Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Pride: 40 Years of Protest & Celebration


In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with Orlando Del Valle who serves on the Board of Directors of The History Project. Del Valle’s photos are part of a significant art exhibit “Pride: 40 Years of Protest & Celebration” that The History Project is presenting in collaboration with the Boston Center for Adult Education and runs through June 30th at the BCAE. The History Project was established in 1980 by a group of historians, activists and archivists. The organization is the only group focused exclusively on preserving the history of Boston’s LGBT community and on making that history accessible to future generations. We talked to Orlando about the exhibit, The History Project and issues facing our LGBT community.

Massachusetts is celebrating its 8th anniversary of legalizing gay marriage. When asked what his reaction was to President Obama finally coming out in support of marriage equality Del Valle stated, “Everyone wants what they want when they want it, which is the kind of sensibility that we have today. I’m thrilled that he has and I know that he wanted to do it. I understand that people say, ‘Well it’s about time and that you’re too late’ but the reality is that Massachusetts is not the rest of the country and not the rest of the world. What he does and how he does it has to be really controlled and resonate so he will be re-elected. Otherwise we’ll have a country that will be ruled by essentially corporate interests which is all about money and not about anything else. And the first ones to go will be people of color, gay and lesbian and transgender people, I mean that kind of thing. So I’m, happy that he did it and I think it was very brave of him.”

Drawn from The History Project’s archive, “Pride: 40 Years of Protest & Celebration” traces the development of Pride in Boston from a sparsely attended protest against the War in Vietnam to a massive celebration that draws hundreds of thousands of participants in June. The pieces displayed in the exhibition showcase the immense cultural and political changes that have affected New England’s LGBTQ communities over the decades. Along with Del Valle’s photos are black and white portraits by photographer Joel Benjamin and artifacts including banners, buttons and t-shirts. The exhibit reflects the rich diversity of our LGBTQ community and the role of Pride in creating a safe space for self-expression. The exhibition is free and open to the public during the BCAE’s normal business hours, Monday through Friday from 9:00P to 5:00P and on select weekends at 122 Arlington Street, Boston, Massachusetts.
For More Info: TheHistoryProject.org

Monday, May 21, 2012

Dr. Pang Helps Gay Couples Have Babies

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with Dr. Samuel Pang the Medical Director of the Reproductive Science Center of New England. A pioneer in helping lesbians and gay men become parents, RSC has been serving clients throughout the United States and Europe. Gay couples can become parents by the same assisted reproductive technologies that enable infertile heterosexual couples to have babies and the good news is that it is possible to have your own biological child. Dr. Pang and his husband have two sons through IVF with donor eggs and gestational surrogacy. We talked to Dr. Pang about these procedures and issues facing our LGBT community.

When asked how he became involved with reproductive services for gay and lesbian couples Dr. Pang stated, “I joined the practice in 1993 as the Associate Medical Director and in 1997 I was appointed to be the Medical Director of the Third Party Reproduction team which specializes in treating people who need either an egg donor or a gestational surrogate or both, to become parents. Now in 1997, all of the patients who required egg donation or surrogacy were heterosexual but in 1998 we were first approached by a male couple who sought to become parents through egg donation and gestational surrogacy. At that time no other fertility clinic in the area would agree to provide them with assisted reproduction services but we welcomed them immediately. Over the next five years we went on to help this couple have a total of three children through egg donation and gestational surrogacy. And in the past fifteen years, we have gone on to help many other male couples become parents through egg donation and gestational surrogacy. With a few rare exceptions, virtually all male couples who have gone through this process have been successful and some have even returned to have a second or third baby. Now getting back to the reproductive services for lesbians we have always provided donor insemination services for lesbians since our practice opened our doors in 1988. In the mid to late 1990’s I treated a few lesbian couples in which one of them wanted to conceive but was unable to do so because of ovarian failure so her partner would provide eggs for her to conceive with through a process that mimics egg donation. While most lesbians continue to use alternative insemination with donor sperm to have children, recently, some have opted to do what I have come to refer to as reciprocal IVF where one partner provides the eggs which are inseminated with donor sperm, and the other partner gestates the pregnancy. Now this is an interesting concept because these lesbian couples are not doing it because of medical necessity but electively by choice. Because this was a new concept which didn’t have a name, I coined the term “reciprocal IVF” to describe this elective IVF process. Reciprocal IVF allows both women in the relationship to be part of the process of having their child or children together.”

RSC is holding an LGBT Open House on June 13th. This is an opportunity to learn more about the assisted reproductive services provided for gay and lesbian couples in addition to fertility preservation consultations and services for transgender persons. Open House includes a facility tour and Q&A time with Dr. Pang. This event is free but registration is required. To RSVP….
For More Info: gayivf.com

Monday, May 14, 2012

Director Jeffrey Schwarz Revives Vito Russo

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with Jeffrey Schwarz, Producer / Director of the new must-see HBO documentary VITO. Vito Russo was a founding member of three pivotal gay rights groups starting with the Gay Activists Alliance in the early 1970s. Russo was also a key voice in the creation of both Act Up the AIDS activist group credited with revolutionizing the federal approval process for new drugs and the influential media watchdog the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. The Vito Russo Award is named in his memory at the GLAAD Media Awards each year and is presented to an openly gay or lesbian member of the media community for their outstanding contribution in combating homophobia. Russo also wrote the groundbreaking book The Celluloid Closet in 1981 that was later turned into the documentary of the same name that brought attention to how our LGBT community had been censored and depicted in unacceptable cruel stereotypes since the beginning of film. Vito Russo died way too early of AIDS in 1990 at the age 44.

When asked what his commitment is to LGBT civil rights, Schwarz stated, “Well Vito was inspiring to me because his main issue was visibility and being out and showing the world who we are. I think the number one thing that you can do for the gay and lesbian civil rights struggle is to be out because if you’re out they can’t stereotype you and they can’t defame you and that’s always been his issue. Whether it was visibility during the gay liberation movement, encouraging people to come out to their families, to their coworkers and his struggle was also to show gay and lesbian lives on the screen, to make our lives visible in movies, in television and in the media in general… So I think his whole life was about visibility and for me I think that is the number one issue. I think as time goes on history is definitely going to be on our side because as more and more people are out people will know who we are. I mean it’s hard to discriminate against someone who’s standing right next to you and saying this is a gay person, this is a lesbian standing right next to you.”

VITO is an important documentary that everyone in the LGBT and the heterosexual community should see. It’s currently playing the film festival circuit and will premiere on HBO in July of 2012.
For More Info: vitorussomovie.com

Monday, May 7, 2012

Gay Filmmakers Take On LGBT Issues Part 2

In the conclusion of our exclusive audio montages, Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson, Host of OUTTAKE VOICES™, talks with five filmmakers about their films scheduled at the Boston LGBT Film Festival that runs through May 13th. We also had the opportunity to talk to the filmmakers about crucial issues facing our LGBT community.

The New England Premiere of MEN TO KISS directed by Robert Hasfogel, in German with English subtitles, is a great comedy about the chaotic relationship of the unequal couple of Ernst and Tobias. The film shot in Berlin is about the opposite attraction of a respectable banker Ernst and his unconventional partner Tobias. The sudden appearance of Uta, Ernst’s eccentric school friend, fundamentally changes their relationship. Uta does not approve of Tobias and tries to break them up. MEN TO KISS charmingly proves that homosexuality can play another role in gay movies and replaces common clichés with authentic everyday stories. The film will be presented May 10th at the Brattle Theatre in Cambridge, Massachusetts at 8:30P. The film’s star Frank Christian Marx will be present for a Q & A following the film.

JOBRIATH AD, directed by Kieran Turner is about the first openly gay rock star that arrived on the glam-rock scene in the 1970’s. This fascinating documentary spotlights his life, music and groundbreaking influence. Jobriath stated at the time, “I am the true fairy of rock”. His brief but fascinating career as an openly gay performer, sometimes called ‘the American Bowie’ is uncovered by this enthralling documentary. Adored by MORRISSEY and THE PET SHOP BOYS this is a celebration of a singer-songwriter whose legacy will now be rediscovered. The Director Kieran Turner will be present for the screening and a Q & A following the film at the Brattle Theatre on Friday, May 11th at 9P.

GIRLTRASH: All Night Long (A Work in Progress) is directed by Alexander Kondracke but unfortunately due to unforeseen circumstances the film will not be shown during the Boston LGBT Film Festival. However we had such a delightful chat with Producer Lisa Thrasher we decided to keep her audio interview in our montage. Hopefully the film will be rescheduled in the near future.

UNFIT: Ward vs Ward is a documentary by Katie Carmichael and Edwin Scharlau. The film raises the question of who is more fit to raise a child: a convicted killer or a lesbian? In 1995 a judge in Pensacola, Florida declared the father, a convicted killer, was more fit. This is the story of that case and its aftermath. The documentary will be presented at Brattle Theatre on May 13th at 4:30P. Katie Carmichael and Edwin Scharlau will be present for a Q & A following the film.

The 28th Annual Boston LGBT Film Festival concludes with NAKED AS WE CAME directed by Richard LeMay. Shot entirely in Massachusetts and starring a stunning ensemble cast including Ryan Vigilant of Gossip Girl and Karmine Alers, (Mimi in Rent). NAKED AS WE CAME is a story about letting go of the past and recreating family relationships. Director Richard LeMay and actors will be present for the screening on Sunday, May 13th at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston at 7:30P.
For More Info & Tix: Bostonlgbtfilmfest.org
Listen to Gay Filmmakers Take On LGBT Issues Part 1