Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Lambda Literary: Announcing the Winner of the 2019 Jeanne Córdova Award

Lambda Literary has announced that Karen Tongson has been named the winner of the 2019 Jeanne Córdova Prize for Lesbian/Queer Nonfiction.

The award, given in memory of the beloved activist and author Jeanne Córdova, honors lesbian/queer-identified women and trans/gender non-conforming nonfiction authors. The award goes to a writer committed to nonfiction work that captures the depth and complexity of lesbian/queer life, culture and/or history.

Judges Lynn Harris Ballen, Judith Branzburg, and Alicia Vogl Saenz were unanimous in choosing Tongson as the winner for this prize from a group of wonderfully talented lesbian/queer nonfiction writers who submitted their work.
From the judges: "We selected Karen Tongson based on her work as a cultural critic and memoirist. Her two books and essays are written at the intersection of popular culture, queer politics/culture, and critical race analysis, and she brings the sensibilities of both a public intellectual and a queer fan to her work. Karen's beautifully layered writing is also deeply personal and intimate, weaving in her own life stories and the lives of other queer people of color in Los Angeles and beyond. And her forthcoming work shows that she continues to be committed to producing groundbreaking lesbian/queer nonfiction."

Karen Tongson is the author of Why Karen Carpenter Matters (2019), and Relocations: Queer Suburban Imaginaries (2011). She is a professor of English, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, and American Studies and Ethnicity at USC, and co-editor of the award-winning book series, Postmillennial Pop (with Henry Jenkins) at NYU Press. She has two books in progress: Empty Orchestra: Karaoke, Queer Aesthetics, Queer Theory (Duke University Press), and NORMPORN: Television and the Spectacle of Normalcy (NYU Press). You can hear Karen talk about pop culture, the arts, and entertainment on the weekly Pop Rocket podcast at

The award was introduced in 2018 and includes a cash prize of $2,500. Tongson will be recognized as the winner of the Córdova Prize at the 31st Annual Lambda Literary Awards ceremony on June 3 in New York City.

The awards ceremony is open to the public. Tickets can be purchased here.

PFLAG Chapter Leaders Across The Country Endorse the Equality Act


Today, hundreds of chapter leaders from PFLAG—the nation's first and largest organization for LGBTQ+ people, their parents and families, and allies—signed on to endorse the Equality Act, a federal bill that would add LGBTQ+ people to existing civil rights laws.

Despite significant steps forward, LGBTQ+ people living in the U.S. lack basic legal protections under federal law, and the patchwork of current laws leaves millions of people subject to uncertainty and potential discrimination that impacts their families, their livelihoods, their safety, and their day-to-day lives. The Equality Act would add sexual orientation and gender identity to existing civil rights protections, prohibiting discrimination based on an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity at work, in the context of housing, credit, education, and jury service; and in programs that receive federal funding and places of public accommodations.

PFLAG's chapter network has been working in every state across the country, reaching out to their representatives to ask them to endorse and vote in favor of this legislation, so crucial to PFLAG families. This on-the-ground work is all part of PFLAG National's #EqualityStartsWithMe campaign, which launched in March at the introduction of the Equality Act in Congress, with the entire PFLAG National Board of Directors unanimously endorsing a resolution in support of the Equality Act, a resolution which was also translated into Spanish. The resolution was shared at the Congressional introduction by Rep. David Cicilline, lead sponsor on the Equality Act.

Last week PFLAG National released a new video for the campaign, featuring musical artists Indigo Girls, Antigone Rising, K’s Choice, Lauren Ruth Ward, Smoke Season, and Violet and The Undercurrents sharing what equality means to them, and why passing the Equality Act is a crucial step in protecting LGBTQ+ people in America from discrimination and harassment.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Books: Simply Gourmet

Simply Gourmet — the title says it all. Open this beautiful cookbook and prepare to be transported to the wonderful world of Rivky Kleiman’s SIMPLE to prepare yet GOURMET in taste recipes. Rivky is the co-author of the very popular Bais Yaakov Cookbook and is celebrated in the kosher culinary world for her passion in presenting recipes that really work.

Simply Gourmet
features over 135 recipes from appetizers, salads, and brunch, lunch & beyond, to soups, fish, meat, poultry sides, and desserts. Each of Rivky’s recipes is beautiful to serve, delicious to eat, and, with its clear instructions and easily available ingredients, so simple to prepare!

“Life has become so fast paced that one aspect of my goal in creating this cookbook is to alleviate the stress of feeding families in record time,” Rivky says. “I wrote this cookbook after being urged by friends and readers for a complete cookbook with easy, doable recipes that simply work! My style and niche have always been traditional leanings with an updated twist. I tried very hard to develop recipes that will work with our very fast-paced society, where the average home cook has the desire to turn out nutritious and delicious meals but always is short on time.”

Netflix's "Tales o First Look at Jen Richards as Young "Anna Madrigal" & Daniela Vega as "Ysela"


Go behind the scenes and learn the history of Netflix’s upcoming limited series Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City, the new chapter in the beloved franchise that has spanned generations. Get a First Look at guest star Jen Richards as young “Anna Madrigal” and Daniela Vega as her best friend “Ysela” from a flashback episode focused on Anna’s arrival to San Francisco. The episode depicts 1966 San Francisco and the Compton’s Cafeteria Riot, one of the first events in LGBTQ activism in the U.S.

VidCon Announces Olympic Ice Skater Adam Rippon as Speaker

VidCon, the world’s largest celebration of online video and digital creators, just announced that Olympian Adam Rippon will attend and speak at VidCon - for the first time - during the 10th annual VidCon US, July 10-13, 2019 at the Anaheim Convention Center.

Following the recent launch of his own YouTube channel, Rippon will speak on the "The Emergence of the Celebrity Creator" panel, which will explore opportunities and ways Hollywood’s top traditional talent can expand, and how some have already successfully launched, in the world of owned and operated, original video content.

New Publication Promotes Health and Safety of Transgender Youth in Confinement Facilities

Today, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and the Center for Children’s Law and Policy (CCLP) released a new publication, Model Policy: Transgender, Gender Nonconforming, and Intersex Youth in Youth Confinement Facilities, with support from the National PREA Resource Center. The model policy provides a blueprint of practices that promote the safety, dignity and well-being of transgender, gender nonconforming, and intersex (TGNCI) youth in youth justice facilities. The policy was developed with input from a diverse group of advocates, justice professionals and formerly incarcerated young people.

The vulnerability of TGNCI youth is well-documented. In a 2018 survey of 5,600 transgender and gender nonconforming youth, 84% of youth experienced verbal threats, 53% experienced bullying at school, 57% had been mocked or taunted by their families, and 16% had been sexually attacked or raped – all based on their actual or perceived gender identity.  Because of pervasive stigma and discrimination, TGNC youth are more likely to experience be psychological distress, homelessness, and bullying. TGNC youth of color, who experience discrimination at the intersections of race and gender, are vulnerable to extraordinarily high rates of violence and mistreatment.
Researchers estimate that up to 1.7% of people are born with intersex traits. Although transgender and intersex identities are distinct, both groups encounter discrimination based on gender identity or gender expression and both groups lack access to competent medical care. Some intersex children undergo unnecessary, irreversible, and involuntary surgeries, and transgender youth are often denied medically necessary, gender affirming treatment.

Pervasive rejection and discrimination in their homes, schools, and communities contribute to the overrepresentation of TGNCI youth in youth confinement facilities. According to recent national data 12% of youth in juvenile facilities identify as transgender or gender nonconforming, and 85% of those are of color.  “TGNCI youth are extremely vulnerable in confinement settings. They experience higher levels of sexual abuse, harassment, and mistreatment, particularly when facilities lack clear, enforceable guidance on how to protect their safety and promote their well-being. They deserve affirming care and support, and this model policy will be the blueprint.” said Shannan Wilber, youth policy director at NCLR and one of publication’s authors. The Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (PREA) standards require confinement facilities to adopt policies and procedures to protect TGNCI youth from sexual abuse and sexual harassment. Many confinement facilities need assistance developing policies that appropriately implement these protections and the National PREA Resource Center supported NCLR in development of this policy.

The model policy addresses a range of practices that create a safe and healthy environment for TGNCI youth:
  • How can facility staff safely and respectfully identify TGNCI residents?
  • What concrete steps can facilities take to affirm the gender identity of youth?
  • How can facilities assess and remedy the risks associated with TGNCI status?
  • Where should TGNCI youth be housed in sex-segregated facilities?
  • How can facilities protect the privacy of TGNCI residents?
  • What specific considerations govern searches of TGNCI youth?
  • How can facilities provide gender affirming medical and behavioral health care?
  • What systems can facilities create to permit youth to confidentially report abuse and protect them from retaliation?
  • How can facilities prepare TGNCI youth to successfully return to their communities?
  • What can facilities do to prepare custodial staff to support and affirm TGNCI residents?

Jason Szanyi, deputy director at the Center for Children’s Law and Policy (CCLP) and one of the publication’s authors says, “We are seeing a huge demand among youth justice professionals for training and guidance on the unique needs of TGNCI youth, particularly in secure settings. This publication provides the foundation for an agency or facility policy on TGNCI youth. Adopting a policy based on these model provisions will significantly decrease the harms experienced in custody by this vulnerable population and create a safer environment for all youth.

Monday, May 13, 2019

One Colorado: What's next for LGBTQ Equality?

By Daniel Ramos, Executive Director, One Colorado

Pride is right around the corner, and we're a hosting a town hall to hear from you about what's next for LGBTQ equality in Colorado.

This year we have been able to accomplish so much together - from electing our nation's first openly gay Governor, to continuing the push to ban conversion therapy, to making it easier for transgender Coloradans to update their identity documents.

SO, WHAT'S NEXT? Sign up to learn more.

HRC: Trump-Pence Admin Declares Opposition to Civil Rights Legislation Supported by 7 in 10 Americans, 200+ Major Companies & Hundreds of Organizations

Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization, responded to the Trump-Pence administration’s announcement opposing the Equality Act, crucially important, bipartisan legislation that will finally provide clear, comprehensive non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people across the country in employment, housing, public spaces, education, jury services, credit and federal funding.

We’re disgusted, but certainly not surprised, by Donald Trump’s announcement that he opposes the Equality Act, which is supported by seven in ten Americans and more than two hundred major businesses,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. By opposing this common sense civil rights legislation, Donald Trump is ensuring that LGBTQ people remain at risk of being fired or denied housing in a majority of states. The LGBTQ community, and all Americans for that matter, deserve a president with the courage and decency to sign this bill into law, and we will continue the urgent work to pass the Equality Act and replace Donald Trump with a pro-equality president who will sign it into law.”

The bipartisan Equality Act, first introduced in Congress in July 2015, is sponsored by Representatives David Cicilline (D-RI) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) in the House and Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Susan Collins (R-ME), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) in the Senate.

The Equality Act was re-introduced in the new U.S. House in March with growing, unprecedented support. More than 200 major corporations have joined HRC’s Business Coalition for the Equality Act. Recent polling finds that a growing majority of Americans — including Republicans, Democrats and Independents — support LGBTQ non-discrimination protections and LGBTQ equality. In a historic move, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and National Association of Manufacturers announced their support for the Equality Act. A recent survey by PRRI found that nearly seven in 10 Americans support laws like the Equality Act. More than 360 statewide and national organizations have endorsed the legislation, including social justice, religious, medical and child welfare organizations.

Discrimination is a real and persistent problem for LGBTQ Americans. HRC polling has found that nearly two-thirds of self-identified LGBTQ Americans report experiencing discrimination. Currently, 50 percent of LGBTQ Americans live in the 30 states that still lack statewide legal non-discrimination protections, leaving their residents and visitors at risk of being fired, denied housing, or refused service because of who they are or whom they love. The Equality Act would finally guarantee existing civil rights laws apply to LGBTQ people by providing clear, consistent non-discrimination protections based on sexual orientation or gender identity across key areas of life, while expanding and enhancing protections for people of color, women and religious minorities.

OutServe-SLDN and AMPA Combine Forces to Form the Modern Military Association of America

Recently, the nation’s two leading lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) military non-profits — the American Military Partner Association (AMPA) and OutServe-SLDN — announced they are combining forces by merging to form the nation’s largest non-profit organization dedicated to education, advocacy and support for LGBTQ service members, military spouses, veterans, family members and allies — the Modern Military Association of America. Announced tonight at the 2019 AMPA National Gala presented by Comcast NBCUniversal and USAA, hundreds were gathered in the Capital Hilton ballroom where the organizations also shared that OutServe-SLDN Executive Director and Navy veteran Andy Blevins will lead the Modern Military Association of America as Executive Director.

“I’m both humbled and honored to lead the Modern Military Association of America at this challenging moment in the fight for LGBTQ military equality,” said Modern Military Association of America Executive Director Andy Blevins. “While we’ve made tremendous progress over the years as a community, much of that progress is now being threatened and rolled back — especially for our transgender service members who now face an unconscionable transgender military ban. We’re committed to doing everything within our power to stand up for all of our modern military and veteran families and ensure they have a powerful voice in Washington and beyond.”

“For nearly 26 years, OutServe-SLDN has been fighting for the right of LGBTQ military members to serve our nation openly and authentically,” said Josh Fontanez, a U.S. Army officer and co-chair of the OutServe-SLDN Board of Director. “We’re proud to continue that fight by merging with the American Military Partner Association and working together to defend and support the LGBTQ military and veteran community.” “For nearly a decade, the American Military Partner Association has been on the front lines fighting for our nation’s modern military spouses and their families,” said AMPA Founder and President Emeritus Stephen Peters. “Now, we’re doubling down in our fight for fairness and equality by joining forces with OutServe-SLDN. The Modern Military Association of America will be a powerhouse of community advocates and a united voice for the LGBTQ military and veteran community.”

“We’re truly excited that both of these incredible organizations are merging to create a formidable force in the battles ahead,” said AMPA President Ashley Broadway-Mack. “By combining forces with OutServe-SLDN, we’re embarking on a new journey fighting for open and authentic service and education, advocacy and support for modern military families.”

The Modern Military Association of America is launching at a challenging moment for the LGBTQ military community as the Trump-Pence administration rolls back progress by implementing a transgender military ban. Just last month, the discriminatory ban went into effect — impacting thousands of actively serving transgender military members and many more qualified transgender recruits who want to serve. Both AMPA and OutServe-SLDN have been leading voices in the fight to overturn the transgender military ban. Joined by Lambda Legal and the state of Washington, OutServe-SLDN filed the lawsuit Karnoski v. Trump in 2017 on behalf of AMPA, the Human Rights Campaign, Seattle-based Gender Justice League, and nine individual plaintiffs. The lawsuit will continue with the new organization.

The Modern Military Association of America will carry on the mission of both organizations through education, advocacy and support that fosters an environment throughout the military community honoring the contributions of America’s LGBTQ service members, military spouses, veterans, and family members. Through its legal help desk, it will continue assisting members with discharge upgrades, legal name changes and discrimination. Through the recently launched Rainbow Shield program, the organization will help equip military and veteran service providers with the skills they need to be culturally competent to provide effective and efficient services to the LGBTQ military and veteran community. The organization will also continue AMPA’s military spouse scholarship, presented by Hilton, that enables military spouses to pursue their higher education goals. With 81 chapters located throughout the world, the organization will facilitate opportunities for fellowship and camaraderie for individuals and families located at both stateside and overseas military bases.

VidCon and The Trevor Project Announce Partnership to Elevate LGBTQ+ Voices at VidCon US in July

VidCon, the world’s largest celebration of online video and digital creators, today announced a new partnership with The Trevor Project, the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ+ young people. The partnership will further highlight and celebrate some of the world’s biggest digital talent and rising stars from the LGBTQ+ community during the tenth anniversary of VidCon US set for July 10-13, 2019 at the Anaheim Convention Center.

As part of the initiative, Trevor will curate programming within VidCon’s Community Track, focusing conversations around heartfelt experiences about coming out online and IRL; how discussing their own journeys have helped them heal and connect with their audiences; how to activate the community to further raise awareness and support for the LGBTQ+ community; and the fight against cyberbullying.

The Trevor Project will also welcome celebrity speakers, many of whom are attending VidCon US for the first time ever, including Lachlan Watson (“Chilling Adventures of Sabrina”). Talent will join the world’s most followed, LGBTQ+ identifying digital talent previously confirmed to attend VidCon US including Hannah Hart, Rickey Thompson, Miles McKenna, Lilly Singh, Elle Mills, Tre Melvin, Ricky Dillon, and more to support these discussions.

“VidCon’s top priority is to provide a safe environment, one with inclusive programming that reflects the online video industry’s diverse audience. As we mark the 50th anniversary of Stonewall and Pride celebrations around the world this summer, VidCon is thrilled to officially partner with The Trevor Project, whose important work promotes the well-being of our family, friends and fans in the LGBTQ+ community. We look forward to compelling and important conversations this year,” said Jim Louderback, General Manager of VidCon.

"We're excited to partner with VidCon this year to curate inclusive, diverse programming so that LGBTQ young people can see themselves represented on a national stage," said Amit Paley, CEO & Executive Director of The Trevor Project. "We're grateful to VidCon for providing a platform for LGBTQ youth to connect with their favorite creators so they know they are seen, their experiences are valid, and that they're never alone."

The Trevor Project will also provide their followers a special discount on Community Track badges. Additionally, the organization will launch a special VidCon badge giveaway contest on social media - details will be announced at a later date.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Matt Bomer stars in 'Papi Chulo'


In Papi Chulo, in theaters June 7, a newly-single TV weatherman (Matt Bomer) is put on leave following an on-air meltdown, he directs his energy into home improvement and hires a middle-aged Latino day laborer named Ernesto (Alejandro Patiño) to help. Despite a language barrier and having nothing in common, the two men develop an unexpected but profound friendship in this darkly comedic reflection on class, ethnicity, and companionship in contemporary Los Angeles.

Netta - Nana Banana


Netta, Israeli pop superstar and winner of the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest is back with the new song “Nana Banana” available today on S-Curve Records/BMG. The track mixes Netta’s unique vocal style with a Neo-Caribbean flavor blending contemporary Dancehall and Reggae sounds with color vibes of J-Pop and K-Pop. 

While the title “Nana Banana” is a cheeky refence to the teasing childhood taunt “Nyah Nyah Nyah Boo-Boo,” the lyrics have a deeper meaning in which Netta explores her own quest to find a safe place outside her comfort zone in the wake of the Eurovision win.

The Gay Vegans: In loving memory – Rachel Held Evans

By Dan Hanley

I want to write so much more about Rachel and my path of faith (and Mike’s). I find myself unable to do that at this time.

I did want to make sure I at least wrote a quick post that honors Rachel. I want to say thank you to Rachel. Rachel did so much for so many, and for me it was her decision to not be a part of the spiritual genocide against gay people (and all those who identify as LGBTQ) and in fact fight against it. God is so much bigger than bigotry and hatred, than disgust of “the other”. The love of God and of Jesus is fully inclusive. Everyone is invited to the table. Through her I learned to be able to show love to those who consider me an abomination. No small task.

There is much more. I am forever grateful.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Books: Life of David Hockney

Daring, vibrant, and always authentically himself, Hockney is captured in a compelling new hybrid of novel and biography in LIFE OF DAVID HOCKNEY. Through a host of sources, including her personal meeting with Hockney, autobiographies, biographies, interviews, essays, films and articles, Cusset vividly pieces together the puzzle of the revered artist’s life and the enthralling stories that drove the creation of legendary works like “Portrait of an Artist”, painted in a three-month frenzy following a brutal breakup, and “My Parents”. LIFE OF DAVID HOCKNEY sheds light on the unbreakable spirit at the core of this living legend, who as a homosexual artist in a world where long-standing barriers had yet to be broken down, famously upended the norms of the art world, all through heartbreak and personal tragedy suffered in the wake of the AIDS epidemic. Cusset offers a window into Hockney’s rollercoaster love life as he shuttles between London, New York, and California, carving out a home in all three locales, whose spirit penetrates and contours his art. Here, we see Cusset, “transforming all the documentary material into a narrative that…shed[s] light on his journey from the inside by focusing on the links between love, creation, life and death.”

Born in the small town of Bradford in the north of England in 1937, Hockney had to fight to become an artist. After leaving his home for the Royal College of Art in London, his career flourished, his work appearing in galleries and sold alongside his professor’s works while still a student, but he continued to struggle with a sense of not belonging because of his homosexuality, which had yet to be decriminalized, and his inclination for a figurative style of art not sufficiently “contemporary” to be valued. Trips to New York and California—where he would live for many years and paint his iconic swimming pools—introduced him to new scenes and new loves, beginning a journey that would take him through the fraught years of the AIDS epidemic.

Cusset, author of thirteen award-winning, best-selling literary novels translated into eighteen languages, and whose novel L'autre qu'on adorait was shortlisted for the Prix Goncourt in 2016, skillfully depicts a David Hockey driven by impulse to always do and create what resonates most viscerally. In her intimate and lively portrait, Cusset submerges the reader in Hockney’s life with clear and bright prose, offering a lens into an artist of unlimited and unfiltered potential, reflected and represented through his dynamic oeuvre, but also as a human being with a tireless work ethic, caring deeply for his family and friends, stumbling and vulnerable at times and defined also by the turns of adversity and loss. LIFE OF DAVID HOCKNEY offers an original look inside the life of a groundbreaking artist in form and style, a painter, draftsman and set designer whose art is as accessible as it is compelling, and whose passion to create is never deterred by heartbreak, illness or loss.

Bene - Evil Spider

Hailing from the suburbs of Auckland, 19-year-old indie pop artist Bene returns with her latest single “Evil Spider,” out today—listen HERE! Coming off the heels of her Gold-Certified hit “Soaked,” the up and coming singer and songwriter also announces her upcoming debut EP is set for release on June 28th.

Of “Evil Spider,” Bene says, “‘Evil Spider’ is about wanting someone that’s already taken. When writing the song, I didn’t wanna make the lyrics too obviously evil, so I thought I’d turn myself into the spider, making it a lil lighter and making the song revolve around me weaving webs to lure the person, catch ‘em like a spider then reel them in. I remember humming ‘Incy Wincy Spider’ in the studio, which inspired the playful vibe of the song.”

Bene has emerged as New Zealand’s artist to watch with her chart-topping hit “Soaked,” which quickly climbed Spotify’s Viral Charts, accumulated over 17 million streams to date, charted on Australia’s Triple J radio’s Hottest 100 of 2018 and held the number one spot on New Zealand’s Shazam Top 100 for two months, not to mention achieved Gold Certification in New Zealand and Australia. With endorsements from Zane Lowe and Apple’s Beats1 radio, Bene went from playing her first small club gig to her first arena show—opening for longtime role model Lily Allen—in a matter of months.