#LGBTHistoryMonth – The #LGBTHM Come Unity Mix

#LGBTHistoryMonth – The #LGBTHM Come Unity Mix

“‘Cause love’s such an old fashioned word/And love dares you to care for

The people on the edge of the Night/And love dares you to change our way of/Caring about ourselves”

– from “Under Pressure,” Queen and David Bowie

In the United States, October Is LGBT History Month

LGBT History Month fills the month of October with celebrations of those we love, those we have unfortunately lost, and those of us who are valued here, now and always. The month-long holiday commemorates LGBT persons of experience and is particularity related to civil rights and LGBT rights history and movements. Enveloped in LGBT History Month is its sister celebration, National Coming Out Day (October 11).

In the UK, LGBT History Month takes place during February, celebrating the 2005 abolition of Section 28, which previously forbade educators and schools from bringing LGBT topics or support to students or teaching it in schools.

Particularity in the United States, no one organization “owns or presides over” the holiday—rather, several groups worldwide recognize and celebrate it conjointly.

HRC  prepares its own events, campaigns and educational brochures to inform folks about LGBT History Month, though much of its efforts during the month focus on its own National Coming Out Day campaign.

Meanwhile, Equality Forum celebrates the day of recognition by designating and recognizing LGBT icons each year—one for each day of the month—voted in by the public and archived in an historical database. (Place your votes for LGBTHistoryMonth.com 2014 Icons here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dFhoRjNZMjIyUzV1cVZGVnRBay16RXc6MQ)

Naturally, several other individual groups, publications, sites and services such as Outhistory.org, GLBTQ.com, Quistapp.com and more celebrate and educate in their own ways.

We’ll save the controversies about LGBT History Month Festivities and Teach-In’s for another day–if you’re reading this, we know it’s because you want to celebrate–not debate.

Icons, anthems and selections abound, which we love. This list of songs that we claim and exclaim are for us or by us is ever-expansive, and we welcome you to add to the mix in the comments box below.

Meanwhile, have fun with these cuts. While there aren’t any new ones, you might find a few that are “new to you.”

 

The LGBT History Month Come Unity Mix

* Namoli Brennet – We Belong http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zddc7IUtN3Q

* Queen Latifah – Unity – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f8cHxydDb7o

* Cheryl Lynn – Got to Be Real – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EoXvDleWJ5U

* Latrice Royale & Manila Luzon — The Chop (Official Music Video) – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlHzdXFCJ-c

* Diana Ross – I’m Coming Out - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-mjl63e0ms

* RuPaul – Free to Be – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eaah3_kDLEg

* Elton John – Philadelphia Freedom – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RhJHL34DiBY

* Village People – Macho Man – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AO43p2Wqc08

* Marilyn – Give It Up – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9t-LcPkoiDM

* Erasure – A Little Respect - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RiKVjS3gR88

* David Bowie and Queen – Under Pressure - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gpn8MANhdLU

* Joe Jackson – Real Men – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BA65lg1HWt4

* Billie Holiday – The Very Thought of You http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vPJuFxl0bxY

* Bessie Smith- I Need A Little Sugar In My Bowl – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=meuwKhPGItk

* Melissa Etheridge – Come to My Window - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1QIuAJoS94

* Cole Porter – You’re The Top – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=njzqv5gWt6k

* k.d. lang – Constant Craving - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SraGoEVxOwQ

* Jill Sobule – I Kissed A Girl – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8FdwUGwasck

* Ani Difranco – Slide – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eqwww-lLz74

* Garbage – Androgyny – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hVs6Fekh0RY

* Velvet Underground – Candy Says – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPgGjUSEWss

* Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – Same Love feat. Mary Lambert – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hlVBg7_08n0

* Blur – Girls and Boys – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WDswiT87oo8

* Queen – Don’t Stop Me Now – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HgzGwKwLmgM

* Cabaret – Liza Minnelli – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=moOamKxW844

*C_nty – Kevin Aviance – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hYTuzFNZftY

* The Origin Of Love – Hedwig And The Angry Inch Cast – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_zU3U7E1Odc

* Rent-Seasons of Love - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wsj15wPpjLY

* Closer to Fine – Indigo Girls – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HUgwM1Ky228

* Madonna What It Feels Like For A Girl – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQeOpTWPBfQ

* Lady Gaga – Born This Way – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wV1FrqwZyKw

* Culture Club – Love Is Love – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a_5s3yRcohE

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To hear the entire playlist, click the link below:

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLBRcoGrPV–ZxK3qVocF1q5cz_ovovKM2

 

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For more information about LGBT History Month, visit:

LGBT History Month – Equality Forum & Icon List for 2013

http://lgbthistorymonth.comhttp://www.equalityforum.com/lgbt-history-month-2013-icons-announced

Trans Oral History Project http://transoralhistory.com

The Lesbian Herstory Archives http://www.lesbianherstoryarchives.org

(Book) Transgender History – Susan Stryker http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Susan_Stryker

GLAAD: LGBT History Month Celebration Timeline http://www.glaad.org/blog/celebrate-lgbt-history-month

BiNet – A Brief History of the Bisexual Movement http://www.binetusa.org/bihistory.htm

June Mazer Lesbian Archives http://www.mazerlesbianarchives.org

GSA Network’s Class Syllabus and Event Ideas http://www.gsanetwork.org/lgbthistorymonth

Wikipedia’s LGBT Portal  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portal:LGBT

GLBT Historical Society http://www.glbthistory.org

ONEArchives.org  http://www.onearchives.org

HAPPY LGBT HISTORY MONTH, Y’ALL!

#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.

 

Marilyn the Gender-Transcender: Catching Up With the Legendary Peter Robinson

 

Pray for That Sunshine: An Artist’s Life In Bloom

Peter Robinson, also known as world-renowned performing artist Marilyn, is a British pop performer and fashion icon with punk rock roots who influenced countless indie glam artists and celebs of the 80s and 90s all around the globe. Making his name as a club star in the vein of Warhol’s Factory crew (coming up, Marilyn was one of the New Romantics / Blitz Kids in the UK), Robinson came to be Boy George’s BFF, eventually recording songs in the same multi-culti vein as Boy George and touring around the world to gain a fan base of his own.

As for fashion, the Jamaican-born Marilyn is at once the painter and the palette. Breathtakingly beautiful, Robinson moved from being a Marilyn Monroe doppelganger to fearless “gender bending” photo spreads and gear. Along with Boy George, Marilyn helped renew fascination with androgyny in music and fashion.

For the Love of Marilyn

Marilyn earnestly, artistically channels and embodies soulfulness and strength. Fluidity and style. Androgyny and power. Charisma and grace. Ever the consummate singer, songwriter and performer.

In the 80s, his emotive dance tracks like “Calling Your Name,” “You Don’t Love Me” and “Give It Up” have earned him critical and audience acclaim. He enjoyed moderate success in the UK charts  with tracks such as “Calling Your Name,” “You Don’t Love Me,” and others.

More than just a protege, Marilyn truly came into his own developing himself beyond the club kid persona into a prolific, successful artist. The camera adores him: his exquisite, gender-transcending beauty then, now and always, is undeniably magnetic. So much so, the British pop duo Eurythmics cast him as a featured cameo “girl” in their video for “Who’s That Girl:” he rocked gorgeous dreads while striking a pose and enchanting viewers.

Coming up in the UK with peers like Boy George and many others, Marilyn contributed his honeyed, soulful vocals as one of a select group of prominent artists participating in Bob Geldof’s “Band Aid” charity project. His life’s path speaks to an artistic longevity that’s rare in the entertainment business.

He’s still doing his thing—when you visit his Twitter and Facebook pages, he’s ki-ki’ing with Boy George and other pals, occasionally traveling from spa to spa, though apparently the well runs dry sometimes: times are tougher than they used to be, by his own admission (in a recent Twitter share, he told his fans buying a simple cold drink was something he couldn’t afford when he was out and about).

Apparently, he’s recording new studio tracks and has weathered the storm of the Gavin Rossdale tabloid drama with grace, even lightly rekindling his friendship with Gavin, as well as building new bridges with Boy George.

Homophobic Media Outs Itself Yet Again

A backgrounder: Hollywood handled Marilyn’s relationship history with Rossdale altogether horribly: the “scandal” of the story didn’t last all too long, but what most reporters focused on were phrases like “gay lover,” “scandal,” “cross-dressing,” “gay affair,” and “gay fling” (WTH is a ‘gay fling?’ Their relationship or romance lasted more than a weekend, and they collaborated artistically). Other short-sighted, outmoded and pejorative terms prevailed. No cheating was involved, and their connection was in the past: this was simply a dirt-digging mission that more than anything highlighted mainstream media’s antiquated homophobic and transphobic tendencies.

When you clock the images from their time together, they’re clearly quite close at the very least, and though Marilyn agreed to keep Rossdale’s past quiet at one time, Boy George’s tell-all book reopened old wounds. From all reports, fans feel vindicated (Rossdale spent many years denying his relationship with Marilyn, finally revealing the truth of it, however dismissively).

Truth Heals All: We’re Waiting for You, Maz

At the end of the day, Marilyn’s fans are happy all parties have moved on and are eager to hear about and support Robinson’s latest shiny new project.

You can’t help but to root for him as he inspires, rallies and returns.

You only need to hear his achingly brilliant track “Third Eye” to experience the complexity and majesty that is Marilyn. He’s as fragile as a flower unfolding, and as strong as a soul diva.

Marilyn’s got that High Loveability Factor: you just want him to keep on winning.

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To check out some of Marilyn’s delightful, delicious and delovely then and now photographs, please visit the links below.

Marilyn’s Facebook Fan Page

Will The Real Marilyn Monroe Please Stand Up: Marilyn & the Blitz Kids

WOW: The Blitz Kids Documentary Page

 

“One of Us?” Not As Much…On Fatboy Slim’s Queer Behavior

“The most ironic thing is that most of what we do was invented by black, gay Americans in the first place.”

- Fatboy Slim, on EDM / House Music

Fatboy Slim: Queer…or Just European?

Norman Cook (aka Fatboy Slim) is not one to dither around or dilly-dally when it comes to sonic expansiveness and creative perception. While serving as producer, writer or DJ, Fatboy “Jack-of-All-Genres” Slim happily bounces from genre to genre to suit each new mood, project or opportunity. His range of landscapes at-play include Independent Pop, British Hip Hop and House, Big Beat and Dance music, naturally.

Born Quentin Cook, this UK underground boy gone massive came from punk rock beginnings and scruffy indie aesthetics before heading away to college in Brighton, then segueing into club and DJ culture.

Cook enjoyed a brief stint as the bassist for UK alt-pop outfit The Housemartins and experienced his first dash of fame during the band’s “Happy Hour” phase. Soon enough, Cook worked his way back to clubbing and DJ’ing, finally gaining a critical mass of attention and fans with his production and mashup skills, and eventually coming into his own with the fame and success of the hypnotic tracks “Praise You” and “The Rockafeller Skank.”

Some lads hear it more than others, but the “Is He Gay or Just European?” trope prevails in a culture where a metrosexual is a term the British media coined to describe a distinctly European look, sensibility and sexual fluidity (often but not always attached to disposable income and class). Such themes include but are not limited to: effeminate fashion, unisex/asexual presentation and (ahem) sexual experimentation or fluidity. The fact that all metrosexual men are “straight” is of course hogwash. Too–more and more, youth culture refuses to “pick a team” or define themselves by any label whatsoever.

So now, we have the news that Fatboy Slim is a regular Pride entertainer, a staunch LGBTQ advocate, and has ‘experimented with’ men sexually.

If you’d hear it from Cook himself, it’s N.B.D., but perhaps of some interest: back in 2004, Fatboy Slim told the press, “Well, everyone’s had one try-out experience, haven’t they?”

On his relationship with wife Zoe Bell, Fatboy Slim went on, “Me and Zoe have always been convinced [our son is] gay anyway.”

The fact that such goings on were mostly laughed off and minimized typifies the sexual fluidity that is our shared human experience. In less of a “bi-chic” moment and more of a “yeah, that happened” moment, Cook’s language wasn’t quite politically correct but his sentiment speaks to a nonchalance that reveals how natural and fluid sexuality is.

Is this something we can or should ignore?

Being that Fatboy Slim’s son’s still of a tender age, Cook may be keeping laser-point specifics of his son’s life private and deflecting the concept of queering personal life or relationships. However last year, Cook told Pink News UK his that supporting equal marriage is a ‘no brainer’ and revealed, “I talk about the issue with my son.”

Cook, who’s done much education and advocacy work for local young artists in his hometown, once performed at the Terrace Bar of the House of Commons to support even more community-based music initiatives for youth. By having done so, could he be, however subconsciously, helping to open the minds of UK lawmakers to queer culture, sexually fluid living and LGBTQ art and iconography?

Time will tell.

Meanwhile, are Fatboy Slim’s remarks about his own ‘sexual experimentation’ dismissive…or “normal?”

In essence, you cannot un-queer yourself, culturally or sexually. What’s definitive here is that Cook is decidedly an ally. And for the time being, the rest is none of our “B.I.-IZ-NESS.”

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Have a nosh on the concept while you nod your head to Fatboy Slim’s video, “Weapon of Choice” feat. Christopher Walken.  (Yes, Hunty’s: come back and share your thoughts with us after the jump-off.)

 

 

“Moscow Is Not Sodom:” Valeriya, Russia’s Madonna, Worries About Gay Propaganda

| “ RT @BBCNewsnight: Russian Singer Valeriya Perfilova says she worries about..influence of ‘gay propaganda’ on her children #newsnight ” |

Don’t Tell Me.” I Won’t Ask You.

Gay? Out? Don’t tell Valeriya about it. The living, thriving spirit of Pussy Riot continues to push the dialogue forward and keep LGBTQIA rights, allies’ rights and progressive activism in the planet’s consciousness.

In what’s being called a new gay holocaust, Russia’s resurgence of anti-gay sentiment (including myriad anti-gay/anti-ally/anti-activism laws) continues to change hands and to be bandied about by various talking heads. The revolving door of anti-gay rhetoric moves from the streets to the legislature to celebrity mouthpieces and back again.

One of the more prominent voices fearful of “gay propaganda” is Valeriya Perfilova, considered by many to be Russia’s version of Madonna. The singer directly benefits from (but does not publicly acknowledge) the love of her LGBTQ fans.

 

Using the Word “Propaganda” As Propaganda

Having sold over 100 million records worldwide, Perfilova is mainly known by her one-name moniker (see: Cher, Madonna) Valeriya. In her press materials, she appropriates much of Madonna’s heat, style and vibe—but somehow, she manages to kick the gay-friendly part of Madonnaisms to the curb. This is particularly unfortunate, as the singer’s a domestic abuse survivor and her body of work does much to buoy the spirits of female abuse survivors (all the while redirecting abusive behaviors toward another culture).

In a June 2013 broadcast with BBC Newsnight’s Jeremy Paxman and Russian gay activist Anton Krasovsky, Valeriya championed a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell-esque” viewpoint, towing the party line that LGBTQ persons should not be seen or heard as such.

Regarding Russia’s anti-gay legislation, Valeriya began:

“It was funny to me, because it’s nothing to do with politics. Being the mother of three children, I approve this [anti-gay] bill… I don’t want to meddle with other people’s lives. I don’t care what they do behind their doors. But I do care about my children’s bringing up [i.e. upbringing]…. The vast majority of people in Russia, 88 percent of people, support the ban of homosexuality propaganda. That’s a fact. And this bill responds to people’s demand. That’s all.”

 

L.W.Q: Living While Queer & Beingness As Illegal

Here’s a bit of a backgrounder: in January of this year, former Russian TV journalist and presenter Anton Krasovsky came out on Russian television and was fired immediately thereafter.

Now, back to Newsnight—during the BBC television broadcast, Krasovsky brought forth the idea—and his lived experience—that essentially now in Russia, it’s illegal to be gay.

Holding back uncomfortable laughter, Krasovsky couldn’t hold back the irony of the situation:

“I’m glad that that situation is funny for Valeriya,” he responded. “But it’s not fun for me. I think it’s against me. Against my family. Against all gay people in Russia…. From today, I cannot say that I’m gay and I’m the same human being…like all of you. From today, I’ll have to pay for this. From a hundred to two-thousand pounds. Because these words could be taken as propaganda.”

The beingness of gay life, being LGBTQ, being a questioning soul, being LGBTQ and out, or even advocating for those who are—in Krasovsky’s experience and in his own words, now this is a crime in and of itself, no matter what one does or does not do. It’s about the beingness now. Beyond being a thought-crime, this is L.W.Q. “living while queer.”

Illegal.

 

Some of My Best Friends Are Gay…

Ironies continue to prevail. In 2008, Valeriya became a goodwill envoy for the Russian Federation on behalf of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), an agency to combat human trafficking. She’s been bequeathed with honors and endorsement deals from Avon, from a custom perfumier, from MuzTV and MTV Russia. She was awarded the title of “Honoured Artiste of Russia” by Putin, and has been cited by Forbes magazine as one of the 50 most highly-paid people in movie, sport, literature and music.

All this to say her platform and audience is immense, and the Russian government is using her star power to their full advantage.

During Newsnight Valeriya continued, “I have a lot of friends who belong to gay society, and they do not support their unisexual marriages. They would never take part in gay parades. They’re just normal people. They do their business…. are still working on TV, the media. I don’t know why it happened to you [Anton].”

But of course, the “friends” are not out—or as Anton Krasovsky put it, they are not “open gays.”

To watch the full video, visit the YouTube link below.

BBC News – What gay ‘propaganda’ vote tells us about Russia Today:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z-KfROu8AaU

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Connect with Anton Krasovsky at @krasovkin and share your thoughts with BBC Newsnight @BBCNewsnight.

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#DumpStoli: Russia’s Anti-Gay Bill Sparks Creative Boycott

When Keeping It Real Means Keeping Vigilant

Come on, let’s go
Back to Moscow
Irresolution doesn’t suit you or me or anybody…

- From “Moscow,” by Autoheart

Just as we celebrate progress with LGBT equal rights, another human rights breech rises up to spilling over, demanding more healing and attention in Russia.

Since 2006, a combination of anti-feminist and anti-LGBTQ fervor has been gaining momentum there. Russia continues to punish outspoken LGBT supporters, driving the point home by dragging out the fate of LGBT-feminist activist-allies Pussy Riot, denying yet another member of the group parole for its activism.

Within the last year, Russia has activated harsher legislation, banning gay pride parades while continuing to detain, arrest and prosecute LGBTQ people and allies for both public or private actions and speech.

Persecution and Prosecution

More strident legislative punishments have emerged as Russian lawmakers fight what they call “homosexual propaganda” or “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations,” passing the “Don’t Say Gay” Anti-Gay Bill.

Russian President Vladimir Putin also managed to sign a law banning all gay adoptions—signing three anti-gay bills into law total with no signs of stopping. Russian lawmakers now reinterpret LGBT outreach as “pornography,” intending to prosecute those who speak out against new laws, making them subject to the same detainment, arrest, prosecution or implied threats of violence as gay people experience.

It’s no surprise that hostility and vigilantism in Russia is becoming serious, with Russian skinheads among others attacking gay-identified persons including teens.

Separate and Not Equal

The upcoming Winter Olympics will be held in Sochi, Russia in 2014.

HRC (the U.S.’ largest gay rights organization) along with Dan Savage and others predict Russia’s new anti-gay activity will prove exacting for Olympic athletes, coaches, supporters, press and related attendees, whether or not they’re gay.

To illustrate the breadth of Russia’s definition, the HRC cited banned activities range from friends or couples holding hands, public displays of affection (kissing or hugging) to voicing solidarity in any form. The new laws equate LGBT activist outreach materials with pedophilia, forbidding by default any outreach to Russian gay or questioning teens struggling with coming out.

While the IOC says Olympic athletes, press and guests will be exempt from Russia’s anti-gay laws, how can this be guaranteed?

Johnny Weir told the press he’s unafraid, stating: “The fact that Russia is arresting my people, and openly hating a minority…is heartbreaking and a travesty of international proportions, but I still will compete.”

Activists continue to demand that LGBT athletes boycott the upcoming games. Russian tourism earnings are expected to dwindle, and meanwhile, activists in-country (namely Nikolai Alekseev and peers) say financial boycotts won’t even make a difference, encouraging international supporters to push for governmental change only. This echoes Pussy Riot’s push-back in the face of international support, which they’ve eventually warmed up to, somewhat.

Creativity Continues As Protests Spread

Regardless of the latest headlines, international creative collaborators continue to show solidarity. Such artsy projects aren’t mere flights of fancy. Passing anti-gay laws sends a clear signal to those who would commit hate crimes they’ll be given a free pass to act out violently, beyond reproach.

Remember the inexcusable violence at St. Petersburg Pride?

In an extension of this anti-gay law, Russian authorities are already arresting gay tourists who aren’t even from Russia. That’s how quickly discrimination affects us worldwide.

In the face of this chaos, Russia is facing an immediate and expansive vodka boycott. Gay-owned bars, consumers and businesses are kicking Stoli vodka to the curb. At the prompting of Dan Savage, the hashtags #DumpStoli and #DumpRussianVodka were created to fuel efforts, with Canadian and U.S.-based establishments as first responding boycotters and British clubs following suit. Canada has since issued warnings in a travel alert for LGBTQ persons visiting Russia.

Unfortunately, this puts Stoli North America in a tricky situation: Stoli Vodka CEO Val Mendeleev has expressed disagreement with new Russian laws, to which activists from Queer Nation replied, “A single open letter that was discreetly placed…will not help LGBT Russians nor will it have an impact on the… anti-gay campaign…. Marketing is not enough.”

Enter the London-based band, Autoheart, who penned the timely single, “Moscow.”

The new single greets the listener with maudlin, layered nostalgia for a love the singer knows is there. In the tune, there’s a heart that needs reminding.

On their YouTube page, Autoheart wrote: “Moscow is a song about the daft optimism of being in love,” continuing: “We are lucky in Britain to have laws that mean whether we are gay, straight, bisexual or anything in between, our relationships are recognized and our rights protected by law.”

“In our video, two gay Russian soldiers kiss in front of the Kremlin — yet just last month a group of same-sex couples in Moscow were violently attacked and then arrested for doing just this.”

If Autoheart were Russian, their very words alone would make them instant candidates for prosecution.

The band went on to encourage visitors to sign this petition, a callout to world leaders for equal rights: https://www.allout.org/en/actions/russia-attacks

Other creative solidarity projects are:

The #Virtual Pride launch
http://gayagenda.com/worldwide-pride-parades-offer-solutions-for-targeted-lgbt-individuals/

Stop Homophobia In Russia, a 2-video series

The Gay Women Channel’s “Putin Airlines Safety” video

Autoheart’s lyrics to “Moscow” conclude:

When in Moscow I just want to fold you up
And keep you warm, keep you warm.

To find out more about LGBT Russia, visit here or here -

Spectrum Human Rights Alliance (Eastern Europe) www.spectrumhr.org/?pli=1

Russian LGBT Network http://www.facebook.com/LGBT.Russia

Let’s keep talking about this: what kind of vodka is your corner bar serving? Where’s it manufactured? Is this boycott inspiring you to take action?

Transphobic Tragicomedy: Paris Lees Chats With Jonathan Ross

Are Transphobic Jokes Ever Funny? On Paris Lees’ Trans-Empowerment Chat

Have you seen the YouTube dialogue between Paris Lees and Jonathan Ross?

Have a look and check it out: it comes highly-recommended.

In the video created for META,  Lees calmly and compassionately extends a hand to Ross in regard to prior insensitive remarks he’d made about transgendered individuals. First, he’d made a “lady boy airline” joke, then he mishandled social media responses with yet another quip he thought was funny. (When a fellow tweeter called him out on Twitter, he’d answered, “Lighten up. Sir. Madam. Whatever,” prior to making a quick knee-jerk apology.)

As we walk through Lees’ and Ross’ shared and very public video chat, we do see Ross searching for understanding about as he finds ways to personalize what being trans* means. (Example: citing the fact that his daughter is gay – it’s closer to but somewhat wide of the mark).

Paris Lees talks him through the proper way to communicate with and about LGBTQ folks, and trans* folks in particular, from a place of agency, and from her own knowledge and lived experience. All the while, he’s allowed the space to, essentially, brain dump as he moves toward fully embodied accountability.

The fact that the conversation has to do with comedic comments and Ross’ impressions about them provides a teaching moment that could have easily become inflamed, but Lees’ focus in her advocacy work has to do with centeredness, harmony and education. She’s been quoted in the press as being desirous to advocate for others in encouraging ways, making activism relationship-focused, easy as ‘having a chat and a bit of tea,’ and more accessible than accusatory (paraphrased).

While Lees’ viewpoint doesn’t provide others any wiggle room or space for excuses, it puts people at ease who could become unwitting allies and widen the platform for advocacy work simply by correcting themselves in public.

Kudos to Paris and to Jonathan as well—not only for having this conversation, but for sharing it in a public medium.

By video’s end, one does get the feeling that Ross has left the conversation changed—or that, at least, he’ll do double-check before he pens and delivers his next barbs.

To find out more about UK trans* resources or Paris Lees’ advocacy and creative work (additionally, she’s the editor of META magazine), please visit the links below.

Paris Lees’ Trans Empowerment Recommendations

Paris Lees’ Advocacy Site, All About Trans

META Magazine

Paris Lees at YouTube

Trans Media Watch

The Gender Trust

Trans Media Action

TransLondon

To discover and learn more about trans culture in the UK, please visit Paris Lees’ official homepage – Note: website resources in this article were also sourced from Paris Lees’ official homepage – ParisLees.com.

When’s the last time you heard a transphobic joke, and what was it? How did you react?

Get Your Superpowers On: It’s Liverpool Pride’s Fab, New Superhero Theme

Superheroes, Represent: Liverpool Pride’s Workin’ It With A Fab, New Superhero Theme

Liverpool Pride is coming! (But doesn’t “Superheroes Ball” have an awesome ring to it?)

So tell us, superheroes: will you be flying to the Superheroes Ball in Liverpool, or teleporting?

As the second largest LGBTQI pride event in the UK (with London as the first), Liverpool Pride is happening on August 3 this year, and they’re calling all  “Family” and friends with magical rainbow powers (and those who love them)  to convene for this special superhero-themed queer fete.

Expecting record attendance numbers, the Liverpool Pride organization committee anticipates 50,000-plus caped crusaders and Super-Friends are expected to make their way to Liverpool this year to participate.

James Davies, Festival Manager for Liverpool Pride, told Liverpool Life:  “Every year brings new challenges and often it’s our community that comes up with the most creative ideas – that’s why we’ve always asked the public to choose their theme.”

He continued, “Last year’s Nautical But Nice theme was taken to heart by the community with thousands dressing up as sailors, pirates and all kinds of sea creatures and at least two boats. With Bonnie Tyler as this year’s UK Eurovision contender I’m delighted that our Pride community will bring her over 50,000 heroes this August.”

Time to get your super-gay superhero playlists ready—whether you can make it there or you’ll be there in spirit—here are a few sweet ideas. How about you plop these on over into your iPod?

We Don’t Need Another Hero – Tina Turner

Born This Way – Lady Gaga

I’m Not Your Superwoman – Karyn White

Holding Out for A Hero – Bonnie Tyler

Hero – Chad Kroeger

Spider Man – The Ramones

Flash Gordon Theme – Queen

Ziggy Stardust – David Bowie

Young James Dean – Girlyman

Supermodel of the World – RuPaul

Batdance – Prince

Blade – KRS-One

Superhero – Ani Difranco

Singer Shine Your Light – Namoli Brennet -

Jimmy Olsen’s Blues (Pocketful of Kryptonite) – Spin Doctors

Any other suggestions? Well, we do have a couple…

If you can make it there, don’t take the superhero theme so literally. That way, we’ll see suited-up and costumed versions of folks like Harvey Milk, Bayard Rustin, Marsha P. Johnson and much, much more.

Every hero counts.

Kick all y’alls secret identities to the curb, get out there and save some lives with gear and glam, glitter and grease. Why? ‘Cause this is what Pride looks like: it takes a superhero to be live their life with pride.

Find out more about the event at the official website:  http://www.liverpoolpride.co.uk

If you can make your way there, what superhero will you arrive as? And avec cape, or au naturel?

 

 

Pride Boost Economy

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“Every city should have a pride!” says author and GayAgenda writer Jason Shaw, “Not only for the entertainment and celebration aspects, but also because it can financially benefit a whole region” he says as he looks ahead to the UK’s forthcoming north east festival that is estimated to boost the Tyneside economy by around £1m.

Last year, Newcastle Pride attracted around 23,000 visitors for the one day event held in Newcastle’s Exhibition Park, with people coming from all over the not only the north east, but also from around the United Kingdom. Some people came to enjoy northern hospitality from as far away as Sweden, Holland and Italy. “There are a number of Pride events in the UK and the major ones attract large numbers of people, both from the local population, but also from the rest of the UK as well as Europe. Many of these visitors don’t just come for the Pride event itself, but also to have a mini holiday, staying on average at least three or four days in the city, this brings in much needed funds to the hospitality industry of the local area as well as giving a boost to the wider community.” Jason explains.

The organisers of this years North East Pride believe their line-up will bring in even bigger crowds to Tyneside – giving a huge boost to hotels, restaurants and bars across the city and beyond. Initially they had planned to move to event to Leazes Park, however it has now been decided to keep the July 20th event at the remain at National Exhibition Park to ensure the expected large numbers of festival goers can be accommodated.

“We’ve every indication that this year will be even more successful,” said Peter Darrant, chair of Northern Pride, which stages Newcastle Pride. “We’ve got a fantastic list of performers and have extended the range of activities and we hope that people from across the region will come and join the LGBT community for what will be an incredible event.”

“We know people travel from across the UK to come to Newcastle Pride and we have estimated the economic value to the area, based on last year’s spend, to be around £1m for the 2013 event.”

Headlining the entertainment at this year’s event will be a finalist from the UK’s X Factor TV show, Amelia Lily, along with the sensational 1980′s original punk/pop star Toyah. Other acts appearing in the line-up include Steptastic, Katrina of the Waves and Titch, who recently supported Olly Murs on tour.

Newcastle Pride will also a health zone, a cabaret tent, sports arena, trans zone, dance tent, tea tent and a funfair to ensure a good time is had by all. For the first time this year Newcastle Pride will also be running a family zone with a range of activities and advice from organisations such as leading adoption agencies. “Pride events are great fun, they show off our diverse community to the wider world, encourage closer cooperation and links between communities and boost the income of the city or region that hosts them – so its a win win situation for all concerned.” Jason added.

Rethink Gay Marriage says UK Bishop

The+Rt+Rev+Nicholas+Holtam+suggested+it+was+time+to+'rethink'+attitudes+towards+allowing+same-sex+couples+to+marry
The Bishop of Salisbury, the Rt Rev Nicholas Holtham has suggested in a letter to UK daily newspaper, The Telegraph that it was time for the church to “rethink” attitudes about same-sex marriage, as Christians had done with slavery and apartheid.

“No one now supports either slavery or apartheid. The Biblical texts have not changed; our interpretation has.” The religious leader argued that same sex marriage did not “detract from heterosexual marriage” and that the “development of marriage for same sex couples is a very strong endorsement of the institution of marriage”.

The same-sex marriage bill that would allow same-sex couples, who can currently hold civil partnership ceremonies, to marry is currently being debated in the UK parliament. There are religious safeguards already written into the bill in which religious organisations would have to “opt in” to offering weddings, with the Church of England and Church in Wales being banned in law from doing so.

The bill has been backed by UK Prime Minister David Cameron, his Lib Dem deputy PM Nick Clegg as well as the opposition leader Ed Miliband and the majority of their party members. Although many Tory backbenchers oppose the bill and voted against equality, showing that for all Cameron’s talk of being a progressive party and worthy of leading the country for the next decade is just talk and empty promises.