Section 4A – LGBT Weekly Mon, 02 May 2016 22:01:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 GLAAD releases 4th Studio Responsibility Index Mon, 02 May 2016 18:30:26 +0000

2016 SRI coverNEW YORK, NY – GLAAD today released its fourth annual Studio Responsibility Index (SRI), a report that maps the quantity, quality, and diversity of LGBT people in films released by the seven largest motion picture studios and their subsidiaries during the 2015 calendar year.

GLAAD found that of the 126 releases from major studios in 2015, only 22 of them (17.5%) included characters identified as LGBT. This marks no change from the 17.5% of films in 2014 with LGBT characters. More than three quarters of inclusive films (77%) featured gay male characters, less than a quarter (23%) included lesbian characters, and less than a tenth (9%) included bisexual characters. There was only one trans-inclusive film among all releases by major studios.

“Hollywood’s films lag far behind any other form of media when it comes to portrayals of LGBT characters,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD President & CEO. “Too often, the few LGBT characters that make it to the big screen are the target of a punchline or token characters. The film industry must embrace new and inclusive stories if it wants to remain competitive and relevant.”

GLAAD also found that racial diversity among LGBT characters in film dropped drastically year over year. In 2015, 25.5% of LGBT characters were people of color, compared to 32.1% in 2014. Of the LGBT characters counted in 2015, 34 (72.3%) were White, 5 were Latino/a (10.6%), 4 were Black/African American (8.5%), and 3 (6.4%) were Asian/Pacific Islander.

No studios received a rating of “Good” for their 2015 releases. 20th Century Fox, Lionsgate Entertainment, Sony Columbia Pictures, and Universal Pictures all received ratings of “Adequate”, while Paramount Pictures, Walt Disney Studios, and Warner Brothers all received a “Failing” grade for their portrayals of LGBT people. Beginning next year, GLAAD’s SRI will implement a new grading system to more accurately report on LGBT representation in Hollywood. Instead of a four grade system, GLAAD will implement a five star scale from one star (“Failing”) to five stars (“Excellent”).

GLAAD observations and recommendations:

  • The majority of LGBT characters in mainstream films remain minor – both in substance and screen time. Of the 22 LGBT-inclusive films, almost three quarters (73%) of them include less than ten minutes of screen time for LGBT characters. Not only must there be a larger number of LGBT roles, but they must be roles built with substance and purpose.
  • LGBT portrayals on film are overwhelming White (72.3%) and male (77%). Films must do better to include LGBT characters in roles directly tied to the plot which reflect the wide diversity of our community.
  • Transgender representation is shockingly low with only one character in the mainstream releases of 2015 – whose brief appearance served as a punchline to laugh at when her identity is revealed. Filmmakers should examine what message they are really sending when they rely on thoughtless humor to exploit an already marginalized community.
  • 2015 saw a notable resurgence of outright offensive depictions of LGBT people, relying on gay panic and defamatory stereotypes for cheap laughs. Humor can be a powerful tool for holding a mirror up to society and challenging the norm, but when crafted without thought, it has the opposite effect and bolsters ignorance and prejudice.

In 2012, GLAAD introduced the “Vito Russo Test”, a set of criteria analyzing how LGBT characters are represented in a fictional work, in the first SRI and continues to judge films by these simple guidelines. Named after GLAAD co-founder and celebrated film historian Vito Russo, and partly inspired by the “Bechdel Test,” these criteria represent a standard GLAAD would like to see a greater number of mainstream Hollywood films reach in the future.

The Vito Russo Test criteria:

  1. The film contains a character that is identifiably lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or transgender (LGBT).
  2. That character must not be solely or predominantly defined by their sexual orientation or gender identity (i.e. the character is comprised of the same sort of unique character traits commonly used to differentiate straight characters from one another).
  3. The LGBT character must be tied into the plot in such a way that their removal would have a significant effect. Meaning they are not there to simply provide colorful commentary, paint urban authenticity, or (perhaps most commonly) set up a punchline. The character should matter.

Only 8 of the 22 (36%) major studio films that featured an LGBT character passed the Vito Russo Test in 2015, the lowest percentage in this study’s history.

In 2015, GLAAD debuted a video titled “Hollywood Must Do Better” that highlighted a bevy of anti-LGBT moments in Hollywood films over the last five years. Additionally, GLAAD’s Where We Are on TV report, which forecasts the expected presence of LGBT characters for the upcoming television, will be issued later this year.

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May is Mental Health Month Mon, 02 May 2016 16:47:04 +0000

May MHMALEXANDRIA, Va.—When mental illnesses or disorders are talked about, the language typically used to describe them tends to be clinical and impersonal. These words, while useful for doctors or clinicians, often don’t do justice to what life with a mental illness feels like. That is why this year’s theme for May is Mental Health Month—Life With a Mental Illness—is a call to action to share what life with a mental illness feels like to someone going through it.

May is Mental Health Month was started 67 years ago by Mental Health America (MHA), to raise awareness about mental health conditions and the importance of good mental health for everyone. Last year, Mental Health Month materials were seen and used by 19 million people, with more than 5,500 entities downloading MHA’s tool kits. The 2015 theme—based off of our B4Stage4 initiative—helped individuals understand that when you address mental health symptoms before Stage 4, people can often recover quickly, and live full and productive lives.

This year, we are building off of the B4Stage4 message and encouraging individuals to give voice to what it really means to live at stages 1, 2, 3, and 4 of mental illness. Life with a Mental Illness is meant to help remove the shame and stigma of speaking out, so that more people can be comfortable coming out of the shadows and seeking the help they need.

“Mental illnesses are common and treatable, and help is available. We need to speak up early—before Stage 4—and in real, relatable terms so that people do not feel isolated and alone,” said Paul Gionfriddo, president and CEO, Mental Health America.  “Sharing is the key to breaking down the stigma surrounding mental illnesses and to showing others that they are not alone in their feelings and their symptoms.”

This Mental Health Month, we are encouraging people to speak up about how it feels to live with a mental illness by tagging social media posts with #mentalillnessfeelslike. Posting with our hashtag is a way to speak up, to share your point of view with people who may be struggling to explain what they are going through—and help others figure out if they too are showing signs of a mental illness.

MHA has also developed a series of fact sheets available on our website ( on realizing the critical importance of addressing mental health early, recognizing the risk factors and signs of mental illness, understanding what mental illness is and isn’t, and how and where to get help when needed. Research shows that by ignoring symptoms, we lose ten years in which we could intervene in order to change people’s lives for the better. Speaking out about what mental illness feels like can encourage others to recognize symptoms early on in the disease process, and empower individuals to be agents in their own recovery.

“Prevention, early identification and intervention, and integrated services work,” concluded Gionfriddo. “Telling people how life with a mental illness feels helps build support from friends and family, reduces negative attitudes and misperceptions, and is crucial to recovery.”

For more information on May is Mental Health Month, visit MHA’s Web site at

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Nothing is as important as your health Mon, 02 May 2016 00:30:24 +0000

iStock_000087260771_The Art of WellnessYou need to be alive if you want to go to work, get married, take your dog to the groomer, or play on your bowling team. That seems like a common sense thing to say and it is. However, into my office walked “Excuse #217” yesterday and common sense never came with him. Let’s call him E217 for the sake of this article.

E217 came to me because he is 150 pounds overweight and wants a change. He was so excited about losing all the fat and had images of what he’d look like all those many pounds lighter. He just couldn’t fathom how he’d find the time to accomplish the daunting task.

I mentioned that he could get up early and train with me. His retort was that he rises early each day for conference calls with the London office. Apparently Nigel is unforgiving with absenteeism for these half hour sessions. E217 then heads off for his day at work and therefore a post-conference call workout session appears futile.

My next suggestion involved a lunch hour workout routine. E217 slapped the handcuffs upon this idea almost as suddenly as it was spoken by me. He eloquently explained the numerous client lunches that he hosted during the midday hours. He informed me that he had landed many important contracts through this means and wasn’t likely to walk away from this lucrative lunch hour routine.

I scratched my head and suggestions #1 and #2 from my list. With limited fanfare but enthusiasm I presented my third option of training in the evenings. E217 was quick to point out his enrollment status as a part-time student in the MPA program at the state university. Two classes and six credit hours equate to four weeknights of sitting through soporific lectures on statistics and global economics.

E217 headed me off at the pass with my next proposals for working out. He stated his desire to be with his significant other on Saturdays for meaningful leisure time. He wanted some time to be with the love of his life. Sundays were identified as belonging to studying for those business courses and Sunday evenings were scheduled as sacred time for the bowling team. E217 was a seven year veteran of the “Alley Cats” and wasn’t eager to relinquish this social tradition.

I was forced into the corner and came out clawing! E217 had told me at the outset he wanted candor and a harsh reality of getting the workout training done. I did my best to honor his request.

I gave E217 a brochure for the local funeral home and urged him to make an appointment for pre-planning. I told him that he very likely would not be around to finish his schooling or to continue adding contracts at work or to roll a 220 at the lanes on Sunday evenings.

Nothing else matters if you aren’t around to be here for it. Nothing is as important as your health. It is the foundation for everything. It is that simple but yet I will get Excuse #218 in my office later this week and he will have the same song and dance. Do yourself a favor and use common sense. Without YOU the rest just doesn’t mean a thing!

This wellness article is brought to you by that guy who wishes you all a happy day. This daily festive guy is Ron Blake and you can send your quotidian tidings to him at

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The Advocate: ‘Why Black Pride Matters’ Sun, 01 May 2016 19:30:57 +0000

Advocate June July 2016LOS ANGELESFor its June/July 2016 cover story, The Advocate’s Les Fabian Brathwaite explores the intricate intersection of race and LGBT identity and how a community within a community uses their collective voices through celebration to create a support system, awareness, and acceptance.  The Advocate’s cover story, “Black Pride: A Celebration,” takes a closer look at Black Pride festivals and how these events foster a collective voice of power for communities that face even greater amounts of racism, homophobia, transphobia, and/or sexism.

From the “black is beautiful” movement in the 1960s to New York’s Stonewall riots where young street kids, many of them black and Latino, fought to be seen, heard, and respected; Black Pride and Gay Pride have been evolving in this country on a similar trajectory.  Black Pride and LGBT Pride developed from the rejection of that which America’s dominant culture has said is right, is beautiful, and is normal.  Yet, for a queer person of color, the two prides can seem at odds. Black Pride celebrations started as a way to reconcile these two identities, providing a safe space for queer people of color to build community and find a sense of self.

“Black Prides allow people of color the chance to celebrate our culture and orientation without explanation,” says LaToya Hankins, of North Carolina’s Shades of Pride.  Black Pride celebrations are not meant to divide or further ghettoize the LGBT community.  Leaders and organizers of Black Prides around the country understand the gravity of being a minority within a minority community and the issues that surround this identity. “There is no question that everyone within the LGBT movement deserves to celebrate and gather for Pride festivities,” says Gabby Santos, who coordinates Albany’s Black and Latino Gay Pride. “But as LGBT people of color, we face some particularly difficult issues that require tailored Black Pride activities. We face myths of negative stereotypes, such as, we are more violent than others. We face realities such as racism within programs and the criminal system that leave people of color with fewer options, great obstacles to participate, and fewer protections. These myths and realities are painful. LGBT people of color who experience them need support from their peers who understand the impact.”

Even with Black Pride festivals increasing popularity (there are 33 domestic and seven international celebrations with hundreds of thousands attendees), the one problem that these Black Pride organizations face, as opposed to mainstream Prides, is gathering sponsorships.  “Mainstream Pride is no longer about ‘affirming and increasing visibility for LGBT people’ yet more about leveraging the visibility of companies wanting access to the community for brand endorsement,” says Philadelphia Black Pride’s D. D’Ontace Keyes.   While brands are eager to tap into the LGBT market, corporate America is a bit more hesitant when it comes to queer people of color.

The black queer identity has a unique perspective and a unique voice but also a unique set of problems. As this identity has evolved, so have the needs of the community.  For years, marriage equality has been the cause célèbre of the LGBT public consciousness, but queer people of color face a myriad of other obstacles, from disparities in income and access to health care to racism within the LGBT community and racism as the great national pastime, not to mention higher rates of homelessness, unemployment, incarceration, and HIV infection. These factors not only disproportionately affect queer people of color but also take an unfair toll on the next generation.  Black Pride addresses these needs because mainstream Pride either does not, cannot, or will not. Thus, what began as a concept has grown into a movement to save bodies, educate minds, and uplift the spirits of a marginalized population that is tired of being marginalized.

Read The Advocate’s full June/July cover story at:

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New documentary film explores the challenges faced by LGBT entertainers Sun, 01 May 2016 14:30:29 +0000

In an age where you can turn on primetime television or your favorite Netflix or Hulu series and see shows with more diversity than ever, that include more characters of color and LGBT people, the reality of performing artists who work in, or are climbing the ladder of the showbiz industry is a lot different, with various challenges that make the experience confined, difficult and more challenging. This statement is evidenced by the growing tension around the lack of opportunities that exist in Hollywood and the growing tension over black and minority films not being acknowledged at awards shows, like the Oscars. The conversation about diversity in media and entertainment is reaching a boiling point.

A Tough Act To Follow is a documentary film that follows some of the experiences of Sampson McCormick, (Sampson), a touring, black, LGBT stand­up comic and writer, who navigates the already difficult business, as well as many of the added hurdles and setbacks with lots of humor, a few tears, heartfelt honesty and admirable determination. Through humor as well as serious inquiry, it focuses on the homophobia, sexism and sometimes racism and other challenges that affect the level of visibility of diversity in comedy houses, television, on stages and opportunities for minority artists in the entertainment business. The film will be playing at film festivals around the country starting in the Spring and Summer of 2016, and eventually make its way to Netflix. The film, is produced by Sampson and Todd Clark (Emmy Award Winning Producer, The DC Place) and features a notable television, film and stage stars that include Sinbad (A Different World, Houseguest), Luenell (Borat, American Hustle), Darryl Stephens (Noah’s Arc, Boy Culture), Adele Givens (Def Comedy Jam, Queens of Comedy), and a soundtrack provided by LGBT hip hop artists Bry’Nt, Kaoz, Tim’m West, Nhojj and folk singer Toshi Reagon.

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Gay men of color celebrate 10 years of fun in the sun at Blatino Oasis, Palm Springs May 5-8 Sat, 30 Apr 2016 19:30:54 +0000

Blatino Oasis--PALM SPRINGS, Calif. – California’s largest gay and bisexual men of color vacation getaway is counting down to its 10th anniversary celebration in Palm Springs May 5-8.

Blatino Oasis is the first event to successfully bring gay men of color to the city of Palm Springs on an annual basis, and is now the largest annual event targeting gay men of color in the state of California, attracting thousands of attendees from all over the country and around the world. Event Producer Joe Hawkins, expressed his feelings about reaching a decade in the desert; “I have to say that I am overwhelmed by the fact that an event made up primarily of African American and Latino men, and that started just before the recession hit back in 2007, in a place like Palm Springs (where there is no large gay community of color), would have survived the downturn, but it did!” And how!
Blatino Oasis presenting sponsors this year are ‘Get Tested Coachella Valley’ and the gay hook-up app, Jack’d. “We’re excited to have Jack’d and Get Tested Coachella Valley joining us again as Presenting Sponsors,” said event founder and producer, Joe Hawkins. “We support Get Tested’s goal of making testing free and available to everyone in the community.” The Blatino Oasis event boasts having helped to test the most gay men of color in Coachella Valley history.

“Joe Hawkins has done an incredible job creating Blatino Oasis and producing the event for 10 years,” said Susan Unger, Project Director for Get Tested Coachella Valley. “We applaud him, we look forward to the event, and we appreciate this opportunity to reach this audience with valuable education and testing.” People who plan to attend the event should also know that Get Tested, Coachella Valley, will be at the entry to most of the Blatino Oasis events offering free entry to those who test, for a limited number of attendees, so be on the lookout for the van.
Other event sponsors include Desert Outlook Magazine, The Desert AIDS Project, CCBC Men’s Resort, Thugmart, Riverside University Health System, WET Lubricants, The City of Palm Springs and Cathedral City to name a few.

The four day event (May 5-8), features a free Cinco De Mayo arrival party on Thursday, May 5, 9pm-2pm, at Toucans and on Friday, May 6, a free “Welcome Reception” at the Hyatt Regency Palm Springs from 4pm-7pm. Friday night from 9pm-2am, Rap Icon ‘Foxy Brown,’ will headline the kick-off party at the Copa Room. On Saturday, May 7, there will be a Mardi Gras Erotic Pool Party at CCBC in Cathedral city hosted by Rodney Chester (Noah’s Arc), from 2pm-7pm. Saturday night will feature “gay-lebrities” Pablo Hernandez and ‘Fly Young Red’ performing at Chill Bar-Scorpion Room, and hosted by Reality star Milan Christopher of VH’1’s “Love & Hip Hop Hollywood”. The event will wrap with a Sunday, white apparel awards brunch at Bonta Restaurant in Cathedral City from 11am-2:30pm and a closing pool party at CCBC Resort. CCBC will also be host to after-hours events from 1:30am-6:30am each night including an afterhours foam party after the Friday night Copa event.

The two night-time dance events and pool parties will feature world class deejays to include Dj Chris Johnson (LA), Dj Ben (West Hollywood), Dj 6PAC (San Francisco) and Dj Konrad Parker (West Hollywood), spinning Hip Hop, R&B, Top 40, House, Latin Pop, Reggae, Reggaeton and top 40.

For more event details, hotels, and to purchase event passes, visit

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HRC to honor Actress Kathryn Hahn with ‘Ally for Equality’ Award at Atlanta Gala Dinner Fri, 29 Apr 2016 14:12:32 +0000
 Kathryn Hahn in Transparent

Kathryn Hahn in Transparent

ATLANTA, Ga. – Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) announced that it will honor actress Kathryn Hahn with the “Ally for Equality” Award at the 29th Annual HRC Atlanta Gala Dinner & Auction this Saturday, April 30, 2016. HRC also announced that critically-acclaimed pop singer and songwriter Wrabel will perform at the event that raises critical funds in the fight for full LGBT equality.

“Kathryn Hahn is an incredibly gifted actress who uses her talent and her platform to raise awareness of the unique challenges LGBT people face in their daily lives,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “Kathryn’s commitment to advancing equality for all LGBT people is why we are thrilled to welcome her to this year’s Atlanta Gala and honor her with the HRC Ally for Equality Award.”

The hilarious Hahn stars as Raquel Fein in the hit Amazon series, Transparent. She has also starred in Afternoon Delight, for which she earned a ‘Breakthrough Actor’ nomination for the 2013 Gotham Independent Film Awards. She is known for her roles in movies including Step-Brothers, Our Idiot Brother, Wanderlust, Tomorrowland, and Bad Moms, as well as the hit TV shows Crossing Jordan, Girls, Parks and Recreation, and more.

HRC’s Ally for Equality award recognizes the outstanding efforts of those who dedicate time, energy, spirit and wholehearted commitment to better the lives of LGBT people. This award is given to allies outside the LGBT community who stand up on behalf of equality for all Americans. Hahn has consistently used her voice to raise awareness of the challenges LGBT face and the fight for full LGBT equality, including in the successful fight for marriage equality. In thevideo released by HRC in 2014, Hahn – a mother of two – discusses her inability to explain to her children “why two people in love can’t get married or have access to the protections and rights of a legal marriage.”

HRC also announced that critically-acclaimed pop singer and songwriter Wrabel will perform at the event. When Wrabel’s first single “Sideways” was featured on iTunes, it was downloaded nearly half a million times and Nylon magazine said the song was, “stocked with the soulfulness of a Sia or Sam Smith, and a melodic pop DNA that throws back to icons like Paul Simon.” He has performed on various global platforms including Good Morning America, VH1’s Fashion Rocks and at the Ultra Music Festival in Miami alongside Dutch DJ Afrojack, who remixed Wrabel’s hit song “Ten Feet Tall.” Wrabel has written songs for Phillip Phillips, Adam Lambert, Will Young and Prince Royce and is consistently called upon by top producers in the music industry. BuzzFeed News named Wrabel’s “I Want You” as number 10 on it’s list of “The 30 Most Criminally Underrated Pop Songs Of 2015.”

The 29th Annual HRC Atlanta Gala Dinner & Auction has grown to be one of HRC’s largest annual dinners. This year’s theme, “Beyond Marriage, All Rights for All People,” takes its shape from the celebration of the recent success of marriage equality while focusing on HRC’s continued fight for full LGBT equality. Tickets and more information are available

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NCAA says future Final Four host cities must have LGBT inclusive non-discrimination laws Thu, 28 Apr 2016 20:38:22 +0000

The NCAA has announced that it will not host any future events – from Final Four championships to education conferences – in cities without LGBT inclusive non-discrimination laws.

In the announcement the NCAA said, “The board’s decision reaffirms the NCAA commitment to operate championships and events that promote an inclusive atmosphere in which student-athletes participate, coaches and administrators lead and fans engage.

“The Association considers the promotion of inclusiveness in race, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity as a vital element to protecting the well-being of student-athletes, promoting diversity in hiring practices and creating a culture of fairness.

“Historically, the Association  has used the opportunity to host its events as a means to make clear its values. The Association now prohibits championships events with predetermined sites in states where governments display the Confederate battle flag, and prohibits NCAA members from hosting championships events if their school nicknames use Native American imagery that is considered abusive and offensive.

“The new requirement integrates appropriate protections against discrimination into the championships bidding process. Board members feel the measure will provide assurance that anyone associated with an NCAA championship event – whether they are working, playing or cheering – will be treated with fairness and respect.”

Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) issued the following statement in response to the announcement, “The NCAA has sent a very clear message that unfair and unjust discrimination against LGBT people will not be tolerated by the association, and we hope lawmakers are listening. In order for cities to even qualify to host these major sporting events, they must now have commonsense, LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination protections. We commend the NCAA Board of Governors for taking this critically important stand in favor of fairness and equality.”

This announcement could have major implications for the state of North Carolina, which according to the News & Observer has hosted NCAA events 17 times in the past two decades. North Carolina Gov. McCrory and state lawmakers have been coming under increasingly intense pressure to repeal a radical and discriminatory law – HB 2 – passed in a hurried, single-day session. HB 2 eliminated existing municipal non-discrimination protections for LGBT people and prevents such protections from being passed by North Carolina cities in the future. It eliminates the existing cause of action that allowed people protected by state law from discrimination, including on the bases of race, religion, national origin, and sex. The legislation also forces transgender students in public schools to use restrooms and other facilities inconsistent with their gender identity and compels the same type of discrimination against transgender people to take place in publicly-owned buildings.

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Front Runners & Walkers San Diego announce date of their PRIDE 5k Run and Walk Thu, 28 Apr 2016 19:14:33 +0000

Front RunnersFront Runners & Walkers San Diego today announced the date of their annual PRIDE 5k Run and Walk.  This event will be held  Saturday, July 16 with a start time of 9:30 a.m.  This is a 5k race and walk held on a USAT&F Sanctioned and Certified course sponsored by Front Runners & Walkers San Diego. The run is a great event that and held as a San Diego Pride kick-off event along the parade route in Hillcrest.

With the recent tragedy of young LGBT teens being driven to suicide, suffering physical and psychological bullying at school and trying to cope with rejection by family, friends and even their churches, we have selected The San Diego Center’s Youth Housing Project as this year’s beneficiary. This program is a vital safety net giving teens a safe place to live and an opportunity to get the education and skills needed to lead productive and fulfilling lives.  A portion of the proceeds will also be donated to San Diego Pride Community Grants.

Please help Front Runners & Walkers San Diego in their efforts in reaching out to the community and helping them make this a huge success for Pride and for the deserving LGBT young people whose lives you will be enhancing and rebuilding and whose hearts you will be restoring.

For more information about the 2016 PRIDE 5K Run and Walk, please contact Enrique Fonseca at 619.857.8719 or visit

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Finally, a truly comprehensive film on Robert Mapplethorpe Thu, 28 Apr 2016 18:27:02 +0000

Robert Mapplethorpe

In April of 1990, the Cincinnati’s Contemporary Arts Center opened its doors to Robert Mapplethorpe: The Perfect Moment, a retrospective of the famed photographer who just recently died from AIDS. I was 15 and had grown up in the Queen City, as it was called, and Dennis Barrie, the director of the CAC, and his family lived across the street. I babysat the kids, and my parents were close with the Barries. I had seen photocopies of the pictures in the exhibit at dinner one night. I grew up in a very liberal home, but these raised my eyebrows, partly because I knew I was gay and partly because some of the grainy, poorly reproduced pictures on the Barries’ dining room table depicted the kind of gay that scared me as a closeted teenager in the conservative Midwest at the height of AIDS.

When the exhibit was supposed to be shown at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C., early that year, conservative Christians raised such a ruckus that the show was cancelled. Mapplethorpe was most famous to the general public for his iconic photographs of flowers and his sublimely printed portraits of celebrities. But he also took numerous pictures that some would call erotica and others would call pornography and Sen. Jesse Helms would call “morally reprehensible trash.” They included some relatively tame (by current standards) images of men showing affection while naked as well as some very explicit images of fisting, sounding and other sadomasochistic acts. Despite the content, the images are perfectly lit and composed, but people like Helms didn’t care (and probably didn’t understand). It’s obvious how vile they were: “Look at the pictures!” he said on the Senate floor railing against the National Endowment for the Arts for giving grants to him and other objectionable artists like Andres Serrano.

Look at the Pictures is the subtitle of Fenton Bailey’s and Randy Barbato’s nearly perfect documentary about Mapplethorpe that is available at HBOGO and premiered last month. Its release coincides with a massive retrospective of his work showing at both the Getty and Los Angeles County Museum of Art. I was honestly shocked that such a film hadn’t already been made, considering how iconic Mapplethorpe was as an artist, a celebrity and a lightning rod. It was worth waiting for Bailey and Barbato, who also made Party Monster, The Eyes of Tammy Fay and Inside Deep Throat.

Mapplethorpe’s aged mother, his sister and his younger brother give extensive, insightful and not always flattering interviews about the artist’s almost pathological ambition, his perfectionism and hunger for fame. Interviews with some of his most famous models – from Ken Moody and Robert Sherman to Brooke Shields – describe his studio methods and idiosyncrasies. Various members of the 1970s and 1980s New York avant garde – from Debbie Harry to Fran Lebowitz – talk about his extensive, often strategic socializing. (Oddly, Patti Smith, who was Mapplethorpe’s best friend and lover in the early 1970s, is nowhere to be seen; a producer said that she “didn’t make that impossible” to be included.)

Bailey and Barbato’s access to interviewees and to Mapplethorpe’s entire archive (now housed at the Getty Center in Los Angeles) allowed them to make a truly comprehensive film, but their skill as interviewers, editors and historians is what makes Look at the Pictures not just deeply informative but also entertaining and moving. Despite Mapplethorpe’s careerism and narcissism, he was an immensely sensitive artist who pulled out incredible emotion from perfectly sculpted lights, darks, bodies and shapes. His photos of flowers were as sublime as his arguably most famous photo, that of a massive uncut black penis hanging out of a polyester suit.

I was particularly fascinated by that image as a teenager, more than all of the images I was also fascinated with. The photos awakened a great deal inside me, artistically, intellectually and sexually. I wrote a letter to the Cincinnati Enquirer arguing in favor of the exhibit after Dennis Barrie was indicted on obscenity charges for bringing the show to the city. I received seven death threats, including one that said “Drop dead! Go to hell! The devil could use you to shovel shit!” Barrie was acquitted. I became a writer, a critic and an AIDS researcher.

Robert Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures

Directed by Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato

Featuring Robert Mapplethorpe, Fran Lebowitz and Debbie Harry

On HBOGO (free month trial available at

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Meet Henry Gamble: Gay, Christian and about to have one hell of a 17th birthday party! Thu, 28 Apr 2016 18:19:45 +0000

Photos: Wolfe Video

Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party is a picture, above all else, about conversions: religious, moral, sexual and familial. Henry, our handsome, young protagonist, is about to spend his 17th birthday with his friends, both religious and secular, his parents and their church friends – the “adults” – at a pool party of his parent’s making. The various cast members’ perturbations either conclude successfully by the end of the picture or they don’t and, for some, the consequences are devastating.

This is Stephen Cone’s ninth effort and another of his meditations on religion and sexuality. Like Henry, Stephen grew up struggling with his sexuality while carrying the albatross of his Southern Baptist minister father’s religiosity around his neck. (The Chicago-based Cone grew up in South Carolina, the prong on the buckle of the Bible Belt.) His film wrestles with a theme that, despite its nagging persistence in the LGBTQ community, is explored not nearly as much as it should be in queer cinema. (Check out Sigourney Weaver in Prayers for Bobby.)

Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party was released in 2015 but is just now being released by Wolfe Video for multiplatform viewing and will be available May 3. San Diego LGBT Weekly caught up with actor Cole Doman (Henry Gamble) and writer-director Stephen Cole to further explore the various tensions that pit the spirit against the flesh.

San Diego LGBT Weekly: Henry is quite cruel to Logan, his closeted young friend, at least at the beginning of the picture. In one of his earliest interactions with him, when they are grabbing hors d’oeuvres, Logan intentionally brushes his arm against his and he commands him to “Stop.” Where does that cruelty come from?

Cole Doman: Being told “stop” is way kinder than the emotional and physical abuse Logan has probably experienced from his other peers. In the beginning of the film, Henry is uncomfortable being alone with Logan because of what people might assume. He acts out of fear – both of what people might think of him but also what he might discover in himself.

A lot of your part comes in reactions, to other people’s behaviors, your growing self-awareness of your sexuality. What or who did you draw on in your own life to help inform your performance?

Grace Melon (left), Daniel Kyri (center) and Melanie Neilan (right)

CD: As a young gay man, especially one living among a community that deems homosexuality as sinful, there is a pressure to be silent. Growing up different than the other boys my age, I saw myself as an “other,” which can be really lonely in those pivotal years of young adulthood. You feel like your voice isn’t as important. Henry, by nature, is an observer – more so than I am. By taking on that role, it makes the process of identifying sexuality difficult when he rarely reflects back on himself. At his party, everything is being flashed before his eyes among such a dynamic, diverse group that he starts to see these bare-skinned bodies in a new light. Henry finally discovers the deepest truth of his attraction.

In what ways are you or are you not religious?

CD: I was raised in a large, Irish-Catholic family in Philadelphia. Faith was a big part of my childhood between Sunday mass and Catholic school. After I left Catholic school by my own volition, my relationship with my faith started becoming less important to me. My religious upbringing molded my moral code of what I see as right and wrong, good and bad. I’m currently not a practicing Christian, and wouldn’t identify as one.

Mia Hulen (left) and Cole Doman (right)

What’s your favorite attribute of Henry’s? Your least? Why? What scene in your mind best crystallizes Henry’s internal conflicts?

CD: My favorite thing about Henry is his openness. He is able to take in what people say to him and truly understand their perspective. I take things in and immediately attach a judgement to it. I don’t mean a judgement in a derogatory way, but I’m much quicker to form an opinion about something than Henry. To a degree, I envy that in him. My least favorite attribute of Henry’s is probably his dependence on other people to make decisions for him – he is a bit of a pushover. It’s definitely a contributing factor as to why he is experiencing his attraction to men so late in his young adulthood. The scene that best crystalizes Henry’s internal conflict is most likely the scene with Christine and Heather, when Christine tells him that she’s gay. For the first time, Henry hears about other boys being sexual together in such a candid way. It totally throws him off.

Boys in The Band has a similar premise, in this case a group of gay men gathering one evening on the cusp of a revolution, warts and all. Do you see any parallels?

Cole Doman

Stephen Cone: I’ve never read or seen Boys in the Band, actually, but of course have heard of it. I didn’t really have any theatrical references for this film, despite my own background as a stage actor, but I did have a few cinematic references, some of which take place over the course of an evening, like John Huston’s The Dead. Arnaud Desplechin’s A Christmas Tale and Jonathan Demme’s Rachel Getting Married were also on my mind.

I read somewhere that you have no formal film training. Is that true? If so, how did you go about learning your craft? Who are some of your influences?

SC: That’s true; I’ve never taken a filmmaking class. I was an actor in college, but a lifelong lover of film and always knew I’d eventually make movies. I have basically learned by doing, making more or less one movie per year, either a short or a feature, for the past decade or so. They aren’t all good, not even close. I had to get a few out of my system before I started to really know what I was doing.

Cole Doman (left) and Joe Keery (right)

What scene in your mind best crystallizes Henry’s internal conflict?

SC: This might be an easy answer, but I’d say the opening scene, wherein he finds himself in an ideal place with a sexually incompatible person.

Let’s talk about Elizabeth Laidlaw whose performance was off the charts! Where did you find her?

SC: She’s been a force in Chicago theater for many, many years! This town is packed with astonishing stage performers like her and Francis Guinan, who plays Larry and was a founding member of Steppenwolf, alongside Gary Sinise, John Malkovich and the whole gang. Anyway, my casting directors Mickie Paskal and Jennifer Rudnicke brought in a lot of wonderful actresses for the role of Kat, but Elizabeth got the gig. I’m so proud of that performance; she’s dazzling, isn’t she?

Are there any disadvantages/challenges to being both the writer and director? If so, what and how do you resolve them?

SC: I enjoy doing both, it’s my comfort zone and I find it really exhilarating, but I do suppose the primary disadvantage is the lack of anyone to blame but myself if something doesn’t work. There’s nothing really to resolve there, I just have to keep growing and hope that I’ll keep getting better.

(P.S. Keep an eye on Elizabeth Laidlaw’s Kat Gamble who anchors the film in one of 2015’s most sublime performances.)

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A friendly neighborhood pub Thu, 28 Apr 2016 18:18:54 +0000

Shepherds Pie

Step through the doors of The Ritual Tavern and you’re transported to a friendly neighborhood pub from another time and place. The hunter green walls, subdued floral print drapes and dark woods glossed with the patina of age imbue the intimate low-ceilinged space with a distinct “Ye Olde” vibe. “Pierce”, wearing a tight T-shirt and tighter jeans, was waiting at the massive bar when I arrived one recent balmy evening. He was anxious to tell me about his new job.

Allison greeted us with a warm smile and presented the menu. The Ritual Tavern features a judicious well-curated selection of craft beers on tap as well as an extensive list of specialty and limited edition bottled brews – some of which are priced at $60 a pop. In short, nirvana for the beer connoisseur.

Pierce beat me to the punch and ordered the Mother Earth Primordial Double India Pale Ale ($6.50), so I chose a pint of Thorn Street North Park Pale Ale ($6). The India Pale Ale, served in a Tulip glass, is a full-bodied coppery-amber pour with a rich creamy head. A big bold beverage (9.5 percent alcohol by volume) with lots of citrus on the nose, a deep malty aspect on the tongue with notes of caramel and toffee, and a tart lingering finish. Sultry and satisfying. The Pale Ale (5.3 percent ABV) is a lacy light-bodied pale flaxen pour with pine on the nose, hints of citrus and apricot on the tongue, and a crisp grapefruit finish. Delightful and drinkable.

We discussed Pierce’s tech support responsibilities as we enjoyed our appetizers – Mussels in White Wine ($15) for him and the Baja Crab Pub Cakes ($12.50) for me. The generous portion of steamed bivalve mollusks are served in a rich buttery broth redolent with white wine and fresh herbs. You’ll want to sop up every drop with the crunchy toasted ciabatta. The cakes, packed with crab meat, roasted red peppers, shallots, parmesan cheese and herbs, are fried to a crispy golden brown and served atop colorful lightly dressed cabbage slaw. A drizzle of fiery Sriracha remoulade completes the presentation.

The dinner menu reflects the gastropub’s worldly influences. Entrée selections range from Shepherd’s Pie (“Our signature dish,” Allison assured us) to Creole Seafood Gumbo to Chicken Primavera. There are several vegan and vegetarian choices, too. Pierce raved about the Brazen Sandwich ($14) and I savored the Chocolate Stout Braised Beef Brisket ($22). A mound of tender slow-cooked pork shoulder slathered in a mild smoky BBQ sauce, served on an airy toasted pretzel roll, is topped by apple-tinged slaw and tangy bleu cheese crumbles. A side order of hot-from-the-fryer house cut fries tossed in minced garlic, grated parmesan and chopped parsley, completes the plate. A generous portion of succulent chocolate-kissed brisket is served atop a large mashed potato and bacon croquette, with braised organic spinach and a ladle of pan-drippings gravy. Delicious and filling, but a little too salty for my taste.

Did I mention The Ritual Tavern has been a Dining Out For Life participant for the past five years? They are donating 25 percent of sales to benefit the San Diego LGBT Community Center’s numerous HIV/AIDS services and programs, and Chef Tom Maki hinted at a sumptuous special selection for the event.

The Ritual Tavern is open seven days a week and offers a weekend brunch, too. Hours vary. Eat this, hungry readers. You’ll be glad you did.

The Ritual Tavern

4095 30th Street

Open at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday -Thursday

Open at noon Friday; 11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday brunch


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Game of Thrones Thu, 28 Apr 2016 18:13:17 +0000

dvr this

HBO, Sunday, 9pm

Emilia Clarke in Game of Thrones

Emilia Clarke in Game of Thrones

Last year’s season finale of the sword and sorcery epic series Game of Thrones ended with the seeming death of one of the show’s three main characters. People drop dead left and right on that show, but fans all assumed that at least noble warrior Jon Snow (Kit Harrington), Machiavellian-with-a-heart Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage), and divinely inspired, dragon mom Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) would make it through to the end. But then Jon Snow was stabbed by his lieutenants in the snow after he had allowed their mortal enemies, the bedraggled Wildlings, through the gates built to keep them out. Fans freaked out and then realized he was probably not dead, or not completely dead anyway. Few season premieres have been so hyped, and much of it has to do with the show no longer being based on George R. R. Martin’s novels, so no one knows what’s going to happen. Still the most expensive show ever made, it is also one of the most complex, interesting, and satisfying.

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The Revenant Thu, 28 Apr 2016 18:05:31 +0000

dvd of the week

Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant

Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant

The Revenant, a ruthless and bombastic tale of revenge in the cold western American frontier, is focused on a man battling nature, with Leonardo DiCaprio’s Hugh Glass trying to survive alone while severely wounded in the cold, snowy mountains; he dreams and hallucinates memories of his dead Pawnee wife and their son. He is trying to find Tom Hardy’s searing, deliciously evil John Fitzgerald, a motor-mouth sociopath who, among other wretched acts, had abandoned Glass to die after the rest of their hunting party had (rather bizarrely) left Fitzgerald to care for him. Meanwhile, a band of Arikara Indians is hunting down the white men who kidnapped their chief’s daughter. The violence, whether inflicted by men, bears, and nature, is maybe excessive, but is definitely totalizing. Alejandro Iñárritu and his genius cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki both won Oscars, as they did with last year’s Best Picture winner Birdman. The Revenant is epic, taciturn, and classic in both its visuals and themes, and its brutality is only surpassed by its beauty. DiCaprio finally won his Oscar partly for suffering so much for the role, but mostly for embodying a mythical American individuality, determination, and masculinity that may be aging but is still beloved by the kind of people who are Academy members.

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An important work of history that’s worth a read Thu, 28 Apr 2016 17:15:13 +0000

You know your own mind.

After thinking things through, you have your opinions and while you’re willing to listen to what others say, you’re also willing to defend what you believe in. And, as in the new book The Firebrand and the First Lady by Patricia Bell-Scott, your friends don’t necessarily have to agree with you.

Eleanor Roosevelt’s Camp Tera, nestled near New York’s Hudson River, was initially meant to be a temporary, leg-up place for Depression-era women who were destitute and totally without resources. Though she was young, educated, and married, Pauli Murray was there because of ill health.

Recovery-time aside, Murray’s tenure at Camp Tera was beneficial: a friend had told her that Roosevelt answered all correspondence, and Murray took that to heart. In 1938, a few years after she was kicked out of Camp Tera for “disrespecting the first lady,” she wrote a protest letter to Roosevelt, requesting intercession in FDR’s stance on anti-lynching laws. Activism was Murray’s passion and the answer she got wasn’t what she’d wanted but it did, as promised, come from Roosevelt.

Murray was born in 1910, the feisty granddaughter of a mulatto slave whose stories of injustice she grew up hearing. Murray lost her mother when she was just three; a few years later, her father was institutionalized, then murdered; and her brother was lobotomized. She, herself, had health problems and was often severely underweight; during one of her hospitalizations, she finally admitted that she was attracted to women, which was then considered to be a mental health issue.

It took awhile for Murray to tell Roosevelt all that. Before she did, and because of that first protest note, the two corresponded for years in letters that offered guidance, outrage and rebuttal. The women didn’t always agree, but they always seemed to attempt to understand one another’s take on issues. Murray supported Roosevelt in her widowhood. Roosevelt encouraged Murray in her activism.

It was a support that Murray imagined she felt long after Mrs. Roosevelt’s death.

I would not, under the broadest of terms, call The Firebrand and the First Lady a pleasure read.

That’s not to say that this book isn’t a pleasure – it’s just not something you’d pick up to relax with. Author Patricia Bell-Scott goes deep into the politics and work of both Roosevelt and Murray (more the latter than the former) and that can be very dry. It’s informative – Bell-Scott tells a story that’s been largely hidden for decades, about a woman who left her mark on social issues in many ways – but it’s far from lively. Adding more details of Murray’s personal life might’ve helped; that’s what I was hungriest for, but didn’t get enough of.

I think this is an important work of history and definitely worth reading but you’ll want to be in the mood for it, particularly if you usually like lots of energy in your stories. If you’re a scholar or historian reading The Firebrand and the First Lady, though, the pace is something you probably won’t mind.

The Firebrand and the First Lady

by Patricia Bell-Scott

© 2016 Alfred A. Knopf

$30 / $39 Canada

480 pages

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The City: Top to Bottom Thu, 28 Apr 2016 16:32:33 +0000

Dan Soder

thursday, april 28

Dan Soder

Dan is a New York based actor, writer, and stand-up comedian. He has appeared on Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer, The Half Hour, Conan, and Opie and Anthony. He had a leading role in the feature-length indie film It Had To Be You opposite Cristin Milioti.

The American Comedy Company, 818B Sixth Ave. in San Diego, 8 p.m., tickets $16, 619-795-3858,

Jahja Ling

friday, april 29

Jahja Ling Conducts Mahler

Performed without intermission and led by Music Director Jahja Ling, Gustav Mahler’s Sixth Symphony (Tragic) is his purest sustained expression of the joy and sublime beauty that a human life may offer, even if in the face of inevitable and sometimes inescapably cruel death.

Copley Symphony Hall, 750 B Street in San Diego, 8 p.m., tickets from $20, 619-235-0804,

Way Downriver

saturday, april 30

Way Downriver

A flood of Biblical proportions on the mighty Mississippi provides the dramatic backdrop to this gripping, edge-of-your seat adventure. Adapted from the William Faulkner short story, Old Man, Way Downriver reveals an unlikely pair of souls who are bound together by the forces of nature, and who struggle to overcome their fears and prejudice in order to survive their harrowing experiences.

North Coast Repertory Theatre, 987 Lomas Santa Fe Drive in Solana Beach, 2 and 8 p.m., tickets from $43, 858-481-1055,

Constellations | PHOTO: JIM COX

sunday, may 1


Physicist Marianne meets beekeeper Roland at a party. They hit it off … or perhaps they don’t. One of them is married … or maybe they’re both single. Nick Payne’s Constellations takes this chance encounter between two lost souls and opens the door to the infinite possibilities of their relationship. Breathlessly navigating through the spellbinding and romantic journey of being in love, Constellations looks at how the tiniest change in the details of our lives can lead us on completely different paths. Contains strong language.

Sheryl & Harvey White Theatre, The Old Globe Theatre, 1363 Old Globe Way in Balboa Park, 2 and 7 p.m., tickets from $66, 619-234-5623,

Fossil Mysteries

monday, may 2

Fossil Mysteries

From dinosaurs to mastodons, discover the rich fossil history of our region. In this major exhibition, created by the Museum, ponder a mystery, examine the strong fossil evidence from the Museum’s collection, and use scientific tools to discover answers. Traveling through a 75-million-year timeline, from the age of dinosaurs to the Ice Ages, experience an unfolding of the prehistory of Southern California and Baja California, Mexico.

San Diego Natural History Museum, 1788 El Prado in Balboa Park, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., adult admission $19, 619-232-3821,

Gin Wigmore

tuesday, may 3

Gin Wigmore – Willing To Die Tour

Gin Wigmore is a New Zealand singer-songwriter. Featuring on the Smashproof single “Brother” in 2009, Wigmore went on to release her debut album Holy Smoke, in 2009, and her second, Gravel & Wine, in 2011. Her third album, Blood to Bone, was released June 26, 2015. She is known for her high and raspy voice.

House of Blues San Diego, 1055 Fifth Ave in San Diego, 7 p.m., tickets $16, 619-299-2583,

Laddie John Dill

wednesday, may 4

Laddie John Dill: Light Sentences And Light Traps

A central figure in the California Light and Space movement, Laddie John Dill has been using a combination of weighty and incandescent elemental materials to construct luminous sculptures, formalistic wall pieces, and site-specific installations since the 1960s. This split-gallery survey combines artwork from Dill’s argon and mercury gas Light Sentences series, a Light Plains sand and light creation, and several new aircraft aluminum wall pieces in the Light Traps series.

Oceanside Museum of Art, 704 Pier View Way in Oceanside, 10 a.m.–4 p.m., admission $8, 760-435-3720,

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Fight AIDS! Dine out! Thu, 28 Apr 2016 07:05:24 +0000

Photo: Big Mike

Dining Out For Life® San Diego celebrates 10-year milestone April 28

There was a time when fighting AIDS meant claiming the streets in civil disobedience and getting arrested. The heady turbulent winds blowing through the ’80s were filled with enraged voices chanting “Fight AIDS! ACT UP!” People were battling for their lives and believe me, police batons hurt – they leave a nasty bruise and make breathing painful for weeks afterwards.

Gratefully, the circumstances of HIV/AIDS have changed dramatically during the ensuing years. Today, fighting HIV/AIDS is as easy as picking up a fork, or raising a glass of wine. Today, the mantra is “Fight AIDS! Dine out!”, and you’re cordially invited to join the fight Thursday, April 28.

I recently spoke with Ian Johnson, the San Diego LGBT Community Center’s director of events, about Dining Out For Life. Here’s what he had to say.

Photo: Cali Griebel

Lance Ryder: Congratulations on Dining Out For Life’s (DOFL) 10th anniversary. How has the event changed over the years?

Ian Johnson: Thank you. It’s exciting! DOFL San Diego has grown tremendously from its inception in 2007. The inaugural year had 31 participating locations and now that has more than doubled with close to 70 locations participating in 2016. Restaurants, bars, coffee houses and ice cream parlors have all joined this year in an effort to prevent HIV and to provide services for those living with HIV/AIDS. We’ve also seen an increase over the years in the number of businesses willing to go above and beyond the 25 percent (of sales) level of donating, which is really incredible.

And, most importantly, we continue to see more and more people dining out, sometimes making a full day of it and dining out for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Without the enthusiastic community support this event has enjoyed since it began, we wouldn’t be celebrating this 10-year milestone. We’re very grateful for the support from everyone involved in making DOFL such a successful community event.

What is new this year?

Photo: Cali Griebel

This year, we’ve added a new element to our event called “Tipping Out.” In celebration of the 10th annual DOFL, the event will donate 15 percent of its net proceeds to the San Diego HIV Funding Collaborative. Community members this year will also be able to drive down the street and spot red balloons in front of restaurants/bars that are DOFL locations. This has been made possible thanks to our Balloon Brigade Volunteers.

DOFL is a nationwide event. Do the funds raised locally stay in the community?

Funds raised by DOFL San Diego stay in our community. DOFL happens in almost 60 different cities, but all are produced by different local HIV/AIDS service organizations as a way to benefit those communities. Since its inception, DOFL has raised over $4.23 million for local HIV/AIDS organizations.

What specific programs benefit from DOFL?

Photo: Cali Griebel

There are many! Perhaps most importantly, we have recently expanded our #BeTheGeneration ( HIV testing to six days a week at The San Diego LGBT Community Center as result of community support.

How has DOFL changed lives in San Diego?

In addition to raising much-needed funds for HIV services and prevention efforts, I think an important aspect of the event is it helps break down the stigma regarding HIV. It gives all participants a chance to visibly show support for people living with HIV and that they are committed to supporting efforts to help end this disease. It also gives a chance to provide important HIV education in a positive and engaging way.

What do you want our readers to know about DOFL?

This is truly a win-win-win event for our community. Not only can people raise funds for vital HIV services and programs, but they send a message of support for those impacted by HIV. Our supportive and generous restaurant/bar partners benefit by the increased business. And our community benefits when we all get to participate in a meaningful way for an important cause.

The City of San Diego is once again proclaiming April 28 as the “Dining Out For Life San Diego Day”. It’s such an amazing day to be out and about – there’s an exciting energy from all the diners, restaurant staff and the amazing ambassadors. I really look forward to the day just so I can move around town seeing so many familiar and new faces out for the same reason – to make a difference. Everyone is in such a great mood. Obviously, I really love this event!

A dozen local businesses have been a part of Dining Out For Life® San Diego since the beginning. They are: Baja Betty’s, Crest Cafe*, DiMillie’s Italian Restaurant, Martinis Above Fourth*, Pecs Bar, Ponce’s Mexican Restaurant, Redwing Bar and Grill, The Mission* and Urban Mo’s. Several “newcomers” include many yummy restaurants I’ve previously reviewed, including: Hillcrest Brewing Company, Fig Tree Cafe, Buona Forchetta, Brazen BBQ and Big Front Door.

I wanted to obtain a participating restauranteur’s perspective and spoke with Big Front Door’s owner Sheep Riley. We were sitting outside on a warm sunshiny day when I asked him why he does it; why he participates in DOFL. He gave me a look of incredulousness. “You’re kidding,” he said. “I’m serious,” I replied. “We do it to support the [San Diego LGBT Community] Center,” he said. “The Center is a valuable asset for the community, and we do everything we can to support their efforts.”

Do your part to make a difference. Lift your fork or raise your glass to fight HIV/AIDS and fund life-changing programs. You’ll be glad you did.

Find locations and make reservations here:

* Indicates 50% of sales donated for HIV/AIDS services and prevention efforts.

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Blachford-Cooper Fund at the San Diego Human Dignity Foundation donates $75,000 to The Old Globe Wed, 27 Apr 2016 21:25:23 +0000
Check--SAN DIEGO The Old Globe received a $75,000 donation from the Blachford-Cooper Fund at the San Diego Human Dignity Foundation. The Old Globe, located in Balboa Park, is one of the country’s leading professional regional theaters and has stood as San Diego’s flagship arts institution for more than 80 years.
“The Old Globe’s annual budget is approximately $22 million, but only a portion of the organization’s expenses are covered by ticket revenue, so donations from the public are vitally important to keep the mission of the Old Globe alive,” said Peter J. Cooper, the vice chair of arts engagement at The Old Globe and funder of the Blachford-Cooper Fund at SDHDF.
“The Board, staff, artists, and audiences of The Old Globe are grateful to the Blachford-Cooper fund for their generosity,” said Erna Finci Viterbi Artistic Director Barry Edelstein. “This wonderful gift will help sustain the Globe’s year-round artistic operations. Norman and Peter are great friends to this institution and also to the arts in San Diego more generally. Their philanthropy makes a difference and sets an example for others to follow. We congratulate them and thank them for this gift.”
The Blachford-Cooper Fund is one of 16 Donor Advised Funds that are managed by the San Diego Human Dignity Foundation. Establishing a Donor Advised Fund allows individuals to make a gift to the SDHDF and remain actively involved in suggesting uses for the financial gifts, targeting the issues they care about the most. Donor Advised Funds allow philanthropic people to take an active role in grantmaking to organizations, with SDHDF handling all investment and administrative details. Learn more about establishing a Donor Advised Fund with SDHDF here:
“We are so proud and pleased to present The Old Globe with this donation,” said John Brown, Executive Director, San Diego Human Dignity Foundation. “We are honored that Norman Blachford and Peter Cooper have chosen to include us as a partner in their active giving through their fund.”
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GLAAD and The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation release new HIV and AIDS PSA (VIDEO) Wed, 27 Apr 2016 21:15:58 +0000

NEW YORK, NY GLAAD today announced the release of a Public Service Announcement (PSA) in partnership with The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation (ETAF). The PSA, produced by award-winning Martian Entertainment and airing exclusively on national LGBT cable channel Logo, was created to inspire, inform, and reignite the passion needed to beat the HIV and AIDS epidemic once and for all. This is the second PSA launched as part of an ongoing partnership following GLAAD’s release of a resource guide for journalists covering HIV and AIDS and a PSA starring a wide variety of celebrities.

“GLAAD was founded in order to combat the sensationalized media coverage surrounding the HIV and AIDS crisis in the 80s, and we have been committed to this cause ever since,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD President & CEO. “This campaign will help bring more awareness HIV and AIDS and remind everyone that we have the power to end this epidemic in our lifetime.”

The PSA harnesses the power and emotion of Elizabeth Taylor’s speech at the 1992 Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert and includes participation from Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Lane, Tituss Burgess, and Daniel Franzese. The four point out that even 20 years after that historic speech an estimated 1 in 5 gay men in major U.S. cities are living with HIV, and that today, we have the tools to make HIV history. The PSA will air on Logo beginning on Thursday, April 28th and will also be available on GLAAD’s YouTube channel.

“HIV infection rates are up 133% in last decade among young gay men,” Joel Goldman, Managing Director of The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation noted. “It’s troubling that 1 in 3 gay men have never had an HIV test. We must find new ways of raising awareness in order to reach this community and inform them of the tools available to prevent new infections. We are so fortunate to have the support from Logo as well as our incredible partners at GLAAD on this PSA campaign.”

In 1985, GLAAD was founded in response to the New York Post’s grossly defamatory coverage of the HIV and AIDS epidemic. Three decades later, GLAAD’s legacy of fighting injustice in the media for the LGBT community has reshaped our culture and created historic levels of acceptance.

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Carly Rae Jepsen, Charli XCX and Krewella to headline LA Pride Music Festival Tue, 26 Apr 2016 22:02:46 +0000
Carly Rae Jepsen

Carly Rae Jepsen

June 10-12 in West Hollywood, LA PRIDE Music Festival & Parade 2016 will set the stage for a fresh lineup that is as diverse as the massive festival crowds expected to attend. The now three-day ticketed music festival features a carefully crafted assortment of Electronic, Pop, Hip-Hop, R&B and Latin artists, all performing on one of four venue stages. This year’s all-inclusive lineup will be headlined by multi-platinum, GRAMMY ® nominated singer and songwriter Carly Rae Jepsen, international pop sensation Charli XCX, responsible for penning multi-platinum and GRAMMY ® nominated singles and multi-platinum selling sisters/vocalists/songwriters/DJs Krewella who will join over 50 artists scheduled to perform throughout the festival weekend.

This year will feature a variety of stages including the Delta Air Lines Main Stage, the Nissan Latin Music Stage powered by Club Papi, the Hip-Hop Music Stage powered by B.A.S.H., and a new Dance Music stage. The Delta Air Lines Main Stage will showcase everything from top 40 hit makers to emerging artists. Meanwhile, the Nissan Latin Music Stage will have a talent lineup ranging from Electronica to Banda including Diana Reyes, Maribel Gaurdia and Mariana Seoane.  This year’s Hip-Hop Music Stage is going all out featuring Grammy Award winning and Billboard chart-topping musical acts like Faith Evans, Da Brat, Trina & Big Freedia. Each stage highlights unique musical styles and the curated lineup celebrates a diverse collection of talent with mass appeal.

“This year we doubled down on talent and are excited to have such a strong lineup performing at the Music Festival,” said CSW President Chris Classen.  “Our Festival rivals other major music events around the country and offers a lineup you can’t find anywhere else among LGBTQ events, and at a fraction of the cost of other music festival tickets.”  “This year’s multiple stages, oversized art exhibits, experiential activations and pop-up bars and restaurants from notable hot spots in Los Angeles will certainly add to an already stellar festival experience,” added Jeff Consoletti, Producer, LA PRIDE Music Festival & Parade.

For full 2016 lineup details visit

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Demi Lovato and Nick Jonas cancel NC tour dates over anti-LGBT law Tue, 26 Apr 2016 17:00:39 +0000
Nick Jonas and Demi Lovato

Nick Jonas and Demi Lovato

Multi-platinum selling recording artist Demi Lovato and Nick Jonas have canceled their North Carolina tour dates over the state’s recently passed anti-LGBT law known as “HB2.” In a statement released to GLAAD, the pair condemned the law and voiced their support for equality and acceptance:

After much thought and deliberation, Nick and I have decided to cancel our shows in Raleigh and Charlotte. One of our goals for the Honda Civic Tour: Future Now has always been to create an atmosphere where every single attendee feels equal, included, and accepted for who they are.

North Carolina’s discriminatory HB2 law is extremely disappointing, and it takes away some of the LGBT community’s most basic rights and protections. But we will not allow this to stop us from continuing to make progress for equality and acceptance.

We know the cancelation of these shows is disappointing to our fans, but we trust that you will stand united with us against this hateful law.


Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD’s president & CEO stated, “Demi Lovato and Nick Jonas continue to be fearless advocates for LGBT equality and acceptance. By taking a firm stand against North Carolina’s discriminatory HB2 law, they’re sending a clear message to fans and lawmakers alike: hate should never be tolerated.”

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Cyndi Lauper adds second leg to Detour Tour; San Diego – Oct. 3 Tue, 26 Apr 2016 16:30:21 +0000

CyndiIconic performer and musical chameleon Cyndi Lauper has announced the second leg of her Detour Tour in support of her upcoming studio album Detour available May 6 on Sire Records. While the 19-city first leg will kick off May 9 at the “Mother Church of Country Music,” Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium, the 16-city second leg will kick off September 10 at Austin’s ACL Live and traverse the West Coast before wrapping up Oct. 8 at the The Joint in Las Vegas. Tickets will be available to the public starting Friday, April 29 at

Cyndi Lauper’s celebrated musical journey takes an unexpected southern turn on Detour, her 11th studio album, which finds the Grammy®, Emmy® and Tony®-winning singer-songwriter putting her signature spin on a dozen classic country songs.

Detour showcases Lauper’s unmistakable voice on country classics from the ‘40s, ‘50s and ‘60s and features guest appearances from county music stars Vince Gill, Emmylou Harris, Alison Krauss, and Willie Nelson. Lauper recorded the album in Nashville alongside a band comprised of the city’s top session players.

 Detour Tour Dates

September 10                    ACL Live at Moody Theater                          Austin, TX

September 11                    Revention Music Center                                Houston, TX

September 13                    Civic Center Music Hall                                  Oklahoma City, OK

September 15                    Uptown Theatre                                             Kansas City, MO

September 18                    Paramount Theatre                                        Denver, CO

September 20                    The Depot                                                        Salt Lake City, UT

September 21                    Outlaw Field at the Idaho Botanical           Boise, ID

September 23                    Thunder Valley Casino Resort                      Lincoln, CA

September 24                    Agua Caliente Casino                                     Rancho Mirage, CA

September 27                    Vina Robles Amphitheatre                            Paso Robles, CA

September 28                    Arlington Theatre                                           Santa Barbara, CA

September 30                    The Mountain Winery                                    Saratoga, CA

October 3                       Humphrey’s Concerts by the Bay      San Diego, CA

October 5                           Greek Theatre                                                 Los Angeles, CA

October 7                           Talking Stick Resort Ballroom                      Scottsdale, AZ

October 8                           The Joint                                                           Las Vegas, NV

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Mylan CEO Heather Bresch to be first-ever CEO to participate in upcoming Pittsburgh Pride Equality March Mon, 25 Apr 2016 18:43:42 +0000
Heather Bresch

Heather Bresch

PITTSBURGH — The Delta Foundation of Pittsburgh announced Friday that Heather Bresch, CEO of Mylan, one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies, will be the first-ever CEO to participate in the Pittsburgh Pride Equality March on Sunday, June 12. The company also is sponsoring a new initiative called the Mylan Wellness Village that will offer free wellness exams related to sexually transmitted infections (STI) and HIV, and counseling on Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), a medicine taken daily to help prevent HIV.

“We are proud to partner with Mylan, a company with Pittsburgh roots, in this year’s Pittsburgh Pride event. Heather’s participation as the first CEO to ever walk in the Equality March speaks volumes about Mylan’s commitment to fostering a culture that is inclusive and diverse,” said Gary Van Horn, President of the Delta Foundation. “We appreciate Mylan’s support and commitment to helping to make Pittsburgh’s LGBT community healthier.”

Mylan is dedicated to creating better health for a better world. The company’s commitment to expanding access to high quality medicine spans more than 50 years. It was founded in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia and has had a presence in the greater Pittsburgh area for the last 46 years. One of Mylan’s key priorities is stemming the tide of HIV/AIDS. The company is the world’s largest producer of antiretrovirals (ARV) and approximately 50% of people receiving treatment today for HIV/AIDS in the developing world depend on a Mylan product.

“I am honored and proud to be the first CEO to participate in the Pittsburgh Pride Equality March. Treating everyone with dignity and respect is of utmost importance to me and are values we instill and take very seriously at Mylan. We are driven by the belief that every person in this world matters and access to better health is a right, not a privilege,” said Bresch. “Throughout our history we have been tireless advocates for expanding access to high quality, affordable medicine. This is especially true in the area of HIV/AIDS. We look forward to debuting the Mylan Wellness Village at Pittsburgh Pride and offering support to people in our own backyard.”

The Mylan Wellness Village will be located on Liberty Avenue in downtown Pittsburgh. It will be open during Pride in the Street with Kesha on Saturday, June 11 (ticket is required) and during PrideFest on Sunday, June 12 (free event).

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US Lacrosse, You Can Play announce partnership in support of LGBT athletes, fans Mon, 25 Apr 2016 18:35:43 +0000

LacrosseDENVER, Colo. — The sport of lacrosse is going all-in to promote inclusion for all athletes and fans.  You Can Play and US Lacrosse, the national governing body of men’s and women’s lacrosse, are teaming up to promote ability and commitment to a team and sport without regard to sexual orientation or gender identity.

US Lacrosse becomes the first national governing body to provide LGBT-specific inclusion messaging to its entire membership and teams.  The announcement comes a month after Major League Lacrosse announced a similar program meaning lacrosse is now represented at all levels of play – from youth to professional – in working for equality in sports.

The You Can Play Project strives to ensure the safety and inclusion of all in sports – including LGBT athletes, coaches and fans. You Can Play works to guarantee that athletes are given a fair opportunity to compete, judged only by what they contribute to the sport or their team’s success. You Can Play seeks to challenge the culture of locker rooms and spectator areas by focusing only on an athlete’s skills, work ethic and competitive spirit.

Initial platforms for collaboration between the two organizations will include the availability of You Can Play resources on the US Lacrosse web site,, and on-site visibility for the You Can Play project at selected US Lacrosse events. US Lacrosse will also utilize its regional chapters’ network to provide further support for You Can Play messaging.

“US Lacrosse is honored to partner with You Can Play and is dedicated to supporting a clear message of inclusion, equality, respect and safety for all athletes regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity,” said Melissa Coyne, director of games administration at US Lacrosse.  “We are committed to ensuring that all lacrosse participants are given a fair opportunity to compete and are celebrated for their athletic achievements on the field.”

US Lacrosse joins a number of other organizations that are also affiliated with You Can Play, including Major League Lacrosse, the National Hockey League, Major League Soccer, the Canadian Olympic Committee, the Canadian Football League, and Canadian Women’s Hockey League.

“US Lacrosse is showing a real commitment to its athletes, their families and fans by recognizing the talents of LGBT athletes and building straight allies – all of whom love the sport of lacrosse,” said You Can Play co-founder Brian Kitts. “US Lacrosse’s stance as a national governing body ensures fairness across the entire sport.

“The commitment of both US Lacrosse and Major League Lacrosse ensures that one of the fastest growing sports in North America also will be one of the most committed to inclusion and fairness,” Kitts said.

US Lacrosse is committed to creating a safe sport culture and seeks to foster a lacrosse community that encourages understanding, appreciation and acceptance of all within its membership, volunteer base, and staff. US Lacrosse believes that broad representation adds significant value to the lacrosse experience of all, which is enhanced by embracing underrepresented and underserved communities.

“It is essential that the national governing bodies of sport not only support a message of inclusion and equality but that they take real actions and steps to provide a safe and healthy environment for all athletes,” Coyne said.

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Watch: Daniel Puder delivers powerful Ted Talk (VIDEO) Mon, 25 Apr 2016 18:28:45 +0000

In a recent Ted Talk Daniel Puder, an undefeated Mixed Martial Arts fighter and wrestler, talks about why it is important to seek significance above success. This short, powerful talk is part of Puder’s initiative to help youth and adults achieve significance

Puder gave up his career as a professional athlete to use his name to make a long term, positive impact in the world! He went from fighting professionally in the ring, to now fighting for our future generations through his 501(c)3 non-profit, My Life My Power, that he founded in 2010. As the executive director of MLMP, Puder speaks around the world and leads training seminars where he uses his evidence based mentoring curriculum as a platform to inspire and empower both youth and adults.

Watch his powerful Ted Talk above.

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Are you breaking up with me? Mon, 25 Apr 2016 00:30:24 +0000

A homosexual couple having difficulties in relationship

How difficult can it be to maintain health and fitness during a divorce, breakup, or separation? Whatever word you call it, the situation can create havoc for even the best laid plans. Depression, anger, sadness, and a gaggle of other emotions can flood you and make you feel worthless and despondent. How you face the moment can determine the course your health will take.

It is good to bring your inner circle of friends and family together to guide your ship through these choppy waters. These BFF’s and family members can give you support and tell you all the right things to keep you going through your separation. They can put that positive spin on everything and assure you it will be fine. Get out the rolodex and reach out and touch someone.

Keep busy during the days, weeks, and months following your breakup with your significant other. Idle time gives you opportunity to dwell on what went wrong. This can then lead to overeating and a state of depression. Keep the calendar chocked full of events and appointments.

Don’t listen to sad songs or watch sad movies. You might as well be holding a gun in one hand and a bottle of pills in the other. You’re already traumatized enough! Listen to Jimmy Buffet or rent a Marx Brothers movie. You want to rise from that ash pile; not roll around in it!

Make efforts to talk in a civil tone to your (ex) partner who is also going through the same situation as you are. Be certain that you are able to keep it between the lines though. Don’t go into a conversation looking to rip the person’s head off! Take your time before calling or meeting this soon-to-be ex of yours. Get things out in the open so you both can begin moving your wagons down those respective trails again.

Get the emotions out of your system. Do not bottle up any feelings inside yourself. They will eventually come out and they will usually zap your health in the process. Write a poem, keep a diary, cry, scream on the top of a hill, hit a punching bag, or find another release. Once these emotions surface, you can begin the healing process.

Know this is not the end. Know you will fight to live another day. Know you have the power to control yourself and yourself only. Know that you are mortal and that mistakes do happen. Know that there is another beginning out there for you. Know that anything is possible and never give up believing in the impossible.

Know everything’s gonna be alright.

This wellness article is brought to you by that jammin’ guy of one love. That guy with three little birds is Ron Blake and you can get up, stand up with him at

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Actor Reid Ewing joins SAMHSA to highlight strategies for helping children and youth who experience mental disorders Sun, 24 Apr 2016 19:30:56 +0000

childrens-mental-health-awareness-day-2016-web-banner-400x400Actor Reid Ewing will join the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to celebrate National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day  Thursday, May 5, at the Jack Morton Auditorium in Washington, D.C.

Best known for his role as Dylan on “Modern Family,” Ewing will serve as Awareness Day 2016 Honorary Chairperson. SAMHSA will present Ewing with a special recognition award for speaking out about his experiences with body dysmorphic disorder and mental health issues, and for encouraging young people in similar situations to seek help.

This year’s event“Finding Help. Finding Hope.”will explore how communities can increase access to behavioral health services and supports for children, youth, and young adults who experience mental or substance use disorders and their families.

The national event will feature a highly interactive format in which community leaders, youth and family leaders, law enforcement officials, and behavioral health professionals will discuss how communities can work together to overcome challenges to access behavioral health services. Communities, collaborating organizations, and individuals around the country will participate in Awareness Day Live! activities such as viewing the live webcast and interacting with the onstage discussion by sharing questions or insights via email, Twitter, or text.

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Mariah Carey to be honored at 27th annual GLAAD Media Awards in New York Sun, 24 Apr 2016 00:30:50 +0000
Mariah Carey

Mariah Carey

NEW YORK – GLAAD has announced that it will honor singer, songwriter, record producer and actress Mariah Carey at the 27th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in New York at the Waldorf Astoria New York  May 14. Academy Award-nominated director Lee Daniels will present Carey with the award.

The 27th Annual GLAAD Media Awards are presented by Delta Air Lines, Hilton, Ketel One Vodka, and Wells Fargo. The GLAAD Media Awards recognize and honor media for their fair, accurate, and inclusive representations of the LGBT community and the issues that affect their lives. The GLAAD Media Awards also fund GLAAD’s work to amplify stories from the LGBT community and issues that build support for equality and acceptance.

Mariah Carey is a Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter, and producer with more than 200 million albums sold. Her numerous accolades include three Grammy Awards, 21 American Music Awards, Billboard’s “Artist of the Decade” Award, the World Music Award for “World’s Best Selling Female Artist of the Millennium,” and BMI’s “Icon Award” for her outstanding achievements in songwriting.

Carey will receive GLAAD’s Ally Award, which is presented to a media figure who has consistently used their platform to support and advance LGBT equality and acceptance. Previous GLAAD Media Awards honorees include Elizabeth Taylor, Patti LaBelle, Janet Jackson, Russell Simmons, Cher, and more.

Carey has long embraced her LGBT fanbase worldwide, consistently sending messages of support in media interviews and gracing the cover of OUT Magazine. She has participated in GLAAD’s annual anti-bullying campaign, Spirit Day, wearing purple to show her support for LGBT youth.

In addition to appearing in the LGBT-inclusive film Precious, the global superstar has tirelessly voiced her support for marriage equality. Carey has also spoken lovingly about the important role a gay couple played in her childhood, saying they were “my template for a great relationship.” During a concert in 2009, she brought a gay fan onstage to propose to his boyfriend.

A Congressional Award recipient, Carey has devoted her time to a range of philanthropic causes near to her heart, including Save the Music, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, World Hunger Relief, and the Elton John AIDS Foundation, among many others. A tremendous supporter of children’s charities, both domestic and international, she founded Camp Mariah in partnership with the Fresh Air Fund, a retreat for inner city children to explore career development.

This summer, Carey will kick off the second year of her headlining residency at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

Her much anticipated docu-series, “Mariah’s World” will air on E! later this year and will feature an intimate look at the world-renowned icon, including her family, friends and inner circle who keep her at the top of her game. The show will air globally across E!’s 17 international channels reaching 153 countries in 24 languages.

“Through her music and outspoken support, Mariah Carey has inspired and empowered countless LGBT fans across the globe,” said GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “She is a longtime ally and friend to the LGBT community who has worked tirelessly to move acceptance and inclusion forward.”

GLAAD previously announced that Robert De Niro will receive the Excellence in Media Award at the New York ceremony. Emmy Award-winning actress and producer Laverne Cox will host the event. Additional special guests for the GLAAD Media Awards in New York to be announced.

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Commentary: A Trump Jenner political embrace Sat, 23 Apr 2016 19:30:54 +0000
Donald Trump and Caitlyn Jenner

Donald Trump and Caitlyn Jenner

If leading GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump had endorsed North Carolina’s law requiring people to use bathrooms based on their biological sex rather than gender identity, it would have put his
hotels at an economic disadvantage in the marketplace. Mr. Trump’s announcement, breathtaking to some in the GOP, is an important political moment in the 2016 presidential race and in the LGBT struggle for employment protections.

Earlier this campaign season, GOP Ohio Gov. John Kasich, also a presidential contender, made a slight ripple by stating to news reporters he would not have signed the North Carolina law regarding bathrooms. The same statement by Mr. Trump is creating a political tsunami.

Mr. Trump made his statement by way of economic compassion for transgendered people. He spoke of the economic punishment society has heaped upon transgendered workers. This is the reality of the situation and it comes by way of a question related to transgender activist and Olympic Gold Medalist Caitlyn Jenner, who also happens to be a conservative Republican.

Mr. Trump’s opening to transgender rights three months away from the GOP national Convention in Cleveland, I think has the potential to further dramatize what already proves to be as dramatic a Republican convention as the first one I attended 40 years ago.

In 1976 President Gerald Ford faced off against former California Gov. Ronald Reagan in what was called the political shoot out in Kansas City. The political calculus is significantly different in 2016 but still we have similarities. Jerry Ford was the establishment Republican running hard against a political outsider from California.

I worked for the President Ford Campaign in several states and Washington, D.C. before heading for Kansas City. The only guns I saw at Kemper Arena were worn by security guards and police. After all, the president and vice president of the United States were there as well as many cabinet officials. With the hotheaded Reagan delegates, especially those from Texas and North Carolina, security was needed.

Social issues were controversial in those days. First Lady Betty Ford had publicly addressed her addiction issues. This was a startling admission to the Christian Reaganites. Betty Ford had also made headlines when she told a news reporter she would buy daughter Susan contraceptives to prevent pregnancy. The Reagan followers were shocked by this. It is widely believed now that Nancy was pregnant when she married Ronnie. There were other issues on which Reagan was solidly conservative and Mr. Ford significantly less so.

At the end of the 1976 GOP convention Mr. Ford became one of the few politicians to defeat Reagan. It was fair but the Reagans were madder than hell about it. After Ford’s loss to Jimmy Carter, Reagan spoke of creating his political party. Instead, he fashioned the GOP into what it is today.
Donald Trump has also talked about running as a third party candidate should GOP political powers nominate someone other than him. At this point, it seems politically unwise for Republicans to dump Trump.

The better calculation is for Trump to seek political territory and endorsements which his more conservative challenger, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, cannot obtain. That brings us back to conservative Republican transgender activist Caitlyn Jenner, an Olympic athlete from the 1970s who posed with Jerry Ford at the White House.

A Trump Jenner meeting could be the equivalent of Nixon’s trip to Communist China. It was a geographic trip only Nixon could take, politicians said at the time. If Trump extends his hand to Jenner and she accepts it will be a huge political moment in the GOP and in U.S. politics.

The Trump Jenner political embrace will be more than two middle age Reality TV stars looking for ratings. It will signify real LGBT progress.

Contributor Jim Patterson is a writer and speaker based in California and Washington DC.

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Dining Out for Life Spotlight: Pardon My French — It’s personal Fri, 22 Apr 2016 20:58:27 +0000
Eric and Lindsey Fillion

Eric and Lindsey Fillion

Starting a new restaurant can be exhilarating and stressful.  Yet, in spite of opening just last month, Eric and Lindsey Fillion, owners of “Pardon My French Bar & Kitchen,” felt especially compelled to support Dining Out For Life® San Diego.

“Our next-door neighbors told us about Dining Out For Life and asked us if we would support the event,” said Lindsey Fillion. “Since we just opened, I had a brief moment of thinking, ‘Can we afford to do this?’ But, very quickly I knew we had to do this. This event is so important.”pardon my french.png

In addition to wanting to help the fight against HIV and support the community, Fillion also has a personal reason to be a part of the event. She lost her favorite uncle, Ricky Trask, to AIDS in the late 1980s and she has never forgotten him and his struggle.

Fillion is inspired by the idea that Dining Out for Life helps support The Center’s #BeTheGeneration campaign. This effort is working to end new HIV infections through education, HIV testing and increasing access to
the most effective HIV pardon my french drink.jpgmedications.

“When my uncle got sick, the only treatment was AZT and it was so hard on him. I love the idea that we are finally making progress with new HIV medications to stop this disease, ” Fillion said. “It feels like we have a light at the end of tunnel because of these medical steps and soon we will have a straight-out cure.”

Not only does Fillion bring a personal commitment to Dining Out for Life, but one look at the “Pardon My French” menu and you know it will be an incredible place to dine out on Thurs., April 28.  The restaurant features hearty French-California cuisine and a dazzling wine list.

“My favorite entree is our Steak Frites, but our Moroccan Braised Lamb Shank receives rave reviews,” said Fillion. “We have an amazing wine list that I believe is the best in San Diego. For those who adventurous, I recommend our Blood of the Scorpion craft cocktail.”

For Dining Out for Life on Thurs., April 28, reservations are recommended. To reserve your table — you’ll love it!

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The City: Top to Bottom Fri, 22 Apr 2016 01:40:38 +0000

Tastings: A Musical Sampling of Season 2016-17 Highlights

thursday, april 21

Tastings: A Musical Sampling of Season 2016-17 Highlights

Don’t miss this one-night-only preview of the San Diego Symphony Orchestra’s soon-to-be-announced 2016-17 downtown season at the Jacobs Music Center, giving you a flavor of this not-to-be-missed Legacy Season. And be sure to stay after for our After-Party celebration at 9 p.m. in our lobbies with more live music and a variety of beverages from Snake Oil Cocktail Company, including craft beer and special cocktails. (Note: no host bar)

Copley Symphony Hall, 750 B Street in San Diego, 7:30 p.m., pay what you wish, 619-235-0804,

Rex Navarrete

friday, april 22

Rex Navarrete

Navarrete gathers all of his material from what he calls “real Rex moments,” reality and shared life experiences. “I think everything has humor; you will always find humor. I don’t always make stuff up. Even though most of my material is geared for a Filipino audience, if you’re smart enough you’ll understand the universality of it. Look at the comedy traditions of Jewish and African American comics, which are now the mainstream through Seinfeld, Bruce, Allen, Rock, Pryor and Murphy.

The American Comedy Company, 818B Sixth Ave. in San Diego, 7:30 p.m., tickets $18, 619-795-3858,

California Dreamin’

saturday, april 23

California Dreamin’

Go west with the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus this Saturday as they celebrate songs in the key of CA. A little Disneyland princess here, a bit of Hollywood glam there. Add in some Katy Perry California Gurl power and Adele’s deep rolling for a medley of earthquake proportions! It’s all sunnily sprinkled with the classics of Tony Bennett, Brian Wilson and every guest registered at the Hotel California. We’ll even revisit your favorite Cali TV families from the Clampetts in Beverly Hills to the Bradys of the LA burbs with perhaps some Baywatch hunks in slow mo! Also presented Sunday, April 24 at 3 p.m.

Balboa Theatre, 868 Fourth Ave. in San Diego, 8 p.m., tickets from $28, 619-570-1100,

Earth Day on the Bay

sunday, april 24

Earth Day on the Bay

This event will take place at and around the Maritime Museum of San Diego. Opportunities to go on a bay cruise or sailing adventure with a naturalist aboard will be available for a nominal charge. The Maritime Museum believes that, at a time of particularly heightened concern regarding the effect of human activity on the earth’s environment, it will be important to make this event as accessible as possible. For that reason, there will be no charge to attend Earth Day on the Bay, and the Museum will be open to all who wish to attend without charge.

Maritime Museum of San Diego, 1492 N. Harbor Drive in San Diego, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., free admission to the museum, 619-234-9153 Ext 101,

Birds as Art: Arthur Morris

monday, april 25

Birds as Art: The Avian Photography of Arthur Morris

Last day! This fascinating exhibition features 67 of Morris’ all-time favorite images. Visitors will enjoy his clean, graphic style while simultaneously building a deep appreciation for our feathered friends.

San Diego Natural History Museum, 1788 El Prado in Balboa Park, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., adult admission $19, 619-232-3821,

Robin Henkel

tuesday, april 26

Robin Henkel

Join House of Blues for a free show with three time winner of “Best Blues” at the San Diego Music Awards, Robin Henkel. Before the show join them for Happy Hour from 4-6 p.m. in Crossroads Restaurant!

House of Blues San Diego, 1055 Fifth Ave in San Diego, 7 p.m., free, 619-299-2583,

Deanne Sabeck: Luminous

wednesday, april 27

Deanne Sabeck: Luminous

This intimate exhibition of glass and light is a visual feast of color, form, and altering perceptions. Reality transforms into illusion with the changing definitions of surfaces and reflections, defined and created through the play between light and shadow. Each viewer is encouraged to interact with and experience the exhibition from the context of his or her own point of view – both physically and intellectually.

Oceanside Museum of Art, 704 Pier View Way in Oceanside, 10 a.m.–4 p.m., general admission $8, 760-435-3720,

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Kesha to headline Saturday night at San Diego’s Pride Music Festival Thu, 21 Apr 2016 19:55:50 +0000

Kesha - Quote imageSan Diego Pride announced today that multiplatinum artist Kesha will be headlining Saturday night at San Diego’s Pride Music Festival.

Kesha has used her international fame as a platform to educate others about the LGBT community, highlight inequality, and empower others to be themselves unapologetically.

Her 2010 anthem “We R Who We R” was a response to the wave of LGBT teen suicides hitting the media at the time.

“I am beyond excited to perform at San Diego Pride this year.  We have come a long way with the equal rights movement, but we have so much more work to do.  In my home state of Tennessee they recently passed anti-LGBT legislation – it’s another reminder that groups like Pride are so important, and I’m honored to be part of San Diego Prides event on July 16. I’ll never stop fighting for people who just want to be able to express themselves freely for who they are. ” said Kesha.

“Each year our community volunteers work tirelessly to put on the best event possible, and this year we are honored to bring an advocate and artist of this caliber to San Diego Pride,” said Stephen Whitburn, San Diego Pride executive director.

San Diego’s Pride Music Festival will take place July 16-17, 2016 in Balboa Park, and will include 96 acts across a main stage, Latin stage, Hip Hop stage, and 80’s/90’s stage.

New to the event this year will be a free area called the Rainbow Zone which will house many of Pride’s LGBT serving non-profit organizations that will help connect community members with vital resources such as youth and senior services, women’s health care, HIV testing, sobriety support and more.

Kesha’s first album, Animal, debuted at number one in the United States in 2010. She has two number-one singles, including “We R Who We R” and “Tik Tok,” In 2012, Kesha’s second album, Warrior, brought her eighth top-ten single, “Die Young.” Kesha has been nominated for over 60 awards and has been recognized for her both her musical talent and her LGBT advocacy.

For tickets and information about San Diego Pride visit.
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Artist Prince is dead at 57 Thu, 21 Apr 2016 18:44:49 +0000


American singer, songwriter Prince has died; he was 57. He died at his Paisley Park recording studio and home in Chanhassen, Minnesota, near Minneapolis, today after suffering flu-like symptoms for several weeks.

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Transgender Actress Shakina Nayfack launches crowd funding campaign to bring her tour to North Carolina Thu, 21 Apr 2016 18:00:58 +0000
Shakina Nayfack

Shakina Nayfack

NEW YORK — With the recent passage of North Carolina’s HB2 Law aka “The Bathroom Law,” and its message of exclusion, high profile corporations and celebrities have spoken out, canceled events or threatened sanctions if the law is not repealed. Transgender actress and activist Shakina Nayfack (who can be seen in the upcoming second season of Difficult People on Hulu this July) has launched a crowd funding campaign on to raise money to bring her #MANIFESTPUSSY Tour to North Carolina this June. This campaign follows Nayfack’s successful KickStartHer campaign, the world’s first internationally crowd-sourced gender confirmation.

The #MANIFESTPUSSY Tour combines two solo shows written and performed by Ms. Nayfack, ONE WOMAN SHOW, which tells the story of her life leading up to her ultimate transition and POST-OP, which follows the six weeks she spent in Thailand before, during, and after the surgery. Both shows were originally produced by Musical Theatre Factory and premiered at Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater in New York.

The goal of this crowd funding campaign is to raise money to bring #MANIFESTPUSSY Tour on the road with stops in Durham, Chapel Hill, Greensboro, Asheville, Flat Rock, Charlotte, Fayetteville, and Raleigh. Nayfack and her team will work closely with local organizers to help solidify venues to present a new show that combines material from ONE WOMAN SHOW and POST-OP.  Ms. Nayfack considers this tour “Missionary Work”, stating: “In New York City, my transition has been very public and widely accepted. My shows have opened up a fantastic dialogue about what it means to transcend the gender binary, politically, socially, sexually, and spiritually. The passage of HB2 is not only hurtful, but has a much wider implications than most people realize. I very much appreciate the vocal and quick actions taken by such people as Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam, and Stephen Schwartz and companies such as PayPal, Google and the NBA. In their strength to stand up and speak out, I find my strength to bring my story to the very place that my community is being excluded.  I hope people will support this tour and help bring pride and empowerment to LGBT people and their allies in North Carolina.” 

Originally from Southern California, Shakina has enjoyed an eclectic career as a performer, director, writer, producer, and social activist. In 2015 she became the first transgender woman to receive a Lilly Award recognizing the remarkable contributions to the American Theatre made by women. Her autobiographical rock musicals One Woman Show (2013) and Post-Op (2015) both premiered to sold-out houses at Joe’s Pub, and will be returning to the Public Theater for encore engagements in June, 2016. The shows bookended her groundbreaking KickStartHer campaign to crowd-fund gender confirmation surgery. Shakina was also recently seen in Manuel Versus the Statue of Liberty at the New York Musical Theatre Festival, where she was presented with an Outstanding Individual Performance Award for her portrayal of Lady Liberty. This summer she will be joining the cast of the Hulu original comedy series “Difficult People.”

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New report finds LGBT elected officials key to blocking anti-LGBT laws Wed, 20 Apr 2016 19:57:03 +0000

VictoryWASHINGTON, D.C. — Today the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund and Institute (Victory) released a new research brief titled More Than Represent: LGBT Elected Officials Drive Equality in the States that shows the relationship between the number of openly LGBT public officials a state has and its level of LGBT equality. There is clear evidence that openly LGBT people form relationships with their colleagues, on both sides of the aisle, and change minds about LGBT equality – and votes.

The research overlays the number of openly serving LGBT elected officials in states with the Movement Advancement Project’s State Equality Index, and finds that:

  •       More openly LGBT public officials in a state leads to a greater number of LGBT legal protections.
  •       Nearly 70% of states with 5 or fewer openly LGBT public officials have few if any LGBT legal protections.
  •       About two-thirds of states with 11 or more openly LGBT public officials have complete or near complete        LGBT legal equality.
  •      100 percent of the states with no openly LGBT legislators have few if any LGBT legal protections.

“Our analysis shows convincingly that LGBT representation matters and is a game-changer on school boards, in city councils, and in state legislatures where our equality is still debated each and every day,” said Aisha Moodie-Mills, President & CEO of Victory.

Recent anti-LGBT legislative activity in Georgia, North Carolina, and Mississippi demonstrates the power of having openly elected LGBT officials in state legislatures. There were no openly LGBT state legislators serving in North Carolina or Mississippi when the latest anti-LGBT bills were signed into law. Yet in Georgia, where there are 3 openly LGBT state legislators, the Governor ultimately refused to sign the anti-LGBT legislation into law.

“LGBT elected officials are on the front lines of anti-LGBT policy battles, advocating for equality on behalf of all of us. It is critical that we have more voices at decision-making tables, because it’s clear that when we’re not at the table we’re on the menu,” adds Moodie-Mills.

This research brief is the first from the Victory War Room, Victory’s new campaign and communications engine that will serve as a megaphone to promote the impact of LGBT public officials and discredit opponents of LGBT leadership who aim to thwart equality by spreading false and malicious information about LGBT candidates and political issues.  The Victory War Room is the “place for LGBT politics” and will replace the organization’s long-running Gay Politics Report.


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Study finds transgender college students at higher risk for suicide attempts after denial of access to bathrooms, appropriate housing Tue, 19 Apr 2016 21:11:37 +0000
ATLANTA—Transgender university and college students are at a significantly higher risk for suicide attempts when their campus experience includes being denied access to bathrooms and gender-appropriate campus housing, a Georgia State University study finds.
“An alarmingly high proportion of the transgender individuals participating in this study – 46.5 percent – had a history of attempted suicide,” said Kristie Seelman, assistant professor of social work in the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies.
The rate of attempted suicide was even higher among those who had been denied access to bathrooms (60.5 percent) or gender-appropriate campus housing (60.6 percent), which were significant differences, she said.
This risk holds true even after controlling for other forms of victimization, Seelman said.
“Hostility, harassment, discrimination, invisibility and marginalization are common experiences for transgender students,” Seelman said. “The institutional and social supports that may contribute to their resilience, coping and academic success are often lacking. Taken altogether, these experiences often tear down their psychological well-being.”
Seelman paired data from the National Transgender Discrimination Survey (NTDS), a study of more than 6,000 transgender adults, including more than 2,300 individuals who self-identified as transgender while in college, to study whether denial of access to bathrooms and gender-appropriate campus housing are related to a heightened risk for suicide attempts among transgender individuals.
Nearly a quarter of those in the NTDS who had attended college reported being denied access to bathrooms or other campus facilities due to being transgender or gender non-conforming. About a fifth of the total sample had been denied access to gender-appropriate campus housing.
The study was published recently in The Journal of Homosexuality.
Other studies have found that transgender individuals report bathroom access as one of their most pressing issues on campus. Their negative experiences include being questioned about whether they belong in the bathroom, being stared at and being denied access or told to leave.
Those targeted felt less safe and tried to avoid campus bathrooms, the study reported. Being forced to wait longer to use a bathroom led to physical health consequences, including dehydration and kidney and urinary tract infections.
The research recommends institutions of higher education put policies and a network of faculty and staff in place to address harassment and victimization, provide access to safe, gender-appropriate bathroom and housing options, and establish well-funded, competent mental health services to meet transgender students’ needs.
“We are at a crossroads in the rising public awareness of transgender identities and in examining the ways our institutions can be structured to keep these individuals safe from harm,” Seelman said. “Administrators who take steps to combat discrimination affecting transgender people and other marginalized groups are not only contributing to a safer climate, they are also communicating the institution’s commitment to inclusiveness and the development of a diverse campus population.”
For a copy of the study go here.
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Nationwide LGBTQ crowdsourcing campaign reveals optimism about the future, fear of backlash Tue, 19 Apr 2016 20:40:58 +0000

WASHINGTON, DC – LGBTQ Americans have much to celebrate in growing public acceptance and legal victories in recent years, but many worry these gains might be lost in the face of a conservative backlash. This insight on the “tempered optimism” of LGBTQ Americans emerged from a crowdsourcing campaign designed to understand the hopes, fears and ideas on the minds of LGBTQ people across the country.

Our Tomorrow--Our Tomorrow is the first campaign of its kind to engage people nationwide in a conversation about the future of the movement. Supported by more than 140 organizations, the conversation revealed 52 issues on the minds of more than 5,000 participants from all 50 states—from  “acceptance” and “aging” to the “workplace” and “youth.”

The full analysis of the conversation can be viewed at

Our Tomorrow enabled LGBTQ people everywhere to engage in an open and wide-ranging conversation about our future at a crucial time in our history,” said Our Tomorrow campaign manager Lee Swislow. “There is unmistakable optimism about all we’ve accomplished—and awareness that much remains to be done.”

The findings represent one of the largest and broadest datasets ever created about the concerns of LGBTQ people, which The Advocate magazine said presents “a clearer picture than ever before of the U.S. LGBT community.” The information is intended to help inform the ongoing work of participating organizations, which ranged from national nonprofits to local community centers.

“Our hope is that these findings inform the work of organizations and individuals working to improve the lives of LGBTQ people everywhere,” said Kevin Jennings, executive director of the Arcus Foundation, which helped fund the campaign. “Our Tomorrow engaged the full diversity of the LGBTQ community — from all parts of the country and all walks of life. As a movement, it’s important that we listen to and learn from what they had to say.”

The campaign collected 14,509 hopes, fears and ideas from 5,663 individuals in all 50 states—including a significant number of participants from often overlooked and underrepresented groups. Because the responses were open-ended, researchers trained in linguistic analysis spent weeks interpreting the results.

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New study tests the effectiveness of at-home HIV testing for male couples Tue, 19 Apr 2016 20:16:10 +0000

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Relationships bring with them lots of issues: Who will do the laundry? The cooking? Pay the bills?

But gay and bisexual men also wrestle with how to handle HIV status and testing.

NexusA new University of Michigan study trial is believed to be the first of its kind to use telemedicine via in-home testing and video counseling to help male couples manage HIV-related issues. Called Project Nexus, the goal is to test the effectiveness of in-home testing and counseling to improve the lives of gay couples.

Robert Stephenson, professor of health behavior and biological sciences and co-director of the U-M Center for Sexuality and Health Disparities (SexLab), based in the schools of Nursing and Public health, is the principal investigator.

There’s a pressing need to increase testing and communication about HIV risk among male couples, Stephenson said. Gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men are the only group in the United States experiencing an increase of HIV infections.

Recent studies show that as many as two thirds of new infections among gay men come from main partners. Further, gay men in relationships perceive themselves to be at less risk of HIV, and test less frequently for HIV than single men, despite frequently not using condoms, Stephenson said.

Nexus hopes to recruit 350 male couples nationwide to pilot the program—175 couples of unknown or self-reported negative HIV status and 175 couples where one partner is already living with HIV and the other partner is not.

Couples where one person has HIV and the other doesn’t (called serodiscordant) have different needs when trying to manage HIV in their relationships, Stephenson said.

“Because of this, we need to understand whether or not Nexus works differently among serodiscordant couples than among couples who are both HIV negative or of unknown HIV status,” he said.

If effective, the program will be offered to HIV/AIDS service organizations and health departments around the country.

The project is funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

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San Diego Opera announces 2016-2017 season Mon, 18 Apr 2016 18:05:13 +0000
Rossini's La Cenerentola (Cinderella) Photo from Opera Queensland

Rossini’s La Cenerentola (Cinderella) Photo from Opera Queensland

SAN DIEGO – Returning favorites, important debuts by exciting American artists, bold new productions, and staged works that explore the relevance of opera in the 21st century are all part of San Diego Opera’s 2016-2017 Season.

The Company will continue to present three mainstage operas at the San Diego Civic Theatre, but this season has shifted one production to a Fall performance, Gioachino Rossini’s La Cenerentola (Cinderella), which will take place in October. The Company has announced the Detour series, a continuing series of exciting performances that this season includes Soldier Songs and La tragèdie de Carmen at The Balboa Theatre.

“Starting this season, San Diego Opera will present one mainstage opera in the Fall. Doing this enables the Company to have a presence in the community outside of winter and spring, which has traditionally been known as ‘opera season’ in San Diego. By presenting one mainstage opera during this time, it puts infrastructure in place that will allow us to present a variety of works under consideration for future seasons, making San Diego Opera a year-round presence in the community. Moving a mainstage opera out of what has traditionally known as opera season is not unprecedented for us; the Company held the very successful summer Verdi Festival for years in the late 70’s and 80’s,” shares San Diego Opera General Director David Bennett.

Two Giuseppe Verdi operas, Falstaff (February) and La traviata (April) round out the mainstage offerings at the San Diego Civic Theatre. Three special events enhance the season including the season kickoff in September with famed tenor Piotr Beczala in recital at the Balboa Theatre. The Company will also invite audience members to explore different styles of opera and how they can be presented when the Company presents the West Coast premiere of David T. Little’s multimedia event Soldier Songs (November), a work that traces the shift in perceptions of war as a man ages from a child, to a soldier, to a father. Soldier Songs will be performed at the Balboa Theatre. The Company will also present Peter Brook’s chamber opera La tragèdie de Carmen (March), a distilled version of Bizet’s classic opera Carmen. La tragèdie de Carmen will be performed at the Balboa Theatre.

For more information visit

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Gwen Stefani set to launch North American tour Mon, 18 Apr 2016 17:50:59 +0000

StefaniThree-time GRAMMY Award-winning singer/songwriter Gwen Stefani will return to the road this summer as she launches her This Is What the Truth Feels Like2016 tour July 12 in Boston, Massachusetts. Gwen’s highly anticipated tour will bring high-energy performances to dozens of cities throughout North America including Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Tampa and Vancouver this Summer as well as dates in Los Angeles and San Francisco this Fall.

Hip hop star and actress EVE will join Stefani for all dates on the “This Is What the Truth Feels Like” tour.  GRAMMY Award-winning artist EVE, also an established actress known for her role in the Barbershop film series and achieved success as a fashion designer, has collaborated with Stefani on two successful hit songs – “Rich Girl” and “Let Me Blow Ya Mind” – earning a GRAMMY Award for the latter.

Citi® cardmembers will have access to pre-sale tickets beginning Tuesday, April 19 at 10:00 a.m. local time through Citi’s Private Pass® Program. For complete pre-sale details, visit Tickets for the general public go on sale starting Friday, April 22 at A limited number of VIP packages will also be available through, including premium tickets, meet & greet, exclusive merchandise and more. Check and local listings for updated tour and ticketing information.

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‘Cirque du Soleil’ pulls North Carolina shows Mon, 18 Apr 2016 17:40:54 +0000
'OVO' - Cirque du Soleil

‘OVO’ – Cirque du Soleil

The Quebec-based  artistic entertainment company, Cirque du Soleil has announced it will not be performing in North Carolina. The company has canceled their scheduled performances of OVO in Greensboro (April 20-24) and their scheduled performances in Charlotte (July 6-10) and their scheduled performances of TORUK – Avatar in Raleigh (June 22-26). 

In a statement the company said, Cirque du Soleil believes in equality for all.  It is a principle that guides us with both our employees and our customers.  We behave as change agents to reach our ultimate goal of making a better world with our actions and our productions.

“We sincerely hope that the customers that have purchased tickets for our performances in North Carolina will understand our motivation and we look forward to performing in North Carolina when this issue is addressed.”

Online and phone ticket purchases will be automatically reimbursed and in-person purchases must return to point of purchase for refunds.  Customer service can be reached at 1-877-924-7783.

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Save the date: ‘Uprising: Songs of Change’ ft. Janis Ian and SDWC, May 22 Mon, 18 Apr 2016 00:30:35 +0000

UprisingSan Diego Human Dignity Foundation (SDHDF), one of the largest LGBT foundations in the United States, and the San Diego Women’s Chorus will present “UPRISING: Songs of Change” Sunday, May 22, 2016 at 7 p.m. at the Balboa Theatre. The concert will feature the 85-voice San Diego Women’s Chorus (SDWC) and welcome special guest, Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter, Janis Ian as the event’s VIP performer. This concert marks the third year of collaboration between the two nonprofits to raise funds for SDHDF’s Lesbian Health Initiative and SDWC.

Tickets are on sale via,, or by calling the Balboa Theatre directly at 619-570-1100.

This year marks 50 years since Ian recorded her first album, “Janis Ian,” which featured the song “Society’s Child” and got her first Grammy nomination for “Best Folk Album.” It also marks 40 years since the 1976 Grammys, when “At Seventeen” and “Between the Lines” were up for five Grammys and won two, for “Best Female Vocalist” and “Best Engineered Album,” respectively. In all Janis Ian has been nominated for ten Grammys in eight different categories over a 50-year period. Her most recent Grammy nomination was this year in the “Best Spoken Word” category for the audiobook “Patience & Sarah.” This classic piece of historical fiction about two gay women “with a happy ending,” first self-published in 1969, was funded by Ian and her wife, and co-narrated by actress Jean Smart. Moreover, Ian’s recent performance at the Appel Room at the Lincoln Center in New York received an outstanding review from the New York Times describing her performance as “poised,” “charming” and still as “raw” as ever.

Janis Ian--

Janis Ian

Music and lyrics are about life experiences and, as Ian’s life has been full and colorful, so have her songs, as evidenced by her multiple awards, Grammy and Dove Award nominations and commendations. Her songs have been recorded by singers as diverse as Cher, John Mellencamp, Celine Dion, Hugh Masakela, Nana Mouskouri, Charlie Daniels and Roberta Flack. Always one to follow her heart and her beliefs, Ian was one of the first celebrities to come out publicly. She and her partner of 27 years were formally married in Canada in 2003, the only place where gay marriage was legal at the time. Her roller coaster ride has taken her to Nashville, her home since 1988, where she continues to expand as an artist, most recently narrating Olympic medalist Ginny Gilder’s autobiography and writing “Godzilla haiku” for her self-curated Facebook page.

“San Diego Human Dignity Foundation is proud to collaborate for the third year in a row with the San Diego Women’s Chorus to raise money for the support of our Lesbian Health Initiative,” says John Brown, executive director, SDHDF. “This year’s concert with Janis Ian at the Balboa promises to be an inspirational and entertaining time for all.” Past benefit concerts have featured VIP performers the Indigo Girls and Frenchie Davis, performing alongside SDWC members.

“UPRISING: Songs of Change” Benefit Concert

DATE: Sunday, May 22, 2016

TIME: 7 p.m.

TICKETS: On sale via,, or by calling the Balboa Theatre directly at 619-570-1100.

Regular tickets are $15-$85. VIP tickets, which include premium seating and admission to the exclusive invite-only after party at the Hard Rock Café, are available via for $250.

NOTE: For accessibility accommodations, please contact the Balboa Theatre via 619-615-4000.



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A little metaphor for what your life could be! Sun, 17 Apr 2016 19:30:13 +0000

iStock_000013049543_WellnessI know a little frog that used to live an average life at the bottom of an average well. He doesn’t live there anymore. Here is the story of Blake the frog and his journey for more than average.

Blake lived a relatively happy life at the bottom of his little well. He had what he thought was everything he needed. He could survive and live by his meager ways and have an average life right where he was at.

Blake had an epiphany one day that maybe he should try to venture to the top of the well and see what existed there. He took a chance by scaling up that well wall one day.  There could have been a scary new world that he was not ready for. There could have been a world up there that was not worth climbing up the wall to see.

Blake was amazed at the sight he beheld as he reached the peak of his journey. There was so much sky to see and so much more of everything to look at. He saw a pond near the well and decided to explore this body of water that was so much larger than his liquid cubicle at the well bottom.

This pond was teaming with many fish, ducks, and other little frogs. Blake was ecstatic about his discovery, but was not through with his aquatic travels. He found a river that flowed away from the pond. Blake jumped into the rivers current and went with its flow.

He soon found that his river took him past numerous ponds and vibrant forests on his riparian meanderings. The river finally opened into a massive expanse of water. Blake had only heard about things like this, but it appeared that he was at an ocean.

The size of the ocean was impressive and it stretched beyond his eyesight. This ocean presented so many more seemingly endless opportunities for Blake.  All the awesome moments that were just waiting for him to put a beginning to them were now all around him. He had come a long way baby!

He only needed to take that first step to leave his comfort at the bottom of the well. It was a big first step but it brought him to a place that he had had only read about and dreamed of.

Yes, this is a simple little metaphor for what your life could be. It does however beg the question, “Will you ever leave the bottom of your well?” There are plenty of challenges at the top of the well. There are also plenty of rewards attached to those challenges at the top of that well.

Make it a goal that you will begin your explorations and head to that well top. Prepare for the many and varied opportunities that are out there waiting for you to discover them. Anytime is a great time to expand your horizons! I hope to see you some day in that great big ocean with Blake!

This article of Yes I Can is brought to you by the guy with all of the answers to none of today’s problems.  This omnisciently challenged guy is Blake and he can be reached at

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The Amazon Trail: Gender buttons Sun, 17 Apr 2016 14:00:03 +0000
Little Lee

Little Lee

Where do little kids get their urgent need to know my gender? Is it intrinsic, some part of survival of the species? Parents should at least teach them that their question is rude. But no, the parents are as unsettled by what they perceive to be gender non-conformance as their children. That leads to bullying, even at home. “Darling, you’re a pretty little girl! Wouldn’t you rather play with your dollies?” Well, no. I had not the slightest interest in dolls. Dressing them up? Pretending they were living infants? Bor-ing.

I’ve been messing with gender all my life, preferring to present as androgynous. Perhaps it’s been rebellion, a slap in the face of  anyone who asks the perennial question, is it a boy or a girl? Perhaps I just liked the look.

I’m biologically female and have never wanted to be anything but a woman. At the same time, I have hated to wear female clothing since early childhood. It’s overpriced, often not well made, and uncomfortable.  And I’m required to wear it because—it buttons to the left? Who makes these rules?

In the March 27, 2015 “Atlantic Magazine,” Megan Garber wrote “Every day, millions of people are walking around with these little reminders of gender inequality emblazoned on their chests.” She explored the possible history of button placement to male use of weapons and shields, to class, to holding babies, and maybe even to Napoleon. Laughable, the way we button up traditions so they don’t go away.

I don’t get angry easily, but I’ve always had a hair-trigger fury when confronted with gender assumptions. I had to hold in my anger—I was different and therefore wrong, wrong, wrong. Inside I was screaming, “How dare you—?” I didn’t know what to ask; I didn’t have the words. Why, why, why, did they have to know anyway?

Today, I still ask. What is this need we have to categorize one another? Why separate, why pit category against category? Probably it goes back to defending ourselves when we set up housekeeping in caves.

Gender labels are convenient, whether they once were prehistoric mating signals or are a way to protect today’s females from today’s males. Even as a kid, I wanted nothing to do with that mating stuff. The planet is overpopulated enough. I have the maternal instincts of a sidewalk. Does this mean there’s something wrong with me? Again, how dare anyone define what is right or wrong in my inherent makeup.

Once I was nominally a grownup, and might have enjoyed the freedom of confident androgyny, many feminists, as unlearned as I had been, condemned the boyishness of butch, the spectacularness of femme. It took me a long, long time to re-recognize my natural attraction to girly girls and not condemn myself for it.

I am terrifically grateful to the brave people who are speaking out on this subject in recent years, many of them young and fortunate to be more knowledgeable than I was at their age. Certainly, for most of them, reassignment to one extent or another is not the easy way out. I saw a meme yesterday that read: “Legality is a matter of power, not justice.” The fines and prison sentences that have been written into bathroom use laws are a way of controlling those who the powerful fear: scary us.

Wake up, legislators in North Carolina and Tennessee, we are not the people most likely to harm you or your kids. It’s okay to be who you are and it’s okay to be who we are. Let go of that vestigial panic.

But what kind of bad joke is this aging business? We grow heavy or dangerously thin, our bodies lose or grow (unwanted) hair. We’re prescribed medications that can numb our favorite drives and increase disfavored urges. Female and male become less distinct until, at the 50th anniversary celebration, longtime mixed gender couples look like each other. By end of life perhaps some begin to realize all the fuss over who was who and who did what never mattered.

Many women have told me that they simply had no idea there were choices available to them: how to dress, who to love, whether or not to give birth, what work they could and could not do. Too many promising humans have been utterly crippled by primordial traditions and it’s time to quit mandating where our buttons go.

Lee Lynch wrote the classic novels The Swashbuckler and Toothpick House. Her newest book is An American Queer: The Amazon Trail, which is a Lammy finalist. Most recently she was made namesake and first recipient of the Golden Crown Literary Society Lee Lynch Classic Award for her novel The Swashbuckler. She is also a recipient of the James Duggins Mid-Career Award in Writing, and many more honors.Books by Lee Lynch are available at women’s and gay bookstores and at

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RuPaul’s Dragcon to kick off with ‘Opening Night Spectacular’ May 6 Sun, 17 Apr 2016 00:30:35 +0000
DragconRuPaul’s annual convention celebrating “the art of drag, queer culture and self-expression for all” kicks off with RuPaul’s Dragcon Opening Night Spectacular a special opening night extravaganza presented by World of Wonder and Voss Events, taking place Friday, May 6 at the Belasco Hotel in Los Angeles (1050 S. Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90015).  Many of the world’s top drag queens have been tapped to perform including Alyssa Edwards, Gia Gunn, Jessica Wild, Jujubee, Katya, Kennedy Davenport, Lady Bunny, Laganja Estranja, Latrice Royale, Raven, and Trixie Mattel. Doors open at 8PM; show begins at 9 p.m.
“We’re opening the world’s largest drag event in grand style,” proclaims Brandon Voss. Known for his high concept parties at some of New York’s most exclusive venues, such as The Palace Hotel, W Hotels, Marquee, and the Dream Downtown, and hot ticket events featuring a-list stars including Lady Gaga, Cher, Caitlyn Jenner, and others, Brandon Voss is partnering with World of Wonder on the first-ever RuPaul’s Dragcon Opening Night Spectacular “Until now, there have been no actual performances at DragCon. The opening night party is the first to add a performance component to the fun-filled weekend,” he says.
RuPaul’s DragCon provides a platform for fans to meet and interact with world-renowned drag celebrities in a friendly and accessible environment.
Nearly 14, 000 people attended last year’s convention.  Tens of thousands are expected to attend the next glitter-filled weekend.  Many coming for the opportunity to mix, mingle and kiki with queens from all eight seasons of “RuPaul’s Drag Race”.
General admission tickets for RuPaul’s Dragcon Opening Night Spectacular are $40.  Reserved mezzanine seating tickets are also available for $65.00.
For more information, visit
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The shadow of AIDS: POV to broadcast ‘Memories of a Penitent Heart’ in 2017 (VIDEO) Fri, 15 Apr 2016 17:55:57 +0000

NEW YORK, N.Y. – POV (Point of View), American television’s longest-running independent documentary series, has acquired the U.S. broadcast rights to Cecilia Aldarondo’s Memories of a Penitent Heart, a co-production of ITVS. The film has its world premiere tonight at the Tribeca Film Festival and will have its national broadcast premiere on POV in 2017 on PBS.

Memories of a Penitent Heart is a documentary that cracks open a Pandora’s box of unresolved family issues. Like many gay men in the 1980s, Miguel moved from Puerto Rico to New York City; he found a career in theater and a rewarding relationship. In 1987 at the height of the AIDS crisis, he repented of his homosexuality on his deathbed under pressure from his devout Catholic mother. Twenty-five years later, his niece Cecilia pieces together the mystery behind her uncle’s death, sifting through conflicting memories of a man she never really knew. She locates Miguel’s estranged partner, pores over home movies and written documents, and begins to unlock long-dormant family secrets.

“Cecilia’s Aldarondo’s beautiful and evocative film explores the difficulties of not only being Puerto Rican in America, but also what it means to be gay and shunned by your community, family and church,” said POV Executive Producer Chris White. “This personal and complex portrait of her uncle, and those who loved him, shows how hard it can be to reconcile religion and sexual identity—and, in this case, demonstrably clouds the line between sinners and saints.”

Cecilia Aldarondo holds a master’s degree from Goldsmiths College and a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota. Her personal documentary Memories of a Penitent Heart has received additional support from the MacDowell Colony, the Sundance Institute, Jerome Foundation, Firelight Media and New York State Council on the Arts, among others. In 2015 the film was selected for IFP’s Independent Filmmaker Labs as well as Sundance Institute’s Edit and Story Lab, and was the winner of the 2015 Paley DocPitch. Aldarondo is assistant professor of film studies at Skidmore College, was the inaugural recipient of the Roberto Guerra Documentary Award in 2015, and has been named by FILMMAKER magazine as one of 2015’s “25 New Faces of Independent Film.”

Memories of a Penitent Heart Credits:
Director/Producer/Writer: Cecilia Aldarondo; Producer: Patricia Benabe; Cinematographer: Brennan Vance; Editor: Hannah Buck; Composer: Angélica Negrón. Length: 74 minutes. Language: English, Spanish.

POV kicks off its 29th season on PBS Monday, May 23 at 10 p.m. (check local listings) with The Return by Kelly Duane de la Vega and Katie Galloway.

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Bullying in schools: LGBT adults report higher incidence of bullying as well as being bullied Fri, 15 Apr 2016 16:56:15 +0000

NEW YORK — Today’s annual GLSEN Day of Silence will again call attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment in schools. In this light, parents, students and educators alike continue to be alarmed at unacceptably high levels of bullying that adversely affect environments at school, at home and online. For lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, those reported experiences again tell a harsh and unique perspective – in greater number of incidents of experienced bullying as well as their own recollections of bullying others.

Over half of all LGBT adults (52%) say they recall being bullied while at school, contrasted with 43% of all adults. Dr. Eliza Byard, GLSEN Executive Director, adds, “Once again, data confirms that LGBT people – as students and adults – are more likely to face bullying than their peers. Over our 25 years of work, we have made progress in reducing the extreme rates of bullying, harassment and violence that LGBT students face daily, but we must continue to close the gap. With every GLSEN program, initiative and campaign, our ultimate goal remains the same – we seek to ensure that the next generation of LGBT adults will report having had fewer experiences of bullying in childhood, and a greater climate of respect for all in their everyday lives.”

Strikingly, nearly a quarter (24%) of LGBT respondents state that they also bullied someone else while they were in school, compared with 10% of all adults. It’s significant to note that this finding underscores that those who were bullied themselves are 3 times as likely as those who weren’t bullied to admit that they bullied someone else. Bob Witeck, President of Witeck Communications, says, “It’s not surprising to learn that some individuals, including LGBT people who often are targets, can be found in both camps – as victims and also as perpetrators of bullying. Research suggests that hostile climates can reinforce vicious cycles of hurtful behaviors.”

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll® of 2,219 U.S. adults surveyed online between February 17 and 22, 2016. Complete results of this study can be found here.

Cyber bullying stands out
Nearly 9 in 10 (86%) adults agree technology has made it easier to bully someone. Strikingly, by nearly 2-1, 37% of LGBT adults say they encountered cyber bullying, when compared with 20% of all adults. LGBT adults who have experienced bullying also report higher than average incidents of physical bullying. Three-quarters (75%) say they have experienced physical harm when compared with 68% of all respondents.

Causes of LGBT bullying
While adults tend to recall many reasons for experiencing or witnessing bullying in school, LGBT adults report these causes as among those most frequent in their own experiences:

  • Social awkwardness 64% (53% non-LGBT)
  • Sexual orientation 53% (21% non-LGBT)
  • Unusual qualities such as interests, fashion 52% (31% non-LGBT)
  • Race/ethnicity 43% (33% non-LGBT)
  • Non-conformance to gender stereotypes 39% (17% non-LGBT)
  • Gender identity 26% (13% non-LGBT)
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Play Ball! Thu, 14 Apr 2016 21:31:46 +0000

America’s Finest City Softball League celebrates 35 years of LGBT acceptance and inclusion in sports

It’s that time of the year again. Time for Americans to flock to the nation’s ballparks to enjoy a good old fashioned baseball game, indulge in hot dogs and cracker jacks and root for the home team.

While sports fans may be focused on Major League Baseball’s recent opening day festivities, many local leagues have also started their seasons, such as San Diego’s own America’s Finest City Softball League (AFCSL). The LGBT-focused league kicked off its season March 13 and continues on most Sundays through June 12.

Over the years, the AFCSL has grown to become the largest LGBT sports organization in San Diego. With more than 600 players, coaches, managers and other people currently associated with the league, it’s safe to say that the organization has grown immensely in the past 35 years.

When the league began in 1981, it helped pave the way to making the gay and lesbian community feel accepted and included.

“There was a growing desire for the gay and lesbian community to expand into endeavors that would have visibility beyond the traditional world of gay bars and clubs,” said Brian Burnett, co-commissioner for the AFCSL. “Coming out was becoming more acceptable, adult softball was becoming popular, so based on the timing of the two intersecting events, it became the logical choice (to create the AFCSL) at the time.”

The league started with just six men’s and two women’s teams playing on a field in Coronado.

“Back then, players and other participants were faced with a much less accepting attitude toward LGBT endeavors and there were threats of violence against those that pioneered the league back then,” explained Burnett. “Over time, however, things changed and after about eight years, the growth in the league exploded to steadily grow to where we are today. We still owe those trailblazers a debt of gratitude, however, for getting the ball rolling all those years ago. Pun intended.”

Although the AFCSL doesn’t poll its members on sexual orientation, it’s believed that the majority identify as LGBT. However, allies to the LGBT community are welcome to join the league as well.

The AFCSL is split into two sections, open and women, and then further divided by skill level within each section. Beginning players generally start in the D division but have the opportunity to move up to the C and B division as their skills improve. Although the majority of players in the open section are men, women are welcome to join either.

“I have personally played in the League since the spring 2006 season,” said Burnett. “It was my first time playing in a gay league of any kind, as I had always played in the straight leagues my entire life. But the experience was amazing.”

New players are welcome to join the league before the start of the season and attend a series of clinics to assess their skill level before being placed on a team. Once the teams are formed, the majority of the team stays together year after year, which helps create strong bonds among players.

“There is a culture in softball that teams learn to play together over time and extend that on-field dynamic to socialization and friendships outside of the ballpark,” said Burnett.

For example, the league organizes Sponsor Sundays, where teams can gather at a sponsor bar or restaurant after the games to mix and mingle in a laidback, friendly environment. Teams also often participate in San Diego Pride and similar events.

“I think most newcomers are surprised by the combination of competitive play – many assume gay league means the players’ skills aren’t as high as their straight counterparts, but this is quickly overcome after their first game – combined with the overwhelming camaraderie and friendships forged between all the teams,” said Burnett. “In many other sports leagues, the competition between teams can prevent this interpersonal social interaction, but in the gay leagues, particularly AFCSL, you’ll see most of those barriers reduced to nothing. It’s all about having a ton of fun while playing the sport that we all love.”

Over the years, the AFCSL has made a name for itself among national LGBT softball organizations. The league is a member of both the North American Gay Athletic Association, which hosts the Open Gay Softball World Series, and the Amateur Sports Alliance of North America, which hosts the Women’s Softball World Series. Both of these events attract the best LGBT softball teams from the United States and Canada.

In 2015, the AFCSL had two teams win their respective divisions within the two World Series events. The D-division team Looking to Score won their division at the Women’s Softball World Series while team Marine Layer won the Master’s division at the Gay Softball World Series.

“These were tremendous efforts by both teams and we as a league couldn’t be prouder to have such talented and dedicated teams and players originate in San Diego,” said Burnett.

On several occasions, San Diego has hosted the Gay Softball World Series and the Women’s Softball World Series. The league, which last held the GSWS in San Diego in 2005, is currently considering putting together a bid to host again in the near future.

In addition to providing a fun and safe sporting environment for the LGBT community and its allies, the AFCSL is also proud to be able to help the general economy of San Diego through sponsorships. Each of the 43 teams is sponsored by a local business, which helps draw the neighborhood together and boost the local economy.

The AFCSL hosts the Autumn Classic each October. This annual softball tournament attracts teams from throughout the country and, over the course of Columbus Day weekend, brings over a thousand softball players to gather in San Diego.

This year, the Autumn Classic will expand to include additional sports as well, although details are still being finalized.

“This is an exciting new development for not only the AFCSL, but for the other sports that will be involved and the community as a whole since a larger event means increased opportunities for growth and acceptance of LGBT ideas and culture in the greater San Diego region,” said Burnett.

In an effort to support all LGBT athletes in San Diego, the AFCSL has teamed up with fellow local LGBT sports organizations for special events, such as San Diego’s Out at the Park.

Join members of the SD Hoops basketball league, Varsity Gay League’s dodgeball, kickball and volleyball, SD Pool League, SD Front Runners and SD Tennis Federation, among others., as they gather at Petco Park for the Padres v. Dodgers game Saturday, May 21.

This year also marks the first annual Stonewall Athlete Awards as part of the Out at the Park weekend. Celebrate local athletes with this exciting event Friday, May 20 at the Lafayette Hotel.

“It’s an exciting year to be a part of the San Diego sports community,” enthused Burnett.

Despite being such a large league, the AFCSL is a non-profit organization that is completely run by volunteers. Everyone, from coaches to the 11-member Board of Officers, donates their time to making the league a success.

“These volunteers are the true backbone of the operation and we’d like to extend our deepest thank you to all of them every chance we can,” said Burnett. “None of this would be possible otherwise.”

For more information visit

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Debut author urges all to take vow of silence on 4/15 in support of LGBT anti-bullying crusade Thu, 14 Apr 2016 19:51:10 +0000

Day of SilenceSince 1996, the goal of the annual National Day of Silence has been to illustrate the silencing effect of bullying and harassment on LGBT students. This year the the National Day of Silence will be observed tomorrow, Friday, April 15. According to the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) 2013 National School Climate Survey, nearly nine out of 10 LGBT students report verbal, sexual or physical harassment at school, and more than 30 percent report missing at least one day of school in the past month out of fear for their personal safety.

“These facts motivate me to take my own vow of silence,” says G.M. Walser, author of One Soul/One Mind: A Study of Homosexuality and Gender Identity (Brown Books Publishing Group).  “Children, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, are worthy of educational institutions where they feel protected. They should be able to safely learn how to reach their goals and make their dreams come true—just like everybody else.”

One Mind One SoulWalser hopes that by expanding the scope of the Day of Silence beyond schools, she can do her part to also ensure that LGBTQ students return to homes of love and acceptance after school. Her debut book One Soul/One Mind is a lesson from the heart about homosexuality and gender identity told through some of her own experiences and her honest, unfiltered progression of emotions regarding her own daughter’s gender identity differences.

“What inspired me to write One Soul/One Mind was my desire to stop the bullying and discrimination that many LGBTQ children and adults suffer. Many young people with gender identity differences are very often abandoned and rejected by their own parents and families,” she says.

Walser had a Catholic upbringing and later accepted southern Baptist theology. The teachings of the church and the Bible made it difficult to come to terms with her daughter’s homosexuality. She admits that acceptance was a long process. However, her understanding of the roots of gender identity and homosexuality, aided by scientific research and spiritual inspirations, helped her to accept what she couldn’t change about her daughter.

The path to acceptance led her to realize that the only thing upsetting about homosexuality was coming from other people. “Ignorant people, misinformed people,” says Walser. “And, if I were to be completely honest with myself, I had to acknowledge that I used to be one of them.”

She hopes that sharing her story will help other parents understand and deal with conflicting emotions regarding their own child’s homosexuality or gender identity differences.

“I’m grateful that I did not suppress or encourage it despite the fact that it made me uncomfortable at times,” says Walser. “I now realize that my daughter is the source of all the insights that have changed my life for the better: all the peace and happiness that have come to me in truly knowing who she is, how she feels about herself, and how much she has loved me. And she thanks me now for the way I have always shown my love.”

For more information about the GLSEN Day of Silence, visit:

For more information about G.M. Walser and her book One Soul/One Mind, visit:

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San Diego-based consumer electronics audio company boycotts sales to North Carolina Thu, 14 Apr 2016 19:18:57 +0000

1MORESan Diego-based premiere consumer electronics audio company 1MORE USA Inc. has announced it will be boycotting sales to North Carolina until HB2 is repealed.

Just a few weeks ago the ‪North Carolina Senate passed ‪HB2, a law that effectively excludes protections based on sexual orientation or gender identity. There are many groups, companies, businesses, and individuals working to repeal the law and in an act of solidarity for those businesses 1MORE will suspend its sales to North Carolina. 

In a press release 1MORE issued the following statement, “1MORE believes that music is food for the soul and should be available to all people regardless of race, color, age, creed or otherwise. In line with 1MORE’s corporate philosophy, the #MusicForAll campaign reflects 1MORE’s desire for equality in all aspects of life.” 



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