Monday, March 13, 2017

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Gabby Rivera on Writing a Queer Superhero

This month, writer Gabby Rivera made her comic book writing debut with Issue One of AmericaMarvel's first solo series to star a queer Latina superhero. Find out all about it at Lambda Literary.

Rights Organizations Call for No Borders on Gender Justice

Today, as the United Nations begins its annual gathering on women’s rights, a coalition of international women’s, LGBTQ, and immigrant justice organizations have launched a joint initiative called: No Borders on Gender Justice.

This coalition, participating in the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), highlights that this year’s session takes place under the shadow of escalated anti-immigrant, anti-refugee and anti-Muslim policies of the United States. The organizers point to the new executive order by the Trump Administration, set to take effect this Thursday, as the latest in an exclusionary trend that prevents women from exercising their rights to political participation at UN Headquarters. 

Yanar Mohammed, President of the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq, spoke out in solidarity with women’s rights activists excluded by these policies. “This is not the time to keep us out of the meeting rooms, out of the decision-making spaces and away from our sisters at CSW,” she said.
An Indigenous Ixil women’s rights activist from Guatemala, who requested not to be named, said, “I was denied a visa to travel to the US for CSW. Coming from Guatemala or from Central America, we know the obstacles and discrimination that have stood in the way of us accessing international spaces in the US, like the UN in New York. This is a barrier to our work for human rights, worsening in this political climate of fear and exclusion.”

Organizers of this initiative have emphasized that the risk extends not only to access to CSW. Also at risk is rights advocates’ access to UN and international advocacy spaces year round. Moreover, those most affected are women and their families, far from UN spaces, who face hate crimes, criminalization, detention and deportation due to xenophobic policies.

The No Borders on Gender Justice initiative seeks to renew strategies to reclaim space to defend the full range of women’s human rights, protest racist and Islamophobic policies that bar access, amplify the demands of those who have been excluded, and deepen collaboration with women most at risk from authoritarianism.

Organizers have also released a platform of principles, available here. The organizations co-sponsoring this initiative are: MADRE, Just Associates (JASS), Center for Women’s Global Leadership, AWID, Urgent Action Fund, Women in Migration Network and OutRight Action International.

Koelbel Urban Homes: The New Modern in Denver

Koelbel Urban Homes (KUH) has quickly emerged as a leader in creating urban neighborhoods that promote community and synergy by integrating life, work and play.

As the newest division of legendary developer Koelbel and Company, KUH is focused on in-fill properties, designing and building innovative homes tailored to each unique site.

Offered homes run the gamut of detached single-family homes to svelte modern attached designs featuring today's popular spaces, such as rooftop decks and open-plan concepts. All KUH homes, of course, are designed for optimum living and with respect for the surroundings.

Denver Limo, Inc. - The Hottest Limos In Colorado!

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People Exclusive: Austin Couple Turns Their Love of Ice Cream into Sweet Success: ‘We Know How Happy It Makes People’

Ice cream has always played a sweet role in Chad Palmatier and Anthony Sobotik’s relationship.

In March 2005, when Chad, 43, introduced his then-new boyfriend Anthony, 35, to his family in Lancaster, Pa., the first thing they all did was head to their favorite ice cream corner shop to celebrate. And Sobotik, a self-taught chef, couldn’t get enough of the homemade treat.

“I was fascinated that they were using local ingredients and it was a family-run shop,” he tells People.

Three years later, during a visit to Sobotik’s family home in Austin, the pair wanted to go out for ice cream again — but found only chain shops nearby. “And I was like, ‘Why isn’t anyone opening a shop here that uses local milk and cream and all the ingredients we have in Austin?’” recalls Sobotik.

So they did. In 2010, the couple sold their home in Ohio, moved to Austin, Texas, and opened Lick Honest Ice Creams with a mandate to use only wholesome ingredients from local farmers. “We want to support our local dairies and farmers,” Sobotik says. “That’s really important to us.”

With Sobotik dreaming up inventive flavors (Cilantro Lime, Texas Sheet Cake and Dewberry Corn Cobler), and Palmatier, a former store designer for Victoria’s Secret, focusing on branding, they’ve learned that starting a business with your partner can take a toll.

“The first year was so stressful,” says Palmatier. “Creating something together is all-consuming, and we were both just exhausted. But we’ve weathered every storm, [and] it’s made us stronger as a couple.” Three stores later (and a fourth opening this spring), it all comes back to the simple art of scooping. “We make a product that brings joy to people,” says Sobotik. “We know how happy it makes people.” And, of course, themselves. Adds Palmatier, “Anthony will still polish off a pint every now and then!”

Log Cabin Republicans Endorses Rep. Scott Taylor’s Fair & Equal Housing Act

Last Friday, Log Cabin Republicans announced it is endorsing the Fair & Equal Housing Act (H.R. 1447). The bill, drafted by freshman Congressman Scott Taylor (R-VA), would amend the Fair Housing Act to include LGBT non-discrimination provisions. The legislation marks the first time in history a Republican congressman has introduced and served as the original author of a fully inclusive piece of legislation addressing both sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination.

“I’m pleased to have Log Cabin Republicans endorse this important legislation,” Congressman Taylor said. “I welcome their support and the support of anyone who believes LGBT Americans should not be discriminated against when seeking a place to call home.”

Taylor, a former Navy Seal and first-term congressman, has in the past co-sponsored similar LGBT non-discrimination legislation during his time in the Virginia House of Delegates.

“In a week when the Department of Housing and Urban Development announced it was withdrawing LGBT notice and reporting regulations, Congressman Taylor’s common-sense conservative bill offering housing protections for LGBT Americans couldn’t have been introduced at a more critical time,” Log Cabin Republicans President Gregory T. Angelo added. “Log Cabin Republicans looks forward to assisting the Congressman by engaging with lawmakers in the nation’s capital to grow support for this historic legislation.”

Comcast Adds Over 80 New LGBTQ Titles To Xfinity On Demand

Comcast recently announced a new partnership with Breaking Glass Pictures, a community-renowned content distributor for LGBTQ cinema, that will add over 80 new LGBTQ titles to Xfinity on Demand. More than 30 titles, including End of Love, An Englishman in New York, Marathon, The Long Coast, Seeing Heaven, The Stranger in Us, Alex and Leo, and Bite Marks will be made available immediately across all platforms including the recently established Xfinity LGBTQ Film and TV Collection. Additional content from Breaking Glass will be made available throughout the year.

“This partnership with Breaking Glass Pictures reinforces our commitment to providing our customers with the largest and most diverse library of LGBTQ content,” said Jean-Claire Fitschen, Executive Director Multicultural Services for Comcast. “They have a focus on finding unique and visionary content, inclusive of all genres, from around the world, and we’re proud to be able to put those films on a platform that reaches millions of people.”
Xfinity TV customers can also access Breaking Glass by saying "LGBTQ" into their X1 voice remote. Alternatively, customers can navigate to "Popular Destinations" and then choose “LGBTQ Film & TV.”

'We are incredibly excited to be partnering with Comcast on this LGBTQ initiative and commitment to the community,” said Michael Repsch, SVP of Distribution and Sales at Breaking Glass Pictures. “It is important to bring diverse audiences together and having a partner with the scale and reach of Comcast will help ensure those voices are properly heard.”

Kathy Griffin Honored By San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus

On Sunday evening, San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus (SFGMC) honored two-time Emmy and Grammy award-winning comedian Kathy Griffin at the 11th Annual Crescendo Gala at The Ritz-Carlton San Francisco. The evening honored Kathy Griffin and more for their achievements in LGBTQ equality and for using their voices as agents of change in the movement.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

BREAKING: Birth Certificate Modernization Act passes out of committee!

Just now, a Colorado House Committee passed the Birth Certificate Modernization Act -- a bill that eliminates one of the many barriers transgender Coloradans face every day. This is the third year transgender Coloradans and their families have asked the legislature to pass this bill, so they can be afforded the same opportunities, and be treated the same, as everyone else. Your state representative will be voting on this important bill very soon and we need your help to make sure it passes.

The Birth Certificate Modernization Act will bring Colorado law in line with federal policies for people who want to update the gender on their birth certificate -- making it drastically less invasive for transgender Coloradans who simply want their identity documents to match who they are. Someone whose birth certificate doesn't match their gender is at risk for being denied housing, a job, health care, or even the fundamental right to vote.

Take action now and tell your state representative you want them to modernize the process for transgender Coloradans trying to update the gender on their birth certificate.

Colorado law currently requires that a transgender person undergo surgery and appear in front of a judge to prove their identity before they can change the gender on their birth certificate. The Birth Certificate Modernization Act eliminates these invasive requirements because a licensed health care professional, not a judge or court, is best qualified to evaluate when a transgender person's birth certificate should be updated.

Gay Help Wanted: Out Boulder County

Out Boulder County is now hiring!

Denver Limo, Inc. - The Hottest Limos In Colorado!

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Study: LGBTQ+ individuals at high risk to be victims of violence

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people are at high risk for being victims of physical and sexual assault, harassment, bullying, and hate crimes, according to a new study by RTI International.

In a newly published report, funded by RTI, RTI researchers analyzed 20 years’ worth of published studies on violence and the LGBTQ+ community, which included 102 peer-reviewed papers as well as a few unpublished analyses and non-peer-reviewed papers. With The Henne Group, RTI also carried out a series of focus-group discussions with LGBTQ+ communities in San Francisco; New York City; Durham, North Carolina; and rural Wyoming.

“Our research indicates that LGBTQ+ people face significant danger in their daily lives - and that their victimization affects their education, safety, and health,” said Tasseli McKay (pictured), a social scientist at RTI and the study’s lead author.

The researchers found that in a range of studies with LGBTQ+ individuals, victimization experiences are clearly and consistently correlated with behavioral health conditions and suicidality, sexual risk-taking and HIV status, other long-term physical health issues, and decreased school involvement and achievement. Such effects are often sustained many years after a victimization event.

The focus groups touched on a variety of topics including bullying, hate crimes, harassment and violence.

A transgender participant in a focus group held in Durham, North Carolina said, “Once you’ve been read as being a trans person, you check out, they check out. For us it’s safety. For them, it’s discomfort. It’s a heightened stigmatization.”

Other key findings from the report include: 

• Despite a public perception of greater acceptance of LGBTQ+ individuals in present-day society, disparities in victimization have remained the same or increased since the 1990s.

• Schools are a special concern. Many LGBTQ+ youth reported being afraid or feeling unsafe at school, and school-based victimization of LGBTQ+ youth was associated with decreased school attendance, poorer school performance, and steeply increased risk of suicide attempts.

• Contradicting the common perception of hate-related victimization as being committed by strangers or acquaintances, LGBTQ+ people are often victimized by close family members, particularly their own parents and, for bisexual women, their male partners.

“We need more research to better understand what policies will provide LGBTQ+ youth with safer school and home environments, what resources provide LGBTQ+ people who are victims of violence the best support and how we can ultimately create a larger societal climate that doesn’t tolerate persistent, pervasive, lifelong victimization,” McKay said.

IGLTA Foundation Announces 2017 Conference Scholarship Recipients

The IGLTA Foundation recently selected the recipients for its fifth annual Building Bridges Scholarships, who will receive an all-expenses-paid trip and conference registration for the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association’s Annual Global Convention in St. Petersburg, Florida, 4-6 May.

The program was created to support the next generation of LGBTQ travel professionals (and allies). Scholarships are awarded to small travel business owners in emerging markets and university students pursuing careers in the tourism industry.

“IGLTA’s Building Bridges Scholarship program is a cornerstone initiative of the Foundation’s work, as we look to developing deserving and passionate individuals focused on promoting LGBT tourism,” said Gary Murakami, CMP, CMM, Chair, IGLTA Foundation Board of Directors. “We are delighted to provide the opportunity for these deserving individuals who will shape the minds and hearts of the global community from the connections and education they will receive from attending the convention.”

Meet this year’s Building Bridges Scholarship recipients:

Small Business Owner: Michael Gladwin, Edenvale, South Africa. As the founder of the new 7th Element LGBT Travel, an agency near Johannesburg, Gladwin hopes to build a business for South Africa’s “amazing LGBT community.”

“Our local LGBT communities are starved for a direct, targeted approach to travel,” Gladwin said. “Being at the bottom of the tip of Africa, we aren't easily exposed to the markets that I need to target – and it is often very expensive for us to do so. So the experience at the convention is bound to open many valuable doors that will help me put the South African LGBT market and travel opportunities on the map.”

Student: John Sakakini, Washington, D.C. The MBA student in marketing and tourism/hospitality administration at The George Washington University has served as president of the campus LGBT organization Out for Business and will begin a career in the airline industry when he graduates in May.

“The conference will really give me the ability to network with other members of the LGBT community working in tourism and to see ways that the community and the tourism industry are moving forward, helping to promote to the LGBT consumer and also to enhance the industry as a whole,” Sakakini said.

Scholarship recipients participate in the entire three-day convention program, ensuring they will have the opportunity to network with travel industry leaders from around the world, receive mentorship from professionals in their areas of interest and attend educational sessions. The IGLTA Foundation also supports convention registration for hospitality students in/near each year’s host city.

OUD on DVD/VOD: Orange Is the New Black: Season Four

The drama in Litchfield is “better than ever” (The Boston Globe) in the fourth season of the groundbreaking hit series, Orange Is the New Black: Season Four, arriving on Blu-ray™ (plus Digital HD), DVD, and Digital HD May 9 from Lionsgate.