Monday, August 22, 2016

LGBT Global Business & Leadership Conference









In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with Jonathan D. Lovitz, Vice President of External Affairs of the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce about the NGLCC International Business & Leadership Conference that takes place August 23rd to 26th in Palm Springs, California. The event brings over 1,000 entrepreneurs, corporate decision-makers, affiliate chamber leaders and government officials from across the country and globally. There are also fabulous special events including a performance by legendary singer-songwriter Melissa Etheridge. The three-day educational conference delivers innovative leadership programming, networking and engagement opportunities which lead to expansive economic impact and meaningful community services. These cutting edge educational programs include important keynote speakers, the annual B2B Boot Camp for LGBT Business Enterprises, a chamber development track, marketplace expo, one-on-one matchmaker meetings and more. The NGLCC International Business & Leadership Conference offers vigorous programming designed to meet the interests and needs of their corporate partners, LGBT-certified business owners and entrepreneurs, allied companies and NGLCC affiliate chambers from around the country. Packed with education sessions, this world-class networking the conference offers incredible exposure and opportunities for LGBT owned and allied businesses to build relationships with more than 140 corporations, federal government agencies and each other. We talked to Jonathan about the NGLCC International Business & Leadership Conference and his spin on our LGBT issues.

When asked what his personal commitment is to LGBT civil rights Lovitz stated, “I’ve personally been involved in LGBT civil rights and advocacy movement for several years now. I started off as an openly gay Broadway and television performer years ago and worked as an openly gay actor for a long time. During that time organizations like the Human Rights Campaign, Trevor Project and GLAAD approached me and said you’re young and passionate and interested in doing great work for the community, what would you like to do? And I said put me out in the field; I want to be on college campuses; I want to be at events getting particularly young people to care about this movement, especially as we saw marriage equality come closer and closer to fruition. We didn’t want to lose momentum after it happened so I’ve stayed in this fight ever since and one of the first organizations that I got to speak with and for was the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. I’m really honored to be on staff heading up their communications and messaging and public policy and help making the world a better place for LGBT people do business.”

The NGLCC was co-founded in 2002 by Justin G. Nelson and Chance Mitchell. Nelson has served as President since the NGLCC was founded and Mitchell has served as CEO over the same period. In 2002 the pair were named in OUT Magazine's Top 100 Success Stories for their role in founding the NGLCC Instinct Magazine and named Nelson as one of their 25 leading men in 2006. NGLCC is a U.S. not-for-profit advocacy group that aims to expand the economic opportunities and advancement of the LGBT business community. The Washington, D.C. based group acts both as a national certification body for LGBT-owned businesses and as advocates for LGBT supplier diversity.
For More Info: nglcc.org









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Monday, August 15, 2016

Help Is On The Way A Star Studded Concert & Gala









In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with Jai Rodriguez about Richmond Ermet Aid Foundation’s event HELP IS ON THE WAY 22 – On The Red Carpet "Idols & Icons" on Sunday August 21st which is Northern California’s largest annual, star-studded concert and gala that benefits Meals on Wheels of San Francisco and AIDS Legal Referral Panel. This fabulous event will feature tributes to Stephen Sondheim, Carole King, David Bowie, Natalie Cole, Prince and more. Jai will be performing along with Constantine Maroulis, Kimberley Locke, LaToya London, Melinda Doolittle, Marissa Jaret Winokur, Donna McKechnie, Carole Cook, Michael Walters as Dame Edna, Branden James with James Clark, Paula West, Sally Struthers, Jason Brock, Sony Holland, Tristan Bourgade and the cast of “Beautiful.” For over twenty years the Richmond / Ermet Aid Foundation has raised millions of dollars by producing Broadway quality entertainment events and galas to advance HIV treatments and support AIDS services until there is a cure. Recently REAF has expanded its fundraising focus to the Bay Area’s growing demand for two new areas by providing food for the needy and programs that support homeless, disadvantaged and disenfranchised youth. We talked to Jai about this tremendous organization and his spin on our LGBT issues.

When asked what his personal commitment is to LGBT civil rights Rodriguez stated, “The phone blew up the other night because Bill Maher had referenced “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” as being one of the key shows that really subtly moved society forwards visually getting to know a group of gay people that they thought of as friends and therefore breaking down barriers shifting society to a more tolerant place. That was 13 years ago we did that show. My first job was in ‘Rent’ at a time where the show was the hottest ticket in town. It was our generation’s ‘Hamilton’ if you will and because of that I played a (HIV) positive character, so I was brought on to the scene speaking up weekly in the show collecting money for Broadway Cares Equity Fights AIDS really understanding the needs of our community, at that time when HIV medication was starting to become more advanced. I personally lost my aunt and a cousin. I was 16 years old and in high school and then I played a (HIV) positive character. I really kind of made myself say yes to almost everything I’ve been asked to do related to HIV and AIDS fundraising efforts. I think it’s so important and outside of that ‘Queer Eye’ and then a much more broader political platform with so many of the issues to effect our community. Any time I’m working in any way publicly or interviewed immediately I’m asked about that hot topic, hot button, LGBT issue and whatever you say, you really do have to stand behind. I’m lucky to have a platform where I get to voice my opinions hopefully influencing others for being more kind to each other but also raising awareness for people even in our community that don’t know that other people in our community still faces. So my commitment to activism in the community has always been twofold; one about raising awareness but also getting in there and really participating in physically affecting change. Whether that’s creating my own fundraisers, being part of others, really putting just not only my name on a poster but getting a tactile way.”

HELP IS ON THE WAY XXII is produced by the Richmond/Ermet Aid Foundation, founded by the late Barbara Richmond and Peggy Ermet in memory of their sons John Richmond and Doug Ermet who both lost their lives to AIDS. In 1995, the two women decided not to get mad but get even when they launched a musical AIDS benefit to honor their sons by raising funds for AIDS service organizations. To date REAF has raised well over $3 million dollars for AIDS services and beginning in 2015 expanded to support hunger programs and programs for homeless and underserved youth.
For Info & Tix: reaf-sf.org









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Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Gay Filmmaker Ray Yeung New Movie “Front Cover”









In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with Filmmaker Ray Yeung about his new feature “Front Cover” a bittersweet dramatic comedy that addresses the Asian American experience with humor, irony and insight. The film is about an openly gay New York City fashion stylist Ryan (Jake Choi) who has rejected his traditional Asian upbringing. However after he is given an assignment to style Ning (James Chen) a famous Chinese actor for an important photo shoot an unlikely friendship develops between them leading Ryan to re-examine his roots and consider an enticing new path for his life and career. “Front Cover” is opening in limited release on August 5th in New York City at the Village East and August 12th in Los Angeles at Sundance Sunset 5 distributed by Strand Releasing after rave reviews on the film festival circuit. We talked to Ray about his inspiration for “Front Cover” and his spin on our LGBT issues.

When asked what his personal commitment is to LGBT civil rights Yeung stated, “I was living in Hong Kong and born in Hong Kong and Hong Kong use to have a gay and lesbian film festival in 1989 but they stopped it in 1997 when Hong Kong was given back to China for political and economical reasons. I restarted the gay and lesbian film festival in 2000 because I didn’t want that kind of freedom of speech and freedom of being gay to be suppressed and lost. We started the film festival in the year 2000 and the festival since then has been very strong and we are the biggest and longest running gay and lesbian film festival in Asia now. I think it is very important to have our stories being told. If you are a young kid coming out with no identity or not sure what it is like being gay you can go to the cinema and watch your story or some other people’s story or their struggles on the screen and that kind of gives you a lot of power and belief in life. So they have a sense of identity and they have the belief in other people’s dreams and life can be different or better or whatever so the world they live in there are other avenues and ways of living. I think it is very important to have gay and lesbian film festivals everywhere in the world.”

Ray Yeung is a Columbia University MFA graduate whose first film “Cut Sleeve Boys” premiered at the Rotterdam International Film Festival and won Best Feature at the Outfest Fusion Festival in Los Angeles. Yeung is very concerned with the whitewashing of Asian stories in Hollywood and is committed to continue making films about our Asian LGBT community. His next film will be shot on location in his native Hong Kong which not only tells the story of two Asian men but will also capture a rapidly changing city under China’s rule. Ray Yeung continues to be the Chairman of the Hong Kong Lesbian and Gay Film Festival.
For More Info: frontcoverthemovie.com 
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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.
For More info: genderodyssey.org









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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.
For More Info: eqfl.org









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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.
For More Info: gayblooddrive.com









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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.
For More Info: sageusa.org









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