Monday, May 23, 2022

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Lambda Literary Hiring for New Executive Director

Lambda Literary is hiring for a new Executive Director. Lambda Literary is the most comprehensive LGBTQ literary nonprofit in the US, serving writers at every stage of their careers, and readers of every age. Lambda Literary, believes lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer literature is fundamental to the preservation of their culture, and that LGBTQ lives are affirmed when their stories are written, published, and read.

Lambda Literary’s longevity in the LGBTQ literary space as well as the wide array of services it has provided to the community for over 30 years have positioned the organization as a hub for LGBTQ literature nationwide. Its unique value is the holistic and centralized support it can and does offer to the community of authors, readers, agents, publishers, teachers, librarians, and others who turn to Lambda for touchstone resources that enrich their personal and professional engagement with LGBTQ literature at various stages of their development and work.

Lambda Literary is poised to thrive. Undergirded with a new, community-driven strategic roadmap and an expanded donor base, Lambda Literary is at the threshold of a new phase in its institutional lifecycle, where the formidable strength of its 34-year history and the unique scope of its programmatic offerings and services converge with expanded public discourse about the diversity and range of LGBTQ stories as well as a broader societal interest in justice and equity.

Now more than ever, they need to ground themselves in the power of their words, nurturing their individual and collective creativity and artistic capacity as a means to fuel and sustain their communities, preserve and expand their rich creative legacy, and resist the forces that continue to try to undermine them. Centering these goals remains a radical act.

Take a Sneak Peek at 'Love, Victor' Season Three

Today, Hulu and Disney+ released an exclusive clip from "Love, Victor" season three as a part of PFLAG's Parent Day Livestream.

The new season of "Love, Victor" premieres with all eight episodes on Hulu and Disney+ on June 15.

San Francisco's Gay All-Male Burlesque, BALONEY, Laid Bare in Expertly Choreographed Doc on VOD June 7th

13th Gen and Gravitas Ventures are proud to present 
Baloney, Joshua Guerci's no-holds-barred documentary chronicling 18 months in the life of Baloney, a mostly male, mostly naked, very erotic San Francisco burlesque troupe. The clothing optional documentary made its world premiere at Frameline and went on to inspire audiences at Outfest Los Angeles, Seattle Queer Film Festival, Cinema Diverse Palm Springs, Winnipeg Reel Pride Film Festival, TLVFest: Tel Aviv LGBT Film Festival, Boston Wicked Queer LGBTQ+ Film Festival, and Tampa Bay International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival. At RuPaul's DragCon Los Angeles, the film is nominated for Best Documentary.

Baloney debuts June 7 across North America and will be available on a number of digital and cable platforms, including iTunes, Amazon Video, Vudu, Spectrum, and inDemand.

Baloney was directed, produced and shot by Joshua Guerci in his feature debut. Marc Smolowitz (Being BeBeTransfinite) produced.

Queer artist Michael Phillis realized that “his worst day as an artist was still better than his best day as a tech manager.” So, he quit his day job, not just to create art, but to connect with other artists, many of whom work in jobs similar just to cover the cost of living in America's expensive queer mecca.

Thus, Baloney, the performance troupe, was born -- a classic variety show combined with burlesque, using theater, dance, and strip tease to explore and celebrate queer sexuality and life experience. Michael, together with his life partner Rory Davis, have been delighting and surprising audiences for years, and this documentary offers up an under-the-covers look at the real life people who create and perform the show, and a behind the scenes view into all of the hard work that goes into putting on this powerful and beautifully produced professional theatrical production.

With Baloney about to be released to the world, co-creators Michael Phillis and Rory Davis shared, "After doing the show live onstage for the past 8 years, it's thrilling to see Baloney reach an international audience through Joshua's documentary. Our hope is that young queer adults will see the movie, connect to the show, and know that they're not alone. There's a wonderful world of underground queer performance out there and your chosen family is waiting for you."

“'Till You Get There,” the first single from Ty Herndon’s forthcoming album JACOB, ships to radio

“Till You Get There,” the first single from groundbreaking Grammy-nominated and Dove Award-winning country artist Ty Herndon’s forthcoming album JACOB, shipped to country radio today and is now available for streaming and download here:

“This song is about the trials and tribulations we all face in life — both big and small — that can seem so overwhelming and discouraging when they’re happening. But I believe everything happens just the way God intends, and we don’t always know what all those bumps along our journeys mean until we reach the end. I wanted to kick off this album with a fun, uplifting, and inspiring song that we can all relate to, and I think we nailed it,” said Herndon, who co-wrote the track with Jamie Floyd, Erik Halbig, and Jimmy Thow. Thow also serves as the track’s producer.

Praise for the single was swift and certain from CMT’s Cody Alan, who proclaimed, “This isn’t just a comeback song for Ty Herndon—this is EVERYONE’S comeback song! Every country fan can relate to these lyrics. Perfectly written for 2022!”
“Till You Get There” kicks off Herndon’s first album of all-new music since 2016’s House On Fire. Due out July 15, JACOB is the culmination of a life of hard-fought struggles and hard-won triumphs. Herndon's most personal album to date invites listeners to go with him from darkness to light – a trip he has taken in both directions. As he chronicles new parts of his life never before shared, the music plots a path to where Herndon finds himself today — a destination marked by recovery, inner strength, and peace. With each song based on experiences from his own life — part country, part rock, part gospel – but all Ty Herndon – the country luminary has captured the pain, sorrow, and redemption that are universal to the human experience.

Released in partnership with Pivotal Records, a division of Pivotal Moments Media, JACOB, is an 11-track musical experience that discloses vulnerable truths. Herndon derived the album title from the Biblical Old Testament figure, Jacob, who dealt with severe challenges and mistakes before rising to become a leader of his tribe.

The album will be accompanied by the release of a new, ten-episode podcast hosted by Herndon in Partnership with Pivotal Moments Media and featuring conversations with high-profile artists discussing their struggles and wins along their mental fitness journeys. The series is designed to mirror the themes of JACOB and will be launched in June.

Herndon burst onto the scene and made his chart debut in 1995 with "What Mattered Most," which became his first No. 1 song and garnered a Song of the Year award (Music Row Magazine). It was also the title track to his first album, which debuted on the Billboard Top Country Albums Chart and had the biggest first-week shipment in the history of Epic Records Nashville.

Between 1995 and 2002, Herndon charted 17 singles, including his three No.1s and numerous top 10 hits, such as "I Want My Goodbye Back," "Loved Too Much," "A Man Holding On," and "Hands of a Working Man." He topped the charts in 1996 with the single "Living in a Moment" and again in 1998 with "It Must Be Love."

In 2014, Herndon became the first major male country artist to publicly come out as gay in an exclusive with People magazine. He received an outpouring of support that only strengthened his relationship with fans and the country music community, expanding his reach to new and diverse audiences. Shortly after, he made history when he hosted a first-of-its-kind country music event, The Concert for Love and Acceptance, now an annual event that provides a stage for LGBTQ and allied artists. In 2020, he created the Foundation for Love & Acceptance to further his work on behalf of LGBTQ youth.

Film Threat Award This! Announces 2022 The Best of Independent Film Winners

Film Threat, led by founder and filmmaker Chris Gore, and in conjunction with their partner Magical Threads, are thrilled to announce the Award This! 2022 winners. Award This!! nominees were selected from the nearly 2,000 indie films reviewed on Film Threat in 2021 (this year we extended our deadline into the first quarter of 2022 due to the pandemic). Award This! returned for its fourth year with a live in-person, in-theater event on Saturday, May 21st at non-profit arthouse cinema the Frida Cinema to honor the best and brightest in independent film. Film Threat’s Award This! has become an independent film industry staple celebrating the best in independent cinema.

“This years’ incredibly diverse Award This! nominees made deliberations brutal for our team. Amid two years of literal pandemic struggle, we saw the independent spirit in all its glory. We are honored to share our winners and encourage you to watch this years’ nominees,” said Chris Gore.

This years’ Award This! bold and diverse categories including Indie Sci-Fi, Indie Horror, Indie Comedy, Indie LGBTQ+ Film, Indie Action/Thriller, WTF Indie, Indie Romantic Comedy, Indie Drama, Music Documentary, Pop Culture Documentary, Socially-Relevant Documentary, Best Director, Best Directress, Indie Made for Less Than the Contents of an Oscar Gift Bag (Under $100K), and Indie Movie of the Year. The nominating board of Award This! is comprised of the staff of Film Threat’s editors and critics which number 30+ worldwide along with an advisory board of media figures and independent film luminaries.

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Human Rights Campaign Foundation Files Amicus Brief in Carpenter v. James, in Support of Business & Corporate Interest in LGBTQ+ Inclusion

This week, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the educational arm of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, as co-counsel with Steptoe & Johnson LLP, filed an amicus brief before the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on behalf of a group of diverse businesses. The case, Carpenter v. Jamesinvolves a wedding photographer in New York who is effectively seeking permission to turn away same-sex couples and to advertise that she will not provide services to  same-sex weddings. The argument before the Court addresses the scope of protections against discrimination for LGBTQ+ patrons seeking goods or services under New York State Human Rights Law and Civil Rights Law.


On behalf of a number of prominent businesses, HRC Foundation and Steptoe & Johnson LLP argue that the plaintiffs’ proposed speech-based exemptions to the non-discrimination laws are overly broad and difficult to predict. Next the brief points out that plaintiffs’ position would create confusion in the marketplace and disrupt businesses' operations. Additionally, the brief highlights that creating expansive new speech and religious-based exemptions would create holes in non-discrimination laws that may subject many businesses’  employees to discrimination both inside and outside the workplace.


“Discrimination against LGBTQ+ people in the state of New York and throughout the United States has been adjudicated repeatedly.  The law is clear—discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is against the law and religious objections are no excuse to denial of equal access to goods and services under a neutral and generally applicable public accommodations law like the one in New York,” said Cynthia Cheng-Wun Weaver, Human Rights Campaign Litigation Director. “This amicus brief adds to the chorus of companies that have stressed, in this court and others, that discrimination against same-sex couples is not only wrong and illegal, it also affects businesses and their bottom line.”


This amicus brief on behalf of businesses is similar to briefs filed in other federal cases about LGBTQ+ rights, for example in Masterpiece Cakeshop in the Supreme Court of the United States, which involved a cake store in Colorado that refused to serve same-sex couples on the basis of religious exceptions. The Supreme Court there ruled that the state of Colorado’s enforcement of its civil rights law was flawed, while reaffirming that LGBTQ+ Americans should not face discrimination in the provision of goods and services and state law may continue to prohibit such discrimination.

PEOPLE Exclusive: Colton Haynes Has 'No Secrets' After Surviving Abuse, Addiction and Homophobia in Hollywood

Colton Haynes says writing his new memoir "nearly killed me." 

After an overdose and suicide attempt, recovering from alcoholism, addiction and an eating disorder, and then overcoming childhood sexual abuse, the 33-year-old Arrow and Teen Wolf actor has earned the right to speak about facing death. 

But these days, Haynes is more about facing the truth — his own — as he tells PEOPLE exclusively in this week's issue: "I know today I'm only as sick as my secrets." 

With the publication of Miss Memory Lane, he doesn't have any left. 

"I needed to rid myself of the things I've held onto for so long," he acknowledges.

Raised in poverty outside Wichita, Kansas, by a single mom with substance abuse issues, a combustible father who would return now and then, and alongside an athletic older brother with whom he'd fight over food stamps, Haynes had dreams of being the male Kate Moss

"Delusion was my first drug," he says.

In high school, he attended class during the day and at night danced as a go-go boy at a gay bar (a job secured with a fake ID). 

"Once I knew something was going to get me the attention that I wanted, there was nothing holding me back from using my body, or doing whatever I could to help me get that love I needed," he says. 

Monday, May 16, 2022

“PFLAG Parent Day” Announces Special Guests Including Busy Philipps, Chef Melissa King, Harvey Guillén, Ramin Karimloo and More

PFLAG National has announced additional star power to the lineup for its second annual PFLAG Parent Day on Sunday, May 22, 2022, including actors Busy Philipps, Harvey Guillén (FX’s What We Do in the Shadows; Mickey Mouse Funhouse), Bravo’s Top Chef winner Chef Melissa King, along with a musical performance by Tony-nominated Ramin Karimloo (Funny Girl; Les Misérables). The fundraiser will feature stories of courageous LGBTQ+ individuals, allies, parents and caregivers, as well as interviews, performances and messages of support for the community from these special guests and more.

As a virtual event, PFLAG Parent Day makes it possible for supporters of LGBTQ+ people to connect, be entertained, and get inspired no matter where they live. The event begins at 2PM ET // 11AM PT at and offers supporters the opportunity to donate to PFLAG National’s life-saving programs that provide support, education, and advocacy for LGBTQ+ people, families and allies across the country.

The event will be hosted by Matt Doyle, 2022 Tony Award-nominated star of the Broadway revival of Stephen Sondheim’s Company and will also feature a special award presentation of the Betty DeGeneres Advocate Award to actor and longtime advocate Jesse Tyler Ferguson. Newly announced speakers and performers include: Avi Roque (Disney’s The Owl House), Frankie A. Rodriguez and Joe Serafini from Disney’s High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, and pop musician Madison Rose.

In addition to these newly added special guests, PFLAG Parent Day’s lineup will include Big Freedia (rapper), Cody Rigsby (Peloton Instructor and Dancing With the Stars alum), iconic actor George Takei, Hayley Kiyoko (award-winning musician), Tony-winning producer Jordan Roth (Moulin Rouge! The Musical; Hadestown) & Richie Jackson (author of Gay Like Me), electronic pop band MUNA, Peabody-winning and Emmy-nominated writer/director/producer Steven Canals (FX’s Pose), Tommy DiDario (TV host and lifestyle contributor), actor Torian Miller (Hulu’s Fire Island), cast members from Hulu’s Love, Victor and more.

PFLAG Parent Day is executive produced by Philip D’Amour, a seasoned producer with over 20 years of experience in entertainment, with credits including the White House Correspondents Dinner, NAACP Image Awards, 2020 Democratic National Convention, as well as Celebrating America: 2021 Inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.

“It’s an honor to work with the PFLAG National team, along with PFLAG families, LGBTQ+ community members and allies to put together such an important and inspiring event,” said D’Amour. “PFLAG Parent Day empowers advocates everywhere to be able to join together virtually to support, celebrate and embrace LGBTQ+ loved ones and I look forward to bringing it to life this Sunday.”

CDPHE to receive $2 million to advance environmental cleanups

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) will receive a $2 million Brownfields assessment grant to advance the cleanup and revitalization of sites in the cities of Longmont, Lyons, Cortez, Firestone, and Evans. Priority sites are historic, vacant commercial and industrial buildings, gas stations, dry cleaners, a site with abandoned construction equipment and vehicles, and a former turkey farm that contains 25 abandoned structures.

With the Brownfields community-wide assessment grant for states and tribes, CDPHE will inventory and prioritize sites and conduct up to 48 environmental site assessments. These site assessments will examine current and historical uses of properties, and sample soil, water, air and building materials, to evaluate potential contamination, determine cleanup options, and initiate reuse planning. Additionally, grant funds will be used to support community outreach activities, ensuring involvement of communities with environmental justice concerns.

“With this funding, CDPHE will take an important step to assess polluted, vacant properties and provide economic opportunities for people across the State of Colorado,” said EPA Regional Administrator KC Becker. “I applaud CDPHE for its focus on providing critical financial assistance to overburdened and vulnerable communities.”

The Brownfields Program advances President Biden’s Justive40 Initiative, which aims to deliver at least 40 percent of the benefits of certain government programs to disadvantaged communities. Approximately 86 percent of the communities selected to receive funding as part of this announcement have proposed projects in historically underserved areas. EPA’s Brownfields grants and other technical assistance programs like the RE-Powering America’s Land Initiative are also helping to build the clean energy economy.

Today’s announcement includes approximately $180 million from the historic $1.5 billion investment from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to help turn brownfield sites across the nation into hubs of economic growth and job creation, along with more than $75 million from fiscal year 2022 appropriations.  

The funding includes:

  • $112.8 million for 183 selectees for Assessment Grants, which will provide funding for brownfield inventories, planning, environmental assessments, and community outreach.
  • $18.2 million for 36 selectees for Cleanup Grants, which will provide funding to carry out cleanup activities at brownfield sites owned by the recipient.
  • $16.3 million for 17 selectees for Revolving Loan Fund grants that will provide funding for recipients to offer loans and subgrants to carry out cleanup activities at brownfield sites.
  • $107 million for 39 high-performing Revolving Loan Fund Grant recipients to help communities continue their work to carry out cleanup and redevelopment projects on contaminated brownfield properties. Supplemental funding for Revolving Loan Fund Grants is available to recipients that have depleted their funds and have viable cleanup projects ready for work. 

The list of selected applicants is available here:

Since its inception in 1995, EPA’s investments in brownfield sites have leveraged more than $35 billion in cleanup and redevelopment. This has led to significant benefits for communities across the country. For example:

  • To date, this funding has led to more than 183,000 jobs in cleanup, construction, and redevelopment and more than 9,500 properties have been made ready for reuse.
  • Based on grant recipient reporting, recipients leveraged on average $20.43 for each EPA Brownfields dollar and 10.3 jobs per $100,000 of EPA Brownfield Grant funds expended on assessment, cleanup, and revolving loan fund cooperative agreements.
  • In addition, an academic peer-reviewed study has found that residential properties near brownfield sites increased in value by 5% to 15% as a result of cleanup activities.
  • Finally, analyzing data near 48 brownfields, EPA found an estimated $29 million to $97 million in additional tax revenue for local governments in a single year after cleanup—2 to 7 times more than the $12.4 million EPA contributed to the cleanup of those brownfield sites.

Judge Halts Alabama Law Criminalizing Parents for Obtaining Essential Medical Care for their Transgender Children

An Alabama federal district court judge has issued a ruling blocking enforcement of Alabama SB 184 while a legal challenge to the law proceeds.  SB 184 criminalizes parents who seek to get essential medical care for their transgender children’s needs. It provides up to 10 years in prison as penalty for anyone, including doctors and parents, who assists in getting the care these young people need.  

The suit, 
Rev. Eknes-Tucker v. Marshall, is brought by four Alabama parents from across the state on the grounds that it strips them of the right to make important decisions about their children’s healthcare. They are joined by a private practice pediatrician in rural Southeast Alabama, a clinical psychologist with the UAB medical system, and Reverend Paul Eknes-Tucker, Senior Pastor at Pilgrim United Church of Christ in Birmingham, all of whom could face criminal penalties under the law. The U.S.  Department of Justice has also joined the suit as plaintiff-intervenor challenging the constitutionality of the law which would deny established medical treatments to youth who are transgender but not to others.


The ruling follows a two-day evidentiary hearing May 5 and 6 at which doctors and medical experts described the well-established safety and efficacy of medical care for transgender youth who experience gender dysphoria and the damage to children’s health when such care is denied. The Court received evidence confirming that over 22 major medical organizations recognize the established course of care for transgender youth. The court also heard from plaintiff parents, in briefing and in closed-court testimony, about the profoundly positive impact access to appropriate medical care has had on their children’s health and wellbeing and the devastating harm that would come from having to stop treatment.


The American Academy of Pediatrics, the Alabama Chapter of the Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association and other state and national medical organizations submitted a friend-of-the-court brief describing the consensus in the medical community supporting standards of care for transgender youth and opposing laws like SB 184 that criminalize and ban proven, necessary care.


James Zoe, father of 13-year-old Zachary of Birmingham:

“This ruling means that we will be able to continue providing our child with the medical care he needs and nothing could be more important or more of a relief to our family. Alabama is our home and we hope this cruel law will not be allowed to force us from it. We are fighting for our child and will continuing fighting so that he and all transgender youth in Alabama remain able to receive appropriate medical care.”


The families challenging the law come from across the state and are proceeding anonymously due to the risk of criminal prosecution under SB 184 as well as for their privacy and safety. They are Brianna Boe and her 12-year-old transgender son, Michael Boe of Montgomery; James Zoe and his 13-year-old transgender son Zachary Zoe of Birmingham; Megan Poe and her 15-year-old transgender daughter Allison Poe of Northern Alabama; and Kathy Noe and her 17-year-old-transgender son Christopher Noe of Eastern Alabama.


The plaintiffs are represented by Lightfoot, Franklin & White LLC, King & Spalding LLP, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC).


“This ruling means that parents of transgender children in Alabama will continue to be able to make the healthcare decisions that are best for their families. It is an extraordinary relief. Parents should not be punished for wanting to do what’s best for their kids,” said Jennifer Levi, GLAD Transgender Rights Project Director.


“This ruling lessens the enormous stress families across Alabama have been under since SB 184 passed last month. A state should not criminalize parents and doctors for following medical guidelines and providing needed medical treatments,” said NCLR Senior Staff Attorney and Transgender Youth Project Director Asaf Orr.


“We’re grateful the court heard the powerful pleas from the families and providers who would be so harmed by this law. Parents should never be put in the unimaginable position of choosing between denying their transgender children needed healthcare or facing prison,” said Sarah Warbelow, HRC Legal Director.


“Blocking enforcement of SB 184 supports the well-being of transgender youth in Alabama and the rights of parents who under the law would be prohibited from seeking the best possible care for their children,” said Scott McCoy, SPLC Interim Deputy Legal Director LGBTQ Rights & Special Litigation.

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Denver Zoo Grows Wildlife Conservation Leadership

Denver Zoo, a nonprofit wildlife conservation organization, announced today the growth and restructuring of its field conservation team. The Zoo hired Angela Yang, who has worked in wildlife conservation on five continents for two decades, to the position of Director of International Field Conservation, and reorganized its current team of field conservationists to oversee the Zoo’s local and global wildlife conservation programs. This will increase the Zoo’s ability to make significant impact for wildlife and wild places, and align the field conservation team to better support its mission: Inspiring Communities to Save Wildlife for Future Generations.


“As wild species continue to face mounting threats, we are working to strategically position our staff and resources to make a meaningful difference for wildlife for many years to come,” said Erica Elvove, Senior Vice President for Conservation Engagement and Impact at Denver Zoo. “Angela’s experience and expertise are a valuable addition to our field conservation team, and allow us to build our capacity to expand existing programs while exploring new projects and partnerships.”


Prior to joining Denver Zoo, Yang helped launch the new Global Center for Species Survival, a partnership between the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Indianapolis Zoo, and served as Chief Conservation Officer at Rainforest Trust, where she led the conservation department in overseeing more than 150 projects to establish protected areas for species conservation around the world. Yang has worked with a variety of international NGOs, including Wildlife Conservation Society and Zoological Society of London, leading conservation programs in Asia, Africa and the Americas, and has authored or co-authored a number of publications.


“I’m delighted to join an organization that has such a long track record in wildlife conservation, and is so well known for its efforts locally and globally,” said Yang. “I look forward to working with our communities and partners to strategically expand our global portfolio, increase our conservation impact, and leverage our stories to engage our zoo visitors right here in Denver.”


The Zoo also elevated the roles of its other field conservationists to manage regions where the wild counterparts of the animals in our care live, and where the Zoo currently operates and may expand in the future, including:


  • Dr. Stefan Ekernas, who previously served as Rocky Mountain/Great Plains Program Director, takes on the role of Director of Colorado Field Conservation to provide strategic leadership in planning, implementing and evaluating the Zoo’s statewide conservation programs. Ekernas has nearly two decades of conservation leadership experience, including work protecting wildlife habitat and species such as bison, American pika, bighorn sheep and boreal toads.


  • Former Mongolia Program Director Gana Wingard becomes the Regional Conservation Director for Asia to continue the Zoo’s work in Mongolia and begin developing new field conservation projects on the continent. Wingard has more than 20 years of field conservation experience, establishing and leading the Zoo’s Mongolia program. Her work and research led to the expansion of Ikh Nart Nature Reserve, which has been recognized as a model protected area by the United Nations.


  • Matt Herbert will oversee the Zoo’s current programs in Peru and seek new opportunities as the Regional Conservation Director for Latin America. Herbert, who began his career at the Zoo in 1997, helped develop its Lake Titicaca frog conservation project in 2008, and has experience as a leader in conservation, community engagement and education in Peru, Bolivia, Mongolia, Botswana, Vietnam, Kenya, Colorado and New Mexico.

Jesse Tyler Ferguson to Receive PFLAG's Betty DeGeneres Advocacy Award, May 2

On Sunday, May 22, 2022 
PFLAG National will honor 5-time Emmy Award nominee and current Tony Award nominated star of Broadway’s Take Me Out, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, with the Betty DeGeneres Advocacy Award during the second annual PFLAG Parent Day live virtual event (beginning at 2PM ET / 11AM PT).


The Betty DeGeneres Advocacy Award is the marquee honor of PFLAG Parent Day and will be presented to Ferguson by the award’s inaugural recipient, George Takei. The award, named in honor of longtime member of PFLAG Betty DeGeneres who is the mother of Ellen DeGeneres, recognizes a person who uses their visibility to help advance PFLAG’s work to create a caring, just, and affirming world for LGBTQ+ people and those who love them. 


“I want to thank PFLAG National for inviting me to be a part of PFLAG Parent Day,” said Ferguson. “I’m grateful to be included, mostly as it gives me the opportunity to thank the whole PFLAG family for all the work they do every day to make a better, more equitable world for LGBTQ+ youth and their families.”


Ferguson is an actor, author, producer, host, and longtime advocate for the LGBTQIA+ community. Earlier this week, he was nominated for a Tony Award for “Best Actor in a Featured Role in a Play” for his performance in the critically-acclaimed revival of Richard Greenberg’s Take Me Out. He is perhaps best known for starring for 11 seasons on ABC’s beloved comedy series, “Modern Family,” for which he received five Emmy Award nominations for his work as ‘Mitchell Prichett’, among countless honors. He recently executive produced the BAFTA-winning and Emmy-nominated documentary, Welcome to Chechnya, a searing documentary from acclaimed journalist and filmmaker David France about a group of brave activists risking their lives to confront the ongoing anti-LGBTQ campaign in the Russian republic of Chechnya; PFLAG National was a proud partner on the release of the film. 


He also produced the documentary Broadway Rising which will premiere at the Tribeca Festival and tells the inspiring journey back to the stage and the toll of the pandemic on the Broadway community after a historic closure. The feature-length documentary follows subjects from all areas of the Broadway community - stage doormen, wardrobe technicians, playwrights, producers, actors, ushers, dancers, and directors - to paint a full picture of the strength and diversity of the people on the stage and behind the scenes & their resilience, hope and dedication of being part of Broadway’s reopening.


“We at PFLAG are thrilled to honor Jesse Tyler Ferguson with the 2022 Betty DeGeneres Advocacy Award. In his professional career as an actor and off-stage in his life and charitable endeavors, Jesse defines what it means to be an advocate, in every sense of the word. We look forward to celebrating him alongside all of our families on PFLAG Parent Day,” said Brian K. Bond, Executive Director of PFLAG National.


Upcoming, Ferguson’s scripted podcast Gay Pride and Prejudice is set to be released exclusively on Spotify on May 25, 2022. It is a modern adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice from Spotify and Gimlet. When same sex marriage finally becomes legal, Bennet struggles to find belonging when his chosen family suddenly begins coupling off and settling down. Jesse executive produced and lent his voice to the podcast. Among his countless credits, Ferguson hosted the reboot of HGTV’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” in 2020, as well as the prestigious James Beard Awards in 2017 and 2019. He made his Broadway debut in George C. Wolfe’s revival of On the Town and later went on to star in the Tony-winning musical The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. In 2017, Ferguson returned to Broadway and won the Drama Desk Award for Best Solo Performance for his outrageous 40-character turn in the Broadway production of Fully Committed.


Ferguson’s charitable work includes the nonprofit Tie the Knot, which he founded in 2012 with his husband Justin Mikita, raising over 1.5 million dollars for impactful LGBTQ+ organizations. In 2021, Tie the Knot became PRONOUN and continues working against continued oppression, from trans and non-binary loved ones under legislative attack; to the murders of trans women of color, and the need to pass federal  non-discrimination protections in Congress.


As previously announced, the second annual PFLAG Parent Day will be hosted by 2022 Tony Award nominee Matt Doyle (Broadway’s Company) and will feature the stories of courageous LGBTQ+ individuals, allies, parents and caregivers. Additionally, the fundraiser will include special guest appearances by Big Freedia, Cody Rigsby, George Takei, Hayley Kiyoko, Jordan Roth & Richie Jackson, MUNA, Steven Canals, Tommy DiDario, Torian Miller, cast members from Hulu’s “Love, Victor” and many more.

OUT on May 31: Strawberry Mansion

In 2035, our dreams are no longer our own--they're infused with product placement and auditors assess unpaid taxes on our most private reveries. Beleaguered taxman James Preble (Kentucker Audley) arrives at a run-down house in the countryside for a routine audit and encounters Bella Isadora (Penny Fuller), a lifelong dreamer who remains resolutely analog, circumventing the surveillance state with VHS tapes and homemade headgear. As Preble works his way through Bella's archive of the unconscious, he begins to fall in love with visions of her younger self (Grace Glowicki).

Strawberry Mansion is now available to rent or purchase digitally and will be avaialble on DVD and Blu-ray on May 31. 

PEOPLE Exclusive: Lance Bass Opens Up About Living with Psoriatic Arthritis for First Time: 'I Thought It Was Normal'

Lance Bass is getting candid about his journey with psoriatic arthritis. 

The singer and dancer, 43, was diagnosed with the condition — which affects nearly 1 million Americans — five years ago after experiencing debilitating symptoms for quite some time.

"I had symptoms before, but you know, I kind of just dealt with it, not knowing exactly what it was. I was a dancer my whole life, so I just kind of figured it was because of dancing," the *NSYNC alum tells PEOPLE, adding that he noticed patches of psoriasis on his scalp while dealing with excruciating joint pain.

"It definitely started in my shoulders and then in my knees," he continues. "And again, to me, that was just such a sign of dancer pain, so I just thought it was completely normal, totally ignoring the signs."

"Psoriatic arthritis is a form of arthritis that can affect people who have psoriasis and is caused by overactive inflammation of cells inside the body," says Alvin F. Wells, M.D., Ph.D, director of the Rheumatology and Immunotherapy Center in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. "Symptoms such as scalp psoriasis or pitted nails, in addition to joint pain, could point to psoriatic arthritis."