Monday, January 14, 2019

Civil Rights Advocates Dispute Barr AG Nomination (AUDIO)

In this exclusive audio podcast Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ participated in a press conference call hosted by The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights to discuss the need for the Senate Judiciary Committee to determine whether Attorney General nominee William Barr is committed to upholding the civil rights of all people. With Barr’s confirmation hearings beginning on Tuesday January 15th it is crucial that the nation’s top law enforcement officer and leader of the U.S. Department of Justice is committed to our country’s ongoing progress toward equal justice. Civil rights leaders joining the call were Kristine Lucius, Executive Vice President for Policy, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Janai Nelson, Associate Director-Counsel, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., Michael Collins, Director of National Affairs, Drug Policy Alliance, Avideh Moussavian, Legislative Director, National Immigration Law Center and Sharon McGowan, Chief Strategy Officer and Legal Director, Lambda Legal.

First Kristine Lucius from The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights stated, “Under former Attorney General Sessions, we saw nearly unbridled disdain for the Justice Department’s vital role as the nation’s primary agency for protecting people’s rights. For nearly two years, Sessions destroyed families and communities by attacking voting rights, restarting the War on Drugs, failing to enforce constitutional policing policies, rolling back protections for LGBTQ individuals and justifying officials separating children from their parents and locking immigrant children in cages. William Barr’s record suggests more of the same. Our families and communities deserve better and members of the Senate Judiciary Committee have an obligation to seek assurances from Mr. Barr that he will not be Sessions 2.0.” Then Janai Nelson, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., added, “If confirmed, William Barr will inherit the abominable legacy of Jeff Sessions, who established policies that undermined and attacked the civil rights of communities of color. The Trump Justice Department has dismantled racial diversity efforts and rescinded guidance on racial disparities in school discipline and special education, promoted voter suppression and abdicated its obligation to protect the civil rights of persons who encounter the criminal justice system. Senators must determine whether Barr will continue to weaponize the Justice Department and eviscerate civil rights protections or whether his record suggests that he can repair and restore integrity and fairness to the Justice Department and ensure that all persons are treated equally under the law.

Next we heard from Michael Collins, Drug Policy Alliance, who added, “Trump is appointing someone who has long been a cheerleader for mass incarceration and the war on drugs. It shows the Administration’s true colors and undermines any recent criminal justice reforms. During this nomination process, I hope that Senators from both parties take Barr to task for his retrograde views on drug policy and criminal justice, instead of giving him an easy ride like they did with Jeff Sessions.” Then Avideh Moussavian, National Immigration Law Center stated, “William Barr’s own track record and his unmitigated support for former Attorney General Sessions is cause for serious alarm. In his own right, Barr has supported border militarization, criminalization of migrants, and subjecting vulnerable populations of HIV+ Haitian asylum seekers to indefinite detention. His open praise for Sessions -- from explicitly supporting the first and most egregious version of Trump's Muslim ban to implicitly supporting policies to turn immigration judges into mass deportation agents and forcibly cage thousands of children in order to coerce their parents to abandon their legal right to claim asylum -- shows he will continue to weaponize the role of the DOJ and Attorney General to devastate the rights of those who most need its protection.” Then we heard from Sharon McGowan, Lambda Legal and former senior official in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice who concluded, “Jeff Sessions transformed the Department of Justice from a guardian of civil rights into a weapon of discrimination and bigotry and William Barr has made clear that he is eager to pick up where Sessions left off. As Attorney General under George H.W. Bush, Barr defended what CBS News described as ‘the world’s first and only detention camp for refugees with HIV’ and only just a few weeks ago, William Barr ‘saluted’ Jeff Sessions for his efforts to nullify legal protections for LGBT people. The Department of Justice needs new leadership to get it back in the business of defending civil rights and equal justice under law for all people. William Barr, through his own words and actions, has proven himself unworthy for this important role.”

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. (Graphic by Richard Emmanuel)

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Evangeline Weiss Talks Motown Creating Change Conference (AUDIO)

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with Evangeline Weiss, Leadership Programs Director at the National LGBTQ Task Force about the 31st Creating Change Conference that takes place from Wednesday January 23rd through Sunday January 27th at the Detroit Marriott Renaissance Center in Detroit, Michigan. The Creating Change Conference is the foremost political leadership and skills-building conference for the LGBTQ social justice movement. Since 1988 Creating Change has created networking opportunities and inspiration for thousands of committed people to develop and hone their activist skills. This will be the first Creating Change Conference managed by Andy Garcia who succeeded Sue Hyde last spring as conference director. Garcia stated, “I think it is important to lift up the voices of the queer and trans activists of Detroit who are working to fight for social justice, end police violence and call out racism. Creating Change is a place for the queer left to come together to learn and connect with each other and strives to ensure a welcoming space for queer and trans people of color.” Over 4,000 people from all over the country will attend this five-day program that features over 300 workshops, training sessions, meetings and events. We talked to Evangeline about some of the highlights of this year’s Creating Change Conference and her spin on our LGBTQ issues.

The primary goal of the Creating Change Conference is to build the LGBTQ movement’s political power from the ground up to achieve our goal of full freedom, justice and equality for our LGBTQ community in the United States. Some of this year’s workshops include “Not My President, Organizing For Change” that will be centered around what the LGBTQ community can do to stop this administration from doing everything they can to destroy the rights our people have fought for; “Hack the Law: The Advocate’s Toolbox” that will explore the strategies the LGBTQ community can employ from legislation and litigation to policy and organizing to advance our goals; “The Hate Groups That Want To Take Your Rights Away” that will look at anti-LGBTQ hate groups including Alliance Defending Freedom and the Family Research Council and what the LGBTQ community can do to stop them. Other workshops include “Roadmap for Inclusive Sex Education”, “Moving the Equality Act Forward”, “OUT Millennial Elected Officials: Driving Equality Across America” and “Art For Social Change -- Using Creativity and Performance to relay a message and change society with Yuval David from the CBS TV show Madam Secretary.

Evangeline Weiss is part of the Creating Change Conference team. In her current role she builds relationships and organizes Queering Racial Justice in the conference host city, reviews proposals for the conference and facilitates for the Racial Justice Institute during Creating Change. Evangeline believes the conference is a place where the LGBTQ movement can experience its own power and potential as well as be held accountable for the ways in which we have more to learn. The National LGBTQ Task Force was founded in 1973 and works to build the grassroots political power of the LGBTQ community to win complete equality.
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Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Rep. Joe Kennedy & Transgender Advocates Talk Equality (AUDIO)

In this exclusive audio podcast Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ participated in a media conference call hosted by Congressman Joe Kennedy III and advocates fighting for transgender equality. The call followed an organizational meeting hosted by Kennedy with colleagues and representatives from organizations including the American Civil Liberties Union, Lambda Legal, National Center for Transgender Equality, the Palm Center, PFLAG and Human Rights Campaign to discuss the Trump Administration's efforts to ban trans troops, erode protections for trans students and workers and take away health care for trans patients. Kennedy has been Chair of the Congressional LGBTQ Equality Caucus’s Transgender Equality Task Force since 2017 and was outraged at the Trump administration attempt to erase the identities of approximately 2 million people in the country who are transgender by proposing that the U.S. Health & Human Services (HHS) legally define sex under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 to only be by the sex they are born with. Kennedy in his opening remarks talks about how the Trump administration from day one has been targeting our LGBTQ community especially members of our trans community including our youth in schools and strategically attacking trans soldiers by attempting to redefine our trans community out of existence.

First Congressman Kennedy introduced Luc Athayde-Rizzaro from the National Center for Transgender Equality, Policy Counsel who advocates to ensure transgender people can access life-affirming, nondiscriminatory health care at the federal and state level. Then we heard from Aaron Belkin, Founding Director of the Palm Center one of the most effective LGBTQ rights organizations in the United States who addressed the transgender military issue and more followed by Sharon McGowan, Lambda Legal, Chief Strategy Officer and Legal Director who talked about Lambda Legal’s efforts to resist any attempt by the Trump Administration or any other opponent of LGBTQ equality to roll back our community’s progress. Next we heard from Ian Thompson, American Civil Liberties Union, Senior Legislative Representative who works to advance the organization’s civil liberties and civil rights agenda in Congress and the executive branch by focusing on LGBTQ rights, HIV/AIDS and sex education. Thompson talked about the Amy Stevens Case twice delayed by US Supreme Court. Then David Stacy, Human Rights Campaign, Government Affairs Director talked about why the Equality Act should be a priority for the new Democratic Majority in the House of Representatives come 2019. Stacy leads HRC’s federal policy team including advocacy efforts on Capitol Hill and the executive branch. The call concluded with openly trans Diego Miguel Sanchez, PFLAG, Director of Advocacy, Policy & Partnerships who talked about the crisis facing our transgender youth in our school systems. Since 1973 PFLG has been advancing LGBTQ equality through its mission of support, education and advocacy. (Graphic Design by Richard Emmanuel.)


Thursday, December 13, 2018

Michael Petry Talks New Book “The Word Is Art” (AUDIO)

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with Michael Petry, author, artist and Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art in London about his new book “The Word Is Art” that addresses how contemporary global artists incorporate text and language into their works that speaks to some of the most pressing issues of the 21st century. In the digital and online age words have become more important than ever with text becoming information and information striving to become a free form of expression. “The Word Is Art” looks at the work of a diverse range of artists including Annette Messager, Barbara Kruger, Cerith Wyn Evans, Christian Marclay, Christopher Wool, Chun Kwang Young, eL Seed, Fiona Banner, Ghada Amer, Glenn Ligon, Harland Miller, Jenny Holzer, Kay Rosen, Laure Prouvost, Martin Creed, Rachel Whiteread, Raymond Pettibon, Roni Horn, Tania Bruguera, Zhang Huan and many more interpreting how the digital and online age have made words more important than ever. “The Word Is Art” takes us on a fascinating and richly illustrated tour interpreting these trending global art forms. We talked to Michael about his inspiration for creating this book and his spin on our LGBTQ issues.

When asked what his personal commitment is to LGBTQ civil rights Petry stated, “I’m one of the ancients who’s been around fighting for LGBTQ rights since the early eighties and I’ve been involved in so many different ways over the years. I consider myself queer because I think that is a broader term that for me represents who I am and what I think and part of that commitment as a queer who is an artist and who also is an author and a curator is to try and bring queer artists to the foreground of the art world. We only have to think back a few years to realize that LGBTQ artists were very marginalized and that’s still the case for many people. In the LGBTQ movement every year I curate a Pride Exhibition in London which I really hope to introduce LGBTQ artists not only to that community but to the straight community and I work within all the structures that are available whether that’s museums or the corporate structure to get that recognition for LGBTQ people because I think what is at issue in the broader political sphere is this notion of fear. Fear of others and of course that fear is not limited to the general public. It’s also in the art world.”

Michael Petry has written a number of books, including “Installation Art”, “The Art of Not Making: the new artist/artisan relationship”, “Nature Morte: Contemporary Artists Reinvigorate the Still-Life Tradition” and his most recent work “The Word Is Art” all published by Thames & Hudson. In 2019 he will be speaking and exhibiting his work worldwide.
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Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Peter Tatchell Talks LGBTQ Equality & Human Rights (AUDIO)

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with United Kingdom’s legendary LGBTQ and human rights activist Peter Tatchell, director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation. Tatchell began campaigning for queer freedom in 1969 at age 17 inspired by the teaching of Mahatma Gandhi, Sylvia Pankurst, Martin Luther King and Malcolm X adapting their peaceful protest methods and actually inventing a few of his own. In 1971 Tatchell was a leading activist in the UK’s Gay Liberation Front and was the defeated Labour candidate in 1983 which turned out to be the most violent and homophobic British election in the last 100 years. In 1990 he helped found the queer rights group OutRage! which outed 10 Anglican bishops in 1994 accusing them of hypocrisy for publicly conspiring with the church’s homophobic stance. He went on to remove outdated UK laws against our LGBTQ community and eventually created the Peter Tatchell Foundation, an independent, non-party political organization based in the United Kingdom which 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. We talked to Peter about what he hopes to accomplish with his work and his spin on our LGBTQ issues.

When asked what his personal commitment is to LGBTQ civil rights Tatchell stated, “Well I have worked through in the early days the Gay Liberation Front in the 1990’s with OutRage! the queer rights direct action group and now as director of my own small human rights foundation the Peter Tatchell Foundation which works on both LGBT+ rights but also on other human rights issues as well supporting the struggle for democracy and human rights in countries like Russia, Pakistan, Uganda and many others. It’s very interesting the way in which my work on non LGBT issues has inadvertently helped raise the profile and awareness of LGBT rights. For example I’ve done work supporting the democracy movement in Pakistan and in particular the national liberation struggle of the people of Balochistan who have been occupied by Balochistan since the late 1940’s and because I am a gay man, an openly gay man and because I support LGBT rights even without mentioning it this has created an awareness, a mind change among many people in Pakistan who previously never met an openly gay person and who you know regarded LGBT people as demons or whatever. Because I have supported their struggle it’s helped bring about change in values and attitudes a much more sympathetic attitude towards LGBT+ rights.”

Recently during the 2018 World Cup games in Moscow, Russia Tatchell was arrested and released after bravely staging a one-man protest against Putin’s failure to act against Chechnya’s torture of our LGBTQ community that brought international attention to this issue. For almost fifty years Peter Tatchell has unselfishly fought for educating, advocating and lobbying for the elimination of exclusion and discrimination on the grounds of ethnicity, race, gender, disability, religion, belief, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, economic, social, cultural or refugee status.
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Friday, November 9, 2018

Singer Joey Suarez Talks Pop Hit “Dancing By Myself” (AUDIO)

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with LGBTQ singer songwriter Joey Suarez about his new dance hit “Dancing By Myself” that just landed at #5 and climbing on the UK Upfront Club Chart. The song remixed by chart-topping UK-based HausUnited landed just behind superstars Calvin Harris and Sam Smith. Suarez talks about the inspiration behind “Dancing by Myself” and how it is a very self-descriptive portrayal of the feeling of being alone at a club after being in an eight year relationship and content with the idea that you are now alone. He hopes the song will be inspirational to listeners who are experiencing this kind of independence for the first time. He explains that the song grows and changes a lot like our emotions do when we are heart broken. With that said he hope this song finds those who feel alone and are trying to dance away their troubles. We talked to Joey about what he hopes to accomplish with his music and his spin on our LGBTQ issues.

When asked what he hopes to accomplish with his music Suarez stated, “Honestly I believe my lifelong goal for music is to give my family something to hold on to. We are all foreigners, my parents come from different countries and so we don’t have a lot of history other than moving here. A big part of being in the music industry for me was to rewrite a lot of negative family history that brought us here and give us something to be proud of. So my main goal as a musician and my music is essentially to make all my thirteen nieces and nephews and eleven brothers and sisters to feel that have something else to be proud of other than all the negative things that exist in our world today.”

Joey Suarez is a classically-trained opera/choir singer with over ten years of classical vocal training. Suarez didn’t begin to explore pop music until he was 21 years old drawing from a wide range of musical influences including Linkin Park, Miley Cyrus and Daft Punk as he crafted a truly unique style of music. While most musicians tend to hide their sexuality at the beginning of their career for fear of rejection, Suarez consciously decided to live his life authentically as a proud gay man. His songs have generated over 200,000 streams and he is currently in the studio writing and recording more songs and creating new music projects that will be released in 2019.
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Thursday, October 25, 2018

Brynn Tannehill Talks New Transgender Handbook (AUDIO)

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with author and activist Brynn Tannehill about her new book “Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Trans (But Were Afraid to Ask)” that really does tell you everything you need to know about transgender issues and serves as a valuable reference source to debunk many of the untruths circulating about our transgender community. This book truly breaks down misconceptions about trans people across all aspects of life and provides readers with a deeper understanding of what it means to be transgender. Coming from an analytical military background Brynn approached her book like a manual or handbook for transgender people as well as for the cisgender community. Tannehill graduated from the Naval Academy and earned her Naval Aviator wings piloting SH-60B helicopters and P-3C maritime patrol aircraft during three deployments between 2000 and 2004. After serving as a campaign analyst Brynn earned a masters degree in Operations Research from the Air Force Institute of Technology. She then transferred from active duty to the Naval Reserves and began working as a senior defense research scientist in the private sector as she began her transition. We talked to Brynn about what led her to write this timely informative book and give us her spin on our LGBTQ issues especially with the Trump administration’s recent attempt to erase our trans community.

When asked about her personal commitment to LGBTQ civil rights Tannehill stated, “One thing that I wish people understood and particularly lesbian, gay and bisexual people who are cisgender is that if the transgender movement fails, if we lose our rights, if we are successfully driven out of public life through policy and legislation and impact litigation by groups like The Alliance Defending Freedom, lesbians and gays are next. If they can kick all the transgender people out of the military because they feel like it they can bring back ‘Don’t ask Don’t Tell’. If they can rule that my marriage isn’t valid they can rule that your marriage isn’t valid. If they can ban people from bathrooms because the idea of sharing a bathroom with a transgender person scares straight people guess what, during ‘Don’t ask Don’t Tell’ the primary argument was that sharing a bathroom or a shower or a locker room with a gay person scares straight people and we can go straight back that is verification to discriminate against lesbians and gays. This is a unified fight whether we like it or not. The only difference is that we will go down first because we are the primary target now and once we lose, if we lose, the same methods, tactics and impact litigation that took us down will be used to do the same thing to lesbians and gays in America. Make no mistake about it the anti LGBT hate groups haven’t forgotten about lesbians and gays. They’re just having to recognize that there is greater acceptance for lesbians and gays in our society and more protections of them and are going for the low hanging fruit first which is us.”

Brynn Tannehill is a leading trans activist and essayist and has written for The New York Times, The Huffington Post, Bilerico, Slate, Salon, USA Today, The Advocate, LGBTQ Nation and The New Civil Rights Movement. Her new book "Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Trans (But Were Afraid to Ask)” is being published just in time for Transgender Awareness Week November 17th to 21st and can be preordered on Amazon. 
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Wednesday, October 10, 2018

MBCC To Honor Charlotte Robinson At Annual Event (AUDIO)

Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition has announced it will honor Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson with the MBCC Appreciation Award at their 21st annual fundraising event Lesbians & Friends LGBTQ Dance Party For Prevention that takes place in Brookline, Massachusetts on October 20th. In these challenging times it is important to come together with hundreds of LGBTQ individuals and allies to celebrate life and the impact MBCC has achieved toward their goal of breast cancer prevention. In this exclusive audio interview Cheryl Osimo MBCC Executive Director talks about how MBCC was founded in 1992 by a few savvy lesbian women to establish the only breast cancer non-profit working closely with a research and sister organization Silent Spring Institute to investigate preventable and environmental causes of the disease. This work is funded through annual fundraising events like the upcoming Lesbians & Friends Dance: A Party for Prevention. Since 1994 Silent Spring Institute has conducted scientifically sound and environmentally focused breast cancer prevention research. Honoree Charlotte Robinson who is a breast cancer survivor talks about how breast cancer impacted her life and inspired her to establish OUTTAKE VOICES™ the online news network that for the last ten years has broadcasted to millions globally and has provided a voice for thousands of LGBTQ organizations and allies including MBCC.

When asked about being honored this year by MBCC Robinson stated, “It means a lot to me. I was diagnosed with breast cancer 22 years ago. It changed the course of my life. One of the things that really got me through it was someone told me that the Chinese believe that ‘When disease manifests itself it’s the beginning of healing’. So I took the journey of explore what in my life I needed to change in order to get back on a healthier course. In my exploration since breast cancer does not run genetically in my family I truly believe that it may exist in the water we drink because before 1996 I never drank filtered or spring water. I have since then and I have been cancer free for the last 22 years.”

The 21st Annual Lesbians and Friends LGBTQ Dance Party For Prevention takes place on Saturday October 20th from 8P to12A at the Brookline-Boston Holiday Inn located at 1200 Beacon Street in Brookline, MA. Hundreds of women will come together to celebrate and hope for a future free of breast cancer. Their goal is to raise at least $20,000. Directly before the event dance instructor Liz Nania will lead a free Merengue dance workshop for all interested participants from 7P to 8P. Refreshments including complimentary hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar will also be provided to all attendees. There will be a silent auction and DJ Shelly Cullen will provide the music. Tickets are $45 and $20 for students purchased in advance online and available at the door on the evening of the dance for $50 and $25 for students.
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