The Transgender Lobby Day will be held in Washington, D.C. on June 8. Training is from 6-7:30 p.m. and the opening session follows. The next day participants will gather for breakfast at 8 a.m., followed by training sessions from 8 a.m.-12 p.m. Afterward, activists will engage in congressional meetings from 12-5:30 p.m. At 5:30 p.m., a rally for transgender equality will take place. Community housing and carpooling opportunities may also be available for those who need assistance. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and tips for building a state delegation. The lobby day is being held during the city’s Pride weekend celebration.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new preliminary viral hepatitis surveillance data showing that the number of new hepatitis C infections reported to the agency nearly tripled between 2010 and 2015, reaching a 15-year high. It estimates that about 34,000 new hepatitis C infections occurred in the U.S. in 2015.
NBC’s “Will & Grace” will return for a 12-episode run this fall. It stars Eric McCormack as Will Truman, Debra Messing as Grace Adler, Megan Mullally as Karen Walker and Sean Hayes as Jack McFarland. Original series creators Max Mutchnick and David Kohan will serve as writers, showrunners and executive producers. Director James Burrows, who helmed every episode of the show during its initial eight-year run, will direct and executive produce.
GLAD Legal Advocates & Defenders will hold its 36th Annual Summer Party on July 29 at the Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum. Jeanne Leszczynski and Diane DiCarlo will be honored for their dedication and work on behalf of LGBTQ justice. A silent auction will take place, along with a live auction with celebrity auctioneer Kate Clinton. Complimentary cocktails and light summer fare will be served.
Queerty reported that a Catholic schoolboy turned in a 127-page “Gay Marriage is Fabulous” paper instead of the assigned defense of church morals.
GLAAD announced its participation in the 2017 Concert for Love and Acceptance on June 8 at the Wildhorse Saloon in Nashville, Tenn. The show champions LGBTQ rights and will benefit at-risk youth. Ty Herndon and CMT’s Cody Alan will host, and the event will feature Billy Gillman, Dana Goldberg, Kree Harrison, Lorrie Morgan, Michael Ray, Mickey Guyton, Runaway June, Ryan Kinder, Street Corner Symphony, Thompson Square and Trent Harmon. The inaugural Concert for Love and Acceptance was held in 2015 to kick off GLAAD’s Southern Stories Tour with a lineup that included Billy Gilman, Chris Carmack, Crystal Gayle, Levi Hummon and Meghan Linsey. Information and ticket purchase is available online.
Equality Florida announced the launch of the #HonorThemWithAction Campaign, a nationwide commemoration of the Pulse massacre that calls on individuals and organizations to honor those killed by taking action to uproot the hatred that feeds bullying, harassment, discrimination, and violence.
The Georgia Voice reported that the state’s governor signed a law that grants AIDS patients access to medical marijuana.
The Human Rights Campaign has named advocates to lead positions. Equality North Carolina’s Executive Director Chris Sgro was hired as communications director (see the expanded store at goqnotes.com/50608/); Alejandro Avilés, a former senior adviser at the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development, as the director of outreach and engagement; and Ashland Johnson, former director of policy and campaigns at Athlete Ally, as director of public education and research.
“Marlene Dietrich: Dressed for the Image,” the first major exhibition on the star in the U.S., will open at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery on June 16 and run through April 15, 2018. The exhibition showcases the life and influence of the actress in more than 45 objects, including correspondence, film clips and photographs. Among the images are many of Dietrich at various points in her life taken by notable photographers including Irving Penn. Dietrich received many honors including the Medal of Freedom for her service entertaining American troops for 18 months during World War II, often near the front lines. The German-born star, who became an American citizen in 1938, has remained a symbol of anti-Nazism, a fashion icon and an influential figure of the LGBTQ community.
The Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession has released its 2017 “Review on the State of Diversity and Inclusion in the Legal Profession.”
A new petition campaign urging Starbucks to stop excluding LGBTQ parents and adoptive parents from their parental leave program has been launched by transgender employee Niko Walker in Los Angeles, Calif. Starbucks’ parental leave policy gives no paid leave to fathers and adoptive parents who work in the stores, which excludes many LGBTQ employees who want to start families. Walker’s campaign asks Starbucks to include LGBTQ and adoptive parents in their paid parental leave program.
The Tel Aviv International LGBT Film Festival will be held from June 1-10 with screenings from prominent and award-winning films from world festivals such as Sundance, Berlin, Tribeca, SWSX, Toronto and more. Also “RuPaul’s Drag Race” reality stars Sharon Needles and Jinkx Monsoon will be in attendance, as well as international queens Peaches Christ, Sherry Vine and Gloria Viagra.
The Trevor Project announced that Grammy Award-winning rock band Imagine Dragons and Broadway star Shoshana Bean will perform at the TrevorLIVE New York fundraising gala on June 19 at the Marriott Marquis Times Square. Lead singer of Imagine Dragons, Dan Reynolds, will be awarded with the Trevor Hero Award. Interim Executive Director Steve Mendelsohn said, “With President Trump signing the religious liberty executive order last week, and anti-LGBTQ legislation being considered at the state level across the country, we need to reassure LGBTQ youth that they are not alone. There’s an army of allies standing with you, and they include Imagine Dragons band members and Shoshana Bean. We are grateful for advocates like them who are using their platform to counter and spread love.”
The 519 is partnering with Canada Post for an event that will highlight the struggles for marriage equality in Canada and celebrate the moment in the country’s history. In this event, as part of the Canada 150 celebrations, Canada Post is releasing a new stamp on June 1 to commemorate marriage equality in Canada. The stamp depicts a section of a rainbow flag. In other news, Counterpoint Community Orchestra announced its third concert of the 2016/17 Season, “Love & Light: Celebrating Canada 150 with Pride” will be held on June 10. This concert will showcase the dynamics that have sustained the world’s first LGBTQ orchestra for over 30 years. Two pieces will be premiered, one focused on social action and one dedicated to the Pulse nightclub victims.
info: The519.org. canadapost.ca. ccorchestra.org.
The soundtrack to season one of the Wachowski-produced hit Netflix series “Sense8” has been released via WaterTower Music. The album features music from Sigur Rós, 4 Non Blondes, The Antlers and Seven Lions in addition to the evocative compositional work of Golden Globe nominees Johnny Klimek and Tom Tykwer. “Sense8” won the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Drama Series.
Organizing for Action (OAF) is conducting its free six-week summer fellowship program aimed at preparing the next generation of progressive leaders. The program gives organizers of all experience levels the tools and training they need to successfully run events that bring communities together around issues like gun violence prevention, climate change, and immigration. Fellow applications are available online and are due by June 5. Webinars will run from June 28-Aug. 2. Fellows will learn from OFA staff and trainers through weekly online trainings, diving into the theory of change behind community organizing, and working side-by-side with experienced community organizers in their area.
Hornet announced the launch of the “Know Your Rights” campaign, an effort to educate gay men of their rights as brutal violence against the LGBTQ community is on the rise worldwide. Hornet worked closely with the United Nations’ “Free & Equal” campaign, a public education campaign created to protect human rights globally, to provide its 18 million-plus users the resources to stay safe while traveling abroad.
OutServe-SLDN has announced the doubling of its board of directors with the addition of seven new members. The new board includes: Shaina Barnes, Baltimore, Md.; Sharon Bracket, Laurel, Md.; Ben Finzel, Washington, D.C.; Bryan Hlavinka, Houston, Texas; John Klenert, Washington, D.C.; Lee Reinhart, Manitou Springs, Colo.; and Mica Willis, Washington, D.C. The additions better reflect both geographic and gender diversity and will help to expand the ability of OutServe-SLDN to engage across the nation on the vital issues facing the LGBTQ military community under this administration. The organization has also shared the dates for its 6th Annual LGBT Military Community Conference to be held from Oct. 19-21 in Washington, D.C. It brings together active-duty service members and veterans, advocates, government officials, community organizations, businesses and experts for a three-day discussion on issues, concerns and future planning for the LGBTQ military community. Attendees will experience three days of training, skills building, networking and discussion of key issues facing LGBTQ service members, veterans and their families. Registration is available online.
info: outserve-sldn.org. lgbtmilitary.org.
The City of Tel Aviv-Yafo has announce that the theme of the 2017 LGBT Pride Parade is “Bisexuality Visibility.” The parade will be the first large-scale Pride parade in the world to ever celebrate the theme bisexuality, organizers said. Celebrations begin on June 3 and continue through June 9 and expect to draw around 200,000.
On May 5 the Aqua Foundation for Women presented its 2017 Ally Award to Lamell McMorris, CEO of Perennial Strategy Group and Perennial Sports, and founding principal of Greenlining Realty USA, for his support of Aqua and its causes. The awards are held each year in recognition of those who stand with Aqua to fight for the advancement of equality for the LGBTQ community. In addition to McMorris, the Foundation recognized the Rev. Willie Allen-Faiella of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Coconut Grove, Fla. for her support and advocacy on behalf of the LGBTQ community.
“Bayard & Me” was released on May 15 on Super Deluxe’s social channel and is a short documentary about civil rights leader Bayard Rustin who adopted his partner to legalize their relationship in the era before same-sex marriage. A trailer is available for viewing at superdeluxe.com/BayardAndMe.
The ability to protest for LGBTQ rights for Russia’s population is forbidden there, but now can be done through social media options. Ssex Bbox, a social justice project that seeks to support diverse perspectives about sexuality and gender, was able to find a solution with the help of Instagram. Participants can “check in at the Kremlin” and break the silence on human rights abuse by posting a photo of a kiss on Instagram, tag “Moscow Kremlin” as one’s location and use the hashtag #kiss4LGBTQrights. This initiative is more than a campaign, it is a new form of LGBTQ activism.
Transgender whistleblower Chelsea Manning was released from U.S. military prison after serving a seven-year sentence for disclosing classified information that raised public awareness regarding the impact of war on innocent civilians. In her statement prior to her release, she said, “For the first time, I can see a future for myself as Chelsea. I can imagine surviving and living as the person who I am and can finally be in the outside world. Freedom used to be something that I dreamed of but never allowed myself to fully imagine. Now, freedom is something that I will again experience with friends and loved ones after nearly seven years of bars and cement, of periods of solitary confinement, and of my health care and autonomy restricted, including through routinely forced haircuts. I am forever grateful to the people who kept me alive, President Obama, my legal team, and countless supporters. I watched the world change from inside prison walls and through the letters that I have received from veterans, trans young people, parents, politicians, and artists. My spirits were lifted in dark times, reading of their support, sharing in their triumphs, and helping them through challenges of their own. I hope to take the lessons that I have learned, the love that I have been given, and the hope that I have to work toward making life better for others.”
New research conducted by the Center for American Progress shows that a staggering one in four LGBT people reported experiencing discrimination in 2016 and that many frequently make significant changes to their everyday lives to avoid that discrimination. The data from a nationally representative survey were released in conjunction with the reintroduction of the Equality Act, landmark legislation that provides clear, vital and overdue protections from discrimination for LGBT people, the organization said.
Cynthia Germanotta, president of Born This Way Foundation which she cofounded with her daughter Lady Gaga, will be honored with the Champion Award presented by the University of Miami Health System during World OutGames Miami’s Opening Ceremonies on May 27.
QSyndicate reported that fourth-grade teacher Joe Dombrowski, a viral spelling bee sensation, was a guest on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and was presented with a $10,000 check made payable to his Oakland Elementary School and one for him for $10,000. The 28-year-old out educator was pranked by his students on April Fool’s day when they made up words to spell and also included a “RuPaul’s Drag Race” name. The incident was recorded and posted to social media and went viral which caught Ellen DeGeneres’ attention.
The Connecticut legislative body passed An Act Concerning the Protection of Youth From Conversion Therapy with overwhelming bipartisan support and was signed by Gov. Dannel Malloy.
Veteran AIDS journalist, lesbian activist and Haitian rights advocate Anne-Christine d’Adesky revisted the tumultuous 1990s AIDS era in her hybrid memoir, “The Pox Lover.” Having lived several lives, her new book gave the author the opportunity to take measure of what she learned from the chaotic, tragic, challenging and inspiring experiences along the way. The author predicted the rise of populism and extreme nationalism which is now sweeping the globe. Her book tour which launches on June 13 features activist conversations and digital exhibits.
info: thepoxlover.com. uwpress.wisc.edu.
The National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce welcomed the National Basketball Association to its list of nearly 200 top corporations and government agencies seeking certified LGBT Business Enterprises into their supply chains alongside other diverse communities. This kind of inclusion not only expands the ongoing efforts to welcome the LGBTQ community into the professional sports world, but also opens potentially billions of dollars in business opportunities that enable LGBTQ business owners to create jobs and continue fueling the American economy, the chamber said.
Logo Documentary Films won its second consecutive Daytime Emmy Award with “Out of Iraq,” an LGBTQ love story following an Iraqi translator, Nayyef, for the U.S. military and a soldier, Btoo, in the Iraqi army. The film, which won the “Best Special Class Special” category, was produced by World of Wonder. Earlier this year, Nayyef and Btoo shared their inspiring journey on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” Recently they joined LGBTQ activists and influencers at the Human Rights Campaign, National Education Associated, as well as American Counseling Association’s annual “Time to THRIVE” conference in Washington D.C. The conference’s goal was to address the safety, inclusion and well-being for LGBTQ and questioning youth.
Butch Voices will be held in Oakland, Calif. for its national conference from Aug. 17-20. The grassroots organization’s conference theme is “Reconnect. Recharge. Resist” and will bring together hundreds of people from all across the U.S. and Canada, as well as Australia. The organization works to “build community and call attention to issues facing butch and masculine-of-center individuals and how they can also step up to support each other, allies and further marginalized individuals.”
The “Smoke-Free Policies Help Decrease Smoking Rates for LGBT Population” study reports that cigarette smoking among LGBTQ individuals is higher than among straight adults with nearly 24 percent of the LGBTQ population smoking compared to nearly 17 percent of the straight population. Researchers have found evidence of lower smoking prevalence and greater intentions to quit among LGBTQ smokers who live in communities with smoke-free policies.
GLAAD presented its media awards on May 7 and included individuals and others such as actress Debra Messing, musician Billy Porter. Awards categories spanned across talk shows, reality programs, documentaries, journalism, newspapers, magazines, digital media, recording artists, blogs, Spanish media, films, television and comic books. The Charlotte Observer won Outstanding Newspaper Article for “Permission to Hate” by Elizabeth Leland.
The Black AIDS Institute reported that health risks grow as youth born with HIV age.
The Village Voice announced the launch of “The Village Voice Pride Awards,” which recognizes local and global heroes in the LGBTQ movement. It will take place on June 21. The newspaper will serve as the official media sponsor for NYC Pride Week 2017.
The members of the Western Jurisdiction College of Bishops of The United Methodist Church presented a pastoral message to the church during the meeting of the denomination’s Council of Bishops in Dallas, Texas on May 4, Reconciling United Methodists North Carolina reported. “The message is the bishops’ response to United Methodist Judicial Council Decision 1341. The decision regarded the South Central Jurisdictional Conference’s questioning of the process surrounding the election of Bishop Karen Oliveto, the denomination’s first openly lesbian bishop. That decision was released on April 28 in Newark, N.J.,” they shared. Among statements in the message were: “We celebrate the good news that Bishop Oliveto is continuing to lead the Mountain Sky Area of The United Methodist Church. While Judicial Council Decision 1341 left her election in place, there is additional work that must be done. … We, the Bishops of the Western Jurisdiction, speak from the reality of our social location. Our area is a place of great diversity of races, cultures, languages, ethnicities, sexual orientations and gender identities. … We dream of a United Methodist Church that is multicultural and inclusive, engaged in the life of its communities, with confident, effective lay and clergy leadership who, in diverse ministry settings, form disciples who live out the Good News of Jesus as global citizens. … Despite being hurt and excluded by the institutional church many have returned to faith in Jesus Christ in United Methodist churches in the West. In many cases, the families who love them and the friends who walk with them have also come to be part of United Methodist congregations. … We … witness daily the gifts and reflections of God’s grace in LGBTQ persons who faithfully serve among us as lay leaders, pastors, district superintendents, and now, as a bishop. … We shall continue to pray for the work of the Commission on a Way Forward, as they lead us into a new vision for our life together as The United Methodist Church. Our church.”
info: rum-nc.org. umc.org.
“The Keepers,” a seven-part true crime docuseries on Netflix which brings light and justice to the 50-year-old unsolved murder of Sister Cathy Cesnik in Baltimore, Md. is now available for viewing. It begins on May 19. It is directed by Ryan White whose “The Case Against 8” took a look at California’s marriage equality ban.
Macon, Ga.’s commission has passed an LGBTQ civil rights ordinance, The Georgia Voice reported.
The Celebration of Courage, an exclusive LGBTQ gala held at the United Nations on May 10 honored three recipients: Felipa De Souza Awardee, Caleb Orozco (the man who brought down the sodomy law in Belize); OutSpoken Award, Logo TV; and OutStanding Awards, Blanche Wiesen Cook (biographer on the life of Eleanor Roosevelt). Special guest was Tracy Norman who lost her modeling career when it was found that she was transgender. She revived her career in her 60s.
On May 4 the Lambda Archives presented a panel discussion featuring Imperial Court members, of one of the oldest and largest LGBTQ institutions in San Diego, Calif.
The Supreme Court of the United States announced that it will not hear Welch v. Brown, a case challenging California’s ban on so-called “conversion therapy” on the grounds that it violates constitutional religious freedom protections.
In the wake of a game-changing election, Groundswell Fund, a funder of the U.S. Reproductive Justice movement, announced on May 4 the launch of a new national “Liberation Fund” to support the strongest grassroots organizing efforts led by women of color and transgender people of color across social justice sectors. Grant awardees for the summer of 2017 include: Ai-Jen Poo, National Domestic Workers Alliance; Alicia Garza, National Domestic Workers Alliance & Black Lives Matter; Angelica Salas, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights; Bamby Salcedo, The TransLatin@ Coalition; Charlene Sinclair, Center for Community Change; Cindy Wiesner, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance; Chrissie Castro, Native Voice Network; Denise Perry, Black Organizing for Leadership and Dignity; Elle Hearns, Marsha P. Johnson Institute; Isa Noyola, Transgender Law Center; Linda Sarsour, Mpower Change; Mary Hooks, Southerners On New Ground; Miya Yoshitani, Asian Pacific Environmental Network; Sarita Gupta, Jobs With Justice; and Saru Jayaraman, Restaurant Opportunity Center United.
Jocelyn Samuels has been selected as the next executive director of the Williams Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Transgender rights activist, recording artist and author Rizi Timane announced the call for applications for the 4th Annual Rizi Timane Transgender Surgery Scholarship. The scholarship underwrites surgery for those in need who lack the financial resources to undergo gender reassignment operations.
Harrington Park Press has released “LGBTQ-Inclusive Hospice & Palliative Care” by Dr. Kimberly Acquaviva.
The LGBT Meeting Professionals Association announced its first Professional Workshops + Networking event held in conjunction with the Community Marketing & Insights’ 18th Conference on LGBT Tourism & Hospitality on Nov. 2. The program features the first set of workshops specifically designed for the LGBTQ meeting professional.
Cell Host & Microbe published a groundbreaking study from Gladstone Institutes, revealing that scientists have uncovered a possible strategy to shock and kill the HIV virus that hides in infected individuals. Overcoming the existence of these latent virus reservoirs remains the primary and most significant obstacle to a cure for HIV, as these reservoirs are where HIV can hide out even if a patient has undetectable levels of virus in their blood. Study findings provide the basis for a new model of HIV latency and repression of the latent virus and underscore emerging ties between cancer and HIV treatment. The Gladstone Institutes study was partially funded by amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research’s Institute for HIV Cure Research, a research initiative aimed at finding a broadly applicable cure for HIV by 2020.
info: gladstone.org. amfar.org.