Call for #Edu Proposals: OUT and Greek #LGBT Fraternity & Sorority Leadership Conference

 

Call for #Edu Proposals / Call for Workshop Submissions

Campus Pride is a national college advocacy organization for LGBTQ students and allies. Among its various outreach efforts, the nonprofit proactively educates Greek fraternities, sororities and supporting groups in order to encourage more LGBTQ-Friendly groups, college campuses, Greek-affiliated bodies and communities.

This week, Campus Pride posted its latest call for workshop submissions, encouraging participants and attendees for the upcoming 2014 OUT & Greek LGBT & Ally Fraternity & Sorority Leadership Conference which will take place April 10-13, 2014 in San Diego, California.

Please note: the deadline for submissions extends until December 15, 2013, and more information can be found below.

-

Call for #Edu Proposals: OUT and Greek #LGBT Fraternity & Sorority Leadership Conference

Affiliated with Campus Pride’s Lambda 10 Project

From the website–

Just Announced: Submit Workshops for 2014 OUT & Greek LGBT & Ally Fraternity & Sorority Leadership Conference until December 15, 2013

Registration Opens November 1st.

Now you can submit workshops for the Call for Programs for the 2014 Out & Greek LGBT & Ally Fraternity & Sorority Leadership Conference in tandem with the Association of Fraternal Leadership Values 2014 Conference. The Out & Greek conference provides intentional programming for members of our LGBT and ally community and the opportunity to submit a program proposal is now available online. The conference takes place from April 10-13, 2014 in San Diego, California.

Please note: Registration opens on November 1st.

Program submissions for Out & Greek are due on December 15, 2013 by 11:59 p.m. PDT.  Before applying, thoroughly review the Call for Programs website and the Call for Programs Informational Packet. Finally, submit your online submission.

Registration includes OUT & GREEK LGBT & Ally Conference program resources, featured keynotes, educators in residence, workshops and special LGBT & Ally opening welcome reception.

Last year,  the Association of Fraternal Leadership Values (AFLV) and Campus Pride announced a strategic partnership between the West Fraternal Leadership/National Cultural Greek Leadership Conference (WFL/NCGLC) and the Out & Greek LGBT & Ally Conference.

Campus Pride is the leading national educational organization for LGBT and ally college students and campus groups. The organization initiated its Lambda 10 Project in 1995 to create visibility and support of LGBT members of the college fraternity. The project works actively to develop resources and educational materials to educate on sexual orientation and gender identity/expression as it pertains to the fraternity/sorority experience.

The Out & Greek Conference cannot be possible without YOU! We need student leaders, campus-based professionals, we need headquarters staff members, we need professional speakers, and we need fraternity/sorority advocates. We need all of you to contribute to the educational experience at Out & Greek. Please submit your workshop today.

Now you can:

  • Learn how to become an effective straight ally
  • Share your story of coming out and being Greek
  • Network with other LGBT and ally fraternity and sorority leaders
  • Learn strategies for your organization and community to be safer and more LGBT friendly

-

Listed Keynote Speakers for 2014 are:

Shane Windmeyer, Co-Founder and Executive Director of CampusPride.Org

Kara Laricks, NBC Fashion Star Winner

-

This year’s conference takes place April 10-13, 2014 in San Diego, California.

To find out more information, please visit www.CampusPride.org.

 

 

#ASPCA: Emergency Preparedness for Your Pets

As the last in our series of animal care posts this month, the focus of this piece has to do with including your animals in your emergency preparedness and planning.

No matter how small or temporary, there’s never a right or convenient time for emergencies. You never want to ask “What should we do about our animals?” in the middle of a stressful or challenging time. Below, you’ll find a helpful collage of ideas, and musts to help animal lovers, guardians, Mamis and Papis through inexplicably hard times and situations with our pets in mind. You might want to print this out and/or incorporate parts of it in your own emergency plans.

Helpful Tips and Ideas:

*Sue Lockhart, OptiWell Inc. Dog Expert: “Please always take your pets with you when you evacuate in an emergency.” Understandably, in a crisis, many of us need to be reminded to do this.

*Don Ross, OptiWell CEO: “We should always store a week’s worth of food [or more] for both humans and animals in case of an emergency. Put it all in a plastic trash can to easily take it with you in an evacuation. Animals like clean air too and so please keep your pets inside [with you] whenever possible.”

*Alexis, United Animal Nations (RedRover.org):“Put safety first. If you are in an unfamiliar place, people and children you meet may have varied experience with animals. Animals can be easily frightened in stressful situations and may become aggressive or defensive. Keep your pet restrained in a carrier or crate or on a leash at all times and avoid having your pet come in direct contact with other pets when possible.” Also: “It takes time to move larger animals, so do not wait until the last minute to evacuate horses/larger animals to safety.”

*Amy Geduldig, ASPCA Media/Communications: “Get a Rescue Alert sticker [free from the ASCPA], which is visible to rescue workers and includes vital information about your pets and vet. Also, birds have very delicate respiratory tracts and are very sensitive to inhaled irritants. If detectable amounts of smoke are in the environment, companion birds should be removed from these areas to areas with fresh air.”

*Ready.Gov/1-800-BE-READY: Develop a buddy system. Plan with neighbors, friends or relatives to make sure that someone is available to care for or evacuate your pets if you are unable to do so. Talk with your pet care buddy about your evacuation plans and show them where you keep your pet’s emergency supply kit. Also designate specific locations, one in your immediate neighborhood and another farther away, where you will meet in an emergency

*PETA/HelpingAnimals.com: Know your destination ahead of time. Emergency shelters might not accept cats, dogs or birds, but hotels or motels might do so in emergencies. Call ahead.

*Motel6.com: Hotels and motels tend to loosen pet restrictions during times of crisis. Call or visit your nearest hotel if you’re forced to evacuate there, and tell them your pet is a part of your family

*When or if you can, learn animal first aid and CPR.

*More From Alexis/RedRover.org: If (Heaven Forbid)Your Pet Is Lost, or Has Passed: “Give yourself time and permission to grieve. You may be dealing with a wide range of emotions – such as numbness, irritability or guilt – but these are normal. Dealing with the loss will lessen the sadness. There is no ‘right way’ to grieve – everyone has to do it in his or her own terms. ”

-
Article Sources and Animal Safety Resources

General:

PetSaver CPR Training
(Cost-effective Pet CPR/First Aid Training that includes animals)

RedRover.org
Provides emergency shelter for animals, helps facilitate emergency housing and adoptions.
(916) 429-2457 

ASPCA
(212) 876-7700

-

Contact Animal Fostering Services/Shelters (If You Can't Take Your Animals With You):

Find A Shelter, Ask About Local Foster Care
Contact the ASPCA

Lost Pet USA
Find Missing/Lost Pets.

-

October is Adopt A Shelter Dog Month. To learn more, visit the ASPCA. 
http://www.aspca.org/adopt/adopt-a-shelter-dog-month

Pet-Friendly Travel Tips

 

A friend of a friend is an LGBT travel consultant. Out of curiosity, I asked him about booking pet-friendly trips with businesses that are also LGBT-friendly—was this a common thing?

His cheeky response was: “We do not allow any pets to accompany their owners on our adventures. This is at the pet’s request—they like to stay home and have the house to themselves and hold big parties with their friends.”

Clever, eh?

He got my golf claps and 10′s across the board for snarkiness. Meanwhile, I did a little snooping and discovered some things. Community Marketing’s gay and lesbian consumer index (including responses from over 10,000 gay men and 10,000 lesbians) found that 61% of gay men and 83% of lesbians are pet owners. Just as travel agencies, destinations and agents become more LGBTQ-savvy, slowly but surely they’re including our love for animals in the mix.

Whether you’re driving or flying, it’s crucial to remember that you need to be the “pack leader,” literally and figuratively. Pack both practical and comfy-cozy gear for you, your friends and family, and your beloved animal-babies. Always envision and prepare for a smooth trip and plan, plan, plan!

Below, you’ll find some pet travel tips for road trips and more.

 

Pet Travel Tips:

Don’t just think about amenities—think about travel costs and fees. Hotels and motels may enforce pet’s weight requirements and require fees or deposits. Call ahead to find out as many details as you can so you’re sure to have a good trip.

Make sure your animal babies are current on all vaccinations. Keep a copy of your animal’s papers in your glove compartment, just as you would for yourself and your girlfriend/wife. Keep all appropriate meds with you, and make sure your pet’s wearing his/her tags.

Bring plenty of familiar sights and sounds for your doggies, kitties, etc. (Like binky-blankets, toys, and yummy but healthy snacks). Bring appropriate animal carriers with you.

If you’re flying, be sure to be conscious of any rules other states may have about traveling with pets (no pets in motels if you’re traveling to North Carolina, may?).

Try to keep your pets on their regular feeding schedules once you’ve reached your destination, but don’t feed them too much on the morning that you’re heading out. If your animals fall ill, that’s no good for anybody. And poop scooping in the car ain’t cute.

Take regular breaks at rest stops, especially if your pets aren’t easily entertained inside your vehicle.

As you’ll be in less familiar territory, never leave your animals alone or unattended, and never leave them in a car alone in an unfamiliar place (even with the windows cracked open).

Just as you can leave your animals in the house for a few hours at a time, so too can you travel on the road without frequent stops. Still, if your animal-kid has behavioral problems, find a great sitter or leave ‘em at home. Not only is it bad “pettiquette” to upset strangers, it could also be potentially unsafe.

Bring and acquire water. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate–and that goes for you too.

 

Purrfectly Pet-Friendly Sites:

PetsWelcome.com – www.petswelcome.com

Features lodging Listings for over 25,000 hotels, B&Bs, ski resorts, campgrounds, and beaches that dig felines, canines and friends. Also features a pet sitters’ registry, and an acclaimed series of readily available travel books.

Pets on the Go – www.petsonthego.com

A definitive guide detailing animal-loving B&Bs, inns, hotels, resorts and private rentals. Includes reviews and professional advice and a special “pet-friendly car rental company” section.

Yahoo Pets – http://shine.yahoo.com/blogs/pets

Offers information about all kinds of pets including adoption information, breeds, pet pictures, pet finder, videos and so much more.

Kimpton Hotels – www.kimptonhotels.com - 1-866-544-3576

Yes, smarty-pants travel agent dude: there’s at least one pet-friendly and LGBT-friendly hotel chain I discovered along the way. Scoring a perfect 100 percent in HRC’s Corporate Equality Index, the Kimpton chain, with properties in San Diego, San Francisco and beyond, also features an LGBT customer loyalty program, 10% Pride discounts and packages, and amenities and discounts for LGBT singles, families, and pets.

-

October is Adopt A Shelter Dog Month. To show your support at the ASPCA, click here: http://www.aspca.org/adopt/adopt-a-shelter-dog-month

 

Pride Western Australia Celebration Events to Include Sneaky Sound System, DJ Jewel

“If the PRIDE PARADE is the rainbow, then PRIDE CELEBRATION is the pot of gold at the end of it!”

- Pride WA

 

Pride Western Australia (Pride WA) is Western Australia’s largest LGBTI community Pride organization and festival organizer. This week, the group announced its annual November PRIDEFEST lineup which is stellar, as usual. Whether it’s drag parties, Pride events, or gatherings like its February FAIRDAY celebration in Hyde Park, when it comes to Gay Pride, the Aussies go big.

Centered in Perth and taking place throughout Western Australia, PRIDEFEST is a nearly month-long affair (well, okay…is three weeks “nearly?”). It all begins with a daytime Pride parade through the streets of Northbridge. Shortly after the parade, the march is followed up with “CELEBRATION,” an all day long music and arts festival in Russell Square.

According to the festival’s organizers, the group will hold over 50 CELEBRATION events: complementary happenings during the three week event include live theater, queer film fests, the full parade itself, a curated piece on the history of the Pride Parade and more—turning Western Australia into, in essence, a lively, colorful LGBTQ mini-village.

According to the group’s Facebook page, its first Pride March took place in 1989 in Perth, Australia. During the day, activists took to the streets to march on Parliament. They brought attention to the debate to decriminalize sex between consenting men in Western Australia. The group finally transitioned to incorporated status in 1993 as Lesbian & Gay Pride (WA) Inc., (renamed Pride Western Australia in 2003) evolving to become one of Australia’s largest gay and lesbian festivals organizers and they’ve never looked back.

The self-supported Pride organization funds itself through its many educational events, celebrations, festivals, donations and memberships.

CELEBRATION’s lineup alone is, in Pride WA’s own words, “massive.” Here’s the lineup:

PRIDE CELEBRATION Russell Square, Northbridge Saturday 2nd November, 1.30pm – 9pm

Sneaky Sound System

Didier Cohen

Sarah McLeod (Superjesus)

Sun City

Tomas Ford

Bastian’s Happy Flight

Axe Girl

Sarah Pellicano

The Amani Consort

Nat Ripepi

+DJ’s Timbee, Curlee, Ben Sebastian, Jewel

Pre-sale tickets for CELEBRATION are on sale now for $15 from Ticketbooth and patrons are encouraged to get their ticket early to avoid queuing at the venue. Entry will be $20 at the gate.

-

Additional information from the event organizers:

* Pride Western Australia members receive free tickets to CELEBRATION

* CELEBRATION is a fully licensed 18 and over only event. However, there are plenty of events during the festival for families and teens/youth under 18.

* Due to sponsor assistance and participation, Pride WA has waived the $500 fee for community groups to participate in float building and Pride events (to get in touch with Pride WA to participate, contact Artistic Director Paula Hart).

* Though the event has acquired sponsors to help cover its costs, Pride WA still needs vendor and advertiser support. To place an ad in their program or in other event materials, they invite you to check out their online media kit.

All in all, ain’t nothin’ wrong with a (nearly!) month-long soiree.

 

 

 

 

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:

-

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

=

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.”

-

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.

 

Longest Running LGBT Book Fair to be Held In NYC March 2014

 

“The current changing media scene leaves many questioning the relevance of books and even the written word in the 21st century. One annual, national event proves again that that question is essentially, on its face, irrelevant.”

- Rainbow Book Fair

Longest Running LGBT Book Fair to be Held In NYC March 2014

With eBook sales records increasing by over 100 percent each year (think “in the thousands”), queer authors and LGBTQ-inclusive publishers are feeling the love from their readers now more than ever, and it’s much easier for new work or new authors be discovered somewhere in the vast ethers of the Interwebz.

Digital media and ease of eBook acquisition has stimulated eager readers rather than extinguishing them.

The folks in charge of the Rainbow Book Fair have seen that exponentially mind-blowing industry shift firsthand, and they’re here to continue to celebrate it in the LGBTQ publishing space.

Are you an indie author? Looking to get into the publishing game? Love reading and books in general? Then make trade shows and book fair events like this your new go-to location, especially for networking and finding your literary tribe.

The crew is gearing up for next year’s event, and at this time there are ample spaces available for authors, sponsors, exhibitors, and attendees.

Because they’re still in the nascent stages of setting up for 2014, we’ve gathered together some information from their past events to provide you with a little look-see:

6th ANNUAL NEW YORK RAINBOW BOOK FAIR FAIR:

Longest Running LGBT Book Fair in the U.S.

Saturday, MARCH 29, 2014

Noon–6pm

Holiday Inn Midtown

440 W. 57th Street,

NYC 10019

(between 9th and 10th Avenues)

 

Rainbow Book Fair Announces Readers & Panels

National in its reach and scope, over 100 exhibitors, authors, poets and publishers will share one floor in one enormous exhibition ballroom. Appearances, panels, and readings will be held a short flight up from the exhibition hall in a suite of meeting rooms. All areas are wheel chair accessible. Some events will have ASL interpretation.

Although over 1000 attendees will come to see and sample thousands of printed works, including, book, plays, poetry, periodicals, comic books, graphic novels, and photography books, the hallmarks of the Rainbow Book Fair are the panels, appearances and readings featured every year, throughout the day of the event.

The Rainbow Book Fair has never shied away from news-makers and controversy.

The Rainbow Book Fair prides itself on its deep commitment to diversity and the real examination of current topics and themes.

Many attendees come to the Rainbow Book Fair for only one reason: The Poetry Salon. This year the Salon will be curated and over 75 poets will be reading nonstop.

With a full day of literary offerings of this range of scope, it is clear that this years Fair will be another event for the history books.

The Rainbow Book Fair is presented under the aegis of The Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies at The Graduate Center CUNY, and headed by a steering committee and sponsored by publishers, writers and local businesses.

-

For more information, visit the official website at: http://www.RainbowBookFair.com.

 

Despite Human Rights Issues, Prestigious Manifesta Art Foundation Will Not Boycott Russia

In 2012 the Manifesta Foundation selected the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russian Federation as host of Manifesta 10. Since announcing the State Hermitage Museum as host institution, the Russian parliament has adopted a federal law banning the ‘propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships’ accessible by minors. The legislation has received extensive exposure around the world and subsequently there have been calls to boycott, cancel or relocate international cultural and social events planned within Russia. In response to those who have expressed deep concerns regarding the situation of LGBT people in Russia and any violations of their human rights, we share your concerns….

On principle Manifesta cannot and should not only perform in the ‘safe haven’ of the West or former West. This inevitably involves dialogue with those with whom we may disagree.”

                                                                                 – A statement of the International Foundation Manifesta

-

The renowned Netherlands-based, Pan European international arts foundation Manifesta will not boycott Russia, nor will it change its biannual roving arts tour.

Though the foundation is well-versed in international events management and travel, they will not change their location or plans, no matter how much they’re pressured to do so. Scheduled to arrive in St. Petersburg in 2014, (the arts exhibition and program will take place from 28 June to 31 October), Manifesta refuses to choose another gay-friendly host city for its upcoming events in spite of Russia’s controversial anti-gay LGBTQ legislation and practices.

The Manifesta Foundation has released official statements to address the matter with feedback from its official leadership and stakeholders.

Proactively releasing a statement well over a month ago (“To withdraw Manifesta 10 would mean to ignore contemporary voices and emerging generations of Russia“), the official word from the arts collective voices more concern for pushing the creative field forward, and less for Russia’s suppression of freedom of expression and choice.

Select excerpts from the official statement can be found below.

Viktor Misiano, Chair of the Manifesta Foundation:

“Within Russia Manifesta 10 has been welcomed by many individuals who recognise that cancelling or postponing it will be a loss, not only for communities seeking change, but also for developing a progressive contemporary culture as a whole. We are conscious of the political climate and the significant conservative shift taking place in Russia, of which this issue is but one example. It is also helpful to know that the leading LGBT organizations in Russia do not support a boycott of the Olympics or other events. They know engagement is important.”

St Petersburg-based LGBT organization Coming Out:

“….We understand the call for a boycott of the Olympics. But we truly believe it is important to keep all channels open and enable all possible communications to challenge human rights violations at every opportunity, whether they are cultural or sporting events, business opportunities or political campaigns.”

Sjeng Scheijen, Artistic Director of Manifesta’s Russian/Dutch bi-lateral year:

“….Manifesta 10 is supported in Russia by a spirited forefront of independent, critical, internationally oriented artists and intellectuals. They have a great need for a platform for meeting and exchange, and seek international models for their own cultural events. They eagerly look forward to the arrival of Manifesta.”

Manifesta Founder and Director, Hedwig Fijen:

“Manifesta is an advocate of having mutual respect for any person regardless of their sex, race, colour, ethnic or social origin, disability, age or sexual orientation. Manifesta Foundation endorses the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the European Convention for Human Rights, Council of Europe Recommendations and other decrees by international organizations, of which Russia is a member….We do not believe isolating Russia is the right direction to take, especially as it deprives younger people of access to a broader scope of voices and points of view.”

Please visit this link to read the entire statement:

http://manifesta.org/2013/08/to-withdraw-manifesta-10-would-mean-to-ignore-contemporary-voices-and-emerging-generations-of-russia

-

The closer we get to the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia, the more formal statements and opinions make their way to the fore, and the more public figures and organizations are being forced to take a stand on these human rights violations. Meanwhile, Russia continues to obfuscate issues, courting both commercial engagement and revenue opportunities while ignoring the civil rights of its LGBTQ/allied population.

-

When will Russia make formal, unwavering statements of its own—or can the Russian government really entertain the best of both worlds (hiding behind rhetoric while somehow monetizing both international travel and anti-gay sentiments)…?

 

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.

-

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.

-

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:

-

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.

 

-

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.

-

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.

 

Totally Plucked: Turkey Bans Grindr

Author: Eugene Riordan, Jr.

There’s a chance that you’re first-handedly familiar with the most famous gay phone app Grindr, but if not, you’ve probably heard of the networking app that lets queer men find each other nearby. For that reason it has gained a reputation for being used primarily for hooking up, which is most likely the reason why it has been recently banned overseas.

 

A court decision in Turkey has made it so that accessing Grindr within the country is impossible. Starting a few weeks ago, when trying to access the app, users will get this message:

 

“The decision no 2013/406 dated 26/08/2013, which is given about this website (grindr.com) within the context of protection measure, of ’İstanbul Anadolu 14. Sulh CM’ (İstanbul Anatolia 14th Criminal Court of Peace) has been implemented by ’Telekomünikasyon İletişim Başkanlığı’ (Telecommunications Communication Presidency).”

 

While saying that it has been banned is one thing, explaining it is another. Hayriye Kara, the lawyer for KAOS GL, Turkey’s leading lgbt activist organization, agreed that the message and the decision are opaque and unknown to the public. “The court decision is not published online and so we have no access to the procuration and therefore do not yet know what was the reason for the censorship,” Kara reported to the Huffington Post. “It is most likely related to ’general morality,’ an ambiguous term used often against trans sex workers.”

 

It’s been confirmed that so far, other queer networking, dating, and hookup sites will still work, but many see the ban as a reflection of larger issues with the Turkish state. The ban is a challenge to the queer minority, reinforce a “traditional heterosexual family,” and show the power of the state in decisions nationwide, especially after the public demonstrations in Gezi Park this summer. The Media Coodrinator for KAOS GL, Ömer Akpınar, reiterated these sentiments. “In its justifications for suppressing freedom of information under the guise of ‘responsible reporting’ the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is trying to create a division between ‘good and bad citizens’, while LGBT people has never been considered as equal citizens all through the history of Turkish Republic.”

 

These sentiments are true worldwide: countries scapegoating queer people to hide problems with the economy or other areas where the government feels is losing control or would rather not improve.

 

Because of the government impinging on the free speech of its queer citizens, Grindr and KAOS GL are partnering to get signatures on a petition to pressure the Turkish government to lift the ban. Grindr reported that of its 6 million users worldwide, 125,000 of them were active in Turkey before the ban, and it would like to get them talking again. The petition is written from the viewpoint of the European Union’s rulings, the union of which Turkey has been trying to join for over a decade.

 

You8 should sign the petition here if you see the issue as preventing Turks from exercising their freedom of speech, or even if you just believe in the freedom of sex. Government censorship isn’t going to go away anytime soon throughout the world, but standing up for human rights is important for everyone worldwide.

 

I mean, just imagine if Grindr were banned in the U.S. How would anyone meet anymore?