It’s time for a gaycation
Southerners on New Ground are holding their Gaycation 2019 from May 30-June 2 at Deerhaven Retreat & Conference Center located in Paisley, Fla.
Youth org hiring staff
iNSIDEoUT has announced that it is seeking to hire an interim co-director. The position is part-time (5-10 hours per week). The candidate should be willing to consider transitioning to 10-20 hours per week as the current executive director, Amy Glaser, steps away from their role in June. The ideal candidate is well-organized, reliable, committed to queer youth liberation and joyful in assisting the organization’s youth leaders to carry out their missions. Compensation is $20/hour. In other news,iNSIDEoUT is also searching for teen board members for the 2019-2020 season. Those who wish to apply should be committed for the entire school year. Those who serve on the board are required to have parental permission. The deadline to apply is May 17 with board interviews slated for May 18. There is a board sleepover on June 12, and a mandatory retreat for board members Aug. 23-25.
Community urged to be counted
The Washington Blade reported that the National LGBTQ Task Force and a coalition of 15 national civil rights and progressive groups have launched a campaign encouraging members of marginalized communities to be sure that they are counted in the 2020 U.S. Census. For the first time, respondents will be asked to define their relationships as one that is same-sex or opposite-sex.
info: washingtonblade.com. taskforce.org.
‘Cherry Grove’ film rights acquired
Breaking Glass Pictures has acquired North American rights to the historical LGBTQ documentary, Cherry Grove Stories,” which recounts time in New York’s Fire Island Cherry Grove section including “queer origins, Tennessee Williams visits, decadent parties, sexual liberation, HIV alienation and the continual swinging of indecent law enforcement” — all told through first-person accounts and a treasure trove of unseen archival footage. The film will arrive on DVD and VOD on June 4 in time for Pride Month.
Orgs become neighbors
The Alliance For Full Acceptance and Charleston Pride are partnering to lease a shared office and meeting space that will be located in the same building as We Are Family. The new space in North Charleston, S.C., is being called the “Equality Hub.” “We’re excited about the collaboration and energy that’s going to come from having Charleston’s three largest LGBTQ organizations in the same building. Along with providing resources to the community, there will be an approximately 500 square foot meeting space available to community groups that do not have physical space,” the collective shared. They are targeting a move-in date at the end of April.
info: affa-sc.org. waf.org. charlestonpride.org.
Discrimination experience reporting data released
A new report from the Williams Institute finds that compared to their heterosexual cisgender peers, LGB individuals are significantly more likely to report experiences of employment and housing discrimination. They were also more likely to say they had been bullied often during their youth. Analyzing data collected by Gallup Inc. in February and November 2018, researchers found 60 percent of LGB individuals reported being fired from a job or denied a job, compared to 40 percent of heterosexuals; 48 percent of LGB individuals said they had been denied a promotion or received a negative evaluation, compared to 32 percent of heterosexuals; 15 percent of LGB individuals reported being prevented from moving to or buying a house or apartment, compared to 6 percent of heterosexuals and 41 percent of LGB individuals said they were often bullied before age 18, compared to 14 percent of heterosexuals. Other analysis from the Williams Institute estimates that 3,688,000 LGBTQ state, local and private sector workers ages 16 and older in the U.S. lack state statutory protections from discrimination in employment. This includes 148,000 state and 185,000 local government workers and 3,355,000 private sector workers. The federal government employs an additional 160,000 LGBTQ individuals. Over 5.6 million LGBTQ adults ages 18 and older live in states without statutory protections against sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in housing.
Flag book published
The worldwide publication of Monica F. Helms’ autobiography, “More Than Just A Flag,” has been published by MB Books, LLC and is available in hardcopy and in e-book form exclusively on Amazon. The autobiography details the major events of Helms’s life, the transgender flag creator and activist, from childhood through to today. Included are her service in the U.S. Navy as a submariner, and her personal journey to discovering her true self as a transgender woman, as well as the subsequent battles she fought with her civilian employer, Sprint. The flag was created in 1999 and will celebrate its 20th anniversary this founding of the Transgender American Veterans Association in 2003, where she went on to serve as president for 10 years; holding Atlanta, Ga.’s first Transgender Day of Remembrance event in 2000; lobbying state legislators in Arizona and Georgia, as well as in D.C.; and being elected a delegate to the 2004 Democratic National Convention.
Film explores bisexuality
The new LGBTQ-themed film, “Yes,” has been released on Amazon Prime. Its storyline shares how a young woman who discovers she is dying of cancer and encourages her husband and beloved brother to continue as a romantic couple after her death. The movie asks whether a straight man can really fall in love with another man. The film features bisexual characters and situations not often seen in LGBTQ or mainstream movies is now available for purchase or for rental on Amazon Prime and will be available for purchase on DVD soon. The film stars Leah McKendrick (“Bad Moms,” “M.F.A.”), Patrick Zeller (“Law & Order,” “The Young and the Restless”) and Matt Pascua (“Rosewood,” “Grey’s Anatomy”), is written and directed by Stewart Wade and executive-produced by Alan Reade of Text Engine Productions. The film co-stars Shari Belafonte (“Hotel”), Alexandra Paul “Baywatch”), along with Alberto Manquero and Stefanie Estes.
Report shows gaps in HIV testing, treatment
A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report published on the first day of agency’s 2019 National HIV Prevention Conference provided new data showing the vast majority (about 80 percent as of 2016) of new infections come from people with HIV who either don’t know they have HIV or are not in care. The new report underscored the critical need to expand HIV testing and treatment, which is a vital part of the proposed federal initiative, “Ending the HIV Epidemic — A Plan for America.”
Pride route announced
NYC Pride, the official host of WorldPride NYC 2019 and Stonewall 50, announced the 2019 Pride March route that will take place in June. It commemorates the 50th Anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall Uprising, and will step off at noon on June 30 from 26th St. and 5th Ave. Some 150,000 marchers will proceed south on 5th Ave. before heading west on 8th St. After crossing over 6th Ave., the March will continue on Christopher St., passing the site designated in 2016 by President Barack Obama as the Stonewall National Monument. It will then turn north on 7th Ave., passing the New York City AIDS Memorial, before dispersing in Chelsea just north of 23rd S. and 7th Ave. “NYC Pride is thrilled to welcome millions of LGBTQIA+ people from around the globe for World Pride as we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the historic Stonewall Uprising,” said Chris Frederick, executive director of NYC Pride, “From our Opening Ceremony in Brooklyn to the largest Pride March in history to the Closing Ceremony in iconic Times Square, it is clear that New York will embrace Pride like never before. We welcome everyone to experience a million moments of Pride and make history with us in 2019.” In related news, the opening ceremony lineup has been announced. Hosting will be entertainer and humanitarian Whoopi Goldberg. Special performers Cyndi Lauper, Ciara, Todrick Hall and Chaka Khan will take the stage. Ticket sales will benefit the Ali Forney Center, Immigration Equality and SAGE.
info: worldpride.org. nycpride.org.
Trans org founder makes SXSW
Micolle Maroulis, co-founder of No More Dysphoria which helps transgender and non-conforming individuals pay for different aspects of their transitions, took the stage at South by Southwest in March in Austin, Texas, accompanied by her indie/emo band Hit Like a Girl.
info: nomoredysphoria.com. hitlikeagirlcontest.com.
Study details LGBTQ substance abuse
The team at Desert Hope Treatment, an American Addiction Centers facility, recently conducted a nationwide survey of 1,700 Americans who admitted to using or abusing drugs with over 400 of them identifying as LGBTQ. A few of the survey’s findings were: on average, LGBTQ individuals have tried 23 percent more drugs than heterosexual individuals; 36.8 percent of LGBTQ respondents said the reason for starting use of illicit drugs was because of depression and loneliness as opposed to 27.3 percent of heterosexuals; and 46.8 percent of LGBTQ respondents said they did not or currently do not have the support system (friends, family, etc.) needed to help end drug use.
Dean shares views on LGBTQ history education
Michelle Edelstein, dean of Rutgers University School of Public Health, has called for the U.S. to teach LGBTQ history in schools and to follow the lead of California and New Jersey who have signed into law legislation that requires public school students be taught societal contributions of notable LGBTQ figures throughout history. She added that stigma prevents LGBTQ individuals from seeking healthcare and mental health services, among other needs. Edelstein was the sixth grade teacher of “Hamilton” director Lin Manuel Miranda whose musical asked, “Who tells your story?”
CLT reality show new season date set
“The Situation Circle,” an inclusive online reality show produced in Charlotte, N.C. will launch its second season on May 5 at 9 p.m. on UrbanSocial TV. Hosts bring together participants who discuss controversial topics surrounding politics, religion, relationships, sexuality and careers. Season one episodes are available online. The show was created by Malia Brown.
Florida goes red on Pride kick off day
The KindRED Pride Foundation announced a new global vision building on the tradition of “gay day” at Magic Kingdom, which is always held on the first Saturday of June to kick off Pride month. The event started 28 years ago with just a handful of individuals who decided they would meet socially on the first Saturday in June in front of the castle. They would all wear red T-shirts to identify each other since most had only met on a computer bulletin board service and not in person. The event quickly grew to one of the largest LGBTQ annual gatherings in the world, organizers said. The original attendees unwittingly pioneered one of the first gay travel “destination” weekends. The foundation hopes to garner one million or more like-minded individuals this year across the globe to participate in RED Shirt Pride Day Around the World and in the future. The organization is also seeking Be King Champions to showcase kindness throughout the year.
Suicide rates doubled for HIV population
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline has reported that two percent of suicides occur in individuals who have HIV/AIDS, twice the rate of the general population. To help understand the issue and bring light to the subject, Josh Robbins, an outspoken southern HIV positive and sexual health activist, is on a mission to de-stigmatize HIV and other STIs. His views are shared online, where he looks at today’s challenges surrounding HIV. As an active mentor within the STI community, he has dealt with the alarming correlation between suicide and HIV first hand many times. He is host of the #HIVscoop Series and spokesperson for STI dating site DatingPositives. He asks those who are struggling to reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. They offer free, confidential crisis counseling 24 hours a day year round. Call the Lifeline at 800-273-8255.
info: joshrobbins.com. suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
New mag features Monáe
The front cover of them had as its subject for the Conde Naste publication launch performer Janelle Monáe and an interview inside where Monáe discussed coming out, freedom and living and loving “out loud.”
Church nets new tees
Myers Park Baptist Church will have a unified look when they wear their new T-shirts to Pride parades and and other LGBTQ-related events in the future. The shirts sport a rainbow effect lettering for “MPBC” and the slogan “Open to All” underneath. Shirts are $15 and can be purchased in the church office.
Blood center merge
Two of the leading, independent, not-for-profit blood centers in the Southeast, OneBlood, Inc., and Community Blood Center of the Carolinas, Inc., have merged effective April 15. The news comes just four months after the boards of directors for both organizations announced that Community Blood Center would become part of OneBlood. The newly formed organization will distribute more than one million blood products annually, serve over 250 hospitals throughout Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama. “CBCC’s decision to join forces with OneBlood creates additional alignment and stability of the blood supply in the Southeastern United States and further ensures a safe, available and affordable blood supply for our hospital partners and their patients,” said Bud Scholl, president and CEO for OneBlood.
Carolina bans continue
South Carolina joins North Carolina as locations where state-sponsored travel is banned, said California Attorney General Xavier Becerra. Although not explicitly mentioned, a provision in a South Carolina law enacted in 2018 is written so broadly to enable discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Morehouse takes trans men
The all-male historically black college Morehouse College in Atlanta has told Associated Press that its board of trustees has approved the acceptance of transgender men into its 2020 class year. Students who identify as women but were born male cannot enroll, however, and anyone who transitions from male to female will not be automatically eligible to receive a degree from the institution, the news organization added.
Arizona repeals curriculum law
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed into law an amendment that repeals the state’s anti-LGBTQ curriculum law that barred LGBTQ students from receiving medically accurate, age-appropriate information about non-heterosexual people in their health education classes. The amendment removes language that had prohibited instruction in HIV/AIDS curriculum that “[p]romotes a homosexual life-style,” “[p]ortrays homosexuality as a positive alternative life-style,” or “[s]uggests that some methods of sex are safe methods of homosexual sex.”
Org names new staffer
The Black AIDS Institute has named Bruce Smail as its Deputy Director effective as of April 1.
Rights foster higher GDP
A new study published by researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Leiden University, Netherlands and Rutgers University has found that nations offering more rights to LGB individuals enjoy significantly higher per capita GDP than those who trail in LGB equality, and that nations fostering exclusion of LGB individuals are causing substantial harms to their economies. The report, “The Relationship between LGBT Inclusion and Economic Development: Macro-Level Evidence,” appears online in the journal World Development.
info: williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu. tinyurl.com/y5tksmva.
Sex offender registry legislation passes senate
Sen. Scott Wiener’s SB 145, which ends blatant discrimination against LGBTQ youth regarding California’s sex offender registry, passed the Senate Public Safety Committee by a 6-0 vote. It heads to the Senate Appropriations Committee. Currently, for consensual yet illegal sexual relations between a teenager age 14-17 and a partner within 10 years of age, “sexual intercourse” (i.e., vaginal intercourse) does not require the offender to go onto the sex offender registry; rather, the judge decides based on the facts of the case whether sex offender registration is warranted or unwarranted. By contrast, for all other forms of intercourse — specifically, oral and anal intercourse — sex offender registration is mandated under all situations, with no judicial discretion.
Walkers raise funds
On April 6 more than 330 supporters participated in House of Mercy’s 26th Annual Walk for AIDS. This walk through the historic streets of Belmont raised awareness and funds to benefit House of Mercy. Emily Chambers Sharpe, president and CEO of The House of Mercy, announced over $43,000 was raised. “These funds help provide a home and care for low-income persons living with HIV/AIDS at House of Mercy,” said Sharpe. “Together we bring healing and hope to residents and their loved ones.” Prizes awarded were: first place, the Our Lady of Guadalupe Team which raised $11,876; second place, Team Maggie which raised $3,150; and third place was Team Palmer, which raised $2,525. Chantelle Hurst was top individual fundraiser raising $1,700. Second place individual fundraiser was Margaret Mayes, who raised $790.
Massachusetts joins protection wave
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker signed H. 140 to protect LGBTQ youth from conversion therapy. The state is the 16th state to legally prohibit licensed practitioners from using the discredited practice on minors.
Attorney honored for mentorship
The American Immigration Council honored immigration lawyer Ava Benach with its Stephen K. Fischel Distinguished Public Service Award on April 11, which recognizes individuals or organizations who exhibit an outstanding commitment and dedication to America’s heritage as a nation of immigrants and to the struggle for fair and humane immigration policies in the United States. Benach has taken a lead role in representing transgender asylum seekers before the asylum office and the immigration courts. She has pioneered an innovative collaboration with Whitman Walker Health to provide quality representation to transgender immigrants while training the next generation of lawyers in representing LGBTQ immigrants.
Trevor makes statement on reversal
The Trevor Project has released a statement on the recent reversal of the Mormon Church with regard to baptizing children of LGBTQ parents. It reads: “The Trevor Project welcomes any faith group’s public commitment to treat the LGBTQ community fairly and equally, and this statement by the LDS Church to change course is a move in the right direction that will make a real difference in the lives of LGBTQ Mormons. We hear from LGBTQ young people in crisis every day who struggle to reconcile being part of both the LGBTQ and faith communities, and decisions to end policies of exclusion can help LGBTQ youth feel seen, loved, and less alone.”