Tuesday, May 23, 2023

HRC Joins Equality Florida In Issuing Updated Florida Travel Advisory

In the wake of Florida’s most anti-LGBTQ legislative session in history, Equality Florida and the Human Rights Campaign have issued an updated travel advisory that details risks associated with relocation or travel to the state. In all, six anti-LGBTQ bills were passed and nearly all have been signed by Governor DeSantis. While not a blanket recommendation against travel nor a call for boycott, the travel advisory outlines the devastating impacts of laws that are hostile to the LGBTQ community, restrict access to reproductive health care, repeal gun safety policies, foment racial prejudice, and attack public education by banning books and censoring curriculum in order that prospective travelers or residents can make the best decisions for themselves and their families.

The updated travel advisory comes days after similar notices were released by national civil rights organizations NAACP and LULAC. The groups warn of Florida’s “open hostility” toward the African American and Latino communities in the wake of laws signed by Governor DeSantis that censor the accurate teaching of American history, defund diversity, equity, and inclusion programs on campuses, propel bans on books about historical Black figures, target immigrants, and foment racist hate. The Florida Immigrant Coalition also released an advisory warning of the risks associated with relocation or travel to Florida in April.

“Because of Ron DeSantis and his frenzied appeal to extremists, LGBTQ+ people in Florida are finding themselves in a state of emergency every single day. Since the day he took office, Governor DeSantis has weaponized his position to weave bigotry, hate, and discrimination into public law for his own political gain. We see it as our duty to join Equality Florida -- and LULAC and the NAACP -- to provide guidance to our community," said Kelley Robinson, President of the Human Rights Campaign. "Those who visit must join us in their vocal opposition to these dangerous policies. Those who pick another place to work, to go to school or to spend their vacation should make clear why they're not heading to Florida. And to all of our friends and family in Florida, we stand with you and with Equality Florida -- we'll keep working hard to make Florida feel more like the home you deserve it to be.”

Nadine Smith, Equality Florida Executive Director, called on Floridians and those across the country to unite and push back against the alarming rise of Governor DeSantis' right-wing extremism.

“Governor Ron DeSantis has inflicted deep and lasting damage upon our state, eroding the fundamental rights of our residents and visitors while exploiting the word ‘free’ as a hollow campaign slogan,” said Smith. “In free states, books are not banned, history remains uncensored, and healthcare is not criminalized. As a parent, I empathize with every family forced to leave Florida in search of accessible healthcare and inclusive schools for their children. But everyday, I see more and more parents stepping forward to defend their children, their neighbors, their schools, and their communities from these relentless attacks.

Equality Florida stands steadfast on the frontlines, resolute in our commitment to create an inclusive and secure Florida that embraces and safeguards the rights of all residents.

If you come to Florida, join us in this fight. If you decide to leave or avoid the state, don’t abandon this fight. Florida is the frontline but this is a national battle for freedom.”

Updates to the advisory include details about expanded anti-LGBTQ restrictions in health care and education, following the signing of laws that expand Don’t Say LGBTQ through eight grade (with Department of Education policy that expands those provisions to all grades), escalate book banning, threaten child custody agreements, and cut off care for a vast majority of transgender people in the state. The “Physicians Only” provision of SB 254 prohibits nurse practitioners and physician assistants from providing gender-affirming care to transgender adults, disrupting the health care of an estimated 80%+ of transgender patients at clinics statewide. In the immediate wake of the law’s signing, transgender Floridians began receiving notice that their care was being temporarily or permanently suspended.

The advisory also notes the signing of Florida’s anti-trans bathroom law, a policy that will ban transgender people from using restrooms and changing facilities that align with how they live their lives in publicly-owned or leased buildings, which includes airports, government buildings, convention centers, parks, school campuses and stadiums. That law, which takes effect July 1, will subject visitors and residents alike to criminal penalties for refusing to leave a restroom when asked.

While these laws will be enforced statewide, local business and government leaders are working to mitigate the harms. Those planning major events in the state are actively working to ensure adequate restroom capacity, provide information for attendees to support local pro-equality businesses, and mobilize their networks to be part of the solution in Florida. Local government leaders have begun meeting with Equality Florida and other groups to form LGBTQ task forces and discuss local policy and resource options to protect the community from the most damaging consequences of these laws. In defiance of DeSantis’ intimidation attempts, St. Pete Pride and city leaders have announced that their events will continue as planned and Come Out With Pride Orlando released their official event date. We encourage those interested in supporting the community to buy from or nominate a pro-equality business via the OpenDoors Florida directory.

The updated advisory can be found here.

HRC: Weekly Roundup of Anti-LGBTQ+ Legislation Advancing In States Across the Country

As extremist lawmakers in state houses across the country continue advancing a record-breaking number of anti-LGBTQ+ bills in state legislatures, the Human Rights Campaign — the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization — is providing the below snapshot (updated weekly) to illustrate the hostile legislative climate facing LGBTQ+ people, and the scale and scope with which the ongoing legislative assault is being waged.  

This weaponization of public policy has been driven by extremist groups that have a long history of working to oppress the existence and rights of LGBTQ+ people. Several of these organizations have been deemed hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center, such as the Alliance Defending Freedom and the Family Research Council.  

Year-to-Date Snapshot: 2023 Anti-LGBTQ+ State Legislative Activity  

  • Over 520 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been introduced in state legislatures, a record;
  • Over 220 bills specifically target transgender and non-binary people, also a record; and 
  • A record 70 anti-LGBTQ laws have been enacted so far this year, including:
    • Laws banning gender affirming care for transgender youth: 15
    • Laws requiring or allowing misgendering of transgender students: 7
    • Laws targeting drag performances: 2
    • Laws creating a license to discriminate: 3
    • Laws censoring school curriculum, including books: 4 

Notable 2023 Trends & Topline Analysis 

  • There have been more anti-LGBTQ+ bills introduced in state houses this year than in each of the previous five years; with the increase in LGBTQ Erasure bills, bills that strip away dozens of legal protections and rights for LGBTQ+ people, coming as the newest form of attacks on the community 
  • More than 125 bills would prevent trans youth from being able to access age-appropriate, medically-necessary, best-practice health care, in addition to more than 45 bills banning transgender students from playing school sports and more than 30 “bathroom bills,” a figure that exceeds the number bathroom bills filed in any previous year. 
  • Some states that have been the most aggressive in advancing anti-LGBTQ+ laws include Florida,  North DakotaTennessee, and Texas

BENEE and Youthline New Zealand Unveil "Bagels": A Song to Ease Anxious Thoughts and Support Youth Mental Health

Alt-pop musician BENEE has collaborated with New Zealand mental health charity Youthline and leading neuroscientists on a new single, “Bagels,” scientifically designed to help reduce anxious feelings.

Written and produced specifically to support young peoples’ mental wellbeing, “Bagels” uses musical elements identified by Auckland University of Technology (AUT) neuroscientists to relax the nervous system, modify brain activity and ease feelings of anxiousness.

Neurological testing on teenagers and young adults found listening to “Bagels” lowered levels of “state anxiety,” which is the type of short-term anxiety experienced in stressful situations. The track also calmed brain activity in the frontal and parietal lobes – the areas often associated with regulating emotions and the fight or flight stress response.

As a big believer in using music to cope with her mental health challenges, BENEE was excited to work with producer Josh Fountain and AUT scientists to learn about why music impacts anxiety.

BENEE says, “I’ve always seen music as a kind of therapy, but it was fascinating to learn why certain sounds move your mood. ‘Bagels’ was a totally different creative process for us: every aspect, from the beat, the natural soundscape and harmonies, to the subtle message in my lyrics, ‘you are not alone,’ is designed to take away feelings of anxiousness.”

She continues, “I’ve huge respect for Youthline’s work, so it’s been awesome to partner on this track, to show young people that it’s ok to talk about mental health, and to provide them with another tool to try when stressed. We all need to find what helps us, and one way I find calm is swimming at the beach and having a bagel – I’ve made a nod to this in the song, and obviously its title ‘Bagels.’”

As well as advising on the musical principles behind “Bagels,” AUT Associate Professors Daniel Shepherd and Mangor Pedersen designed tests to measure the song’s impact on anxious feelings. Using electroencephalogram (EEG) imaging of brain activity, their research found “Bagels” was the most effective in easing anxious feelings and relaxing the brain of all music tested.

Associate Professor Shepherd says, “Our testing of ‘Bagels’ shows its effectiveness for managing anxious thoughts and shifting young peoples’ bodies and brains into a significantly calmer state, shown through their lower heart rate, patterns of brain activity, and reduced perspiration.”

“I’ve studied the psychological effects of music for 15 years and jumped at the chance to be part of this ground-breaking project. Powered by more than 10 billion data points mapping a detailed representation of brain activity, our research into ‘Bagels’ is an unprecedented study of how music can regulate anxiety, and I’m excited to see it help our youth.”

“Bagels”’ soothing melodies and natural soundscapes come to life in the animated music video which floats viewers through a series of playful, organic worlds. Anxiety-reducing principles woven into the video include smooth color transitions and hypnotic swaying of organic forms, a technique to move our eyes repetitively from left to right. This strategy is a feature of Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprogramming (EMDR), a therapeutic tool used to help with anxiety.

Southern Utah Drag Stars File Lawsuit Challenging the City of St. George’s Censorship of Drag Performances

Today, the Southern Utah Drag Stars (Drag Stars) filed a lawsuit against the city of St. George, Utah, which denied the organization a special events permit for a family-friendly drag show. The city’s refusal to grant a permit is part of a years-long effort to target drag performances and LGBTQ pride events in violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments, as well as the Utah Constitution. Legal counsel intends to seek a preliminary injunction to allow Drag Stars to host its family-friendly drag show in June.

On March 3, Mitski Avalōx applied for a City of St. George special events permit to host a family-friendly drag event, Allies & Community Drag Show Festival, at J.C. Snow Park. 
A few weeks later, the city denied her application, alleging that she violated its advertising ordinance, an obscure local rule which prohibits advertising for special events until the city grants a permit. The advertising ordinance was not routinely enforced, in part because it is unworkable – permits are typically not issued until the day of or the day before events, making advertising an event practically impossible. Drag Stars appealed the City’s permit denial and at the hearing at least one City Council Member acknowledged that advertising ban is not enforceable, but the City nonetheless denied Drag Stars’ appeal

To make matters worse, while Avalōx’s application was pending, St. George decided to suspend considering any new special event permits for six months, denying Drag Stars the opportunity to submit a new permit application after the initial rejection. The city later exempted “city sponsored” events from the six month ban on new permit applications, creating a scheme whereby city officials selectively grant permits to favored events while denying all others. St. George’s special events policies discriminate against drag performances and are so opaque that no one can know what is allowed and what is not. 

“Requiring drag performers to meet unreasonable standards to receive a permit, or denying them these permits without legitimate justification, is censorship,” said Valentina De Fex, Senior Staff Attorney with the ACLU of Utah. “Our lawsuit challenges the attempt by elected officials, who must uphold the rights guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution and Utah State Constitution, to push subjective viewpoints of what they deem appropriate." Regarding the impact of this case, De Fex stated, "With this filing we continue our commitment to stop efforts to discriminate against and silence LGBTQ+ and gender-diverse individuals in Utah."

“Drag is dance, fashion, and music - it is also deeply rooted in political speech - all protected by the First Amendment,” said Emerson Sykes, Senior Staff Attorney with the ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project. “This is the latest offense in a larger pattern of attacks discriminating against gender-diverse and LGBTQ+ people and their rights in Utah and throughout the country.”

Just last year, lawmakers in six states proposed bills to ban drag. Under some of these bills, a business would be considered a “sexually oriented enterprise” – and therefore be subject to strict zoning requirements and fees – just for letting female comedians wear pants or male magicians grow their hair out. Drag performers and host venues across the country have had no choice but to move to higher security or cancel performances altogether.

Governmental attempts to restrict drag performances claim to protect children from so-called obscene material. However, drag is not obscene, and restricting access to a supportive community only causes more harm to trans and LGBTQ+ youth, who are already at a higher risk of depression and suicide.

“The city of St. George is violating the First Amendment rights of Drag Stars and discriminating against them through a façade of permits and ordinances that have never been applied in this manner with any other group or organization,” said Jeremy Creelan, Partner at Jenner & Block. “LGBTQ+ performers are entitled to protections under the First and Fourteenth Amendments, and we are asking the court to protect these fundamental rights and put a stop to this deeply troubling attack on free expression.”

Southern Utah Drag Stars (Drag Stars) is represented by lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah Foundation, Inc. (ACLU of Utah) and the law firm Jenner & Block.

The brief can be found online here

Exciting Lineup Revealed for Black Pride Colorado 2023

Black Pride Colorado 2023 is just around the corner, and organizers have unveiled an electrifying lineup that promises to uplift and empower the LGBTQ+ community like never before. With a series of unforgettable experiences planned, attendees can expect an array of celebrations and activities that showcase the rich diversity, talent, and resilience of the community. From film screenings and gospel drag brunches to galas, parties, and family gatherings, Black Pride Colorado offers something for everyone. So mark your calendars, gather your friends, and get ready to join in the festivities!

Kicking off the event on June 6th, the Denver Film Fest will host a special screening of "The Blackening." This thought-provoking film shines a light on Black queer stories, their struggles, triumphs, and the beauty of their existence. Attendees can expect to be captivated by the powerful narratives depicted on the screen.

On June 11th, the Gospel Drag Brunch featuring JUICCY Misdemeanor will bring together the uplifting sounds of gospel music and the mesmerizing performances of talented drag artists. Guests can indulge in a delectable brunch while being entertained by soul-nourishing music and fabulous performances.

For conscious consumers and party enthusiasts, the ConscioUS Consumption Party on June 15th at Jad's Mile High Smoke is not to be missed. This vibrant celebration spotlights Black-owned businesses, providing a platform to showcase their remarkable products and services. Attendees will have the opportunity to support these entrepreneurs while enjoying a night of music, dance, and jubilation.

The Third Annual Strange Fruit of Black Excellence Gala on June 16th will honor and celebrate the remarkable achievements of Black individuals who have made significant contributions to the community. This elegant affair will serve as a testament to the strength, resilience, and limitless potential of Black excellence in all its forms.

Following the gala, the Cuffin' All Thangs R&B Party will kick off as the official afterparty. Set to the backdrop of soulful rhythms and smooth melodies, this event promises a night of romance, connection, and non-stop dancing. Attendees can expect an intimate and captivating atmosphere, making it the perfect continuation of the gala celebrations.

On June 17th, the Denver Film & Black Pride Bloc Party will bring art, culture, and celebration together in one unforgettable event. Attendees can immerse themselves in a series of captivating films that highlight the diverse experiences and stories of the Black LGBTQ+ community. This cinematic experience will foster community bonding and provide a platform for the expression of artistry and creativity.

Zarah and the Chocolate Factory, taking place on the same night, will be a mesmerizing showcase of extraordinary talent. Headlined by the fabulous Zarah Misdemeanor and featuring special guest LaLa Ri from RuPaul's Drag Race Season 13 and All Stars 8, this event promises an evening of jaw-dropping performances, mesmerizing entertainment, and non-stop excitement.

On June 18th, the Queer Cookout: A Family Celebration will embrace the power of chosen families and the strength of togetherness. Attendees are invited to bring their loved ones and enjoy a heartwarming gathering filled with delicious food, vibrant music, and an atmosphere that cherishes the beauty of every individual and their unique journey.

Wrapping up the event on June 19th, Film on the Rocks will present a special screening of the groundbreaking film "Black Panther." This outdoor movie experience will be a powerful celebration of Black culture, representation, and empowerment.

Interested in supporting this remarkable event through sponsorship? Reach out to blackpridedenver@youthseen.org for sponsorship details! 

Monday, May 22, 2023

Chrissy Metz, Brooke Eden, Jada Cato, AUTI, Jason Catron Added to June 7 Concert For Love & Acceptance Lineup

The Concert For Love & Acceptance, a groundbreaking event celebrating LGBTQ visibility and acceptance in country music, is making a highly anticipated return. GLAAD, the world's largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization, and country music artist Ty Herndon have announced an impressive lineup of performers for this year's concert. The addition of Chrissy Metz, Brooke Eden, Jada Cato, AUTI, and Jason Catron has generated even more excitement for the event.

Scheduled to take place on Wednesday, June 7, 2023, at the iconic Wildhorse Saloon in Nashville, the Concert For Love & Acceptance coincides with the eve of CMA Fest. The previously announced lineup includes renowned artists such as Maddie & Tae, Terri Clark, Pam Tillis, Desmond Child, Wendy Moten, Billy Gilman, Shelly Fairchild, Justin Fabus, Chapel Hart, Sam Williams, Jamie Floyd, Brandon Stansell, and Bryan Ruby.

To purchase tickets and gather more information about the event, visit the official website at www.F4LA.org.

Ty Herndon, the visionary behind the Concert For Love & Acceptance, expressed his pride in how far the event has come since its inception in 2015. He highlighted the importance of love and acceptance, emphasizing that they should never be up for debate, especially in the face of ongoing attacks against the LGBTQ community by politicians. Herndon believes that now, more than ever, the event serves as a powerful platform for unity and progress.

The Concert For Love & Acceptance has been instrumental in promoting LGBTQ visibility and acceptance in country music. Ty Herndon and GLAAD joined forces for the first time in 2015 to create this annual live event. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the concert transitioned to a virtual format in 2020 and 2021, ensuring its message continued to resonate with audiences. Throughout its history, the event has featured remarkable performances and appearances by LGBTQ artists and allies, including Reba McEntire, Vince Gill, Brothers Osborne, Jake Owen, Kristin Chenoweth, Chely Wright, Tanya Tucker, Brett Young, Michael Ray, Mickey Guyton, Chris Daughtry, Lily Rose, and many more.

Anthony Allen Ramos, GLAAD's Vice President of Communications and Talent, highlighted the significance of standing up for LGBTQ rights in Tennessee. The Concert For Love & Acceptance provides a platform for demonstrating love and support for LGBTQ individuals, particularly in a state where progress is still needed. The show aims to remind everyone that LGBTQ people have an important place in country music and deserve fair and respectful treatment.

In addition to the exciting lineup of performers, Ty Herndon announced three Official Community Partners: Nashville Pride, Black Opry, and Tennessee Equality Project. These organizations will receive complimentary blocks of tickets and will be acknowledged for their vital work during the show. The Concert For Love & Acceptance aims to spotlight their contributions and raise awareness of their ongoing efforts.

Governor Pillen, Refusing to Acknowledge What’s at Stake, Signs Super-Sized Attack on Healthcare Targeting Gender Affirming Care, Reproductive Rights

Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — the nation’s largest Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization — condemned Nebraska Governor Jim Pillen for signing LB 574 into law. This super-sized healthcare discrimination bill will now prohibit transgender youth from receiving age-appropriate, best practice gender affirming healthcare and will also prohibit abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy. Pillen signed the legislation following a seven-week-long filibuster of the bill, an effort led by State Senator Michaela Cavanaugh that garnered national headlines. “If this legislature collectively decides that legislating hate against children is our priority, then I am going to make it painful — painful — for everyone,” said Cavanaugh last month.  

Cathryn Oakley, HRC’s State Legislative Director and Senior Counsel, released the following statement in response to LB 574 becoming law: 

“Today, Governor Pillen ignored the pleas of pro-equality legislators, transgender youth, and other marginalized people in his state. By enacting the “Let Them Grow Act,” - a painfully ironic title -, transgender and non-binary children in Nebraska will now find it even more difficult to grow up as their healthy, authentic selves. Age appropriate, medically necessary gender affirming care is life-saving healthcare. Period. The Governor’s decision to also sign a 12-week abortion ban into law further places him at odds with the will of Americans and most Nebraskans. Instead of serving in the best interest of his constituents, Governor Pillen is clearly more concerned with fulfilling an extreme, out of step, ideological agenda to score cheap political points from the far fringes of his base. Placing a target on equal access to life-saving healthcare is reprehensible, and we condemn the Governor for his failure to do the right thing.”  

Attacks on transgender health care are sweeping through state houses across the country: This year, of the more than 125 gender-affirming care bans HRC is tracking, 15 have already become law in Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, South Dakota, Utah, Iowa, Idaho, Indiana, Georgia, Kentucky, West Virginia, North Dakota, Montana, Oklahoma, and Florida. 

THE FACTS: Gender-Affirming Care 

Every credible medical organization – representing over 1.3 million doctors in the United States – calls for age-appropriate gender-affirming care for transgender and non-binary people. “Transition-related” or “gender-affirming” care looks different for every transgender and non-binary person. Parents, their kids, and doctors make decisions together, and no medical interventions with permanent consequences happen until a transgender person is old enough to give truly informed consent. 

This is why majorities of Americans oppose criminalizing or banning gender affirming care. Two recent national surveys report that majorities of Americans oppose “criminalizing” or “banning” gender transition-related medical care for minors: 54% oppose (NPR/Marist on 3/20-23, 2023); 53% oppose (Grinnell College National Survey on 3/14-19, 2023). Democrats and Independents drive opposition to such legislation, suggesting that support for such bans carries risk in a general election context.

Gender transition is a personal process that can include changing clothes, names, and hairstyles to fit a person’s gender identity. Some people take medication, and some do not; some adults have surgeries, and others do not. How someone transitions is their choice, to be made with their family and their doctor. Therapists, parents and health care providers work together to determine which changes to make at a given time that are in the best interest of the child. In most young children, this care can be entirely social. This means:

  • New name
  • New hairstyle
  • New clothing
  • None of this care is irreversible. 

Being transgender is not new. Some say it can feel like being transgender is very new – but that’s because the media has been covering it more in recent months and years. But transgender people have always existed and will continue to exist regardless of the bills we pass. And very few transgender people change their mind. 

ALL gender-affirming care is age-appropriate, medically necessary, supported by all major medical organizations, made in consultation with medical and mental health professionals AND parents. And in many cases, this care is lifesaving: A recent study from the Trevor Project provides data supporting this — transgender youth with access to gender-affirming hormone therapy have lower rates of depression and are at a lower risk for suicide. 

For more information, please visit hrc.org/transgender as well as these resources:

Americans believe the amount of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation is excessive, agreeing it is “political theater.” Likely voters across all political parties look at GOP efforts to flood state legislatures with anti-LGBTQ+ legislation as political theater. Recent polling indicates that 64% of all likely voters, including 72% of Democrats, 65% of Independents, and 55% of Republicans think that there is “too much legislation” aimed at “limiting the rights of transgender and gay people in America” (Data For Progress survey of 1,220 likely voters, 3/24-26, 2023).  

By comparison, last year in 2022 politicians in statehouses across the country introduced 315 anti-LGBTQ+ bills, 29 of which were enacted into law. These efforts — the result of a coordinated push led by national anti-LGBTQ+ groups, which deployed vintage discriminatory tropes seeking to slander, malign, and stigmatize LGBTQ+ people — only yielded a less than 10% success rate, as more than 90% of anti-LGBTQ+ bills were defeated. The majority of the discriminatory bills – 149 bills – targeted the transgender and non-binary community, with the majority targeting children. By the end of the 2022 state legislative season, a record 17 bills attacking transgender and non-binary children were enacted into law.  

The Venture Bros.: The Complete Series - On Digital & DVD June 13

For the first time ever, all episodes from 
Adult Swim's award-winning original adult animated series are brought together in one set with The Venture Bros.: The Complete Series

Get ready to experience thrilling action-packed adventure along with acute family dysfunction and binge all 82 episodes from the seven season run along with all the previously released special features. The Venture Bros.: The Complete Series will be available to purchase Digitally and on DVD from Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment on June 13, 2023.

Mrs. Kasha Davis: The Workhorse Queen Spreading Kindness and Inspiring Audiences

During the current season of RuPaul's Drag Race All-Stars, one queen has captivated fans with her incredible talent and infectious personality. Meet Mrs. Kasha Davis, also known as Ed Popil, a veteran star and seasoned queen who embodies the true essence of a workhorse. As the ultimate example that kindness knows no bounds, Mrs. Kasha Davis continues to shine regardless of the political climate or personal journey.

Not your average aspiring pop star drag queen, Mrs. Kasha Davis takes on the persona of a 1960s-era housewife who seeks liberation from her domestic life through secret nighttime performances—a heartfelt tribute to Ed's own mother. After years of auditioning, Ed Popil finally earned a spot on RuPaul's Drag Race, catapulting him into a full-time entertainment career at the age of 44.

Beyond the glitz and glamour of the stage, Mrs. Kasha Davis is a passionate advocate for children's education and inspiration. She has written three children's books inspired by her own life experiences, incorporating themes of forgiveness, determination, motivation, and self-acceptance. Soon, audiences of all ages will be able to enjoy her Live Story Hour for children titled "Imagination Station," which promises to be a delightful and empowering experience.

"Workhorse Queen," a documentary film available on platforms such as Starz, Prime Video, Apple TV, Google Play, and VUDU, delves into the complexities of mainstream television's impact on queer performance culture. The film follows Ed Popil's life before and after appearing on RuPaul's Drag Race, while also exploring the divide within a small-town drag community between those who have had television exposure and those who have not.

Throughout the film, Ed Popil navigates the exhilarating highs and challenging lows of chasing fame in the realm of reality television. Balancing her dreams of Hollywood with her deep connection to the Rochester community, Mrs. Kasha Davis discovers a surprising new audience at home. She aspires to become the queer role model for children that she longed for during her own upbringing.

Acclaimed LGBTQA+ Thriller 'Horseplay' Set to Ignite Screens: A Boundary-Pushing Exploration of Masculinity and Sexuality


Get ready for a thrilling cinematic experience as the highly anticipated LGBTQA+ film, "Horseplay," gallops onto screens this June. With a trail of acclaim from celebrated festival screenings, this boundary-pushing thriller is set to captivate audiences. Directed by acclaimed filmmaker Marco Berger, known for his critically acclaimed works such as "Mariposa" and "Taekwondo," "Horseplay" fearlessly explores themes of masculinity, homophobia, and sexuality. Prepare to be drawn into a twisted web of desire and danger as the film delves deep into the complex dynamics of a group of friends. Released by Dark Star Pictures, "Horseplay" promises an intense and thought-provoking cinematic experience.

Starring Bruno Giganti, Agustin Machta, Franco De La Puente, and Ivan Masliah, "Horseplay" showcases a talented ensemble that brings the characters to life with authenticity and emotional depth. Each actor adds a layer of complexity to their roles, delivering powerful performances that will leave audiences on the edge of their seats.

Set against the backdrop of a scorching Argentine summer, "Horseplay" follows a group of friends who come together to revel in the holiday season. Fuelled by alcohol and a desire for excitement, they engage in wild partying and create videos to capture their carefree moments. However, beneath the surface of their seemingly joyful camaraderie, simmering tensions of jealousy and violence start to emerge. The narrative takes a daring twist as a twisted triangle of friends, consisting of a repressed gay, a secret bisexual, and a homophobe, push the boundaries of their relationships to the breaking point. "Horseplay" navigates the complexities of desire, self-discovery, and toxic masculinity, offering a profound exploration of human emotions.

Mark your calendars for the theatrical release of "Horseplay" on June 2, as it arrives to captivate audiences on the big screen. For those who prefer to enjoy the film from the comfort of their own homes, the DVD and digital release is scheduled for June 13. Whether you choose to experience the gripping suspense in theaters or through digital platforms, "Horseplay" promises to leave a lasting impact on viewers.

Celebrating 30 Years of 'Glennda and Camille Do Downtown' at the National Gallery of Art

Washington, DC is gearing up for a groundbreaking event at the National Gallery of Art (NGA) on June 24th. In celebration of its 30th anniversary, the NGA will showcase the iconic short documentary, "Glennda and Camille Do Downtown," featuring feminist provocateur Camille Paglia and renowned drag queen journalist Glennda Orgasm (Glenn Belverio). Alongside this captivating film, the event will also feature other remarkable works from the Glenn Belverio Archive, providing a unique glimpse into the vibrant worlds of feminism, drag culture, and LGBTQ+ history.

Originally released in 1993, "Glennda and Camille Do Downtown" takes viewers on an exhilarating journey through the bustling streets of downtown New York City. Paglia and Orgasm fearlessly delve into topics such as the feminist and gay mainstream, the significance of pornography, the Stonewall Rebellion, and the intricate tapestry of gay male sexual culture. The 29-minute documentary reaches its pinnacle when the duo unexpectedly encounters Women Against Pornography (WAC) protesters at the corner of 8th Street and 6th Ave. The chance confrontation spirals into a captivating clash of ideologies, as Camille and Glennda challenge the protestors' puritanical stance while defending their pro-art, pro-sex, and pro-pornography perspectives.

"Glennda and Camille Do Downtown" captures a pivotal moment in the feminist movement of the 1990s, where third-wave feminist figures like Susan Faludi and Naomi Wolf faced resistance due to Camille Paglia's unapologetically pro-sex, pro-fashion, pro-sex worker, pro-porn, and pro-drag viewpoints. Paglia, an influential radical voice and critic in mainstream media culture, solidified her presence with the publication of her bestselling book, "Sexual Personae," in 1990.

In 1993, the documentary was edited down to a condensed 15-minute version and transferred to 16mm film. This shorter cut premiered at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival in 1994, ultimately winning the coveted first prize for Best Short Documentary at the Chicago Underground Film Festival.

Accompanying "Glennda and Camille Do Downtown" at the National Gallery on June 24th are two additional videos from the talented Glenn Belverio. These works, which Belverio directed and co-produced for his Manhattan Public Access TV show, "The Brenda and Glennda Show," add further depth to the evening's program.

One of the featured videos, "Equal Rights for Unborn Drag Queens," is a satirical masterpiece born from Belverio's collaboration with Duncan Elliott, also known as Brenda Sexual. This hilarious short film brilliantly satirizes right-wing Christianity, anti-abortion zealots, and even takes a jab at Pat Robertson's "The 700 Club." Notably, it also pays homage to an unconventional feminist figure: Pat Robertson's former co-host, Sheila Walsh, who departed due to her distinctive approach to Christianity.

The second video on the bill is Belverio's 1992 creation, "On the Campaign Trail with Joan Jett Blakk." In this captivating piece, Glennda Orgasm joins forces with the first and only Black drag queen to run for the presidency of the United States, Joan Jett Blakk. Together, they conduct interviews outside the Democratic National Convention in New York City, capturing the electrifying and contentious atmosphere of '90s American politics.

Following the screening, Glenn Belverio himself will take the stage for an engaging interview conducted by NGA Film Programmer Joanna Raczynska. The audience will also have the opportunity to participate in a stimulating Q&A session, offering a chance to delve deeper into the creative process behind these remarkable works.

Friday, May 19, 2023

Want to Connect with Denver's Gay Community? Advertise With MileHighGayGuy!

Denver's gay community is the 7th largest in the United States - and growing all the time! And the best way to reach them is by working with MileHighGayGuy –
Colorado’s Best Gay Blog.

Just click the Advertising page or email sales@milehighgayguy.com to get started today.

Concerned Citizen: A Thought-Provoking Film Examining Privilege and Prejudice

In the upcoming film "Concerned Citizen," Ben, an openly gay and self-proclaimed liberal, embarks on a journey that challenges his perception of himself and the world around him. Set in the vibrant and evolving neighborhood of gritty south Tel-Aviv, the movie delves into the depths of privilege and the unexpected consequences it can unleash.

Ben, living with his boyfriend Raz in their idyllic apartment, feels that the only missing piece in their lives is a child. Determined to make their dream of parenthood a reality, the couple sets out on their journey. Simultaneously, Ben takes it upon himself to improve their neighborhood by planting a new tree on their street—an act of goodwill aimed at making a positive impact.

However, Ben's seemingly innocent act sets off a chain of events that leads to the brutal arrest of an Eritrean immigrant by the police. Consumed by guilt, Ben finds himself on a guilt trip that shatters his self-perception and challenges his entire worldview. As his relationship with Raz hangs in the balance, and his aspirations of fatherhood are threatened, Ben is confronted with the insidious ways in which privilege can fuel prejudice.

Directed by Idan Haguel, "Concerned Citizen" is a satirical parable that delves into the complexities of identity, social responsibility, and the hidden biases that lie within us all. The film serves as a poignant reminder of the need to examine our privileges and confront the prejudices that can arise from them.

Greenwich Entertainment is set to release "Concerned Citizen" in New York, with screenings at the IFC Center, and it will also be available on Amazon and Apple TV starting June 2nd. This thought-provoking film promises to ignite conversations surrounding privilege, prejudice, and the importance of self-reflection in an ever-evolving society.

Denver Hosts 50th Annual World Trade Day Conference, Connecting Global Businesses

The 50th Annual World Trade Day Conference is set to take place on Friday, May 19th, at the Sheraton Denver Downtown. Organized by World Trade Center (WTC) Denver, this event has become the largest international trade and investment conference in the Rocky Mountain region, drawing the participation of over 700 business professionals.

Karen Gerwitz, President & CEO of World Trade Center Denver, acknowledges the significance of this milestone, stating, "This year's Golden Anniversary is a remarkable achievement, and it is a moment of pride for the international business community in the Rocky Mountain Region." The conference will feature distinguished guests, including Governor Polis, who will present the Governor's Award for Excellence in Exporting during the lunch session. Mayor Hancock will deliver the keynote address, emphasizing the importance of Denver's global connectivity. Keynote speakers throughout the day include Goldy Hyder, President and CEO of the Business Council of Canada, and Damon Pike, Principal of International Tax, Customs, and International Trade of BDO.

Themed "Connecting Global Businesses for 50 Years," the conference offers a diverse program. Attendees can look forward to three keynote speeches, twelve breakout sessions, an extensive expo with over 60 exhibits, two awards ceremonies, and an internationally-themed reception. The reception will showcase Denver International Airport's direct connections to various global destinations.

In recognition of his efforts in making Denver a more globally engaged city, Mayor Michael Hancock will receive the prestigious Ralph Peterson Global Business Community Leader Award. The award, named after the former chairman of CH2M Hill, honors individuals who have exhibited strong leadership and commitment to the success of the regional business community. Karen Gerwitz affirms that Mayor Hancock is a fitting recipient of this accolade.

Mayor Hancock's involvement in global activities, including support for sister cities and airport route expansion pursuits, has contributed to Denver's welcoming environment for international business. During his tenure, Denver International Airport has welcomed six new international airlines and added 18 new international destinations to its air service network. These strategic expansions have created jobs and positioned Denver as a thriving city and a global leader in various industries.

The 50th Annual World Trade Day Conference promises to be a momentous occasion, celebrating Denver's global connections and providing valuable insights for businesses operating in the international arena.