Thursday, May 28, 2020

PFLAG: Statement about the passing of Larry Kramer, LGBTQ rights activist

Yesterday, Larry Kramer passed away. Kramer was an award-winning playwright, author, filmmaker, and LGBTQ+ rights activist known for co-founding the Gay Men's Health Crisis and ACT UP. Brian K. Bond, Executive Director of PFLAG National issued the following statement:

"In his lifetime, Larry Kramer urged us forward, made us pay attention, and made us take action. His work turned the tide on the AIDS epidemic and forced the uncomfortable recognition that pandemic does not discriminate, people do. He helped raise awareness about HIV and AIDS, and demonstrated in no uncertain terms that the lives of LGBTQ+ people matter. As someone living with HIV, I am personally grateful for his voice.

At a time when we again face a public health crisis due to a pandemic, PFLAG turns to Larry's example of courage. We call on our leaders to take necessary steps that will save lives and protect all people. While Larry has passed on, his voice, his words, and his urgency to act live on."

OUT on DVD/Streaming: HOMOSAYWHAT

Craig Bettendorf, an LGBTQ+ activist, early signatory on the 1996 National Freedom to Marriage Resolution and author, has parlayed his unique perspective into a TV series, Treading Yesterday, and now a feature-length documentary. HOMOSAYWHAT explores the origins of homophobia against men that became institutionalized in the 1950s and how that continues to negatively affect all genders and sexualities to this day. The feature length documentary, which won awards at film festivals including South Texas Underground, Colorado International Activism and Queen City - will be out on DVD and Streaming on June 2.
 
Homophobia didn’t just happen. Orchestrated campaigns by cultural institutions and public figures have systemically instilled anti-LGBTQ prejudice into American culture by shaping public opinion.

In the 1960s, propaganda films warned parents of “predatory characters” at local parks under the guise of public service announcements. Anita Bryant’s Save Our Children campaign in the 70’s galvanized a coalition of conservative religious groups that spread the idea that sexual abnormalities would corrupt the nation and its children. The 80’s AIDS pandemic further exacerbated fears about homosexuality and “making fun” became a way to marginalize those who were different, which subsequently generated anger, fear, violence and even murder against targets deemed inferior.






Cones - Outside

 

Los Angeles-based Cones - a.k.a brothers Jonathan and Michael Rosen - released their debut album Pictures of Pictures at the end of 2019 on Dangerbird, and today they share their first new music of 2020. 

Outside” is a downtempo yet sunny meditation on feelings of isolation amidst quarantine, and feels like the soundtrack to a wonderfully simple day of lying on the grass, looking up at the sky. Its accompanying video--an interactive, 360-degree VR music video featuring coding and design by Michael and illustrations by Jonathan (who is known for his animated videos for Erykah Badu, Toro Y Moi, Eleanor Friedberger, Delicate Steve, and more)--perfectly captures those feelings. “Creating the video for ‘Outside’ was an exercise in escapism. We wanted to construct an absurd and colorful dream world that we could visit any time while stuck in our homes,” the brothers explain.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

+Life reacts to the passing of AIDS activist and playwright Larry Kramer

+Life, a platform dedicated to eliminating HIV stigma, and its co-founder entertainment correspondent and HIV advocate Karl Schmid, react to the passing of AIDS activist and playwright Larry Kramer:

“Before we could fight stigma, we had to fight to live. Larry Kramer gave the struggle a voice through written word and personal action. We are grateful for leaders like you who lit a path we will follow.”

Books: Reader Recipes: Chicago Cooks and Drinks at Home

The Chicago Reader has released its first cookbook, Reader Recipes: Chicago Cooks and Drinks at Home, with recipes from more than 90 of the city’s best chefs and bartenders.

Reader Recipes
features 80 recipes edited by longtime Reader food critic and senior writer Mike Sula and Reader coeditor-in-chief Karen Hawkins.

“The hospitality industry was the first to get clobbered by the COVID-19 pandemic, and it’s likely to be among the last to recover,” Sula writes in the introduction. “5.9 million industry employees lost their jobs the past two months, according to Restaurant Business, not including those working under the table, such as undocumented workers. Many chefs and bartenders pivoted to carryout and delivery service, mobilized around initiatives such as the Independent Restaurant Coalition, fed first responders and health-care workers. They kept cooking.”

Fifteen percent of the book’s sales will benefit Comp Tab Relief Fund, an alliance between Support Staff and Pilot Light Chefs to help hospitality workers laid-off or furloughed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The Reader lost 90 percent of its advertising when the cultural life force that is Chicago’s bar, restaurant, music, theatre, and cultural scenes closed,” says Reader publisher Tracy Baim. “When we started asking Chicago chefs and bartenders for help with this cookbook, they stepped up fast with 80 recipes that, in total, offer a picture of the breadth of culinary imagination in this town,” adds Sula.

The list of contributions reveals an all-star cast of talent from every corner of the city’s food scene, including Paul Kahan’s seared cabbage, Yolanda Castillo’s Belizean stewed chicken, Rick Bayless’s pork tinga, Bertha Garcia’s salsa verde, Tony Hu’s Special Dry Chili Chicken, Ethan Lim’s mom’s Cambodian Braised Pork Belly, Bellemore Chef Jimmy Papadopoulos’s Fire Bird chicken sandwich, the Eiffel Tower Soufflé from Everest’s legendary Jean Joho and Brian Bruns of Flat & Point sourdough recipe.

“There are also simpler, practical, comforting recipes designed to help one stretch something marvelous when the pantry is getting bare and you can’t go shopping, such as Lula pastry chef Emily Spurlin’s Desperate Times Pie, or the pimiento mac and cheese that Christine Cikowski and Josh Kulp serve at Honey Butter Fried Chicken, or Breakfast Queen Ina Pinkney’s Dense Flourless Bittersweet Chocolate Cake,” Sula says in the book’s introduction. “I bet food writer Dennis Lee’s Spam Bourbon Pate would be aces smeared over Young American Chef Nick Jirasek’s Ooohh Mami Cheese Crackers. Need a stiff drink, but you ran out of eggs? Shake up a vegan whiskey sour with leftover chickpea juice, from Koval Distillery’s Zach Overstreet.”

NMAC Statement on the Passing of Larry Kramer

Following is a statement from NMAC Executive Director Paul Kawata on the passing of Larry Kramer.

“I was a kid when I started in the HIV/AIDS movement in the 1980s. Larry Kramer changed my life. Larry’s writings moved me and inspired me to take action. When he said ‘if you’re not mad as hell right now, we’re in trouble,’ he motivated me. He was able to put in writing what I needed to hear in order to stand up and fight. It was okay for me to be part of something that was bigger than I was. And I thank him for that.”


“Larry has been a leader, a mentor, a friend, and a hero to me from the very start. His advocacy, his activism, and his unrelenting willingness to fight for what was right have inspired so many in the U.S. and around the world. His voice, so eloquent, so passionate, and so determined, whether when he was speaking or writing were unparalleled in their impact. And he maintained that spirit until the end. He will be deeply, deeply missed by all of us at NMAC, not just professionally but personally.”


Since 1987, NMAC has advanced their mission through a variety of programs and services, including: a public policy education program, national and regional training conferences, a treatment and research program, numerous electronic and print materials, and a website: www.nmac.org. NMAC also serves as an association of AIDS service organizations, providing valuable information to community-based organizations, hospitals, clinics, and other groups assisting individuals and families affected by the HIV epidemic.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

New Report and PBS Series Document LGBTQ Equality in the U.S. South

This year, history was made for LGBTQ equality in the U.S. South when Virginia became the first state in the region to pass comprehensive statewide nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people. But when comparing the South to the progress made for equality throughout the United States, a grim picture emerges. While more than one in three LGBTQ adults call the South home, the South is the most hostile LGBTQ state policy landscape in the country.
Today, the Movement Advancement Project (MAP) released a new report, LGBTQ Policy Spotlight: Mapping LGBTQ Equality in the U.S. South, which details how a dearth of progressive laws and policies in 14 Southern states has led to distinct challenges along with unique opportunities for advancing legal equality for LGBTQ people in the region.

Today’s report is released in partnership with PRIDELAND, a new one-hour PBS special and short-form digital series following host and actor Dyllón Burnside (from FX’s “Pose”) on a journey across the South. From a lesbian rodeo champ in Texas to an African American mayor ally in Alabama, Dyllón discovers how LGBTQ Americans are finding ways to live authentically and with pride in the modern South. 

LGBTQ Policy Spotlight: Mapping LGBTQ Equality in the U.S. South explores the LGBTQ policy landscape in the South in relation to the overall LGBTQ policy landscape for all U.S. states and five U.S. territories, based on a tallying of nearly 40 LGBTQ-related laws and policies. Of the 14 states examined in the South, all but one are ranked as either negative equality states (eight states) or low equality states (five states). This means that 93% of LGBTQ Southerners live in negative or low equality states. Only Virginia is ranked as a fair equality state, a development that occurred in the first months of 2020 and marking a potential beginning of change in the South.
Click here to view infographics from LGBTQ Policy Spotlight: Mapping LGBTQ Equality in the U.S. South.
The report offers both an analysis of key LGBTQ policy areas in the region today, and a retrospective look at overall changes among the states in the South since 2010.

Sea Girls - Do You Really Wanna Know?



The UK’s Sea Girls take you into their surreal world as they reveal the fun-fuelled animated video for their latest single “Do You Really Wanna Know?,” taken from their forthcoming debut album Open Up Your Head - out August 14 via Island Records.
The video, directed by world class animator Francesca de Bassa, takes the band’s own self isolated photography and brings them to life as kaleidoscopic, animated collages. What starts as an empty canvas soon turns into an absurd world swarming with anthropomorphic characters - a colorful and playful live concert of moving images where the lines between reality and fantasy blur.

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Colorado: Mental Health Month

Earlier this month, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention kicked-off the #RealConvo Challenge to draw attention to Mental Health Awareness Month and encourage others to have authentic conversations about their mental health. A recent survey revealed that even as people are experiencing anxiety and sadness more often now compared to before the coronavirus pandemic, Americans are talking more frequently about mental health (10% more now than before the pandemic).
 
This increase in honest conversations about mental health only helps the AFSP's mission of saving lives. That is why they challenge YOU to have a #RealConvo and encourage others to do the same! Simply follow the steps below:
  • First: have a #RealConvo about your mental health
  • Then, share your experience on social media and use #RealConvo
  • Finally, tag a friend in your post, encouraging them to do the same!

Monday, May 25, 2020

San Francisco Pride announces official Pride 50 Online Celebration

Last week, the Board of Directors of San Francisco Pride announced the official program for Pride 50, bringing the nation’s largest gathering of the LGBTQ+ community and allies completely online for its historic 50th anniversary.

Taking place Saturday and Sunday, June 27-28, 2020, the festivities will include live performances, speeches from LGBTQ+ elected officials and thought leaders, highlights of the accomplishments of Pride’s 2020 Community Grand Marshals and Honorees, conversations, reflections on 50 years of the Pride movement, and more, in a weekend-long tribute to LGBTQ+ luminaries and queer solidarity.

San Francisco Pride will also take part in Global Pride — a 24-hour, live-streamed festival uniting hundreds of Pride organizations from around the world — on Saturday, June 27. Led by Interpride, a collection of Pride organizers around the world, Global Pride will be an opportunity for the more than 350 Prides from around the world that have been cancelled or otherwise affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, allowing them to share individual messages of support and solidarity.

Pride is always a citywide effort, featuring events from supporting organizations and promoters, and this year is no different. SF Pride is glad to help bring awareness to events which are supporting Pride 50, such as Mayor London Breed’s Pride Kickoff (Friday, June 5), Frameline44 Pride Showcase (Thursday-Sunday, June 25-28), the Trans March 2020 (Friday, June 26), Openhouse’s LGBTQ+ Senior Prom (Friday, June 26), Gary Virginia and Donna Sachet’s Pride Brunch 2020 (Saturday, June 27), and Illuminate the Pink Triangle (Saturday, June 27). 

SF Pride is working to determine the streaming platform which will best elevate the voices of the San Francisco Bay Area LGBTQ+ communities and will be sharing those plans with the public soon.

“While this year’s landmark anniversary is very different from what we originally envisioned, we are grateful that we can share Pride 50 with our friends and allies around the world — and we know the world is turning to San Francisco,” said SF Pride Executive Director Fred Lopez. “Our online celebrations not only highlight the spirit of Pride but help us broaden our visibility as we continue to build solidarity in our LGBTQ+ communities during a time when we must be apart.”

“Pride is one of my favorite times of the year in San Francisco, and no one wants to celebrate with the entire community more than I do,” Mayor London N. Breed said. “However, we are in an unprecedented public-health emergency with an uncertain future, and we must do everything we can to protect our entire community and put public health first. The City will continue to work with SF Pride to celebrate everything Pride stands for in the weeks and months to come, and San Francisco will emerge from this pandemic stronger than ever."

“Our staff, board, production team, and partners have worked hard to bring new and creative ways to commemorate LGBTQ+ Pride,” adds San Francisco Pride Board President Carolyn Wysinger. “At a time when there is so much uncertainty, the Pride 50 online events have the potential to touch millions of lives, providing joyful inspiration and highlighting the resilience in our communities.”

Frameline wishes San Francisco Pride a happy 50th birthday,” said the LGBTQ film festival’s Executive Director James Woolley. “Frameline will be celebrating Pride with a major virtual event, the Frameline44 Pride Showcase. We’ll be hosting four days of brand new feature films, documentaries, and even some of our signature shorts programs — all available for screening at home, June 25–28.”

For decades, San Francisco Pride’s Parade and two-day Celebration have brought hundreds of thousands of LGBTQ+ revelers and allies to Downtown San Francisco. As 2020 is a historic 50th anniversary, upward of a million people were expected to attend. Though the COVID-19 pandemic has brought these festivities online, an even larger global audience can now experience the celebrations from the world leader in the Pride movement from the safety and comfort of their own homes. 

Censored 'God’s Own Country' Scenes Available FREE for One Week at MrMan.com

Mr. Man, the Number One Authority on Male Celebrity Nudity, is reminding cinema buffs that if they want to enjoy the controversial censored-on-Amazon-Prime sex scenes from 2017’s gay romance God’s Own Country, MrMan.com is offering up every steamy moment for FREE with a 7-Day trial.

God's Own Country is one of the best gay films of the last decade, and Mr. Man has all of the scenes that Amazon Prime is neglecting to show,” says a company rep, “so we are giving viewers a free week of MrMan.com to anyone who wants to see them.”

The critically-acclaimed, award-winning British drama from director Francis Lee about a love affair between a young farmer and a Romanian migrant, is already a beloved fan favorite at Mr. Man, having earned a 2018 ‘Manatomy’ Award for Best Gay Scene.

God’s Own Country’s steamy stars Alec Secareanu and Josh O'Connor “engage in multiple hot scenes that show their naked bodies and their passion… unfortunately, the version streaming on Amazon Prime was censored by the film’s U.S. distributor, Samuel Goldwyn Films.

“If you're feeling robbed of the very essence of the movie after renting on Amazon Prime, come see the uncensored and uncut scenes at MrMan.com. Censorship is always unacceptable any time but the fact that it's happening two weeks before Pride Month serves as a reminder of why we still need to have Pride month"

OUT on DVD/VOD: Pornstar Pandemic: The Guys

 

Breaking Glass Pictures has acquired Worldwide rights to the documentary “Pornstar Pandemic: The Guys”, an intimate examination of LGBTQ adult actors and their lives during the COVID-19 quarantine. Directed by adult director Edward “EJ” James, and executive produced by Breaking Glass CEO Rich Wolff, Pornstar Pandemic: The Guys will arrive July 28 on DVD and all major VOD platforms.

The entire world is shut down due to Cover-19. The adult film industry is closed for an indefinite time period and its actors, directors and production staffs are left idle. Adult film director and producer Edward James “EJ” and independent film distributor Rich Wolff decide to make a documentary based on what adult entertainers do when they are not in front of the camera. Pornstar Pandemic investigates the daily lives and routines of some of gay porn’s biggest and newest names, covering all angles of the gay porn scene from gay to bi-sexual to gay for pay.

“The impetus behind this documentary was the fact that audiences rarely see behind-the-scenes of what adult performers do when they are not in front of the camera”, said EJ. “Their lives are often more similar to the average person than many think, and we wanted to explore that, especially during our current situation. We’re all in this together, and it’s important to highlight that fact.”

Pornstar Pandemic: The Guys features three of the top adult stars in the industry, quarantined and living their lives in stasis. Follow along with Dante Colle, Pierce Paris, DeAngelo Jackson, as well as two newcomers (no pun intended) Elijah Wilde and Jack Loft. The doc features the actors during their daily activities, along with their personal thoughts on the current state of the industry and their own roles in it, how the shutdown has affected their lives and livelihood, and what’s next once everyone can return to work.

“I was curious what other industries looked like during the shutdown”, said Wolff. “One night, EJ and I were catching up, and I asked what his talent was up to while their business was more or less closed. We ultimately decided to find out.”

One Colorado: Mental Health Awareness

By Marvyn Allen (he/him & they/them), Health Equity and Training Director, One Colorado

All month long, One Colorado and so many of our partners have been talking about mental health awareness. For LGBTQ Coloradans, who are diagnosed with anxiety and depression at rates three times higher than the general population, mental health and access to care is especially important. Lesbian, gay, and bisexual people also contemplate suicide at rates three times higher than the general public (Closing the Gap: The Turning Point for LGBTQ Health). These disparities in mental health outcomes are the result of barriers, harassment, and discrimination faced by members of our community. Transgender people, non-binary people, and people of color face additional barriers and added layers of discrimination due to transphobia and racism.

LGBTQ Coloradans face additional barriers to accessing mental healthcare, as well as, higher rates of harassment and discrimination when compared to the general population. In Closing the Gap, 61% of transgender folks reported experiencing verbal harassment motivated by transphobia. In 2019, at least 26 transgender and gender-nonconforming people were killed in the United States, and a majority of these murders were of Black transgender women (Human Rights Campaign).

Even during a global pandemic, the Trump administration threatens to remove nondiscrimination protections from the Affordable Care Act. The ACA expanded healthcare to many people who did not have coverage before and gender-affirming care options for transgender and non-binary Coloradans. The proposed changes would eliminate protections against discrimination based on transgender status and sex stereotyping. Although Colorado laws will still protect LGBTQ people in our state, on May 6, 2020, One Colorado and our partners at the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition met with the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs and asked them to withdraw this proposed rule.

One Colorado stands with the most vulnerable in the LGBTQ community to fight transphobia and racism. Health equity for our all LGBTQ Coloradans means ending the disparities that exist within our own community. Please take a look at the resources listed below and reach out if you could use support. We hope you continue to engage with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to hear stories from around the state and share with us.

Honoring LGBTQ+ in the Military

GayTravel.com wants to pay respect and gratitude to those who made the ultimate sacrifice, especially those who were not able to express their true selves.

If you are an LGBTQ+ service member, GayTravel would be honored to see your photos and hear your story so that they may share them with others. Please email info@gaytravel.com.