Monday, November 25, 2013

LGBT NOH8 Campaign Celebrates Five Years

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with Jeff Parshley and his partner celebrity photographer Adam Bouska creators of the NOH8 Campaign. On Sunday December 15th the NOH8 Campaign will celebrate its 5th anniversary at Avalon in Hollywood. The NOH8 Campaign is the photographic silent protest created by Bouska and Parshley in direct response to the passage of Proposition 8 back in 2008. The iconic photos feature subjects with duct tape over their mouths, symbolizing their voices being silenced by Prop 8 with "NOH8" painted on one cheek in protest. Through social media and with a new app this movement has exceeded over 33,000 faces and continues to grow at an exponential rate worldwide. The campaign started with portraits of everyday Californians from all walks of life and soon embraced politicians, military personnel, newlyweds, law enforcement, artists, celebrities, and many more. We talked to Jeff and Adam about how their grassroots organization has expanded to advance global LGBT equality and give us their spin on our LGBT issues.

When asked what their personal commitment is to LGBT civil rights Bouska stated, “For me when I got involved and Jeff got involved, we weren’t really looking to be activists, we weren’t really looking to start a campaign. We had an opportunity to share our story. Growing up in a small town in central Illinois, I didn’t have much media representation and much to look up to. In the media these days we have the power to control what others see and with social media we have the power to control what to put out there. So being a photographer and having that ability we want to raise awareness to put a face in sight and wanted to increase the awareness surrounding these issues by involving as many people as we can.” Parshley added, “We weren’t activists, we weren’t looking to be activists it just kind of happened, it was you know an accident. People started interpreting the message and sharing the message and speaking out. I think that today our commitment is to sharing stories of LGBT and allies just to kind of make a connection within everybody. You’d be surprised how many people said ‘Well Prop 8 doesn’t really affect me in California so either way it goes is fine because it really doesn’t matter.’ But when they know that someone that they love is affected its like 6 degrees of separation. We have to connect everybody to show that we’re all in this together and we’re all really affected by stuff even though not directly.”

The NOH8 Campaign, an approved 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization, has received overwhelming support from around the world. The images are widely used on various social networking sites to spread the message of LGBT equality. The next NOH8 photo shoot will take place on World Aids Day on December 1st at the new NOH8 headquarters at 2601 N San Fernando Blvd in Burbank, CA. from 2P to 5P. The 5TH Annual NOH8 Anniversary Celebration on December 15th at AVALON located at 1735 Vine Street in Los Angeles CA is a free event co-sponsored by Wen Hair & Body Care by Chaz Dean.
For More Info: noh8campaign.com

Monday, November 18, 2013

Ann Hampton Callaway Her Music & LGBT Equality

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with singer/songwriter Ann Hampton Callaway about her upcoming concerts. Ann will be appearing at 54 Below in NYC with her show "Songs I Wish I'd Written" with The Ted Rosenthal Trio on November 24th, 25th, 27th, 29th and 30th. Ann has also been commissioned by The San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus to write a song called "I Love You More" which is a tribute to Tyler Clementi, the youth who took his life after being bullied for being gay. Stephen Schwartz chose several composers for this project to create this suite to honor his life. Callaway will perform its premiere March 25th and 26th. We talked to Ann about her upcoming shows and her spin on our LGBT issues.

When asked what her personal commitment is to LGBT civil rights Callaway stated, “It’s very interesting through the years, one of the most important things to me that I’ve noticed in terms of the quality of living is how essential it is to be yourself and each person has to define that for themselves. I think being a lesbian or bisexual to be more specific in this lifetime has been a fascinating adventure because in my early years I felt so alone and so uncertain how safe it was to be me and how to define how to share that especially pursuing a life in the public eye. So my own adventure and journey, sharing my real self, has really evolved through the years. I’ve tried to write many songs that address these issues. I’ve sung with numerous gay choruses through the years and I’ve politically in a private way been very supportive of organizations that have helped equality and helped educate people who don’t understand gay people…Now we’re in a very exciting time where marriage equality is really kind of shocking how much progress is being made. But at the same time, any time there’s progress there’s also a lot of very strong resistance and how do you address that resistance? It’s an interesting challenge for all of us to think about. I’m so grateful for the incredible political progress that so many have worked hard to make and I’ve tried to commit myself to speaking out and raising money at various concerts. I’ve been invited to be part of and I’ve been on about 30 gay cruises where part of being an entertainer is talking to people and telling stories and sharing stories, trying to heal wounds by listening and loving and sharing the ups and downs of being who you are. So I feel very strongly now after finally coming out more publicly that the rest of my life I’m going to do everything that I can to help people be their true selves. Whether they’re gay, straight, bi, confused, sexuality is a very complicated thing and it took me a while to fully understand my own because I was complicated. So I celebrate that beautiful part of ourselves and looking forward to marrying my beloved partner Kari Strand in the very near future.”

Ann Hampton Callaway is a champion of the great American Songbook whose gifts as a singer, pianist, composer, lyricist, arranger, actress, educator, TV host and producer have given her one of the most unique careers in music today. Callaway won the Theater World Award and received a Tony nomination for her starring role in the Broadway musical "Swing!" Known for writing and singing the theme of the hit TV series 'The Nanny", she’s written over 250 songs including the Platinum Award winning hits for Barbra Streisand "At the Same Time," "I've Dreamed of You" and "Christmas Lullaby" which has just been re-released on Barbra's latest holiday collection, "The Classic Christmas Album." Ann’s recorded 12 solo CD's and will be releasing "The Sarah Vaughan Project: Live at Dizzy's" early next year. Her critically acclaimed shows "Sibling Revelry" and "Boom!", with her sister Broadway star Liz Callaway, has been recorded live on CD and Ann's three time award-winning show “The Streisand Songbook” has taken the symphony world by storm.
For More Info: annhamptoncallaway.com 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Elyse Cherry LGBT Financial Leader Speaks OUT

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with Elyse Cherry CEO of Boston Community Capital who has earned national recognition for her groundbreaking work attacking the foreclosure crisis through an innovative combination of private and public dollars. Elyse is also an important voice in the LGBT community serving as the former Chair of MassEquality during the organization’s successful campaign for marriage equality in Massachusetts. We talked to Cherry about being one of the few women running a major financial institution and her spin on our LGBT issues.

When asked what her personal commitment is to LGBT civil rights Cherry stated, “Well that goes back a long way. I served on the GLAD board for many years, the Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders and chaired MassEquality actually when we got through the legislation in Massachusetts on civil marriage issues. For many years now it really focused on organizing the GLBT community on political matters ensuring that people who were running for office either federal or state are consistent with our views.” When asked for her reaction to the US Supreme Court Prop 8 & DOMA Rulings Elyse added, “I was absolutely delighted. That was such a long struggle and of course we were working here on among other things, on a business brief that is trying to get businesses to sign on this issue of how difficult it is to really run two different human resource undertakings. You have people who are not treated the same. That is you have people who can either marry and have the benefits of federal rights or not. I have to say on a more personal note I was so proud of Mary Bonauto who of course has been at GLAD forever and Maura Healey from Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley's office and the wonderful job they did. I went down and listened to them give their arguments to the First Circuit Court of Appeals and I couldn’t be more proud about the strength and the intellect and the character that resides in our community.”

Elyse Cherry as CEO of Boston Community Capital (BCC), has overseen the investment of over $900 million into low-income communities. Boston Community Capital is a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) an organization dedicated specifically to using financial tools to make an impact in its community. With Elyse at the helm, BCC has increased assets by 3,500% and invested heavily in low-income communities programs that support housing, childcare and job creation in sustainable industries. Currently Elyse is also very active in LPAC (Lesbian Political Action Committee) that backs candidates that support our LGBT issues.
For More Info: bostoncommunitycapital.org

Monday, November 4, 2013

Gay Activist Sarah Schmidt Speaks OUT

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with Sarah Schmidt, Chair of LPAC (Lesbian Political Action Committee), about the group founded in July of 2012 by committed activists and donors to positively influence the current political and social landscape in this country. LPAC’s agenda is to give lesbians a real and meaningful seat at the political table. During the 2012 election LPAC raised over $700,000 to support candidates that supported our LGBT issues. We talked to Sarah about how LPAC is making a true impact for lesbians in politics and give us her spin on our LGBT civil rights.

When asked what her personal commitment is to LGBT civil rights Schmidt stated, “I grew up in a really awesome supportive family. When I came out to them in my early twenties there were very few ruffled feathers. I enjoyed an enormous amount of support from everyone from my parents to my siblings, to my great uncles and my grandma. I realized early on that this was a unique situation; I mean this was the 1990’s and Ellen Degeneres had just come out on her show and Melissa Etheridge was just on 20/20. I realized my life was pretty easy and things were pretty smooth for me compared to a lot of people that I knew and a lot of stories I was reading. I felt I really needed to do something from the very beginning; I felt like I kind of had to use that support. If I had all these people who had my back I felt an obligation to do something more significant with my time and energy and resources to advocate for people who didn’t have the same experience. It was really Kate Kendell who helped me engage more significantly politically and talked to me about how my political work could impact my overall goals and she helped me get involved with the Gill Action Fund. I’ve gotten very involved with the Illinois Unites for Marriage Coalition, our whole marriage equality push here where I live in Chicago; I’ve devoted a lot of my time and resources to that. But I would say that LPAC is really the first thing that I’ve done that has required as much time from me on the equality spectrum and certainly the most visible thing I’ve done to date.”

Sarah Schmidt is the Founder and Principal of Sarah Schmidt Consulting LLC and is also actively involved in her family’s third generation business, U.S. Venture, Inc., where she serves on the Board of Directors. LPAC supports candidates who champion a range of issues that impact lesbians and their families which include: ending discriminatory treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals and their families; supporting sexual and reproductive freedom and women’s access to quality healthcare and furthering social, racial and economic justice for all Americans. Its supporters include Billie Jean King, Jane Lynch, Laura Ricketts, Alix Ritchie and was conceptualized by Urvashi Vaid.
For More Info: teamlpac.com