Monday, October 3, 2022

Celebrities Read the Story of the PFLAG Founder, Jeanne Manford for LGBTQ History Month

Illustrated book cover of The Mother of a Movement. Smiling woman with glasses representing Jeanne Manford holds a sign while surrounded by other smiling LGBTQ historical figures holding banners.
For LGBTQ History Month in October, PFLAG National has brought 13 celebrities together to share a special reading of the new American Psychological Association (APA) children’s book The Mother of a Movement: Jeanne Manford—Ally, Activist, and Co-Founder of PFLAG. It is available now in bookstores and libraries for reading to children of all ages, at Drag Queen Story Hours, Read With Love-Ins, or bedtime. 

Celebrity readers Dan BucatinskyMichael D. CohenJesse Tyler FergusonIlana GlazerMeena HarrisJessica HechtChef Melissa KingAlec MapaMax MutchnickKumail NanjianiAvi RoqueDaphne Rubin-Vega, and Amy Schneider have lent their voices and their affirmation of LGBTQ+ people in the video reading The Mother of a Movement, available at The film is produced and directed by Phil D'Amour with music by Podington Bear composed by Chad Crouch. The book is written by Rob Sanders and illustrated by Sam Kalda. Parents, caregivers and teachers are encouraged to share this heartwarming video reading with their children.

“In some ways, 2022 was made for people like Jeanne Manford, who was a teacher, a mother, and a person who was unable to passively allow government officials to harm her LGBTQ+ child – or anyone else’s. Alongside her LGBTQ child, she founded a movement rooted in love, affirmation, and that all LGBTQ+ people deserve dignity and respect,” said PFLAG National’s Executive Director Brian K. Bond. “PFLAG National is very proud to partner with the American Psychological Association to tell Jeanne Manford’s story in this way and in this moment.”

In the past year, government officials have worked overtime to censor education and ban access to medically necessary health care for LGBTQ+ youth, particularly transgender youth. These actions echo the climate of the 1970s, when Jeanne Manford got organized and got active as the first loud and proud parent to join her LGBTQ+ child in the fight for rights, dignity and respect for all LGBTQ+ people. Today, PFLAG continues to follow Jeanne’s lead by working to make communities just and affirming of LGBTQ+ people, and to challenge efforts intended to cause harm; from suing the State of Texas in PFLAG v. Abbott to an initiative to make more books about all kinds of topics and people available called #ReadWithLove.

The Mother of a Movement is not just a history of an LGBTQ+ activist, or of a recipient of the Presidential Citizens Medal, it is an acclaimed children's book from a trusted source. 

“APA's children's books help younger readers navigate life’s challenges and serve as a voice for those who have been marginalized for their differences or shamed for being their true selves,” says Frank C. Worrell, PhD, president of the American Psychological Association. “Psychological research has shown that stigma based on sexual orientation can affect children and adolescents and lead to depression, anxiety and self-harm. Mother of a Movement is a beautiful story demonstrating the positive impact of family love, acceptance, inclusion and belonging.”  

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Nikki Lane performs on CBS Saturday Morning, Denim & Diamonds out now

Nikki Lane
 was featured on CBS Saturday Morning this past weekend as part of their “Saturday Sessions” series, performing three songs from her acclaimed new album Denim & Diamonds: “First High,” “Try Harder” and “Denim & Diamonds.”
Released earlier this month on New West Records (stream/purchase here), the album continues to receive widespread critical praise…
“Lane is sharpest when she leans all the way into irreverence. She sings with the authority and weariness of someone who’s been through the wringer, the cool insistence of her voice giving her an air of earned wisdom.”—Pitchfork
“The result has the rock-country grit of Tanya Tucker and some harder-edged guitars while still keeping Lane’s signature sound fully intact.”—SPIN
“It shows Nikki Lane at her best, stepping towards a darker direction while keeping one foot planted in the country and roots music of her past.”—American Songwriter
“Her brash kiss-offs, lovelorn pleas, and plenty of that good old-fashioned American grit come out to play with producer Homme's thrashing rock and roll sensibility — a deliciously satisfying combo.”—No Depression
“Nikki Lane spent the last five years since the release of her breakthrough album, Highway Queen, searching for the right combination of confidants to help her realize the vision of the paradigm-spinning outlaw country songs on Denim & Diamonds. And it’s paid off.”—San Francisco Chronicle
In celebration of the new album, Lane is currently in the midst of an extensive North American headlining tour with dates through the winter—see full routing below and purchase tickets here.

ABA partners with Association of Law Firm Diversity Professionals to enhance Model Diversity Survey

The American Bar Association today announced its collaboration with the Association of Law Firm Diversity Professionals (ALFDP) to bolster data gathered through ABA’s Model Diversity Survey to assess diversity, equity and inclusion among law firms.

The survey was adopted by the ABA in 2016 to review firm policies, practices and outcomes regarding hiring, attrition, promotion, leadership, work schedules and compensation based on responses from law firms nationwide. It encourages legal service providers to expand and create opportunities for attorneys from diverse backgrounds and urges buyers of legal services to direct a greater percentage of their legal spending toward diverse attorneys.

The new partnership will help ensure that the most reliable data is available to advance diversity and equity in meaningful ways and strengthen diversity for law firms and their clients.

“We’re confident this collaboration will help the ABA Model Diversity Survey stay current and prove even more useful to clients and law firms in their pursuit of greater diversity in the legal profession,” said ABA President Deborah Enix-Ross. “Expanding the use of and reliance on the survey is vital to supporting those seeking reliable data while decreasing the number of survey variants.”

ABA Resolution 113, adopted in 2016, encourages legal departments to ask law firms to complete the survey and consider the information as a factor in deciding whether to retain a law firm for significant matters. ALFDP represents more than 350 law firm professionals working in diversity, equity and inclusion who seek to advance diversity and inclusion in the legal profession.

ALFDP Board President Karlie Ilaria, said, “We’re thrilled to partner with the ABA in bolstering the vital impacts of the Model Diversity Survey and underscore its place as the leading barometer that every law firm and legal department should ascribe to. The survey will uniquely provide clients and law firms with vital data, strengthening diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging in the legal profession.”

Leading Medical Organizations Call for Action to Counter Threats, Abusive Behavior Targeting Health Care Facilities and Workers

As a wave of violent threats targeting medical professionals, children’s health care facilities, and parents and families continues across the country, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), American Medical Association (AMA) and Children’s Hospital Association (CHA) today sent a joint letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland and the Department of Justice calling on the authorities to investigate these violent threats.

The organizations, which collectively represent millions of doctors, also called for technology organizations to take concrete steps against the wave of disinformation and hate-filled speech on social media and other communication platforms. The call echoes a recent report from the Human Rights Campaign and the Center for Countering Digital Hate that found that anti-LGBTQ+ content on social media was largely driven by a small group of extremist politicians and their allies who together are driving a coordinated and concerted campaign to attack LGBTQ+ kids.

In response to the letter, Human Rights Campaign Senior Vice President, Programs, Research & Training Jay Brown issued the following statement:

“This moment needs to be a wakeup call for everyone with the power to step in here and halt the violent threats and abuse targeting caring medical professionals, loving parents and transgender children. This situation requires a coordinated effort from local, state and federal authorities. And it should be a wake-up call for the tech companies that have done far too little, far too slowly, to address the wave of focused hate and disinformation on their social media platforms. What starts with a post or a tweet quickly spirals into bomb threats, harassing phone calls, death threats and more, and the pace of it has been relentless. This is having a chilling effect on life-saving and evidence-based care – care that improves mental health outcomes and leads to a better quality of life for those who receive it.

“The people conducting this wave of threatened violence are well-organized and funded, and countering it will take a concerted effort by the authorities and the acknowledgement of social media platforms that they’ve done far too little, even as much of this hateful behavior has been organized and conducted right in the open.”

Excerpts from the letter from the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Medical Association and Children’s Hospital Association:

“From Boston to Akron to Nashville to Seattle, children's hospitals, academic health systems, and physicians are being targeted and threatened for providing evidence-based health care. These attacks have not only made it difficult and dangerous for institutions and practices to provide this care, they have also disrupted many other services to families seeking care.”

“These coordinated attacks threaten federally protected rights to health care for patients and their families. The attacks are rooted in an intentional campaign of disinformation, where a few high-profile users on social media share false and misleading information targeting individual physicians and hospitals, resulting in a rapid escalation of threats, harassment, and disruption of care across multiple jurisdictions.”

“Our organizations are dedicated to the health and well-being of all children and adolescents. We are committed to the full spectrum of patient care–from prevention to critical care. We stand with the physicians, nurses, mental health specialists, and other health care professionals providing evidence based health care, including gender-affirming care, to children and adolescents.

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Gone Fishing

Hey folks, I'm taking off for a few days. Posting will resume Monday, October 3. 

Monday, September 26, 2022

“My Transparent Life” Starring Transgender TikTok Star Jesse Sullivan set to Premiere October 4

Elysium Media’s “My Transparent Life,” the highly anticipated documentary film from producer Serena De Comarmond (Hollywood Disclosure) is set to make its world premiere on October 4, 2022 on Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Google Play and Xbox. The cast will celebrate with a red carpet screening on October 4, 2022 at LA’s iconic Landmark Westwood with a brief Q&A following the premiere. 

“My Transparent Life” is a documentary that explores the lives of two transgender people through the various stages of transition. Investigative filmmaker Serena DC follows celebrity makeup artist Stassi Kihm and TikTok star Jesse Sullivan throughout their journeys to self actualization as they begin hormone treatments, attend appointments with gender reassignment surgeons and adjust to life as the opposite sex. 

“One of my best friends is transgender and after hearing about the rejection and abuse she has endured since transitioning I wanted to create a film that would educate the public on what it really means to be transgender and the impact that non acceptance can have on a person,” producer Serena DC said. 

Along their journeys they are mentored by a community of transgender people, doctors, psychologists and counselors as they adjust to sharing their new lives with friends, partners, work colleagues and family- some of whom are not as supportive as others. Sullivan, best known for sharing his journey with his 2.8 million followers on TikTok, became a parent as a teen to daughter Arlo and wants to share his story so the world can better understand what it means to be transgender, especially as a transgender parent and partner to reality star Francesca ‘Frankie’ Farago. 

“I just think no one has talked about being a trans parent,” Sullivan says in the trailer. “That story just hasn’t been told enough. If I had one message to the world, it would be that transgender people are way more similar to you than they are different.”

“My Transparent Life” premieres on October 4, 2022 at 11:11am pst on Amazon prime, Apple TV, Google play and Xbox.

PEOPLE Exclusive: Daniel Franzese Vents Frustration Over Brendan Fraser's Casting in 'The Whale' : 'Why Wear a Fat Suit?'

Daniel Franzese says he "and the other big queer guys" are overlooked for roles — like the one played by Brendan Fraser in The Whale.

"I love Brendan Fraser, [so] I'm very conflicted," the Mean Girls actor, 44, tells PEOPLE of Fraser's role as a gay 600-lb. reclusive writing instructor who is struggling to reconnect with his teenage daughter (Stranger Things star Sadie Sink).

"Seeing him get up so modest in Venice and have that moment, I was very happy for him. He's a lovely man. And it's great. But why? Why go up there and wear a fat suit to play a 400-lb. queer man?"

Franzese goes on to say that "actors like me and my colleagues" would "jump at" the opportunity to star a movie like The Whale, which has awards buzz for Fraser's acclaimed performance.

"To finally have a chance to be in a prestige film that might be award-nominated, where stories about people who look like us are being told? That's the dream," Franzese continues. "So when they go time and time again and cast someone like Brendan Fraser, me and the other big queer guys, we're like, 'What the ... ?' We can't take it!" 

Reps for Fraser and the movie's director, Darren Aronofsky, did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment Monday. 

Franzese tells PEOPLE that Aronofsky "is one of [his] favorite directors," but says, "I would have loved to have read for this. I mean, who knows more about being an obese queer man than an obese queer man?"

"But I guess you can go ahead and wear a fat suit and do what you got to do and get your Oscar. We'll just sit here, waiting," Franzese says.

According to the RuPaul's Secret Celebrity Drag Race star, "The biggest problem we have right now in our industry is that people like me and my colleagues can't really sell movies overseas if we are actually queer because the world is homophobic."

"Even if America is ready for a gay person in the lead like that, they have a hard time selling the movie overseas, so they get scared," Franzese says. "But it's going to take risk-takers and real trailblazers to let us cut our teeth in these roles as actors so we, too, can have a shot at a full career in Hollywood." 

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Top LGBTQ Student Network Names J. Gia Loving As New Co-Executive Director

Oakland-based organizer, trainer, writer and facilitator Juniperangelica Gia Loving (she/her), has been named co-executive director of the Genders and Sexualities Alliance (GSA) Network effective September 1, 2022. She will hold this role in collaboration with current executive director Ginna Brelsford.

Loving, a transgender Latina graduate of Citrus College and University of California, Berkelely, has been on staff with GSA Network, a next-generation LGBTQ racial and gender justice organization that empowers and trains queer, trans and allied youth leaders to advocate, organize, and mobilize an intersectional movement for safer schools and healthier communities since 2015.

Prior to this appointment, Loving was Director of the Gender Justice Leadership Programs at GSA Network and Transgender Law Center. In this role, she has led the two organizations’ national collaborative trans youth programming for the last several years.

“Gia’s move to become GSA Network’s new co-executive director is a win, win, win,” said Ginna Brelsford, GSA Network’s current executive director. “It is a win for our organization, which will benefit from her deep wisdom and tremendous trust in the TQ2S community. It is a win for our movement, which will benefit from her visible leadership and vision. And it is a win for Gia, who will be able to put her talents and skills to use in a new way, in service of the queer youth she holds at the center of her work.”

Loving, of El Monte, Calif., is a mom, writer, facilitator, and frequent speaker, trainer and teacher at universities, conferences and convenings from coast to coast, and has been an organizer in the transgender community, queer community and on campus at UC Berkeley.

“With trans youth under relentless attack from politicians and the media, there is no better time for me to move into this role,” said Loving. “This moment demands that we fight like hell to make sure that every queer kid, no matter where they come from or what they look like, has the freedom to learn, thrive and pursue their dreams.

“I remember being a young queer kid dreaming far beyond society’s boxes, so I am incredibly grateful to help shape the future of our young people and our community in visionary heart-driven co-leadership with Ginna,” Loving said. “We all deserve the chance to be our best selves.”

Magdalena Bay - Unconditional


Los Angeles-based electro indie-pop duo Magdalena Bay—a.k.a. Mica Tenenbaum and Matthew Lewin—recently announced a deluxe reissue of their breakout debut album Mercurial World, out September 23 on Luminelle Recordings. They have since released Danny L Harle’s remix of “Chaeri,” their own remix of Soccer Mommy’s “Shotgun,” and their first new single of 2022 with “All You Do.” Today they share another new track entitled “Unconditional,” alongside an amazing, self-directed video. 

“We think of ‘Unconditional’ as ‘Secrets’ weird little cousin. Just like ‘All You Do,’ we loved it when we made it but it didn’t quite fit the flow of Mercurial World,” explain Magdalena Bay. As for the accompanying visual, they say: “This video is our dream birthday party, and you’re all invited.”

Aurora Public Library Hosts “Calacas” and Photo Exhibit in Celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month

In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, Aurora Public Library is hosting two art exhibits at six library branches by local Latino/Latina artists, one with giant hand-painted skulls or “calacas,” and the other one with a community-generated photography exhibit.

In partnership with Denver Botanic Gardens' annual Día de los Muertos celebration, Aurora Public Library is hosting seven larger-than-life paper-mâché skulls “calacas” hand-painted by several Colorado artists: Alejandra Huerta, Xencs, Artmando Silva, Cal Duran, Cindy Loya, Julio “Jwlc” Mendoza and UC Sepia. Each “calaca” provides a visual story of the artist’s roots and their own interpretation of the ancestral Día de los Muertos celebration. “Calacas” are often made of decorated sugar, named for loved ones and placed upon the altar in the ofrenda (“offering” table for the honored deceased including photos, favorite meals, personal items, etc.) indicating that life is sweet and fleeting.

Each library branch, except Iliff Square (given space limitations), is hosting a skull from Friday, Sept. 16, to Friday, Oct. 21. People are encouraged to visit all branches to experience the exhibit in its totality. The “calacas” will be brought to Denver Botanic Gardens to be part of its Día de los Muertos celebration Nov. 5.

Aurora Public Library is also partnering with the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art (BMoCA) on the collaborative photography exhibit “Pride on Your Side,” opening Sept. 30 at Central Library, 14949 E. Alameda Parkway. This exhibit is led by Juan Fuentes, a documentary photographer born in Mexico who grew up in Denver’s northside neighborhood, and whose work tells stories of contemporary America, highlighting the immigrant and Chicano experience.

In August, Fuentes taught two photography workshops encouraging participants to explore the joy of photography and empowering them to document their own experiences. “Pride on Your Side” will include photos from Aurora community members reflecting their everyday experiences and showcasing their pride in the city.

Human Rights Campaign Foundation and Power the Polls Partner to Recruit More Poll Workers Before Midterm Elections

With the midterm elections fast approaching in November, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRC) – the educational arm of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization – is partnering with Power the Polls to help recruit potential poll workers from LGBTQ+ communities across the country to serve in the midterm election, alleviate poll worker shortages, and ensure representation at the polls. Power the Polls is a first-of-its-kind, nonpartisan initiative for recruiting the next generation of poll workers. The initiative first launched in 2020 and has recruited more than 125,000 potential poll workers since relaunching in May 2022.

Across the country, election administrators in a number of counties and states are reporting a need to recruit more poll workers before November who will help ensure a fair, free, accessible election. The partnership between HRC and Power the Polls will aim to ensure a safe and welcoming voting experience for all voters, especially those from LGBTQ+ communities, by recruiting potential poll workers from LGBTQ+ communities to expand representation of LGBTQ+ people at the polls. 

“Serving as a poll worker is a great way to serve one’s community and empower others by making sure everyone feels safe and welcomed at the polls – including the LGBTQ+ population, who have incredibly high turnout rates,” said Interim President of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation Joni Madison. “The Human Rights Campaign is excited to continue our partnership with Power to the Polls and to do our part to make sure the smiling faces at your local polling place represent the full diversity of our community.”

"Our democracy relies on civic engagement to ensure a safe and fair election for all, yet every election cycle, our local election administrators report poll worker shortages that threaten to disrupt voters' access to the polls. This year, there is an increased need for poll workers who are multilingual, tech savvy, and represent the communities in which they are serving," said Jane Slusser, Program Manager at Power the Polls. "Already this year, we're thrilled to have recruited over 125,000 younger, more diverse potential poll workers who are excited to do their civic duty and work the polls this election cycle. By partnering with organizations such as the Human Rights Campaign, we have the opportunity to reach more potential poll workers in the LGBTQ+ community and increase representation at the polls."

In 2020, Power the Polls recruited over 700,000 potential poll workers ahead of the general election. The Human Rights Campaign and Power the Polls' work together in 2020 helped to address the nationwide shortage of poll workers, recruit LGBTQ+ poll workers, and ensure a safe and fair election for all, combatting discrimination and harassment toward LGBTQ+ people while exercising their constitutional right to vote. According to the National Election Pool exit poll by Edison Research, LGBTQ voters represented 7% of the 2020 electorate, while representing 4.5% of the adult population.

Poll workers play an essential role in our democracy, helping to ensure every polling place is properly staffed with poll workers, open to voters, and free from harassment or discrimination. Becoming a poll worker is one way for everyday people to give back to their communities, support their neighbors, and ensure every voter is treated as a full and equal citizen in our democracy.

To sign up to be a poll worker, please visit

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

“RuPaul’s Drag Race UK” Drops Trailer for Season 4 Ahead This Thursday’s Premie

“RuPaul’s Drag Race UK” just released a stunning first look at the series’ highly anticipated return, making its way to WOW Presents Plus on September 22rd at 1pm PT / 4pm ET in the US and select territories worldwide, day-and-date with the BBC3 airing.

RuPaul, Michelle Visage, Graham Norton and Alan Carr will all be returning to the judges’ panel this season. The 12 wig-snatching queens competing to be the UK’s next Drag Race Superstar include: Baby, Black Peppa, Cheddar Gorgeous, Copper Top, Dakota Schiffer, Danny Beard, Jonbers Blonde, Just May, Le Fil, Pixie Polite, Sminty Drop, and Starlet.

Hulu's "Welcome to Chippendales" Premieres Nov. 22


Check out the new teaser for Hulu's upcoming Original limited series "Welcome to Chippendales," which premieres Tuesday, November 22 with two episodes. New episodes stream Tuesdays.

A sprawling true-crime saga, “Welcome to Chippendales” tells the outrageous story of Somen “Steve” Banerjee, an Indian immigrant who became the unlikely founder of the world’s greatest male-stripping empire—and let nothing stand in his way in the process.

Ballet Ariel Announces its 24th Season

The Ballet Ariel artistic team has put together an exceptional three-show season that is the perfect combination of original ballets and beautifully re-staged classics.

The season opens in October with Carnaval, a light and romantic Fokine masterpiece and Ballet Ariel’s original Sleeping Beauty’s Dream. Performances will be presented on October 1 at 7:30 pm, and October 2 at 3:00 pm at Elaine Wolf Theater JCC Mizel Arts and Culture Center; Thursday, October 6 at 7:00 pm at PACE Center, and October 16 at 3:00 pm at Parsons Theatre adjacent to the Northglenn Recreation Center. The matinee performances will be followed by a Tea Party reception with the costumed cast members, and all are welcome to attend.

Ballet Ariel’s iconic interpretation of The Nutcracker returns to Lakewood Cultural Center for eight performances, December 10 through 23. The full-scale production will feature nationally renowned guest artists Jennie Begley, Anton Iakolev, Alexandru Glusacov and Ryan Seate, along with company members Yoshiko Brunson and Marcelina Gaudini. This stellar cast will be joined by aspiring dancers from Lakewood Dance Academy.

The season finale is Firebirda Ballet Ariel original inspired by Slavic folklore about a prince and his princess and the firebird that rescues them from an evil magician. Ballet Ariel’s creative team, led by Artistic Director Ilena Norton, will reimagine this ancient tale into a stunning, contemporary ballet. Performances will be held at the Elaine Wolf Theater on April 8 at 7:30 pm, and Lakewood Cultural Center on April 29 at 7:30 pm and April 30 at 2:00 pm.

Tickets are now available at for Carnaval and The Nutcracker; tickets for Firebird will be available later in the season.