Thursday, May 19, 2016

GLAAD Celebrity Activists & Allies Speak OUT

In this exclusive audio montage Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with celebrity activists and allies on the Red Carpet at the 27th GLAAD Media Awards in NYC. First we spoke with Jackson Riemerschmid the teen who made news by leading the successful effort to eliminate the binary system of purple graduation gowns for boys and white gowns for girls at New Rochelle High School in New York. Next we talked to Tracey Norman who’s best known for having been the first African-American transgender woman model and for appearing on a box of Clairol in the 1970s. Then we talked with Sarah Kate Ellis, CEO & President of GLAAD about issues facing our LGBT community and what projects GLAAD is working on to create more diversity in mainstream media. Next director Eric Schaeffer talked to us about his film “Boy Meets Girl” which stars Michelle Hendley as a transgender woman living in a small town in Kentucky looking for love that was nominated for a GLAAD Award. Then we chatted with trans teen advocate Nicole Maines who made her acting debut as a guest star on USA's “Royal Pains”. Nicole won the landmark case in the Maine Supreme Court in 2014 against her school district for preventing her from using the school’s girls restrooms that ignited the regulations issued by President Obama and his administration as well as the U.S. Department of Education for issuing new guidelines to ensure transgender students will be treated fairly in public and federally funded schools, including equitable access to facilities such as restrooms and locker rooms.
Next gender queer advocate Jacob Tobia and Daniella Carter who appeared on the documentary The T-Word both talked to us about the broad spectrum of our transgender community and the importance of uplifting our LGBT youth with love and support. We were then joined by Jim Obergefell the lead plaintiff in last year’s historic Supreme Court case Obergefell v. Hodges that resulted in marriage equality becoming the law of the land. Jim won the GLAAD Award for Anderson Cooper's “Interview with Jim Obergefell” in the Outstanding TV Journalism Segment category. Then Kally Duling and Emily Skeggs who are currently appearing in “Fun Home” the 2015 Tony Award winning play stopped by to talk about their play and LGBT equality before performing at the GLAAD Awards. We were then joined by Jenny Boylan, Co-Chair of GLAAD’s Board of Directors who talked about all the crucial programs GLAAD is developing and her work with Caitlyn Jenner on the reality television series “I Am Cait”.
Then we talked with Selenis Leyva about her role as Gloria Mendoza in the Netflix comedy-drama series “Orange Is the New Black” followed by Laura Gómez who portrays Blanca Flores a member of the Hispanic group also on “Orange Is the New Black” who both gave us a little insight of the direction of the upcoming fourth season. Next Darren Young the first openly gay WWE superstar wrestler talked to us about making a difference for LGBT youth and reminding us that LGBT equality is a process. Then we chatted with CNN political analyst Margaret Hoover who’s an LGBT rights activist, author and republican who attended with her husband John Avlon the editor in chief of The Daily Beast and also a CNN political analyst. Next Lea DeLaria who plays Big Boo on “Orange Is The New Black” talked about the show’s fourth season that premiers on June 17th and her spin on transgender bathroom legislation.
We then chatted with Noah Galvin who currently plays the role of gay son Kenny O'Neal in the ABC sitcom The Real O'Neals. Noah talked about how he hoped shows like his will help our LGBT community become more normalized. Then we talked with eye candy Daniel Newman who appears on “Walking Dead” and models for Calvin Klein about his impression of his first GLAAD Awards. Next Alex Newell best known for playing the transgender student Unique Adams on the Fox musical series “Glee” talked about his new CD and upcoming tour with Adam Lambert. Alex also performed at the event. Then we talked with the fabulous Randy Jones best known as the cowboy from Village People about his spin on our LGBT issues. Next producer Lee Daniels stopped by to talk about presenting Mariah Carey with the GLAAD Ally Award. We concluded with Laverne Cox who hosted the 27th GLAAD Awards who had a lot of good things to say about the Obama administration taking a position to support our transgender youth and more. Robert De Niro was also honored by GLAAD with the Excellence in Media Award presented by Jennifer Lawrence. (Photos by Marilyn Rosen)
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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

LGBT Activist Sarah McBride Speaks OUT (AUDIO)

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with Sarah McBride, Campaigns & Communications Manager for LGBT Progress at the Center For American Progress in Washington D.C. Recently the House Armed Services Committee approved an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would rescind important existing workplace protections for LGBT employees of federal contractors. This harmful legislation would gut a 2014 executive order issued by President Obama that added sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of classes protected from discrimination by any company or entity with a federal contract of $10,000 or more a year. The amendment’s scope far exceeds the overall bill of the Armed Services Committee’s jurisdiction. This discriminatory amendment comes on the heels of growing national outcry in response to anti LGBT legislation passed in North Carolina and Mississippi last month. Since marriage equality became the law of the land the backlash has resulted in over 200 state discriminatory bills pending against out LGBT community. We talked to Sarah about the importance of fighting these prejudicial bills and her spin on passing legislation like the Equality Act that could finally provide federal LGBT non-discrimination protections for our community.

When asked what her personal commitment is to LGBT equality McBride stated, “I come to this work not only as someone who is transgender but as someone who has loved someone who is transgender. I met my future husband Andy fighting for trans equality and we fell in love. A couple of months after we started dating Andy was diagnosed with cancer and despite getting a clean bill of health several months later eventually his cancer came back and it was terminal. Andy and I decided to get married in August of 2014 and just 4 days after we married he passed away. For me I carry my relationship with Andy with me in my LGBT advocacy work. I carry it with me because one of the most important lessons that I have learned from that experience at 23 years old at the time was that every day matters and this fight every day matters building a world where every person can live their life to the fullest; where every person has a roof over their head and job opportunities based on their skills and their talent and their work ethnic and not on their identity. Every day matters when it comes to just being yourself and so for me that’s probably my biggest personal motivation in this work. It’s not just about who I am but people I love.”

Sarah McBride joined the Center For American Progress after completing her undergraduate degree at American University. During her time at American University Sarah served as student body president and helped to expand opportunities and enhance policies for LGBT students, women, students of color, people with disabilities and students of varying economic backgrounds. At the end of her term Sarah made national headlines when she came out as transgender in the student newspaper. Sarah also serves on the Board of Directors of Equality Delaware the state’s primary LGBT advocacy and educational organization. The Center for American Progress is a nonpartisan research and educational institute dedicated to promoting a strong, just and free America that ensures opportunity for all. They work to find progressive and pragmatic solutions to significant domestic and international problems and develop policy proposals that foster a government that is of the people, by the people and for the people.
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Friday, May 6, 2016

Fabulous Transgender Memoir “Some Days Are Diamonds”

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with writer/musician Deena Kaye Rose about her must-read memoir “Some Days Are Diamonds” that chronicles Deena’s life as a Nashville songwriter and her struggle to transition during a time when the term transgender didn’t exist. In her true country voice Deena recounts her times with Nashville legends from conversations with Dolly Parton to style tips from Johnny Cash to writing the first lesbian country music song as well as the first and probably only country song about being transgender that ended up being a chart-topping hit. Deena pioneered LGBT issues in the country music scene in the 1970’s the only way she knew how, through music. Only the observant knew the true meaning behind these heartfelt songs that came out of gender introspection. Her songs performed by country legends like John Denver were in actuality Deena Kaye Rose’s way of coming out to the world, while not having to visually for fear of the shame, disappointment and hurt it would cause her family. We talked to Deena about the inspiration for her memoir and her spin on our LGBT issues.

When asked what she hopes to accomplish with her work Rose stated, “First I want to do it for my community. I want to claim my little part of being transgender and the struggle with it. I’m a mature lady; I’m an older woman; I’m a senior citizen and I struggled with this at a time when we didn’t even have the word. In fact, there wasn’t any word until Christine Jorgensen and then it was sex change, you had a sex change and nobody knew that. In later years I read that she did not claim being transgender. She did not change her sex she changed her gender and there was nothing to call it. We didn’t know there was anyone else. There’s a great song by Barry Manilow called ‘All The Time’ and it says ‘All the time I thought there’s only me crazy in a way that I only could be…’ and I wish I had written that and maybe I will but that’s exactly how I felt in that time that there wasn’t anyone else. But I want people my age to know that I was there too girl. We just didn’t know about each other.”

Deena Kaye Rose is a Nashville songwriting legend. She has written hundreds of songs for some of country’s most renowned stars like Johnny Cash, Jerry Reed, John Denver and even wrote the theme song for the all-time American classic movie, “Smokey and the Bandit”. Deena has done it all but she did much of it as a male writer with a feminine soul living inside yearning to come out. In her new book “Some Days Are Diamonds” she chronicles the best and worst times of living the raucous and crazy musician life while suppressing her true feminine self. Today Deena is a transgender woman and activist sharing the history of her journey in performances and lectures around the country. She is letting the transgender community know they are not alone.
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Friday, April 29, 2016

Activists Address LGBTQ Homeless Youth Crisis

In this exclusive audio broadcast Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ participated in a conference call with The National LGBTQ Task Force and the True Colors Fund announcing a new tool for individuals and communities working to support lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer or questioning youth experiencing homelessness. “At The Intersections” is the new online resource written by 47 contributors that provides a comprehensive guide for advocates, policymakers, service providers and funders working to end homelessness among LGBTQ youth. The first-of-its-kind online publication highlights innovative approaches to supporting youth experiencing homelessness, provides successful case studies as well as concrete solutions to ending LGBTQ youth homelessness. In this country up to 40 percent of young people experiencing homelessness identify as LGBTQ although they represent less than 10 percent of the general youth population. Participating on the call were Meghan Maury, Criminal & Economic Justice Project Director with National LGBTQ Task Force, Christa Price, MSW Program Officer with True Colors Fund, Jama Shelton, LMSW PhD, Deputy Executive Director at True Colors Fund, Coco Wheeler, Community Organizing Student with True Colors Fund, Sassafras Lowery, Author & Advocate, Thomas Wilson an LGBTQ youth who has experienced homelessness and hosted by Jorge Amaro Media and Public Relations Director for The Task Force to talk about this new resource and discuss continued efforts to support LGBTQ youth.

Meghan Maury stated, “Close to 40 percent of youth that experience homelessness identify as LGBTQ. There are many factors that contribute to LGBTQ youth homelessness, including family rejection, abuse, aging out of foster care, economic hardship, bullying and school harassment. This guide calls for a nuanced understanding in order to inform the creation of effective systems and programs that will meet the needs of the diverse population of LGBTQ young people experiencing homelessness.” Christa Price concluded, “The needs and wants of each young person who is experiencing homelessness differ greatly. In some cities there may be a relatively large amount of shelter space for young people but significant gaps in access to physical and mental health care. In other cities there may be a more robust system of care but a higher likelihood of justice system involvement. ‘At the Intersections’ gives providers a framework on how to respond to the individual needs of young people and the systemic gaps they have identified locally.”

LGBTQ youth suffer higher rates of physical and sexual assault than heterosexual youth experiencing homelessness. In order to survive, 28 percent of homeless LGBTQ youth report trading sex for basic needs such as food, clothing and shelter. Additionally LGBTQ youth are twice as likely as non-LGBTQ youth to attempt suicide. This new online resource also examines the relationship between racism and LGBTQ youth homelessness, the impact of immigration on LGBTQ young people and the systemic barriers faced by transgender and gender non-conforming youth experiencing homelessness. The National LGBTQ Task Force works to secure full freedom, justice and equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. For over forty years, they have been at the forefront of the social justice movement by training thousands of organizers and advocating for change at the federal, state, and local level. Co-founded by Cyndi Lauper, the True Colors Fund works nationally to end homelessness among LGBT youth. Through a broad continuum of public engagement, public policy, youth collaboration, research and community organizing programs, the True Colors Fund is creating a world in which young people can be their true selves.
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Monday, April 25, 2016

Filmmaker JD Disalvatore Speaks OUT

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with filmmaker JD Disalvatore about her upcoming documentary entitled “How To Save A Dog” which she hopes will contribute to making Los Angeles, California a no-kill city. “How To Save A Dog” is a feature-length documentary project that provides a compelling inside look at what it takes to rescue animals in America. Though cats and dogs are considered family members millions are killed every year just because they are unwanted. In Los Angeles the rescue community has been working on a movement to make the city no-kill which means that animals wouldn’t be euthanized for space. Having been diagnosed with terminal Stage IV cancer four years ago, Disalvatore never slowed down and even amped up her volunteer time at her local LA City Animal Shelter which was the inspiration for the project. In addition to the feature documentary, 20-30 educational videos will be made for social media to educate and engage anyone interested in helping make our nation no-kill. We talked to JD about her motivation for “How To Save A Dog” and her spin on our LGBT issues.

When asked what she would you like to see happen for LGBT equality in the next few years Disalvatore stated, “I think what we’re doing now is stamping out the last embers of those who seek to oppose us. I think all the really horrible laws we’re seeing in the last couple of weeks are direct reaction to the Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality. So it took a couple of years for them to get these laws in action. They want to ban the bathroom issues, they want to ban services to LGBT people and the reaction is huge corporations like Pay Pal and Lionsgate Films and rock stars like Bruce Springsteen and Ringo Starr are saying, guess what, we’re not coming to your state because you’re bloody bigots, and that’s really great to see. It’s like we reached a tipping point where this is unacceptable. So I think right now we have to concentrate on smashing out these last ashes of discrimination because the worst thing they can do is teach the next generation that this is okay. We could completely go backwards depending on how the next election goes and how the local elections go. I mean everywhere there’s a problem these people were elected. So if they’re doing things you don’t agree with you need to get out and campaign and vote if you do nothing else. We have to stamp out these anti LGBT laws and movements and I think we’re doing that. In the old days people like us had to go out and march in the streets and bear the brunt of all sorts of hate mail and now Bruce Springsteen is doing it for us.”

JD Disalvatore brings a wealth of experience and knowledge from her involvement as an activist for our LGBT community and as an accomplished award-winning filmmaker to her current project “How To Save A Dog”. Her film credits include “Eating Out 2”, “A Marine Story”, “Gay Propaganda”, “Elena Undone” and “Shelter” for which she won the GLAAD Media Award for best feature film in limited release in 2009. Now is the time for everyone who cares about making America a no-kill zone for our pets to get involved. This documentary will definitely take you on that journey.
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Thursday, April 14, 2016

David Millbern Hosts New Game Show “Modd Couples”

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with David Millbern who hosts Here TV’s outrageous new game show “Modd Couples” where straight and LGBTQ couples compete for a fabulous prize. With his co-host comedian Olivia Harewood, “Modd Couples” features two couples one gay and one straight battling it out over three rounds to win fabulous prizes. All six episodes are currently available on Here TV as well as on various streaming services including Here TV’s Hulu channel and YouTube Premium channel. “Modd Couples” brings couples together to prove how well they know one another and over the course of each episode the couples rely on that intimate knowledge as they compete across three rounds of play with escalating challenges. The result is groundbreaking with some of the most hilarious and unexpected antics on TV. The three competitive rounds include Couples Speak, That’s Super Awkward and The Lightning List that begins with the “Kiss Off” segment where the couples get intimate by kissing for 10 seconds then David and Olivia judge which couple had the hottest kiss and that couple begins the final round. We talked to David about his inspiration for “Modd Couples” and his spin on our LGBT issues.

When asked what he would like to see happen for LGBT equality in the next few years Millbern stated, “Well with marriage equality being the law of the land that is such a celebration but there are still many things that are left to be dealt with. Religious Freedom Laws are coming about trying to counteract that (marriage equality) are very disturbing and I’m very proud of Hollywood banding together and pulling productions from those states that pass such laws. Certainly discrimination in the workplace is still an area that needs work. The fight is not over but we certainly had a big win and now is not the time to give up because there are situations out there that still need our attention and again with a show like “Modd Couples” a fun comedy show, I think we can bridge that gap with positive role images showing that you know what, we’re all alike, everyone can be who they want to be and everyone can get the respect that they deserve. That kind of feeling in this country needs constant vigilance and that’s what I want to do. That’s what Here Media does every day 24/7 and I’m very proud to be part of that movement.”

David Millbern first emerged as a child actor and by the age of 17 he had already studied and worked with famed acting guru Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio in NYC. After graduating from Northwestern University a role on ABC’s “General Hospital” brought him to Los Angeles where he was discovered by Roger Corman who starred David in his first feature film “The Slumber Party Massacre” which became a cult favorite and produced 2 sequels. Many more feature film roles followed including Sir Ian McKellen’s doctor in the Oscar-winning “Gods and Monsters”. He has also appeared in numerous Lifetime Network movies. Recently David produced the female thriller “The Nurse” starring Emmy nominee John Heard and the upcoming “Hush-Up Sweet Charlotte” a comedic parody that’s playing the film festival circuit. Currently as director of programming for Here TV Millbern produces “Cinema Conversations” as well as their sit-com, “From here! on OUT” starring Terry Ray and Emmy-winning Juliet Mills which has been picked up for a second season and his new game show “Modd Couples” created by Paul Colichman, Millbern, and Terry Ray. Colichman and Stephen P. Jarchow are the Executive Producers. Millbern is the producer and directs the series along with Mike Scantlan.
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Friday, April 8, 2016

The Dinah Red Carpet Celebrities Speak OUT (AUDIO)

In this exclusive audio montage Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with celebrities on the Red Carpet at The Dinah Hollywood Party in Palm Springs. First we talked to TV comedy trailblazer Amanda Bearse who for the last 25 years has directed and produced “MADtv”, “Dharma & Gregg”, “Jamie Foxx Show” and is also known for her role as Marcy D’Arcy in the Fox classic comedy “Married With Children” about her new tello Films digital series “Skirtchasers”. She was with Christin Baker Executive Producer and CEO of tello Films and writer Stan Zimmerman (“The Golden Girls”, “Gilmore Girls”, “The Brady Bunch” movies) who brings over 30 years of writing and producing experience to the project. Bearse will direct four of the “Skirtchasers” series with Zimmerman directing one. “Skirtchasers” stars Elizabeth Keener (“The L Word”, “My Generation”) as Robyn Samuels and Barry Bostwick (“Rocky Horror Picture Show”, “Spin City”) as her estranged father Damien Samuels and Meredith Baxter (“Family Ties”, “Young and the Restless”) as her divorced mom Lilah. Robyn 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 delve further than her issues with commitment; they go way back, to her father. After the split of her parents, her best-selling novelist father remarried a much younger woman and became a father again, abandoning Robyn. We talked to the trio about their inspiration for “Skirtchasers” that premiers on tello Films May 22nd and their spin on our LGBT issues.
Next we chatted with the gorgeous Tucky Williams the creator, writer and star of the hit series “Girl/Girl Scene” and new tello Films series “Dagger Kiss”, a medieval fantasy sci-fi epic with lots of girls and corsets and kissing with new episodes every Sunday on Then we talked to “Orange is the New Black” star Taryn Manning (Tiffany “Pennsatucky” Doggett) who was a celebrity DJ spinning at The Dinah Sunday Pool Party. When asked what she would like to see happen for LGBT equality Manning stated, “I think it’s happening. It’s one of those things where life isn’t a sprint; it’s a marathon. So it’s like if we try to expect results right away then you’re forcing something, perhaps. I think it’s actually evolving, unraveling and becoming more accepted as people can digest it the way God intended.” We then concluded with comedian, singer and actor Lea DeLaria who also stars in “Orange is the New Black” as “Big Boo” who headlined The Dinah Comedy Show Saturday night which was brilliant. We talked to Lea about her spin on the red states using religious freedom as an excuse to discriminate against our LGBT community and her spin on our issues. In this crucial presidential election year Lea was very compassionate and articulate about why she is supporting Hillary Clinton for President.

This was our second year as media sponsors of the famed Club Skirts Dinah Shore Weekend filled with unique moments, exceptional firsts, unforgettable milestones and unexpected surprises that created one of the most successful Dinah events on record. From Kate Moennig and Camila Grey (aka The X-Names) giving an exclusive surprise performance Friday night to Golden Globe winner and international pop icon Lady Gaga making her unexpected return to The Dinah enjoying a little fun in the sun at the Saturday Cabana Pool Party with buddy DJ Samantha Ronson, one thing for certain is that you never know what extraordinary thing might happen at The Dinah. (Photo Credit: Marilyn Rosen)
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Friday, April 1, 2016

Transgender Activist Michaela Mendelsohn Speaks OUT

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with Michaela Mendelsohn, transgender activist, public speaker and businesswoman with over 40 years of entrepreneurial leadership experience. Mendelsohn is the CEO of Pollo West Corp one of the largest franchisees for El Pollo Loco restaurant in the Western Region of the United States and the founder of the California Transgender Workplace Program to promote transgender employment opportunities. After competing in the Ms. Senior California Pageant and serving as a consultant to Jenji Kohan in the development of Laverne Cox's character on "Orange is the New Black" most people would be content to rest on their laurels but not Michaela Mendelsohn. Instead she launched her important mission to make a difference for our transgender community. Michaela passionately advocates for working transgender women through her efforts with various California trade associations. Her personal mission is to help transgender women find employment, social acceptance and a path to raise families of their own. We talked to Michaela about what she hopes to accomplish with the California Transgender Workplace Program and give us her spin on our LGBT issues.

When asked what she would like to see happen for LGBT equality in the next few years Mendelsohn stated, “We’ve made a lot of headway in certain areas but you know what we’re seeing is a lot of pushback. I think the polarity between the two major parties in this country right now exists largely because a) we have an Afro-American President and b) that we have had all this LGBT exposure in the last three or four years and I think we’re getting tremendous pushback from right-wing segments of this society and we’ve got a battle to fight. We know we have to keep pushing forward every attack we have to fend off and we can’t be lazy. A lot of this depends on who gets elected president but this next four years, eight years are going to be a crucial time for us to continue the momentum and this is very Pollyanna-ish but I’m hoping to see an evolution where we get to the point where these labels are just not needed anymore. Even the word trans I think eventually will disappear because it’s just another box we put ourselves into. I think gender nonconforming is a lot more open a term I would like to see.”

Michaela Mendelsohn was born in New York City and moved to Southern California as a child where she has remained. Michaela was married for over 30 years and is the proud parent of three grown children. In 2008 she legally changed her name to Michaela Irvi Mendelsohn and her gender to female. As a parent Michaela is also focused on outreach for our LGBTQ youth, speaking on issues specific to the transgender community and informing the community about the work of the Trevor Project where she serves on the board. Michaela is truly one of those rare individuals who works to make a difference in and for our community. She’s an admirable selfless human being and an inspiration for us all. Michaela lives with her partner Carmel and their two-year old son.
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Friday, March 25, 2016

Massachusetts AG Maura Healey To Be Honored

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey who is this year’s recipient of the Dr. Susan M. Love Award presented by Fenway Health at their annual Women’s Dinner Party fundraising event on April 9th at the Boston Marriott Copley Place. Attorney General Healey is being honored for her crucial contributions to our LGBT community’s civil rights and for being an openly LGBT politician. Each year the Dr. Susan M. Love Award is given to honor and celebrate a woman or organization that has made a significant contribution to the field of women’s health. The Love Award is given in honor of its founding recipient Dr. Susan M. Love a pioneer in the fields of women’s health and breast cancer. Love helped found the Revlon/UCLA Breast Center in 1992 and currently heads up the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation which is dedicated to eradicating breast cancer. Since taking office Maura Healey has championed issues that affect the lives and health of some of Massachusetts most vulnerable residents, including LGBT rights, the heroin and prescription drug abuse epidemic, escalating health care costs, workers rights, criminal justice system reforms and college debt. We talked to Maura about her groundbreaking work, being honored by Fenway Health with the Dr. Susan M. Love Award and her spin on our LGBT issues.

When asked what her personal commitment is to LGBT civil rights Healey stated, “It’s deeply personal for me not just because I happen to be a lesbian but because I think that civil rights should be on everyone’s agenda. I think it’s so important that we respect one another, that we respect and celebrate difference and that we treat others as we would want to be treated ourselves. It’s as simple as that. Obviously my office continues to be involved in the fight for marriage equality. I was so happy that it turned out that the first brief with my name on it as a newly-elected attorney general was the brief that we filed with the Supreme Court in the marriage equality case and continues to be the work that we need to do. I’m working really hard and strongly supporting the Transgender Accommodations Bill pending right now in the Massachusetts legislation. We got a bill that would ban discrimination against transgender folks in places of public accommodation. Sadly there’s still a gap in our law and while the legislature in Massachusetts took important steps a few years ago to ban discrimination against transgender folks in the workplace, housing and in schools, they did not address places of public accommodation and that’s just not right. We need to fix that so the bill is pending now in the legislature. I’d love to see it get a vote as soon as possible and see it signed into law so that transgender people in Massachusetts and those visiting Massachusetts will have protections under the law.”

Maura Healey graduated from Harvard in 1992 and made history when she was sworn in as the nation’s first openly gay Attorney General on January 21st 2015. Prior to that Healey was the architect of the state’s successful challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) which she argued and won twice in federal court before the Supreme Court finally struck DOMA down. Healey will be honored at the Women’s Dinner Party, an elegant attire fundraiser for Fenway Health that brings together more than 1,100 lesbian, transgender and bisexual women and their friends and allies for a night of dinner and dancing on April 9th. This year’s event is made possible thanks to the hard work of event co-chairs Lauren K. Matysiak, Kendra E. Moore, PhD, and Carol A. Roby as well as the support of their generous corporate sponsors.
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