All Purple Everything: #SpiritDay and Purple Prose Reflections

It seemed like the world turned purple on October 17th. So…did you wear or share purple on Spirit Day?

An unprecedented amount of celebrities (http://www.glaad.org/blog/celebs-showing-support-lgbt-youth-spiritday) and participants took part in celebrating Spirit Day’s anti-bullying mindset and campaign for peace.

spiritday2012purple1_320x245

Most notably, the #SpiritDay thought stream on Twitter, experienced a flurry of activity with somewhat minimal and hardly noticeable newsjacking and hashtag jumping occurring between the many supportive updates and social shares. Unfortunately anti-gay and anti-trans* push back was still somewhat present, but the signal-to-noise ratio tipped in favor of the celebrations at hand.

 

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Embracing Your Strength: A Chat with Dreya Weber

“Now that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell has been overturned, it’s like…why was it ever in place? Why?…. Let’s make it the world we want to be in….”

- Dreya Weber

Make ‘Em Say “Wow:” On Heart-Opening Compassion In Art

Dreya Weber generously shared her time with me for an interview to promote her tour with Teatro ZinZanni and her upcoming feature film “Raven’s Touch.

The words “embracing your strength” continued to come to mind during this conversation, because the healing alchemy of honoring oneself is swirling all through this interview like glitter in the air.

When you first connect with Dreya Weber’s presence, you might find that you’re forever emboldened. Whether striding forward as a P90x fitness mentor or flying through the air with the greatest of ease along with Pink, Cirque du Soleil, Teatro ZinZanni and many A-list pop stars, Dreya calms the room with an inimitable combination of dreaminess, grace, gentility and earth core-centered strength. Still, her humanity shines through–she’s no unicorn–she’s seen struggle that’s refined her strengths.

Touching upon, even, her first reels in “A Marine Story” or “The Gymnast,” you’re teleported into other worlds. Immediately, you care for the characters Dreya portrays. Even as her characters endure immense struggle and change, there’s an immediate trust that Dreya automatically articulates on-camera and off. Implicitly, you trust that she’ll both have and find her way.

She’s s a multimedia Artist, Writer, Producer, Actress, Dancer/Choreographer, Singer, and muse…the list goes on. But labels don’t define Dreya Weber—they don’t restrict her by any means.

Still, for context, here are just a handful of things Dreya Weber’s worked on and is working on:

She’s a regular musical, theatrical, and dance performer—including her choreography for worldwide tours on her own and with other artists including Madonna, Pink, Cher and Britney Spears. This includes traditional dance and her world renowned specialty, aerial dance and choreography, which she presented to the world in her starring role in her hit movie, “The Gymnast.” She’s an event and movie producer. She’s worked and performed with the Moscow State Circus and performed in an Olympics ceremony. In fact, She’s an Olympian-level trained athlete in many disciplines including baseball and fitness enduring trainer, and you likely know her from the best-selling fitness program P90X.

Of course, there’s always more to multi-hyphenate artists like Dreya—and lucky for us, her story continues to unfold.

What she calls ‘flow’ feels more like the outflow from her damn near Amazonian work ethic, fueled by constant motion and loving everything she does. Dreya embodies an ageless grace with and an absolutely loveable spirit.

A few of the topics Dreya addresses in the interview are:

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Her proactive role in changing the way theater and pop/rock performing companies work

Working and planning with the cast and crew on “This Is It”

The spiritual core in all things creative

Overcoming grief and embracing healing

Her upcoming movie “Raven’s Touch” (Dreya is a featured actress in the film and also wrote the screenplay.)

The quest to encourage men in creative and technical fields see women as real-world peers

Teamwork, meeting in the middle, and living in a space where everyone is always valued.

Her opinion on Russia’s anti-gay policies and the upcoming 2014 Sochi Olympics

The overturning of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and how “A Marine Story’s” cast and crew made a present narrative choice about it before it was overturned

What it means to be a strong woman…and claiming that strength

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Before and as we chatted, the recording equipment hiccuped in fits and starts.

Between my fangirl’ed out squeals of delight (and a thousand heart-opening “Wow’s!”) you can hear echoes of Dreya Weber’s resonant voice as the meter of our conversation skips.

And about all the recording hiccups and echoes…true to character, Dreya simply said, “I’m grateful that the technology exists at all. Great to be able to chat with you.”

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You can listen to the audio interview with Dreya Weber here, and remember to check out Dreya’s new movie “Raven’s Touch:” opening this spring.

 

Spark Queer Outreach: #SPARKRJ To Host Trans*/Queer Inclusive Healthcare Chat on 9/25

 

“SPARK’s work will be complete when Georgia and the South continuously cultivate communities where we can all make sustainable and liberatory decisions about our bodies, genders, sexualities, families, and lives.”

- From “Our Vision” / SPARKRJ.org

Spark Queer Outreach: #SPARKRJ To Host Trans*/Queer Inclusive Healthcare Chat on 9/25/13

The Atlanta, Georgia-based reproductive justice organization Spark Reproductive Justice Now works tirelessly to build community and facilitate ever-progressive opportunities for access to affordable healthcare. Executive Director Malika Redmond, and the #SPARKRJ team are seeing to it that services and care connected to the Affordable Health Care Act are proactively made available to all who need it.

Because universal healthcare is more theoretical than in practice in America at this time, seeing #SPARKRJ’s upcoming trans*/queer-inclusive healthcare chat make its way to the top of the Twitter timeline sets in motion an immediate call to arms on traditional healthcare status quo: “Let a sister and a brother know–you deserve access now!”

So check out the det’s:

#SPARKRJ is hosting a Tweet Chat on 9/25 at 3:00 PM Eastern Time: “How Trans*/Queer Hate Impacts Healthcare Access.”

Attendance is especially recommended for medical or mental healthcare workers, practice administrators, physicians, educators/academicians in medical fields, LGBTQ volunteers, allies, gay-friendly professionals and diversity advocates. Still of course, all interested parties are invited to participate.

If you can’t make it, please spread the word, and you can still check back in with #SPARKRJ for a transcript, or follow and visit @SPARKRJNOW to check out their timeline archive of this very important conversation.

What is Reproductive Justice?

Also from the organization’s website:

“SPARK defines Reproductive Justice as a social justice movement rooted in the belief that individuals and communities should have the resources and power to make sustainable and liberatory decisions about their bodies, genders, sexualities, and lives. Reproductive Justice is pro-sex, sexuality, gender, queer bodies, access to abortion and contraception, birth rights and chosen families, and so much more! Reproductive justice is struggling towards liberation within and with community. “

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Recently, Malika Redmond spoke at the National Domestic Workers Alliance Healthcare for All Rally and Press Conference (follow #Healthcare4All on Twitter for tweeted updates on this topic). To give you a feel for the heart-centered passion of this organization as well as select topics to be addressed in the upcoming Twitter chat, check out what Malika has to say below.

“We will be public. We are not ashamed. We know that the people in Georgia deserve to have healthcare. It is undeniable. For our communities that are disproportionately impacted, it is not okay for people to have to chose between rent and necessary X-Rays…to have to choose between their prescriptions and being able to get back and forth to work.”

“In this country—one of the wealthiest countries on this planet…that anyone will have to decide between their livelihood, their ability to take care of their children, and being able to get the necessary healthcare for themselves and their families. We have an opportunity today…to make it right….”

Source

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Healthcare professionals, practices and organizations who fumble the ball when it comes to LGBTQ-specific needs and disparities often do so because the required continued education they seek doesn’t include cognizance of the ever-changing landscape of LGBTQIA culture, so they lack the information—or at least the current information—required to properly treat patients in community.

It will be great to experience ideas and suggestions from folks working on the front lines in Georgia as well as the questions and comments coming from those who are most affected by lack of access to healthcare and those who want to close the disparity gaps.

Everybody say love,”

Jaye

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Click the link below for more information about the #SPARKRJ Tweet Chat and to share it with your friends, family and peers:

http://ow.ly/i/3apS5

 

 

Today In #LGBTHealth – New LGBT Health Journal Launches

“President Obama’s commitment to the gay and lesbian communities underscores the importance of providing them with the best healthcare options – both physical health and mental health.”

-Mary Ann Liebert: President and CEO, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. Publishers

Today In #LGBTHealth – New LGBT Health Journal Launches

LGBT Health, a new peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. Publishers, has now officially launched this month.

According to their website, the academic healthcare journal concerning LGBTQIA issues “will identify crucial LGBT healthcare needs and the means to address them, providing a much-needed authoritative source and international forum in all areas pertinent to LGBT health and healthcare services.”

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. is a renowned publisher specializing in scientific, technical, and medical fields, supplying peer-reviewed publications to the knowledge and information industries. This is their first LGBT-focused publication.

Its first editorial piece entitled “A New Era for LGBT Health” was written and published during LGBT Health’s soft launch in July. Written by Editor-in-Chief William Byne MD, PhD, it begins: “This is a historical moment for launching a journal devoted to LGBT health, and it is with great enthusiasm that we do so.”

He then goes on to establish the reasons for the creation of LGBT Health as well as reminding the reader of the fact that in the United States, the potential for universal healthcare is becoming more and more of a reality now that barriers to affordable healthcare have been lowered. He then goes on to detail how much more important it is that the LGBT community’s needs be addressed in light of these opportunities–both in the States and worldwide, where healthcare disparities are even more pronounced for queer populations, and in general.

His ending statement in the article ushers in a forward-looking and forward-thinking approach to LGBTQ-inclusive healthcare. He combines realism and optimism as he writes, “While much remains to be done, there are now many reasons for optimism concerning the health and human rights of sexual and gender minority persons worldwide. Support for LGBT healthcare equality from the principal health institutions and the highest levels of government in the United States and numerous peer countries has never been higher. Yet we should not be lulled into complacency by this recent progress. On the contrary, we must continue to organize locally, nationally, and internationally, to educate ourselves, and to redouble our efforts to ensure that we continue to move forward until LGBT health equality becomes a global reality.”

Other articles in the first edition of the publication reinforce their globally-inclusive mission: while the research focus begins in the United States, LGBT Health’s editorial team and contributors will share clinical studies and reports that help to inform and empower LGBTQ healthcare practitioners and communities worldwide.

Visitors can read this publication online in PDF or HTML/regular website formats.

Please click here to contribute to upcoming issues,  and click here to read the current issue of LGBT Health.

 

Crowdsourcing #Sochi2014: Out, Gay Kiwi Speed Skater Blake Skjellerup Remains Undeterred.

Despite Russia’s new anti-gay laws, the calls to move the Winter Olympics from Sochi have fallen on deaf ears. The IOC has said waving of rainbow flags — or any pro-LGBT commentary — by Olympians could violate its rules. Seemingly every avenue to make a statement of LGBT-rights support at the Olympic Games is being cut off. But there’s one message they cannot stop: Openly gay speed skater Blake Skjellerup! The LGBT community and its allies have an opportunity to support this openly gay athlete and send him to the Olympic Games as our out, proud representative.”

- From Blake Skjellerup’s Indiegogo Campaign Page

 

#Sochi2014 |  Anticipation Station

When it comes to the upcoming Olympic games, all thoughts, social shares, pundit’s articles and interviews continue to lead us on and move us all toward more question marks, dollar signs, boycott threats and theories, overall frustration and a heaping dose of anticipation.

We won’t really know how enforcement of Russia’s anti-gay laws will or will not apply until all travelers arrive in Russia, folks choose to make statements or symbolic gestures, and all Olympics-related events get underway.

Though we know where Johnny Weir stands politically, he won’t be attending the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia as an athletic contender, at least—and we love you still Johnny, regardless of your politics.

Many queer athletes continue to move forward in pursuit of that Olympic Gold: like out, gay New Zealander, competitive speed skater and GT coverboy Blake Skjellerup.

Skjellerup is resolute and undetered. He wants to head to Sochi to win a speed skating medal for the Kiwis, and he wants your help to do it.

As of this writing already, Skjellerup has raised his initial goal of US $24,000 and counting in order to work on qualifying to compete in both the Winter Olympics and the Speed Skating World Cup, and he needs to raise at least US $33,000 total in order to realize the dream with complete, headache-free financial backing.

If Blake is able to fully qualify, he will be the first publicly out male athlete to compete in a Winter Olympics.

Information from his Indiegogo page, a video greeting from Blake himself and more information can be found below.

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From Indiegogo.com | Why Blake needs our support now

Despite what many may think, Olympic speed skaters do not live in posh apartments sipping champagne. When asked what it means financially to be an Olympic speed skater, Blake said, “bankruptcy.” He struggles just to cover living costs. What he needs help with now is the funds to access key coaching assistance for the World Cups and the Olympics.

For Blake to qualify for the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, he will need to finish in the top 32 at the World Cups this autumn. These four key events are:

Sept. 26-29, Shanghai, China
Oct. 3-6, Seoul, South Korea
Nov. 7-10, Torino, Italy
Nov. 14-17, Kolomna, Russia

Blake needs at least $15k to compete at a high level in these four World Cup events and qualify for the Sochi Olympics. To get everything he needs to compete at his HIGHEST level possible, he will need at $33k. We’ve set the campaign goal at the MINIMUM he needs with the hope and expectation that we can get him EVERYTHING he needs. All donated funds go directly to Blake.

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Because of the beauty of his story and the precedent he’ll be setting—according to Blake’s Indiegogo page—many advocacy groups have already shown their support including: the You Can Play project, Outsports, GLAAD, the StandUp Foundation, Out magazine & The Advocate, Athlete Ally, and many members of the LGBT sports movement and larger community.

Click here to support Blake Skjellerup’s campaign, check out Blake’s #Sochi2014 YouTube video here, and send your Tweets of support and inquiry with Blake @BlakeSkjellerup.

 

 

 

 

#LGBTUK: Ride Out for Human Rights with Peter Tatchell

Bicycle races are coming your way
So forget all your duties oh yeah!
Fat bottomed girls they’ll be riding today
So look out for those beauties oh yeah
On your marks get set go!

- From Bicycle Race, by Queen

#LGBTUK: Calling All Queer Cyclists

Can you make it to London in October? Are you in London already? Good…good.

So: have you got some time to spare to kiki with fellow LGBTQ folks and to pedal for charity?

Lovely!

Then the Peter Tatchell Foundation would love to go on a sweet, scenic bicycle ride with you.

On Sunday, 6 October 2013, The PTF invites you to explore London in an 18-mile long cycling ride-about. You’ll be visiting landmarks and learning a bit of history along the way. More information about the meetup from the PTF’s event page can be found below:

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PTF | Discover London’s Famous Humanitarians and LGBTs

http://www.petertatchellfoundation.org/ride-out-human-rights-sunday-6-october

Do you enjoy cycling?

Want to know more about famous humanitarians and LGBTs?

Want to support the work of the Peter Tatchell Foundation?

If the answer is yes, then join us on 6 October for an easy, fun 18 mile mystery bike ride around London, in aid of the human rights work of the Peter Tatchell Foundation. Or you can also opt for a shorter 7 mile ride and still visit numerous landmarks on the way.

The bike ride
Come join us with your friends or your family. The ride will take you around London’s most iconic landmarks on the way to discovering famous humanitarians and LGBTs. Yes, it’s a mystery bike ride. When you arrive at the start point, you’ll be given a route map and 11 guides to each of the landmarks, with a brief biography of the famous person associated with them. The idea is a ride with surprises. You only open the guide when you get to the landmark address – and then discover the famous humanitarian / LGBT person associated with that address.

A big plus: the ride is not timed, you can take the route, at your own leisure. So take your time and we have mapped the route so you can have a nice ride through Hype Park. Enjoy.

Important Details

Start Time: The ride will be starting at 10.30am

Location: Gays the Word Bookshop, 66 Marchmont Street, London, WC1N 1AB

Registration: £20 per participant. Children under 16 ride free.

Join us: To ride with us simply click here to register and follow the instructions to complete your payment.

Payment: There are two ways you can pay your registration fee. [Please visit the page for specific payment information.]

Facebook: Check out here who is attending through the Facebook event.

Sponsorship
Sponsorship is optional. Of course, we will be very grateful if you could get some sponsors for your ride. This will be a huge help for the Peter Tatchell Foundation to help us maintain our vital work campaigning for human rights. You can download the sponsorship form and return it to us on the day, with the sponsorship money that you have raised.

Alternatively, you can invite your friends to sponsor you online.

To find out more and get registered, click here.

 

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Founded by Australian-born, UK-based politician and LGBT activist Peter Tatchell, The Peter Tatchell Foundation promotes and protects the human rights of individuals, communities and nations, in the UK and internationally, in accordance with established national and international human rights law.

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Can’t make it to the event? The PTF welcomes your donations. Visit this page for more specific information about how your donations will be utilized.

 

Attention, Gay Athletes: MTV Wants You!

Athletes Wanted

True Life has covered over 140 topics from drug use, money issues, sexual topics to simple social behavior like visiting the Jersey Shore. There is an occasional intersection between this show and other shows. For example, the episode ‘I’m a Reality TV Star’ featured people from The Real World and Survivor, while the episode ‘I’m a Muay Thai Fighter’ and ‘I’m a Mixed Martial Artist’ both featured Kit Cope, who has recently signed a deal with the WFA and Frankie Edgar, who was the UFC Lightweight Champion. In the episode ‘I’m Bisexual,’ Sydney goes on a date with A.D. from From G’s to Gents. In 2011, Sydney was featured in season 6 of Oxygen’s Bad Girls Club. Lazar, who was in the episode ‘I’m in A Love Triangle,’ was in a 2007 episode of Parental Control.”

- From The MTV  True Life Wikipedia Entry

To be fair, we’ve included the backgrounder above because we’d love for you to contact True Life about this amazing casting call and also, you need to go in with your eyes open. Reality TV is “the gift that keeps on giving.” It’s not “forever,” but we’ll bet it can damn sure feel like forever, depending.

That said, True Life does a lot to help queer youth not feel so alone, and helps to bring compassion and attention to issues many folks never knew about or thought about before. They’ve won a few GLAAD and Emmy Awards, and the series tends to be more balanced in their coverage of LGBTQ persons of experience. Read on—and to those of you who do connect with MTV, good luck and please let us know how it goes!

 

Gay Athletes Wanted

(From MTV’s True Life Facebook Page, and MTV.com)

True Life Casting Call:

I’M A GAY ATHLETE

Is being gay affecting your game? Is your love for sports interfering with the love of your life? Is your desire to be the MVP keeping you from coming out to your coaches and teammates for fear of losing their acceptance? Are you worried that embracing who you are will keep you from getting an award or scholarship? Is your boyfriend or girlfriend tired of keeping your relationship a secret to keep you team captain? Maybe you’re open about your sexuality but still feel discriminated on the court. Is being a gay athlete keeping you on the bench? Are you putting aside your feelings “for the good of the team?”

If you appear to be between the ages of 16 and 24 and want to share the struggles and triumphs of being an athlete within the LGBT community, email us at [email protected] to be considered for an episode of MTV’s True Life produced by Emmy-award winning Gigantic! Productions. Tell us why we should draft you and be sure to include your name, location, phone number and a recent picture of yourself, ASAP.

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As MTV’s been searching for LGBTQ athletes since June, they’ve posted this ad in various spaces online, and there are various ways to contact them.

You can do so by visiting MTV.com Casting, their True Life Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/truelife/posts/10152027053987571, Gigantic online – http://gigantic.tv/casting, or via the direct email contacts below (from their various postings since June. We recommend using the email addresses primarily, as those were supplied by MTV and their casting company themselves).

For more information, contact:

[email protected]

or

[email protected]

 

Taking Children From Their Homes: Russia Introduces Bill To Remove Gay Parenting Rights

“Waves of protests surrounded Vladimir Putin’s return to power as Russia’s President in March 2012. Since then, parliament has passed so many new laws restricting civil liberties that some people now call it the ‘mad printer.’”

- Amnesty International Wire (Amnesty.org)

Russia’s Civil Liberties Record: Getting Worse and Worse In Word & Deed

“Everything you add to the truth subtracts from the truth.”

                                                                          – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

According to the Associated Press, Russian State Duma Deputy Zhuravlev (Putin’s United Russia Party/parliamentary caucus) is introducing a law making “nontraditional sexual orientation” viable grounds to remove child custody for LGBTQ parents.

In the draft bill for this proposed new law, Zhuravlev wrote:

“Following the letter of the law that forbids propaganda of non-traditional sex to minors we must restrict such propaganda not only in mass media but also the family… if one of the child’s parents indulges in sexual contact with persons of the same sex, the damage to the child’s psyche is immense as a mother or father serves as an example for their offspring.”

Additional grounds for denial or revocation of parental custody include alcoholism, drug abuse or any amount or type of drug use deemed inappropriate, which has nothing at all to do with gender, sexual orientation or law-abiding families established in-place, having committed none of these substance-related offenses.

Here we see yet another instance of punishing allies in addition to homosexual persons, as once passed, this bill would affect families and children who aren’t even LGBTQ-identified. Custodial rights could then be revoked if both or either parent were gay (out or not), so if two parents happen to have an understanding in their relationship, share post-divorce custody, etcetera, the parent who happens to be gay can be penalized, or a child can be taken away from one or both parents for any so-called ‘homosexual-affiliated’ reason(s).

As it is already illegal to mention homosexuality around children or to advise or counsel LGBTQ or questioning youth. This recent unfortunate move is thought to be the next step in Russia’s plans to eradicate gay tolerance, inclusiveness or protections altogether for LGBTQ persons, friends, allies or families.

At this point, though the bill is to be debated before it is formally passed, it seems such motions are little more than a formality. Russian lawmakers keep clinging to the through line that their anti-gay motions and laws are being instituted to protect the children, rather than being anti-gay.

Putin has already banned LGBTQ people residing in other countries from adopting Russian children, and as of this writing, the Russian government is also considering reinstating a gay blood donor ban.

Though boycotts and protests are occurring worldwide, even Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge is throwing his hands up in the air, saying Russia will not change their minds or policies in terms of its anti-gay legislation, and Rogge’s sharing little more on the matter.

Rogge told the press, “…one should not forget that we are staging the games in a sovereign state, and the IOC cannot be expected to have an influence on the sovereign affairs of a country.”

Activists, lawmakers, PR representatives, athletes, spokespeople and officials can make all the claims they want leading up to the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, but we won’t know who’ll be arrested or how LGBT people or allies will be treated (both on arrival, during the events and while attempting to leave Russia) until it’s too late.

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Many LGBTQ folks (like Johnny Weir) are Russophiles and/or have Russian spouses or partners. Have you been to Russia? Did you love it? If so, how do you feel now that Russian policymakers are passing all of these awful anti-LGBT laws?

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Diana Nyad, 64, Fulfills Her Dream Begun When 8 Years Old

Swam the Straits of Florida in 5th Attempt to Victory

Long Distance Swimmer, author, motivational speaker, Diana Nyad, 64, with her 110+ 53 hr. journey from Havana to Key West became on September 2nd, the first swimmer to cross the channel, and without a shark cage.

Obstacles Impede Previous Attempts

This was the fifth try, begun at age sixty-one, for Nyad. In 1978 as a twenty-eight year-old , Diana had an attempt at this crossing. After forty-two hours in a shark tank, she quit because sea currents caused her to be off course.. The following year, she set a world record for open-water swimming without a shark cage, from Bahamas to Florida.

Her previous tries at this feat were aborted by an hour-long asthma attack, high seas, and attacks from jellyfish. This time, her mask and wetsuit help protect her against jellyfish and her support team kept the jellyfish out of her path.

Not A Slam-Dunk Swim

When Nyad arrived on the shores of Key West just before 2 p.m. EST, her lips and tongue were swollen and her speech was slurred. She was rushed to the hospital where she was given an IV and checked out by doctors who declared her fit, but dehydrated.

At one point during her swim, she was vomiting because she had so much salt water in her system and was shivering. She sang lullabies to calm herself and had a mental playlist of anti-establishment boomer music: The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Janice Joplin, and Neil Young. With her left hand, she told herself, she was pushing Cuba back and pushing Florida towards her .For forty-nine hours, she said the wind just blew and it was rough.

Long-Held Dream

Diana was born in New York City, but her parents moved to Ft. Lauderdale where she attended the competitive private school Pinecrest that has always been renown not only for its academics, but its award-winning swim team. She first dreamed about swimming the Straits of Florida while in Cuba with her parents in the 1950’s. She had begun swimming seriously at age seven.

While at Pinecrest, she excelled at the Back Stroke She won three Florida State High School Championships. Graduating in 1964, she first attended Emory University where she was expelled for parachuting out of a fourth floor dormitory window, and later Lake Forest College in Illinois where she played tennis and was ranked 13th among U.S. Women’s Squash.

She resumed swimming, concentrating on distance events. In July 1970, Nyad set a women’s world record of four hours and twenty-two minutes in her very first race, a 10-mile swim in Lake Ontario. She’s been inducted into the National Women’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1986 and the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 2003.

Journalist and Author as Well

Diana has written for Newsweek, New York Times, to name a few publications, as well as the NPR
Radio Show “All Things Considered.”

She has written three books. Her first Other Shores (1978) is an autobiography about her life as a long distance swimmer. She wrote a training book for women over forty called Basic Training for Women (1981) and authored a biography of NFL player Keyshawn Johnson entitled Boss of Me: The Keyshawn Johnson Story in 1999. A documentary is currently being made about her.

Motivational Speaker

Diana is also a motivational speaker. An inspiration, after completing the swim, she said “ I wanted to be a lesson for my life that says, be fully engaged. Be so awake and alert and alive every minute of every waking day.”
“You tell me what your dreams are – what are you chasing? It’s not impossible. Name It. I think a lot of people in our country have gotten depressed, pinned down with living lives they don’t want.”

Lesbian and Sexual Abuse Survivor

Diana came out at age twenty-one. In an interview with Out magazine, she said “I just knew I didn’t want to be with men. But I thought it was all just because of the trauma – you never know, but I think I was gay from day one.”

The trauma she refers to is being sexually abused by her high school swim coach as well as her step-father. Diana has said that a factor in her determination whiie swimming was her anger about, and her desire to overcome sex abuse. She is open about her sexuality and her experiences as a survivor of sexual abuse so that others may learn from her and seek help.