Tuesday, July 22, 2014

LGBT advocate Chris Kluwe petitions Vikings to release investigation report

LGBT advocate and former Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe has launched a petition on Change.org calling for the release of the results of an investigation that was launched following Kluwe's release from the team and his allegations of inappropriate conduct against the team.

Says Kluwe in the petition: "I believe my public support for LGBT rights cost me my job. The organization said it has investigated this claim, but it hasn’t publicly released the full investigation report yet, which it had promised to do. That's why I'm asking you to sign this petition, and urge the Vikings to make the entire investigation findings public.

During the 2012 NFL season, I faced discriminatory remarks from my coach. He often made homophobic and offensive remarks that were completely disrespectful to me and the LGBT community. Other team leaders looked the other way. Despite these challenges, I focused on being a great punter for the team, and my season’s performance was largely consistent with my career averages, which remain the best in Vikings’ history.

In May 2013, however, the team’s management supposedly wanted to explore other options so I was released. But I don’t buy that argument. I believe that I was fired from my job because of discrimination. I made a public announcement of these claims in January, and the Vikings initiated an independent investigation into my claims."

You can check out the petition, which was launched just a few days ago, and comments being left by signers here: https://www.change.org/petitions/zygi-wilf-release-the-discrimination-investigation-results-to-the-public. So far, over 1,100 people have signed on to his petition.

Denver Area Dollar Tree Customers Can Donate School Supplies for Military Children

Operation Homefront and Dollar Tree, Inc. have joined forces again this pre-school season to gather school supplies for military children across the country. The supplies can be purchased starting today by customers at any of the more than 60 Dollar Tree and Deals stores in and around Denver and placed in collection boxes in each store.

The Back-to-School Brigade program is a nationwide campaign by Operation Homefront and Dollar Tree. This is the sixth year that Dollar Tree has partnered with Operation Homefront for the program. Last year, Dollar Tree patrons donated more than $4.7 million of supplies nationwide.

“For the last six years, Dollar Tree and its customers have been our partners in getting military kids ready to go back to school,” said Charlotte Merriam, Executive Director of Operation Homefront Rocky Mountains. “These donated school supplies enhance the morale and the success of our military children, while easing the burden military families carry. These families deal with deployments and the other stresses of military life, and Operation Homefront serves lower- and mid-grade enlisted the lowest-paid of our service members.”

“Dollar Tree is a proud, national sponsor of Operation Homefront,” said Chelle Davis, Dollar Tree spokesperson. “We are honored to once again participate in the Back-to-School Brigade TM and thank our customers for their continued generosity and support.”

Dollar Tree stores will collect supplies July 7 – August 14. Participating stores include the locations at Micro Center, Broadway Marketplace, and Bear Valley Shopping Center. Once the program ends, Operation Homefront volunteers will collect and distribute the gifts to military children during the back-to-school season in August and September. Log on to OperationHomefront.net for more details on how to contribute.

Call for Proposals for Creating Change 2015 in Denver

The 27th Annual Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change climbs its way to the mile high city, Denver, CO Feb 4–Feb. 8, 2015. Creating Change is the premier annual organizing and skills-building event for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and our allies.

The Creating Change 2015 website is online now and ready for you to:

Bring all you've got to give, teach and share in a Creating Change workshop session. Take the first step by submitting a workshop proposal

Reserve your hotel room at the conference hotel, the lovely Sheraton Denver Downtown. 

Sign up to volunteer or host an attendee during the conference (for Denver area residents). Creating Change 2015 registration will open next month in August. Sign up for the e-mail list so that you'll be the first to know when it opens.

GLAAD'S 'Studio Responsibility Index' Finds Lack of LGBT Images, Offensive Content in Films Released by Seven Largest Studios

GLAAD, the nation’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) media advocacy organization, today released its second annual Studio Responsibility Index (SRI), a report that maps the quantity, quality and diversity of images of LGBT people in films released by the seven largest motion picture studios during the 2013 calendar year.

GLAAD found that of the 102 releases from the major studios in 2013, 17 of them included characters identified as lesbian, gay, or bisexual. The majority of these characters were minor roles or cameos, and GLAAD found that many of these were outright defamatory representations in films such as Pain & Gain and Riddick.

“The lack of substantial LGBT characters in mainstream film, in addition to the outdated humor and stereotypes suggests large Hollywood studios may be doing more harm than good when it comes to worldwide understanding of the LGBT community,” said GLAAD's CEO and President Sarah Kate Ellis. “These studios have the eyes and ears of millions of audience members, and should reflect the true fabric of our society rather than feed into the hatred and prejudice against LGBT people too often seen around the globe.”

Both Paramount and Warner Brothers received "failing" grades for including only minor and offensive portrayals of LGBT people in their 2013 releases. 20th Century Fox, Lionsgate, Universal Pictures, Walt Disney Studios received grades of "adequate." Sony Columbia was the first and only studio to receive a "good" score for several LGBT-inclusive films, including Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, which was the only film tracked in the report that was also nominated for a GLAAD Media Award. No studio has yet received a grade of "excellent."

More info after the cut.

Tranifesto: Coming Out as Trans after Coming Out as Gay

By Matt Kailey

A reader writes: “I am a 39-year-old gay male. Ever since high school, I have geared being more like a female. It was tough when I came out as being gay. I got teased and made fun of in school. My mother accepted me being gay.

“I have tried to be a full-time male, but just was not happy with it. I drank a lot as well. A year ago I decided to start the process of transitioning. I have already decided that I am not going to have the surgery to be a full female. In other words, I’m going to leave the below parts alone, although I want to grow breasts and desire to take some hormones to obtain more fem features.

“My problem is my mother. She accepts me being gay. Today we went shopping and some people referred to me as a female, which did not bother me at all. In the car while she was driving me home, she stated I make an ugly girl. I understand that given she is my birth mother this is hard for her. She knows I want to be more like a girl but does not realize what I am doing. I am totally happy with who I am and who I will become. Just not so sure of my mother?”

One thing that can be difficult for some trans people is having to come out twice – first as a gay man or lesbian, and later as transgender. The way some people see it is similar to the boy who cried, “Wolf!” – so you said you were gay, now you say you’re trans. What are you going to say next week?

What those people don’t realize is that it is not uncommon for trans people to come out as gay or lesbian before coming out as trans. Here are some reasons that could happen:

Monday, July 21, 2014

CDC: 2.3% of Americans identify as LGB

In the first large-scale government survey measuring Americans' sexual orientation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that less than 3% of Americans identify themselves as gay, lesbian or bisexual. Data in the study comes from the 2013 National Health Interview Survey, which for the first time in its 57-year history included questions about sexual orientation.

Conn. Supreme Court rules same-sex marriage rights are retroactive

Connecticut's highest court last Wednesday ruled that some legal rights of same-sex predate the state’s 2008 adoption of marriage equality and earlier approval of civil unions

The decision, which is the first of its kind, overturned lower court rulings and allowed a widow to sue a doctor for medical malpractice for the death of her wife. The alleged malpractice occurred before the state adopted marriage equality.

County judge overturns Fla. marriage ban

Florida's ban on marriage equality was ruled unconstitutional last Thursday in a decision that applies only to the county that covers the Florida Keys. 

Six couples had filed a lawsuit challenging the ban. Circuit Judge Luis Garcia ordered that marriage licenses could be issued to same-sex couples starting Tuesday. The office of Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi has announced that it intends to appeal the ruling.

Courage Campaign On Obama Executive Order: "Another Historic Milestone As We Create A More Just And Equal Workplace For All"

Statement from Dr. Paul Song, executive chairman of the Courage Campaign, on today’s executive order banning LGBT workplace discrimination for federal contractors:

“Today our nation is taking another important step towards creating a more perfect union. President Obama’s action today is another historic milestone as we create a more just and equal workplace for all. Now Congress must act to ensure all Americans are protected and treated equally.”

After the Brutal Murder of Mia Henderson, HRC Calls for Stronger Laws and Increased Protection of Transgender Women

In response to the discovery of 26-year-old Mia Henderson's body in West Baltimore, the sixth transgender woman of color murdered this year - the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has called for more concerted efforts to protect transgender women from unprecedented levels of violence and harassment.

Henderson – an African American, transgender woman – was found dead in an alley on Wednesday by local police. Ms. Henderson is the sister of LA Clippers Guard Reggie Bullock.

"Even as the transgender community experiences historic visibility in the mainstream media and increasingly inclusive protections under the law, the reality is that for far too many transgender individuals – particularly poor and working class transgender women of color – violence and brutality are facts of their every day existence," said Fred Sainz, HRC Vice President of Marketing and Communications.

Henderson is the second transgender woman murdered in Baltimore within the last two months. The body of Kandy Hall – a 40 year-old transgender woman – was discovered on June 3rd. Both Henderson and Hall were murdered after Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley signed a historic statewide non-discrimination bill that included gender identity and expression earlier this year.

The 2011 report from the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force on the experiences of transgender Americans found that nationally, black transgender and gender non-conforming people often live in extreme poverty, with 34% reporting a household income of less than $10,000/year, eight times the rate of the general U.S. population. Transgender women of color face disproportionate levels in violence in comparison to other members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. According to a report by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP), 72 percent of LGBTQ homicide victims in 2013 were transgender women and 89 percent were people of color. Discrimination in employment, healthcare, and persistent racism can reinforce one another to place transgender people of color at greater risk for poverty and violence.
"The importance of the statewide non-discrimination bill in Maryland cannot be overstated. We need to continue to move these protections at the state and federal level, but the truth is that while policy change is critical, it is insufficient in and of itself," said Jeff Krehely, HRC Vice President and Chief Foundation Officer. "We need a concerted effort to raise awareness that transgender people are an important part of the community and to address the persistent issues of violence and poverty facing so many in the transgender community.”

Krehely continued, "We call upon states and municipalities to raise the visibility of the transgender community and to help transgender workers through focused employment and other anti-poverty programs. Only then will we begin to curb this epidemic of violence facing transgender women."

RÖYKSOPP & ROBYN - One More Time

The video for “Do It Again” was shot in Mexico by award-winning Danish filmmaker Martin de Thurah. It tells the story of desire, ecstasy and forbidden love. 

Says de Thurah, "'Do It Again' feels like it's an unstoppable pop mantra of something out of hand. A spiralling hypnotic maelstrom. The video touches 'our hearts' desires': deep passions; revolutions full of hope and excitement; a dream of freedom; obsession; the ecstasy and escapism; the darkness. And it ends in a mix of violence and laughter, freedom and the loss of free will. All of this somehow ends on a note of hope through struggle. Something worth fighting for. Do it again." 

Read more about the the collaboration between Martin de Thurah, Röyksopp & Robyn on Dazed Digital.

The Gay Vegans: Still Don't Want to Vote?

By Dan Hanley

I was reading a friend's Facebook comments recently about a man running for the state house in Michigan who removed her comments and blocked her from his Facebook page after she posted that she would not be voting for him. My first thought was "typical", and then I started really thinking about it.

This guy, who I also would not vote for if I still lived back in my hometown, could easily win. He may not support women, he may not support public schools, he may not support equality for gays and lesbians. He could support corporate and agricultural welfare, he could support allowing anyone to buy any type of gun from anyone else and he could support a myriad of other things that I might disagree with.

And he is just like someone running for political office where you live.

He is almost assured a victory.

Unless you vote.

There is a huge us vs. them battle going on these days. This is perpetuated by those in political power and those who want political power. And it's not just one party, it's members of both parties.

In many activist communities I have met people who do not vote. Amazing activists, incredibly passionate people. Yet they don't vote.

In November, there will be elections all over the country. New congressmen will be elected or re-elected, members of state houses will be elected, new school board members, etc. Whoever wins will represent you at the US Capitol, your state capitol and your county school board.

I write a lot about being a voice for the voiceless. This is another one of those opportunities. Check out the candidates in your area. Find out where they stand on issues important to you. Call them or email them. Even if you are in a supposed district where the winner is already known.

We have the power.


Vote for the animals. Vote for equal rights. Vote to support equality for women. Vote to support nine year olds who are refugees on our border. Vote to speak out loudly for the voiceless.

This post originally appeared on Dan Hanley's website The Gay Vegans. Republished with permission.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Nice to See StevieB: Road Trip

By StevieB
It is amazing to me to wake up and realize that I only have one month left of summer. Well, until school starts again, anyway. This fall semester I am getting my feet wet by taking an on-line course. I am unsure how I'll respond to self directed learning, with my ADD. But really, the massive amounts of time spent at the coffee shop on the corner of 9th and Downing won't change any. I will just be reading about the Migration Period, you know, the period of intensified human migration in Europe from 376 to 800 AD during the transition from Late Antiquity to the Early Middle Ages. Read and studied as I undress every 20 year old that walks into the coffee shop. I will just be focused on the Early Middle Ages, instead of my usual time killing wanderings on line.

I am; However, blown away that class starts in mid August. I can report that I am checking things off my "Summer Stuff To Do" check list. I have eaten as many meals as I can in the park, bicycled around the city, read some good books, hung out naked in a pool, and explored Denver's summer culture. I have not as of yet, gone for a road trip, or gone camping. The latter may not happen as I don't have a good camping crew motivated. But, the road trip NEEDS to happen. Especially in the new Jeep.

So, here is my one month challenge. Steve needs a road trip... 

This post originally appeared on Steven Bennet's website Nice to See StevieB. Republished with permission.

Check Out Stonewall Fitness: By, For, and About Denver’s Gay Community!

David Smith, the owner of Stonewall Fitness, holds a degree in exercise science from Metropolitan State University of Denver, several fitness certifications including ACSM Personal Trainer and Group Fitness.

Smith specializes in exercise, nutrition and wellness programs for the GLBT community and leads a variety of different programs, including group fitness classes, personal training, athletic conditioning programs, educational seminars and workshops.

His passion lies in promoting the physical, mental and social benefits of exercise and healthy diet to the community by breaking down the barriers often associated with a healthy lifestyle to make it accessible for everybody.

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

Are you a new or experienced writer or blogger? Do you want to be? Or maybe you're just some gay guy with something to say? Well, what better forum for you than MileHighGayGuy?

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.

These are unpaid positions but offer the opportunity to be published in Colorado's Best Gay Blog (2010, 2011, 2012 OUTstanding Awards, Denver 2012 #WebAwards), expand your audience and gain valuable experience. There's also swag available in the form of free movie and concert tickets, music, books and other cool stuff.

If interested, shoot an email over to Drew Wilson at drew@milehighgayguy.com. And if you've got column or story ideas to pitch, this is the place to do it.