Category Archives: News and Happenings

Apple Gay Pride Watch

Apple launched a special Pride Edition Apple Watch band Thursday, with a part of its sales to go to LGBT support groups. The nylon band will come in two sizes — 38mm and 42mm, and cost $49 each.

“Apple is proud to support LGBTQ advocacy organizations working to bring about positive change, including GLSEN, PFLAG and The Trevor Project in the U.S. and ILGA internationally. A portion of the proceeds from Pride Edition band sales will benefit their important efforts,” the company said on its product page.

The company’s endeavor coincides with the back end of Pride Month, which is generally considered to be in June, to honor the 1969 Stonewall Riots. The company says its latest band is made up of 500 threads woven together to form a rainbow pattern to denote the official symbol of the LGBT movement.  Read  more here.

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GOOGLE to do Stonewall project

GOOGLE  to spend  $1  Million  on 50th Anniversary  Stonewall project!

NY POST   reported – Google pledged $1 million on Sunday to help record the stories of anyone and everyone involved in the Stonewall riots, a landmark moment in the battle for gay rights.

The Web giant’s “digital experience” will be an oral history featuring interviews with New Yorkers who were on the front lines in Greenwich Village in the summer of 1969.

The project is aimed for completion by June 28, 2019, the 50th anniversary of the riots.

The impromptu uprising outside the Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street against police harassment is remembered as a watershed moment in the push for LGBTQ equality.

“I remember the Stonewall riot — whatever you want to call it — I remember the debate, I remember the time, and it’s hard to go back there. I can tell you, you don’t want to go back there either.” said Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Alphabet, Google’s parent company.

Artist and Stonewall veteran Tommy Lanigan-Schmidt said he’ll tell his story, in honor of activists who have since died.

“What sticks in my mind most is all the people who aren’t here to talk about it,” he told reporters at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center on West 13th Street. “Most of the people — I knew because I was one of the street kids — didn’t live to be 22 years old. I’m lucky to be alive.”

He added, “If the smell of lighter fluid is in the air, I think of Stonewall.”

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Gay New York-Fire Island – INVASION OF THE PINES

 

Mascara, Mirth & Mayhem is a collection of photographs taken by renowned photographer Susan Kravitz over the past thirty years at the annual LGBTQ event known as the Invasion of the Pines.

The Invasion of the Pines occurs every July 4th and involves participants from the Fire Island communities of Cherry Grove and Fire Island Pines. It began in 1976, when a member of the Cherry Grove community had been refused service in a Pines’ restaurant because he had been dressed in drag. In protest, a small group of Cherry Grove residents cross-dressed and took a water taxi to the Pines on Independence Day of that year, to stand up against this “height of insult” by “invading” their neighboring community. Four decades later, the Invasion has evolved into a uniquely raucous event that joyfully celebrates human rights and freedom of expression by thousands of people, straight and gay.

 

Kravitz’s photographs capture the rebelliousness, the high camp, and the joy of the Invasion. They are provocative, introspective, sad and funny, and tinged with sexual innuendo. Yet they also reflect another journey, one that gives insight into the LGBTQ movement itself.

 

From the fearful, AIDS-ridden years of the 1980s and 1990s, to the joyous years of this decade when LGBTQ people are out and proud (and, if they choose, legally married), these Invasion photographs celebrate a day to be free, to be whoever you want to be, and to be gay.

“My photographs are as much about the times I which they were taken as they are about the people who populate them. Ultimately, they are about human rights and freedom of expression seen through the lens of the Invasion.” said Kravitz of her eighty-eight color and black and white photographs.

Susan Kravitz is a social documentarian of daily life. Over the past thirty years she has exhibited her photographs in galleries and museums in the United States and abroad, including China, South Korea, Russia, Germany, Great Britain, Italy and the Czech Republic. Her Cherry Grove photographs were recently featured on the New York Times Lens blog (A Gay Haven on Fire Island) and in the International New York Times, Paris edition.

The book comes out next week! 148 pages, available in softcover or hardcover.

Book is available now on http://www.mascaramirthmayhem.com/buy.html

 

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CAZWELL Loose Wrists GAY MUSIC

NYC-based rapper Cazwell is back with “Loose Wrists”, the first single from his new music label Snow Cone, and hopes to “make America femme again.”

Cazwell performs much of the clip with his dancers in a set of pastel lace rompers designed by Hoza Rodriguz that have already gone viral on social media.

“We have a president that wants to take us off of the census and a vice president that believes shock therapy will cure gayness. At the end of last year, I vowed to be as gay as possible with my music and videos. We have to be more visible than ever and I hope I inspire that.”

WATCH  AND  SHARE

 

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March for Equality 2017

Supporters of LGBT rights marched and rallied in the nation’s capital and dozens of other U.S. cities on Sunday, celebrating gains but angry over threats posed by the administration of President Donald Trump.

The centerpiece event, the Equality March in Washington, was endorsed by virtually every major national advocacy group working on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans.

Activists have been embittered by the Trump administration’s rollback of federal guidance advising school districts to let transgender students use the bathrooms and locker rooms of their choice.

They also complain that Trump, who campaigned as a potential ally of gays and lesbians, has stocked his administration with foes of LGBT rights, including Vice President Mike Pence, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price.

Throngs of marchers, many thousands strong, paraded past the White House and toward the Capitol, trailing behind a giant rainbow flag near the head of the procession.

Two 15-year-old marchers, Jessica Dodge and Shekinah Aho, held hands and wore shirts that said, “Make America Gay Again.”

The Los Angeles pride parade was renamed the ResistMarch, and tens of thousands turned out in Hollywood, some carrying rainbow flags or signs reading “Love Trumps Hate.” Speakers included Mayor Eric Garcetti, U.S. Reps. Adam Schiff, Maxine Waters and Nancy Pelosi, and RuPaul, the host of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”

Waters led the crowd in a chant of “Impeach 45.”

“We’re going to take our country back from him,” she said. “I know that you have the strength. I know that you have the courage. And I know that each of you understand you have the power.”

Back in Washington, the activist leaders on hand included Sarah Kate Ellis, president of GLAAD, which monitors media coverage of the LGBT community.

She noted that Trump, breaking from the practice of Barack Obama, has declined to issue a proclamation in honor of Pride Month, and that the Trump administration has deleted questions about sexual orientation from planned federal surveys.

“If you look at their prioritization, we’re really low on it,” she said. “There absolutely is a resistance aspect to this march.”

READ  MORE   HERE

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PULSE in Orlando…1 year Later

From the Washington Post

For the first time since the massacre last June, when Orlando’s Pulse nightclub went from patrons’ safe haven to nightmare in a matter of seconds, owner Barbara Poma turned on the building’s outside lights Sunday — reminding mourners what it looked like before everything closed down.

Hues of pink and purple splashed across the bar’s black exterior and blue-green spotlights illuminated palm trees. The club’s logo — a large “P” — was projected on the wall.

It had been a year since the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history stole 49 lives there and scarred countless others; a year since Pulse, a safe space for Orlando’s gay community, fundamentally changed. 

From CBS  News

Church bells throughout Orlando will ring 49 times at noon Monday, a year after the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

Gov. Rick Scott ordered U.S. flags around Florida to be flown at half-staff, a giant rainbow flag will be unveiled at the Orange County government building, and three separate services at the Pulse nightclub will be held as well as a large evening gathering in the heart of downtown Orlando to honor the 49 patrons massacred at the gay nightclub.

The first service, closed to the public, was held for survivors, local officials and club employees, overlapping with the exact time gunman Omar Mateen began firing shots — a little after 2 a.m. on June 12, 2016 — during “Latin Night” at Pulse, reports CBS Orlando affiliate WKMG-TV.

“Just after 1 a.m. the angels walked through the parking lot and surrounded the nightclub,” the station says. “The same people dressed in wide, white angel wings protected family and friends in the days after the shooting last year so they could mourn in private. … Soft music played and the angels held candles, their backs facing the club as family gathered behind them.”

#PulseRemembered

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CHER on Broadway 2018

A musical based on Cher‘s life is slated to debut on Broadway in 2018. The singer confirmed the news on Tuesday night on her Twitter account.

“Just got off phone w/Writer & Director of musical,” Cher wrote. “There will [be] performance in theatre with actors, dancers, singers!! It’ll be on Broadway 2018.”

News of a possible musical production tracing Cher’s life – and using Cher’s extensive catalog of pop hits – surfaced in January, when the singer attended a read-through of the production. According to The New York Post, Jason Moore, known for Pitch Perfect, will direct. Rick Elice, of Jersey Boys, penned the musical. Three different actresses will portray Cher at various points in her life. At the read-through, one of the actresses was Tony Award-winner Lena Hall.

After Cher attended the event in January, she tweeted her support for the project. “Just walked [off] the musical,” she wrote. “I SOBBED & LAUGHED & I WAS PREPARED NOT 2 LIKE IT. AUDIENCE CLAPPED AFTER SONGS & GAVE IT STANDING OVATION.”

Earlier this year, the singer accepted the Icon Award at the Billboard Music Awards. “I’ve wanted to do what I do since I was four years-old,” she said during her speech. “And I’ve been doing it for 53 years … I’m 71 yesterday. And I can do a five-minute plank, ok? Just saying.”

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LIVE PROUD 2017 AT&T and GLAAD

Happy Pride! As we celebrate LGBT Pride Month and Pride season, we at AT&T have launched our fifth-annual Live Proud campaign that celebrates self-expression and being bold (announcement release).

 

This year, from June 1 to July 31, friends, allies and members of the LGBT community are invited to participate in exciting sweepstakes and share affirming messages of freedom, confidence and unity to declare definitively that We Are Bold.

 

Participants can join the campaign in the following ways:

  • Fans can post what We Are Bold means to them on their social channels, using either #ATTLiveProud or #WeAreBold on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, and AT&T will make a $1 donation to GLAAD, the world’s largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization, for each post up to $50,000, the fundraising goal.
  • When consumers click on a “Support GLAAD and Shop AT&T” offer at att.com/liveproud, AT&T will donate $5 to GLAAD toward the fundraising goal.
  • Fans can also take part in the AT&T Live Proud Sweepstakes for a chance to win a trip to New York City for themselves and a guest to attend a live taping of Bravo’s “Watch What Happens L!ve with Andy Cohen.” To enter the sweepstakes, visit att.com/liveproud.
  • Select national Pride festivals will also feature Live Proud activation experiences where guests can participate in the campaign by having their #WeAreBold portrait captured and learn about AT&T’s long-standing commitment to the community. Visit att.com/liveproud to learn which Pride events you can find AT&T at this summer.

There’s also a “We Are Bold” video that features these employees (check it out here). Fans can follow the images throughout the campaign with the hashtags #ATTLiveProud and #WeAreBold.

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SKITTLES Limited Edition for LGBT Pride

SKITTLES the classically rainbowtastic candy has decided that “only one rainbow deserves to be the center of attention” and that belongs to us!

This is the second  year Skittles has dropped its rainbow colors  in an expression of solidarity with LGBT Pride, writing in its promotion, “Only one rainbow matters this pride. Give the rainbow, taste the rainbow. All the lentils are white in celebration of pride. Enjoy the mystery mix.”

 

Some folks  have slammed Skittles for choosing white as the color for candy meant to praise equality. I don’t know….what do you think?

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Say No To Male Circumcision

We keep this site non-pornographic. So I hope that can see this post as educational.

Most of the world is intact (not circumcised).

In the US, I believe, it has always been about the $$$.  Doctors  brainwashed American mothers and fathers, that it HAD TO BE DONE. And most times, insurance companies paid for it. But who really pays?   THE MAN.

Circumcision removes valuable specialized erogenous tissue. Foreskin feels REALLY good. Without the foreskin, the glans becomes dried, toughened, and less sensitive. The normal slack skin gives a man and his partner an exquisite plush frictionless rolling/gliding sensation.

Luckily we can undo some of the damage with non-surgical foreskin restoration.

It’s great to undo the damage of circumcision and the benefits of foreskin restoration are awesome, but for some the real healing comes from working to end child circumcision. Activists working to protect the right of all boys, girls, and intersex children to remain intact and free of non-therapeutic forced genital cutting are called intactivists. You can help. There is lots of information  HERE.  And there are numerous resources  HERE  I  encourage you to check out.

If you know someone having a baby, PLEASE,  if it’s a boy, encourage  them  NOT  TO CIRCUMCISE. Let the boy decide later. It’s  his body!

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New York Gay Pride on ABC

NYC Pride today announced that for the first time WABC-TV will broadcast the 48th NYC LGBT Pride March on Sunday, June 25th.

The march, which has 350 marching contingents and had more than 2 million spectators in 2016, takes place from 12 – 3 pm. ABC7 will broadcast it live and stream it live on abc7ny.com.

Said Chris Frederick, NYC Pride Managing Director: “We’re excited to have Tri-state viewers welcome us
into their homes for what will be an unprecedented opportunity for the LGBT community’s collective
voices to be heard.”

ABC7 will also provide coverage of PrideFest – the annual LGBT street festival, Pride Luminaries Brunch, the Rally, and Pride Island – a new three-day LGBT cultural experience.

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Dwayne Johnson & Zac Efron in Baywatch

Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron….shirtless.

YAAAAASSSSSSSS! 

The  Baywatch movie is out – and we got a sneak  peak last night!

Great summer comedy! Hey, will it  win an Oscar. No. It’s  not that kind of movie. But it is  funny and it is  good, whether you are an old Baywatch fan or new  to Baywatch! Well worth seeing on a  big screen. Beautiful high def pecs – and boobs,  and  the swim/water scenes are actually very well filmed.

The backstory – Baywatch was an American action drama series about the Los Angeles County Lifeguards who patrol the beaches of Los Angeles County, California, starring David Hasselhoff. The show was canceled after its first season on NBC, but survived through syndication and later became one of the most watched television shows in the world. The show ran in its original title and format from 1989 to 1999. From 1999 to 2001, with a setting change and large cast overhaul, it was known as Baywatch Hawaii.

 

Now comes  Baywatch,  the movie.  An action-comedy film directed by Seth Gordon, based on the television series of the same name. The film stars Dwayne Johnson, Zac Efron, Alexandra Daddario, Kelly Rohrbach, Jon Bass, Ilfenesh Hadera, Priyanka Chopra, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II,  with cameos by David Hasselhoff, and Pamela Anderson.

BAYWATCH follows devoted lifeguard Mitch Buchannon (Johnson) as he butts heads with a brash new recruit, a washed up gold medal swimmer (Efron). Together, they uncover a local criminal plot that threatens the future of the Bay.

 

Dwayne Johnson’s “Rock” physique already has legions of fans—but the transformation of co-star Zac Efron (who shot to fame in the teen-film hit High School Musical) has shocked the world. According to Efron’s trainer, Patrick Murphy, the actor reached 5% body fat after just 12 weeks of training.

All kinds of photos  and  video teasers on their FACEBOOK page.

 

It’s a pretty safe bet that Baywatch will go down as the biggest blockbuster of the summer of 2017.

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Will & Grace RETURN! Sneak Peaks

OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG
It’s almost here….I don’t  want summer  to fly  by….but I kind of  do!

NBC’s “Will & Grace” returns for a 12-episode run beginning this Fall.

Original series creators Max Mutchnick and David Kohan will serve as writers, show-runners and executive producers. Legendary director James Burrows, who helmed every episode of the show during its initial eight-year run, will direct and executive produce.

For you YOUNGIN’S, who only  know who RuPaul is and her drag race, THIS AMAZING SHOW was broadcast on NBC from September 21, 1998 to May 18, 2006, for a total of eight seasons. The show was the highest-rated sitcom among adults 18–49, from 2001 and 2005.

But, what is more important, is THIS SHOW,

              shaped public opinion, of  gay people!

 Vice President Joe Biden made history on NBC’s Meet the Press this morning, becoming the highest-ranking U.S. official to openly endorse equal marriage rights for gay and lesbian citizens. In explaining his thinking, Biden credited Will & Grace — NBC’s hit situation comedy about a gay man and his straight, female best friend that ran on the network from 1998 to 2006 — as having done more to shift public perception on the issue than anything else.

Throughout its eight-year run, Will & Grace earned 16 Emmy Awards and 83 nominations. All four stars each received an Emmy Award throughout the series, making it one of only three sitcoms in the award’s history to achieve this feat. In 2014 the Writers Guild of America placed the sitcom at number 94 in their list of the 101 Best Written TV series of all time.

For additional information, please visit NBCU Media Village.
#WillAndGrace
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Canada Anniversary Stamp Celebrates Gay Marriage

The Canada Post has issued a new stamp celebrating same-sex marriage.

As part of Canada’s 150th birthday celebrations, the agency unveiled the stamp on Tuesday at a LGBT community center in Toronto.

CTV reports:

The maple-leaf-shaped stamp shows an image of a rainbow flag and the words “marriage equality” in both French and English.

Canada Post is issuing 10 special stamps to honour key moments in Canada’s 150-year history.

It says the day in 2005 when same-sex marriage became legal across the country is one of the milestones that have shaped Canada.

The stamp will be available on June 1st, just in time for PRIDE MONTH.

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Target says #TakePride

Target doubles down on ‘gay’ pride despite losses in bathroom war

Rainbow-themed merchandise reflects retail giant’s aggressive LGBT stance

 

Target gives the right wing a big  FUCK  YOU!

Despite the drastic financial blowback Target Corporation has been weathering since announcing its plan last year to allow men to enter women’s bathroom facilities, the retail giant is continuing full-speed ahead in its pursuit of LGBT social activism, all in the name of “inclusivity.”

For the second year, Target is using a #TakePride hashtag on social media to promote its rainbow-themed online merchandise. The retailer’s “pride” paraphernalia include tee-shirts, swim trunks, flip-flops, headphones, iPhone cases and an assortment of other products emblazoned with LBGT logos.
Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2017/05/target-doubles-down-on-gay-pride-despite-losses-in-bathroom-war/#JLKbgjEzbGorSDC2.99

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Tom Daley & Dustin Lance Black MARRY

GAY MARRIAGE NEWS

SO SO HAPPY   for  Tom Daley & Dustin Lance Black!

After that little scandal  with Tom  back in February…but  hey,  he  is SO YOUNG. DLB  forgave him  and the couple seem  happy  as can be!

The fairytale wedding took place in the stunning surroundings of Bovey Castle in Dartmoor National Park.

And according to reports, there was a Romeo and Juliet theme, with Tom calling out ‘Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?’ from a balcony!

Posting the 2 pictures, above, on Instagram, Tom wrote: “On 6th May 2017, I married the love of my life, @dlanceblack ❤️ We shared the day with 120 of our closest friends and family, from Texarkana to Plymouth! Thank you to everyone who made this weekend the most special weekend of our lives!”

 

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GAY NEWS – PLEASE Like Me!

PLEASE LIKE ME!

What a GREAT  SHOW!

Somehow, this slid under my radar.  I  just discovered it and binge watched it all! I can’t wait for more episodes! Can not get enough of this show!

Twentysomething Josh is going through a number of big changes as he navigates his first decade of adulthood. After being dumped by his girlfriend,  he comes to the realization that he is gay.

After that shocker, he moves back into the family home to help care for his mother, who has previously attempted suicide. He later moves out and into a house with best friend Tom. With his life in disarray, big challenges await Josh in his immediate future, which are especially hard for someone like him, who with a natural aversion to drama and emotion. So he deals with it all — only in his own awkward, self-centered way.

Please Like Me is an Australian television comedy drama series created by and starring Josh Thomas.  He is genuis! The show is funny, touching, creative…LOVE  IT!!! Thomas also serves as a writer for most episodes. The series premiered on 28 February 2013 on ABC2 in Australia.

Thank God  for  HULU!

 

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Dan Savage IMPEACH TRUMP

GAY NEWS –

 

Dan Savage is using his disdain for President Donald Trump for great causes.

The LGBTQ rights activist and author announced April 18 that he’d raised $100,000 for three organizations that are in direct opposition to Trump policies through the sale of ITMFA, orImpeach The Mother F*cker Already,” merchandise.

Savage, 52, made the announcement on the weekly Seattle newspaper, The Stranger, and on his personal Instagram.

I’m mailing out checks today—and not just to the IRS. This morning I had the distinct pleasure of mailing off checks to Planned Parenthood ($33,333.34), the ACLU ($33,333.33) and the International Refugee Assistance Project ($33,333.33)—money we raised selling ITMFA (“Impeach The Mother Fucker Already”) buttons, t-shirts, hats, stickers, coffee cups, and lapel pins at www.ITMFA.org and www.impeachthemotherfuckeralready.com. And I got to mail those checks out because nearly 10,000 Savage Love readers and Savage Lovecast listeners have ordered #ITMFA gear over the last eight weeks! The best part of wearing ITMFA buttons or t-shirts or hats or lapel pins or all of the above? Or the second best part, I should say, after helping to raise money for three critically important and hugely effective organizations fighting Donald Trump? The interactions you have with friends, co-workers, neighbors, at anti-Trump marches, on the bus, etc. Because when people are going to ask you what ITMFA stands for and YOU GET TO TELL THEM it stands for ‘Impeach The Mother Fucker Already!” (If there are kids around you can go with “Malicious Fascist” or “Malodorous Fart” or “Malignant Fraud.”) We sell the buttons in ten packs (ten for $10) so you can share buttons with people who absolutely have to have one after they find out what it means!

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Gilbert Baker Passed Away

SAD  SAD   DAY  IN  GAY  HISTORY

Gilbert Baker, a self-described “gay Betsy Ross” who in 1978 hand-dyed and stitched together eight strips of vibrantly colored fabric into a rainbow flag, instantly creating an enduring international symbol of gay pride, was found dead on Friday at his home in New York City. He was only 65.

Cleve Jones, a friend and gay rights activist who confirmed the death, said that Mr. Baker had a stroke several years ago but had not been sick recently.

As the gay rights movement spread from San Francisco and New York in the 1970s, Mr. Baker was often asked by friends aware of his creative talents to make banners for protests and marches. His creations, like others during that time, often included the pink triangle, which protesters had claimed as an icon after its initial use by the Nazis to identify gay men in concentration camps during World War II.

Before a gay pride parade in 1978 in San Francisco, Harvey Milk, a city supervisor and gay rights leader who was assassinated that year, joined others in asking Mr. Baker to create an emblem to represent the movement.

Mr. Baker, with help from volunteers, filled trash cans with dye in the attic of the Gay Community Center in San Francisco and pieced together the first flags, unveiling them in the parade on June 25, 1978.

“We stood there and watched and saw the flags, and their faces lit up,” Mr. Jones said in a phone interview on Friday. “It needed no explanation. People knew immediately that it was our flag.”

The first flags had eight colors, each stripe carrying its own significance: pink for sex, red for life, orange for healing, yellow for sun, green for nature, turquoise for magic, blue for peace and purple for spirit.

“A flag translates into everything, from tacky souvenirs to the names of organizations and the way that flags function,” Mr. Baker said in an interview in 2008. “I knew instantly when I saw the reaction that it was going to be something. I didn’t know what or how or — but I knew.”

 

In recent weeks he had finished creating 39 nine-color flags — the eight original colors, plus lavender to represent diversity — to commemorate the 39th anniversary of the first rainbow flag.

Mr. Baker refused to apply for a trademark for his creation. “It was his gift to the world,” Mr. Jones said. “He told me when the flag first went up that he knew at that moment that it was his life’s work.”

Source – NY  TIMES

 

I never got to meet Gilbert –  we had been talking the last few  weeks  about  his  lavender addition  to the flag  and  were supposed to meet and have  drinks  this  summer  in  NYC…sadly,  that will never  happen. But  I have a  piece of the 25th anniversary flag,  autographed  by him, hanging proudly  in my home. And will cherish it, as long as I live!

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Mitchell Gold Takes Aim at North Carolina

GAY NEWS

Mitchell Gold Takes Aim at

North Carolina’s HB2 in Statement

Faith in America calls on North Carolina legislators to leave religious beliefs on LGBT people at the door

Mitchell Gold today released a statement opposing North Carolina’s Legislators and NC clergy and churches that offer despair and exclusion to NC LGBTQ youth. HB2 must be repealed and North Carolina’s youth must be embraced:

I’m writing today as Co-Founder and CEO of Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams Home Furnishings, and Co-Founder and Co-Chair of Faith in America to express my support for a FULL repeal of HB2 immediately.  As leaders in our state, it would immediately signal that NC is open for business to everyone, and more importantly send a lifesaving message to the vulnerable LGBT teens in North Carolina that you care about their lives.
 
Today in North Carolina, you can still be fired, denied housing, or refused service simply for being gay or transgender.  It’s bad for the economic sustainability of North Carolina.  We have close to 1 million SF of manufacturing and warehouse facilities and over 600 employees in western North Carolina where we proudly make all our upholstered products. We can’t afford to have barriers in place when it comes to attracting and retaining the top talent we need to succeed.  Especially for senior level talent, competitors in other states already have these protections in place, giving them a distinct advantage in recruitment and attraction.  Recent decisions by the NFL, NCAA, and NBA to move or not award big events to places lacking equal protections has made this issue even more salient when it comes to North Carolina’s reputation and economic sustainability.  
 
The principles of non-discrimination are rooted in core conservative values of fairness, equality, and opportunity.  Everybody should have the chance to earn a living and provide for themselves and their families.  Nobody should have to live in fear that they can be legally fired for reasons that have nothing to do with their job performance.
 
I want to state clearly that the issue of risk associated with transgender people using the restroom of their choice is an irresponsible and reckless witch-hunt.  If you are concerned about safety for a problem that has not existed (and believe me, transgender people have been using the restroom of their choice for years), then implement stronger harassment or peeping Tom laws. But don’t underestimate the immense harm you are causing to vulnerable transgender people. Put yourself in their shoes! Have compassion for a transgender teen who suffers mental anguish from the pressures of their everyday life.
 
Finally, those who would like to be able to discriminate do so with a foundation in religious beliefs that LGBT people are sinners and consequently immoral and not deserving of full equality.  These kinds of outdated religious teachings are extremely harmful to the over 1.5 million LGBT teenagers in America.   LGBT teens are 4-6 times more likely to suffer immense mental anguish, attempt or commit suicide, or abuse drugs and alcohol than their straight peers.  In conservative or anti-LGBT religious homes and churches, this number jumps to 8 times.  You can bet that is the statistic in North Carolina. Equal rights legislation says to these precious individuals that the state recognizes their worth. I know from personal experience such leadership saves lives.
 
As you might be faced with opposition to full repeal, please look carefully into who and why they are opposed to treating LGBT people with dignity. We know from history that using religious teachings to cause harm or marginalize others was mistaken.  Please don’t allow yourself to fall prey to their pressure.
  
Thank you for your commitment to a North Carolina that respects, protects, and celebrates all who live, work, and play in this great state.

Sincerely,

Mitchell Gold

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Gay News – LGBT HATE BUS FreeSpeechBus

Anti-LGBTIQ Hate Bus

 Tours The United States

The so-called FreeSpeechBus, is currently spreading its hateful message through the streets of New York City. The organizers behind the bus include the International Organization for the Family, labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, and the notoriously anti-LGBTIQ group National Organization for Marriage. The bright orange bus is covered in the message, “It’s Biology: Boys are boys…and always will be. Girls are girls…and always will be. You can’t change sex. Respect all.”

Jessica Stern of OutRight Action International commented,

Free speech is a constitutional right, but language has consequences. Trans youth already have an extremely high risk for violence, discrimination, and suicide. Broadcasting a message that erases and denies the reality that transgender and intersex children and youth exist is irresponsible, factually misleading, disrespectful, and dangerous. This vehicle is part of the reason trans youth are driven to suicide.

A group of individuals and organizations advocating for the human rights of LGBTIQ people have banded together calling attention to the bus’s harmful message. They are asking New York City’s political and civil society leaders to join them in speaking out against the harmful, untrue and discriminatory message it promotes and the violence against trans individuals it will likely encourage.

Gillian Kane, Senior Policy Advisor at Ipas, an international women’s reproductive health and rights organization, a member of the coalition, stated,

We call on politicians everywhere that the bus is traveling to take a stand for diversity and respect for all people—including intersex, transgender, and gender non-conforming people— and to speak out against the hate and transphobia propagated by this bus.

A similarly styled bus received strong pushback in Spain earlier this year and was recently banned in Madrid on the premise that it was discriminatory and could incite hate crimes. After the bus was banned, it received high-profile attention from the likes of Chelsea Clinton who Tweeted, “Please don’t bring these buses to the U.S. (or anywhere).”

Kimberly Zieselman, JD Executive Director of “interACT: advocates for intersex youth, commented,

This isn’t biology–this is hatred rooted in an entirely false understanding of the human body. Being a girl or a boy isn’t about biology, it is about gender. The reality is that biological sex is on a spectrum, and no amount of argument will prove otherwise. Approximately 2% of children are born intersex, meaning they transcend typical notions of what the “FreeSpeechBus” says is “boy” and girl.” This bus attempts to erase the lived realities of the incredibly brave young people I work with every day who do not fit into this binary. In the same way that gender is not limited to strict male and female categories, neither is our biological sex.

Haven Herrin, Executive Director of Soulforce, an LGBTQI social justice organization that challenges Christian Supremacy through spiritual healing, radical analysis, and strategic direct action, added their perspective commenting,

Religion that denies the sacred being of trans and intersex children is no religion at all – it’s a gross abuse of power. We need to send the message to trans and intersex youth that they are cherished just as they are and that they don’t have to conform to pressure from hateful ideologies.

The bus will also be stopping in New Haven, Boston, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC.

 

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Grace and Frankie Season 3

Season 3 Coming March 24

They’re not friends, but when their husbands leave them for each other, proper Grace and eccentric Frankie begin to bond in this Emmy-nominated series.

Grace and Frankie is an American  comedy / drama series that originally streamed on Netflix on May 8, 2015.  The series was created by Marta Kauffman and Howard J. Morris, and stars Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin in the title roles of Grace and Frankie, two unlikely friends who are brought together after their husbands announce they are in love and plan to get married. Sam Waterston, Martin Sheen, Brooklyn Decker, Ethan Embry, June Diane Raphael, and Baron Vaughn co-star in supporting roles.

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