LGBT Weekly 2015-08-28T18:29:26Z Steve Lee, Editor <![CDATA[Telling Trans Stories: Zackary Drucker and Rhys Ernst of ‘Transparent’ (VIDEO)]]> 2015-08-28T18:29:26Z 2015-08-28T18:29:26Z

Today, the Emmy-nominated co-creators and producers of This Is Me (Outstanding Short-Format Nonfiction Programming) Zackary Drucker and Rhys Ernst sat down with YouTube content creator Raymond BraunZackary and Rhys talk with Raymond about how working as consultants and producers on the Emmy nominated show Transparent  inspired this documentary series that explores lives of several gender nonconforming people.

Watch above as Zackary and Rhys chat with Raymond to talk about their personal journeys, their work on This is Me, and how they are changing media for the trans community.

Steve Lee, Editor <![CDATA[DNC unanimously approves a resolution in support of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage]]> 2015-08-28T18:20:48Z 2015-08-28T18:20:48Z Thursday, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) body unanimously approved a resolution in support of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that extended marriage rights to same-sex couples throughout the country.
The Washington Blade reports, “Same-sex marriage is a constitutionally guaranteed right nationwide and can no longer be denied by state laws,” reads the resolution. “The ruling now recognizes same-sex marriages all across this nation and these families will now be protected under the law from the discrimination and mistreatment to which they have long been subjected.”

The resolution also describes the ruling in the Obergefell case as “an important victory for the LGBT community” and “a monumental step forward for our nation.

“The Democratic National Committee applauds this Supreme Court decision and will continue its work in achieving real progress and supporting the LGBT community,” it reads.
The DNC is expected to ratify the resolution later today.
Steve Lee, Editor <![CDATA[New children’s book highlights experience of transgender youth]]> 2015-08-28T17:57:11Z 2015-08-28T17:55:44Z GeorgePublishing company Scholastic has just released one of the first children’s books to deal with transgender issues.

Aimed at Grades 3-7, the book is authored by Alex Gino who who identifies as genderqueer and uses they/them/their pronouns.

On its Web site, Scholastic describes the book as:


When people look at George, they think they see a boy. But she knows she’s not a boy. She knows she’s a girl.

George thinks she’ll have to keep this a secret forever. Then her teacher announces that their class play is going to be Charlotte’s Web. George really, really, REALLY wants to play Charlotte. But the teacher says she can’t even try out for the part . . . because she’s a boy.

With the help of her best friend, Kelly, George comes up with a plan. Not just so she can be Charlotte — but so everyone can know who she is, once and for all.


Alex Gino

“I wrote it because it was the book I wanted to read,” Gino told The New York Times. “I wanted trans voices telling trans stories.”

Scholastic is aiming to turn the book into a mainstream success. It increased the first printing to 50,000 from 35,000 based on strong preorders and sent Alex to meet with booksellers and librarians at the ABC Children’s Institute in Pasadena, Calif., and at BookExpo in New York. They hired Jamie Clayton, a transgender actress, to narrate the audiobook.



Steve Lee, Editor <![CDATA[Houston Unites airs first radio ad]]> 2015-08-28T17:19:18Z 2015-08-28T17:19:18Z Houston Unites

HRC Field Director Marty Rouse; Kathy Miller, President of Texas Freedom Network; Terri Burke, Executve Director of ACLU-Texas; Chuck Smith, Equality Texas

This week, Houston Unites launched its first radio ad in support of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO), a measure to protect Houston residents and visitors from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, reports Hayley Miller on the HRC Blog.

“As Christians, my wife and I believe in treating others the way we want to be treated, that’s what we’ve taught our children,” Rev. Dr. Will Reed, pastor at Servants of Christ United Methodist Church, says in the ad. “We’re hearing about HERO – Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance, and concerns some have raised about privacy in public bathrooms. What’s being lost is that it’s ALREADY illegal to go into a bathroom to harm or harass someone. This law won’t change that.”

Earlier this month, the Houston City Council voted to send HERO to the ballot on November 3 as “Proposition 1.”

HERO protects people in employment, housing and business services on the basis of 15 different characteristics, including sex, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, familial status, marital status, military status, religion, disability, sexual orientation, genetic information, gender identity and pregnancy.

“In most cases, without local protections, Houstonians literally have to make a federal case out of it to get legal help with discrimination,” Rev. Reed added.  “That’s why we’re voting ‘yes’ on one, to keep Houston’s equal rights ordinance. We’re all God’s children and we should all be protected from discrimination.”

Steve Lee, Editor <![CDATA[California Senate passes Mark Leno’s E-cigarette bill]]> 2015-08-27T20:34:22Z 2015-08-27T20:34:22Z e-cigarettesSACRAMENTO – The Senate today, as part of the Legislature’s extraordinary session on health, passed legislation calling for new statewide regulations on electronic cigarettes. SB X2-5, authored by Sen. Mark Leno, protects the public against exposure to e-cigarettes by ensuring they are accurately defined as tobacco products and fall under the state’s existing smoke-free laws. It also requires that all e-cigarettes and liquids for e-cigarettes be sold in child-resistant packaging.

“Studies show that e-cigarettes are growing in popularity among a new generation of young Californians who are drawn to candy flavors like bubble gum and gummy bears,” said Sen. Leno, S-San Francisco. “The rate at which middle and high school students are picking up e-cigarettes – before having smoked anything else in their lives – is alarming. We must take action now to address this public health crisis, for our children, and for the public health of non-smokers and smokers alike.

The state’s Smoke Free Act prohibits smoking at workplaces, schools, daycare centers, restaurants, bars, hospitals and on public transportation, protecting Californians from secondhand smoke and reducing the acceptability of smoking in general. E-cigarettes, however, do not fall under this existing law and are largely unregulated, despite a restriction on sales to minors. SB X2-5 fixes this loophole and aligns state law with proposed federal regulations that define e-cigarettes as tobacco products. The bill is co-sponsored by a coalition of national health organizations, including the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association and American Lung Association.

The bill will be heard next in the Assembly.

Steve Lee, Editor <![CDATA[Free POZ Life Weekend Seminar in San Diego, Sept. 19-20]]> 2015-08-27T16:21:05Z 2015-08-27T16:21:05Z POZ LifeThe POZ Life Weekend Seminar, Sept. 19-20 in San Diego is a free healing and transformational workshop for people with HIV/AIDS and their loved ones.

The POZ Life Weekend Seminar is a place where compassion, education,community and love is offered unconditionally. It’s a place HIV+ men, women, youths and family members can come be themselves, feel comforted and support in their effort to learn how to either live a long healthy productive POZitive lifestyle, or help someone they know and love overcome the fears associated with being HIV+.

The diverse group of presenters, volunteers and a staff at the POZ Life Weekend Seminar can effectively reach out and relate to the specific issues that can concern an equally diverse group of men, women, people of color, gay men and heterosexual HIV individuals. Age is not relevant in most cases, however each community and culture has specific needs for support, and each is addressed in breakout or concurrent sessions according to the specific demographic majority of the enrolled number of participants.

To Register, log onto  for our online reservation form and organizers will contact you to complete your registration.  Or call Sunnie Rose at 888-208-8081.

September 2015 Seminar is sponsored in part by:  Gilead Sciences, Janssen, The San Diego LGBT Community Center, Building On A Positive Life,  AHF Pharmacy and Courtyard Marriott Old Town.


LGBT Weekly <![CDATA[The City: Top to Bottom]]> 2015-08-27T16:30:51Z 2015-08-27T16:15:35Z

Faithfully – A Symphonic Tribute to the Music of Journey

thursday, aug. 27

Faithfully – A Symphonic Tribute to the Music of Journey

From “the city by the Bay” to international rock stardom, Journey truly was one of the powerhouse arena rock acts of the 1980s. They created the anthems of a generation. Relive the 1980s with Journey’s hit songs “Open Arms,” “Who’s Crying Now” – and the enduring “Don’t Stop Believin’.” Hear those classics as performed by Faithfully, a tribute band as big and bold as the original.

Embarcadero Marina Park South, 206 Marina Park Way in San Diego, 7:30 p.m., tickets from $20, 619-235-0804,

Allison Adams Tucker

friday, aug. 28

Allison Adams Tucker

With a voice “supple as silk” (eJazzNews), and “mesmerizing, whether in English, Japanese, French” (, multi-lingual vocalist Allison Adams Tucker creates a unique montage of jazz-driven melodies and rhythms in six languages that is turning heads. From Brazilian to straight ahead, French chansons to Mediterranean and beyond – ”expect the unexpected.” (Scott Yanow)The Allison Adams Tucker Quartet features Danny Green, piano, Justin Grinnell, bass and Julien Cantelm, drums.

Croce’s Park West, 2760 Fifth Ave. in San Diego, 7p.m., $10 cover, 619-233-4355,

Taylor Swift

saturday, aug. 29

Taylor Swift

Raised in Wyomissing, Penn., Taylor Swift moved to Nashville, Tenn., at the age of 14 to pursue a career in country music. She signed with the independent label Big Machine Records and became the youngest songwriter ever hired by the Sony/ATV Music publishing house. The release of Swift’s self-titled debut album in 2006 established her as a country music star. Her third single, “Our Song,” made her the youngest person to single-handedly write and perform a No. 1 song on the Hot Country Songs chart. She received a Best New Artist nomination at the 2008 Grammy Awards.

Petco Park, 100 Park Blvd. in San Diego, 5 p.m., for more information and ticket availability visit


sunday, aug. 30


Originally from Peoria, Ill. Stellita now lives in America’s Finest City. Growing up in a musical household, she was exposed to a range of sound; including jazz and blues, Motown, R & B, rock, and country. Influenced by hypnotic voices like Billie Holiday, Diana Ross, Nancy Wilson, Natalie Cole and later – Sade, Luther Vandross and Whitney Houston, Stellita now gives performances that are reminiscent of old times, infused with the soul of today!

Humphreys Backstage Live, 2241 Shelter Island Dr. in San Diego, 10 a.m., 619-224-3577,

Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed

monday, aug. 31

Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed

Discover what archaeologists know about the ancient Maya as well as the unresolved questions they continue to investigate. Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed explores the fascinating social, natural, and spiritual realms of the ancient Maya through the eyes of powerful kings and queens and the lesser-known people who were the backbone of Maya society. Explore the richness of Maya culture by examining centuries-old authentic artifacts, traditions, and worldview. Experience immersive life-size recreations of classic Maya architecture, and explore the hidden worlds of the Maya past and present.

San Diego Natural History Museum, 1788 El Prado in Balboa Park, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., adult tickets $29, 619-232-3821,

Belinda Carlisle

tuesday, sept. 1

Belinda Carlisle

Belinda Jo Carlisle is an American singer who gained worldwide fame as the lead vocalist of The Go-Go’s, one of the most successful all-female bands of all time. The group sold more than seven million albums in just three years and she later went on to have a successful solo career with hits such as “Mad About You”, “I Get Weak”, “Circle in the Sand”, “Leave a Light On” and “Heaven Is a Place on Earth” among others, which were major successes in the United States and the United Kingdom as well as internationally.

Sycuan Casino, 5485 Casino Way in El Cajon, 8 p.m., tickets from $50, 1-800-2-SYCUAN,


wednesday, sept. 2


San Diego’s longest running home-grown musical hit is back! Mixtape is a massively entertaining collection of your favorite memories of the ’80s, with the music of Journey, Duran Duran, Peter Gabriel, The Cure, Dire Straits, Sting, Madonna, the B52s, Michael Jackson … and much more. It’s a celebration of that most awesome of decades, performed by a multi-talented cast and San Diego’s hottest band!

Horton Grand Theatre, 444 Fourth Ave. in San Diego, 7:30 p.m., tickets from $32, 619-437-6000,

Steve Lee, Editor <![CDATA[Legislation introduced to protect LGBT Pennsylvanians from discrimination]]> 2015-08-27T16:02:35Z 2015-08-27T16:02:35Z HARRISBURG, Penn. — Wednesday, the Pennsylvania General Assembly introduced  the bipartisan Pennsylvania Fairness Act. Introduced by Representatives Dan Frankel (D-23) and Thomas H. Killion (R-168) in the House of Representatives and Senators Lawrence M. Farnese, Jr. (D-1) and Patrick M. Browne (R-16) in the Senate, this  legislation would update the state’s non-discrimination law to explicitly include protections for LGBT people from discrimination at work, in housing, and in public places.

According to a recent survey, 95% of Pennsylvanians believe that everyone needs to be able to earn a living – including LGBT people – and that employees should be hired, fired or promoted based on their qualifications, experience and the jobs they do – nothing more, nothing less.  An incredible 78% of Pennsylvanians support updating the state’s non-discrimination law to include sexual orientation and gender identity.

Pennsylvania’s economy is the sixth largest in the country with nearly 6 million Pennsylvanians going to work every day to support themselves and their families. A statewide, uniform non-discrimination law protecting people on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity would provide certainty and clarity to Pennsylvania employers and employees.  34 Pennsylvania municipalities have passed separate ordinances to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, including Pittsburgh, Lancaster, Erie, Harrisburg, Scranton, and Philadelphia.

“All Pennsylvanians deserve to be able to live, work, and thrive in their communities free from unfair discrimination or harassment,” said HRC National Field Director Marty Rouse. “The time for LGBT Pennsylvanians to have the critical legal protections from discrimination that they deserve is long overdue.  We urge Pennsylvania’s lawmakers to promote fairness and equality by quickly passing  the Pennsylvania Fairness Act and sending it to Governor Wolf’s desk without delay.”

]]> 0 Steve Lee, Editor <![CDATA[Facebook apologizes to transgender fashion line for rejecting ads under ‘Adult’ classification]]> 2015-08-27T15:27:09Z 2015-08-27T15:27:09Z

The Trans Fashion Landing Page rejected by Facebook Ad Staff (PRNewsFoto/Suddenly Fem)

The Trans Fashion Landing Page rejected by Facebook Ad Staff (PRNewsFoto/Suddenly Fem)

PHILADELPHIA — For over 20 years, the fashion line Suddenly Fem has been serving the transgender community with fashion forward clothes designed for trans women. Suddenly Fem ( specializes in clothes, padding, and undergarments for transgender women as well as fashionable crossdressers.

When the online and catalog based company tried to advertise through Facebook in summer 2015, in order to reach transgender customers, their ads and content were rejected as “adult” by the social media website.

After the first “not approved” advertisement, VP of Marketing and Production Tyler DeSouza redesigned the content. “There were some possible sexy poses on the page and ad, so I removed and replaced with other pictures that I knew would be quite acceptable. I must have placed at least 6 to 8 ads over this time, each not approved, wondering what needed to be changed.”

Facebook claimed that the ads were “rejected because [they don’t] follow our advertising guidelines. Ads may not promote the sale or use of adult products or services (ex: sexual enhancement products, seduction techniques, adult clubs and shows).”

However, none of these products or services are offered, sold, or promoted by the company. No content within the advertisements or on the Suddenly Fem website violated these guidelines.

In early August, the company adjusted ad copy and content to be as conservative as possible, so when an ad containing only a headshot of a transgender model was rejected, it seemed that the ads were rejected not because of their content, but possibly because of the community they represented. Misunderstanding and discrimination against the transgender community is still widespread, even with media figures such as Laverne Cox and Caitlyn Jenner receiving national attention.

On August 6, DeSouza opened a new case with Facebook over the rejection of the company’s advertisements. His case stressed that the company sells only clothing, jewelry, bras, and shapewear to transgender women—and that the company does not sell any adult products or depict any sexual imagery.

Later that day, Facebook apologized for disapproving the advertisements. A member of the Facebook ad team said, “It appears your ads were mistakenly disapproved, and we’ve re-reviewed and approved them. I’m sorry for any inconvenience this caused.”

Facebook’s policies towards transgender users have received both praise and criticism recently. In early 2014, Facebook allowed users to select from a wide variety of gender descriptors, ranging from transgender to genderqueer, instead of the limited male or female options.

Although there is still a long way to go for transgender equality, it’s reassuring that companies such as Suddenly Fem are able to have a dialogue with Facebook and reach an understanding. With greater visibility and education about gender identity, misunderstandings such as these will hopefully become a thing of the past. As society progresses, it is important that large corporations such as Facebook treat transgender shoppers and retailers with equal recognition and respect.

Steve Lee, Editor <![CDATA[Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals denies emergency motion from anti-gay Kentucky Clerk]]> 2015-08-26T22:12:50Z 2015-08-26T22:12:50Z The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit today denied a request from Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis of Kentucky to issue a stay on a lower court’s ruling that orders her to immediately resume issuing marriage licenses – including to same-sex couples – regardless of her religious objections to marriage equality. U.S. District Judge David Bunning had temporarily stayed his order directing her to do so while Davis appealed his decision to the Sixth Circuit.

The judges found that “it cannot be defensibly argued that the holder of the Rowan County Clerk’s office, apart from who personally occupies that office, may decline to act in conformity with the United States Constitution as interpreted by a dispositive holding of the United States Supreme Court. There is thus little or no likelihood that the Clerk in her official capacity will prevail on appeal.”

“Public servants have a responsibility to serve the entire public, including LGBT people,” said JoDee Winterhof, HRC senior vice president for Policy and Political Affairs.  “Freedom of religion is important, and Ms. Davis has the fundamental right to believe what she likes, but as a public servant she does not have the right to pick and choose which laws she will follow or which services she will provide. If Ms. Davis feels as though she cannot fulfill her responsibilities, she should resign her public position.”

Davis is represented by the vehemently anti-LGBT Liberty Counsel.

Steve Lee, Editor <![CDATA[First look at the ‘Stonewall’ movie poster]]> 2015-08-26T18:38:12Z 2015-08-26T18:38:11Z Stonewall posterOut revealed the first look at the official movie poster for Stonewall, describing it as a riotously colorful tribute to the past.

With Danny (Jeremy Irvine), Ray/Ramona (Jonny Beauchamp), Marsha P. Johnson (Otoja Abit), and others caught in a joyous embrace, director Roland Emmerich told Out the design deliberately hearkens back to the time of the Stonewall riots: “This image famously used by the Gay Liberation Front in 1970 was my inspiration for the Stonewall poster. It perfectly captures the triumphant, jubilant feeling of the time.”​

The movie has been heavily criticized for ignoring the role drag queens, the transgender community, and people of color played in the 1969 riots and the release of this poster is unlikely to quell that criticism.



Steve Lee, Editor <![CDATA[New documentary brings attention to bullying in schools (VIDEO)]]> 2015-08-26T23:22:14Z 2015-08-26T18:18:46Z

Halangarde Pictures in association with Skydive Films, knapptimecreative, and Casting Life Films have released the first trailer for the upcoming school bullying documentary Hear Me Now. Written,directed and shot by Bill Cornelius, Hear Me Now is a candid examination of school bullying and how it can be dealt with, told by those who experienced it first hand.

Stylistically dark, colorful, and cinematic, accompanied by an edgy soundtrack, the film has a youthful energy that speaks directly to its target audience, young people.

Featuring compelling and informative on-camera interviews with Columbine survivor Craig Scott, anti-bullying activist Kirk Smalley, who tragically lost his son to suicide, and dozens who have been affected by bullying and continue to be affected, giving viewers a candid look inside the world of bullying and the inspiration to find hope amidst the darkness.

Hear Me Now strives to become the quintessential school bullying documentary in order to change lives as well as save lives and give youth the reassurance that they are not alone and that there truly is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Watch the first trailer above. Second trailer out Sept. 7.

Steve Lee, Editor <![CDATA[Transgender Law Center condemns raid]]> 2015-08-26T18:04:28Z 2015-08-26T18:04:28Z Yesterday, federal agents  raided the offices of, and arrested the CEO of, Jeffrey Hurant, and six employees on charges of racketeering and promoting prostitution.

The Transgender Law Center has issued a statement condemning the raid, reiterating a call to decriminalize sex work. The release states:

This bust comes at a time when human rights advocates globally are uniting around a call to decriminalize sex work and at a time when the United States has the largest prison population in the world, with people of color, particularly Black people, representing a vastly disproportionate percentage of the incarcerated.

With this raid, the U.S. federal government is not only jeopardizing countless people’s lives and only source of livelihood, but sending a clear and troubling message that the country is less invested in addressing systemic issues of racial, economic, and anti-LGBT injustice than in further criminalizing the individuals most marginalized by those systems.

Last week, Transgender Law Center and four other U.S.-based LGBT advocacy organizations issued a statement in support of Amnesty International’s call to decriminalize sex work. Yesterday’s action by the federal government is a clear demonstration of why LGBT organizations and people must be invested in this work to protect the human rights of sex workers. Laws criminalizing sexual exchange impede sex workers’ ability to negotiate condom use and other boundaries, and force many to work in hidden or remote places where they are more vulnerable to violence. Actions like the government’s raid contribute to the unjust and unacceptable systems and society we have today, from the disproportionate incarceration of Black transgender and gender non-conforming people to the epidemic of violence against transgender women of color.


Steve Lee, Editor <![CDATA[More young adults are identifying as bisexual]]> 2015-08-26T17:29:03Z 2015-08-26T17:29:03Z Recent studies in the U.S. and the United Kingdom suggest that increasing numbers of young adults are identifying on the spectrum of sexual identity, somewhere between exclusively gay and exclusively straight, writes Beth Sherouse on the HRC Blog.

A study from YouGov asked 1,000 respondents to identify their sexuality along a modified Kinsey Scale of sexuality, with zero being “completely heterosexual” and six being “completely homosexual.” Among Americans ages 18-29, 29 percent identified somewhere between zero and six, indicating at least some level of sexual attraction to more than one gender.

The study also showed that the proportion of respondents who identified with “varying degrees of bisexuality” was markedly lower among U.S. adults in older age brackets. While 24 percent of those between the ages of 30-44 put themselves somewhere between one to five on the Kinsey scale, only eight percent of those 45-64 and seven percent of those 65+ indicated the same.

A similar study in the United Kingdom found these trends to be even more pronounced, with 43 percent of those ages 18-24 placing themselves from one to five on the Kinsey scale.

These studies are significant in that they suggest a growing acknowledgement of and identification with sexual fluidity. Moreover, only 78 percent of Americans said they were exclusively heterosexual. That calls into question more conservative estimates about the overall size of the LGBTQ community, which have suggested that as few as 3.5 percent of Americans identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual, and only 11 percent admit some level of same-sex attraction.

For information on supporting bisexual youth, visit

Steve Lee, Editor <![CDATA[ offices raided by federal agents; CEO and six employees arrested]]> 2015-08-25T22:32:19Z 2015-08-25T22:32:19Z A criminal complaint was unsealed today in federal court in Brooklyn charging the CEO of, Jeffrey Hurant, and six employees with conspiring to violate the Travel Act by promoting prostitution. The defendants were arrested this morning and are scheduled to appear before United States Magistrate Judge Marilyn Go at the United States Courthouse, 225 Cadman Plaza East, Brooklyn, New York.

The charges were announced by Kelly T. Currie, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; Glenn Sorge, Acting Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), New York; and William J. Bratton, Commissioner, New York City Police Department.

As alleged in the complaint, is a male escort advertising site founded in 1997 which hosts thousands of paid advertisements. While the site has disclaimers stating that the advertisements are for companionship and not sexual services, is designed primarily for advertising illegal prostitution. The Web site charges subscribers a minimum monthly fee of $59.95 and up to several hundred dollars to advertise sexual services. Once the fee is paid, subscribers can select from a number of categories created by the sexual services they are willing to perform and the price charged. Subscribers can also include their physical descriptions and provide links to another Web site where their sexual services are rated by prior customers.

“As alleged, attempted to present a veneer of legality, when in fact this Internet brothel made millions of dollars from the promotion of illegal prostitution,” stated Acting United States Attorney Currie. Mr. Currie thanked the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Field Office in New York, and the District Attorney’s Office for New York County for their assistance in the investigation.

In addition, earlier today the government served warrants authorizing the seizure of over $1.4 million of alleged criminal proceeds from six bank accounts. The government also took steps to restrain the domain name

The charges in the complaint are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted each defendant faces up to five years imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000.

Steve Lee, Editor <![CDATA[Duran Duran set to release new album (VIDEO)]]> 2015-08-25T21:32:37Z 2015-08-25T21:32:37Z

Multi-platinum superstars Duran Duran will release their 14th studio album, Paper Gods, Sept. 11 via Warner Bros. Records. A Deluxe version of Paper Gods is currently available for pre-order at all participating retailers.

Singer Simon Le Bon, keyboardist Nick Rhodes, bassist John Taylor, and drummer Roger Taylor recorded Paper Gods in London with producers Nile Rodgers, Mark Ronson, Josh Blair, and Mr Hudson. The record features special guests Janelle Monáe (on the first single “Pressure Off”), former Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante, Canadian Juno-Award winning singer Kiesza, British singer/songwriter Mr Hudson, violinist Davidé Rossi and actress Lindsay Lohan.

The songs — already being heralded as the band’s best work since Rio — capture the true essence of Duran Duran, with the duality and sense of conflict that has always been at the heart of their music. Visceral and daring, the album mixes hard-edged, contemporary pop with the band’s darker more experimental side to create a body of work that is epic in its scope.

Listen to the lead single “Pressure Off” above.

Steve Lee, Editor <![CDATA[Q Camp invites incoming UC San Diego students to discover campus’ LGBT community]]> 2015-08-25T21:09:00Z 2015-08-25T21:09:00Z UCSanDiegoThe Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) Resource Center at the University of California, San Diego will host Q Camp on September 23, a day-long program for incoming LGBT freshman, transfer and graduate students as well as returning students who are newly out. The goal is to introduce students to LGBT life on campus as well as resources that support equity, diversity and inclusion.

One hundred students are expected to attend Q Camp, which was launched in 2002 to welcome and support incoming students interested in joining or learning more about the LGBT community on campus. The program is free for participants and is held the day before formal classes begin. The event includes a Q Fair featuring student organizations and campus resource center information booths; a Q&A panel; tours of the LGBT Resource Center, housing information and a workshop geared for graduate students.

Red Galura Jr., a UC San Diego alumnus, took part in Q Camp as a sophomore in 2005. The event helped connect him with peers he could confide in as he was coming out. It was also the first time he learned about the LGBT Resource Center and the wide variety of student organizations and LGBT resources on campus.

“Q Camp connected me with a community who helped me become the person I wanted to be,” said Galura. “After participating in the camp, I became heavily involved at the LGBT Resource Center, where I realized my passion for social justice.”

Red Galura Jr.

Red Galura Jr.

After participating in Q Camp, Galura was motivated to take on two leadership positions at the LGBT Resource Center. As a speaker’s bureau intern, he organized panels of diverse student, staff and faculty speakers to conduct open conversations with those interested in learning more about the LGBT community. He also served as the inaugural Audrey Lorde Intern for Liberation and Healing, a role that involved creating events and workshops to promote healing in areas such as body image, self-acceptance, coming out and more. The experience helped him clarify his goals, and he switched his major from bioengineering to sociology with an emphasis on social inequality.

“Q Camp is a way for us to welcome students and cultivate a sense of belonging among LGBT students, faculty and staff at UC San Diego,” said Shaun Travers, campus diversity officer and director of the LGBT Resource Center. “It is crucial to reach Red Galura Jr.out to incoming students in the fall when they are looking to find peers to relate to and a place to call home.”

For the first time this year, Q Camp is completely supported by donations through CrowdSurf—UC San Diego’s new crowdfunding platform. More than $5,000 has been raised to support meals, supplies, literature and programming for students who will participate in this year’s Q Camp. In addition, two participants will also receive a $500 scholarship, to be awarded randomly at the conclusion of the event.

Galura has remained engaged at the LGBT Resource Center since graduating from UC San Diego in 2010. He was chosen as the alumni speaker for the 2014 Rainbow Graduation—a celebration hosted by the LGBT Resource Center for graduating LGBT students—and was instrumental in garnering support for this year’s Q Camp fundraising campaign. He currently works as a peer specialist for Next Steps Program, a nonprofit in partnership with the San Diego County Psychiatric Hospital that provides resources and health mentorship for those experiencing a mental health crisis.

Q Camp is one of many programs offered at UC San Diego’s LGBT Resource Center. The space is open to all members of the university community to explore issues relating to sexual and gender identities, practices and politics. It develops student leadership, builds workplace equity, promotes academic research and provides resources. The center challenges existing definitions of variant genders and sexualities by engaging in community building both on and off campus.

For those who are interested in supporting Q Camp, visit the crowdfunding site here. To help sustain and grow programming at the LGBT Resource Center, consider giving online here.

Steve Lee, Editor <![CDATA[David Chiu and coalition to all on Gov. Jerry Brown to sign the Equal Protection for All Families Act]]> 2015-08-25T19:10:16Z 2015-08-25T19:10:16Z David Chiu

David Chiu

Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco) will join a coalition of LGBT and family advocates to urge Gov. Brown to sign Assembly Bill 960, the Equal Protection for All Families Act. The Assembly passed the bill on Monday, and it now heads to the governor’s desk.

AB 960 would update current assisted reproduction laws in three ways. First, unmarried couples using assisted reproduction to become parents would be recognized as such on the same terms as married parents from the moment their child is born. Second, the bill would remove the requirement from Family Law that couples must involve a doctor when using assisted reproduction in order to ensure that the donor is not a parent. Finally, AB 960 provides clear direction for how egg donors should be treated under California law.

“This bill provides crucial legal relief for many couples, especially LGBT individuals, who are trying to become parents by using assisted reproduction,” said Assemblymember Chiu. “Many families, especially our LGBT families, hesitate before having children through assisted reproduction for fear that they may not be legally recognized as the parents they’ve always wanted and intended to be. The fear of possibly never having parental rights as intended is a heartbreaking scenario that needs to stop in California.”

Assemblymember David Chiu will be joined by Polly Pagenhart of Our Family Coalition, Cathy Sakimura of the National Center for Lesbian Rights and Jo Michael of Equality California, Wednesday 9 a.m. on the steps of the Earl Warren Building in San Francisco.

Steve Lee, Editor <![CDATA[Campus Pride releases Top 25 list of the ‘Best of the Best’ LGBTQ-friendly campuses across the nation]]> 2015-08-25T18:04:22Z 2015-08-25T18:04:22Z Campus Pride--Campus Pride announced today the 2015 Campus Pride Top 25 LGBTQ-Friendly Colleges & Universities. For seven years, the listing has highlighted the most LGBTQ-inclusive colleges and universities when it comes to policy, program and practice in higher education.

Locally, San Diego State University was included in the Top 25.

This is the first year Campus Pride has released a Top 25 list based on the higher LGBTQ benchmarks recently released on the updated version of the Campus Pride Index. The Top 25 listing is based on the final responses to the Campus Pride Index, a national benchmarking tool which self-assesses LGBTQ-friendly policies, programs and practices. The tool is free of charge and can be found online at

“As time goes on, the needs of LGBTQ college and university students change,” said Shane Windmeyer, executive director of Campus Pride and creator of the Campus Pride Index. “Therefore, we have updated our Campus Pride Index assessment to reflect that, with higher standards for campuses and a higher focus on trans and gender nonconforming students.”

Unlike some well-known LGBTQ rankings and other commercial ratings, the Campus Pride Index is based in research on policy, program and practice and is conducted for and by LGBTQ experts in the field of higher education. Each campus updates their index annually and uses the Campus Pride benchmarking tool to make improvements for LGBTQ life on campus.

According to Windmeyer, “there is a lot to be learned” from the Top 25 campuses on this listing. Many of these campuses are specifically addressing recruitment and academic retention efforts for LGBTQ students as well as concerns for transgender student safety, as reflected by their willingness to be the first campuses to take the updated assessment.

Campus Pride also has a new national partnership with Noodle, an education website helping parents and students make better decisions about learning. Starting this fall, college and universities will have the opportunity to have their Campus Pride Index star rating listed as a link on the Noodle search engine. This feature will generate more web traffic for the Campus Pride Index and greater visibility for LGBTQ youth to find LGBTQ-friendly campuses. Additionally, this partnership allows Campus Pride to support Noodle consumers in two ways: 1) Campus Pride will contribute new LGBTQ articles to be published on 2) Campus Pride will provide answers and advice via the “Ask a Question” feature on

In order to be in the Top 25 listing, an institution had to score the highest percentages in the LGBTQ-friendly benchmarks. The listing this year includes colleges with student populations from 1600 to over 50,000, public and private schools alike. The Top 25 list is in alphabetical order, as follows:

Cornell University

Elon University

Indiana University, Bloomington

Ithaca College

Macalester College

Montclair State University

Princeton University

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey-New Brunswick

San Diego State University

Southern Oregon University

The Ohio State University

The Pennsylvania State University

Tufts University

University of Colorado at Boulder

University of Louisville

University of Maine at Machias

University of Maryland, College Park

University of Massachusetts, Amherst

University of Minnesota Twin Cities

University of Oregon

University of Pennsylvania

University of Vermont

University of Washington

University of Wisconsin – Green Bay

Williams College

Steve Lee, Editor <![CDATA[UN Security Council meeting challenges international community to develop more effective protections for LGBT persons]]> 2015-08-25T17:48:07Z 2015-08-25T17:46:04Z

The UN Security Council held its first-ever meeting on the persecution of homosexuals by Islamic State terrorists, Monday.

The closed-door session, sponsored by the U.S. and Chile,focused on LGBT rights and issues. According to The U.N. Security Council heard from two homosexual Arab men, including a Syrian named Subhi Nahas who has been resettled in the United States. The other gay man, who fled Iraq, phoned in from the Middle East

“It was a very moving meeting,” U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power said after the session. “Again, we’re getting this issue into the DNA of the United Nations, but until today the Security Council had never broached this topic, and so today also represents a small but historic step.

“Everybody has read about what ISIL and what others are doing to LGBT people around the world, but it’s another thing entirely to hear personal testimonies. While others spoke, including members of the Security Council and other member States, photos also were projected that depicted what ISIL is doing to LGBT persons or those suspected of being LGBT.”

Power said that Monday’s meeting is a sign that this issue is getting ” …injected into the mainstream at the United Nations.”

Watch Power’s statement above.

White House NSC Spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement following the meeting, “… Today’s session focused on ISIL’s atrocities targeted against LGBT persons and those perceived to be LGBT in Syria and Iraq. In highlighting acts of horrific brutality that these individuals have endured, today’s discussion challenged the international community to develop better and more effective protections for LGBT persons …”

Steve Lee, Editor <![CDATA[‘Where the Bears Are’ Season 4 starts with a bang! (VIDEO)]]> 2015-08-24T23:00:24Z 2015-08-24T23:00:24Z

In the fourth season opener, the Bears throw a wedding shower in their backyard to celebrate Nelson and Todd’s upcoming nuptials, but things go south fast when Nelson’s mother Doris starts taking potshots at Todd, Nelson invites Todd’s estranged brother Jimmy without telling him, and a spiteful party crasher makes an insulting toast that threatens to ruin the entire event.

Where the Bears Are is a web series following the exploits of three bear roommates sharing a house in the hills of Silverlake. It is The Golden Girls meets Murder She Wrote with big, hairy, gay men. Season 4 premieres today! Watch above.

Steve Lee, Editor <![CDATA[In a historic first, U.N. Security Council convenes to discuss LGBT rights]]> 2015-08-24T22:45:07Z 2015-08-24T22:45:06Z Samantha Power Cristián Barros Melet

Samantha Power and Cristián Barros Melet

The U.S Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power and her Chilean counterpart Ambassador Cristián Barros Melet are holding the first ever U.N. Security Council meeting on LGBT rights later today.  Open to all U.N. member states, the gathering will focus on the appalling abuse and violence being perpetrated against LGBT people in areas in which ISIS exerts control.

As it continues its path of destruction across Iraq and Syria, ISIS has released several images and videos documenting the brutal execution of those accused of being LGBT. The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) has created a timeline of attacks against allegedly LGBT people, including executions that often involve throwing men from roof tops or stoning them to death. In a particularly shocking example, ISIS released videos of the public execution of four gay men on Twitter on the same day the U.S. Supreme  Court ruled in favor of marriage equality, using the hashtag “Love Wins.”

Ambassador Power and the Obama Administration have made clear that the rights of LGBT people are intrinsically part of America’s foreign policy and national security strategies. In 2011, President Obama declared that the “struggle to end discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons is a global challenge, and one that is central to the United States’ commitment to promoting human rights.” More recently, President Obama explained in the 2015 State of the Union that protecting individuals, including those who are LGBT, is in the national security interests of the United States. Earlier this year, under the leadership of Secretary of State John Kerry, Randy Berry was appointed the first ever Special Envoy for LGBTI Human Rights.

“The gruesome images and videos documenting ISIS’s horrific violence are a haunting reminder of humankind’s capacity for evil,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “By convening this meeting, Ambassadors Power and Melet have made clear that these human rights abuses against LGBT people are not only deeply heinous and inhumane, but also a matter of utmost importance to global security.”

The situation for LGBT people around the world varies widely. As some countries embrace equality, in others, LGBT people continue to suffer from discrimination, persecution, and violence.

·  19 countries now have marriage equality and in two countries same-sex marriage is legal in certain jurisdictions.

·  But in 10 countries worldwide, same-sex activity is punishable by death, and 75 countries criminalize same-sex relationships. Hundreds of transgender individuals have been brutally murdered in the last year.

·  In a growing number of countries, governments have sought to silence equality advocates and organizations with so-called “anti-propaganda” laws and legislation.

Steve Lee, Editor <![CDATA[Gay men and the pressure to be ‘masculine’ (VIDEO)]]> 2015-08-24T22:27:26Z 2015-08-24T22:27:26Z

YouTube content creator Raymond Braun sat down with Instagram star Barret Pall to discuss the pressure gay men face to be “masculine” from both inside and outside the gay community. Watch above as Raymond and Barret talk about the pressure they have personally felt to act more “masculine” and how living their authentic self has brought them unparalleled happiness.

Steve Lee, Editor <![CDATA[Jerusalem Gay Pride attacker charged with murder]]> 2015-08-24T19:35:30Z 2015-08-24T19:35:30Z Today, Jerusalem’s District Court indicted Yishai Schlissel for murder for last month’s deadly attack during Jerusalem Pride, along with multiple attempted murder charges for those he wounded.

Last month, Schlissel went on a stabbing rampage at Jerusalem Pride killing Shira Banki and wounding five others.

Last Thursday, Schlissel was deemed fit to stand trial following a court-ordered psychiatric evaluation.

Steve Lee, Editor <![CDATA[GOP candidates duck on the Equality Act (VIDEO)]]> 2015-08-24T18:36:54Z 2015-08-24T18:36:54Z

HBO’s Last Week Tonight reported last night that the entire field of Republican candidates for president refused to answer a simple yes or no question about whether they would support the Equality Act. The segment also noted that Gov. Bobby Jindal and Gov. John Kasich both weakened non-discrimination protections for LGBT people during their tenure.

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton announced her support for the Equality Act after its introduction in July, and Bernie Sanders, Martin O’Malley and Lincoln Chafee told Last Week Tonight that they would support a federal nondiscrimination bill.

The Equality Act is a landmark federal non-discrimination bill that would finally extend key civil rights protections to LGBT Americans.

31 states across the country lack fully-inclusive non-discrimination protections for LGBT Americans – including many states that the 2016 candidates call home. Among the states that currently lack fully-inclusive LGBT non-discrimination protections are Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Texas and Wisconsin.

In July, GQR’s Democracy Corps Survey found that 59 percent of likely 2016 voters are less likely to support a candidate for president who opposes non-discrimination protections for LGBT people – including 61 percent of Independent voters who say they are less likely to support a candidate who opposes these protections, and 54 percent of blue collar voters.  The same survey also found bipartisan support for federal non-discrimination protections for LGBT people. Support included nearly two-thirds of Republicans, and 90 percent of Democrats.

“The time has come for full federal equality. We all deserve to know whether the candidates support the Equality Act, or whether they want to continue to live in a country where in 31 states, LGBT people are at risk for being denied a job or denied service at a business because of who they are, or who they love,” said JoDee Winterhof, senior vice president of Policy and Political Affairs for the Human Rights Campaign. “The Equality Act is a simple idea, that everyone should have a fair chance to earn a living, provide for their families, and live their lives without fear of discrimination, including gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. Our simple question deserves a simple yes or no answer. So we are asking the Republican presidential candidates: do you support the Equality Act or not?”

Steve Lee, Editor <![CDATA[Man found with Rosie O’Donnell’s daughter Chelsea charged]]> 2015-08-24T15:51:41Z 2015-08-24T15:51:41Z Steven Sheerer | Photo: Courtesy Ocean County Prosecuter's Office

Steven Sheerer | Photo: Courtesy Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office

The man found with Rosie O’Donnell’s daughter Chelsea has been charged with  endangerment of a child and public communication of obscenity.

Steven Sheerer, 25,  was taken from his Village Drive home in Barnegat, New Jersey,  Friday and charged, Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato announced.

Chelsea O’Donnell went missing on Aug. 11 and was found by police on Tuesday. O’Donnell had reached out on Twitter asking for help in finding her daughter.

According to the Huffington Post, the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office said that after searching the teenager’s phone, police found “evidence of inappropriate communications over the last several weeks” between Chelsea O’Donnell and Sheerer. The statement also notes that Sheerer could face up to ten years in prison for the charges.

“[Sheerer] was involved with a minor, and Rosie’s concern has been and always will be the health, safety and well-being of her daughter,” Rosie O’Donnell’s publicist told The Associated Press in a statement. “Rosie is profoundly appreciative for the work the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office has done and the diligence of the local police.”

Steve Lee, Editor <![CDATA[Man who went on stabbing rampage at Jerusalem Pride deemed fit to stand trial]]> 2015-08-22T00:13:28Z 2015-08-24T01:45:04Z Schlissel

Yishai Schlissel

Yishai Schlissel, the man who went on a stabbing rampage at Jerusalem Pride killing Shira Banki and wounding many others has been deemed fit to strand trial.

The decision was made after Schlissel was examined by a court-appointed psychiatrist during a 48-hour detention at a psychiatric hospital. A previous psychiatric evaluation was inconclusive, reports The Jerusalem Post.

Schlissel, 50, who is ultra-Orthodox and from Modi’in Illit in the West Bank, was released from prison three weeks before the July 30 attack after serving 10 years of a 12-year sentence for committing a similar crime at the 2005 Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade.

Since his arrest, he has refused representation and rejected the state’s authority.

Steve Lee, Editor <![CDATA[Book review: ‘Holy Cow!’ by Boze Hadleigh — A book that isn’t just horseplay!]]> 2015-08-21T20:51:20Z 2015-08-23T22:00:02Z Holy CowFrom the time you were old enough to communicate, you took to words like a duck to water. You’ve verbally hammed it up ever since.

Yes, it’s probably driven your friends and family batty, all this talk-talk-talk of yours. And yes, there are times when what you say is a bunch of bull, but you’re not trying to start a beef. You’re just having fun because, as in the new book Holy Cow! by gay author Boze Hadleigh, language isn’t for the birds.

No doubt about it, we humans love our animals. We love them so much that we sprinkle references to them in our daily conversation, mostly without even thinking about it. Our shaggy dog stories are sometimes just that – but where did those old sayings, clichés, discouraging words, and tender nicknames come from?

The truth, as Hadleigh shows, is an interesting, yet convoluted, tail.

In many cases, animalistic words came about as description: Oxford, England, for instance, was once a place where oxen forded a river. Tell someone there’s a dogleg in the road, and they’ll know what you’re saying – plus, a road like that might make them sick as a dog.

And then there are the words that really make you scratch your head: Great Britain’s hedgehog pudding isn’t made of the spiny mammals, and dogs and monkeys are much more likely to ape you than is a copyCAT. And about that famed cat curiosity? It might’ve been targeted at another type of animal…

Or, let’s say somebody’s made you mad. Calling him a dog goes back many years – perhaps back into the mid-1800s when “the only good dog was a useful dog.” The word-that-rhymes-with-witch has always been directed at women; its first near-appearance in film was in 1939, and that was pretty scandalous. Call someone a rat and, well, that’s rather self-explanatory.

The modern street use of the word “heifer” is pretty wrong, unless you’re in a barn.

There really is more than one way to skin a cat (catFISH, that is). A sawhorse and a clotheshorse are similar in origin. And if you think a kitty really has nine lives, well doggone it, you’re barking up the wrong tree.

Ahh, language lovers. I can practically hear you howling for this book now – and for good reason. Like a dog with a bone, you won’t want to let Holy Cow! go.

Starting with canines and ending with birds, bees, and bugs, author Boze Hadleigh goes whole hog in explaining where many of our favorite expressions originated. But this book isn’t just horseplay – Hadleigh includes words that are archaic (but need resurrection), as well as localisms and words you’ll want to add to your vocabulary. That all adds up to fun that’s useful and, for dyed-in-the-wool linguists, it’s a golden egg.

So let’s talk turkey: if it’s been a dog’s age since you last read a book about language, it’s time you find this one. You won’t sound hackneyed or feel like a dinosaur with Holy Cow! Naw, this book is the cat’s meow.


Holy Cow! by Boze Hadleigh

c.2015, Skyhorse Publishing                       

$14.99 / $19.99 Canada                 

303 pages

Steve Lee, Editor <![CDATA[Ellen Page serves Ted Cruz ‘Equality on a Stick’ at Iowa State Fair for defending LGBT discrimination (VIDEO)]]> 2015-08-21T20:27:52Z 2015-08-23T19:00:28Z
ABC Latest News | Latest News Videos

Friday, Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz found himself on the defensive in Iowa after his speech on the Des Moines Register Soap Box after taking questions from actress Ellen Page, who came out in 2014 at HRC’s Time to Thrive conference. Page has since become an activist and role model for LGBT youth, and also stars in “Freeheld” with Julianne Moore, an upcoming film that documents the struggle of real life lesbian couple Laurel Hester and Stacie Andree to overcome discrimination.

In the exchange, Cruz, claimed that business owners were facing discrimination by being asked to serve all customers – including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender customers – equally. Contrary to his claims, HRC’s polling of self-identified LGBT Americans found that nearly two-thirds of LGBT people have experienced discrimination. Watch the exchange above.

Ted Cruz also bizarrely claimed that the abuses against LGBT people around the world are going unnoticed while suggesting that activists like Page made too big a deal of challenges in the U.S. In fact, the U.N. Security Council is scheduled to convene to discuss ISIS’s horrific violence against LGBT people in a special session this Monday, and the Human Rights Campaign is one of several organizations that proudly works to stem hate and advance LGBT equality around the world.

“Ted Cruz showed today that he is living in another era where he thinks it’s acceptable to treat LGBT people differently and allow businesses to refuse service to someone just because of who they are, or who they love,” said JoDee Winterhof, Senior Vice President of Policy of Political Affairs. “Today Ted Cruz was served an important reminder that in a country like ours that values the free market economy, businesses should serve all law-abiding customers who can afford to pay equally, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.”

Last month, the Human Rights Campaign commissioned polling by GQR’s Democracy Corps that showed that a majority of 2016 likely voters oppose using religion as an excuse to discriminate. HRC’s July survey found that a 56 percent majority believe small business owners should not be allowed to refuse service to someone because they are gay or lesbian, even if it violates their religious beliefs. Nearly half (46 percent), strongly oppose giving small businesses the right to discriminate, including 55 percent of white millennials.

Previously, HRC’s polling showed after the right to discriminate debate in Indiana that Hoosiers believe businesses should serve all customers equally, even businesses that cite so-called “religious freedom,” when denying services to LGBT couples.

In the Senate, Ted Cruz voted against bills that would have created explicit, permanent federal protections against discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the workplace and education.

Ironically, Cruz made his comments at the state fair in Iowa, which became the fourth state in the country to achieve marriage equality in 2009 and which is home to some of the most LGBT friendly municipalities in the nation according to HRC’s Municipal Equality Index (MEI).

Steve Lee, Editor <![CDATA[Russian film festival to screen gay-themed movie, ‘I Am Michael’]]> 2015-08-21T20:16:51Z 2015-08-23T14:00:34Z James Franco and Zachary Quinto in I Am Michael

James Franco and Zachary Quinto in I Am Michael

The AmFest Film Festival in Russia, which runs Sept. 16-27 in Moscow and St. Petersburg, has added the gay-themed drama I Am Michael to its lineup.

The U.S. Embassy in Russia is a main sponsor of the festival, which highlights new American independent cinema.

According to a report in The Hollywood Reporter, in light of the Russia’s anti-gay laws, which make illegal the promotion of a gay lifestyle to minors and other so-called “gay propaganda,” planning to screen I Am Michael looks like as much of a political as an artistic decision on the part of AmFest organizers and backers.

The movie, directed by Justin Kelly tells the true story of a gay activist (James Franco), who, after a health scare, is “saved” from his homosexuality and becomes a Christian pastor with a girlfriend. I Am Michael debuted in Sundance this year and also screened in Berlin.

Steve Lee, Editor <![CDATA[Warwick rowers launch their 2016 calendar campaign (VIDEO)]]> 2015-08-21T19:59:26Z 2015-08-23T01:45:19Z

Warwick Rowers 2016 Crowdfunder from Low Fat Media on Vimeo.

The Warwick rowers are at it again. The British athletes have just released their crowdfunding campaign video for their 2016 calendar, and it is even more cheeky than usual!

The campaign benefits Sport Allies, an organization that combats homophobia in athletics, and its fundraiser runs until Sept. 20.

To buy a calendar, book or more go here.

Steve Lee, Editor <![CDATA[College Humor’s take on 31 words that sound like slurs but aren’t (VIDEO)]]> 2015-08-21T19:15:23Z 2015-08-22T22:00:42Z

College Humor’s latest offering is their take on words that sound like slurs but aren’t! Set in an office environment the guys go into a song and dance routine to illustrate their point to somewhat bemused and sometimes offended co-workers.

Watch the video above.

Steve Lee, Editor <![CDATA[Commentary: Selma envy to Selma Pride flag]]> 2015-08-21T19:03:07Z 2015-08-22T19:00:53Z Critics of our community, even after decades of civil rights victories, still laugh at comparison of our struggle for civil rights with that of African Americans in the 1950s and ’60s. They see nothing similar to our struggle for justice as a minority group with that of our African American brothers and sisters.

The signal event of the civil rights movement for African Americans took place in Selma 50 years ago. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s campaign in Selma was a long effort that resulted in “Bloody Sunday,” “Turnaround Tuesday,” and “Glory,” the title of the Golden Globe and Academy Award winning song from the film “Selma,” on the successful conclusion of the 50-mile five-day trek on March 25, 1965.

My late father, James G. Patterson, served with the Alabama National Guard at the final Selma march to Montgomery. It was a life changing experience for marchers, Guardsmen, reporters, and the world and free from physical violence if not hate speech. My father told me a white woman spit on his Guard uniform and called him a “white N-word.” Tragically, Viola Liuzzo, a white Detroit homemaker and mother, was killed after the march.

Among the people my late father and thousands of other troops guarded were Dr. King, future Congressman John Lewis, future United Nations Ambassador Andrew Young, out gay organizer Bayard Rustin, celebrated author James Baldwin, and activist Dick Gregory, many others.

Hate was in session in Selma when the famous march took place just like the hate that was in session at Stonewall Inn in 1969. The bar was raided by police one time too many and a riot ensued that sparked a movement that grows stronger every day in New York, in the country, and in the world.

For me, as a gay youth in the 1960s Alabama, I can argue down any critic or fool who denies the gay rights movement is just as important to the civil rights movement in our country as the historic events I saw unfold in the 1960s. The LGBT community does not have Selma envy; we have Selma pride.

To honor my late father, the Alabama Film Commission arranged for me to have a role as a reporter in the Oprah Winfrey production “Selma.” My scenes were filmed in Atlanta over Father’s Day weekend of 2014.

As I waited in my hotel for my costume fitting, makeup, 1960s era haircut, and eventual filming call, I became emotional and telephoned longtime friend Rev. Pat Bumgardner at the Metropolitan Community Church on West 36th Street in New York. I was grateful she took time from her schedule to pray with me over the phone.

One year later, I honored my late father again, this time in New York on Father’s Day weekend again, at the Metropolitan Community Church on West 36th Street. The occasion was the consecration of Rev. Pat Bumgardner to Bishop.

Jerrold Nadler, my former congressman before temporarily relocating to the West Coast, had two U.S. flags raised over the Capitol in Washington in honor of my late father on March 25, the 50th anniversary of the end of the successful Selma march.

Just like the small role I played in the film “Selma,” I played a small role in Bishop Pat’s consecration. I presented one of the Selma flags in honor of Bishop Pat’s personal and religious leadership for equality of LGBT people in New York and around the world through her global ministry.

I wanted Bishop Pat and the MCC congregation to know my father was in the struggle for LGBT civil rights in spirit just as he was in the struggle for civil and voting rights at Selma 50 years ago. I did this, in prayer and in memory of my late father, before I heard the term “Selma envy.”

Though I was not in New York during the Stonewall Inn riots and the birth of LGBT Pride, as soon as I graduated high school in the mid-1970s, I was Stonewall bound. I wanted to experience the sexual liberation I had read about and seen, mostly condemned, on TV where the movement was born.

New York in the 1970s was joyous and free for the time I was there. It was also about “smashing gay oppression” and being openly gay without fear. It was about being a part of a community struggling together for the promises the American flag made but were unfulfilled even until today.

I am convinced the pride I saw on the faces of African Americans in Alabama after Selma was alive in New York in the 1970s. I am in New York several times a month and LGBT pride is undiminished. In fact, we are close to having the freedom our flag has always promised.

The civil rights struggle of Stonewall and Selma are not just a part of my life. They are my life. My late father would be proud to know a United States flag honoring him rests among the LGBT congregation of MCC New York.

I hope to place the other “Selma Pride” U.S. flag in another historic LGBT location in New York by the end of this year. I promise to let readers know when and where that happens.

Human Rights Advocate Jim Patterson is a writer, speaker, and lifelong diplomat for dignity for all people. In a remarkable life spanning the civil rights movement to today’s human rights struggles, he stands as a voice for the voiceless. A prolific writer, he documents history’s wrongs and the struggle for dignity to provide a roadmap to a more humane future. Learn more at

Steve Lee, Editor <![CDATA[Denver Council stall on approving Chick-Fil-A’s return to airport due to company’s anti-LGBT stance]]> 2015-08-21T19:45:01Z 2015-08-22T14:00:51Z Chick-Fil-AFast-food company Chick-Fil-A’s return to Denver International Airport may be in jeopardy because of their anti-LGBT stance. A number of City Council members this week passionately questioned a proposed concession agreement, reports The Denver Post.

Councilman Paul Lopez called opposition to the chain at the airport “really, truly a moral issue on the city.”

His position comes despite ardent assurances from the concessionaires — who have operated other Denver Airport restaurants — that strict nondiscrimination policies will include protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Robin Kniech, the council’s first openly gay member, said she was most worried about a local franchise generating “corporate profits used to fund and fuel discrimination.” Four of the six committee members also had questions about the store’s ability to abide by local nondiscrimination laws. Ten of the full council’s 12 members attended the committee meeting; none spoke in favor of the proposed franchise.

“We can do better than this brand in Denver at our airport, in my estimation,” new council member Jolon Clark said at the meeting, according to The Denver Post report.




Steve Lee, Editor <![CDATA[Watch as this black, gay dance troop prance past jeering homophobes in Alabama]]> 2015-08-21T18:26:18Z 2015-08-21T18:26:18Z

Over ONE MILLION people have watched this black, gay dance troop, The Prancing Elites, prance past jeering homophobes in Alabama … watch above and see how homophobia has to stop now. Even if you have seen it … it is worth watching again.

Steve Lee, Editor <![CDATA[Florida marriage licenses to become gender-neutral]]> 2015-08-21T17:56:44Z 2015-08-21T17:56:44Z A year after a federal judge ruled Florida’s gay marriage ban unconstitutional, the state is finally taking steps to make the necessary updates to marriage and death certificates.

Friday is the anniversary of District Judge Robert Hinkle’s ruling. But even after it took effect Jan. 6, Florida’s marriage applications and certificates would allow entries only for “Husband” and “Wife.”

The new forms, expected to be available by mid-September, will provide a place for the name of each “Spouse.”

As the state Bureau of Vital Statistics sought public comment on the proposed change this summer, Equality Florida submitted 1,266 signatures in support of this inclusive update.

“Equality Florida is committed to making sure the state of Florida fully implements marriage equality and treats LGBT families equally under the law,” said Hannah Willard, the organization’s marriage issues coordinator.

A separate challenge by Equality Florida and three lesbian couples over the state’s refusal to allow same-sex spouses to be listed on birth certificates in the same way that different-sex spouses are is pending. State officials currently insist that only the birth mother be listed on a newborn child’s birth certificate and that she be listed as single even if she is married to a woman.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights filed suit on behalf of Equality Florida and the three couples on August 13.

Steve Lee, Editor <![CDATA[New Ugandan LGBT publication makes huge impact (VIDEO)]]> 2015-08-21T17:03:12Z 2015-08-21T17:03:12Z

A new Ugandan LGBT publication, Bombastic Magazine, is looking to protect the community by telling their authentic stories. Kasha Jacqueline, one of the founders of Bombastic Magazine and the LGBT movement in Uganda, says that, “changing the hearts and minds of regular Ugandans I the most crucial step in triggering real change.” She goes on to write that it is, “better able to build empathy rather than just educate. Nothing sways public opinion faster than storytelling.”

According to a report on GLAAD, 20,000 copies were distributed of Bombastic’s first edition, and they had a huge impact. The Ugandan media covered the issue, Kasha was featured in TIME Magazine, and both the highest levels of government and most isolated members of the LGBT community were exposed to it. However, in order to publish a second edition of the magazine, print enough copies to reach the whole country, and continue making huge change for LGBT Ugandans, Bombastic needs support. To help, the international LGBT organization IGLHRC has set up this fundraising campaign, and you can find more information about Bombastic here.

Bombastic has created an inspiring video explaining its foundation and mission. In it Kasha explains, “We’ve seen the media calling for the hanging of homosexuals, and this is the only message that Ugandans get, so it was important for us to bring another narrative to the stories that are portrayed in the media… [It’s important for] people to see the stories and know that what they are going through, they’re not going through alone.”

Watch the video above.

Steve Lee, Editor <![CDATA[Illinois governor signs bill protecting LGBTQ kids from conversion therapy]]> 2015-08-21T16:41:52Z 2015-08-21T16:41:52Z Gov. Bruce Rauner

Gov. Bruce Rauner

Thursday, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner signed House Bill 217 into law, making Illinois the fifth jurisdiction—behind California, New Jersey, the District of Columbia, and Oregon—to protect LGBTQ youth from the dangers of conversion therapy.

House Bill 217, which protects LGBTQ youth from mental health providers attempting to change their sexual orientation or gender identity through these practices, which are linked to substance abuse, extreme depression, and suicide, was overwhelmingly approved by the Illinois House of Representatives and General Assembly. The law will go into effect Jan. 1, 2016.

“We are thrilled that Illinois has joined the rapidly growing number of states leading the way to protect LGBTQ youth from conversion therapy,” said the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) #BornPerfect Campaign Coordinator and Staff Attorney Samantha Ames. “Illinois families can now have confidence that the mental health professional they turn to in times of uncertainty may not use their state license to profit from their children’s pain. Most importantly, Illinois kids can now rest easy in the knowledge that they cannot be forced or coerced to undergo dangerous and discredited treatments to fix who they are. Today brings us one step closer to the day when all LGBTQ youth know they were born perfect.”

“With this tremendous step, LGBT youth in Illinois are now protected from a dangerous and appalling practice based on junk pseudoscience that amounts to nothing less than child abuse,” said Human Rights Campaign (HRC) President Chad Griffin. “Discredited by every major mental health, medical, and child welfare organization, conversion ‘therapy’ uses fear and shame to tell young people the only way to find love and acceptance is to change the very nature of who they are. We thank Governor Rauner, as well as members of the state legislature on both sides of the aisle, for putting politics aside and the well-being of children first. We will continue to work with our allies to secure these crucial protections in every state across the nation.”

NCLR and HRC, in conjunction with the Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health, Equality Illinois, and other groups, played a key role in organizing the coalition behind the bill. A broad range of groups supported HB 217, including national LGBTQ organizations, mental health organizations, faith leaders, youth advocates, and civil rights organizations.

NCLR and HRC have partnered with state equality groups across the nation to pass state legislation to end this dangerous practice, including laws passed in California, New Jersey, the District of Columbia, Oregon, and now Illinois.

Last year, NCLR launched its #BornPerfect campaign to stop conversion therapy across the country by 2019 by passing laws, fighting in courtrooms, and raising awareness about the serious harms caused by attempts to change a young person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Illinois is the third state to pass such a law in 2015 alone.

Steve Lee, Editor <![CDATA[San Diego LGBT advocacy group receives cake from Oregon bakers who refused to bake same-sex wedding cake]]> 2015-08-21T00:34:54Z 2015-08-21T00:34:52Z

(Left to right) Carmen Escalante, Em Sal, Cathy "LC" Carmack of Canvass for a Cause and the ‘cake’ | Photo: Canvass for a Cause

Today, San Diego-based LGBT advocacy group Canvass for a Cause was one of 10 LGBT advocacy organizations that received a cake from Sweet Cakes Bakery in Oregon. Together with the cake, which was inscribed “We really do love you!” on a red heart, the package included a letter from Sweet Cakes’ owners Aaron and Melissa Klein, a CD of the movie Audacity and a $25 restaurant gift card.

Sweet Cakes were the Oregon bakers who refused to bake a wedding cake for a lesbian couple and were subsequently fined $135,000 by the state of Oregon. The bakery has subsequently had to close its storefront.

According to a report in The Daily Signal Aaron Klein said the reason they were doing this was “… to show that we don’t harbor hard feelings toward the narrative that’s been put out about us. We don’t want to see these people hurting.”

The letter states,

“We’re the bakers who declined to create a cake for a same-sex wedding and were ordered to pay the girls $135,000. We want you to know that our actions were not motivated by hatred, and we personally baked this cake as a small token of our love. Enclosed is an award-winning movie that further expresses our feelings. I would be honored if you would watch it.

“On behalf of Christians, we want you to know that we do love you, and we are not your enemy (America is about freedom, and freedom for everyone).”

Em Sal, programs and communications director with Canvass for a Cause in San Diego told LGBT Weekly, “A box came in the mail to a radical queer rights organization; the box said fragile, dry ice, and cake – so we weren’t exactly sure what to make of it. We had already received hate mail earlier this week so we were naturally wary of potential danger. Once we opened the package, we were genuinely excited to see that it was in fact a cake … and then we saw the movie and knew this cake came with some homophobic strings attached.”

The cake and other items in the package | Photo: Canvass for a Cause

Cathy “LC” Carmack, canvass director with Canvass for a Cause explained that the ‘other things’ that came in the package were, “… a letter, a DVD and a $25 gift certificate to be applied at various restaurants. The movie is about a young man who believes in the Bibles’ view of homosexuality and his struggle to speak the truth in a world where his opinion as a Christian is ‘oppressed.’”

The Klein’s did not make reference to the restaurant gift certificate, but described the movie Audacity as an award-winning movie that “further expresses our feelings.”

Em Sal dismissed the movie as a “propaganda film that depicts people like me as destined for hell.”

According to The Daily Signal report, the Klein’s sent cakes to 10 different organizations including the California LGBT Arts Alliance, Asian and Pacific Islander Wellness Center, Californians Against Hate, CFAC Headquarters, Equality California, Out and Equal, The South Bay LGBT Community Organization, The LGBTQ Center Long Beach, Los Angeles LGBT Center McDonald/Wright Building and LGBT of Southern Nevada. In the coming weeks, they plan to send baked goods to other LGBTQ groups across the country.

“It seemed strange and counterproductive and felt like the Klein’s missed the whole point,” said Em Sal. “I am not upset about cakes. I am upset because at least 17 transgender women of color have been murdered so far this year. The money spent on this gesture could have been donated to any number of LGBT+ rights organizations to stop the very real systematic discrimination and oppression faced by this community. It upsets me what could have been accomplished given the funds for 10 cakes, films, gift cards and packaging.”

The Klein’s claim to be talking “on behalf of Christians” and are “doing this to show that we don’t harbor hard feelings toward the narrative that’s been put out about us.”

“I do not believe that the Klein’s have the ability to speak on behalf of Christians in the first place, in the same way that Canvass for a Cause cannot speak for the entire Queer community,” said LC. “As an activist organization that engages in face-to-face conversations with the public about queer issues, we have the opportunity to speak with many individuals who do identify as Christian. I can confidently say that all Christians are not in agreement on this issue.”

Aaron Klein told The Daily Signal that they aren’t getting their hopes up that sending LGBTQ groups homemade cakes will end the narrative that’s unfolded, but they said it’s worth the effort. “That’s the whole narrative that they’ve put forth this whole time, that I’m this big hateful guy,” Aaron said. “I don’t get where that comes from.”

LC’s response was emphatic, “Do I believe that one family making 10 cakes and an evangelical preacher promoting his own film will somehow bring together the LGBT+ community and Christians despite years of hatred and oppression? No. I assume the Klein’s had good intentions in sending us a cake but the reality of the situation is this cake comes from a business owner who refused to allow one group of people to enjoy decadence while providing it to others. That is discrimination, plain and simple.”

Maybe this is the beginning of some sort of dialogue between these two factions. Only time will tell.

Steve Lee, Editor <![CDATA[Padres to host first official Pride Night At Petco Park, Sept. 1]]> 2015-08-22T00:26:57Z 2015-08-20T22:40:52Z SAN DIEGO – The San Diego Padres will host the first ever officially sanctioned Pride Night at Petco Park  Tuesday, Sept. 1 where the Padres will take on the Rangers at 7:10 p.m. The first 1,000 fans to purchase Pride Night tickets will receive a limited edition Pride-themed Padres hat. Additionally, in a further gesture of support to the LGBT community, $5 of every Pride Night ticket purchased will be donated to San Diego Pride, GSDBA and San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus.

For decades, San Diego’s LGBT community members have shown their pride and support for the San Diego Padres by organizing an annual unofficially “Out at the Park” event. Since 2007, San Diego Pride has been the organizer of that event which now draws roughly 1,200 to the Petco Park and nearly 500 to the pre-game tailgate. San Diego Pride welcomes the new addition of Pride Night to the official San Diego Padres event roster.

“San Diego has long been City that embraces its diversity,” noted Stephen Whitburn, executive director of San Diego Pride. “We are so pleased that the San Diego Padres are creating this opportunity to officially celebrate San Diego’s LGBT community and its allies, and we are looking forward to a fun night at Petco Park.”

Prior to the first pitch, the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus will take the field to sing at Petco Park for the very first time. “We are honored to sing the National Anthem for the San Diego Padres first Pride Night,” said Bob Lehman, president of the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus. “We hope everyone comes to sing along with us and enjoy a great night of Padres baseball.”

Tickets can be purchased at:
LGBT Weekly <![CDATA[Rain Dove: This female androgynous supermodel is turning the concept of gender on its head]]> 2015-08-20T21:23:50Z 2015-08-20T19:15:24Z

Rain Dove with fellow model Sannie Pedersen | Photo: Paul Mariano

Two points. One, Rain Dove is literary. By that, I mean she presents her point-of-view in a way that is both shockingly precise and emotionally compelling. It is clearly the work of both a voracious reader and natural writer, I’m guessing. When asked, for example, for practical advice in the fashion industry, where she has commandeered attention for her astute performances in Beau Lawrence’s Ace Revington menswear campaign and the Play Out campaign featuring women with bilateral mastectomies who have bypassed reconstruction. “Treat yourself like a company. Not a product.” That isn’t just some squishy universal modeling maxim. Nothing touchy-feely like: “Win on the inside first!” on posters of smiling mountain climbers with remarkably white teeth given the elements. It’s sensible and, Dove goes on to explain in terms even a household pet could understand, “Most models are not successful long-term because they spend their careers relying on other people to discover them or to sell them. They rely on their agency to brand them and set a price on their time worth. The most famous models and successful ones don’t do this. They run themselves as a business.”

And then Dove goes a step further and focuses on one subject she feels passionately about: Self-worth.

Which shouldn’t be entirely shocking given she’s managed to get noticed in fashion for her androgynous look, byproduct of genetic randomness, and as a model equally at home in both women’s and men’s clothing, tempting both male and female and everything in between audiences. And that doesn’t come along every day, now does it?

Photo: Lawrence Pope Givens

Second point. Dove doesn’t come across as deeply introspective. A doer, not a thinker. I asked her about the time in Colorado when she was on a wildlife fire prevention crew, the result of interest, timing and her unique ability to pull off being a man in a male-dominated field. “There was just this perception that women couldn’t ‘step to it’ as much as the guys. I went under a pseudonym and nobody even asked if I were trans[gender] or gay; they just thought I was a guy. I lived a year like that,” she boasted to Buzzfeed. But when asked if her emotional needs were being met in Colorado or whether she dated or was dating, she remarked with characteristic pluck, “My emotional needs are met by my own validation. I learned a long time ago not to rely on others to make me feel attractive, confident or capable.” Dove goes on. “I have been a very careful dater all throughout my young adult life. Even when dating openly, communication and the ability to still pursue my individuality is important to me.”

Her story, one that is still very much being written, routinely comes down to several seminal stories like the one above.

Once, on a bet, and with a healthy dose of sororal goading from a good friend, she decided to go to a modeling audition after her Cleveland Browns lost. When she arrived, she found out two things. They wanted her to come back the next day (maybe they only wanted blond-haired women?) and the next day, when she entered and saw not a room full of brunette women but men only, she had another Aha moment: Gender capitalism.

For Dove, gender capitalism is this notion that, “The beauty of clothing is the engineering which is meant to highlight and celebrate all body types regardless of gender. What I really wish is that the advertising of these garments were more sex-nonconforming. I wish that through the promotion of commercial goods that are commonly purchased at stores like H&M and The Gap, all human sexes felt that the clothing was accessible for purchase without social stigma.” And by agreeing to model men’s clothes, she takes gender capitalism to its natural conclusion by not only promoting a designer’s wares but by showing how it is possible to carry it off.

So, is there another level of exploitation that comes with a new genderless generation of potential supermodels? For Dove, there is. “I think it’s part of the game for any model to be exploited. And at times people will hire me as a ‘novelty’ to show how diverse or ‘open-minded’ their brand is. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Any movement toward displaying acceptance of different types of people is great and should be encouraged. The issue is when I’m presented in a way that makes me seem like a gimmick, because for some it may be ‘odd’ or ‘unique’ to have someone like me in their clothing. But for me, as a person, it isn’t odd at all. It’s not an inspiring or strange thing that I wear briefs and tuxes. It’s not bizarre that I enjoy lacey lingerie or pleated skirts. This eclectic nature is all day every day for me. It’s not a trend and it’s not likely to change.”

I mentioned there were a few well-documented stories about her life and her relationships with her family, though somewhat known, is always a subject Dove can return to with characteristic honesty and intelligence: “My father has a special relationship with me that involves very little communication. When I came out, I was ready and resolved about it. I was at peace enough to put my relationships with my family members on the line in exchange for integrity. However I had been able to go through a 21 year process at the time. I got to mourn my expected identity, question myself, explore, celebrate, cry, get angry and feel that feeling of It-is-OK-ness. However, my family hasn’t had that same amount of time with the information I’ve had. My parents come from another generation. My father, a tough human to crack, was technically just another kid like me; just as vulnerable and just as needy for the processing of things. I think we all tend to expect our parents to just accept us immediately because they have to. We’re they’re kids, after all. But I think things like the [emotional] rollercoaster my father is displaying is not wrong or unhealthy. It’s what some people need to digest things. I had my time to process. The least I could do is give them theirs.”

If Rain Dove seems wise beyond her tender years, it’s because she is. Being a pioneer in anything – including gender-nonconforming modeling in the world of high fashion takes smarts, instinct and a healthy dose of confidence. But the one question that up-and-coming icons never seem to tire of asking is this: Who gets to play you in the story of your life? Suddenly an unexpectedly childlike Rain Dove comes out. “Epic question! The story of my life of course must be played by Justin Bieber with dark hair and breast implants. Or Meryl Streep. (Who can technically be anyone at any time.) Or Hugh Jackman with a manicure and breast implants. Orrrr, some previously undiscovered actor who ‘just needs that big break.’”

Expect to see a lot more from Dove as she uses her platform to truly turn the concept of gender on its head. “The goal this year is to work with a brand that is for ‘girls next door types’ to represent ‘a new type of girl next door,’” enthuses Dove in typical style. “I have the breasts for Victoria’s Secret so maybe it could be them. It sounds impossible to most, but if it’s impossible then I want to try to do it. It’s a cop out and easy for a 6’2″, muscular, square jawed, short haired woman to be a male model. But for someone like me to be able to sell a dress on a commercial (aka popular) level? Surprisingly that’s the hard part in both fashion and film. So let’s make it happen!”

Rain Dove: Forever casting a wider net.

LGBT Weekly <![CDATA[Lambda Archives pays tribute to San Diego gay sports organizations with ‘Coming Out to Play’]]> 2015-08-20T22:43:44Z 2015-08-20T19:00:39Z Wednesday, Aug. 12 Lambda Archives of San Diego hosted its second Out at the Archives series, Coming Out to Play at The Center. The event featured a brief history of some of the LGBT sports organizations, a panel discussion with past and current league leaders and a Q&A from the audience.

“Roman Jimenez began the event presentation saying, “As a 20-year veteran and proud commissioner of one these LGBT sports organizations, I am often asked ‘Why do you need a ‘gay’ sports group?’ And I reply this way: Because 34 years ago, the last place you’d want to be if you were a gay man would be next to a straight man holding a baseball bat!”

Lambda Archives President Maureen Steiner paid tribute to the gay sports organizations in San Diego, many of whom were represented at the event. “I’ve been fortunate to play in four of the leagues in San Diego, softball, tennis, football and bowling, and I really enjoyed my experience in all of them,” said Steiner. “While softball is my first love, I have tremendous respect for all the organizations we will be talking about tonight and even more respect for those trailblazers who started them. These men and women saw a need and were out and proud when being out and proud could quite literally cost you your life.

“They had to fight to get the word out. They had to fight to get a place to play, dealing with skeptical gay papers, leery business owners and sometimes homophobic city staff. They had to fight to get sponsors and players and when the AIDS pandemic murdered nearly an entire generation, they had to fight to stay alive and vibrant.

“Tonight we recognize their perseverance and celebrate their great accomplishments by honoring their history.”

Debbie Chaddock tearfully told of how she found a new family in the Front Runners. In 1982, she saw an ad in the Reader for “gay runners” and wrote to the P.O. Box listed. She received a reply from Front Runners’ membership chair John Lockhart inviting her to join the group. She said the group quickly became her family and “it gave me the courage to come out to my own family. I knew if they disowned me, I’d still have my running family.”

After the panel discussion light refreshments were served. Lockhart hailed the success of the evening, “Thank you to the Archives for a wonderful evening tonight. It was thoughtful, planned, informative, timely and fun.”

The next Out at the Archives will take place Sept. 28 at Diversionary Theatre.

LGBT Weekly <![CDATA[The splendor of ‘PIPPIN’]]> 2015-08-20T21:19:32Z 2015-08-20T19:00:27Z

Sasha Allen and the cast of Pippin | PHOTO: TERRY SHAPIRO

San Diegans are in for a treat as two of the original cast members of the iconic show reunite

Many direct-from-Broadway national tours come through San Diego every year at the San Diego Civic Theatre, home of Broadway San Diego. Last year we were the second city to host the Tony Award winning Cyndi Lauper musical Kinky Boots. And, both Book of Mormon, returning in February 2016, and Wicked have proven to be patron favorites.

Aug. 25, 43 years after its debut on Broadway, the nine-time Tony Award winning Stephen Schwartz musical Pippin comes to San Diego.

When Pippin debuted on Broadway in 1972, it brought together a young composer, Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Godspell), and renowned director/choreographer Bob Fosse (Chicago, Sweet Charity). They created a show that was heralded for its staging and cast more than for it’s story and score.

In 2013 Pippin was revived on Broadway, with a whole new circus style look/performance and the iconic Ben Vereen role of the Leading Player now being played by a woman. Gabrielle McClinton, a San Diego native, takes on that iconic role and shares what an incredible opportunity it is to be playing the part.

Sasha Allen as Leading Player and the cast of Pippin | PHOTO: TERRY SHAPIRO

“Well, I feel extremely grateful,” McClinton said. “It’s definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity to play a role of this caliber – incorporating acting, singing and dance all to the highest degree. I feel lucky to be able to make it my own while learning from everyone who’s played the role before me.”

However, McClinton admits that before being cast in the show, she didn’t really know too much about the 1972 musical.

“Before Pippin, I didn’t know that much about the show,” she said. “I had seen a production of it at my high school. I definitely didn’t understand the depth of the show back then. Once I started rehearsals, I couldn’t stop watching Ben Vereen on YouTube. He’s the epitome of a fearless performer with the freest spirit. He always keeps you on your toes and you never know what he’s going to do next. He blows my mind.”

Growing up, McClinton had a number of influences that shaped who she wanted to be as a performer. So, it should come as no surprise that it was the women of Broadway that inspired her most.

“My earliest influences were all of the leading ladies of Broadway,” she said. “I would buy all of the cast albums and listen to them from start to finish singing along with the lyrics from front to back. I think it was just amazing to see these women completely own what they do and shine for that sole reason. Owning who they are-what they sound, dance, act like.”

Priscilla Lopez (Berthe) and Brian Flores (Pippin) | PHOTO: JOAN MARCUS

What sets this version of the show apart from most cities it plays to is the fact that San Diegans will get to see two of the original cast members of the show reunited.

John Rubinstein, who originated the role of Pippin in 1972, returns to the show playing Pippin’s father King Charlemagne. And, Priscilla Lopez, best known for her role as Diana Morales in the original cast of A Chorus Line, and from her Tony Award winning performance in A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine.

Rubinstein, a veteran stage and screen actor, eloquently admits what it has been like to step back in time, in a sense, in a show he was a part of so many years ago.

“Getting to do this show was a true gift to me from the director, and from the authors and producers,” Rubinstein said. “It’s very much like getting to move back into the home you lived in happily as a child, but now it’s been redecorated, and some walls broken down, and new carpeting and furniture, and the kitchen has more room and modern appliances. And there are a whole bunch of great new people living there, too. So it’s really a brand new experience – but it’s still your old home, and you lived there before any of these folks were around. So there is definite nostalgia, some great memories, some sadness, even, from missing the people and the things that are gone. But there is huge joy that the old place is still there, that it still is giving comfort and shelter to new people; and that you get the chance to be there again and share it anew.”

Many of the original cast members are sadly no longer with us, but for Rubinstein, it’s all about his new role, the new team of performers and putting on a great show.

John Rubinstein as Charlemagne and Sabrina Harper as Fastrada | PHOTO: TERRY SHAPIRO

However, there are a few moments in the show, and what he faced playing his new role, that literally take him back to the original production.

“One thing is definitely a déjà vu,” Rubinstein confides. “I do channel the voice – not the line-readings or even the interpretation, since Diane Paulus has directed this revival quite differently than Fosse did, and Charlemagne is presented in a different way than originally – but the actual sound of Eric Berry’s (the original Charles) voice. I didn’t even do it on purpose; but when I first auditioned for this revival, I heard Eric when I spoke. He was just there. It’s an entirely re-imagined and re-shaped view of this character, but Eric’s sound is with me on stage every night.”

As for Lopez, she joined Rubinstein in the cast of Pippin in 1974, playing his step-mother Frastrada. This time around she’ll take on the role of Pippin’s outspoken grandmother Berthe.

When asked what it was like to be reunited with Rubinstein after all these years, in the same show but in different parts, it’s clear that Lopez has a special place in her heart for him.

“Reuniting with John again after 42 years is a very special gift,” Lopez admits. “I identify with him. I respect his commitment and dedication to his craft and his love of performing. I watch him nightly as the older and wiser King but at the same time I will always see that young and exuberant Pippin. The fact that we were both able to step into these older roles at the same time in the same show, is pretty extraordinary”.

John Rubinstein and the cast of Pippin | PHOTO: JOAN MARCUS

When each actor was asked if they had a favorite part of the show, it was Rubinstein that had the most, five to be exact. It’s really no surprise seeing that he’s probably been in the show longer than anyone else.

“I always loved doing ‘On The Right Track’ with Ben Vereen. I also loved singing ‘Love Song.’ This one fell into the groove the moment Jill Clayburgh and I first rehearsed it. I’ve always enjoyed the ‘Morning Glow.’ [Todays] Pippin’s wail through it with seeming effortlessness, with higher notes than I was asked to sing, and it’s a bigger aria. I never get tired of hearing it and Charlemagne’s best scene is in the Arles cathedral. I look forward to it every night. And I do love calling Lewis an ‘asshole.’ Very satisfying. My 9-year-old son Max says that that line, and when I call Lewis ‘stupid,’ are his two favorite moments.”

Pippin plays at the Civic Theatre from Aug. 25-30. For tickets call 619-570-1100, or go to or

LGBT Weekly <![CDATA[An impeccably crafted documentary that brings history to life]]> 2015-08-20T21:31:55Z 2015-08-20T18:55:20Z

Gore Vidal and William Buckley in Best of Enemies

In decades past, political pundits referred to the final few weeks leading to the presidential election as the “silly season” of politics. Nowadays, the silly season is more or less the three years leading up to the election, and if you haven’t noticed it, the three-ring circus that is the Donald Trump-led Republican nomination contest and the vicious (and a little odd) fighting between the supporters of Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are more than a little silly. There are a lot of reasons that American politics have devolved to the point where a racist reality TV star could be leading the Republican field and Democratic activists could be losing friends in arguments over candidates who have basically the same positions. Arguably the biggest reason is the extreme polarity of political discourse in the United States.

Compromise, mutual understanding and respect are almost nonexistent in our political discussions (and I am hardly innocent in this). Liberals blame Fox News, and conservatives blame the so-called “liberal media,” when neither of them are not just simply calling the other side degenerate idiots. Again, it’s a complicated process, but the fantastic new documentary The Best of Enemies makes the case that the demon seed of this horrible situation can be traced to the televised debates between Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley Jr. during the 1968 Republican and Democratic National Conventions.

The debates between Vidal and Buckley were not an accident. In 1968, ABC’s new division was a distant third in competition with CBS and NBC, and at the time, the coverage of the presidential nominating conventions were big news and drew big ratings. This is not just because politics in the 1960s were so dynamic and dire but because back then the nominations were not done deals before the conventions; the candidates were actually chosen there.

In order to create excitement for their coverage, ABC decided to pit the two most entertaining political wits of their generation against each other. Buckley, the father of the modern conservative movement, ran the most influential right wing magazine in the country, and his effete, WASP affect defined Ivy League country club Republicanism. He was witty, and as long as he wasn’t insulting you, very funny. Vidal was his perfect foil: An erudite bon vivant, he was Jackie Kennedy’s cousin, a barely closeted gay man (in 1968!), and the author of Myra Breckinridge, the scandalous, high-camp satirical novel about transsexuality. His insults were even more pointed and funnier.

As The Best Enemies show, the debates themselves were short and rarely ever touched on the actual issues. They were mostly a forum for Vidal and Buckley to insult each other and mock the politics of their opponents. They’re wildly entertaining to watch (especially when Vidal insinuates Buckley is gay and Buckley has a gay panic meltdown). Nowadays, it’s pretty rare to see people that smart and articulate be so hilariously mean to each other on a news show.

Writer-directors Morgan Neville and Robert Gordon impeccably craft the story of the debates and their legacy. Using celebrity voiceover (Kelsey Grammar reading Buckley’s letters and John Lithgow Vidal’s), accessible academic commentary and taut editing, Neville and Oscar-winner Gordon (for 20 Feet from Stardom) bring the history to life and explain why it matters.

Best of Enemies

Written and directed by Morgan Neville and Robert Gordon

Featuring Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley Jr.

Opens at Landmark Hillcrest Aug. 21

LGBT Weekly <![CDATA[Hearing delay in Hillcrest hair stylist’s death]]> 2015-08-20T20:37:04Z 2015-08-20T18:00:42Z A preliminary hearing of Oct. 30 was set Aug. 13 for the motorist accused of second-degree murder and vehicular manslaughter in the death of Oscar Melero, a popular longtime hair stylist in Hillcrest.

The attorney for Abraham Granados Beltran, 24, sought the delay about four months after District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis decided to charge him with murder in the Feb. 15 crash in which Melero, 52, was killed almost instantly.

The attorney told a San Diego Superior Court judge he wanted more time to prepare for the case now that murder was added to the other charges of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, driving under the influence of alcohol and driving with a suspended driver’s license. Prosecutor Cally Bright did not oppose the delay.

Melero, of National City, was well known in the LGBT community. He was on his way to the California 10/20 race at 7 a.m. at the Del Mar Fairgrounds when Beltran struck his vehicle on Interstate 5 at an estimated speed of 80 mph. Melero died from trauma to his head and body.

Bright said she filed a murder charge because Beltran had three convictions for driving on a suspended license which was revoked because of previous drunk driving incidents in Orange County. The DA’s office is using a state grant to help pay for costs in prosecuting drunk drivers who are charged with murder.

It will be up to a jury to decide whether Beltran committed second-degree murder or vehicular manslaughter in the incident if they determine he is guilty. Beltran, of San Juan Capistrano, has pleaded not guilty and remains in the George Bailey Detention Facility on $1 million bail.

LGBT Weekly <![CDATA[Maserati Ghibli thief gets three years in jail]]> 2015-08-20T23:00:54Z 2015-08-20T18:00:41Z  

A Maserati Ghibli

The car thief who stole an $80,000 2015 Maserati Ghibli from a La Jolla dealership has been sentenced to three years in jail after the prosecutor told the judge the defendant had stolen cars before from dealerships.

Probation was denied Aug. 11 for Marcus Lee Allen, 30, by San Diego Superior Court Judge Eugenia Eyherabide who told Allen “you’ve been to prison twice for almost exactly the same crime.”

His criminal record, and his arrest in a courthouse hallway July 27 for being about two hours late for sentencing, didn’t help Allen, who said nothing in court. He was dressed in a tan jail uniform.

Allen looked at vehicles at the Maserati dealership at 7477 Girard Ave. and picked up the keys off a receptionist’s desk and drove off with the car April 30. Allen was arrested in May about a week after the Italian vehicle was discovered in downtown San Diego and was impounded by police. Allen lived nearby.

Deputy District Attorney Luis Mendez said Allen was convicted in 2009 of auto theft from a dealership in another county and was later found in possession of two BMW car keys from a dealership. In 2008, Allen stole a car after taking a test drive at a dealership, he said, and was last convicted of auto theft in 2011 in Sacramento.

Allen will spend up to three years in county jail with one year under supervision by the sheriff’s office. The sheriff’s department gave his projected release date as Jan. 16, 2017.

The Maserati dealership requested a restitution hearing for possible damages to the car and Eyherabide scheduled it for Sept. 10.

LGBT Weekly <![CDATA[Free, free, free!]]> 2015-08-20T20:52:29Z 2015-08-20T18:00:37Z

Faithful readers, let’s face it, in some areas we do not seem to grow smarter with age. Figures constantly show we are the ones who most often fall for the scams and rip-offs which besiege us by mail, phone and email. Today my topic deals with some which seem simple yet are fraught with unpleasant consequences.

They all revolve around the word “free.” So simple. So effective. You think, “What can I lose? It is free.” And so, before your luck changes, you call or write for the miraculously free gift. You blithely provide your name, address, phone number and email address and soon after (often before) your giveaway arrives, there starts an unrelenting barrage of phone calls, emails and letters all enticing you to commit to a “special offer” involving, guess what, your money. The constant requests will come also from other businesses which have bought your name from the original company.

Do not try to get off their call-list by pushing the button “to stop further calls.” That tells them you listened to the whole spiel and so are still a possible sale. Just hang up. Sorry to say, but some of the religious ones are the worst offering holy water, pray shawls, praying hands of pure Jerusalem gold, weekly magazines, prayer requests, and the list goes on. I’m not saying they are not deserving of a chance to beautify your home. Just be aware of what the initial free offer developed into.

Before sending any money for the blind African orphans or an AIDS clinic in Appalachia, Google something like “check credibility of charities” for a list of the good and the bad organizations.

Finally, don’t forget “plus handling and shipping.”

A house call

To the senior set it is no secret that slowly but surely, like it or not, we end up handling things ourselves, so to speak. In my case, time progressed until the whole thing became too much and thoughts of seeking outside assistance crept into the picture.

My frustrations reached the breaking point last week and I now confess: I hired a professional. I went online which seems to be the proscribed route nowadays. It was not easy with so many personal ads touting a wide selection of services. I was like the indecisive donkey starving to death between two bales of hay.

I questioned several with the required physical attributes as to their understanding of what an older person wants – and doesn’t want. You wouldn’t believe some of their suggestions. There are limits you know; unfortunately more and more as I age.

The price was set and he arrived garbed and equipped as we had agreed. I was nervous, but being a pro, he soon put me at ease. I explained how he was to proceed and he didn’t object to anything. Why would he? I am not one of those with bizarre, freakish expectations. I admit to a moment of unease when I showed him the bathroom and he produced a pair of rubber gloves reaching to his elbows.

I hurriedly excused myself and left to survey the rest of the apartment which I had spent hours cleaning to make a good impression. Finding all was suitable, I instructed him on what to do in the bathroom and when finished there he could start on the kitchen and the blinds.

He was excellent and I’ll hire him again. I’m through handling those chores myself. It was money well spent. If possible, hire a cleaner. You deserve it.

LGBT Weekly <![CDATA[When in Rome]]> 2015-08-20T20:57:14Z 2015-08-20T18:00:36Z

LGBT Weekly <![CDATA[Support SeaWorld]]> 2015-08-22T00:34:52Z 2015-08-20T18:00:34Z

Mayor Kevin Faulconer and his wife Katherine

I am glad that SeaWorld is finally really fighting back against PETA’s extreme and false claims by recently launching some educational public service and educational media outreach. The facts are that for over five decades no organization in San Diego County has done more to rescue and protect all ocean wildlife than SeaWorld. Yes, there have been some accidents at SeaWorld but PETA’s claim that SeaWorld systematically and knowingly mistreats its killer whales is not true.

The highly respected Association of Zoos and Aquariums have given SeaWorld its full accreditation after an independent review found they met its high standard. SeaWorld has put forth a $100 million plan to nearly double the size of their orcas’ habitat and has also committed $10 million for research on orcas in the wild.

Every year SeaWorld has undertaken to save sea lion pups that get mysteriously stranded on our beaches. The facts are that SeaWorld is inspected at least once a year by a federal agency and SeaWorld is accredited by actually two major zoological associations that both demand rigorous standards.

But nothing will ever be enough for PETA as they continue their negative and false campaigns against SeaWorld. I have close friends who have and do work at SeaWorld for many decades and they like all of us love all animals and tell me that they would never work at a place that mistreats any animal. Toni Atkins, Todd Gloria, Kevin Faulconer all strongly support SeaWorld because they know the facts and truth.

I urge you all to educate yourselves about the good people and programs at SeaWorld.

The golden state is turning brown …

So I have been saying in some of my speeches for the last decade and last month Latinos officially surpassed whites as California’s largest racial or ethnic group; there are now 14.99 million Latinos in California and I am proud to be one of them. And obviously there is also a more visible and growing LGBT Latino population with more Latinos taking on major activist and leadership roles in California.

Christians and gays being killed in the Middle East

It seems that the killing of thousands of Christians and gay people in the Middle East continues to get little media coverage or attention by American leaders. The facts are that Christians and LGBT people in the Middle East are being persecuted and murdered by Muslim extremists more than ever before. I am very proud of and salute the two San Diegans who have been leaders in the campaign to focus on the killing of Christians in the Middle Ease: Mark Arabo and Congressman Juan Vargas.

Truax House is a historic site

Congratulations and thank you to Lambda Archives, Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins and Councilman Todd Gloria for securing state and local financial grants to preserve San Diego LGBT historic sites. Lambda Archives deserves credit for starting the campaign to focus on this most important issue and now comes word that the Truax House is being considered as a historic site and indeed it is. I remember talking to a very ill Dr. Brad Truax in the 1980s to get his permission so that the AIDS Assistance Fund, and I (president and co-founder) could name the three story house after him and he modestly said yes. I look forward to other LGBT historic sites to be named.

Nicky Awards to honor mayor this Sunday

The San Diego LGBT Academy Awards will be held this Sunday, Aug. 23 at the Marriot Hotel in Mission Valley (6 p.m.). Tickets and tables are going like hot cakes and the entire community is invited. It’s always an Oscar Awards and Red Carpet-like event with outstanding entertainment. Producer Allan Spyere is saying it’s going to be another fabulous fun night and Mayor Kevin Faulconer will be honored as the national co-chair of Mayors for Marriage Equality. For further info: 619-300-1232 or 619-254-6372.

LGBT Weekly <![CDATA[54: The Director’s Cut]]> 2015-08-20T21:04:51Z 2015-08-20T18:00:33Z

Breckin Meyer and Ryan Phillippe in 54

dvd of the week

Mark Christopher’s 54 was an infamous bomb in 1998. Miramax had hired the young gay director to craft an ensemble piece about the fabulous and scandalous 1970s New York disco Studio 54. But when they saw his very gay film, they balked, forcing him to cut the homosexual sex and trim Mike Myer’s balls-out portrayal of owner Steve Rubell and ramp up the terrible heterosexual love story about Ryan Philippe’s Shane the bartender and Neve Campbell’s Julie the soap star. Nearly two decades later, the original cut of the film has made its way out of the underground and onto iTunes and Amazon. 54: The Director’s Cut still focuses on gorgeous and ambitious Jersey boy Shane, but it’s more about his friendship with two other lowly 54 employees, Greg (Breckin Meyer) and Anita (Salma Hayek), and their various struggles to succeed in a world of sex, drugs, money and disco.