Tag Archives: New York CIty

NYC Just Hosted the First Russian Gay Pride Parade

Russia is not known for its tolerance. Who can forget the boycotts over the controversial Sochi Olympics just a few short years ago?

Due to homophobic persecution in Russia, thousands of Russians have emigrated from Russia to the United States, seeking asylum. However, these immigrants have not always been welcomed with open arms into the US’ existing Russian immigrant populations, many of whom migrated for economic reasons and are socially more conservative.

In order to bridge the gap between tolerance and intolerance, proclaim their pride in front of their community, and build solidarity among themselves, hundreds of LGBT Russian-speaking immigrants took to the streets of New York City in May for their first-ever Russian-speaking LGBT pride parade.

The parade included immigrants not just from Russia, but from all countries of the former Society Union. Despite the overcast skies and intermittent rain, the parade wound its way down the Brighton Beach boardwalk. There was chanting, dancing, music and excitement. Non-Russian allies carried signs to show their support.

People waved rainbow flags and signs that said, “There is enough kielbasa (sausage) for everyone,” a pro-inclusive statement that references Soviet-era food shortages. The Rude Mechanical Orchestra provided music for the march

Speaking about intolerant members of the Russian-speaking immigrant community, Lyosha Gorshkov, president of the Russian-Speaking American LGBT Association, says,

They don’t see us, and I decided we have to do something to make Brighton Beach safe for all of us.”.

Not all of the onlookers welcomed the parade, unfortunately. One Russian immigrant said about the parade, “They shouldn’t allow it. I’m not saying they should kill them, although if it were up to me…but these marches should not be allowed. First this, and what’s next?”

Attitudes like that are the reason for this march. Check out photos at the official Facebook page.

Queer+Trans Characters Take Center Stage In ‘Street Children’

Hollywood often casts cisgender actors to play transgender roles. For every LaVerne Cox (Orange is the New Black) and Jamie Clayton (Sense8), there’s a Hilary Swank (Boys Don’t Cry) and Jaye Davidson (The Crying Game) and even Jeffrey Tambor (Transparent).

Street Children, a new play to open in New York City, actually casts transgender characters to play transgender roles. That shouldn’t be a radical, transgressive act, but sadly it is.

The play is set in the West Village during the 1980s at the height of the AIDS crisis. After the death of their “house mother,” several queer and transgender people fight to maintain their chosen family. Between scenes, cast members vogue – an underground dance that originated in Harlem and is driven by queer and transgender people of color (QTPOC).

Street Children isn’t perfect. The writer and the director are both cisgender white women attempting to tell a QTPOC story. In many hands, that has been a recipe for disaster. However, the writer invited the queer actors and actresses to rewrite the script’s language and plot points. The story feels authentic as a result.

Street Children has partnered with local activist organizations to empower LGBTQ populations. For example, youth from the Ali Forney Center’s LEAP work readiness program received jobs as interns during the production. The play also partnered with the Trevor Project and the Stonewall Community Foundation.

Street Children also did the impossible: It attracted non-theatregoers to the theatre. Theatre is an expensive endeavor, with tickets to amateur shows running upwards of $20 or $30 (professional shows can run north of $100). Street Children is no exception. Student tickets are $18 and general admission tickets are $28. Despite the steep prices, the director noticed many members of the “vogue and ballroom scenes” in attendance – this means queer and/or transgender people of color, a generally marginalized community.

Will Street Children pave the way for more transgender stories? One can only hope. Perhaps the next show will be pioneered by transgender writers instead of cisgender ones.

New York City Leads The Charger On Single-Sex Facilities To Stop Bathroom Discrimination

New York City has enacted a regulation that ensures people visiting city facilities can use restrooms or locker rooms aligned with their gender identity.

Mayor Bill de Blasio signed an executive order this week that guarantees people access to single-sex facilities consistent with their gender identity at city facilities, including offices, pools and recreation centers, without the need to show identification or any other proof of gender.

The move comes amid a continuing national debate over anti-discrimination laws.

De Blasio said.

Access to bathrooms and other single-sex facilities is a fundamental human right that should not be restricted or denied to any individual. “Every New Yorker should feel safe in our city — and this starts with our city’s buildings.”

Bianey Garcia, a transgender woman and organizer for Make the Road New York, said she was once prohibited from using the women’s restroom at a restaurant by its owner.

That day I felt humiliated, but like so many others I didn’t think of making a complaint or telling anyone because of fear, frustration and disbelief. Access to the ladies bathroom is my right as a transgender woman, as a human being.”

The new regulations apply to all city-owned buildings, including city offices, public parks, playgrounds, pools, recreation centers and certain museums.

It doesn’t require agencies to build new single-stall restroom or locker room facilities, but instead enforces that all individuals, including those who are transgender or gender non-conforming, are free to use single-sex facilities consistent with their gender identity, city officials said.

The order does not apply to the city’s public schools because there already is a policy that students must be allowed to use locker rooms or restrooms consistent with their gender identity. A bill currently pending before the City Council would require publicly available, single-occupancy restrooms in both public and private buildings to be designated as gender-neutral.

An estimated 25,000 transgender or gender non-conforming people live in New York City, officials said. De Blasio’s executive order went into effect immediately after it was signed on Monday.

“New York City is the birthplace of the fight for LGBT rights, and we continue to lead in that fight so every New Yorker can live with dignity,” de Blasio said.

Nearly all of the nation’s 20 largest cities, including New York City, have local or state nondiscrimination laws that allow transgender people to use whatever bathroom they identify with, though a debate has raged around the topic nationwide.

Houston voters defeated an ordinance in the fall that would have established nondiscrimination protections for gay and transgender people. Last week, South Dakota’s governor vetoed a bill that would have made the state the first in the U.S. to approve a law requiring transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that match their sex at birth.

NewFest 2014 – New York’s LGBT Annual Film Festival

NewFest 2014 (the sister event to LA’s Outfest) is New York’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender annual Film Festival that showcases the best of LGBT cinema from both renowned filmmakers as well as exciting discoveries.

With a lineup of 16 narrative and five documentary features, this year’s group of films continues to carry out the festival’s mission of supporting diverse film communities and voices from around the world.

“This marks the fourth year of having NewFest at Film Society and we couldn’t be more happy to continue our collaboration with Outfest. LGBT films and filmmakers are a vital part of cinema worldwide, and we are thrilled to offer this showcase on our screens each year.”

Lesli Klainberg, Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Executive Director

Kicking off the 2014 festival is the New York City Premiere of Karim Aïnouz’s Futuro Beach, a visually stunning, emotionally resonant tale about three Brazilian men struggling across oceans of love, loss, and heartache. Closing out the festival is the New York premiere of Bruce LaBruce’s highly anticipated Gerontophila, a profound comedy about a handsome teen who refuses to feel shame about his unquenchable appetite for older men.

Among the many other highlights from the 2014 feature lineup are Stephan Haupt’s The Circle (winner of the Teddy Award at the 2014 Berlinale); Hong Khaou’s Lilting (a Sundance 2014 selection starring Ben Whishaw); Patrik-Ian Polk’s Blackbird (starring Mo’Nique and Isaiah Washington); Carter Smith’s Jamie Marks is Dead (a Sundance 2014 selection starring Cameron Monaghan, Judy Greer, and Liv Tyler); Sophie Hyde’s 52 Tuesdays (Sundance 2014, Berlinale 2014); and the world premiere of Kate Kunath’s We Came to Sweat: The Legend of Starlite (a timely documentary about Brooklyn’s oldest gay bar).

“In the year following spectacular LGBT civil rights advances across the country, the dynamic and fresh slate of 2014 NewFest films decisively demonstrates that artists and storytellers lead the charge in creating social change,”

Kristin Pepe (KP), Outfest’s Director of Programming


#PrideCast – Watch Mashable’s Livestream of NYC Pride March

You don’t have to travel to New York City this weekend to experience the NYC Pride March. Today, the city streets will welcome the march, and Mashable will be providing coverage, commentary and interviews live from the march route.

Via a livestream on the Mashable YouTube channel, there will be interviews with Orange Is The New Black’s Laverne Cox, Frozen’s Jonathan Groff, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s Rea Carey and Kinky Boots’ Natalie Joy Johnson, among many others attending the march.

Influencers and advocacy groups around the world will also join the event remotely through the power of Google+ Hangouts on Air to share their inspiring stories and efforts.

The month of June commemorates the Stonewall riots, which took place in New York City in June 1969. Now 45 years later, Pride Month is often observed and celebrated across the U.S. through LGBT Pride marches.

To follow the march through social media, keep up with all the action with the #PrideCast hashtag.

#PrideCast – Watch Mashable’s Livestream of NYC Pride March

Dattch to Launch an Android Version of their Lesbian App

Known as ‘the opposite of Grindr’, Dattch is the first app designed with lesbian, bisexual and queer women in mind, and not a re-purposed gay male app. Now, after months of waiting (and thousands of requests), Dattch announced they are launching it’s Android version of the app.

In recent months, Dattch’s lesbian App has taken the USA and UK by storm, with a 30% growth each month, and requests pouring in from gay and bisexual women all over the world for the App to be made available in their cities. With demand high, the team also announced yesterday, that Dattch will also finally launch in New York CIty.

The Android App will be launched on the same day as the New York City launch, and takes place on the 20th June at the Lesbians Who Tech Summit.

“We’ve had thousands and thousands of requests for Android over the past couple of months alone and our early testers have been giving great feedback so we’re really excited to bring Dattch to the Android audience.”

Robyn Exton, CEO

The app’s female driven user experience and beautiful design, clearly sets apart why an app for women is needed.

With Pinterest inspired profiles, girls upload images to show who they really are, pulling in images from their Instagram and Facebook feeds.

“New York has been needing an app like Dattch for years, an easy way to finally meet and chat with other women. We actually stop straight men signing up so users don’t need to worry about being pestered by guys and they can safely and enjoyably meet other women in their area”

Robyn Exton, CEO

Dattch will continue to launch in the US on a city by city basis and users can request for their city to be next by voting in the app. The moment 2,000 requests from any city are received, Dattch will publish the app live.