A gay man, Mark Seaman, won a ruling on a 2009 incident in which the couple were thrown out of a taxi when Seaman kissed his partner on top of the head as they drove away from the Philadelphia International Airport. The Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations ruled that the taxi driver had violated the city’s non-discrimination law and that the company was ordered to pay Seaman $500, LGBTQ Nation reported.
The latest compilation of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, “Broadway’s Carols for a Cure,” has been released. This marks the 19th in the annual series. Casts from “Aladdin,” “Anastasia,” “Avenue Q,” “Beautiful,” “A Bronx Tale,” “Cats,” “Charlie & the Chocolate Factory,” “Chicago,” “Come from Away,” “Dear Evan Hansen,” “Groundhog Day,” “Hamilton,” “Jersey Boys,” “Kinky Boots,” “The Lion King,” “Phantom of the Opera,” “ School of Rock,” “ Waitress,” “ War Paint” and “Wicked” leant their talents to the album.
The Truth Awards, which recognizes African-American LGBTQ individuals, will honor NBA referee Violet Palmer with the Lifetime Achievement Award. She is the first female to officiate the game, as well as being the first openly gay referee in NBA history. Others to receive honors along with Palmer include: Emmy Award-winning director/producer Anthony Hemingway (“Underground” and “American Crime Story”), Culture and Arts Award; journalist Tre’Vell Anderson of the Los Angeles Times, Passing the Torch Award; the “Eyebrow King,” celebrity makeup artist Damone Roberts, owner of the Damone Roberts Beverly Hills and Damone Roberts New York, Business Leadership Award; and entertainment publicist Ellene Miles, EV Miles Media Group, Media Arts Award.
Vizin, a Los Angeles-based Native American drag queen who went from 700 pounds to 200 pounds, debuted her dance/pop single, “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real),” which outranked Taylor Swift on the Billboard Dance Club Songs Chart. It is an re-imagined version of the original dance tune by Sylvester. The performer charted independently without first appearing on “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and joins drag legends Divine and Lady Bunny with the same distinction.
California Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León announced on Dec. 7 that Sen. Toni Atkins was the consensus pick of the Senate Democratic Caucus to succeed him as leader. Atkins will be both the first LGBTQ individual and the first female senate president. The formal vote will be held in early January and the transition will be take place later in the year.
“Golden Girls” star Bea Arthur has been memorialized with an LGBTQ homeless youth shelter named for her. The Bea Arthur Residence, located in New York, will welcome its first clients soon, The Huffington Post reported. The project is associated with the Ali Forney Center. The residence opened its doors for a holiday event on Nov. 30. The city’s Mayor Bill de Blasio declared the day “Bea Arthur Day” in her memory and applauded the efforts.
info: huffingtonpost.com. aliforneycenter.org.
Step Feed reported that Egyptian authorities were cracking down on the nation’s LGBTQ community, while doing so represented by an openly pro-LGBTQ public relations and lobbying firm, APCO.
The Human Rights Campaign has released its 2018 Buyer’s Guide, just in time for holiday shopping. Some Carolina companies rated included are: Bank of America, 75; Belk, 0; Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, 75; Compass Group, 90; Delhaize America, 100; Duke Energy, 100; and Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, 100.
On Nov. 27 international human rights experts released a supplement to the Yogyakarta Principles, a universal guide to human rights related to sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics which applies to all United Nations member states, The Williams Institute announced. The institute helped coordinate the launch of Yogyakarta. The original Yogyakarta Principles were drafted by human rights experts in 2006 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, in response to documented human rights abuses against LGBTQ individuals worldwide. They have been translated into 30 languages and have been cited by judges, legislators and government officials around the world as well as the U.N.
info: yogyakartaprinciples.org/principles-en. williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu.
The Gill Foundation has announced that it has selected Brad Clark to become its new president and CEO. He will transition into the position from his tenure as the foundation’s vice president of partnerships.
The 23rd annual Critics’ Choice Awards were announced and GLAAD shared that LGBTQ-inclusive film and television dominated nominations. Represented were LGBTQ actors, creators and inclusive films and television series. The winners will be announced on Jan. 11 at 8 p.m. on The CW.
info: glaad.org. criticschoice.com.
The Victory Institute released its Out for America report and interactive Out for America map to provide a comprehensive look at LGBTQ elected officials in the U.S. The report provides demographic information for the nearly 450 known LGBTQ elected officials across the nation and documents the “severe underrepresentation” of LGBTQ people in key positions of power, the organization said. Among the report’s key findings are: 448 known LGBTQ elected officials are currently serving in the U.S., just 0.1 percent of all elected officials nationwide; 21,307 more LGBTQ elected officials must be elected to achieve equitable representation; Just 20.5 percent of LGBTQ elected officials are people of color; and 1.8 percent of LGBTQ elected officials are transgender. Underrepresentation is also demonstrated on the interactive map, which allows users to search for elected officials by sexual orientation, gender identity, race/ethnicity, office level and geography.
Diversity Richmond’s Trans & GNC Care Package Program has begun and offers five different kits for feminine, masculine, menstrual, medical and postoperative care, GayRVA reported. Items include gender-specific clothing and undergarments, makeup, ice packs, bandages, toiletries, and more. The initiative was founded by Virginia Commonwealth University student Taylor Davis.
The National LGBTQ Task Force is hosting its 30th annual Creating Change Conference, “Learn. Connect. Resist.,” from Jan. 24-28 in Washington D.C.
Barbie, who has been heading toward supporting inclusion, is rocking some new threads these days touting a political stand compliments of Los Angeles-based designer and blogger Aimee Song. And she is holding the rainbow flag high in support of LGBTQ causes. Song purchased her own Barbie and recently had her dressed in a “Love Wins” T-shirt, modeled after Song’s T-shirt line, along with her friend Aimee which she posted to her Instagram account. Barbie Style showed the two decked out in blue jeans sitting on a hassock with a pet. Half the profits of the sale of the shirts at $68 each goes to The Trevor Project.
info: romper.com. songofstyle.com.
Atheist author and blogger Hemant Mehta has teamed up with activist and author Camille Beredjick to pen the collaborative “Queer Disbelief” which examines the overlap of atheism and the LGBTQ community.
Lambda Literary’s Board of Directors has announced that Executive Director Tony Valenzuela will step down in June of 2018, ending his nine-year tenure. A national search for his replacement will be launched in January.
Best known for his award-winning musical comedy, “Spork,” J.B. Ghuman, Jr. has released his latest original art installation, a 30-minute film that took nearly five years to create, “kEEp scrEEming.” Drawing inspiration from Disney’s “The Little Mermaid,” the film features appearances by Scissor Sisters’ Jake Shears, “RuPaul’s Drag Race”’s Tammie Brown, adult film star Colton Ford, as well as Ghuman. The film is not intended to teach or lecture, but rather to “activate minds and hearts.”
Coming out and its impact on the sports industry was a career-defining moment, said Jason Collins, retired NBA player and the first openly gay man to play in the NBA, at an AARP event hosted in collaboration with SAGE and the City of Philadelphia’s Office of LGBT Affairs in late November.
Many today are pushing the meme that there are growing numbers of people who have experienced gender reassignment surgery and now want to reverse that surgery. Labeled “buyers remorse,” the story is told where “numerous” transitioned transgender people want their natal genitals back. But transgender surgeon and field pioneer Dr. Sherman Leis has shared that he is skeptical of those stories because he has seen so few requests for reversal surgery over decades as a specialist to the transgender community.
The Victory Institute has announced that its internship and fellowship programs are now accepting applications. Deadlines are: congressional internship, Feb. 17, 2018; congressional fellowship, March 9, 2018; empowerment fellowship, March 2; and Bohnett Leaders fellowship, March 31. Those who are accepted will work in the U.S. Capitol, attend a four-day candidate and campaign training or take advanced leadership training sessions at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
The Gay Christian Network will hold their WomenConnect Retreat on Jan. 18, 2018 in Denver, Colo. Rev. Dr. Karen Oliveto, the first openly lesbian bishop in the United Methodist Church, will be one of the featured speakers. Price is $39 which includes dinner.
GLSEN released their recent Respect Report that included articles by two members of the GLSEN National Student Council. One was entitled “Why Every Child Should Read Books About Diverse Cultures” and the other was “Advice on Making Trans-Inclusive Schools, from My Queer School Counselor.”
In early December, National Public Radio, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Harvard University released a joint study finding that about one in six LGBTQ people reported being personally discriminated against when visiting a doctor, and nearly one in five said they had even avoided seeking medical care for fear of discrimination. To that end, GLMA’s national Provider Directory assists in connecting LGBTQ patients with healthcare providers who are able and interested in serving the specific health needs of LGBTQ individuals, said Scott Nass, MD, GLMA president-elect. He leads the organization’s directory task force so that the free resource is improved and expanded. They are currently seeking contributions to further this initiative.
NGLCC Co-Founders Justin Nelson and Chance Mitchell published an op-ed in The Advocate highlighting what was at stake for the LGBTQ community and the economy in this case. “We are all red-blooded, tax-paying Americans who each deserve equal treatment under the law, and equal access to every publicly accessible business and service.”
Metropolitan Community Church has released videos of its August 2017 People of African Descent Conference held in St. Louis, Mo. Topics range from “Positioning Our Black Experience in Love” to “Challenging What Is: Engaging the Dynamics of Whiteness in MCC.” Former Durham, N.C. St. John’s MCC Rev. Brendan Boone was also featured with his evening worship presentation, “Grounded in Love: Conquering the Path of Greatest Resistance.”
GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) praised the comprehensive policy on fair treatment of transgender and gender expansive students adopted by the Portland School Committee by unanimous vote. In other news, Vermont’s Supreme Court ruled in favor of Sarah Sinnott whose former partner sought to block her relationship with the daughter they jointly brought into their family through adoption.
Pluralsight, an enterprise technology learning platform, announced that its philanthropic entity Pluralsight One hosted Utah’s first-ever Hour of Code workshop for LGBTQ youth at Encircle’s IGNITE summit Dec. 2.
info: pluralsight.com. encircletogether.org/ignite.
On Nov. 28 Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivered a formal apology in the House of Commons to individuals harmed by federal legislation, policies and practices that led to the oppression of and discrimination against LGBTQ individuals in Canada. Following the official apology by Trudeau for the state-sponsored, systemic oppression and rejection of LGBTQ citizens, McKiggan Hebert lawyers announced that an Agreement in Principle was reached between counsel for the class members and the Department of Justice to settle the LGBTQ Purge class action lawsuit. Koskie Minsky LLP also served as co-counsel in this class action with Cambridge LLP, IMK LLP, and McKiggan Hebert LLP. The “LGBT Purge” refers to the Canadian government’s systematic campaign between the 1950s and the 1990s to identify and purge lesbians, gay men and those suspected of being gay from the Canadian Armed Forces and the Department of National Defense.
info: pm.gc.ca. mckigganhebert.com.
Los Angeles, Calif.’s Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, one of only two academic medical centers in the Western U.S. that offers gender-affirming genital surgery, has a new interdisciplinary, research-based Transgender Surgery and Health Program.
Virginia’s House of Delegates Republicans want to do away with being addressed as “gentleman” or “gentlelady.” House Majority Leader M. Kirkland Cox said if Republicans retain control of the General Assembly in 2018, that all House members will now be referred to by the gender-neutral term “delegate,” GayRVA reported.
An exhibit memorializing playwright Tennessee Williams, who called Key West, Fla. home from the late 1940s until his death in 1983, has expanded to become the Tennessee Williams Museum under new dual leadership.
info: kwahs.org. fla-keys.com/keywest.
TD Bank announced it will assist in financing Cherry Hill, N.J. Project HOME’s development of an affordable housing, LGBTQ-friendly residence for formerly homeless young adults. Project HOME is a non-profit organization empowering individuals to break the cycle of poverty and homelessness through affordable housing, employment, health care and education. The young adult residence will be the first of its kind in Pennsylvania, and among the first in the nation.
New blood donation rules for gay and bisexual men have come into effect in Scotland, Wales and England, meaning more gay and bisexual men will be eligible to give blood.