Showing posts with label LGBT Related. Show all posts
Showing posts with label LGBT Related. Show all posts

20 February 2020

MasterClass Announces Entertainment Icon RuPaul to Teach Self-Expression and Authenticity [Trailer Included]

In his MasterClass, RuPaul shares powerful lessons on the importance of knowing your value and being true to yourself
In his MasterClass, RuPaul shares powerful lessons on the importance of knowing your value and being true to yourself (image courtesy of MasterClass)
MasterClass, the platform that makes it possible for anyone to learn from the best, today announced that RuPaul will teach a class on self-expression and authenticity. 

As one of the world's most recognized personalities, RuPaul is a cultural icon. In his MasterClass, he shares an intimate look into his journey to self-love and stardom. Through a series of candid lessons, RuPaul speaks his fearless truth and shares his experiences — teaching members how to identify strengths, cultivate a tribe, and tune into inner frequency to live their best, most authentic and powerful life.
"RuPaul is fearless — defying norms and breaking rules," said David Rogier, co-founder and CEO of MasterClass. "Ru's MasterClass teaches every single one of us how to celebrate who we are, how to persevere, how to take risks and how to own our fears. This class will change how you live your life."
Being credited for bringing drag into the spotlight and named "the world's most famous drag queen" by Fortune Magazine in 2019, RuPaul has taken the world by storm since becoming a popular fixture in New York City nightlife and releasing his debut single, "Supermodel (You Better Work)," in 1993. 

The actor, model, singer, songwriter and TV personality has paved his way into global superstardom using his mantra "love yourself." Throughout his 35-year career, RuPaul has released 14 studio albums and three books, hosted his own talk show, The RuPaul Show on VH1 for over 100 episodes and has made countless appearances in TV and films including To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything!, Julie Newmar and more. 

Since 2009, RuPaul has produced and hosted critically acclaimed RuPaul's Drag Race, winning six Primetime Emmy Awards and inspiring several spin-off series, including RuPaul's Drag U and RuPaul's Drag Race All-Stars

In 2017, RuPaul was named one of TIME's most influential people in the world.

In his MasterClass, RuPaul shares powerful lessons on the importance of knowing your value and being true to yourself
In his MasterClass, RuPaul shares powerful lessons on the importance of knowing your value and being true to yourself (image courtesy of MasterClass)
"How can you love, if you can't love yourself?" said RuPaul. "My MasterClass will show you how to find the deepest level of yourself, own who you are and have the confidence to work the runway of life."
Delivered with his signature humor and larger-than-life personality, RuPaul's MasterClass is an intimate and candid look into his journey to self-love and self-betterment. 

As a prominent figure and supporter of the LGBTQ+ community, RuPaul has fought for equality and promotes the message of embracing and accepting one's uniqueness. He will show students of all ages, races, genders, and sexualities, how to tune into inner frequency by incorporating stillness, meditation and personal inventory. He'll also share personal secrets on owning a room and cultivating a tribe, and why it's important to identify mentors and pay it forward. In a deeply personal lesson, RuPaul shares past trauma in his own life and how it relates to his process of self-betterment, offering advice on how to deal with shame, trauma, and hard emotions. 

In his MasterClass, RuPaul shares powerful lessons on the importance of knowing your value and being true to yourself
In his MasterClass, RuPaul shares powerful lessons on the importance of knowing your value and being true to yourself (image courtesy of MasterClass)
RuPaul will also sit down with long-time costume collaborator, Zaldy, to deconstruct previous runway looks the duo has created. In bonus lessons, RuPaul's makeup artist David Petruschin transforms into drag alter-ego Raven, and RuPaul shares insights and makeup lessons for all, from painting dramatic eyes to contouring. 

RuPaul's MasterClass - The Trailer:

RuPaul's MasterClass joins the 75+ classes taught by world-renowned instructors on culinary arts, photography, writing, performance, and much more. 

Each MasterClass has digestible video lessons sized to fit into any part of your day and cinematic visuals with close-up, hands-on demonstrations that make you feel one-on-one with the instructor. 

MasterClass's current roster of courses includes:

  • Business: Howard Schultz (business leadership), Anna Wintour (creativity and leadership), Sara Blakely (self-made entrepreneurship), Bob Iger (strategy and leadership), Chris Voss (art of negotiation), Goodby and Silverstein (advertising and creativity)
  • Culinary Arts: Gordon Ramsay (cooking), Alice Waters (home cooking), Thomas Keller (cooking techniques), Wolfgang Puck (cooking), Dominique Ansel (French pastry), James Suckling (wine appreciation), Aaron Franklin (Texas BBQ), Massimo Bottura (Italian cooking), Gabriela Cámara (Mexican cooking)
  • Film and Television: Werner Herzog (filmmaking), Martin Scorsese (filmmaking), Ron Howard (directing), Spike Lee (filmmaking), Mira Nair (independent filmmaking), Jodie Foster (filmmaking), Ken Burns (documentary filmmaking), Helen Mirren (acting), Samuel L. Jackson (acting), Judd Apatow (comedy), Aaron Sorkin (screenwriting), Shonda Rhimes (writing for television), Natalie Portman (acting), David Lynch (creativity and filmmaking)
  • Lifestyle: Bobbi Brown (makeup and beauty), RuPaul (self-expression and authenticity)
  • Music and Entertainment: Steve Martin (comedy), Christina Aguilera (singing), Usher (performance), Reba McEntire (country music), Herbie Hancock (jazz), Deadmau5 (music production), Armin van Buuren (dance music), Hans Zimmer (film scoring), Tom Morello (electric guitar), Carlos Santana (art and soul of guitar), Timbaland (producing and beatmaking), Penn & Teller (magic), Itzhak Perlman (violin), Danny Elfman (music for film)
  • Writing: James Patterson (writing), David Mamet (dramatic writing), Judy Blume (writing), Malcolm Gladwell (writing), R.L. Stine (writing for young audiences), Margaret Atwood (creative writing), Dan Brown (writing thrillers), Neil Gaiman (storytelling), Billy Collins (poetry), David Baldacci (writing thrillers), Joyce Carol Oates (short story writing), David Sedaris (storytelling and humor)
  • Photography: Annie Leibovitz (photography), Jimmy Chin (adventure photography)
  • Design and Fashion: Frank Gehry (architecture), Diane von Furstenberg (how to build a fashion brand), Marc Jacobs (fashion design)
  • Sports and Games: Serena Williams (tennis), Stephen Curry (shooting, ball-handling, and scoring), Garry Kasparov (chess), Daniel Negreanu (poker), Phil Ivey (poker strategy), Simone Biles (gymnastics), Misty Copeland (ballet)
  • Politics and Society: Jane Goodall (conservation), Bob Woodward (investigative journalism), Karl Rove and David Axelrod (political campaign strategy), Paul Krugman (economics and society), Doris Kearns Goodwin (U.S. presidential history and leadership)
  • Science and Technology: Chris Hadfield (space exploration), Will Wright (game design), Neil deGrasse Tyson (scientific thinking and communication)
For more information, please visit

SOURCE: MasterClass

23 December 2019

How A Canadian Superhero Brought Queer Representation To Marvel Comics

Northstar’s marriage was prominently displayed on the cover of ‘Astonishing X-Men #51.’
Northstar’s marriage was prominently displayed on the cover of ‘Astonishing X-Men #51.’ (Marvel)
 Marvel Comics is frequently referred to as “the house of ideas,” yet the idea of a queer superhero did not fully arrive at Marvel until the 1990s. Despite Marvel’s reputation as a campus phenomenon and as a hotbed for liberal — even subversive — discourse, Stan Lee’s comics publishing juggernaut would not feature a canonically gay character until some 30 years after the debut of The Fantastic Four. 

There’s a reason for that.

The 1954 Comics Code Authority — a censorship bureau that policed comics content — explicitly banned “sex perversion or any inference to same,” which comics scholar Hilary Chute notes is “a clear reference to homosexuality.” The Marvel Universe as we know it began in 1961, with the launch of Fantastic Four #1. Thus, Marvel Comics was, from the outset, actually prohibited from depicting gay characters.

So how do you a write a queer character at a time when comics are expressly forbidden from featuring queer characters?

In a word: delicately.

The slow coming out

It wasn’t until 1992 — three years after a major revision to the Comics Code officially opened the door to depictions of LGBTQ+ characters — that Marvel had their first openly gay superhero. In Alpha Flight #106 written by Scott Lobdel, the character Northstar (alias Olympic ski champion Jean-Paul Beaubier) declared: “I am gay.”

Even then this move was met with outrage by Marvel’s corporate leadership, Marvel Comics historian Sean Howe explained in his book Marvel Comics: The Untold Story.

Twenty years later, Northstar would also feature in Marvel’s first same-sex marriage, an event that was prominently depicted on the cover of Astonishing X-Men #51.

Astonishing X-Men #51. Written by Margaret Liu and illustrated by Dustin Weaver, published June 20, 2012
Astonishing X-Men #51. Written by Margaret Liu and illustrated by Dustin Weaver, published June 20, 2012. (Marvel)

A hotbed for queer subtext

Northstar had debuted way back in 1983 as part of the all-Canadian, government-sponsored superhero team, Alpha Flight. The team first appeared in the pages of X-Men, brought to life by Canadian artist and writer John Byrne and iconic X-Men writer Chris Claremont.

At the time, X-Men comics were already a hotbed for queer subtext. Comics scholar Ramzi Fawaz notes that Claremont’s X-Menarticulated mutation to the radical critiques of identity promulgated by the cultures of women’s and gay liberation.”

Another comics scholar, Scott Bukatman, puts it more simply and says: “mutant bodies are explicitly analogized to … gay bodies” in Claremont’s X-Men. It is no surprise then, that Marvel’s first gay superhero should emerge from this series.

Marvel’s first gay superhero emerged from the X-Men series.
Marvel’s first gay superhero emerged from the X-Men series. (Marvel)
There needs to be gays in comics because there are gays in real life. No other reason …. The population of the fictional world should represent the real world. That’s why I created Northstar — I felt the Marvel Universe needed a gay superhero (even if I would never be allowed to say it in so many words in the comics themselves), and I felt that I should create one, rather than retrofitting an existing character.”

Validation through storytelling

Northstar’s sexuality first surfaces in Alpha Flight #7 (1983) when he meets up with “an old friend” named Raymonde who is strongly hinted to be a former lover. In the story, written by Byrne, Raymonde comments on Northstar’s good looks. He also references the secretive nature of his relationship with Jean-Paul: “Then you have not really told your sister all about me, after all, Jean-Paul? I thought that would have been odd.”

From Alpha Flight #7
From Alpha Flight #7 (Marvel)
When Raymonde is later murdered, Northstar snaps with blind rage. The narrative caption tells us: “And Raymonde had led him out of that dark fear, into the bright clear light of self-acceptance.” 

In 1983, the narrative of a former lover being murdered and thus spurring the superhero to action and emotional eruption was already a comics cliché. But staging that through a same-sex couple establishes a sort of subtextual validation of Northstar’s relationship as something more than the Comics Code Authority “sex perversion” label.

Two years later, in the 1985 limited series X-Men and Alpha Flight, Northstar’s sexuality is once again woven into a key story, this time written by Claremont. After having his consciousness briefly absorbed by the X-Man Rogue, Northstar becomes furious that she now knows his “secrets.”

In a misguided attempt to help Northstar, Rogue then asks him to dance at a very public reception. When Northstar’s own teammates make fun of the incongruity of Northstar dancing at a ball with a woman, Rogue thinks “None of y’all understand him the way ah do.”

In the face of this ridicule, a stoic Jean-Paul takes Rogue up on the dance. She remarks “You don’t have to,” to which he replies, “Yes, Rogue. I do.”

From X-Men and Alpha Flight #1
From X-Men and Alpha Flight #1 (Marvel)


On the literal level, Northstar is being ridiculed for his general disinterest in heterosexual romance. But Claremont is crafting a story of a man who struggles with his closeted sexuality in the face of social pressures.

It’s a sympathetic portrayal of the character that helps to normalize the concept of a gay superhero, even if Marvel couldn’t identify him that way at the time.

Whether through delicate subtext or comics covering wedding events, Northstar holds a uniquely prominent and, at times, poignant position in the history of LGBTQ+ superheroes.

As we come to understand the importance of diverse representation within the superhero genre, this is a character that needs to be known, discussed and hopefully appreciated.

About Today's Contributor:

J. Andrew Deman, Professor, University of Waterloo

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. 

5 November 2019

AsylumConnect Launches First Ever Mobile App For #LGBTQ Asylum Seekers

AsylumConnect Launches First Ever Mobile App For LGBTQ Asylum Seekers
AsylumConnect Launches First Ever Mobile App For LGBTQ Asylum Seekers
Tech nonprofit AsylumConnect has launched the first-of-its-kind mobile app for the tens of thousands of LGBTQ asylum seekers fleeing their homes for safer ground each year. AsylumConnect had previously been available as a dynamic web application.
"Our free app instantly connects persecuted LGBTQ people with verified safe services and support. With today's launch, we have improved our platform's mobile accessibility and user experience at this pivotal moment for LGBTQ and immigrant communities," said Katie Sgarro, AsylumConnect co-founder and president.
From leaving their dangerous home country to resettlement, it is often a matter of life-or-death for LGBTQ asylum seekers to be able to easily connect with legitimate and LGBTQ-affirming lawyers and other direct service providers. 

LGBTQ asylum seekers and other LGBTQ populations (undocumented immigrants, homeless or isolated youth) use AsylumConnect as a free digital one-stop-shop referral site to meet their needs in all aspects of their lives, including: housing, legal, medical, mental health, education and employment. 

  • Lawyers and other direct service providers also use AsylumConnect to gather verified referrals.

The AsylumConnect mobile app on iOS and Android offers an improved user experience and new features:

  • Streamlined user experience: improved content organization, new bottom navigation, and fresh designs throughout the app
  • New verified resources and locations: at launch, the app connects users to verified LGBTQ-and immigrant-friendly services in 25 U.S. states, Canada and Mexico
  • Anonymity: designed to protect users' privacy online
  • Search filters: filter out services that require specific documentation (medical insurance, proof of age/income/residence, or a referral)
  • Translation: available in over 100 languages
Next, AsylumConnect will introduce enhanced map visualization, offline capabilities, new locations and an integrated private online community for LGBTQ asylum seekers.
Since launching in 2016, AsylumConnect has connected over 11,000 unique users to verified LGBTQ-and immigrant-friendly services in the U.S. and has been accessed in over 150 countries. Financial and in-kind supporters include: Roddenberry Foundation, U.S. Committee for Refugees & Immigrants, Clinton Foundation, Brooklyn Community Foundation Immigrant Rights Fund, One Degree, Urban Justice Center's Social Justice Accelerator, and Miller Center's GSBI Social Entrepreneurship at the Margins Accelerator.

About AsylumConnect

AsylumConnect is a tech nonprofit providing the first and only digital resource platform for LGBTQ asylum.

About Katie Sgarro, AsylumConnect Co-Founder & President 

Katie Sgarro is based in New York and is a social entrepreneur and LGBTQ advocate. During her senior year in college, she publicly “came out” in order to co-found AsylumConnect. Her experience denying her own LGBTQ identity drives her to ensure that other LGBTQ people live freely. Sgarro has led AsylumConnect for 5 years in establishing the first ever digital resource platform for LGBTQ asylum.

For her work on AsylumConnect, Sgarro was selected as the winner of MCC15’s Millennium Peace Prize at the United Nations and the 2015 Business Today Impact Challenge. In 2017, she was named to the Clinton Foundation’s Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) Alumni Honor Roll of social innovators and as a Mogul Influencer. Sgarro was also named a Washington Post’s WP BrandStudio Influencer in 2018. In 2019, Sgarro became a Roddenberry Fellow and joined Urban Justice Center’s Social Justice Accelerator. In 2019, Sgarro was also selected as one of 24 emerging nonprofit leaders for American Express Leadership Academy's Converge Academy in Brooklyn, NY.

She has been a featured speaker on LGBTQ rights and public good technology, and her work has appeared in national outlets including Teen Vogue,, The HuffPost, NowThis, The Advocate, and The Hill. She received a B.A. cum laude in Health & Societies from the University of Pennsylvania and a M.S. in Management from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. 
Katie Sgarro
Katie Sgarro (image via
    SOURCE: AsylumConnect

    11 October 2019

    'Transparency: An LGBTQ+ Glass Art Exhibition' Makes West Coast Debut at Museum of Glass

    Pearl Dick. Us, 2017. Blown, sculpted glass; 12 1/2 x 16 x 6 inches. (Photo by Randy Korwin. Courtesy of the National Liberty Museum.)
    Pearl Dick. Us, 2017. Blown, sculpted glass; 12 1/2 x 16 x 6 inches. (Photo by Randy Korwin. Courtesy of the National Liberty Museum.)
    The nation's first museum exhibition of Studio Glass works produced exclusively by artists in the LGBTQ+ community, Transparency: An LGBTQ+ Glass Art Exhibition makes its West Coast debut at Museum of Glass on October 12, 2019. 

    Curated and organized by the National Liberty Museum, this three-dimensional mediation on queer experience emphasizes the importance of being open about identity, a hallmark of liberty and creative freedom.

    Transparency, which originally opened for Pride 2017, speaks both to the medium of glass and to the artists' freedom to acknowledge their identity, regardless of the political or artistic consequences. It includes work by more than 20 glass artists, including Nancy Callan, Pearl Dick, Tim Tate, Kim Harty, Joseph Sircoulomb, and Sabrina Knowles and Jenny Pohlman. The featured pieces were chosen by the artists, keeping with the spirit of self-advocacy and creative self-expression that characterizes Pride.
    "The National Liberty Museum's mission is to promote freedom and self-expression, and nothing better exemplifies that more than this groundbreaking exhibition," said Meegan Coll, Director of Glass Programs at the National Liberty Museum. "We are so excited that we could partner with Museum of Glass to not only bring the work of these artists but also the message of Transparency to the West Coast."
    The opening of Transparency at Museum of Glass correlates with Refract: The Seattle Glass Experience, happening October 17-20. Refract is the nation's newest festival showcasing creative uses of glass in the Pacific Northwest. 

    • In partnership with Refract, Museum of Glass will celebrate Transparency with an opening party, including a meet and greet with several participating artists, DJ, cash bar, and free access from 12-2pm on Sunday, October 20.
    'Seaform Pavilion, Chihuly Bridge of Glass' - Museum of Glass, Tacoma
    'Seaform Pavilion, Chihuly Bridge of Glass' - Museum of Glass, Tacoma

    About Museum of Glass

    Located in Tacoma, Washington, Museum of Glass is a premier contemporary art museum dedicated to glass and glassmaking in the West Coast's largest and most active museum glass studio. 

    Opened in 2002, the Museum has established a reputation for hosting impactful and engaging artist residencies, organizing nationally traveling exhibitions, and creating unique programs for visitors while building a growing permanent collection chronicling the development of modern and contemporary glass. 

    Museum of Glass provides an environment for artists and the public to ignite creativity, fuel discovery, and enrich their lives through glass and glassmaking. 

    • Museum of Glass is a non-profit organization sponsored in part by the City of Tacoma Arts Commission, ArtsFund, The Greater Tacoma Community Foundation, The Dimmer Family Foundation, and the Driscoll Foundation.

    7 October 2019

    Transgender Love Story "Just Another Beautiful Family" Wins Audience Choice Award at CIFF

    A tender love story about a family with a transgender parent won the Audience Choice Award at Calgary International Film Festival.
    A tender love story about a family with a transgender parent won the Audience Choice Award at Calgary International Film Festival. (Photo credit: Dana Pugh.)
    The short documentary film "Just Another Beautiful Family" won the Audience Choice Award at the Calgary International Film Festival on Wednesday, October 2nd. The film follows Katherine and Nick North's own family of 7, which on the surface looks like a typical suburban family, with a twist: Nick is transgender.
    "Our goal is to show people an example of what a happy, loving family looks like with queer parents," says Nick North, who co-wrote, co-directed, and co-produced the film with his wife, Katherine North. "As cool as it is for us to win this award, I actually think it's a sign of progress for all of us. Three years ago when I came out, I don't know that a trans film would have been this loved and accepted. We wanted to show everyone that there are so many kinds of beautiful families."
    The film's synopsis reads: Just an ordinary suburban family-- except that Dad's transgender, Mom's queer, and there are five kids in this minivan. This is one family's true story of identity, trust, and transformation. Too many transgender kids wonder: Will I be loved? Will I get to have a family? Will it all be ok? Here's the answer: a love story about family, finding your true self, and becoming who you really are.

    The "Just Another Beautiful Family" Short Documentary

    About The Norths: 
    First-time filmmakers Katherine and Nick fell in love, turned their worlds upside down, and lived to tell about it. Their first joint project is this personal documentary about how they fell in love, became a blended family with FIVE kids, and navigated Nick's gender transition from female to male. 

    This is the first of many projects they hope to do together (in addition to coparenting, driving the minivan, and doing to the dishes) as part of their Beautiful Families project, which shares stories about all sorts of underrepresented and nontraditional families-- because every family is a beautiful family.

    The North family: just an ordinary suburban family with five kids, a naughty puppy, and a minivan.
    The North family: just an ordinary suburban family with five kids, a naughty puppy, and a minivan. (Photo credit: Dana Pugh)
    • Just Another Beautiful Family premiered as part of the Alberta Shorts program at Calgary International Film Festival, and is now available in full online. This film was made possible with support from TELUS STORYHIVE.

    24 July 2019

    Beer, Food... Sex Ed?

    Reuben's staff celebrate a winning game at SERVE 2018
    Reuben's staff celebrate a winning game at SERVE 2018 (CNW Group/Head and Hands)
    Head & Hands' Sense Project has been supplementing Quebec's insufficient sex education program since 2005. Despite the government's 2017 decision to bring sex education back into the curriculum, it has stagnated in the pilot phase for more than two years. 
    The Sense Project employs an approach that are trans- and queer-positive, casual, and non-judgmental. Delivered by a team of trained peer facilitators 18-25, the unique combination creates an environment of relatability where teens ask what they want, and get the answers they deserve.
    In the last year, the Sense Project made a shift to working more with the Francophone school system, with a 253% increase in the number of safer sex workshops offered in French. 

    • The Sense Project also debuted two new workshop series for teens surrounding different sexualities and trans experiences.
    Every year, the annual SERVE Beach Volleyball Tournament brings together staff from bars and restaurants from around Montreal raise money for the Sense Project, supporting another year of intervention-based sex education. Every year, the bars raise upwards of $15,000 during a fun-filled day of beer, balls, barbeque, and sex ed facts.

    Those who aren't playing beach volleyball are welcome to bask in the sun at Jeanne Mance Park too! You don't have to raise money to contribute: all you have to do is buy a hot dog and you'll be contributing to your community. 

    • Kids are welcome too - facepainting and childcare are available!
    "Youth already have a lot of knowledge. They just need to validate that knowledge, and build on it in an environment that feels safe". - Charlie Morin, Sense Project Coordinator

    Who: The staff of 11 Montreal bars and restaurants and community members who want to support sex education for youth

    To support sex education for Montreal youth through a fun day of beach volleyball, games, face painting, and more!

    When: Sunday, July 28th, 2019: 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM

    Where: Association Montreal Beach - Griffintown, on the canal

    Related Video:

    13 November 2018

    The Henry Rios Mysteries Podcast, A New Gay-Themed Podcast Adapting An Acclaimed Series Of Crime Fiction, Is Coming In January 2019

    Armando Rey plays Henry Rios in Persigo Press' new podcast
    Armando Rey plays Henry Rios in Persigo Press' new podcast
    Henry Rios, the gay, Latino lawyer created by Michael Nava in an acclaimed series of mysteries published between 1986 and 2000 is coming to life in a new podcast from Persigo Press. The Henry Rios Mysteries debuts on January 15, 2019.  
    Season one adapts the first novel in the series, Lay Your Sleeping Head, into a 17-episode podcast inspired by classic radio theater. Rios is voiced by veteran stage and screen actor, Armando Rey with a supporting cast of actors drawn from San Francisco' s theater scene where the podcast is being produced. 
    The podcast features original music by composer, Josh DeRosa, and is written and produced by Nava working with Oakland sound engineer Dave Peck.
    The Henry Rios novels were ground-breaking. Garth Greenwell, writing in The New Yorker called Rios "a detective unlike any other previous protagonist in American noir, whose hard-boiled bona fides – world weariness, wit, a penchant for erotic entanglement – are accompanied by hyper-attentiveness to class and a commitment to the poor."  
    Compared by reviewers to classic noir writers like Raymond Chandler and Georges Simenon, Marilyn Stasio in The New York Times summed up Nava's reputation when she called him simply "one of our best."  
    The Rios novels won an unprecedent six Lambda Literary Awards and Nava was honored with the Bill Whitehead Award for Lifetime Achievement in LGBT Literature, awarded annually by the Publisher's Triangle, the association of LGBT publishing professionals.
    "I'm bringing Rios back because in an age when every kind of bigotry is being empowered from the top, a gay, Latino hero seems more relevant and necessary than ever," Nava said, explaining his decision to revive the series as a podcast. 
    He adds, "Podcasting is an entertainment medium, unlike TV and movies, where there are no corporate gatekeepers who decide whose stories are going to be told, thus continuing to marginalize LGBT people and people of color. I also hope to appeal to a new, younger audience while reconnecting with my readers."

    Related Video: "Michael Nava reads Henry Rios at the San Francisco Public Library"

    About Michael Nava:
    Michael Nava
    Michael Nava (Image via
    Michael Nava is the author of an acclaimed series of seven crime novels featuring gay, Latino criminal defense lawyer Henry Rios. The Rios novels won six Lambda Literary awards and Nava was called by the New York Times, “one of our best.” In 2001, he was awarded the Bill Whitehead Lifetime Achievement Award in LGBT literature. A native Californian and the grandson of Mexican immigrants, he divides his time between San Francisco and Palm Springs.

    In 2014, he published
    The City of Palaces an historical novel set in the years just before and at the beginning of the Mexican Revolution of 1910. Novelist Christopher Bram said about The City of Palaces: “City of Palaces begins as the love story of two good people, a Catholic and an atheist, who find each other in the corrupt world of belle epoch Mexico City. It grows into a magnificent epic about family, politics, art, revolution, and hope. This is a masterly work of old-fashioned storytelling, rich and spacious and moving, a novel that deserves to be compared to The Leopard, Love in the Time of Cholera, and Doctor Zhivago, but with its own intimacy and grandeur.”

    In 2016, Korima published a revised version of the first Henry Rios novel, re-titled
    Lay Your Sleeping Head. In 2017, Korima Press published the novella, Street People. Both books were nominated for Lambda Literary Awards.

    In 2018, he announced the formation of his own press, Persigo Press, through which he intends to relaunch the Rios series with a new novel, Carved in Bone, tentatively scheduled for spring, 2019. He will also republish the existing Rios novels. Additionally, as part of the relaunch, he is producing a podcast that adapts
    Lay Your Sleeping Head into a 17-episode series inspired by classic radio theater.

    Nava has also had a distinguished legal career, having earned his law degree from Stanford University. He retired from the law in July 2016. He can reached though his Facebook page, “
    Michael Nava, Writer
    SOURCE: Persigo Press

    9 August 2018

    The LGBT Israel Task Force and Creator of Eurovision's Winning Song "Toy" Fight For The Israeli LGBT Community and Present: "Waiting In Youtube's Antechamber"

    Doron Medalie hosts Sharon Maymon and Tal Granit - two well-known filmmakers in the LGBT community - and authors of the new ‘Haneshef’ movie starring trans model and actress Stav Strashko.
    Doron Medalie hosts Sharon Maymon and Tal Granit - two well-known filmmakers in the LGBT community - and authors of the new ‘Haneshef’ movie starring trans model and actress Stav Strashko.
    The LGBT Israel Task Force ('The Aguda') and renowned Israeli composer and song writer Doron Medalie are launching together with Google a very unusual YouTube experience. 

    This experience will effectively turn pre-roll ads into a waiting room where people wanting to listen to one of Medalie's many hits will have to patiently wait, while listening to a series of interviews. 

    But with Medalie's songs figuring in most Israelis' playlists, the LGBT Israel Task Force have essentially hacked the medium and ensured their message is heard through YouTube. 

    With close to 50 musical hits, the campaign has not gone unnoticed and to boot, Medalie has tailored every pre-roll's opening statement to suit the title of the song chosen and kick off the discussion of LGBT rights from a different angle. So if the song chosen was 'Aba(which means Dad in Hebrew), the pre-roll's opening statement related to the fact the LGBT community in Israel is barred from adopting or using a surrogate to become a parent. If the song chosen was "Heaven" – the opening statement alludes the fact that Spain is gay heaven, as gays are allowed to marry there, but not in Israel.
    The YouTube virtual waiting room is in fact a two and a half hour long pre-roll ad that will be activated every time someone plays one of Medalie's songs. This will be a waiting room where viewers will be invited to join Medalie, as he talks to friends and guests about the subject of LGBT rights until they are granted to them by law.
    Among the guests hosted in Medalie's antechamber are some of the country's leading music stars like Noa Kirl, Eliad Nahum, StephanNikki Goldstein, Gal Ochovsky and many other artists and celebrities, as well as representatives of the various bodies that are taking part in the LGBT community's struggle. 

    This includes the members of the parents of gay children organization 'Tehila', youngsters belonging to 'IGY' (The Israeli Gay Youth organization) and other people; homosexuals, lesbians, transgenders and activists, who are outraged by the injustice and current state of affairs. 
    To truly understand the extent of this campaign and its pervasiveness, it must be taken into account that Medalie is one of the country's most prolific song writers. According to Israeli music copyright organization 'Acum', it is estimated that in 2018, no less than 10 hit songs written and composed by Doron Medalie are played at any given wedding in Israel. Songs like "Tel Aviv", "Revolution of Joy," "Just Want to Dance," "Caramel," "Golden Boy" (Eurovision 2016), "Melted from You", "Tikritas", "I Built on You", "Wai Li", "Bereshit Olam" and more. 
    The pre-rolls which play before any of Medalie's hit songs are meant to illustrate the irony in the fact that while Medalie's songs are used to celebrate weddings, he himself can only be a guest at those weddings, as gays do not have the right to marry in Israel.
    Doron Medalie is a well-known music composer and song writer and an active, outspoken member of the LGBT community. This is a community for which he has actively campaigned by promoting a message of equality and love in Israeli society. 

    And while until recently, Medalie was essentially a well-known figure within the confines of the Israeli borders, he broke onto the International scene and the public's consciousness this year as the composer and writer of Neta Barzilai's winning song - TOY – which took home the first prize at the much acclaimed Eurovision Song Contest.
    Now Medalie is harnessing the extensive press coverage he received to further the rights of Israeli homosexuals, lesbians and trans-genders and make sure the Israeli Parliament grants them equal rights by law – a fight that touches him and many of his friends on a very personal level.  

    This is a struggle which he has been walking for the past two years with the BBR Saatchi & Saatchi advertising agency, that has shouldered his efforts by working together with him on a variety of projects including last month's #Proudstrikers project – a one-day nationwide strike urging the LGBT community to stay away from work and demand their equal rights. A point he is now trying to drive home even further.
    When asked why he is doing this, Medalie says "The time has come to put things on the table and call a spade a spade: I am Doron Medalie, a homosexual and a second-class citizen in the State of Israel. For the past 20 years, I have been working behind the scenes to promote culture and further the status of artists in Israel – as a law abiding, tax paying citizen should. But here is where the absurdity of it all lies: I, in fact, fall in the highest tax paying bracket in Israel. That means that hundreds of thousands of shekels that I earn, go towards funding segments of the population, whose representatives do everything in their power so that I remain a second-class citizen, voting against laws designed to equalize my status."
    "Over the past two years, I have had long brainstorming sessions with the BBR Saatchi & Saatchi advertising agency, who generously volunteered to accompany me on my journey," says Medalie. "One of those sessions generated the #Proudstrikers idea which saw over 100,000 people take to the streets in protest, but more importantly pushed Israeli decision makers to take a stand and decide on which side of this issue they want to be.

    The brands and companies that joined in the protest last month moved me very much, but it will be more significant to see how much effort and thought they put into caring for their LGBT employees once the issue has moved out of the newspaper headlines. On a personal level, I felt it was my duty to contribute to the LGBT struggle by creating a personal protest campaign, because I have the tools to do that in a way that cannot be ignored. So in the next few days, I'm taking over YouTube. Every time you look for one of the songs I've written or listen to a playlist that has one of my songs in it, an ad will appear and you'll see me talking. Instead of skipping the 'pre roll ad' viewers will be invited to listen. Because what we created is not an ad – but material designed to make you think, act and hopefully also contribute by signing our petition."
    About Doron Medalie:
    Doron Medalie is an Israeli songwriter, composer and artistic director. His song "Toy" won the Eurovision Song Contest in 2018. 

    A graduate of the School of Music, Habima National Theatre and Alon high-school for the performing arts, he is one of Israel's most successful hit-makers.  

    Doron has written over 250 songs, ballads, Middle Eastern pop songs, children songs, soundtracks and theme songs for TV for some of Israel's most prominent artists and shows. 

    ⏩ As an outspoken gay man, Medalie is a well-known activist for Israeli LGBT rights.  

    To learn more, he can be found on Facebook or his body of work is available on YouTube.

    About The Aguda:
    The AgudaIsrael's LGBT Task Force was founded in 1975 as a non-profit organization for the LGBT community. 

    Since its establishment the Aguda has striven to improve the LGBT community's standing in Israel to achieve equal rights, and security. 

    The Aguda works in partnership with all the LGBT organizations in Israel

    To learn more about The Aguda, visit 

    SOURCE: The LGBT Israel Task Force (‘The Aguda’) and Doron Medalie

    The Pre Roll Intro Video:

    4 July 2018

    [UK] Gay Conversion Therapy: Proposed Ban Is A Positive Step But The Battle Remains To Be Won


    File 20180703 116152 g98c8z.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1
    There’s nothing broken that needs to be fixed. (Fotosr52/
    Conversion therapy – sometimes known as “reparative therapy” or “gay cure therapy” – claims to alter a person’s sexual orientation from gay to straight. The practice is based on the mistaken idea that gay people suffer a traumatic experience early in life that has damages them and that homosexuality is a “reparative drive” to overcome this early trauma.

    In the UK, practitioners are legally allowed to promote and provide conversion therapy. But, hopefully, not for much longer. The UK government has announced plans to ban conversion therapy as part of its LGBT action plan.

    Attempts to “cure” homosexuality were not always couched in the language of therapy. In the early 20th century, medical professionals believed that homosexuality was a birth defect. One “treatment” involved replacing a testicle of a homosexual man with one from a heterosexual man. Later methods included lobotomies and chemical castration – a method used on Alan Turing, the Enigma codebreaker.

    Homosexuality later came to be seen as a condition that could be “treated” psychologically – although this doesn’t mean that the methods used were any more humane.

    In the 1950s and 60s, when homosexuality was still illegal in the UK, the NHS routinely used aversion therapy on men convicted of homosexuality in an attempt to turn them straight. If they volunteered for this treatment, they could avoid a prison sentence. Volunteers – if they can be called that – were shown pictures of naked men and given either electric shocks or drugs that induced vomiting. The aim was to make them respond negatively to their homosexuality and thus to be “cured”.

    The late Joseph Nicolosi, who popularised conversion therapy in the US, explains his technique to Stephen Fry.

    Not a psychiatric condition 
    Homosexuality was removed from the American Psychiatric Association’s diagnostic manual in 1987 and from the World Health Organisation’s classification of mental disorders in 1992. Progress in this area has been slow. 

    In 2015, a memorandum of understanding stating that conversion therapy is unethical and potentially harmful was signed by representatives from the NHS, the Royal College of Psychiatrists and the major counselling and psychotherapy organisations in the UK. 

    Being gay is not a disease and there is no sound evidence that sexual orientation can be changed by “conversion therapy”. Also, “treating” homosexuality sustains the prejudice and discrimination that gay people already face in society. 

    Gay people who seek to change their sexuality do so because of internalised homophobia and because of the dangers and pressures arising from this external prejudice and discrimination. An example of the potential harm is seen in a 2002 study
    of 202 men, which found that the practice had led 34 of them to attempt suicide either during or after “conversion therapy”.

    Co-opting the language of sexual fluidity
    These days “conversion therapy” is generally advocated by religious groups, such the Core Issues Trust, a UK organisation that “works with people who seek to change from a ‘gay’ lifestyle to a gender-affirming one”. 

    In common with National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality in the US (an organisation that advocates the use of conversion therapy in the US), the Core Issues Trust advocates for the right of people to have access to this service if they want it. They use the language of rights, autonomy and client choice, arguing that a ban would deny them a “human right to treatment intended to help them shape their lives as they wish”. 

    They have also co-opted the language of sexual fluidity as justification for their assertion that the practice works. This misunderstands what is meant by sexual fluidity. 

    People are born with both a sexual orientation and a degree of sexual flexibility that varies from person to person. Some people are fixedly gay or straight, but others are more fluid and can experience attractions that run outside of their general sexual orientation. Sexual fluidity is the capacity to experience sexual attraction that runs counter to your orientation.

    There is now mounting evidence that gay people are born gay, as a clear link has been found between sexual orientation – at least in men – with two regions of the human genome. 

    Which way now?
    After years of campaigning and legal pressure, the UK government is finally going to follow the example of some other European countries and states in Canada, Australia and the US, and ban the practice of “conversion therapy”. It will be interesting to see how the debate develops as the legislation proceeds through parliament. 

    The ConversationThe NHS and the major psychiatric, counselling and psychotherapy organisations are already opposed to the practice. But if the counselling profession remains unregulated – meaning anyone, including religious groups and individuals, can offer “counselling” – how will the ban be enforced? The battle is not yet won.

    About Today's Contributor:
    Stella Coyle, Teaching Fellow in Law, Keele University

    This article was originally published on The Conversation

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