Thursday, May 9, 2019

OutRight Honours Courageous LGBTIQ Activists in New Yor

On the evening of May 7, 2019, at the organization’s annual Celebration of Courage gala, Outright Action International honoured Rikki Nathanson, founder of Trans* Research, Education, Advocacy & Training, with the Felipa De Souza Award. The OutStanding award was presented to Beth Brooke-Marciniak, Global Vice Chair - Public Policy at EY, who spearheaded the company's inclusivity and diversity efforts inspiring other businesses to follow suit. Whereas the cast and crew of Amazon Prime Video’s Transparent received the OutSpoken Award, for bringing stories of love, life and struggle of LGBTIQ characters onto the TV and computer screens of countless viewers, while championing acceptance and understanding.

Rikki Nathanson spoke of the persecution, harassment and violence she faced at the hands of the state in her native Zimbabwe, after being arrested for using the bathroom corresponding to her gender identity. She shared the pain she felt in realizing she had to leave the pioneering work she had begun on trans visibility and recognition not only in Zimbabwe, but regionally, to save her life. Having received asylum in the USA Rikki remains steadfast and determined. She said: 


“In these seemingly dark times where strides that were made in the past are being subverted by new administrations and regimes, we still cling on to that sliver of hope and knowledge that we the LGBTIQ community are resilient, tough and smart. We have been through the worst times but still do we not only survive, we grow and even flourish in our fabulousness! I pledge to continue to advance our shared mission to change lives for our community in places where it’s needed the most.”

Jessica Stern, Executive Director of OutRight Action International, reflected on her own path in finding her queer community and through it becoming an activist, concluding that:
“The silver bullet for LGBTIQ rights is empowering local LGBTIQ activists and organizations in every country around the world. Progress toward family recognition, non-discrimination laws, trans health services from the US to Uganda is all driven by LGBTIQ people and organizations advocating for themselves. The existence, strength, and resourcing of LGBTIQ organizations around the world is our silver bullet, and that is what OutRight does best.”

Left to right: Jessica Stern, Gaby Hoffmann, Alexandra Billings, Trace Lysette, Zackary Drucker, Rikki Nathanson, Beth A. Brooke-Marciniak, Suzanne Rotondo at OutRight Annual Award Gala



Rikki Nathanson at OutRight Annual Award Gala


Trace Lysette, Alexandra Billings at OutRight Annual Award Gala

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

March with You Can Play this Pride Season

By The You Can Play Team

The You Can Play Project would like to formally invite you to join us as we celebrate Pride this year. The You Can Play Project will be walking in 12 different cities across the US and Canada. In each city we will be joined by organizations that are dedicating themselves to fighting homophobia and transphobia in sport at all levels.

Here are the cities we will be marching in:
Boston
Calgary
Chicago
DC
Denver
Halifax
Montreal
NYC
Ottawa
Philly
Toronto
Vancouver

We hope you will be able to join us as we show our pride. Please fill out this survey to let us know if you are able to join us this year. For any questions, or to see if your organization can join us please email news@youcanplayproject.org.

We look forward to seeing you this year!


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Announcing the Winners of the 2019 Judith Markowitz Emerging Writers Award

Lambda Literary is pleased to announce that poet Hannah Ensor and journalist Robert Fieseler have been named winners of the 2019 Judith A. Markowitz Award for Emerging LGBTQ Writers.

The award recognizes LGBTQ-identified writers whose work demonstrates their strong potential for promising careers. Each award includes a cash prize of $1,000. The judges for this year's prize were authors Chen Chen and Nahshon Dion Anderson.

About Hannah Ensor, judge Nahshon Dion Anderson shared, "Hannah Ensor is a lustrous young talent. She showcases her interest in the world and the media via her debut book of poetry, Love Dream With Television, which demonstrates breathtaking breadth and depth. She is emerging in every sense of the word. Ensor's evocative and propulsive poetry, her exemplary devotion to LGBTQ communities, and her goodwill approach to thinking and existing demonstrate how richly deserving she is of celebration."

On Fieseler, judge Chen Chen wrote, "Robert Fieseler’s nonfiction work, Tinderbox, is a critical and beautiful intervention, bringing not only the light of extensive research to the Up Stairs Lounge and the LGBTQ community of 1970s New Orleans, but also—and crucially—the warmth of precise detail. Fieseler is a skilled storyteller, never forgetting the people-sized dimensions of the people he writes about, while weaving their narratives into larger histories. Fieseler’s dedication to storytelling is key to his approach to activism, as well—fighting to preserve queer documents and archives, and sharing his own experiences with GSAs and other student-led organizations. In Fieseler’s hands, memory is an act of protest."

Ensor and Fieseler will be recognized as the winners of the Judith A. Markowitz prize at the 31st Annual Lambda Literary Awards ceremony on June 3 in New York City.

HRC Announces Unprecedented Support for the Equality Act from 200+ of the Nation’s Leading Businesses

Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) announced that more than 200 of the nation’s leading businesses have now joined HRC’s Business Coalition for the Equality Act. With a combined operation in all 50 states, headquarters in 29 states, more than $4.5 trillion in revenue, and more than 10.4 million employees across the United States, these companies know how important it is to have a federal legal standard that guarantees all employees the same rights and protections — no matter where they live. Expected to receive a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives soon, the bipartisan legislation also has unprecedented support from nearly 70% of Americans, hundreds of members of Congress and more than 500 statewide and national organizations, including social justice, religious, medical and child welfare organizations.

“Today, HRC’s Business Coalition for the Equality Act has surpassed more than 200 companies urging Congress to pass comprehensive non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “Every LGBTQ person deserves to earn a living, raise their families and live their lives free from discrimination. And these leading companies know that protecting their employees and customers from discrimination isn’t just the right thing to do -- it’s also good for business.”

The bipartisan Equality Act would finally add clear, comprehensive non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people to our nation's civil rights laws. 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 who they love.

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. The Equality Act would extend existing civil rights protections to LGBTQ people by prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity across key areas of life, including employment, housing, credit, education, public spaces and services, federally-funded programs and jury service.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Take a Look at the Fashions of 'Rocketman'

Get a closer look at the stunning costumes of Rocketman as the cast and filmmakers discuss the importance of fashion in Elton john's larger-than-life story.

Rocketman - opening May 31 -   is an epic musical fantasy about the incredible human story of Elton John’s breakthrough years. The film follows the fantastical journey of transformation from shy piano prodigy Reginald Dwight into international superstar Elton John. 


This inspirational story – set to Elton John’s most beloved songs and performed by star Taron Egerton – tells the universally relatable story of how a small-town boy became one of the most iconic figures in pop culture. ROCKETMAN also stars Jamie Bell as Elton’s longtime lyricist and writing partner Bernie Taupin, Richard Madden as Elton’s first manager, John Reid, and Bryce Dallas Howard as Elton’s mother Sheila Farebrother.

Madonna announces 'Madame X' tour dates

Following her performance at the Billboard Music Awards and the announcement of her new album Madame X available globally on June 14, Madonna, Live Nation and Maverick have announced a series of rare and intimate performances to take place exclusively in theaters, giving fans an opportunity to see Madonna in an environment like they never have before.
 
The Madame X Tour will kick off September 12th at the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House in New York and will feature multiple nights of shows in each city including performances at the Chicago Theatre, The Wiltern in Los Angeles, the Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, the Boch Center Wang Theatre in Boston, The Met Philadelphia and at the Fillmore Miami Beach at the Jackie Gleason Theatre in 2019. The Madame X Tour will then resume in early 2020 with performances at the Coliseum in Lisbon, the Palladium in London and at the Grand Rex in Paris. 
 
Madonna is the best-selling female solo touring artist of all time and has the highest-grossing concert tour ever by a female artist with her Sticky & Sweet Tour (2008-2009) at $408 million.
 
Influenced creatively by living in Lisbon, Portugal over the past several years, Madame X is a collection of 15 new songs that celebrate Madonna’s career-long affair with Latin music and culture as well as other global influences. 

Madonna is releasing 5 songs before her highly-anticipated new studio album Madame X debuts globally on June 14th. Following the release of the empowering ballad “I Rise” and the critically-acclaimed “Medellín,” additional songs to be shared with fans include the infectious pop gem “Crave” featuring Swae Lee and produced by Mike Dean on May 10, the Jamaican dancehall vibes of “Future” featuring Quavo on May 17, as well as the sonically innovative “Dark Ballet” on June 7. 
  
Madonna’s long-time promoter Arthur Fogel, President - Global Touring and Chairman - Global Music, Live Nation said: “The chance for fans to see Madonna at these venues is incredibly special. We are proud and excited to be able to deliver this ultimate opportunity for her fans.”

To ensure fans have best access, ticket requests for all shows will be accepted now through Friday, May 10th (11:59pm EDT) at madonna.livenation.com. Fans will be able to select city and show preference plus their preferred price points prior to completing their request. By Friday, May 17th, fans whose requests have been confirmed will be notified of fulfillment and informed of their ticket allocation(s) and corresponding show information. All fans will be notified even if we were unable to accommodate their request. Tickets will be fulfilled at Ticketmaster Secure Mobile Tickets. Every ticket purchased includes a CD of Madonna’s new release Madame X in stores June 14th. Event ticket limit is 4 per person.

Books: Om the Enchanted

Author Mera Malik has released her first children’s book titled Om The Enchanted: Big World, Little Om.

When Om’s mother calls him in from playing in the yard one day he has no idea how his life is about to change! The eleven-year-old boy uses his vivid imagination to cope with, instead of running from, life’s challenges and he needs every ounce of imagination that he can muster to make the best of what comes up. A new friend and new family members help Om through in unexpected ways while he sees the reality of life for a school bully and finds courage and strength in himself that he didn’t even know was there. Om’s life goes from enchanted to exploded and back to enchanted in this profound book that thoughtfully explores diversity, compassion and love.

There remains a lack of positive representation for LGBTQ families and children. The team behind Om the Enchanted: Big World, Little Om wants to change that by showing children what it is like to live in an LGBTQ family or to be different than other children you go to school with.

“I was in a same sex relationship for nine beautiful years,” states Malik. “Our relationship ended not for any lack of love, but because she could no longer handle the discrimination she faced in her community or the disapproval of her family. Our child lost one of his moms and no doubt was confused by the whole situation. All he knew was the two of us and the love that was our family. I don’t want that to happen to any other family or child.”

Malik says that the world she wants to live in and raise children in doesn’t discriminate when it comes to love or family; a world where everyone’s story has power and importance, where hearts and character are more important than skin color and gender. She believes that begins through representation and community building. Om the Enchanted: Big World, Litte Om shows how wonderful –but sometimes challenging—the lives are for unique families. “It can be a child who has a disability, a refugee family,” she says, “I’m not excluding anyone. I want these kids to see themselves on media in a positive, uplifting way.”



Monday, May 6, 2019

Compassionate Coloradans Raise $720k to Help Animals in Need

Thousands of two- and four-legged friends showed their support for homeless pets and horses on Saturday, May 4 at the Dumb Friends League Furry Scurry. The 26th annual dog walk and fun run that benefits animals in need raised $720,000 (and counting).

Furry Scurry drew approximately 10,000 people and 5,000 dogs to Denver’s Washington Park. In addition to the walk, pet lovers and their canine companions had the opportunity to watch and participate in dog contests and demos, meet adoptable pets, enjoy food from local food trucks and shop for pet-related merchandise at the Flealess Market.

“We take in more than 50 homeless animals every day—we turn no animal away,” said Dr. Apryl Steele, President and CEO of the Dumb Friends League. “Money raised at the Furry Scurry helps us provide medical care to sick and injured animals, behavior training that allows pets to be adopted more quickly, perform investigations of animal neglect and mistreatment, and supports the League’s overall mission to end pet homelessness and animal suffering. Our community makes all of this possible. Thank you!”

Fundraising for Furry Scurry continues through June 4, 2019 and donations can be made by visiting furryscurry.org.

One Colorado: Last call for GSA Leadership Council applications!

By Jordan Anthony, Youth Program Coordinator, One Colorado

When did you first realize that you could make the world a kinder place? For many young advocates, that time is now. We’re accepting applicants for our 2019-2020 GSA Leadership Council now and all passionate young activists are encouraged to apply!

GSA Leadership Council members will serve as an advisory council to the Safe Schools program within One Colorado and will act as representatives in their community for the movement for equity.

This generation has unprecedented challenges before them, but they have the benefit of learning from the strength and resiliency of those who came before. Our young people are ready to leave their own mark on the world, and are ready to do their part to make sure the long arc of history continues to bend toward justice.

Know someone who should apply? Please share this with them.






Thursday, May 2, 2019

The 30th Annual GLAAD Media Awards

The 30th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in New York are just a few days away! Be sure to follow on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to stay on top of the action this Saturday evening. 

And this year, the show will be airing on Logo on Sunday May 12th! Be sure to tune in!

Celebrating Together: Colorado Leather Fest 2019


By Heather Rennae, CLF Marketing Director
 
Founded in 2015, Colorado Leather Fest is a weekend educational event focused on lifestyle relationships. It is held in the Metro-Denver Colorado area, and features national and local presenters, classes, discussions, title contests, community events, and more!

Colorado Leather Fest is a pansexual event open to all people of any gender and gender identification, orientation, race, cultural or religious background, who have an interest in Leather or Authority Based Relationships as a lifestyle and culture.

Colorado Leather Fest does not focus on BDSM play skills and techniques and does not host a play party. Our event is centered on Leather/BDSM history and culture, a variety of relationship styles along with the issues associated with them, and the many service skills found in Leather, M/s, and D/s relationships.

With our annual “together” theme, we have become recognized for our efforts in building community and bringing all people together to learn and share in the diversity of our community, under the “Leather” banner.

The theme of Colorado Leather Fest 2019 is “Celebrating Together”. This year we are celebrating five years of Colorado Leather Fest, seven years of the Colorado Master/slave title, 40 years of the Mr. Leather Colorado title, and 23 years of Thunder in the Mountains! We also celebrate the diversity, successes, and positive forward direction in our community.

One of our main highlights of the weekend is our RMLA Community Leather Dinner, held Saturday night, May 4th. Even if you cannot make the entire conference, you will want to attend this exciting opportunity to connect with others in the community over a delicious meal and spectacular evening of activities.

After the RMLA Community Leather Dinner, you’ll be able to watch the final events of the Colorado Master and slave title contest, and the Leather Colorado Foundation title contests; as well as enjoy live entertainment, a cash bar, and socializing in the CLF Family Room. Tickets for the dinner can be purchased separately from the conference registration, but they must be ordered online in advance to reserve your place at the table.

Don't miss out on this amazing opportunity to learn, grow, and make new friends in the LGBTQ inclusive community of Leather, M/s, Kink, and BDSM.



DNC on Trump-Pence Administration’s ‘License to Discriminate’

Today, the Department of Health and Human Services finalized long-awaited rules that would allow health care workers to refuse treatment based on “moral convictions.” In response, DNC LGBTQ Media Director Lucas Acosta and DNC Women’s Media Director Elizabeth Renda issued the following statement:

“Access to health care can be life-or-death. But rather than seek to improve our health care system, the Trump-Pence administration is determined to strip away access to health care from women, people with HIV/AIDS, and LGBTQ people, particularly transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals. This license to discriminate is unethical and dangerously undermines the health of some of the most vulnerable among us.

“Every individual deserves access to quality health care and life saving emergency services. No one should ever be refused medical care because of who they are. It’s clear Republicans still haven’t learned what the 2018 midterm elections mandated -- the American people want more access to health care, not less.”

Fenway Health: Trump Administration finalizes rule that will make it harder for LGBT people to access health care

Via Fenway Health- Today, the Trump Administration finalized a health care regulation proposed in early 2018 that will “protect” the “statutory conscience rights” of health care providers. The rule grants federal nondiscrimination protection to health care providers who deny services to people who violate the providers’ sincerely held religious beliefs.

The rule asserts that protections for health care providers who refuse to provide services based on religious or moral belief are needed because there is “an environment of discrimination toward, and attempted coercion of, those who object to certain health care procedures based on religious beliefs or moral convictions,” and because the number of complaints related to such discrimination that have been filed with the Office of Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has increased since November 2016.

Language in the final rule focuses on abortion, assisted suicide, and sterilization. But it is modelled on new religious refusal laws in 12 states that have been used to deny services, including health care, to LGBT people. Potential religious or conscience-related conduct protected by the final rule could include a refusal to serve LGBT people or their children based on the belief that same-sex couples should not be allowed to marry or raise children, that people should not have sex outside of heterosexual marriage, and that gender identity should not differ from sex at birth.

“This latest attack on the right of everyone, regardless of their religious beliefs, to access health care is extremely alarming and disconcerting. This rule takes the concept of religious freedom and turns it on its head. True religious freedom protects an individual’s right to worship—or not—and harms no one. But this rule is designed so that government employees and healthcare providers can deny service or treatment to LGBT people by claiming that providing such service or treatment would violate their religious beliefs or sincerely held principles,” said Sean Cahill, Director of Health Policy Research at the Fenway Institute at Fenway Health. “Health care is both a human and a civil right. Every law that governs access to health care should put patients first. This new rule does not do that.”

It has long been recognized that the failure to explicitly prohibit anti-LGBT discrimination in health care settings exacerbates LGBT health disparities. Since 2011, the Joint Commission has required sexual orientation and gender identity nondiscrimination policies in health care institutions that it accredits. The Joint Commission is a nonprofit organization that accredits hospitals and other health care organizations.

The final rule calls for notices to be posted in health care settings stating to health care providers: “You may have a right under Federal law to decline to perform, assist in the performance of, refer for, undergo, or pay for certain health care‐related treatments, research, or services (such as abortion or assisted suicide, among others) that violate your conscience, religious beliefs, or moral convictions.” (www.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/final-conscience-rule.pdf, 439-440)

“This rule is exceptionally broad, and could be interpreted to allow providers to deny general health care services to LGBT people, as well as specific services such as screenings for sexually-transmitted infections to a gay or bisexual man, fertility treatment to a lesbian couple, or gender affirmation treatment to a transgender individual,” Cahill added. “It is important to view this latest move in the context of a series of attacks on the rights of LGBT patients that have taken place over the last two and a half years,” said Cahill. “Research shows that anti-LGBT discrimination in health care correlates with poorer health outcomes and constitutes a barrier to LGBT people’s ability to access health care.”

Other anti-LGBT policies enacted by the Trump administration that are harming LGBT people include:
• Dismissing Peace Corps volunteers and Air Force service members who tested positive for HIV, and refusing to provide pre-exposure prophylaxis for HIV prevention (PrEP) to at-risk Peace Corps volunteers;
• Filing a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court arguing that gender identity is outside of the scope of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination based on “race, color, religion, sex and national origin;”
• Filing a brief in the Masterpiece Cake Shop case before the U.S. Supreme Court supporting discrimination against a gay male couple and stating that there is no compelling federal government interest in prohibiting anti-gay discrimination;
• Placing transgender inmates of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, especially transgender women, at much higher risk of rape by incarcerating them according to their biological sex at birth instead of their gender identity;
• Prohibiting transgender people from serving in the U.S. military;
• Removing sexual orientation and gender identity questions from federal surveys of older adults, people with disabilities, and victims of crime.
• Attempting to repeal or weaken the ACA, which has cut the uninsured rate in half for LGBT people.

Other resources on Trump Administration executive orders, memos, and proposed rule changes that are harming LGBT people and restricting their access to care include:

Public comment to HHS Office for Civil Rights re: Protecting Statutory Conscience Rights in Health Care; Delegations of Authority, March 27, 2018

Public comment regarding HHS Request for Information: Removing barriers for religious and faith-based organizations to participate in HHS programs and receive public funding, November 17, 2017

Public comment regarding the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Draft Strategic Plan FY 2018-2022, October 27, 2017

The 2019 policy brief: “Trump Administration continued to advance discriminatory policies and practices against LGBT people and people living with HIV in 2018

The 2017 policy brief: “Executive branch actions promoting religious refusal threaten LGBT health care access

Background on nondiscrimination in health care can also be found in:

The 2016 policy brief: “What the new Affordable Care Act nondiscrimination rule means for providers and LGBT patients

Since 1971, Fenway Health has been working to make life healthier for the people in our neighborhood, the LGBT community, people living with HIV/AIDS and the broader population. The Fenway Institute at Fenway Health is an interdisciplinary center for research, training, education and policy development focusing on national and international health issues. Fenway’s Sidney Borum Jr. Health Center cares for youth and young adults ages 12 to 29 who may not feel comfortable going anywhere else, including those who are LGBT or just figuring things out; homeless; struggling with substance use; or living with HIV/AIDS. In 2013, AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts joined the Fenway Health family, allowing both organizations to improve delivery of care and services across the state and beyond.

NCLR Condemns New HHS Rule Encouraging Denials of Health Care

Today the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued the final version of a rule that expands the ability of health care providers and institutions to refuse to provide particular types of healthcare based on their religious or moral beliefs. The new rule also creates new administrative mechanisms to implement and enforce these expanded exemptions.

The following is a statement by Julianna S. Gonen, Policy Director at the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR):

“This rule does not just implement existing federal conscience protections for healthcare providers, it dramatically expands them in ways that will lead to dangerous denials of reproductive health care, and put vulnerable populations, including LGBTQ people, at risk of increased discrimination. We’ve seen firsthand, through our Legal Help Line and our Rural Pride campaign, that health care discrimination against LGBTQ people is already pervasive and causes serious harm to individuals and families. In many communities in this country, LGBTQ people routinely face open hostility and outright denials of care from doctors, hospitals, therapists, and other health care providers. Rather than addressing this serious problem, HHS issued a rule that will make it worse.”

Denver Public Art Summer Tours Return!

Denver Public Art tours return for summer 2019 with more FREE tours offered than ever before. New this year, a new tour in honor of Denver PrideFest, led by the Denver Drag Queen legend, Dixie Krystals, June 9, 2 p.m. Favorites returning again this year include Cherry Creek and Downtown Denver bicycle tours, and more than 40 walking tours, with more to be announced. Visit DenverPublicArt.org to see the full schedule and RSVP today.