Tag Archives: LGBTQ

UK Black Pride 2019: Thousands Gather For Europe’s Biggest Celebration of the BAME LGBTQ+ Community

UK Black Pride is much needed event that celebrates the diversity of LGBTQ+ people and recognises unique struggles that queer people of colour – QTIPOC, or queer, transgender and intersex people of colour – face.

Having started as a day trip to Southend-on-Sea back in 2005, the event has grown in profile and stature in the last 14 years.

It is now Europe’s largest party for LGBT+ people of African, Asian, Caribbean, Middle Eastern and Latin American descent, and creates a safe space for people from these diverse backgrounds to celebrate their sexuality, culture and shared experiences.

This year, the event moved to its new home in Haggerston Park in Hackney, London, so it could accommodate a much larger crowd.

And that it did, with over 10,000 people showing up to celebrate.

The theme was #WhenWeRise: a reminder of the crucial role black and brown people played in the Stonewall uprising 50 years ago.

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The main stage had turns from Jason Kwan, NEO, Deanz and Charmer and headliner, MNEK. DJs pumped out everything from bhangra and Bollywood to reggae and dancehall.

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Speakers included Glenroy Murray of Jamaican advocacy group J-FLAG, and Amber Hikes from Philadelphia: the woman behind the eight stripe rainbow flag which also includes black and brown stripes.

London’s most diverse and inclusive fashion show returns this September

London’s most diverse and inclusive fashion show returns to the V&A Museum of Childhood, with 11 LGBTQ+ designers walking with 100 models of all genders, sexualities, races, expressions, abilities and identities.

Last year, the London Queer Fashion Show launched as one of London’s largest fashion event celebrating LGBTQ bodies and fashion. This year, the show returns on September 21st, to host 1000 people at the Victoria & Albert Museum of Childhood.

The LQFS stage is home to established and emerging fashion designers and is the show within season to spot new queer talent.

Designers in the 2018 show have just been announced as: Bull and Dagger, Plus Equals, Poca London, Vytoldas Miliauskas, Yodah Williams, Cause Perdue, Cochevelou, Danielle Clarke, Rickielee Drayford, Livia Rita and Not Applicable.

Over 100 models, empowering all gender identities, sexualities, races and bodies, will walk the catwalk, from celebrities like Rain Dove, to leaders and influencers from London’s community like Lady Phyll, organiser of UK Black Pride, Kenny Jones, Jay Jay Revlon and Marnie Scarlet. This is an event is for all expressions of identity to be recognised and acknowledged.

The show’s producer Robyn Exton says

“The hunger for representation that the queer community now demands is finally being met with our unique event. If main stream labels aren’t able to reflect our identities, then we will do it ourselves.”

Tickets were released with the powerful video ‘Walk On’, directed by Oliver Nias, a film that captures the heart of the event; the power of the people and identities that walk the catwalk.

Hillary Clinton’s Reiterates Her Commitment To LGBTQ Equality In New HRC Campaign Video Ad

HRC released a new video ad featuring Hillary Clinton’s historic commitment to fighting for full LGBTQ equality.

In the video,Clinton says,

We need to build an America where no one has to worry that they can get married on Saturday and be fired on Monday; where kids aren’t bullied just because of who they are; and where every American has the chance to live up to his or her God-given potential, no matter who they are or who they love.”

In addition to her long record as a champion for LGBTQ rights both in the U.S. and around the globe, Hillary Clinton has proposed the most robust pro-LGBTQ equality agenda of any presidential candidate in history.

She has called the Equality Act her “highest priority,” and her detailed LGBTQ policy platform specifically calls for outlawing dangerous “conversion therapy” for minors, ending the epidemic of transgender violence, and supporting HIV prevention and affordable treatment, among other proposals that would advance equality and support the LGBTQ community.

HRC President Chad Griffin, added

Time and again Hillary Clinton has demonstrated through her words and actions that she is committed to fighting for full LGBTQ equality. All of the progress we’ve achieved is at stake in this election. While Donald Trump continues his hate-filled campaign and threatens to drag us backwards, Hillary Clinton will fight to break down the walls of discrimination that still hold us back. It’s crucially important that pro-equality Americans turn out and vote for Hillary Clinton as the next President of the United States.”


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Hillary Clinton Writes Historic Pro-LGBTQ Op-Ed

Hillary Clinton may have started out with a confusing and sometimes embattled relationship to the LGBTQ community, but now she is asserting her commitment to progress and equal rights.

In a historic op-ed published in Philadelphia Gay News, Clinton talks marriage equality, and workplace discrimination.

The simple truth is that even now, in 2016, there are still too many states in America where LGBT people can be fired or evicted from their home because of who they are or who they love. Pennsylvania is one of them. Here, you can get married on Sunday and fired on Monday, just for being gay or transgender.

That goes against everything we stand for as a country. We need to act on the federal level to take on discrimination in all its forms. That’s what I’ll do as President — with your help.”

She also discusses the effects her opponent Donald Trump would have on the community if he were to win the presidential race.

Donald Trump must not be elected president. He would rip away so much of the progress we’ve made. He would appoint Supreme Court justices who would overturn marriage equality and rescind many of President Obama’s executive orders — including those protecting LGBT people.”

Clinton also took this opportunity to point out the shameful anti-LGBTQ history of her opponent’s choice for Vice President:

Mike Pence is one of the most anti-LGBT public officials in America. As governor of Indiana, Pence supported a bill that legalized discrimination against LGBT people. As a member of Congress, he voted against expanding the definition of hate crimes to include sexual orientation and gender identity. He opposed the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ saying doing so would be ‘social experimentation.’ And he’s said that homosexuality would bring about ‘societal collapse.'”

Smartly, Hillary also noted the importance of inter-sectionality in discussions of LGBTQ people:

The danger [of violence] is compounded for LGBT people of color, who face intersectional pressures and dangers, particularly transgender people of color.”

The article marks the first time a presidential candidate from a major party has written for an LGBTQ newspaper, and is a way for Clinton to silence critics who have questioned her commitments to these issues.


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Creator Of ‘Last Tango in Halifax’ Says She Made A Mistake By Killing Off Lesbian Character

It was a sad day when BBC drama Last Tango In Halifax  killed off heavily pregnant Kate (Nina Sosanya) in a car crash last year, just after finally marrying partner Caroline.

At the time, the show’s writer Sally Wainwright said that it was a ‘myth’ that lesbians always get killed off and that “people get killed off all the time”.

Wainwright also explained that it was a “narrative” decision, which caused further backlash from the show’s fans as they didn’t feel like Kate’s death added anything to the plot.

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Many criticised the trend of killing off lesbians on TV – known mockingly as ‘Dead Lesbian Syndrome’ – the running joke in the queer female community is that if there’s a lesbian in a show, you can almost guarantee that she’ll be offed by the end of the season.

Wainwright said:

It was a shock. I didn’t realise how attached the audience had become to that relationship and to those two characters.

Of the criticism, she said: “I found it hard and I regretted it. I do think I made a mistake. I wished I had found a better story.”

Davies said:

It might be one of my least favourite things that you ever wrote, partly because it was off-stage… I think you were trying to make the point that death is random and off-stage, but it had the effect of it being an off-stage death.

It’s really unfortunate that you walked slightly into the world of those lesbian deaths, that extraordinary numbers of lesbian characters end up being killed off.

What people miss is that Caroline is alive and the heart of the drama and she’s a lesbian as well, but it’s tough getting criticism.”

He added:

You know, I could have told you that you were going to have that flack! [When I found out] you were doing that story… I gasped! Because I know the gays quite well, I thought ‘oh my god that’s going to be trouble!’

I’m kicking myself [for not warning you].”

Wainwright added:

I was on the cusp and wasn’t sure if it was the right thing to do. You worry afterwards if you could have worked harder or if it was a lazy choice because those were the criticisms.”

The fourth season of the show is expected to air later this year, so look out for more Last Tango In Halifax then.

How Do Transgender People Fit Into LGBTQ? (Video)

Its a good question, as many people believe being transgender is different than being gay or bisexual, and just don’t get why transgender people are included in the same movement.

And although some Trans* people consider themselves categorically different to LGB people, they still fall under the umbrella of sexual minority.

From a cultural perspective they face many of the same challenges, especially threats to the legitimacy of their identity (i.e., cultural norms that suggest people choose their sexual or gender identity).

We share a shared history. Back in the day, trans people and gay people were seen as the same (and unfortunately still are sometimes). The gay community and the trans community were extremely close, and fought together during the Stonewall riots (which has been hailed as a gay rights movement, despite the fact that most of the people involved were trans women!).

We have similar goals for equality. Both the trans and gay communities are fighting for the legalization of same-sex marriage (this is very important for transgender people too. For example, I know a trans guy who couldn’t marry his girlfriend because his legal sex was still female, even though both of them are straight), criminalization of discrimination in areas of housing, employment, medical care, etc.

Homophobia and transphobia often go together, usually stemming from religious beliefs. I’ve yet to meet a homophobe that wasn’t also a transphobe. Basically, trans people and gay people are hated on by the same types of people, and often for the same reasons.

Watch this great addition edition of Ask a Homo, with Outward contributor, Garden State Equality executive director, and real-life transgender woman Andrea Majanik Bowen explains how trans people fit into the LGBTQ rainbow coalition.

‘Last Tango In Halifax’ Writer Regrets Killing Off Lesbian Character

One of the most common tropes when it comes to television is ‘Dead Lesbian Syndrome’. Dead Lesbian Syndrome is what happens a show decides to kill off one of its lesbian characters – the running joke in the queer female community is that if there’s a lesbian in a show, you can almost guarantee that she’ll be offed by the end of the season.

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That’s why it was so sad when BBC drama Last Tango In Halifax was yet another show that decided to kill off a lesbian. Kate was killed in a road accident, not long after her and her wife had gotten married and at the time, the show’s writer Sally Wainwright said that it was a ‘myth’ that lesbians always get killed off and that “people get killed off all the time”. Wainwright also explained that it was a “narrative” decision, which caused further backlash from the show’s fans as they didn’t feel like Kate’s death added anything to the plot.

However, speaking at the Hay Festival in Wales, Wainwright seemed to do a 180 on her previous comments, clarifying that she actually regrets killing off the character.

Also read: It’s a Myth That Lesbians Always Get Killed Off, Says ‘Last Tango in Halifax’ Writer

 

The Last Tango In Halifax writer told DIVA Magazine that

I was very sad to do [kill off Kate]. I wrote another ending but it didn’t work. At the time, I thought it was the right choice, but I do actually regret it now.”

Wainwright also spoke of the difficulty she had in getting Last Tango In Halifax on TV screens. At first, both the BBC and ITV turned down the show based on the pilot episode and it wasn’t until the BBC realised that the show could appeal to those over the age of 50 that they agreed to take it on.

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The older audience of the show is something that Sarah Lancashire, who plays Caroline in the show, also spoke about, saying that their portrayal of lesbian characters has helped women come out:

I’ve never had a response quite like it to be honest. I still get letters now from people in this country and in America who are women who have come out later on in life and have very complicated and tragic stories in a sense. I didn’t realise when I started to play Caroline that she would have this extraordinary impact. It is a strange thing. There are very few pieces I’ve done in my working life that I could say I’m proud of, but Caroline is certainly the one I’m most proud of. Sally… did absolutely brilliantly to demonstrate same-sex relationships between women by normalising it, without sensationalising it or making it titilating. For me, it was the first time I’d ever seen that done on British television.”

The fourth season of the show is expected to air later this year, so look out for more Last Tango In Halifax then.

 

 

Season Four of ‘Last Tango in Halifax’ Confirmed

Sally Wainwright’s BBC1 drama Last Tango in Halifax has been renewed for a fourth series on BBC One. The channel confirmed that the Sarah Lancashire drama will return for another run next year at the end of last night’s (February 1) finale.

The popular romantic drama attracted over 6.5 million viewers for its third series finale on Sunday. While details are scarce, it is expected the fourth series will follow the previous model and air some time towards the end of 2015

Derek Jacobi, Anne Reid and Nicola Walker also star in the series, which is centred around a pair of childhood sweethearts who rediscover love in their later years.

It also features a fantastic yet controversial lesbian storyline, with Sarah Lancashire playing a women coming to terms with late-in-life lesbian relationship and her sexuality.

Lancashire plays Caroline, who she falls for a fellow school teacher named Kate. Throughout season 1, 2 and 3 we have followed their love affair until its tragic ending – booooo!

So here is hoping season 4 will bring the lesbian spark back to the show.

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Wainwright, last year confirmed the US rights to the series were purchased by actress Diane Keaton for a potential remake on HBO.

It’s a Myth That Lesbians Always Get Killed Off, Says ‘Last Tango in Halifax’ Writer

Ask a group of queer, pop culture conscious women and they will tell you that the biggest trope to affect lesbians (after the ‘lesbians sleeps with a man’ trope) is that TV lesbians always seem to get killed off. It’s so regularly witnessed in the media that TV Tropes has dedicated an entire page to it, having dubbed it ‘Dead Lesbian Syndrome’. TV Tropes also notes that LGBTQ people are at a higher risk of suicide. However, many of the cases of dead lesbians that we see on television aren’t because the characters took their own lives and instead are down to common killers such as [SPOILER] Naomi Campbell in Skins who died of cancer.

Dead Lesbian Syndrome is one of the reasons why queer women instruct each other not to get suckered into a show based on its lesbian characters because they will most likely be bumped off in the name of a ‘hard-hitting emotional storyline’ or just because the show’s creator wants to further someone else’s character progression. It’s incredibly unfortunate that that needs to be said but given how often it occurs (American Horror Story, Pretty Little Liars and The L Word have all taken part in the trope) it probably makes sense.

The latest show to join the Dead Lesbian Syndrome Squad is Last Tango in Halifax. In an episode that aired just a few weeks ago, the show dramatically killed off pregnant lesbian Kate not long after she’d married her partner Caroline. Unaware of the trope but now suffering the backlash is Last Tango in Halifax writer Sally Wainwright who has now said the following to DIVA Magazine:

“I think that’s a myth! People get killed off all the time. I got an email from Russell T Davis the day after saying, “I once killed off a gay character and everyone was really upset.” I got an email from another friend saying, “Oh Sally, what have you done? There are few enough lesbians as it is!” I don’t think it’s…I don’t think people think, “I’ve got a lesbian character, I better kill her off.”

It was a really big decision and it was a decision that…I’m still not entirely sure I made the right decision over but… [pauses]. I implore people to see what happens next and see why we did make that decision. When you see what happens next, I think we did make the right decision. It becomes increasingly emotional, the performances with the people left behind become increasingly magnetic and extraordinary, actually.”

Sally Wainwright

Wainwright also confirmed that it was for storyline purposes, “It was a narrative decision, it was a storyline decision”, which perhaps adds further insult to injury.

One problem that queer women have with the Dead Lesbian Trope is that it’s a case of ‘why us?’ Every TV viewer accepts that death is an inevitable storyline that’s going to crop up because that’s life, that’s what happens and that’s what TV shows are attempting to portray (albeit in an overly dramatized way) but it’s unfortunate that the victim of those deaths more often than not is a queer woman.

Many would also argue that using the Dead Lesbian Trope is ineffective because it’s just that – a trope. Tropes are eye-rolling, seen it all before things; they lose their emotional gravitas when you’ve used them over and over again. It’s like a fairy tale that always ends in ‘and then they lived happily ever after’ except we aren’t children anymore, there are no happily ever afters for TV lesbians and the fact that they keep getting killed off hurts LGBT representation.

New Exhibit of Censored LGBTQ Artwork to be Displayed in New York

New exhibit, Irreverent: A Celebration of Censorship, explores how sexuality has been, and continues to be, used as a tool to prohibit LGBTQ cultural artwork. Inspired by the creative and activist responses to the censorship, the show displays work from 17 artists that represent the “controversial” perception of LGBTQ work over three decade.

Curator, Jennifer Tyburczy, who is an assistant professor at the University of South Carolina and the author of the upcoming book Sex Museum: The Politics and Performance of Display said.

“On the one hand, some museums and gallery spaces are beginning to recognize the value of queer art for its own sake, and yet, major museums continue to censor queer artists from their walls.”

Jennifer Tyburczy

While she emphasized the high-profile nature of the 2010 Wojnarowicz removal after pressure from Republican elected officials, she said censorship

“… takes many forms, occurs all the time, and more often than not, happens behind the scenes. Live in the memories of the artists whose work was deemed ‘controversial,’ ‘obscene,’ ‘offensive,’ or ‘pornographic’”.

Jennifer Tyburczy

The exhibition will not just be about showing the art, but the stories of censorship will be a major focus.

They include Alma López’s “Our Lady”, a digital print that transformed Our Lady of Guadalupe into a nearly nude, proudly standing woman draped in flowers displayed in a group exhibition at Santa Fe’s Museum of International Folk Art in 2001. The work sparked violent threats against the artist, museum, and curator for its supposed sacrilegious content.

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Another censored pieces include Seray Ak work on two women in headscarves kissing, Zanele Muholi excerpt from ‘Being’ series, and one by Damla Mersin of a woman confidently posing with an embrace of her sexuality in a headscarf.

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More recently there was the removal of Michelle Handelman’s “Dorian: a cinematic perfume” video, which reinterpreted the gay undertones of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, from the Art House in Austin in 2011.

“By reflecting on the ways in which queer sex has been displayed in museums, this exhibition exposes museums and art galleries as spaces where some of the most volatile and informative battles about sexual identity, sexual practices, and the history of sexuality have been and continue to be waged in the public sphere.” 

Tyburczy explained

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Irreverent: A Celebration of Censorship will be on view at the Leslie Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art (26 Wooster Street, Soho, Manhattan) February 13 to April 19.

Amazing News | LGBTQ Racial Justice Fund Announces $780,000 in Grants

The LGBTQ Racial Justice Fund – a collaborative philanthropic initiative that envisions a United States where LGBTQ people of colour can safely and vibrantly pursue full authentic lives – announced $780,000 in inaugural grants to support efforts in the Southeastern United States.

The Fund’s collaborative partners, the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, the Ford Foundation, the Arcus Foundation and an anonymous donor, aim to develop and strengthen a strategic and effective advocacy sector addressing the needs of LGBTQ communities of colour.

We have made tremendous progress toward improving the life quality of LGBTQ individuals and families. But unless we both recruit new leaders and respect the strong long-standing strategic voices in communities of color, our momentum could slow to a crawl in the next battleground regions, like the Southwest and Southeast”

J. Bob Alotta, Executive Director of the Astraea Lesbian Fund for Justice.

This first round of grants targets education, organising and advocacy and includes the following organisations:

  • Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana, working in partnership with the Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights and Equality Louisiana (New Orleans, LA) to coordinate the Louisiana Safe Schools Coalition, ensuring that every child in Louisiana receives a high quality education in a safe, welcoming and affirming environment.
  • Racial Justice Action Center, working in partnership with LaGender and Trans(forming) (Atlanta, GA) in the Solutions Not Punishment (SNaP) Coalition & Campaign, to increase employment rates and access to housing and quality health care for LGBTQ communities of colour in the Atlanta metropolitan area while decreasing police harassment, profiling and abuse.
  • New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice, working in partnership with BreakOUT! (New Orleans, LA) to formalise From Vice to Ice, a campaign to end the criminalisation of LGBTQ people of colour and immigrant communities and build a transformative movement for justice and equity in the United States South.
  • Nollie Jenkins Family Center, working in partnership with the Mississippi Coalition for the Prevention of Schoolhouse 2 Jailhouse (Lexington, MS) to reframe the negative narrative and oppressive conditions faced by LGBTQ youth through public education, public discourse and support of queer youth-focused issues.
  • Project South (Atlanta, GA), working in partnership with the organisations of the Southern Movement Assembly to coordinate the Unite to Fight Summer Organising Drive to revitalise civic participation and build necessary infrastructure for organising, education, and communications capacities within communities affected by oppression and exploitation across the US South.
  • Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA), a California-based organisation working in partnership with the Youth Empowerment Project (New Orleans, LA) to build capacity and empower low-income LGBTQ youth of colour in public schools to create systemic change at both local and state levels in Louisiana.

By partnering with pioneering funders with a successful history of seeding social change, the LGBTQ Racial Justice Fund hopes to expand what people, organisations and funders see as the full measure of progress when it comes to improving the lives of LGBTQ communities.

“The LGBTQ Racial Justice Fund is a collaborative initiative to influence resources that will affect greater change than we could achieve alone. By also supporting organisations that work together, the grants further leverage efforts to improve the lives of LGBTQ communities of colour. We invite more funders to partner with the LGBTQ Racial Justice Fund and help us advance racial justice and LGBTQ equality,”

Roz Lee, Senior Program Officer of the Arcus Foundation

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“LGBT Americans have made great strides towards the dream of a lived equality, but our work is far from over. Baseline legal equality has yet to reach vast swaths of our country—especially for those who live in the Southeast. Even in states with legal protections, there is a wide gulf between what the law promises and the daily experiences of LGBT people, especially people of color. The Ford Foundation believes that every person should have the opportunity to reach their full potential, contribute to society and have voice in the decisions that affect them — regardless of their race, sexual orientation or gender identity.”
Luna Yasui, LGBT Rights Program at the Ford Foundation

A second request for proposals is expected to be issued in 2015 with an expanded geographic reach.

 

What a Wonderful World for LGBTQs

With the global news all too often full of depressing stories about homophobia, it’s a relief to hear that many parts of the world are getting more tolerant towards LGBTs. Let’s take a look at all the countries that nowadays allow same-sex marriage.

Gay unions are now legal in 15 nations, including EU states such as Belgium, France and the UK, as well as South Africa, Canada and Argentina. 14 out of the 50 United States have taken that vital leap forward into the 21st century too. Massachusetts was the first state to legalise such unions back in 2004, some 8 years before President Obama famously endorsed gay marriage.

Almost half the nations in Europe accept some kind of same-sex union. The institution is most popular in Holland (where 82% of the people support it) and Sweden (71%). Sadly, Poland, Croatia, Bulgaria and 11 other states refuse to define marriage as anything other than between a man and a woman.

LGBTs can’t tie the knot anywhere in Asia, although the institution is recognised in Israel. In the strictly Roman Catholic Philippines, the New People’s Army, a communist guerrilla outfit, conducted the country’s first ever same-sex marriage in 2005. However, the government did not recognise it.

South Africa flies the progressive flag in Africa as it is the only country on the continent where LGBTs can marry. It is of great concern that homosexuality is legal in only 13 of Africa’s 38 nations. Oddly enough though, in Zimbabwe and Sierra Leone, where male relationships are banned, no such laws exist against lesbianism.

18.5% of the Caribbean welcomes gay marriage. LGBT couples might consider travelling to the gorgeous tropical islands of Guadeloupe, Martinique and Saint Martin.

As for Oceania, 3 out of 5 Australian states permit same-sex unions and New Zealand’s first gay wedding took place in October 2013.

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Groundbreaking New Project Captures the ‘GayFace’ in All its Glory

GayFace: 1st Class is the latest art project from Ashley Kolodner, a queer photographer who has snapped over 150 LGBTQ people from six different cities in the US. Ashley is now raising funds on Kickstarter to publish a book of the portraits and reach an international audience.

You can help her do that via this link.

GayFace’s intention is to capture the beautiful diversity of gay faces, honouring people who are proud to call themselves lesbian, gay, queer, bisexual or anything else. Ashley’s approach is to photograph each subject twice – firstly with their eyes open to denote confidence and engagement and secondly with their eyes closed to signify the historically marginalised situation of LGBTQ people. Ashley then creates a series of alluring diptychs from these images. All subjects have been encouraged to make a statement about their sexual identity, and these will be included in the final book.

The overall effect is to challenge viewers’ preconceived notions about gayface i.e. what LGBTQ people look like and what they think about themselves. The “1st Class” part of the title asserts that the queer community will no longer tolerate being treated as second class citizens.

‘I hope that these photographs bring awareness, a human connection and invoke emotion,’ says Ashley on her Facebook page. ‘This project celebrates the colour, vibrancy and diversity of a community that for decades as been in the dark.’

She began the project in 2011 and has so far attracted interest from websites such as BuzzFeed and The Advocate, as well as Sirius XM Radio. In order to produce the book she needs to raise $46,720 before May 7th. That budget will not only cover the publication of a high-end, photo-quality book but allow Ashley to travel all around the US and photograph over 2,000 more gayfaces.

KitschMix wishes you the best of luck Ashley – See more on: PintrestFacebook, and her Website.

Pier Kids: The Life – Watch the Trailer and Support the Cause

Elegance Bratton’s documentary about New York City’s LGBTQ homeless youth and the neighbourhood they call home might be the next “must see” film.

Bratton’s goal with this film, is “to help poor and working class families of colour understand the gay and transgender youth who are inside their homes so they stop kicking them out onto the streets.”

Bratton’s own mother kicked him out of their home when he came out of the closet. As a result the then-sixteen-year-old bought a train ticket to New York. “I saw three black gay men get on the train. They were laughing. They were singing. They were dressed well. Just really, they were the life of that train car. And I sat there watching them like, “Whatever they’re doing that makes them that happy and that gay, I need to do it.” So, Bratton followed them and ended up at that Christopher Street pier.

Years later, the writer and filmmaker is translating his experiences into a documentary that’s both in conversation with “Paris Is Burning” but also more direct in its attempt to make sense of the way class and race dynamics act upon the city’s LGBT community, especially its youth.

Film Synopsis 

Pier Kids: The Life examines the legacy of Stonewall and the Gay Rights Movement it ignited by following the lives of DeSean, Krystal, and Casper, three gay and transgender youth of color who, after being pushed out of their home because of their sexuality, have become homeless on the same street the riots took place more than forty years ago. While rooted in a specific place and time, the film is constantly pulling back to interrogate one of the most basic units of American life―the family. We follow Krystal, for example, from Christopher Street to Kansas City where she faces her biological family for the first time since becoming a woman. Would they accept her? Could she take rejection from them once again? Or would she gain strength from it and come back to New York a better woman?

Today, white upper-class families make the West Village their home; but as day turns to night, Christopher Street and its adjacent piers also become home to a transient yet vibrant street community known as the Pier Kids. Forming a significant yet invisible network, the Pier Kids are a queer and transgender community of predominately Black and Latino descent representing nearly four thousand of New York City’s sixteen thousand registered homeless youth. Left to wander and with few economic opportunities, the lives of these social refugees are beset with limited and harrowing options as money and food are everyday struggles. Through it all – or, perhaps, because of it all – hope still exists in the shadows of their neglect and abandonment.

Pier Kids: The Life follows the stories of three young people: DeSean, Krystal, and Casper. Together, these three people weave a surprisingly complex story of love, family, exploitation, beauty, and hope. But it’s more than the story of three. It’s the story of thousands.

Derrick Gordon comes out as first openly gay male NCAA Division I basketball player

GLAAD, the nation’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) media advocacy organization, and the You Can Play Project, one of North America’s leading organizations dedicated to ensuring equality in sports, has hailed Derrick Gordon’s coming out as the first openly gay male National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I basketball player.

“The tidal wave of support for gay and lesbian athletes continues to surge forward,” said GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “Derrick’s bold decision to come out as gay isn’t just significant, it’s inspirational. Today, countless young basketball players, athletes, and men of color have another outstanding role model who reflects the fact that you can be who you want to be no matter who you love.”

“I was deeply moved watching Derrick open his heart to his UMass basketball family.  His desire to invite his teammates into his life speaks to how athletes view their teammates as their family,” said Wade Davis, Executive Director of the You Can Play Project. ” I love being a part of an organization that continues to foster the creation of safe spaces for all individuals to be their authentic selves.”

Derrick Gordon, a guard on the Minutemen basketball team at University of Massachusetts-Amherst, told ESPN today, “I’ve always loved sports but always felt I had to hide and be someone that I’m not. For my whole life I’ve been living my life as a lie,” said Gordon. “I am telling my story so that athletes never feel like they have to hide. You can be true to yourself and play the sport that you love.” Derrick Gordon’s announcement comes just one day after the completion of the NCAA Basketball National Championship.

Earlier this year, 24 year-old University of Missouri football defensive end and NFL prospect Michael Sam attracted national news headlines following his announcement that he is gay. Also this year, basketball center Jason Collins became the first openly gay male athlete in professional sports after being signed to the Brooklyn Nets.

Source – http://www.glaad.org/

Jennifer Lopez Wins GLAAD Award for ABC Family’s ‘The Fosters’

Despite having experience in the world of acting (she has starred in both Maid in Manhattan and Gigli), world renowned singer Jennifer Lopez probably seems like an unlikely candidate for being a strong force behind the LGBT movement yet having created The Fosters, an award winning TV show about an interracial lesbian couple and their children, she has become just that. The show has been gifted praise in reviews such as ‘breathtakingly normal’, ‘hilarious’ and ‘well-written’ for the fact that although the show’s two protagonists are gay and interracial, this is effectively nothing but a description of the show as opposed to an overused trope or a plot point and it’s likely for that reason that Jennifer Lopez will be granted an award by GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) at an upcoming awards ceremony.

The award in question is the highly prestigious ‘Vanguard’ title which is GLAAD’s highest honour and is gifted to artists and media professionals who have shown exemplary and overwhelming support for the LGBT community in their work. GLAAD CEO and President Sarah Kate Ellis said this glowing amount of praise about the Puerto Rican singer via the organisation’s website,

“Jennifer Lopez has not only sent a message of acceptance to LGBT adults and young people, but inspired new support for our community among her many fans around the globe. Family is about love, and that’s a message Jennifer has shared with millions through her groundbreaking work on The Fosters.”

Lopez herself said this by way of GLAAD,

“When it comes to gay marriage, I just believe in love. I believe that when two people find each other and love each other, they should be able to spend their lives together with all the same benefits and privileges as everyone,”

While Lopez beliefs are good in themselves, her work behind the scenes for The Fosters should not be overlooked, with the show’s importance being far reaching as it shows a positive portrayal of lesbian family life that has been missing in the media for some time with 2010 film The Kids Are All Right about a married lesbian couple and their children being criticised for its use of hetero-centric plot points and mildly offensive tropes. However, The Fosters continues to do well in the ratings and the Vanguard award (which Lopez is set to receive at a ceremony on April 12th) may serve as a small token for the good work that she is doing, so we’ll keep you updated on the show in the future.

Source: The Huffington Post

 

Harvey Milk to be First Openly Gay Elected Official on a Stamp

Harvey MilkHarvey Milk will be the first openly gay political official to appear on an American stamp. The stamp will be released on Harvey Milk Day, May 22.

Harvey Milk’s ground breaking election in 1977 as one of the world’s first openly gay elected officials-and its most visible one- symbolised the freedom to live life with authenticity to millions of LGBTQ women and men around the world. He was sadly shot and killed in November 1978 at the age of 48 by another member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

Despite his short career in politics, Milk became an icon in San Francisco and a martyr in the gay community. The stamp, which was revealed on Linn’s Stamp News, includes a black-and-white photograph of Milk, along with the pride rainbow flag colours stacked squarely in the upper left corner. U.S. Postal Service officials announced plans to feature the gay rights icon last October, but it was not known until this week what the stamp would look like. The stamp will make its debut in either San Francisco or Washington, D.C.