Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Global Gay Adoption Activist Speaks OUT




In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson, Host of OUTTAKE VOICES™, talks with Jarko De Witte van Leeuwen, an international LGBT adoption advocate. Jarko lives in the Netherlands with his husband Jos and their 2 adopted children, Arwen and Wolf. Jarko has written a new children’s book “Arwen and her Daddies” that tells their adoption journey. Jarko and Jos were married in 2001, the year when gay marriage was legalized in the Netherlands. After returning from their honeymoon their dream was to a start family. They soon discovered that joint adoption only applied to children born in The Netherlands where very few children are available. In order to adopt jointly internationally Jarko and Jos fought for 7 years to gain joint international adoption rights. Jarko stated, “The law which made this possible only came into effect last year. We're very proud that we have achieved this. Recently it was announced that finally children born in a lesbian marriage will be automatically the juridical children of both women. Up to now, the non-biological mom had to start an adoption procedure to gain legal parenthood, whereas the man in a heterosexual marriage was automatically recognized as the legal father, even if the child was conceived from a sperm donor. This is one of the last inequalities that existed in Dutch legislation.”

When asked what led him to write ‘Arwen and her Daddies’ Jarko explained, “Our daughter Arwen is very fond of books and having stories read to her. In all children’s books that we have read to her, sooner or later a mommy, or a mommy and a daddy, make their appearance. I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to read a story to Arwen that features two daddies’. So I started a search only to find very few children’s books featuring two daddies. Initially I had made this book just for Arwen; a single copy for our little girl to explain to her in an age appropriate manner and when the time is appropriate for her - how we became a family. However, other families I spoke with were also interested in having a book about same gender parents and encouraged me to publish for other families to read. They too wanted a book for their children to learn about the wonderfully diverse society that we live in. In addition, my hope is to have the book further communicate to children that it is perfectly okay to be who you are. For these reasons, I decided to publish “Arwen and her Daddies” for a broader audience. I wish you and your kids a lot of fun reading this book!”
More Info : www.feel-good-families.com

Monday, May 17, 2010

Massachusetts & Gay Marriage 6 Years Later

This is the sixth anniversary of the legalization of gay marriage in Massachusetts. 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. Arline is one of the architects of gay marriage in Massachusetts and probably one of the most brilliant lobbyists in this country. Massachusetts pioneered gay marriage which is now legal in Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Iowa & Washington D.C. When asked what advice she had for other states who are trying to achieve marriage equality Isaacson stated, “In order to win the right for our people to marry it takes a number of variables that include working very very hard but just as importantly, working smart. It means trying to think like the enemy. Trying to think like our opponents. Trying to anticipate every step of the way what will they do? How will they do it? How will it be received? What can we do to preemptly try and thwart their efforts and what can we do to preemptly try and trump their efforts? That’s one of the things we did so well in Massachusetts and it made all the difference in the world. We quite literally in Massachusetts out-lobbied our opponents, out-maneuvered our opponents, out-parliamentary procedured our opponents and out-organized our opponents every step of the way.”

The Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus hosted a fundraising event to celebrate the sixth anniversary of gay marriage and Ms. Isaacson's birthday at the newly opened Napoleon Room at Boston’s Club Café. In this exclusive audio montage we had a chance to talk with LGBT activists and allies about the future of gay marriage and LGBT civil rights in America. In attendance were Gary Daffin who also serves as Co-Chair of the Massachusetts Gay & Lesbian Political Caucus (MGLPC), Boston Mayor Tom Menino, a solid LGBT ally and the longest-serving mayor in Boston history, serving five term, Grace Ross, gubernatorial candidate, longtime LGBT activist Barbara Hoffman and Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition Director Gunner Scott.
For More Info: mglpc.org

Monday, May 10, 2010

LGBT Filmmakers at Boston Fest Speak OUT

In this exclusive audio montage Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson, Host of OUTTAKE VOICES™, talks with filmmakers and celebrities at the 26th annual Boston LGBT Film Fest which runs through May 16th. Russian born Director Evgeny Afineevsky’s debut feature film “Oy Vey! My Son is Gay”, a romantic comedy about a Jewish mother who discovers that her son is gay, received rave reviews. It stars comedic actress Lainie Kazan (“Ugly Betty”, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”, and “Beaches”), Hollywood iconic writer and actor Bruce Vilanch, the fabulous Carmen Electra, and Queer Eye’s Jai Rodriguez. Director Afineevsky and star Bruce Vilanch were in attendance. We talked with Bruce Vilanch to get his political spin about the making of the movie and more. Breaking records at film festivals internationally, next month “Oy Vey! My Son is Gay”, will be one of the first gay films ever screened in Moscow where merely participating in gay pride celebrations can lead to being arrested and assaulted.

We also caught up with Director J.C. Calciano whose film “Is It Just Me?” takes us on a romantic comedic theme in the classic scenario to see if brains wins over beauty. The film stars Nicolas Downs, David Loren and Adam Huss. In this exclusive audio interview Calciano explains his movie is just about love.

“Beyond Gay: The Politics of Pride” which opened the festival is Director Bob Christie’s moving documentary about Gay Pride marches and festivals happening all over the world, sometimes under heavy opposition and violence. This feature length documentary follows the Vancouver Pride Society’s (VPS) Parade Director Ken Coolen and his VPS colleagues as they travel to places where Pride is still steeped in protest to personally experience the rampant homophobia that still exists. What occurred in Moscow a few short years ago really makes you think about how far we have advanced in North America. They also travel to Sao Paulo Brazil for the world’s largest gay parade and to New York City, the birthplace of the modern gay liberation movement after the Stonewall Riots of 1969.

Boston LGBT Film Fest was founded 26 years ago by film programmer George Mansour who shared with us his experiences of what it was like to be gay in the mid-twentieth century to present day. We had an interesting conversation discussing LGBT civil rights and agendas joined by Aliza Shapiro who curates the festival program “The Experiment”, which is a delicious mix of subversion, sexuality, and humorous films.

The Boston LGBT Film Festival is an important LGBT event that should not be missed. There are still great LGBT movies and events running all this week in Boston at the Museum of Fine Arts and the Fenway Community Health Center. In Cambridge films are showing at the Brattle Theater.
For More Info & Tix: BostonLGBTfilmfest.org

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Boston LGBT Film Fest Reveals World Pride

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson talks with James Nadeau, Executive Director of the Boston LGBT Film Festival, which is celebrating its 26th year and began May 6th through May 16th. This year in honor of the 40th anniversary of Boston Pride celebration the Boston LGBT Film Festival opened with Bob Christie's stunning documentary on Pride across the globe. “Beyond Gay: The Politics of Pride.” Christie travels the world to places where simply declaring one’s LGBT sexuality is a political act that can incite violence and where Pride becomes an act of courage. This is a moving "Must-See" film.

In this climate of bullying in our schools, the Festival also celebrates the 30th anniversary of the Boston Alliance of Gay, Lesbian and Transgender Youth (BAGLY) with two films that speak of the struggles and complications of LGBTQ youth. “We Are the Mods” is director E.E. Cassidy’s award-winning tribute to the Mod fashions of the sixties and John Young’s powerful “Rivers Wash Over Me” will move audiences young and old, with its stunning cast and heart-wrenching tale of race, class and homophobia in the south.

Wolfe, one of the first distributors of LGBT cinema is being honored with the first ever Community Award for the company’s amazing contribution to the cultural lives of the LGBT communities. Wolfe CEO Maria Lynn will be on hand to accept this award and present their sensational new film “Contracorriente” (The Undertow). This award-winning film (Sundance Audience Award 2010) kicks off a special Festival focus on films from Latino/Latina filmmakers.

This year’s Festival has two World Premieres. Award-winning director Stu Maddux's new documentary film “Gen Silent” explores the complications surrounding LGBT seniors so afraid of being subject to discrimination, or worse, in long-term/health care that many go back into the closet. “Beauty and Brains”, the gorgeous new documentary by Catherine Donaldson, explores the transgender community in Nepal and the use of beauty contests to spread awareness and prevention of HIV/AIDS.

There are over one hundred films being screened this year including the New England premiere of James Ivory’s latest film "The City of Your Final Destination" starring Laura Linney and Anthony Hopkins. When asked about the experience of attending the Boston LGBT Film Festival Nadeau stated, "People need this common experience. There's something about sitting in a dark theater watching your life experience in a roomful of people who are all gay. It's so transformational. It's phenomenal. People need to give themselves that, so come to the Festival."

OUTTAKE MEDIA™ will be in attendance reviewing films and providing exclusive audio interviews with the filmmakers throughout the festival. Films will be screened in Boston at the Museum of Fine Arts and the Fenway Community Health Center. In Cambridge films will be shown at the Brattle Theater.
For More Info & Tix: BostonLGBTfilmfest.org


Sunday, May 2, 2010

Equality Forum 2010, Now Through May 2nd

 In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson Host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with Malcolm Lazin, the Founder and Executive Director of Equality Forum. This is an important LGBT event that is dedicated to addressing our LGBT issues and concerns. The week-long national and international summit will be held from Monday, April 26 to Sunday, May 2 in Philadelphia. There isn’t a registration fee and all substantive panels are free. There are lots of dances parties, entertainment and just basic fun events throughout the week. Africa is Equality Forum international focus this year. While the U.S. debates issues like same-gender marriage, nations like Uganda are considering the death penalty or life imprisonment for “anyone convicted of a homosexual act.” This year Equality Forum’s international focus explores LGBT rights and movement development in Africa. Panelists include Cary Alan Johnson, Executive Director, International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission and Pouline Kimani, Co-Founder, Minority Women in Action, Kenya. The US Senate has passed a resolution imploring Ugandan Members of Parliament to withdraw the Bill that would impose death on LGBT people.

When asked what would he like to see accomplished in the Obama administration for our LGBT civil rights in this country Lazin stated, “I think there’s a lot that needs to be done. Obviously ENDA (Employment Non-Discrimination Act) looks like it could be passed even within this calendar year and certainly the President using some of his chits in terms of particularly in the United States Senate, to make that happen. I think him getting behind the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act which is the reason why we do not receive one thousand, one hundred and thirty eight federal marital protections and benefits becomes important. I appreciate that one of those is hospital visitation, so we’re now down to one thousand, one hundred and thirty seven. So the easier way to do it is just repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and I think whether that gets accomplished during the first four years or if he’s re-elected, then the second four years, I do think that it will get accomplished because he’s certainly on record in terms of supporting the repeal of that act.”

Lt. Dan Choi National Leader Against "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" will speak at SundayOUT! at The Piazza, the closing party of the Equality Forum 2010 event.
For More Info: equalityforum.com