Monday, February 6, 2023

Virginia Apuzzo Talks The Task Force Celebrating 50 Years (AUDIO)


In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with LGBTQ pioneer activist Virginia (Ginny) Apuzzo who served as Executive Director of the National LGBTQ Task Force from 1982 to 1986. The Task Force is the country’s oldest LGBTQ advocacy group celebrating 50 years of advancing freedom, justice and equality for LGBTQ people. This milestone year will recognize and celebrate the Task Force’s rich history of driving progress within the LGBTQ community from its early days lobbying the American Psychiatric Association to remove homosexuality as a mental illness and advocating for AIDS funding to longstanding campaigns to Queer the Census, Queer the Vote, work for trans rights, fight for reproductive justice and bringing an intersectional approach to the LGBTQ movement. The celebration kicks off this month with their Creating Change Conference from Friday February 17th to Tuesday February 21st in San Francisco, CA at the Hilton Hotel Union Square. This year’s theme is “The State of the Movement: Our Past. Our Present. Our Future”. Creating Change is the foremost political, leadership and skills-building conference for our LGBTQ social justice movement. The event will include speakers Angelica Ross, activist X Gonzalez and more. Then the 50th celebration will continue next month in Miami Beach, Florida at the 30th Annual Winter Party Festival with this year’s theme “Live Free Play Hard Give Back” that takes place Wednesday March 1st to Tuesday March 7th. Other events related to the 50th celebration will include the Task Force Gala on October 22nd, its premier annual celebration of South Florida’s LGBTQ community with more details to be announced as they are confirmed. We talked to Ginny about what it was like when she led the National LGBTQ Task Force in the 1980’s and her spin on our LGBTQ issues. 

Virginia "Ginny" Apuzzo became a nun in 1967 at the Sisters of Charity in the Bronx and left the convent in 1969 after the Stonewall riots. During the 1970s she became a member of the Coordinating Committee of the Manhattan Women's Political Caucus and earned a Master of Science in Urban Education from Fordham University. In 1978 she co-founded the Lambda Independent Democrats and ran for the New York State Assembly. In 1979 she served as the assistant commissioner for operations in the New York City Department of Health and became a strong advocate for people with AIDS. She then served as executive deputy of the New York State Consumer Protection Board and as the vice chair of the New York State AIDS Advisory Council. She was also President of the New York State Civil Service Commission and Commissioner of the New York State Department of Civil Service. In 1996 she became the Associate Deputy Secretary of Labor at the United States Department of Labor and in 1997 she became the Assistant to the President for Management and Administration under the Clinton administration. In 2007 she began serving on the Commission on Public Integrity where she worked until her retirement. The National LGBTQ Task Force advances full freedom, justice and equality for LGBTQ people. They are building a future where everyone can be free to be their entire selves in every aspect of their lives. For More Info…

Monday, January 23, 2023

Craig Coogan Talks “Music Triumphs Homophobia” Film (AUDIO)

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with Craig Coogan about his new documentary "Music Triumphs Homophobia" that’s available on Amazon Prime Video. The film chronicles the impact of the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus (BGMC) as they perform for audiences in New England and around the world. Using archival material, news footage and interviews “Music Triumphs Homophobia” documents how a small Boston-based chorus became global cultural ambassadors educating people about LGBTQ lives and encouraging acceptance and respect for our LGBTQ community. Written and directed by multiple award-winning filmmakers Michael Willer and Craig Coogan the film is scored with original compositions by Chad Weirick BGMC’s Principal Accompanist and Assistant Music Director and features choral cover performances of songs by Katy Perry, Janet Jackson, Andrea Day, Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II, Stephen Schwartz and Benji Pasek. Since 1982 BGMC has created musical experiences to inspire change, build community and celebrate difference. It’s a mission that has brought BGMC to some unlikely venues including a Congregational Church in rural Vermont, Worcester’s College of Holy Cross, Berlin’s iconic Brandenburg Gate, conservative Catholic-dominated Poland, a kibbutz by the Dead Sea, a university parking lot in Istanbul and the shores of South Africa. In South Africa the city of George welcomed BGMC for a free community concert as part of its inaugural Pride celebration. The invitation by George’s city council was marred when George Mayor Melvin Naik took to the airwaves to lambaste BGMC and the city’s support for its LGBTQ residents. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa responded by inviting BGMC to join him for the country’s annual Youth Day march where he personally greeted each member of the chorus and publicly welcomed them to South Africa. We talked to Coogan about what he hopes to accomplish with "Music Triumphs Homophobia" and his spin on our LGBTQ issues. 

Craig Coogan served as Executive Director of the Boston Gay Men's Chorus from 2012-2022. Currently he is the Interim Executive Director of the Seattle Choruses. Coogan’s expertise is in developing strategies and programs to help LGBTQ and other nonprofit organizations achieve their operational and artistic goals. A graduate of Syracuse University he brings experience in both the for-profit and non-profit arenas. Craig has also produced independent films, award-winning documentaries and acclaimed original plays that tell the LGBTQ experience. For More Info…

Friday, January 6, 2023

Joe Gantz Talks New Book “A Secret I Can’t Tell” (AUDIO)


In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with writer-filmmaker and fierce LGBTQ ally Joe Gantz about his new book “A Secret I Can’t Tell” available on Carpenter Hill Publishing. Originally published in 1983 the nonfiction book was the only record of American gay and lesbian headed household family life during the heyday of the homophobic Moral Majority. In republishing the book Gantz revisits the families 40 years later with new interviews and a new unparalleled look at how far we’ve come and underscores how close we are to returning to a dark past. In Florida in 1977 a county ordinance was passed which banned discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodation based on sexual orientation. After Anita Bryant’s successful “Save Our Children” campaign which demonized gays and lesbians the law was overturned and it launched a wave of repeals of civil rights for gays and lesbians in other states. Though in 2020 the United States Supreme Court finally ruled that 1964 Civil Rights Act protects LGBTQ employees from discrimination based on sex our LGBTQ community is still dealing with over 300 discriminatory bills this year alone including Florida’s recent “Don’t Say Gay/Trans” law that has made 2022 the worst year ever for legislative attacks on LGBTQ people. The updated 2022 version contains fascinating new interviews with some of the children who are now adults in their 50s with children of their own. The new foreword written by Scott Gatz founder and CEO of Q.Digital tracks the effects of keeping their parents’ relationships a secret in a time when it was dangerous to be out particularly as a gay or lesbian parent who could lose custody of their kids. The book shows that parents also struggled coming out to their children without any community or legal support or even representation in the media at that time. The secrecy these families had to maintain forced the kids into a kind of a closet along with their parents and the effects lasting for decades. We talked to Joe about his inspiration for republishing “A Secret I Can’t Tell” and his spin on our LGBTQ issues. 

Joe Gantz is an Emmy-winning writer and documentary filmmaker known for examining personal stories with honesty, humor and depth. He is the producer of Taxicab Confessions which was on HBO for 16 years as well as many feature length documentaries including American Winter, Ending Disease and The Race to Save the World. For More Info...