Super Bowl saw diversity in ad spots
Football fans who watched the annual Super Bowl this past season were treated to a plethora of new ad spots that premiered on screen and included a host of LGBTQ personalities and themes. NBC News reported that viewers saw for the first time an ad that featured drag queens Miz Cracker and Kim Chi (Sabra hummus). Another spot for Microsoft showed Katie Sowers, the first woman and openly lesbian coach in Super Bowl history. Trace Lysette and Isis King, transgender actresses, touted Turbo Tax. GLAAD shared, “For too long LGBTQ visibility in Super Bowl ads was nearly invisible, but this year will mark a breakthrough in LGBTQ representation with many prominent members of our community appearing in ads. This is a positive step forward in reflecting the diversity of the world we live in today and a sign that global brands have woken up to the fact that the American public largely expects and wants to see LGBTQ people attached to their brands.” Others showcasing products and services are: comedian Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi (Amazon Alexa) and “Queer Eye” fashionista Jonathan Van Ness (Pop-Tarts Pretzels).
Moral March includes LGBTQ activists
The 1000STRONG initiative is the hoped-for number of LGBTQ individuals who will represent the community at the upcoming 2020 Moral March on Raleigh and HKonJ People’s Assembly on Feb. 7-8 in Raleigh, N.C. The 1000STRONG Coalition has been organized by the NC NAACP’s LGBTQ Committee. The Freedom Center for Social Justice’s Ezra Fairley-Collins shared, “This is an opportunity for us to show support for our local LGBTQ+ community, and let them know that they are loved, valued, and worthy of a joyful, dignified life free from oppression and harm. All are welcome!” Registration is available for the march and assembly online for organizations and the community is encouraged to participate.
info: fcsj.org. bit.ly/2tmiYtn.
Trans flag added to emoji list
Gender inclusivity is the central theme for the 117 new emojis that have been announced by the Unicode Consortium. They will be rolled out later this year.
Imani welcomes new board members
Imani Metropolitan Community Church has shared that Renée Knight-Tate and Yvonne Ricci have been named to the board of directors. They were elected at the annual congregational meeting in late January. Wendy Gellert and Toddie Stewart are rotating off the board.
Youth org seeks sports equipment
OUTright Youth of Catawba Valley is asking the community to contribute yoga mats, foam rollers and tennis balls to be used by those who bind themselves so that they can stretch and self-massage to help alleviate chronic pain. Items can be purchased online at amzn.to/3b1No5a (mats), amzn.to/2SbNFd3 (foam rollers) and amzn.to/2SgXN4C (tennis balls). Participants at the Creating Change 2020 conference learned about this technique and brought the idea back to the youth organization.
Military mag launched
The first issue of the Modern Military Association of America’s Modern Military Magazine has been unveiled. Content focuses on LGBTQ military and veteran communities. The first issue has been dedicated to the “thousands of transgender servicemembers who boldly and selflessly serve this great nation in the face of an unconscionable military ban,” the publishers shared.
info: bit.ly/2GI2v5Y. modernmilitary.org.
Guilford competes for monetary prize
The Guilford Green Foundation and LGBTQ Center has reported that it is one of 10 local non-profits chosen to compete for up to a $20,000 grand prize from the Future Fund. One grand prize winner will be chosen by audience members at an April 21 event at the Carolina Theater. The fund is an initiative of the Greater Greensboro Community Foundation. Young donors contribute $150 annually to the endowment, and those funders distribute grants to area non-profits every year. Each non-profit will have three minutes to pitch themselves to the audience for a chance to win the grand prize. Four other $1,000 to $12,000 grants will be given away that day as well. More details will be made available when tickets go on sale on Feb. 14.
Weston named as new social platform executive director
IsMyGuy.com, a new premium member-based social platform for gay men, has announced the appointment of Kristofer Weston as its new executive director. Weston brings more than 30 years’ experience in the adult industry — both in front of and behind the camera— to his new role. He began his career as a sought-after model who launched his own distribution company before shifting gears to direct films for Falcon Studios and COLT Studio Group — becoming the latter’s marketing director for over 12 years.
Soulforce makes board appointments
Soulforce has released the names of the organization’s newest board members: CasSandra Calin of Richmond, Va., and Jelani Drew-Davi of Durham, N.C. Calin currently serves as the youth resource advocate at Side by Side, a center dedicated to creating supportive communities for Virginia’s LGBTQ+ youth, and has worked in youth healing and mental health since 2011. Drew-Davi is a digital organizer and strategist providing mentorship to new digital organizers, as well as managing campaigns and building community power both online and on the ground.
Banks withdraw scholarship support
Fifth Third Bank and Wells Fargo have withdrawn their support of a Florida scholarship program due to its lack of inclusivity for LGBTQ students at some participating Christian schools.
Park named after Stonewall icon
The Associated Press reported that a New York’s East River State Park in Brooklyn will be renamed after Marsha P. Johnson, one of the icons from the Stonewall Riots. Gov. Andrew Cuomo made the announcement during the Human Rights Campaign’s Greater New York Gala.
Atlanta sees first LGBTQ report
Atlanta’s first biennial report on the community was released during the last week of January. City officials crafted this booklet to detail the accomplishments that were found after creating the city’s first LGGBTQ Affairs program in 2018, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
Raleigh sees new bar opening
WRAL reported that a new LGBTQ bar opened in late 2019 on Fayetteville St. called Work. that sits in downtown Raleigh, N.C. It resides in the former Capital City Tavern and is located to its nearby sister establishment Ruby Deluxe on Salisbury St. Oak City Group are the owners of the two bars. Work. says that it is not simply an LGBTQ bar, but is inclusive of everyone. It joins the other well-established LGBTQ bars Legends Nightclub, Flex, View Bar & Gameroom, The Green Monkey and The Tuck.
Church group seeks solidarity signees
The United Methodist Church’s Marriage Rights ministerial initiative for solidarity with those among the LGBTQ community. Clergy are being asked to sign on in a statement of conscience as those who are willing to officiate at same-sex marriages.
info: bit.ly/2OiYJnS. rmnetwork.org.
GBO Pride to hold first parade
Alternative Resources of the Triad, the non-profit that produces Greensboro Pride, has announced the organization’s first-ever Greensboro Pride Parade, YES! Weekly reported. The parade will take place in downtown Greensboro on June 27, beginning at 6 p.m. “This parade is a long time coming for Greensboro,” ART Co-Chair Paul Marshall told YES! Weekly. “2020 is our 15th anniversary and we thought this was the perfect time to add a Pride Parade to Greensboro’s list of cultural events. We decided to hold the parade in June to celebrate Pride Month.”
info: bit.ly/2OnbRZ7. greensboropride.org.
Coalition speaks out on Taylor murder
In response to the ongoing investigation into the death of 17-year-old Ja’Quarius Taylor from New Orleans, La. as a possible hate crime, National Black Justice Coalition Executive Director David Johns and Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law Kristen Clarke released the following joint statement: “The National Black Justice Coalition and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law support calls for the FBI to aid the local investigation into the murder of Ja’Quarius Taylor given evidence suggesting that this was a potential hate crime. The dangers faced by young, black, LGBTQ+ people are disturbing and becoming increasingly violent and fatal. With the increase in reported hate crimes since … Trump took office, we are deeply concerned that there is not a full accounting of the violence that members of our community have faced. … Over the past several years, we have seen one too many young, black, LGBTQ+ people violently murdered, beaten, bullied, and even harassed to the point of suicide. We cannot grow numb to this reality or ignore what is continuing to happen. Members of the black community are dying because of crimes inspired by hate and vitriol. … Out of fear of more retribution and abuse, many black LGBTQ+ people do not report these crimes to law enforcement. Furthermore, our nation does not have data on intersectionality, so we should imagine the incidents of hate crimes against black LGBTQ+ people are worse than reported. These startling statistics, and the black people they represent, should inspire each of us to action-—to demand full and complete investigations whenever we learn of victims of potential hate crimes and investments in programs and policies to mitigate the impact of racism and homophobia.”
info: nbjc.org. lawyerscommittee.org.
Court rules for lesbian couple
A suit filed by Ashlee and Ruby Henderson who challenged the Indiana birth records law have won in a decision from the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. This now gives the couple the opportunity to have their children recognized as legitimately their own, The Associated Press reported.
Bloomberg lays out LGBTQ platform
Former New York City Mayor and Democratic presidential hopeful Mike Bloomberg has outlined his plans for how he will promote equality for LGBTQ Americans if elected to office, Metro Weekly reported. His record on inclusivity while in office in New York included launching the New York City Commission for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning Runaway and Homeless Youth, supporting the opening of the Harvey Milk School, the first public high school for LGBTQ+ students, and mandating LGBTQ competency training for workers in the city’s public hospital system in an effort to tackle LGBTQ health disparities, the news source added. He has stated that he would work across the aisle to further progressive legislation, having been a proponent of same-sex marriage. And, he would work to see the passage of the Equality Act, invest in HIV/AIDS research and prevention, combat bullying and harassment in schools and prosecution of murders of transgender individuals.
Trixie gets Shorty nom
Shorty Awards has received a nomination in its Branded Series category for “Queerty Presents That’s Our Sally,” in partnership with Gilead Sciences. The series stars “RuPaul’s Drag Race” star Trixie Mattel. This nomination is the only LGBTQ one in Shorty Awards competition. Voting is available online through Feb. 20.
info: queerty.com. shortyawards.com.
Eastern N.C. town hosts Pride
Organizers are working to host Kinston, N.C.’s first Pride celebration in its 230-year history, The Daily News reported. Inspire ENC will hold the event on June 20 in Pearson Park with a day full of activities in hopes of bringing unity to Kinston and Eastern North Carolina.
info: bit.ly/2Ui4d60. bit.ly/2RPidCD.
Military org names interim director
The Modern Military Association of America announced that their board of directors has selected Jennifer Dane as interim executive director. Dane is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force who served as an intelligence analyst focusing on geopolitical, terrorism, and threat vulnerability issues.
ENC fellowship to launch
The WISE Project, lead by Equality North Carolina Rural Youth Empowerment Fellow Gray Rodgers, will launch on Feb. 29 with a community reception hosted in partnership by SAGE in Chapel Hill. The project addresses ageism in the local LGBTQ community through accessible, intergenerational spaces to foster relationships across the Triangle region. For more details or interest in participating in the WISE Project contact Rodgers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Legal org supports intersex vet
Lambda Legal appeared before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit in January to urge the court to uphold a district court ruling that the State Department cannot rely on its male-or-female-only gender policy to withhold a U.S. passport from Dana Zzyym, a U.S. Navy veteran who is intersex and non-binary, and does not identify as male or female. “We appeared before the Tenth Circuit today to urge the court not to permit the State Department to force a U.S. Navy veteran to lie on their passport application,” Lambda Legal Counsel Paul D. Castillo said. “Dana Zzyym just wants an accurate passport, an essential identity document that accurately reflects who they are. Yet, the State Department seems to be urging Dana to lie in order to exercise their right to travel.”
Trans student sues school board
A senior at Kings Mountain High School identified as John Doe has sued the Cleveland County Board of Education, Superintendent Stephen Fisher and school principal Julie Rikard because they were denied access to a bathroom that conforms with his gender identity, The Shelby Star reported. The student has stage 4 kidney disease. Doe began transition before his freshman year and claims the refusal is discriminatory. Due to his healthcare situation, he has had to use the girls’ bathroom during emergencies and has born the brunt of laughter by girls at the school. Many times Doe simply avoids using the bathroom which worsens his healthcare condition. He has been battling issues since birth.
Graham gets Liverpool ban
The Charlotte Observer reported that evangelist Franklin Graham, son of the late Billy Graham, has been banned from appearing in a Liverpool, England, arena on his upcoming summer tour of the United Kingdom because of his opposition to gay rights, according to the city’s mayor. “Our City is a diverse City and proud of our LGBTQ+ community and always will be,” Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson tweeted. “We can not allow hatred and intolerance to go unchallenged by anyone including by religious groups or sects. It’s right we have banned from the M&S Arena Franklin Graham. #Love conquers hatred always.” Graham claims that this was not true.