#IndieGoGo Love: All Of Us Project Making Schools Safer for LGBT Students

#IndieGoGo Love: All Of Us Project Making Schools Safer for LGBT Students

20131016024909-allofusususuusa9d92c

“Sadly today in Australia, school is the place where young people report the most homophobic abuse. Since 1998 levels of homophobic abuse reported by students, experienced in schools has risen from 69% in 1998 to 80% in 2010.”

- All of Us Read more

Same-Sex Marriages Legalized Outside of Oregon Get Benefits

In a memo sent to state agencies on October 16, state Chief Operating Officer Michael Jordan said same-sex couples married in places where it’s legal are immediately eligible for the same benefits as other heterosexual couples. Said Matt Shelby, spokesman for the Department of Administrative Services, “it’s pretty wide- ranging if you think about all the places where a married couple could interact with a state agency. Whether it is income taxes or filing a business or the other multitude of places where a married couple would have some rights or responsibilities, this decision be applied in many other states with constitutional bans.”

nunst061

Read more

First Same-Sex Couple Adopts in France

Last May, France became the fourteenth country to legalize gay marriage and gay adoption. (Other European Nations that allow gay adoption include Belgiium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and Britain). Many Parisiens, particularly rural Catholics, did not cotton to the law that was signed by President Francois Hollande, and took to the streets in droves to protest. The marches focused heavily on adoption rights.

news-gay-parent-families-child-top

Read more

N.J. Supreme Court’s Ruling Legalizes Same-sex Marriage

Court Denied Christie’s Request for Delay

Starting at 12:01 a.m. on October 21, same-sex couples in New Jersey will finally be able to wed, the Supreme Court ruled on October 18, 2013. The Court denied the Christie’s Administration’s request to delay a lower court order that the state recognize gay marriage.

nj-gay-marriage-bill-2jpg-53f162d331686b62

Read more

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.

 

Read more

No More Bullies: Wear, Share and Go Purple on #SpiritDay October 17

 

No More Bullies: Go Purple for #SpiritDay on October 17

 “Spirit Day was started by a high school student in 2010 as a way to prevent bullying and show support for LGBT youth. Roughly eight out of 10 LGBT students experience harassment while at schools and as many as 63 percent of them report they also feel unsafe, according to GLAAD. The event takes place annually on every third Thursday in October.” CBS LA

Have you got the spirit?

Then put your Purple where your heart is. Read more

#NCOD and Coming Out Still Matters: National #ComingOut Day Is October 11

National Coming Out Day Is October 11

#NCOD and Coming Out Still Matters: National #ComingOut Day Is October 11

If Harvey had not been taken from us 30 years ago, I think he would want me to say to all the gay and lesbian kids out there tonight who have been told they are less than by the churches, by the government, by their families, that you are beautiful, wonderful creatures of value, and that no matter what anyone tells you, God does love you and that very soon, I promise you, you will have equal rights, federally, across this great nation of ours.”― Dustin Lance Black

Every year in October during LGBT History Month National Coming Out Day is celebrated in tandem. Though The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) is currently the largest or most well-known promoter of the event, it was founded in 1988 by activists Dr. Robert Eichberg, his partner William Gamble, and Jean O’Leary.

Though not an expected action, coming out is essentially necessitated by the human spirit for optimal health in all aspects of life—not just those related to the LGBTQ community.

Visibility, mental health, educational opportunities and encouragement for collective self-esteem are just a few reasons for the existence of the holiday, meant to raise consciousness and create dialogue regarding bisexual, gay, trans*, and lesbian issues, needs and achievements. Transparency in safe spaces regarding sexual and gender identity is a key component—however, there’s a special youth outreach contingent that has evolved in order to raise awareness about bullying and suicide prevention.

The co-founders of National Coming Out Day created the commemorative day in order to celebrate the Second National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, which took place in Washington, DC (with over 500,000 participants in attendance). As the campaign for civil rights and equality awareness continued to build momentum, more and more municipalities and institutions began to celebrate the event locally.

Organizations have embodied the spirit of National Coming Out Day in myriad ways—for example: via teach-ins, parades, rallies, parties and celebrations, multimedia presentations, movies, art projects and various offline events.

The Human Rights Campaign in particular has been instrumental in making sure National Coming Out Day is honored in every state in the United States. In spite of its name, this holiday has also been embraced by other countries including New Zealand, Switzerland, Canada, the United Kingdom and Germany.

Each year, the HRC creates a new theme for this occasion. In 2013, which is the 25th anniversary of National Coming Out Day, the theme is “Coming Out Still Matters.”

Why does coming out still matter to our community? The HRC explains:

“25 years ago, on the anniversary of the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, we first observed National Coming Out Day as a reminder that one of our most basic tools is the power of coming out. One out of every two Americans has someone close to them who is gay or lesbian. For transgender people, that number is only one in 10. Coming out STILL MATTERS. When people know someone who is LGBT, they are far more likely to support equality under the law. Beyond that, our stories can be powerful to each other. Every person who speaks up changes more hearts and minds, and creates new advocates for equality.”

-

Coming out is a rite of passage–acknowledging Queer and Trans* identity in a meaningful way is essential to mental health, at the very least. Why does coming out still matter to you–or does it still matter to you?

Let us know.

Namaste!

Gay Agenda

For more information about NCOD, visit the HRC here.

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.