Fischerspooner released their first album in nearly a decade, Sir, yesterday via Ultra Records. Entirely produced by Michael Stipe, the album presents a resistant narrative with an overtly queer and celebratory body of work in response to the current atmosphere in America. The collection of erotically-charged, yet profound songs was crafted by Spooner and Stipe at Michael's home in Athens, GA, alongside Michael's close collaborator Andy LeMaster. 

In celebration, they share their captivating new video for “Butterscotch Goddam,” which was directed by Carlo Van de Roer. Roer said about the project, “The song is about a tumultuous love affair. We shot the video entirely in-camera, using optical devices and new filmmaking tools to play with the push and pull of a dichotomous relationship, and the accumulating distortion of reality that comes with that."

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One Colorado: Birth Certificate Modernization Act to be Heard on House Floor!

By Pinky

The Colorado House Health, Insurance, and Environment committee voted to approve the Birth Certificate Modernization Act, and it will soon be voted on by every member of the Colorado House of Representatives! This will be the fourth time this important bill has appeared on the floor of the State House, and we need your help to make sure it passes so it can continue on its way to the Governor’s desk for his signature.

Will you tell your State Representative to vote “Yes” on House Bill 1046, the Birth Certificate Modernization Act?

A birth certificate is one of the most critical identity documents a person can have. Without an accurate birth certificate, someone could be denied a driver’s license, a passport, or even a job. Yet in Colorado, transgender Coloradans face all kinds of unnecessary barriers to having a birth certificate that reflects who they are.

By clicking here, you can tell your State Representative to remove this barrier for transgender Coloradans by voting “Yes” on the Birth Certificate Modernization Act!

Currently, if transgender Coloradans want to update the gender on their birth certificate, they are required to have surgery, and then appear publicly before a judge. This not only fails to protect their privacy, but puts up costly barriers including medical, legal, and court fees. Every Coloradan should be able have identity papers that reflect who they are. The Birth Certificate Modernization Act will remove these barriers and make it far less burdensome for transgender Coloradans to update their birth certificates.

We need to pass this bill, and we need you to reach out to your State Representative and tell them to vote “Yes” on the Birth Certificate Modernization Act! Here are a few ways you can do it:

Thanks for everything you do. Let’s pass the bill!

The Gay Vegans: It's 2018 and Those Complicit are Running for Re-Election

By Dan Hanley

“We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must – at that moment – become the center of the universe.” Elie Wiesel 

Time flies. It’s already mid-February and the opportunity to change things in Congress is only nine months away. 

The recent shooting in a Florida high school has many more people enraged and promising to be and stay engaged. One of the constant themes of my blog and my social media is to encourage people to get politically active and to vote. Voting, and encouraging your circle to do the same, is vitally important this year, and we have a chance to create big changes in Congress. 

I understand that there are harsh feelings toward the President and believe me, I get it. The real power here, though, and those being complicit in allowing the President to do much of what he has done, is Congress. In order for them to stay complicit with the President, they need your support. They need your vote. 

It’s not a done deal. There are amazing groups doing impactful work that is bringing in great candidates to run against those complicit, while others are raising money for them and working on get out the vote campaigns. Meanwhile, dozens of state legislative seats have turned from red to blue in the last year, a really good sign. We can’t rest.
Millions are going to be spent to ensure that the complicit ones keep their seat, their power. Add that to many who support those complicit, and we know this will not be easy. We also know that it’s possible. 

No matter where you live in the US I urge you to get active, to support a candidate that believes in your values and that can unseat a complicit one. Even in the most red of districts this is possible. 

Vote. If not registered to vote, do that now. 

If you have moved recently update your voter registration. Take the time to ensure that you cannot be denied the right to vote on election day. 

Vote early if you can in your area. 

Make a donation to a candidate who is trying to unseat an elected who is complicit.
Be vocal. Our silence aids those complicit with the President. 

Thank you for reading this post! 

P.S. Here are some links that might be helpful:
Vote Smart (look up your electeds)
Run for Something

Friday, February 16, 2018

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Thursday, February 15, 2018

Outfest Announces Lineup for the 2018 Outfest Fusion LGBT People of Color Film Festival

Outfest, the Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization dedicated to nurturing, showcasing, and protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) media, today announced its lineup for the 2018 Outfest Fusion LGBTQ People of Color Film Festival. Outfest Fusion, the only multicultural LGBT film festival of its kind, will be held March 9-13 at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood and various locations throughout Los Angeles.

Now in its 15th year, Outfest Fusion will include five days of film screenings, filmmaker Q&As, filmmaking workshops and networking events that celebrate the diversity of the LGBT community. Outfest Fusion is presented by Showtime.

“In the past 16 months we have seen an alarming number of statistics reporting an increase in violence against people of color and LGBTQ persons. This sad fact reminds me why Outfest Fusion matters. It is the power of our stories which create spaces for understanding, open dialogs, and enlighten each other to the universalities that make us human while celebrating those aspects that make us unique,” reported Outfest Executive Director Christopher Racster.

LGBTQ Scholarships Available from Point Foundation

Community Colleges are an increasingly useful and affordable steppingstone for students beginning their college career. Point Foundation (Point) encourages lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community college students who are planning to transfer to a four-year degree program to apply for its Community College Scholarship Program.

Students accepted into the program receive a financial award, transfer coaching, and academic planning guidance at the Point Community College Transfer Symposium in Los Angeles, as well as access to the Point Foundation network of LGBTQ scholars and alumni. Profiles of Point's current Community College Scholarship recipients and application information are online:

"Due to lack of familial and community support, LGBTQ students often come from resource challenged backgrounds," said Jorge Valencia, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of Point Foundation. "Many are also the first in their families to try and navigate a path to higher education. Moreover, right now the LGBTQ community is under attack from those who want to roll back important rights and protections we have fought hard to attain. So, it is imperative that these students have access to much needed financial support and academic guidance that will allow them to succeed in college and beyond."

Point launched its Community College Scholarship in 2016 with pioneering support from longtime partner Wells Fargo. Point encourages other donors to support the program by funding a Community College Named Scholarship that recognizes and acknowledges a specific source, whether it be the donor, an individual or institution they wish to honor. A Community College Named Scholarship represents a commitment of $8,000 over one year. Established Named Scholarships currently target students in Florida, California, and students participating in sports leagues.

Point will announce the 2018 class of Point Foundation Community College Scholarship recipients in June for LGBTQ Pride Month. Concurrently Point will also announce its 2018 class of Point Foundation Scholars; a program of multifaced support for LGBTQ students completing four-year and/or advanced degree programs.

Vote to Bring the 'Love, Simon' Powered By Love Tour to Colorado!

The cast of Love, Simon is going on tour and it's Powered By Your Love. Give your state some love and visit or @LoveSimonMovie on Instagram and vote for Colorado to be a stop on the tour. The Love, Simon "Powered by Love" tour will visit the states with the most likes. Hurry - voting ends February 18th.

Love, Simon will hit theaters everywhere on March 16, 2018!

Nice To See StevieB: Choose a Drag Name, Kitties

By StevieB

There are countless ways to choose a drag name. Some of the formulas include the name of the street you grew up on, mixed with your first pet’s name. I truly believe the proper way to attach a name to that fierce inner drag persona you have is to use Google. 

More preciously google your local animal shelter and pull up the “Adoptable Cats” page. I’m not sure who is in charge of naming the plethora homeless kitties, but they are witty little people.  So, all you need to do is can down the kolumns of kitties. The left side is your first name. The right your last...

Who knows, maybe you could adopt a cat, that matches your sickening new stage name.  Welcome to the stage!! Linda Midge!!!!!!!!  

In Denver, Colorado you can start here...

Denver Dumb Friends League

Cherry Creek North: Have You Ever Been Someplace That Just Feels Right?

One hundred and forty years ago, Cherry Creek North was part of a small town called Harman. Since then, Cherry Creek North has emerged as a staple in the fabric of Denver and Colorado, blossoming into a very special mixed-use district.

What sets it apart? Perhaps it’s the walkability of the area, or lodging that provides all the comforts of home. Maybe it’s the laughter spilling out of a gallery during a nightly wine tasting, or alfresco dining on a patio laced with flowers. When you’re in Cherry Creek North, you can sit back and exhale. Life feels good here. 

Are You Gay With Something To Say? Bloggers Wanted For Denver's Best Gay Blog!

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MileHighGayGuy is looking for regular and guest bloggers to write about local news and events, do music and movie reviews, or write opinion or feature pieces from a gay perspective.

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