Shepard plaque fundraising effort underway
Monies are being raised to fund a memorial bronze plaque adjacent to the Washington National Cathedral crypt where the cremains of Matthew Shepard were laid to rest on Oct. 26. The campaign goal is $30,000 and will serve as a welcome to visitors in perpetuity. Funds received, above costs, will be appropriately dedicated to the Cathedral’s mission of social justice for all people, as well as to the work of the Matthew Shepard Foundation.
‘Family’ photo book
Noted gay photographer Tom Atwood has created a new photo book entitled “Kings & Queens in Their Castles” which features LGBTQ community members including 60 celebrities and influencers, Upworthy reported. Some included are: CNN host Don Lemon, Rep. Barney Frank, cartoonist Alison Bechdel and Holly Taylor, Alan Cumming and others. Also represented is Raleigh, N.C.’s barista Rhea Reeves shown in her kitchen popping open a drink.
Drama film release
“I Miss You When I See You” will be released on Video on Demand on Dec. 11 and on DVD on Dec. 18. The LGBTQ drama is an intimate examination of what it means to be gay in Hong Kong. It is directed by Simon Chung.
Wilmington leader dies
Community activist Ryan Lee Burris, 37, died unexpectedly on Nov. 18 in Wilmington, N.C. He served in various organizations, including Cape Fear Equality and the Human Rights Campaign, the StarNews Online reported. He was also active politically with the Wilmington Stonewall Democrats and the Congressional District 7 LGBT Democrats, WECT reported. The community expressed their sorrow over the loss on Facebook and shared that he was tremendously respected and would be forever missed.
info: bit.ly/2QTs2N2. bit.ly/2r5OwPn.
Imani Metropolitan Community Church will hold its community garden dedication on Dec. 2 during the morning worship service. Additionally, the church will present its Christmas play, “O Come Let Us Adore Him,” on Dec. 23, 10 a.m. Winter Wonderland refreshments follow.
Macy’s parade makes history
The annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade marked a once-in-a-lifetime moment when it televised the first same-sex kiss ever shown live in the parade’s history. The event occurred between “The Prom” lead actresses Caitlin Kinnunen and Isabelle McCalla during a performance of the Broadway musical.
WAF to open new office
We Are Family (WAF) Interim Director Nijeeah Richardson announced that the organization will open a new location in January in order to focus on the core mission of working with and on behalf of LGBTQ youth. Its Closet Case Thrift store has closed for now and WA will announce the official address and the date of its grand re-opening at a special fundraiser at NICO Oyster + Seafood, 201 Coleman Blvd., in Mt Pleasant, on Dec. 5, 6 p.m.
Rainbow Wave covers U.S.
The LGBTQ Victory Fund released a demographic and informational breakdown of the 432 openly LGBTQ candidates on the ballot this past Election Day — looking at sexual orientation, gender identity, race/ethnicity, office level, party affiliation and the equality levels of the states they ran in. Of those, 244 won, including 162 Victory Fund endorsed candidates.
LGBTQ smoking rates high
The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention has reported that of the three percent of the population made up of people who are gay, lesbian or bisexual, about 1 in 5 of those individuals smoke cigarettes. In November, the November, Cancer Treatment Centers of America partnered with the American Lung Association to educate people that the number one cancer killer is “Not What You Think.” The average five-year survival for lung cancer is among the lowest of all types of cancer and is the leading cancer killer, killing more people than colon, breast and prostate cancers.
Council launches new family tools
The Family Equality Council has developed two new LGBTQ family formation tools with sponsorship by Johnson’s. They are: a chat tool that will serve individuals who seek to learn more about resources to build and support their families; and a toolkit which will enable the council toserve additional communities nationwide by empowering individuals and community groups to host their own Family Formation Panels.
RuPaul hosts holiday special
“RuPaul’s Drag Race” will air a one-hour holiday-themed episode, “RuPaul’s Drag Race Holi-slay Spectacular,” on Dec. 7 at 8 p.m. on VH-1. It will bring back franchise favorites including Eureka O’Hara, Jasmine Masters, Kim Chi, Latrice Royale, Mayhem Miller, Shangela, Sonique and Trixie Mattel as they compete for the title of America’s first “Drag Race Xmas Queen.” The queens will be dancing and lip-syncing to original holiday music from two RuPaul holiday albums. Michelle Visage, Ross Mathews and Todrick Hall will join RuPaul on the judging panel to help crown America’s first “Drag Race Christmas Queen.”
Scholar’s research targets communities
Rutgers scholar Henry Raymond, an expert in HIV/LGBTQ populations, is researching HIV prevalence and behaviors among hard to reach LGBTQ communities in order to monitor the epidemic and provide data to design appropriate education and intervention strategies in HIV prevention.
OUT at the Movies will screen “Evening Shadows” on Dec. 11, 6 p.m., at a/perture cinema, 311 W. 4th St., in Winston-Salem, N.C. The film recants the life of producer Mohammed Shaik Hussain Ali as a gay man in India. Both he and actor Mona Ambegaonkar will be in attendance and will engage in a Q&A after the showing. A reception will follow at Canteen Market & Bistro, 411 W. Fourth St. The film was given an honorable mention for Best Narrative and recognized Ambegaonkar as the Best Performer in a Supporting Role. Awards will be presented to the producer and actor on Dec. 11. Tickets are $10 and include the Q&A and reception and are available online from the theatre or through Square via phone at 336-918-0902.
info: outathemovieswinston.org. aperturecinema.com.
Clemson community making strides, awaits center
The Anderson Independent Mail reported that the climate at Clemson University has become more inclusive of the LGBTQ community. However, there is a need by LGBTQ students there for a resource center, a goal for the university’s Sexuality & Gender Alliance. The organization is lead by Abbi Flagg, vice president, and Truett House, president. Even though a task force that was formed in 2014 and recommended creating “an institutionally funded LGBTQ resource center or office on campus,” that has not yet come to fruition, the Independent Mail added. A search is on to locate a suitable location for a center and all approvals have been given by the school, despite continued conversations among student affairs, Chief Inclusion and Equity Officer Lee Gill’s office and the provost’s office.
Statement released on Vatican’s Synod of Youth report
Francis DeBarnardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry, issued a statement in response to the Vatican’s Synod on Youth final report. He said, “The Vatican’s synod on youth has issued a final report that calls for ‘a deeper anthropological, theological and pastoral elaboration’ of sexuality and affectivity is an important step forward for the Catholic Church in regard to LGBT issues. The statement acknowledges that the church still has a lot to learn about sexuality. If the study of these topics is done with open minds and hearts, there is potential for great transformation in the church. The call for more parishes to provide accompaniment to lesbian and gay people is also a positive. … The document also contains a strong condemnation of discrimination and violence against lesbian and gay people — an important message to bishops who have sometimes implicitly and explicitly supported LGBT criminalization laws with severe punishments. Catholic support for these laws must end.” The full statement is available online.
Male elected homecoming queen
Dylan Ligier was elected as the first transgender homecoming queen at Morris Jeff Community School in New Orleans, La. The 14-year-old freshman had dreamed of being a girl throughout most of their life and was elated when announced as the queen, according to The Huffington Post and WWL-TV. Ligier thought it was “cool” to receive the honor and Ligier’s father was proud of the accomplishment. The school’s administration said that it was “proud the school is a safe place for students to express themselves.” A GoFundMe page has been set up to help defray the cost of fees, dress, shoes and make-up and hair at gofundme.com/dylanhomecoming. Ligier’s father has full custody and is a single, disabled veteran who is studying to be a physician’s assistant at the University of New Orleans. At press time, $1,692 had been raised against a $850 goal.
info: bit.ly/2zo98XB. bit.ly/2BwSir3.
Marra named new ED
The Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund Board of Directors announced the appointment of Andrea “Andy” Hong Marra as its new executive director. Marra is a nationally recognized social justice advocate with a strong track record of service to the LGBTQ movement. Marra succeeds Dolph Ward Goldenburg who has served as interim executive director since February.
Documentarian chronicles ‘Boy Erased’
Filmmaker Caleb Holland was tapped by Focus Features as the behind-the-scenes documentarian of the motion picture “Boy Erased.” He produced and captured daily behind-the-scenes content including interviews with the cast and crew. Holland is a South Carolina native and graduate of The Savannah College of Art and Design. The film follows the story of the son of a Baptist preacher who is forced to participate in a church-supported gay conversion therapy program after being forcibly outed to his parents. Holland’s own personal experience was something he could relate to as he was outed to his parents as a freshman in college and was ultimately disowned.
Neighborhood safety ratings released
GeoSure, a provider of real-time, hyper-local safety information for travelers, launched the first-ever neighborhood-level LGBTQ safety ratings category on its smartphone app. For the first time LGBTQ travelers will have unlimited access to real-time safety ratings on more than 35,000 neighborhoods worldwide.
RespectAbility hiring spring cohorts
The national leadership program, RespectAbility, is seeking to hire the next generation of leaders to be its fellows. The non-profit organization fights stigmas and advances opportunities for diverse people with disabilities. The program for young leaders is for those who want to go into public policy, advocacy, communications or Hollywood, and who are committed to creating a better future. Twelve to 15 participants be selected to serve from Jan. 14-May 17, 2019. There are opportunities for both paid and stipend fellowships. Paid fellows make $15 an hour and RespectAbility hires eight of them each year. Stipend fellows receive a monthly transportation stipend of $300. Lunch is provided daily for all fellows. In addition, all fellows participate in special presentations by guest speakers and intensive strategic communications workshops. For more information, call Ben Spangenberg at BenS@RespectAbility.org or call 202-517-6272. Applications are available online.
info: respectability.org. bit.ly/2Kycfkj.