Tuesday, October 8, 2019

DNC: We Support LGBTQ Workers

DNC Chair Tom Perez, DNC LGBTQ Caucus Chair Earl Fowlkes, and AFT President Randi Weingarten released the following statement as the U.S. Supreme Court hears oral arguments in Bostock v. Clayton County and R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes Inc. v. EEOC:

“No one should be denied the dignity of work because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Every day, in states across the country, many LGBTQ workers still face the prospect of being fired simply because of who they are. The Democratic Party will not stand for such discrimination. As Donald Trump and his Republican allies try to roll back the progress we’ve made on LGBTQ rights, Democrats will keep fighting tooth and nail to expand opportunity and promote full equality for LGTBQ people in all aspects of our society.”

LGBT discrimination cases at the Supreme Court: What’s at stake?

Today, October 8th, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear three cases that have the potential to drastically change the status of LGBT equality in the United States. We’re grateful to our legal advocates at the ACLU and Lambda Legal for all they’re doing to prepare for the arguments and to defend vital legal protections for LGBT workers.

What's at stake?

On face value, these cases are about whether companies can legally fire someone for being LGBT. And that’s shocking enough. But on a deeper level, the cases are about whether LGBT people will have equal opportunity or whether they may be treated as inferior citizens throughout all aspects of daily life.

These three cases will determine whether LGBT people will continue to have protections under federal nondiscrimination law, or whether it will be legal under federal law for employers to fire someone simply for being LGBT. If the Court rules that LGBT people are not protected by existing federal workplace protections, anti-LGBT opponents will rapidly use the same legal reasoning to work to attempt to overturn critical federal protections in housing, healthcare, credit, education, and more.

In short, LGBT people could soon find themselves living in a nation where federal law says it is legal for them to be denied a job, fired, discriminated against at school, denied a loan, rejected by a doctor, and evicted from an apartment, simply because they are LGBT.

The infographic below from Movement Advancement Project (MAP) ia a helpful tool to understand the “domino” effect of a loss, where protections not only in employment, but in healthcare, education, housing, and credit could be at risk.

Supreme Court Case on Anti-LGBTIQ Discrimination to Have International Implications

On October 8, 2019, the Supreme Court of the United States of America will begin hearing arguments in a case which will determine whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that prohibits workplace discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin and religion, applies to cases of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

The question in front of the justices is whether discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity is a form of sex discrimination and therefore prohibited by the Civil Rights Act. This is a landmark case for the USA, where more than half the states (26 in total) do not have explicit protection against discrimination for LGBTIQ people. It marks the first time the Supreme Court will hear a civil rights case concerning the rights of trans people, and comes at a time when the Trump administration has rolled back numerous advances in the protection of particularly trans people made under the Obama Administration. In relation to this case, the Justice Department under the Trump administration has stated that Title VII doesn’t cover discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Jessica Stern, Executive Director of OutRight International comments, “LGBTIQ people face discrimination on a day to day basis, including in the workplace. Hopefully the Supreme Court will confirm this basic protection for everyone, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, across the US. But the decision - positive or negative - will have reverberations beyond US borders. Governments and movements are inspired by each other, and landmark judgments are quoted by courts across the world. The decision the Supreme Court makes in this case will have implications for LGBTIQ people everywhere.”

Monday, October 7, 2019

Transgender Love Story Wins Audience Choice Award at CIFF

The short documentary film Just Another Beautiful Family won the Audience Choice Award at the Calgary International Film Festival on Wednesday, October 2nd. The film follows Katherine and Nick North's own family of 7, which on the surface looks like a typical suburban family, with a twist: Nick is transgender.

"Our goal is to show people an example of what a happy, loving family looks like with queer parents," says Nick North, who co-wrote, co-directed, and co-produced the film with his wife, Katherine North. "As cool as it is for us to win this award, I actually think it's a sign of progress for all of us. Three years ago when I came out, I don't know that a trans film would have been this loved and accepted. We wanted to show everyone that there are so many kinds of beautiful families."

The film's synopsis reads: Just an ordinary suburban family-- except that Dad's transgender, Mom's queer, and there are five kids in this minivan. This is one family's true story of identity, trust, and transformation. Too many transgender kids wonder: Will I be loved? Will I get to have a family? Will it all be ok? Here's the answer: a love story about family, finding your true self, and becoming who you really are.

Just Another Beautiful Family premiered as part of the Alberta Shorts program at Calgary International Film Festival, and is now available in full online. This film was made possible with support from TELUS STORYHIVE.

Denver Named one of WalletHub's Best Foodie Cities in America

Source: WalletHub
With Oct. 16 being World Food Day and restaurant prices rising 3.2% between July 2018 and July 2019, the personal-finance website WalletHub today released its report on 2019’s Best Foodie Cities in America as well as accompanying videos.

To determine the best and cheapest local foodie scenes, WalletHub compared more than 180 of the largest U.S. cities across 30 key metrics. The data set ranges from affordability and accessibility of high-quality restaurants to food festivals per capita to craft breweries and wineries per capita.

FAZE - Magic

Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter FAZE unveils the music video for his new single “Magic”.

FAZE wanted to create a visual world that effortlessly translated what the song is about “feeling sexy and feeling magical” so he enlisted the help of special effects artist John Huffnagle along with director Thom Trail and the result moves you through a mystical, fashion forward performance that feels otherworldly.

“Filming the music video for my debut single “Magic” was honestly an amazing experience and I was definitely feeling the magic all day long. It was my first official video shoot so it’s super exciting to watch all my hard work come to fruition and see my dreams realized,” says FAZE of the stunning visual. “I had some really amazing background dancers, one of whom is my great friend Jozef who is also one of the writers on my EP “Eclipse”. My mom and sister were there along with some of my other really close friends so it made the experience even greater for me. I had some out of this world lighting - and some dope fashion that we pulled as well.”

“Magic” marks the first glimpse into FAZE’s debut EP, Eclipse, due in November. The track was written by FAZE and Jozef and produced by Dan and Tom Glashausser (aka Glashaus, a duo known for their work with artists like Moxie Raia).

New Research Says Coming Out at Work Improves Well-Being

Being open about your sexual orientation in the workplace is beneficial to your overall well-being, according to new research from Rice University.

"Opening up about your sexuality at work is a very real fear for many LGBTQ+ Americans, no doubt due to the fact that individuals have been fired for coming out in the workplace," said Eden King, an associate professor of psychological science at Rice and one of the study authors. "In fact, the U.S. Supreme Court is debating this week whether or not you can be fired for being gay. The topic is very timely and we were interested in how concealing or revealing this information can impact your health and well-being."

"Affective Antecedents and Consequences of Revealing and Concealing a Lesbian, Gay or Bisexual Identity" will appear in an upcoming edition of the Journal of Applied Psychology. The research, which builds on previous work examining the impact of revealing stigmatized identities in the workplace, specifically focuses on lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals and how the revelation of a person's sexuality affects their well-being.

The study included 61 lesbian, gay and bisexual participants from varied racial backgrounds who worked full-time in the Washington, D.C., region and had held their jobs for no more than 12 months.

"We focused on new employees because we figured they would have more opportunities to come out to peers than individuals who had been in the organization for a while," King said.

The people participating in the study answered surveys that included a variety of questions evaluating their level of "outness" and their emotions, such as anxiety, anger and fatigue. Participants responded to surveys about their feelings every morning for three weeks. In addition, they filled out similar surveys every time they made decisions about whether to reveal or conceal their sexual orientation at work.

The researchers found new employees who concealed their sexual orientation felt increased levels of anxiety, anger and fatigue and decreased levels of vigor and self-assurance.

"It is important that lesbian, gay and bisexual people reported the immediate emotional effects of concealing their identity," King said. "If these negative feelings build up over time, it could have significant implications for lesbian, gay and bisexual workers’ mental health."

Jonathan Mohr from the University of Maryland was the study's lead author. Co-authors include Hannah Markell of George Mason University, Kristen Jones of the University of Memphis, Chad Peddie of ECS Federal and Matthew Kendra of Stanford University.

The study was funded by the American Psychological Foundation.

Is it legal to fire someone for being gay or transgender?

By Team One Colorado: Daniel, Sheena, Garrett, Sarah, Jordan, Mikayla, Heidi, Kris

Aimee Stephens never saw how her colleagues at work would react to her gender transition. The owner of the funeral home where she worked fired her first.

Gerald Bostock claims everything was fine in his job as a social worker in Georgia until he joined a gay softball league. Then came the pink slip.

For skydiving instructor Donald Zarda, the termination came after the routine way he joked with a woman when the two had been strapped together shoulder-to-shoulder and hip-to-hip for a tandem jump. Something along the lines of, “Don’t worry, I’m gay.”

The three present the Supreme Court with a blockbuster question at the start of its new term: Is it legal to fire someone for being gay or transgender?

Join us on the West Steps of the Colorado State Capitol today, Monday, October 7th at 1:00 PM to stand in solidarity with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) workers.

Imagine being married on Sunday, putting a wedding photo of you and your spouse on your desk on Monday, and then being fired on Tuesday. This is a troubling reality for more the 44% of LGBTQ Americans - that’s 4.1 million people - that live and work in 29 states without employment non-discrimination laws protecting them from being unfairly fired, not hired, discriminated against or harassed in the workplace by employers on the basis of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.

Can't join us in person? Sign and share this petition telling the Supreme Court that it's not okay to fire someone simply because of who they love of how they identify. PETITION: https://onecolorado.salsalabs.org/titlevii

The law is on our side. Many federal courts and agencies have long held that firing someone simply for being transgender, gay, lesbian, or bisexual is unlawful sex discrimination. The Supreme Court must uphold these protections.

Friday, October 4, 2019

+Life reacts to Cardi B's anti-AIDS language

Newly launched digital content brand +Life, with the mission of ending the stigma of being HIV+, reacts to Cardi B’s disparaging use of AIDS as an insult:

They share on Facebook: Cardi B we love you & your outspokenness. PLEASE be careful throwing around “AIDS” or “HIV.” The stigma is real. HIV rates are on the rise with black, brown and trans Americans, and stigma plays a big part in that. Together we can fight to #EndHIVstigma but it starts with love and understanding‬.

Captains ready for season opener at HSBC USA Women's Sevens

The 12 captains of the HSBC World Rugby Women's Sevens Series convened at the Four Mile Historic Park in Glendale, Colorado ahead of the HSBC USA Women's Sevens, taking place at Infinity Park on 5-6 October.

The teams are preparing for their first tournament of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2020 and it marks the start of the Olympic season for rugby sevens as the sport prepares to make its second appearance on the Olympic Games programme in Tokyo next summer.

The HSBC USA Women’s Sevens tournament was first introduced in 2018 and is now one of eight tournaments on the women’s series – a record number for the women’s competition – with six of those combined with men’s events.

The men's and women's USA teams both finished second on the 2019 series and rugby is growing in popularity at a rapid rate in the States. Independent Nielsen research has found USA to have the highest proportion of rugby fans worldwide with more than 33 million people who are either ‘interested or very interested’ in the sport, demonstrating the huge potential for the growth of rugby in the USA.

The Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018, which was hosted in San Francisco, saw more than 100,000 fans attend the three-day event at AT&T Park, setting a new attendance record for a rugby event held in the USA.

2019 was a hugely competitive season on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series with New Zealand taking the world series title and the top four teams also earning automatic qualification to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

New Zealand, USA, Australia and Canada will be joined in Tokyo by Japan, Brazil and Great Britain after the latter two secured spots through the regional qualification process over the summer.

With the increased schedule and with the Olympics on the horizon too, the defending champions’ captain Sarah Hirini cannot wait to get started: "This weekend is going to be massive for every country. It’s about starting the season off on a high, making sure that your pre-season went really well and I’m just hugely excited to be getting to play alongside the girls again."

"We know that our success last year was last year and that we can’t fall back on what we’ve previously done," she added.

"We know that teams are coming out here and wanting to win here in Colorado and we want to make sure that we’re doing everything that we can to try and beat them."

New Zealand will face England, Russia and invitational team Japan in Pool A.

Pool B sees the hosts USA and France paired with Ireland and the new core team for 2020, Brazil.

Appointed as co-captain alongside Lauren Doyle for the 2020 season, Abby Gustaitis said: “We’re hoping for a medal performance and to build on the foundation that we set last year and just keep improving tournament by tournament."

Many of the teams have incorporated altitude training into their preparation for Glendale, with Gustaitis adding: “We spent a few days up in Breckenridge up in the mountains which is at about 9,600 feet elevation and we ran a couple of clinics for youth rugby and then got to Glendale Monday afternoon where we hit the ground running with our training – we’re excited for the tournament.”

Brazil captain Raquel Kochhann shared: "We are so excited to show to the whole world what we have been doing in training and our hard work in Brazil to show our best on the world series."

Elsewhere, the bronze medalists in Glendale last year, Canada will tackle Australia, Spain and Fiji in Pool C.

The action gets underway at Infinity Park at 09:53 local time (GMT-6) on Saturday with Australia against Spain in the opening pool game.

Mika Releases First Full Length Album in Five Years Today

My Name Is Michael Holbrook, the new album from global pop superstar MIKA, is out today via Republic Records. Listen HERE. This is the fifth studio album from the platinum-selling artist, dubbed a “Playful yet provocative alt-pop sensation” by EDGE.

MIKA also premieres new video, “Sanremo,” today. Set in the 1950’s, the video represents “an era when homosexuality if not illegal was socially unacceptable, a time of discrimination and persecution. “San Remo” represents his utopian dream, a fictional place of liberation and transcendence,” says director, WIZ. 


“This album has been a rich and intense journey. Inspired by life in all its glory and all its dark challenges. It’s also inspired by love. Starting with an idea that was born in a cemetery in Savannah Georgia and ending the writing in a 650 yr old farm house in Italy. My intention was to write about life as it happened. A sort of album made in ‘real time,’” MIKA says. “It’s an explosion of joy, colour and emotion even though it was born in one of the most challenging periods for my family and I. Writing and recording this album was a form of medicine for me and my family. It is so deeply personal but also universal. I have come to realize that the only thing that matters in life are the people we love and the stories we tell. This album is dedicated to those people I love and to the notion that although we all hopefully grow with age, we should do so without losing our colors, our warmth or whimsy. I hope my “Tiny Love” stories somehow touch you or transport you, even just for an instant.”

MIKA is fresh off the heels of a sold-out tour across North America, including stops at Brooklyn Steel in New York City and The Theatre at Ace Hotel in Los Angeles. A European run of arenas and stadiums kicks off next month, with more North American dates to be announced.

For his first full length in five years, MIKA explores his American heritage. While his tumultuous childhood began in Lebanon before fleeing to Paris and then London, he focuses the album on the roots he traces back to his father’s Savannah, Georgia upbringing. The work also paints a loving picture of his relationship with his mother, the woman who trained him, made his wardrobe for years on the road and most importantly taught him never to follow and always to express himself fearlessly. After writing in home studios in Miami and Tuscany over the course of two years, MIKA went to Brussels to record with producers Marc Crew and Dan Priddy.

Born Michael Holbrook Penniman Jr. in 1983 as the third of five children, MIKA started vocal lessons at seven years old. Learning to play piano and write songs while showing otherworldly vocal range, MIKA quickly became a young virtuoso. MIKA’s musical success began with the release of his hit single, “Grace Kelly.” The single was featured on his debut album, Life In Cartoon Motion, which went straight to #1 in the UK and 11 other countries, going on to sell over seven million copies worldwide. Since his debut he has released three other Platinum selling full length albums, The Boy Who Knew Too Much, The Origin of Love, and No Place In Heaven. In addition, MIKA has not only won a Brit Award for British Breakthrough Act, but he has also been nominated for Grammys, MTV Europe Music Awards, Capital Radio Awards and World Music Awards. Additionally, his RA12 primetime variety show “Stasera Casa Mika” won the prestigious Rose D’or Award for Best Entertainment Series in 2017. Furthermore, he has been a judge on France’s The Voice for six years and hosts his own BBC2 Radio show “The Art of Song.”

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Make a Recommendation for the 2019 Gay Travel Awards

It's almost time for Gay Travel Awards season. And as the 2019 awards are fast approaching, GayTravel.com wanted to give us all a chance to recommend our favorites for consideration, as well as suggest any new categories.

Ian Aber Releases Debut Comedy Album 'Night Sugar'

Ian Aber, the award-winning Atlanta based comedian well known as a national finalist on the hit reality competition series StandUp NBC yesterday released his first-ever studio album “Night Sugar” through RadLand Records. “Night Sugar” was recorded at the renowned Rot Knee Presents Comedy at Star Bar, one of the best and longest-running shows in the Southeast and perhaps the country. The album is now available on iTunes and amazon.com and precursors Aber’s national tour scheduled for the Winter of 2020.

In “Night Sugar” Ian creates an intimate evening of comedy where he takes the listener on a wild ride through the playful and often satirical outsider lens in which he views the world. Weaving between quick-paced jokes and passionate storytelling, Ian shares his struggles with body image, being an open queer person for over 30 years and the travails of being older in a youth-obsessed culture and industry. A child of a Chilean immigrant, Ian highlights the diversity, humanity, and humor in being part of a multicultural family.

PEOPLE Exclusive: Kim Petras Opens Up About How Bullies — and Childhood Idols — Prepared Her for Pop Stardom

Kim Petras is making her pop dreams come true — on her own terms.

Born and raised in Cologne, Germany, the singer-songwriter has been pursuing pop stardom since she was a teen. An unabashed fan of the divas, from Madonna to Minogue, Petras started writing songs in her bedroom at age 13. She moved to Los Angeles to chase a career in music at 19. And in the years since, Petras has slowly built a committed, cult following thanks to pure pop bops like "I Don't Want It At All" and "Heart to Break."

Pop music has always been important to Petras, long before it became her profession.

“It means everything to me. When I was a kid, I used to not really have friends in school. I hated going to school — I got bullied pretty bad,” says Petras, who underwent gender-confirmation surgery at 16. “I used to run home from school and watch Gwen Stefani music videos, and I felt like I could escape my problems with that.”

Now, the nascent star is providing her own growing fanbase with a similar respite from reality.

This summer, she released her first LP Clarity, which evokes the ’90s and 2000s pop of her childhood idols on standouts like "Icy," "Personal Hell"and "Sweet Spot." And she’s about to hit the road for The Clarity Tour, on which she’ll perform tracks from her debut album and the sexy Turn the Light Off, a 19-song, Halloween-themed dance project she released on Tuesday.

“For me this is definitely just the start,” says Petras, 27.
PEOPLE caught up with the performer about her long rise to stardom, how pop music changed her life and why she refuses to be defined by her gender identity.

One Colorado Announces 2019-2020 GSA Leadership Council Members

Our Council members learned to trust each other as they had to cross the "Chocolate River".
By Jordan Anthony, Youth Program Coordinator, One Colorado

I am excited to introduce the 2019-2020 One Colorado GSA Leadership Council. This council is composed of young advocates from across the state of Colorado who are fired up to fight for safe schools and LGBTQ equity for all students in Colorado. Get to know these fearless leaders here.

And, this council needs your help.

The power and capacity of youth must be at the center of our work. Without the novel and powerful insights of our young leaders, any solution or remedy we try to bring will not fit into their own experiences. As adults who wish to see young LGBTQ folk thrive, we do our youth a disservice if we do not consider them fully capable of creating their own solutions to the marginalization and discrimination they can face in school.

Why am I telling you this?

I am calling on you to support One Colorado in our work with our GSA Leadership Council. That same commitment to equity that we want to inspire in our youth is what drives us to do this work. Become a member of the Centennial Club today. Your support grows our programming, like helping to sponsor our GSA leadership council retreat, where Councilmembers are given skills development and resources to aid in their growth as an effective leader.

Have you done your part to support the movement for safe schools? Donate today!

It has never been easier to change the future. All we have to do is support our young leaders as they do what they do best: make waves and make a difference.