Once a singer in the contemporary Christian music scene, folk-rocker Jennifer Knapp — who came out as a lesbian in 2010 — took her guitar onstage with her for a TEDx Talk at the University of Nevada, Reno last week that blended strumming, singing, and speaking.
Between her songs, Knapp spoke about LGBT issues. Knapp encourages people to educate themselves about LGBT issues, and she reminded her audience in this video that in the end it’s all about love.
Last year, Knapp released an album on Ani DeFranco’s label Righteous Babe called Set Me Free; published a memoir (Facing the Music) and launched Inside Out Faith, an initiative that seeks to tackle the issues of LGBT inclusion and affirmations in religious environments by engaging and educating communities of faith.
Grand prize winner Alicia Diggs of North Carolina receives a Lifebeat VMA experience
Remedy Health Media’s TheBody.com, the complete HIV/AIDS resource, proudly announces the three winners of their #RedRemindsMe photo contest. After receiving over sixty inspiring entries, first place was awarded to Alicia Diggs, an HIV/AIDS activist who serves on the North Carolina AIDS Action Network Board of Directors. Second place went to Harold “Scottie” Scott of Tennessee and third place was awarded to Rick Martin of Colorado.
“The #RedRemindsMe contest has given me the opportunity to really tap into who I am as a strong HIV positive woman and activist. The contest has also given me the opportunity to reach even more people to show another face of not only HIV, but love,” said Diggs.
Diggs is no stranger to stigma. Her entry spotlighted the importance of a strong support system for people with HIV, and the empowerment and confidence such support can inspire. As an HIV/AIDS activist and educator, Alicia is also the founder of I Will Live, a foundation aimed at helping society better understand the importance of preventing sexually transmitted diseases -- as well as living healthy and productive lives through empowerment and education.
The #RedRemindsMe social media campaign encouraged people to upload pictures inspired by the iconic AIDS red ribbon, share their opinions about the current state of HIV and discuss how it affects them. These images and stories were used to empower others and raise awareness on and around World AIDS Day.
“Campaigns such as #RedRemindsMe are excellent tools to bring much needed attention to HIV/AIDS and the stigma still attached to it. It sometimes feels as if people like me in rural areas are out here on our own,” said Harold Scott, second place winner. “Being recognized for this campaign makes me feel like I am doing something worthwhile, and it reminds me of why I decided to ‘go public’ with my positive status over twenty years ago on World AIDS Day, 1994.”
Learn more about #RedRemindsMe and view the winning entries>
DISCOVERY LIFE CHANNEL EXPLORES LIVES IN TRANSITION WITH TRANSGENDER SERIES NEW GIRLS ON THE BLOCK, PREMIERING APRIL 2
Discovery Life Channel is proud to announce that NEW GIRLS ON THE BLOCK, previously announced under the working titleThose Girls, will premiere on April 2. NEW GIRLS ON THE BLOCK follows a group of highly inspirational and entertaining women from Kansas City, Mo. – all friends, some couples – who just happen to be transgender. After years of struggling with their gender identities, they are finally finding themselves and learning what it means to be the women they always knew they were. Confronting issues with their relationships, their femininity, their families and friendships, NEW GIRLS ON THE BLOCK is an authentic look at lives in transition. The six-part series will premiere on Discovery Life Channel on Thursday, April 2 at 10/9c.
As the first series to embed with a real group of friends within the transgender community, NEW GIRLS ON THE BLOCK offers a transformative look at these women’s lives as they navigate their daily struggles and successes. The series profiles cast members such as: couple AiYana and Jaimie who, following Jaime’s departure from the military, face opposition to her participation in competitive triathlons as a woman; best girlfriends Kassidy and Chloe, who are navigating their transitions together and experiencing many firsts, including their first double date; married couple Macy and Sharon, who are still in love and trying to understand what Macy’s recent transition means for their relationship; and Robyn and Andrew, best friends who fell in love after Robyn’s transition and find themselves at odds over whether it’s time to get engaged.
“Putting the real back in reality television, we are thrilled to introduce these lovable characters to our audience without a filter, serving as an inspiration to live our lives freely and full of humor, heart, and hope,” said Jane Latman, general manager of Discovery Life Channel. “With NEW GIRLS ON THE BLOCK, Discovery Life Channel looks to provide a bridge to a world of acceptance of the transgender community through our honest portrayal – and entertaining look – at these women’s lives.”
NEW GIRLS ON THE BLOCK is produced by Conveyor Media in association with Reality Road. Jay James, Colin Whelan, Teri Rogers and Matt Antrim are executive producers. Caroline Gibbs, director of the Transgender Institute in Kansas City, serves as co-executive producer. For Discovery Life Channel, Julie Meisner Eagle is vice president of production, Jane Latman is general manager, and Henry Schleiff is Group President, Investigation Discovery, American Heroes Channel, Destination America, Discovery Family Channel, and Discovery Life Channel.
New Original Web Series from WNET and PBS Digital Studios to Explore Issues Surrounding Sexuality and Gender Identity
First Person, hosted by LGBTQ YouTuber Kristin Russo, to premiere new episodes bi-weekly beginning February 26, 2015
Preview the series in the newly released trailer atFirstPersonPBS.org
WNET, the flagship PBS station based in New York and PBS Digital Studios, have announced the launch of First Person, an original digital series exploring sexuality and gender identity. The series, the first to come as a result of the previously announced strategic partnership between WNET’s Interactive Engagement Group and PBS Digital Studios, will debut on a new channel within the PBS Digital Studios YouTube network on Thursday, February 26, 2015, and will release new episodes every other week.
Through candid personal narratives, each five-to-eight minute video will examine a different set of issues facing the LGBTQ community, using interviews and host commentary to illustrate intimate experiences that speak to larger conversations about gender, sexuality, social norms and identity development. First Person will also incorporate comments from viewers, discussion prompts and engagement with viewers to continue the conversation on the First Person social media accounts.
Hosted by Kristin Russo, the co-founder of LGBTQ youth organization Everyone Is Gay, the series will launch with topics including transgender transitions on YouTube, bisexual erasure, queer fashion and coming out in sports, and will feature conversations with trans artist and YouTuber Skylar Kergil, author Vivek Shraya, fashion icons Nicolette Mason, Arabelle Sicardi and Rae Tutera, ESPN correspondent Kate Fagan, and others.
“First Person gives us the exciting opportunity to start a meaningful and respectful dialogue about LGBTQ issues,” said Dan Greenberg, WNET’s Chief Digital Officer.
“Together with WNET, PBS is committed to exploring diverse viewpoints and we look forward to fostering thoughtful conversations through First Person,” commented Don Wilcox, Vice President, Digital Marketing and Services at PBS.
For WNET’s Interactive Engagement Group Daniel B. Greenberg and Joe Harrell are executive producers; Meredith Heil is producer, camera and editor; Kristin Russo is producer and host; and Casey de Pont is associate producer and art director.
The First Drag Convention in HERstory! RuPaul’s DragCon Presented by Drag Legend RuPaul and World of Wonder Productions Producers of the International Phenomenon, RuPaul’s Drag Race.
What do you get when you mashup Comic-Con, BeautyCon and Hello Kitty Con? RuPaul’s DragCon, of course. It’s the first ever convention that celebrates “the art of drag, queer culture and self-expression for all” and will launch May 16-17 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
RuPaul’s DragCon will kick off the Gay Pride season with a fierce new twist. DragCon creators expect several thousand attendees to experience a glittering weekend with the largest ever gathering of drag queens and gay icons. The convention will feature over 100 vendors and exhibitors, panel discussions, screenings, autographs, and photo opportunities.
Spearheaded by RuPaul and World of Wonder, RuPaul’s DragCon will give a platform for fans – gay and straight - to meet and interact with world famous drag queens and other celebrity guests in a fan friendly environment. DragCon will include a wide range of programming:
· “Everything You Wanted to Know about Tucking but Were Afraid to Ask,”
· “Lady MacBeth to Lady Gaga: Drag in the Mainstream”
· “Drag King Makeovers”
· “A Drag Revolution: Stonewall Riots”
· “Padding 101: Dude, Where’s My Mattress?”
· “Weaves, Waffles, and Wig Water”
There will also be Q&A sessions with the queens themselves, as well as fashion, make-up and styling workshops (“She-crets of a Drag Queen”) for men and women. Attendees can expect to shop the floor for shoes, apparel, art and many other fabulous products.
“I am thrilled to bring this one-of-a-kind event to Los Angeles,” said RuPaul. “DragCon is not just a showcase for the most talented drag queens in the world. It’s a chance for all lovers of drag culture – young and old, gay and straight - to come together, to inspire each other, and to let their freak flags fly high.”
“The arrival of DragCon is inevitable! The passion and momentum that surrounds the art of drag is truly unstoppable,” said World of Wonder co-founders, Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey.
Scheduled to appear are RuPaul, Lady Bunny, Michelle Visage, Big Freedia, Coco Peru, James St. James, Peaches Christ, Chi Chi LaRue, Hot Chocolate, and Courtney Stodden, as well as the crowned queens from RuPaul’s Drag Race, Bianca del Rio, Jinkx Monsoon, Chad Michaels, Sharon Needles, Raja, Tyra Sanchez, and Bebe Zahara Benet. Plus, more Drag Race royalty including Jujubee, Alyssa Edwards, Latrice Royale, Detox, Willam, Ivy Winters, Katya, Morgan McMichaels, Kandy Ho, Jade Sotomayor, Trinity K. Bonet, Alisa Summers,Victoria "Porkchop" Parker, Darienne Lake, Tatiana, Laganja Estranja, Mariah Balenciaga,Jasmine Masters, Sasha Belle, Shannel, Jiggly Caliente, Yara Sofia, Kelly Mantle, Mystique Summers Madison, Jessica Wild, Mimi Imfurst, Honey Mahogany, Venus D Lite, Stacy Layne Mathews, Tempest Du Jour, Gia Gunn, Joslyn Fox, Mrs. Kasha Davis, Tammie Brown, Jade Jolie, and Ongina. Many more names will be announced in the coming weeks.
Tickets are currently on sale at www.rupaulsdragcon.com starting at $30. VIP Experience tickets are also on sale. Fans can purchase photos and autographs at the show. For more info follow DragCon @RuPaulsDragCon, or Facebook /RuPaulsDragCon.
The new season of RuPaul’s Drag Race premieres Monday, March 2 at 9 PM on Logo TV, and the series currently airs in over 200 countries worldwide.
RICKY MARTIN JOINS SIMON COWELL, SABAN BRANDS AND UNIVISION’S“LA BANDA,” AS EXECUTIVE PRODUCER AND JUDGE
Hot Off the Release of A Quien Quiera Escuchar, Ricky Martin Teams Up with Producer Simon Cowell and Saban Brands in Search of the Ultimate Latino Boyband Ricky Martin to Serve as Executive Producer and Judge, and will Manage the Winning Group
International music superstar, Ricky Martin, has been named executive producer and the first judge to be revealed for Univision Network’s highly anticipated music-based reality entertainment competition “La Banda,” set to premiere in September 2015. Ricky Martin, together with the entire “La Banda” team, will focus on finding the ultimate Latino boyband through the largest talent search in U.S Hispanic TV history. The music-based, reality-competition show “La Banda” was developed by Univision Communications Inc. (UCI), Simon Cowell’s SYCO Entertainment and Haim Saban’s Saban Brands and co-produced with FremantleMedia Latin America. The news was revealed live by Ricky Martin on the pre-show special ahead of “Premio Lo Nuestro,” the longest running Latin music awards show in the U.S.
Ricky Martin, winner of multiple GRAMMY and LATIN GRAMMY awards, among others, is undoubtedly the most influential Latin music artist worldwide. He began his career at age twelve with one of the most successful groups in the Latin music scene and since then, his strong discipline, passion for music and undeniable charisma have made of his musical trajectory one of the most admired of a generation. Recognized as “an international icon and global ambassador to Latin music” by Billboard and honored by the Latin Recording Academy as “Person of the Year,” Ricky has sold over 85 million albums worldwide and has an impressive 95 platinum-certified records.
Ricky Martin’s highly-anticipated tenth studio album, A Quien Quiera Escuchar, was released on February 10th, debuting at No. 1 on US and Puerto Rico album charts. Available in all distribution formats and in two versions – original and deluxe – A Quien Quiera Escucharis perhaps the most personal and intimate recording that the singer, philanthropist, author, actor and entrepreneur has released. The first two singles, “Adiós” y “Disparo Al Corazón,” have reached the top of national and international charts.
“I am very excited to be a part of this innovative program, together with Simon Cowell,” said Ricky Martin. “Our community needs musical projects in order to cultivate its talents; which is why I feel it’s the perfect moment for a show like ‘La Banda.’ There is so much talent to be discovered and I’m sure we’ll find the next musical phenomenon with the help of not only the judges but also the fans.”
“We are on a search for a world class band and we needed a world class judge and that’s why I’m thrilled to announce Ricky Martin as our first judge on La Banda,” said Simon Cowell. “I know Ricky and he is as excited and passionate as me about the show and I know he’s going to do an amazing job.”
With a new take on the singing competition show format, “La Banda” will search the U.S. and Latin America to put together the ultimate Latino boyband. Representing all Hispanic cultures, contestants will compete for their place in “La Banda” and for a coveted recording contract with Sony Music Latin, label home to the most prolific Latin music artists, along with executive producer Simon Cowell’s SYCO Music, the recording label for the world’s biggest selling boyband, One Direction.
“We are thrilled to have a world-renowned, award-winning and platinum-selling artist join our team,” said Alberto Ciurana, president, Programming and Content, Univision Communications, Inc. “Ricky’s vast talents as a singer, actor and producer will greatly enhance our phenomenal production already underway.”
To submit information, interested participants can enter LaBandaoficial.com and upload pictures, videos or music files. By registering online, selected contestants will receive a “golden ticket” which will allow them to participate in a private audition with the production team. The online casting will be followed by casting events across the United States and Puerto Rico in the spring of 2015. The talent search is open to boys 14 and older residing in the United States and Puerto Rico. The winning band will be managed by Ricky Martin.
Audition cities and dates are as follows:
MILLENNIUM BILTMORE HOTEL
506 SOUTH GRAND AVENUE
LOS ANGELES, CA
SHERATON PUERTO RICO HOTEL & CASINO
200 CONVENTION BOULEVARD
SAN JUAN, PR
THE WESTIN OAKS HOUSTON AT THE GALLERIA
5011 WESTHEIMER AT POST OAK
TKP NEW YORK CONFERENCE CENTER
109 WEST 39th STREET
NEW YORK, NY
COURTYARD MARRIOT CHICAGO DOWNTOWN RIVER NORTH
30 EAST HUBBARD
HILTON DOWNTOWN MIAMI
1601 BISCAYNE BLVD.
Follow “La Banda” on social media: @LaBanda on Twitter, atfacebook.com/labandatv or on Instagram at instagram.com/labanda or@LaBanda.
“La Banda”, hosted by popular Univision Network personality Alejandra Espinoza, will premiere in September 2015. The show producers include: Kelly Belldegrun, executive producer for SYCO Entertainment, Nigel Hall, executive producer for SYCO Entertainment, Gert Verpeet, executive producer for FremantleMedia Latin America, Treicy Benavides, executive producer for FremantleMedia Latin America and Cisco Suarez, executive producer for Univision Communications.
by TMZ Staff
Michael Sam will be competing in March, but not on the football field, on the "Dancing with the Stars" hardwood ... TMZ Sports has learned.
Michael -- the first openly gay player drafted in the NFL -- will be part of Season 20, which fires up next month.
Here's the problem. Sam -- who insinuated he was cut from the NFL because he was gay -- has vowed to get back in the league and said he'd take part in the first-ever veteran's combine on March 22.
But Sam needs to prove he has what it takes, and we're thinkin' some of the owners might question his commitment if he's focusing on the rumba rather than rumbling.
Out to Win is a documentary film that serves as an overview and examination of lives and careers of aspiring and professional gay and lesbian athletes from all over the world. Chronicling the present, framed within a historical context of those that came before, this film highlights the experiences of athletes who have fought and struggled, both in and out of the closet, to represent the LGBT community and their true selves. This film is told through the voices of pioneers, present day heroes, tomorrow's superstars and the people who've helped them succeed. Featuring interviews with trailblazers including Martina Navratilova, Billie Jean King, Jason Collins, Brittney Griner and more.
Equality, Education, Research, & Respect Guide New AGS Recommendations for Care of Older LGBT Adults
New position statement focused on LGBT elder care aims to be a “rising tide that lifts all ships” in push for health equality
Health professionals who care for older adults can pioneer fairer and more equitable treatment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals subject to unfair discrimination in health care and society, this according to a new position statement from the American Geriatrics Society (AGS). The statement tackles the present realities of prejudice due to age, sexual orientation, gender, and other personal traits, and also charts a path forward by advocating policies for equal treatment, professional training on LGBT needs, deeper awareness of unique circumstances facing LGBT older adults, and an enhanced research agenda supporting the same.
“Like aging, sexual orientation, gender, and other stigmatized personal characteristics can pose barriers to high-quality, patient-centered care. These unnecessary barriers need to be addressed head-on, particularly as the number of older adults requiring complex, sensitive care continues to grow,” saidJoseph Shega, MD, who chairs the AGS Ethics Committee responsible for the statement. “This AGS initiative is about more than equitable standards of care. It’s about supporting and sustaining a dialogue that can open quality health care to those who have been disenfranchised, and keep it accessible for generations to come.”
Rooted in the belief that high-quality care for older LGBT adults necessitates interdisciplinary collaboration, the AGS statement outlines concrete measures for organizations, advocacy groups, and medical specialties committed to discrimination-free health care. These measures include encouraging health providers and their institutions to
· Create, evaluate, and publicize policies for equal treatment of LGBT patients regardless of age;
· Implement LGBT health training programs for professionals who treat older individuals;
· Support high-quality research addressing LGBT health and discrimination; and
· Ensure that older LGBT adult care reflects the particular healthcare and social circumstances these patients face, from the role of partners and chosen family members in health decisions to the need for a supportive culture of respect.
Such recommendations come at a crossroads for the older LGBT community: health care and society continue to wrestle with an unfair past and a more hopeful future, even as the nation’s older population continues to grow. Studies still put compliance with existing regulations prohibiting LGBT discrimination in health facilities well below 100 percent. Additionally, evidence suggests that LGBT patients who sense a clinician’s discomfort or lack of knowledge–unintentional or otherwise–may be less inclined to pursue important healthcare decisions. Two-thirds of LGBT baby boomers, for example, have not completed a health proxy, and only 22 percent of older LGBT adults in supportive living facilities feel comfortable being open with staff about sexual orientation or gender identity.
LGBT research also represents only a small subset of overall health scholarship. A 2011 study found that 0.3 percent of articles in the PubMed database addressed LGBT health. Lack of scientific inquiry, unequal treatment, and the potential for additional racial or ethnic discrimination can make overcoming health barriers all the more pressing–and important–for LGBT adults.
“Raising the bar for high-quality, culturally sensitive geriatric care in all forms and for all people is so important to creating an empowered public equipped to advocate on its own behalf and in concert with health providers,” said Alexia Torke, MD, MS, who contributed to the statement. “We–patients and providers alike–need to share and celebrate these recommendations, and live them in our personal and professional lives. It’s our hope they’ll be a rising tide that lifts all ships.”
“Care of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Older Adults” was developed by the AGS Ethics Committee, with assistance from the AGS Ethnogeriatrics Committee and the AGS LGBT Special Interest Group. The AGS Executive Committee, as well as Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE) and Loree Cook-Daniels of the advocacy group FORGE, reviewed the final statement, which is available from the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society via GeriatricsCareOnline.org–the online portal for AGS products and publications.
VICE just released the final part from its special, three-part episode of Profiles by VICE titled Gay Conversion Therapy, in which VICE investigates the controversial practice of "curing" gay people by attempting to turn them straight.
In Part Three, VICE meets openly gay New York State Senator Brad Hoylman, who sponsored a conversion therapy ban for minors that was introduced into the New York State Senate. He discusses the importance of the legislation to protect minors, saying "Being born gay or straight, is innate. And there's certainly nothing wrong with it, and nothing that needs to be fixed."
VICE also returns to Journey Into Manhood, where the founders and counselors talk about why conversion therapy retreats like theirs should be allowed to exist. The documentary ends with a compilation of video testimonials from conversion therapy survivors, who share their harrowing experiences with the practice.