Monday, July 25, 2016

Gender Odyssey 15th Annual Conference August 4th to 7th

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with Aidan Key, founder of Gender Diversity in Seattle, WA about the 15th annual Gender Odyssey conference that takes place at the Washington State Convention & Trade Center in Seattle, Washington from August 4th to 7th. Gender Odyssey is an international conference focused on the needs and interests of transgender and gender nonconforming people. The conference provides an array of thought-provoking workshops, discussion groups, social events and more. This annual event attracts people from all over the world for an uplifting weekend of skill sharing and community. Over 1000 participants are expected to attend this year as visibility for transgender issues and communities have reached a historic high mark. Gender Odyssey’s primary objective is to offer tools to navigate obstacles and provide pathways to individual and community empowerment with conference tracks for professionals, families and transgender people of all ages. There will be over 100 workshops, panels and events providing the highest level of expertise from within the transgender and gender nonconforming communities. Also again this year “Gender Odyssey Family” the stand-alone conference will be presented for families with gender diverse and transgender children as the cornerstone of the weekend providing three days of workshops, a day camp for kids and a complete teen program. This annual family conference is one of few places where families, children and teens can get the information and support they need to live happy, healthy and fulfilled lives. We talked to Aidan about how Gender Odyssey provides a powerful life-changing conference experience for its attendees and his spin on our LGBT issues.

When asked what his personal commitment is to LGBT Civil Rights Key stated, “I cannot not do this work and frankly in times of great fatigue, I have thought about that and wanted to step away and yet I feel quite strongly that this is the work that I need to be doing. I spent quite a number of years of my life in the lesbian community prior to my transition. I had the blessing and good fortune to meet a lot of amazing change agents within that community and especially so in a number of people that were older than me by 15 or 20 years so in a sense mentored me and provided me in what I felt was more like a second upbringing. There’s no way that between them and my own mom who raised me to be who I was meant and to fight against the injustices that present themselves, there’s no way I could let those people down and not do exactly what I’m doing. I find a huge amount of…satisfaction doesn’t even seem like the right word. It’s what I need and have and want to do to fill my soul.”

Aidan Key and his organization have helped students, families and schools think about and address gender and transgender issues. Key has served as a consultant to dozens of school districts across the United States navigating the questions and concerns that come with supporting transgender students. He is the co-author of “Trans Bodies, Trans Selves” (Oxford University Press) and “Gender Cognition in Transgender Children” (Psychological Science). Past speaking engagements have included the Children’s Justice Conference and the Adolescent Medicine Conference.
For More info: genderodyssey.org

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Equality Florida Disarming Hatred After Orlando Massacre

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with Nadine Smith, co-founder and CEO of Equality Florida about the aftermath of the Pulse Nightclub Massacre that left 49 dead and many critically injured last month in Orlando, Florida. Since this mass murder occurred Equality Florida has established an online fundraiser for the victims of the Pulse Nightclub shooting that has raised over $7M from over 117,000 contributors and 120 countries. With recent terrorist attacks in Nice, France and tragic deadly shooting in Dallas, Texas and Baton Rouge, Louisiana we must ensure that our LGBT community is not forgotten in these times of such atrocities. During the current Republican National Convention references were made to both Dallas and Baton Rouge but not a word was uttered about the Pulse Nightclub Massacre. Though this isn’t surprising since the Republican National Convention is likely to ratify what has been described as the most anti LGBTQ platform in its history endorsing so-called conversion therapy, calling for the ban of marriage equality, rejects LGBTQ families and bans transgender and gender non-conforming people from using restrooms that match their gender identity. We talked to Nadine about moving forward after the Pulse Nightclub Massacre and her spin on our LGBT issues.

When asked what she would like to see happen for LGBT equality in the next few years Smith stated, “I think there are two arenas that we really have to focus on. One of them is ending workplace discrimination because it really is a battle not only about the actual discrimination people experience but it’s a battle about naming and acknowledging the existence of the LGBT community. The far right when they oppose us at every turn what they’re really saying is we don’t want the state and we don’t want the laws to acknowledge you as actual people. We think that you don’t really exist, you just need what God we worship, you just need whatever psychological analyses we provide. We don’t believe LGBT people exist and every time a law passes that says you do exist and that you deserve dignity, it undermines their worldview. They think we shouldn’t exist and if we say we do exist we should be forced to hide and if we don’t hide successfully, violence or discrimination befalls us, then that’s just the way things ought to be, to drive us back in the closet. So that is the worldview that drives them to oppose even anti bullying laws in our schools. The work of ending discrimination is certainly about protecting people from losing their jobs or even living in a world where we fear that at any moment discrimination is possible. Will I be denied access to that restaurant; will I be denied this job; will I be harassed trying to get a hotel room? But it is also about addressing the basic recognition and dignity of our lives. The other area that I think should be at the top of our agenda if we’re going to uproot the hatred and fear is at the core of this discrimination and violence we have to focus on schools. We have to stop having the lowest bar possible which is students who go to school should not be physically assaulted, verbally abused and emotionally terrorized. That’s the least our schools should be. That should not be the highest we aspire to. We should create learning environments where dignity and respect of difference is built in. Where LGBT young people cannot only just go and expect not to be harassed, but can go and expect to thrive and there are models for it and we need the investment in it now.”

Nadine Smith is also a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Florida Advisory Committee, a Florida Chamber Foundation Trustee and served on President Obama's National Finance Committee. She was named one of the state's "Most Powerful and Influential Women" by the Florida Diversity Council in 2013. Nadine was also given the 2016 League of Women Voters Woman of Distinction Award earlier this year. She lives in St. Petersburg, Florida with her wife Andrea and son Logan.
For More Info: eqfl.org

Monday, July 11, 2016

Congress Pressuring FDA To Drop Gay Blood Ban (AUDIO)

In this exclusive audio broadcast Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ participated in a media call hosted by the National Gay Blood Drive and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee with Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO) and Congressman Alan Grayson (D-FL) urging the FDA to lift the requirement that gay and bisexual men be celibate for a year before donating blood. Since the LGBT massacre in Orlando, Florida more than 130 members of Congress have signed letters asking the Commissioner of the FDA to remove the requirement including Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) who are leading the effort in the Senate and along with Rep. Polis leading the effort in the House are Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL). In addition, a grassroots petition by National Gay Blood Drive, the Equality Federation and the PCCC has raised over 12,000 signatures stating that scientific evidence does not support this ban and that screening should be based on behavior and not sexual orientation.

Courtney Hagen, Progressive Change Campaign Committee’s Capitol Hill Team stated, “Today we have a clear message for the FDA: The public and members of Congress want you to lift the ban on gay men donating blood and treat all people equally. After Orlando, a discriminatory FDA ban that requires gay men to be celibate for one year to donate meant that thousands of would-be healthy donors were turned away from Orlando blood banks that desperately needed their blood. Their community was under attack but they were unable to do even the simplest of acts to help it heal.”

Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO), the first openly gay parent in Congress added, “The FDA simply needs to make screening based off of behavior and off of science, not off of orientation. The gender of one’s partner has nothing to do with whether one is engaged in risky behavior or not. It’s high time for this outdated and discriminatory policy to end and I’m confident with such broad spread support among both the American public as well as members of Congress the FDA will be moved to look at the science that shows, in fact, that there’s nothing inherently different about the blood of gay or bisexual Americans.”

Congressman Alan Grayson (D-FL) of Orlando concluded, “At times of tragedy, giving blood is a form of showing solidarity, showing concern for the victims and even a form of citizenship. We can’t say that we have first-class citizens and second-class citizens; we can’t say some people can give blood and other people can’t based upon their sexual orientation or anything like that. When I asked people and other elected officials asked people, to give blood, we had over 5,000 donors in less than 24 hours. In one location, we had two blocks that had to be cordoned off because the line was that long -- a line two blocks long in the rain of people anxious to give blood that day. And that’s a recognition of the impulse we all feel in times of tragedy to help and no one should be turned away in those kinds of circumstances.”

According to a study published in the Columbia Medical Review the one-year celibacy requirement is outdated and ignores that all blood donations are thoroughly tested using the latest technology and scientific advancements. The AIDS Research Institute calls the policy discriminatory and “not really supported by the facts.” Over 4.2 million eligible blood donors are affected by the requirement.
For More Info: gayblooddrive.com

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

New LGBT Inclusive Senior Housing Coming To New York

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with Michael Adams, Chief Executive Officer of Services & Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Elders (SAGE) which is the country's largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of LGBT older adults founded in 1978 and headquartered in New York City. Recently SAGE has announced it has joined forces with HELP USA and BFC Partners to develop New York City’s first senior housing with services designed specifically for the LGBT community. Ingersoll Senior Residences and Crotona Senior Residences will collectively provide nearly 230 units and bring comprehensive LGBT culturally competent services to older adults at both sites. Located in Ft. Greene, Brooklyn Ingersoll Senior Residences will be the nation’s largest LGBT-welcoming elder housing development in the nation with 145 affordable units. Crotona Senior Residences will provide 82 units located in Crotona Park North, Bronx and will be developed as part of a collaboration between HPD, HELP USA, NY State Homes and Community Renewal and SAGE. As President Obama recently stated in his Pride Month Proclamation LGBT elder housing is a national issue and these new developments will address this need by weaving together affordable housing and comprehensive on-site services. We talked to Michael about providing our LGBT elder pioneers access to safe housing where they can be themselves and his spin on our LGBT issues.

When asked what he would like to see happen for LGBT equality in the next few years Adams stated, “We spend a lot of time in our movement, as has been necessary, fighting for equal rights, legal rights, for marriage equality. We have made good progress but we still obviously have a long way to go to ensure that we are protected against discrimination since in many parts of the country we’re not; so many parts of the country it’s perfectly legal to discriminate against us in housing, in employment and other parts of life. So the fight to win anti discrimination protections is very important. Equally important is ensuring all of our work in all of our communities is inclusive and supports all parts of the community and what we’ve seen is we have groups within the community that too often get left behind. That includes transgender folks and certainly includes elders in our community and so really ensuring that the progress we make is progress for all including our most vulnerable, most marginalized member of the community to me that is really critical.”

Michael Adams is a graduate of Stanford Law School and Harvard College. Prior to becoming Chief Executive Officer at SAGE he was the Director of Education and Public Affairs for Lambda Legal. Prior to that Michael spent a decade leading cutting-edge litigation that established new rights for LGBT people, first as Associate Director of the ACLU's Lesbian and Gay Rights Project and then as Deputy Legal Director at Lambda Legal. He has authored numerous publications on an array of LGBT issues. SAGE offers national supportive services and consumer resources to LGBT older adults and their caregivers, advocates for public policy changes that address the needs of LGBT older people and provides training for aging providers and LGBT organizations through its National Resource Center on LGBT Aging. With offices in New York City, Washington, DC and Chicago, SAGE coordinates a growing network of 29 SAGE affiliates in 21 states and the District of Columbia.
For More Info: sageusa.org