Friday, August 19, 2022
The video for “Drop A Bomb” is an eye-popping animated piece by Alex Salyer (Miley Cyrus, Trixie Mattel) in which the artists are uniquely portrayed in cartoon form. Says Freedia about the animating process. “It was so fun! I loved the process of creating my animated image. We had a great meeting where we were able to see the basics of the animated video, and I just loved it! It really captured the fun energy of the song. Drop a bomb on ‘em!” Director Alex Salyer added “the song felt like a fun reminder of how important it is to let go of insecurities, drop everything you’re doing, and dance your butt off as often as you can. I want to highlight queerness in a fun, wacky, and joyful way. All are welcome in my cartoon land.”
Jeff Fettes, best known as the musical act Riotron, reached out to mutual friends to ask if Big Freedia would join him on the song, thinking Freedia’s style would be an interesting contrast to his. Says Jeff, “I had wanted a throwback '90s style rap interlude and thought, imagine if someone like Big Freedia just exploded into a third verse right here. Freedia was on tour and stopped into a studio in Cincinnati for an evening and just did it. The first time I heard it, I literally jumped out of my chair and said, "Yes! This!” Says Freedia about connecting on the song, “we have been mutual fans of each other for a while, so I was happy to collaborate on this.” Check out this video interview that the two artists, both proud members of the LGBTQ community, did for GLAAD recently here.
“Drop A Bomb” is Riotron’s second single this summer, following the acclaimed “Life Is What We’re Living.” That song was accompanied by the much-googled video starring Tyler Posey and ‘80s film icon Lea Thompson, and remixes by Mahalo and dance music icon Paul Oakenfold.
Human Rights Campaign Commends White House for Hosting Summit to Combat Extremist Violence & Anti-LGBTQ+ Rhetoric
Today, the White House announced it would host the “United We Stand Summit,” an event to combat the spread of extremist violence and misinformation. The Summit comes at a time when hate-driven violence against people of color and LGBTQ+ people is on the rise. In just the last few months, 10 Black people were killed at a shooting in Buffalo, New York; white nationalists targeted a Pride event in Idaho; Proud Boys crashed Drag Queen story hour at a local library in California to shout homophobic and transphobic slurs; and Boston Children’s Hospital’s patients and providers have found themselves the targets of violent threats following a campaign of disinformation on Twitter.
In response, Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Interim President Joni Madison issued the following statement:
“We are living in a time of polarization and extremism, with dangerous, extremist rhetoric on the rise. We have seen a marked increase in online vitriol against LGBTQ+ people that has led to acts of intimidation and violence in real life – not to mention an increase in state legislation that targets the LGBTQ+ community. The rise of this online hate does not have only political implications; violent rhetoric leads to stigma, radicalization, and ultimately violent actions. Nearly one-in-five of any type of hate crime is now motivated by anti-LGBTQ+ bias, and the last two years have been the deadliest for transgender people, particularly Black transgender women.
“The “United We Stand Summit” cannot come at a more crucial time, and the Human Rights Campaign is grateful to President Biden for focusing on this key issue and convening this event. We look forward to joining with other leaders to combat the rise of extremism and violence.”
HRC recently released a report, Digital Hate: Social Media’s Role in Amplifying Dangerous Lies About LGBTQ+ People, alongside the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) that explicitly noted the rise in anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric online. The report found that the average number of tweets per day using slurs such as “groomer” and “pedophile” in relation to LGBTQ+ people surged by 406% in the month after the Florida “Don’t Say Gay or Trans” bill was passed, resulting in a sharp spike in online homophobia and transphobia. The report also reveals that the anti-LGBTQ+ content 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 an effort to rile up extreme members of their base ahead of the midterm elections.
According to the report’s findings:
- In a matter of mere days, just ten people drove 66% of impressions for the 500 most viewed hateful “grooming” tweets — including Gov. Ron DeSantis’s press secretary Christina Pushaw, extremist members of Congress like Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert, and pro-Trump activists like “Libs of TikTok” founder Chaya Raicheck.
- Posts from these 10 people alone reached more than 48 million views, and the top 500 most influential “grooming” tweets all together were seen 72 million times.
The report also notes that there are real life consequences to anti-LGBTQ+ hate being spread online.
- Anti-LGBTQ+ Violence — Nearly 1 in 5 of any type of hate crime is now motivated by anti-LGBTQ+ bias; The last two years have been the deadliest for transgender people, especially Black transgender women, we have seen since we began tracking fatal violence against the community.
- Reports of violence and intimidation against LGBTQ+ people have been making news across the country: White nationalists targeted a Pride event in Idaho; Proud Boys crashed Drag Queen story hour at a local library in California to shout homophobic and transphobic slurs; and Boston Children’s Hospital’s patients and providers have found themselves the targets of violent threats following a campaign of disinformation on Twitter.
- Legislative — Legislators in state houses across the country introduced 344 anti-LGBTQ+ bills this session, and 25 of them passed. These bills and laws attack the LGBTQ+ community, particularly transgender and non-binary young people and their families, preventing them from accessing age-appropriate medical care, playing sports with their friends, or even talking about who they are in school.
- Mental Health Outcomes: More than 60 percent of LGBTQ+ youth said their mental health has deteriorated as a result of recent efforts to restrict access to things like gender-affirming care for transgender youth.
Read the full report here.
In addition to Stephen’s global smash “Until I Found You,” the seven track EP includes his luminous new single “See The Light.” On the song, acoustic guitar brushes up against his swooning vocals. A gorgeous hook takes flight above handclaps highlighted by a powerful crescendo with timeless grace and palpable energy.
Across Easy On My Eyes, Stephen recounts an unbelievable year since his emergence. He wrote nearly all of the songs on the EP himself and teamed up with Jamie Hartman [James Bay, Lewis Capaldi] and Jon Green [Kylie Minogue, Lady A, Little Big Town] on “Hey Girl.” He then worked with producers Ian Fitchuk [Kacey Musgraves, James Bay] and Konrad Snyder [Madi Diaz, Rainbow Kitten Surprise] in Nashville to bring the EP to life in one-take performances. The project illuminates his talent both as a vocalist and a songwriter.
Regarding Easy On My Eyes, Stephen commented, “Love is a scary thing, man. On the EP, there are a lot of themes about being afraid of love, but also trusting love. That’s the underlying theme of the project. Love can be wonderful, yet it’s awful. It’s never perfect, even though it’s something we all strive for. There’s a balance in the music. For me, all of the pain humanizes love in a big way.”
Wednesday, August 17, 2022
Stories on Stage kicks off the 2022-23 Season with The Banned Books Club at Su Teatro Cultural and Performing Arts Center, 721 Santa Fe Drive on Sunday, September 11 at 2 p.m. Virtual performance begins on Thursday, September 15 at 7:00 p.m. and will be available for viewing any time thereafter. Ticket holders for the virtual performance will receive a link prior to the performance. Tickets are $24 and are available by calling 303-494-0523 or online at www.storiesonstage.org.
Seth Dhonau, Jose Guerrero and Camryn-Nailah Torres perform stories from challenged books to commemorate Banned Books Week.
In 2021, 1,597 books were challenged or banned in the United States, according to the newest report by the American Library Association. While books have been and continue to be banned, part of the Banned Books Week celebration is the fact that, in a majority of cases, the books have remained available. Banned Books Week is both a reminder of the unifying power of stories and the divisiveness of censorship, and a call to action for readers across the country to push back against censorship attempts in their communities. More at www.ala.org
Mabuhay! Today, the inaugural season of Drag Race Philippines premieres with two episodes exclusively on WOW Presents Plus in the US. Also released today is an all new, full-length sneak peek for the 10-part series – watch here. The trailer sees the queens go head-to-head with wig-snatching lewks, fuego fashion, and phenomenal poses — tune-in to the full episodes on WOWPP for the full story! Also revealed is the stunning list of panel judges, including the iconic beauty mogul Patrick Starrr whose makeup line, ONE/SIZE is the title sponsor of this season.
Be sure to also tune-back-in to WOWPP on Friday, August 19, for the official after-show, Drag Race Philippines: Untucked. Two episodes will premiere on August 19 with a new episode dropping every Friday.
Billy Idol is back with The Cage EP which is set for release on September 23 via Dark Horse Records. The new music follows the release of Idol’s 2021 The Roadside EP, which included the Top 15 hit “Bitter Taste” and received praise from fans and critics alike. As on The Roadside EP, Idol is joined on the new project by his longtime collaborator, co-writer and guitarist Steve Stevens.
In celebration of the upcoming release, Idol debuts the EP’s punk rock infused lead single, “Cage,” alongside an accompanying Steven Sebring-directed video (Patti Smith, Jack White). Listen to/share the song HERE and watch/share the video HERE.
“Coming out of the lockdown era, people had a lot of energy stored up,” recalls co-producer Tommy English (Kacey Musgraves, BØRNS) who also co-wrote three of the album’s tracks with Idol, Stevens and Joe Janiak (Ellie Goulding, Adam Lambert). “That was the inspiration for ‘Cage.’ Getting out there and doing the things we’ve been missing. And that includes not being afraid to do a raucous punk rock song like ‘Cage.’ And we didn’t worry about whether it fit in anywhere because it just sounds so Billy.”
Last night, Idol broke news of the release on Variety along with plans for a forthcoming Jonas Akerlund-directed (Paul McCartney, Madonna) documentary about his life; further details to come soon as the film is currently in the final stages of production. Read the full article HERE.
Building upon the momentum garnered from last year’s release of The Roadside EP, Idol has once again flexed his collaborative spirit and called upon contemporary collaborators to help expand his already vast musical palette, taking the best of the past and gift wrapping it into something brand new.
“The last EP, we were kind of warming up to this,” says Idol. “This EP is a lot more coming at you. Loads more guitar. And that’s a lot of fun. We were pretty fired up by the fact that we hadn’t played for a couple of years, and suddenly we were bursting on stage, and it kind of woke us up to what the next EP could be: That it could be a little more strum und drang, a little more coming at you, a little more rock’n’roll, a little more f*ck you! Well, a tiny bit of f*ck you, anyhow. The bottom line is we had a lot of fun doing it.”
By, Garrett Royer (he/him), Deputy Director, One Colorado
Tuesday, August 16, 2022
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Suburban beekeeper Justin Weiss aims to inspire the next generation of bee enthusiasts and environmentalists with his vibrantly illustrated new children’s book, B is for Beekeeping: An Alphabet Book.
With concise, easy-to-understand language, such as “C is for comb,” and “H is for honey,” Weiss introduces young audiences to the ABCs of beekeeping and the critical role that honeybees play in the ecosystem.
“Did you know one-third of the food we eat gets pollinated by honeybees?” asked Weiss, who started beekeeping a few years ago on a whim. “While at first I was afraid of handling honeybees, it turns out having thousands of them buzzing around is quite therapeutic. This hobby has lifted my spirits when I’ve most needed it, and I’ve enjoyed sharing it with my friends and family.”
In B is for Beekeeping, Weiss uses each letter of the alphabet to teach a beekeeping term and idea, and each fascinating new fact is brought to life by a bright, playful illustration.
Perfect for parents, grandparents and teachers, B is for Beekeeping intends to encourage children to explore the “un-bee-lievable” world around them and to respect some of the smallest, but mightiest, creatures.
- A return to physical books. Lambda is able to accept physical submissions again! Physical copies are often easier on the eyes of judges and may be helpful for graphics-heavy categories such as Children's Books or Comics.
- Category updates. LGBTQ+ Children's and LGBTQ+ Middle Grade are now separate categories to allow for a judging criteria that respects the strengths of each category's formats. The LGBTQ Erotica category is now LGBTQ+ Romance and Erotica, to invite works of romance highlighting identities which do not fit within existing Lesbian and Gay Romance categories.
Wednesday, August 10, 2022
Today, SiriusXM and six-time GRAMMY® Award-winning singer-songwriter, producer, and #1 NY Times Bestselling author Brandi Carlile announced the launch of 'Brandi Carlile’s Somewhere Over the Radio,’ a monthly show available on The Spectrum (ch. 28). The show premieres Wednesday, August 10.
On the show, Carlile will curate the music, focusing on artists who are part of the LGBTQIA+ community and their allies. In the premiere episode, Carlile is joined by her wife Catherine Carlile to share music from artists like Tracy Chapman, Elton John, Antony And The Johnsons, Arlo Parks, Indigo Girls, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Dolly Parton, and more. Carlile will also share personal anecdotes between songs and engage in candid conversations with her guests.
“This show is about the impact that LGBTQIA + artists have made on the world, the spiritual realm, and certainly our family through the transcendence of music,” says Carlile. “Queer artists and pioneers have given my wife and I everything that we have including each other. Let's shine a little light on queer excellence today.”
Brandi Carlile’s Somewhere Over the Radio premieres August 10 with new episodes airing the first Wednesday of every month at 2 p.m. ET on The Spectrum.
EPA meets with partners in Aurora to usher in next generation of clean, zero- and low-emission school buses in Colorado
Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Deputy Administrator Janet McCabe and EPA Regional Administrator KC Becker met with partners at Aurora Public Schools’ Edna & John W. Mosley P-8 school to usher in the next generation of clean, zero- and low-emission school buses in Colorado. On May 20, EPA announced the availability of $500 million for school districts and other eligible school bus operators and contractors to begin replacing the nation’s fleet of school buses with clean, American-made, zero-emission buses. This $500 million represents the first round of funding out of the unprecedented $5 billion investment for low and zero-emission school buses over the next five years, secured through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. EPA is encouraging eligible applicants to apply for funding before the Friday, August 19, 2022 deadline.
EPA Deputy Administrator McCabe joined EPA Regional Administrator KC Becker, Governor Jared Polis, Aurora Public Schools, Chief of Staff Mark Seglem, Healthy Air and Water Colorado Senior Director Sabrina Pacha, Green Latinos Colorado State Program Director Ean Thomas Tafoya, and other essential partners at Edna & John W. Mosley P-8. Aurora Public Schools, a statewide and nationwide leader in transitioning its diesel-powered school bus fleet to zero- and low-emission school buses, demonstrated the use of a clean school bus to help encourage the adoption of clean school bus fleets throughout Colorado and across the Mountain West.
“The healthiest school bus is the one without a tailpipe,” said EPA Deputy Administrator Janet McCabe. “I applaud the State of Colorado for making clean school buses a priority and setting aside millions of dollars to help districts transition their fleets. Through our partnership with Colorado and funding made possible through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we can help every kid in Colorado have a healthy ride to school.”
“Electric school buses will help save schools across our state money, help clean our air and protect children's health and safety,” said Colorado Governor Jared Polis. “Our landmark clean air initiatives at the state level paired with the federal investments will help cut pollution and provide savings for schools and we encourage school districts across Colorado to take advantage of this opportunity to lower operating costs and reduce reliance on expensive diesel buses to free up more money for better teacher pay and smaller class size.”
“With the EPA’s recent proposal to downgrade Front Range communities to severe nonattainment in ozone and more than 1.3 million children in Colorado living in counties with unhealthy levels of ozone, these investments in clean buses could not come at a better time,” said Healthy Air and Water Colorado Senior Director Sabrina Pacha. “With cleaner and healthier electric school buses, we are taking a critical step in protecting our kid’s health.”
“We all have a right to clean air—the children, the drivers, and everyone else,” said Green Latinos Colorado State Program Director Ean Thomas Tafoya. “It is important that we advocate for our school districts to implement this new technology, and it is upon all of us to educate our communities about these programs. Let’s do it together!”
Gilead Sciences and a Coalition of LGBTQ+ and Human Rights-Focused Organizations Mobilize to Address Monkeypox Public Health Emergency
Gilead Sciences, Inc. (Nasdaq: GILD), GLAAD, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and NMAC today announced immediate action in response to the emerging monkeypox virus (MPV) outbreak, which is disproportionately impacting the LGBTQ+ community, particularly men who have sex with men (MSM), as well as those who are living with HIV. Gilead will provide up to $5 million in global grant funding to help support three areas of focus: a public education and vaccine hesitancy communications campaign, a public policy response and a global outbreak emergency fund.
The MPV outbreak was declared a public health emergency by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on August 4. A recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine looked at 528 MPV infections diagnosed between April 27 and June 24, at 43 sites in 16 countries. Of that group, 98% of the cases were among gay or bisexual men and 41% were living with HIV.
“Throughout our history, Gilead has worked to address critical public health challenges and healthcare disparities, particularly those faced by the LGBTQ+ community or impacted by the HIV epidemic,” said Deborah Telman, Executive Vice President, Corporate Affairs and General Counsel, Gilead Sciences. “Today we are proud to work with our longtime collaborators around the world to help meet the immediate needs of impacted communities and to help identify longer term solutions to this emerging crisis. At Gilead, we are also accelerating and expanding our early-stage antiviral drug screening program to identify new molecules for potential future treatment of MPV infection.”
Funding will help support three key areas of response.
Gilead’s Global Monkeypox Outbreak Emergency Fund will provide grants of up to $50,000 to existing grantee organizations working in regions with active MPV outbreaks to respond to this growing emergency. Funds may be used to cover expenses such as community mobilization activities specifically addressing MPV outbreak in communities disproportionately impacted by HIV, operating costs related to HIV testing and service interruptions and essential safety materials.
GLAAD, HRC, NBJC and NCLR will help continue to ensure that critical information about MPV reaches impacted communities. This comprehensive communications campaign will help LGBTQ+ people and people living with HIV receive accurate, accessible and targeted information so they are able to make informed decisions about how to prevent and treat MPV. Public education efforts from the national coalition will include creation of videos, graphics and other information resources focused on vaccines, prevention and treatment to be distributed to media, community centers and organizations, as well as organizers and managers of LGBTQ+ events and venues.
“As we saw with HIV, COVID-19, and now MPV, disinformation continues to challenge the LGBTQ+ community,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO, GLAAD. “This new collaboration will enable creating and distributing content and resources to help our community know the facts and to understand prevention and treatment for MPV. When communities receive accurate, timely information, they are empowered to take appropriate action, leading to long-lasting, positive health outcomes.”
“As MPV continues to impact our communities, we’re witnessing a concerning amount of misinformation and confusion,” said Joni Madison, Interim President, HRC. “That misinformation is especially harmful to BIPOC communities who historically are sidelined when it comes to equitable access to care and treatment. Over the past several weeks, we’ve also seen the LGBTQ+ community doing what we’ve always had to do: caring and advocating for each other. In the same vein, we look forward to working together with Gilead and other partner organizations to combat the stigma that prevents people from seeking the care they need.”
“The National Black Justice Coalition is excited to be a part of this coordinated effort to prevent the spread of MPV across the U.S., especially among the Black LGBTQ+/SGL community and people living with HIV/AIDS,” said David J. Johns, Ph.D., Executive Director, National Black Justice Coalition. “We have engaged with key decision-makers since the outbreak emerged to ensure our community is included, in non-stigmatizing ways, in public health campaigns, is educated about the dangers of this virus, and is connected to care. Responses must be democratized so information, testing and treatment resources reach people who have the greatest need and the fewest resources.”
“There has been a lack of accurate information about MPV and that has, and will continue to negatively and disproportionately hurt the health and well-being of the LGBTQ+ community, communities of color and people at the intersections of these underrepresented identities,” said Imani Rupert-Gordon, Executive Director, NCLR. “We are seeing the number of MPV cases across the country increase and our community expects and deserves access to education and resources to help combat the virus, and feel safe in their communities.”
NMAC will act as the policy response organizing center to help address policy issues related to HIV and MPV. Funding from Gilead will help NMAC inform public policy to drive a more comprehensive, swift and coordinated community response.
“NMAC is grateful to Gilead for their leadership on this critical issue,” said Paul Kawata, Executive Director, NMAC. “Through our extensive contacts at the federal level and with the support of our community partners, we will work with both the White House and Congress to provide the necessary resources to deal with this outbreak. Our top priorities will include making sure that vaccine access is equitable for all communities at risk and that any outreach plans will include ways to deal with vaccine hesitancy in a culturally competent way.”
Collaboration is crucial to support the sustainability of community partners and these groups will work together to monitor the evolving MPV landscape to impact response.