Monday, July 25, 2016

Gender Odyssey 15th Annual Conference August 4th to 7th

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with Aidan Key, founder of Gender Diversity in Seattle, WA about the 15th annual Gender Odyssey conference that takes place at the Washington State Convention & Trade Center in Seattle, Washington from August 4th to 7th. Gender Odyssey is an international conference focused on the needs and interests of transgender and gender nonconforming people. The conference provides an array of thought-provoking workshops, discussion groups, social events and more. This annual event attracts people from all over the world for an uplifting weekend of skill sharing and community. Over 1000 participants are expected to attend this year as visibility for transgender issues and communities have reached a historic high mark. Gender Odyssey’s primary objective is to offer tools to navigate obstacles and provide pathways to individual and community empowerment with conference tracks for professionals, families and transgender people of all ages. There will be over 100 workshops, panels and events providing the highest level of expertise from within the transgender and gender nonconforming communities. Also again this year “Gender Odyssey Family” the stand-alone conference will be presented for families with gender diverse and transgender children as the cornerstone of the weekend providing three days of workshops, a day camp for kids and a complete teen program. This annual family conference is one of few places where families, children and teens can get the information and support they need to live happy, healthy and fulfilled lives. We talked to Aidan about how Gender Odyssey provides a powerful life-changing conference experience for its attendees and his spin on our LGBT issues.

When asked what his personal commitment is to LGBT Civil Rights Key stated, “I cannot not do this work and frankly in times of great fatigue, I have thought about that and wanted to step away and yet I feel quite strongly that this is the work that I need to be doing. I spent quite a number of years of my life in the lesbian community prior to my transition. I had the blessing and good fortune to meet a lot of amazing change agents within that community and especially so in a number of people that were older than me by 15 or 20 years so in a sense mentored me and provided me in what I felt was more like a second upbringing. There’s no way that between them and my own mom who raised me to be who I was meant and to fight against the injustices that present themselves, there’s no way I could let those people down and not do exactly what I’m doing. I find a huge amount of…satisfaction doesn’t even seem like the right word. It’s what I need and have and want to do to fill my soul.”

Aidan Key and his organization have helped students, families and schools think about and address gender and transgender issues. Key has served as a consultant to dozens of school districts across the United States navigating the questions and concerns that come with supporting transgender students. He is the co-author of “Trans Bodies, Trans Selves” (Oxford University Press) and “Gender Cognition in Transgender Children” (Psychological Science). Past speaking engagements have included the Children’s Justice Conference and the Adolescent Medicine Conference.
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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Equality Florida Disarming Hatred After Orlando Massacre

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with Nadine Smith, co-founder and CEO of Equality Florida about the aftermath of the Pulse Nightclub Massacre that left 49 dead and many critically injured last month in Orlando, Florida. Since this mass murder occurred Equality Florida has established an online fundraiser for the victims of the Pulse Nightclub shooting that has raised over $7M from over 117,000 contributors and 120 countries. With recent terrorist attacks in Nice, France and tragic deadly shooting in Dallas, Texas and Baton Rouge, Louisiana we must ensure that our LGBT community is not forgotten in these times of such atrocities. During the current Republican National Convention references were made to both Dallas and Baton Rouge but not a word was uttered about the Pulse Nightclub Massacre. Though this isn’t surprising since the Republican National Convention is likely to ratify what has been described as the most anti LGBTQ platform in its history endorsing so-called conversion therapy, calling for the ban of marriage equality, rejects LGBTQ families and bans transgender and gender non-conforming people from using restrooms that match their gender identity. We talked to Nadine about moving forward after the Pulse Nightclub Massacre and her spin on our LGBT issues.

When asked what she would like to see happen for LGBT equality in the next few years Smith stated, “I think there are two arenas that we really have to focus on. One of them is ending workplace discrimination because it really is a battle not only about the actual discrimination people experience but it’s a battle about naming and acknowledging the existence of the LGBT community. The far right when they oppose us at every turn what they’re really saying is we don’t want the state and we don’t want the laws to acknowledge you as actual people. We think that you don’t really exist, you just need what God we worship, you just need whatever psychological analyses we provide. We don’t believe LGBT people exist and every time a law passes that says you do exist and that you deserve dignity, it undermines their worldview. They think we shouldn’t exist and if we say we do exist we should be forced to hide and if we don’t hide successfully, violence or discrimination befalls us, then that’s just the way things ought to be, to drive us back in the closet. So that is the worldview that drives them to oppose even anti bullying laws in our schools. The work of ending discrimination is certainly about protecting people from losing their jobs or even living in a world where we fear that at any moment discrimination is possible. Will I be denied access to that restaurant; will I be denied this job; will I be harassed trying to get a hotel room? But it is also about addressing the basic recognition and dignity of our lives. The other area that I think should be at the top of our agenda if we’re going to uproot the hatred and fear is at the core of this discrimination and violence we have to focus on schools. We have to stop having the lowest bar possible which is students who go to school should not be physically assaulted, verbally abused and emotionally terrorized. That’s the least our schools should be. That should not be the highest we aspire to. We should create learning environments where dignity and respect of difference is built in. Where LGBT young people cannot only just go and expect not to be harassed, but can go and expect to thrive and there are models for it and we need the investment in it now.”

Nadine Smith is also a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Florida Advisory Committee, a Florida Chamber Foundation Trustee and served on President Obama's National Finance Committee. She was named one of the state's "Most Powerful and Influential Women" by the Florida Diversity Council in 2013. Nadine was also given the 2016 League of Women Voters Woman of Distinction Award earlier this year. She lives in St. Petersburg, Florida with her wife Andrea and son Logan.
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Monday, July 11, 2016

Congress Pressuring FDA To Drop Gay Blood Ban (AUDIO)

In this exclusive audio broadcast Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ participated in a media call hosted by the National Gay Blood Drive and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee with Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO) and Congressman Alan Grayson (D-FL) urging the FDA to lift the requirement that gay and bisexual men be celibate for a year before donating blood. Since the LGBT massacre in Orlando, Florida more than 130 members of Congress have signed letters asking the Commissioner of the FDA to remove the requirement including Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) who are leading the effort in the Senate and along with Rep. Polis leading the effort in the House are Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL). In addition, a grassroots petition by National Gay Blood Drive, the Equality Federation and the PCCC has raised over 12,000 signatures stating that scientific evidence does not support this ban and that screening should be based on behavior and not sexual orientation.

Courtney Hagen, Progressive Change Campaign Committee’s Capitol Hill Team stated, “Today we have a clear message for the FDA: The public and members of Congress want you to lift the ban on gay men donating blood and treat all people equally. After Orlando, a discriminatory FDA ban that requires gay men to be celibate for one year to donate meant that thousands of would-be healthy donors were turned away from Orlando blood banks that desperately needed their blood. Their community was under attack but they were unable to do even the simplest of acts to help it heal.”

Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO), the first openly gay parent in Congress added, “The FDA simply needs to make screening based off of behavior and off of science, not off of orientation. The gender of one’s partner has nothing to do with whether one is engaged in risky behavior or not. It’s high time for this outdated and discriminatory policy to end and I’m confident with such broad spread support among both the American public as well as members of Congress the FDA will be moved to look at the science that shows, in fact, that there’s nothing inherently different about the blood of gay or bisexual Americans.”

Congressman Alan Grayson (D-FL) of Orlando concluded, “At times of tragedy, giving blood is a form of showing solidarity, showing concern for the victims and even a form of citizenship. We can’t say that we have first-class citizens and second-class citizens; we can’t say some people can give blood and other people can’t based upon their sexual orientation or anything like that. When I asked people and other elected officials asked people, to give blood, we had over 5,000 donors in less than 24 hours. In one location, we had two blocks that had to be cordoned off because the line was that long -- a line two blocks long in the rain of people anxious to give blood that day. And that’s a recognition of the impulse we all feel in times of tragedy to help and no one should be turned away in those kinds of circumstances.”

According to a study published in the Columbia Medical Review the one-year celibacy requirement is outdated and ignores that all blood donations are thoroughly tested using the latest technology and scientific advancements. The AIDS Research Institute calls the policy discriminatory and “not really supported by the facts.” Over 4.2 million eligible blood donors are affected by the requirement.
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Tuesday, July 5, 2016

New LGBT Inclusive Senior Housing Coming To New York

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with Michael Adams, Chief Executive Officer of Services & Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Elders (SAGE) which is the country's largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of LGBT older adults founded in 1978 and headquartered in New York City. Recently SAGE has announced it has joined forces with HELP USA and BFC Partners to develop New York City’s first senior housing with services designed specifically for the LGBT community. Ingersoll Senior Residences and Crotona Senior Residences will collectively provide nearly 230 units and bring comprehensive LGBT culturally competent services to older adults at both sites. Located in Ft. Greene, Brooklyn Ingersoll Senior Residences will be the nation’s largest LGBT-welcoming elder housing development in the nation with 145 affordable units. Crotona Senior Residences will provide 82 units located in Crotona Park North, Bronx and will be developed as part of a collaboration between HPD, HELP USA, NY State Homes and Community Renewal and SAGE. As President Obama recently stated in his Pride Month Proclamation LGBT elder housing is a national issue and these new developments will address this need by weaving together affordable housing and comprehensive on-site services. We talked to Michael about providing our LGBT elder pioneers access to safe housing where they can be themselves and his spin on our LGBT issues.

When asked what he would like to see happen for LGBT equality in the next few years Adams stated, “We spend a lot of time in our movement, as has been necessary, fighting for equal rights, legal rights, for marriage equality. We have made good progress but we still obviously have a long way to go to ensure that we are protected against discrimination since in many parts of the country we’re not; so many parts of the country it’s perfectly legal to discriminate against us in housing, in employment and other parts of life. So the fight to win anti discrimination protections is very important. Equally important is ensuring all of our work in all of our communities is inclusive and supports all parts of the community and what we’ve seen is we have groups within the community that too often get left behind. That includes transgender folks and certainly includes elders in our community and so really ensuring that the progress we make is progress for all including our most vulnerable, most marginalized member of the community to me that is really critical.”

Michael Adams is a graduate of Stanford Law School and Harvard College. Prior to becoming Chief Executive Officer at SAGE he was the Director of Education and Public Affairs for Lambda Legal. Prior to that Michael spent a decade leading cutting-edge litigation that established new rights for LGBT people, first as Associate Director of the ACLU's Lesbian and Gay Rights Project and then as Deputy Legal Director at Lambda Legal. He has authored numerous publications on an array of LGBT issues. SAGE offers national supportive services and consumer resources to LGBT older adults and their caregivers, advocates for public policy changes that address the needs of LGBT older people and provides training for aging providers and LGBT organizations through its National Resource Center on LGBT Aging. With offices in New York City, Washington, DC and Chicago, SAGE coordinates a growing network of 29 SAGE affiliates in 21 states and the District of Columbia.
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Monday, June 27, 2016

Transgender Web Series “Brothers” Returns

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with filmmaker and writer Emmett Jack Lundberg about the second season of his web series “Brothers” the first narrative series about a group of transgender male friends that not only features the stories about trans men but also casts trans actors in the main roles. The show follows four transgender men navigating life and love in Brooklyn, NY and touches on a few of the many issues that face transgender individuals including healthcare, dating, transphobia, identity and more. Season One is currently on Vimeo On Demand and Amazon Prime. In a quick summary, Jack the series’ main character starts sleeping with a cisgender man after exclusively dating women. His friend Davyn proposed to his long time girlfriend Amy with disastrous results. Aiden the youngest member of the group who is pre-testosterone and pre-surgery tries to raise money for his upcoming top surgery but becomes disenchanted at the last minute. Then Max who has been on hormones longer than both Jack and Davyn can’t get the financial resources to obtain his top surgery. In season two Jack is still struggling with his sexual identity while Max is living through the hell of online dating. Davyn has fled his disastrous relationship and New York as Aiden has plummeted down a rabbit hole of addiction and depression. The core group has shifted and fractured as the “Brothers” are no longer one big happy family. Along with a host of new characters the guys discover whether testosterone is actually thicker than blood. We talked to Emmett about his inspiration for his web series “Brothers” and his spin on our LGBT issues prior to the Orlando Massacre.

When asked what his personal commitment is to LGBT civil right and what he would like to see happen for LGBT equality in the next few years Lundberg stated, “I think for me as the filmmaker you know the stories I want to tell are very much stories that are overlooked and for me that’s the way I feel comfortable and good about giving back and adding something to the community…I think a huge thing for me in LGBT equality is specifically trans healthcare. You know the healthcare system in our country in general is pretty messed up but for trans people it can be really terrifying and difficult to navigate. You know you have to pay for your own surgery and having to do all these things out of pocket when really all these things should be covered.”

Emmett Jack Lundberg series “Brothers” was named one of indieWIRE’s 10 Best Indie TV Series and ET Online’s “Six Web Series to Watch While Waiting for Transparent to Return”. SiriusXM called it “More revolutionary than “Orange Is The New Black.” Season 2, Episode 1 has already screened at several festivals and has won “Best in LGBT+” at the Buffer Festival in Toronto, Canada. As a writer Lundberg co-edited and contributed to “Finding Masculinity”, an anthology of trans masculine essays that was published by Riverdale Avenue Books in May 2015.
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WATCH SEASON 2 Episode 1

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Arline Isaacson Sheds Light On LGBT Massacre

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with Arline Isaacson, Co-Chair of the Massachusetts Gay & Lesbian Political Caucus and one of the architects of marriage equality in this country. Isaacson is a brilliant and dedicated lobbyist who has fought successfully for decades for our LGBT community. In the aftermath of the worst mass killing in American history at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida that left 49 dead and many more wounded we asked Arline for her spin on this national and global tragedy and to shed some light on where we are now and the future for LGBTQ civil rights in this country, especially during a presidential race with a shameful republican candidate who is still spewing hate and with over 200 state discriminatory bills still pending against our LGBTQ community. This is a time when we need to come together to console our sorrow and begin the healing progress from the devastation of this horrific attack on our LGBTQ community and move forward in solidarity as a nation.

When asked what she would like to see happen for LGBT equality in the next few years Isaacson stated, “The good news that we have to remind ourselves is that we are on a trajectory that’s very positive and very good for our community. That there will always be bumps in the road and this is hardly a bump, this is a chasm that’s a total earthquake road-breaking chasm that just happened in Orlando but we need to remember that we can build a bridge across that chasm. We will build a bridge across that chasm and because we are LGBT it will be the most fabulous bridge anyone has ever built anywhere in the world. It will be the most beautiful bridge anyone ever built and it will be strong and it will be enduring and it will be gorgeous and we have to remind ourselves it’s just going to take some time and it’s going to take some work and you can’t stop building the bridge in the middle, you got to keep going until you get to the other side.

The other thing we need to remind ourselves is very important in my mind is that we have to remember to use this horrible tragedy as a lesson for what we must not do to others, culturally and politically. Let this remind us that as we gain our equality and as we move up the ladder so to speak culturally of acceptance or politically of acceptance, or politically in equality, we have to make sure we pull others up behind us, that we don’t dis other communities and groups whether they’re based on their religion or their race or their immigrant status or economic status. We have to fight religious extremists and even if you’re anti abortion you have to condemn people who shoot up abortion clinics and shoot up abortion doctors. We have to apply the lessons we wish to have applied to ourselves. We have to remember the importance of applying them to someone else and then when one group in our nation is disenfranchised, when one group in our nation is discriminated against, when one group is treated unequally, we are ultimately all unequal.”

Arline Isaacson co-chair’s Massachusetts Gay & Lesbian Political Caucus with Gary Daffin. MGLPC is the most experienced and respected lobbying operation on Beacon Hill in Massachusetts working for LGBTQ equal rights. Founded in 1973 MGLPC has had enormous success advocating with professional lobbyists for the interests and needs of our LGBT community. MGLPC continues to fight for LGBT civil rights especially transgender equality, AIDS-related issues and more. It is a totally volunteer effort and your support is needed especially in these difficult times. 
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Thursday, June 9, 2016

Elizabeth Keener New Web Series “Skirtchasers”

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with actor Elizabeth Keener about her new tello Films web series “Skirtchasers” that she stars in with Barry Bostwick (“Rocky Horror Picture Show”, “Spin City”) as her estranged father and Meredith Baxter (“Family Ties”, “Young and the Restless”) as her divorced mom. Keener plays Robyn Samuels who is freshly single after a break-up with her long time girlfriend the day before their wedding. As Robyn deals with mending her broken heart she realizes her issues with commitment go way back to her father after the split of her parents. Bostwick plays Damien Samuels her best-selling novelist father who has remarried a much younger woman, starts a new family and abandons Robyn. The five part web series was written by James Berg and Stan Zimmerman (“The Golden Girls”, “Gilmore Girls”, “The Brady Bunch” movies), bringing over 30 years of writing and producing experience to the project. Amanda Bearse directed four of the episodes with Zimmerman directing one. Bearse has over 25 years of directing and producing experience (“MADtv”, “Dharma & Gregg”, “Jamie Foxx Show”). She is also known for her role as Marcy D’Arcy in the Fox classic comedy, “Married With Children”. “Skirtchasers” is distributed by Christin Baker, co-founder and CEO of tello Films and produced jointly by Baker, Bearse, Bostwick, Zimmerman and Keener. We talked to Elizabeth about what she hoped to accomplish with “Skirtchasers” and her spin on our LGBT issues.

When asked what her personal commitment is to LGBT civil rights Keener stated, “My personal commitment as a human being is for everyone to have the same rights. I mean we all started as an egg and a sperm, we all started right there. It just becomes convoluted. My personal opinion is that many people, most people, I wouldn’t say all but they find ways to elevate themselves by downing other people and if people would just stop in some way, I mean it starts in the home. I think we need to let people know that everyone is equal. I don’t care, we can label everything we want; we can have new labels for this and new labels for that; we can do all that stuff but we’re all the same and it’s just shocking to me that people haven’t gotten that yet and you know we’re heading for 2020 and people just don’t get it or they do get it but they don’t care because the only way they can elevate themselves is finding a way to down somebody else. I’m just going to find a way and I hope in my way, I mean politically I’m an actress and I don’t know how much in politics people care what I say, but it doesn’t matter because we don’t live in politics. We live in real life and I’m going to do all I can from my end to get people to see that everyone is the same.”

Elizabeth Keener is an actor, writer, producer and voiceover artist. She is best known for her role as the kick ass bar owner Dawn Denbo in Showtime's “The L Word”. She has also been in numerous television shows and feature films including Terror Films “The Chosen”, ABC's “My Generation” and Nicole Holofcener's “Friends with Money”. Keener is the younger sister of actress Catherine Keener. “Skirtchasers” is currently available on tello Films that creates web series specifically for the lesbian/queer community.
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