Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and Equality North Carolina hailed Governor-Elect Roy Cooper's victory -- which crossed the crucial 10,000 vote mark today -- and called on Pat McCrory to concede in the North Carolina gubernatorial race immediately. With a stunning 66 percent of North Carolina voters reporting opposition to HB2 in exit polling, it's clear that HB2 cost McCrory his re-election bid. According to polling commissioned by HRC and ENC and performed by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, 57 percent of voters put HB2 as the top reason "not to vote for Pat McCrory" -- exceeding any other issue by 17 points. The latest tally shows McCrory 10,329 votes behind. Because Cooper has a 10,000 vote margin of victory, McCrory is no longer entitled to a recount paid for by taxpayers, but he may request one at his own expense.
"North Carolina just sent a powerful message to the entire country: the days of preying on LGBTQ people for political gain is over," said HRC President Chad Griffin."McCrory failed to listen to the majority of fair-minded North Carolinians who know that anti-LGBTQ hatred has no place in their state -- and he lost big because of it. Roy Cooper is a powerful voice for equality and has vowed to work to overturn the hateful and discriminatory HB2. It's long past time for McCrory to accept reality, concede and let Roy Cooper get on with the important job of actually working on behalf of every North Carolinian."
"Today, we have hit another milestone in the Governor's race, that Roy Cooper has clearly won. The margin is now above 10,000 votes. This marks a decisive victory for Roy Cooper and does not allow for an automatic recount given the size of the margin," said Equality North Carolina Executive Director Chris Sgro. "It's time for Pat McCrory to concede this race immediately to make sure that the state of North Carolina can go along it's business with Governor Cooper at its helm."
Between August and Election Day, TurnOUT NC -- a project of the Human Rights Campaign and Equality North Carolina -- held more than 260 get-out-the-vote events in Charlotte and Raleigh on behalf of HRC and ENC endorsed candidates. TurnOUT NC communicated to members and supporters through targeted social media, door-knocking, phone calls, direct mail, text message alerts and email alerts. The TurnOUT NC program generated more than 24 million impressions online to members and supporters encouraging them to vote for pro-equality candidates. HRC and ENC also released a series of ads targeting pro-equality voters, including "Lennie & Pearl for Roy Cooper" and "Pat McCrory: Bad for Business."
In 2012, Pat McCrory was elected with an 11 percent margin of victory. Not only did HB2 cost McCrory his re-election, it dragged down several state candidates. HRC and ENC endorsed Roy Cooper for Governor and Josh Stein for Attorney General, who both won, as well as four challenger races that also declared victory: Rep. Cynthia Ball (D), Chaz Beasley (D), Joe John (D) and Mary Belk (D).
Instead of accepting the fact that voters rejected his bid for re-election, McCrory launched an all-out effort to throw the integrity of the election into question by lodging baseless voter protests in more than half of the state's 100 counties. Earlier this week the Republican-controlled State Board of Elections issued an order requiring dismissal of all 52 of those protests. In a powerful editorial today headlined, "McCrory will be remembered for this lack of grace," The Charlotte Observer wrote yesterday that McCrory "and his fellow scaremongers have disrespected democracy..."
On World AIDS Day, December 1st, 2016, Project Runway All Stars winner and Dining Out For Life spokesperson Mondo Guerra will reveal a 360-degree video designed to emphasize the power of Pozitivity while fostering hope and inspiration for people infected or affected by HIV/AIDS.
Guerra will present the second generation of his acclaimed Pozitivity print as part of a :90 360-degree video that will reveal 62 newly created images, each representing an AIDS Service Organization licensee of the annual Dining Out For Life fundraiser.
The 360-degree format allows viewers to change the angle of the imagery, altering their perception of the designs. For Guerra, an HIV+ artist, this feature symbolizes the choices each of us has in how we view and respond to life’s circumstances. “With these designs, I hope to demonstrate the idea that reality is a fluid concept,” stated Guerra. “What we perceive as real is often defined by preconceived notions, attitudes and other influences. When I was first diagnosed with HIV, I could have chosen to see my status as devastating– and respond accordingly. Instead, I made a conscious choice to live with HIV in ways that challenge and inspire me both as an artist and as an advocate.”
To learn more visit https://www.facebook.com/DiningOut4Life
Soto Voce has shared her Speaking In Tongues remix of “Better” several hours before stepping on stage at LA’s infamous School Night at Bardot. This tech/deep house remix of “Better” comes on the heels of Soto Voce’s single dropping earlier this year. “Better” elicited a deeper dive into Kenny Soto’s journey, as a trans woman from inner-city Oakland, colliding with Miguel De Divo, an immigrant from Colombia, to create a dark-new-wave R&B.
You’ll want to hear this.
Paul Angelo, gay relationship coach and matchmaker, is taking the idea of gay matchmaking and social entrepreneurship to an entirely new level with the design for the first Gay Monarchy, Relationship Matrix And A Gay Royal Family.
Photo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20161122/442127
"Because of the separation of gender, men and women are forever cursed by their differences. Because of their sameness, gay men have the ingredients that make the creation of the perfect society possible, as part of a world-wide Gay Monarchy. The economic and social incentives to come together for gay men have never been stronger," says Angelo.
See video at: http://www.PaulAngelo.com/monarchy
During the work as a gay coach and a gay matchmaker, Angelo discovered that gay life comes with unique benefits and advantages. Contrary to common belief, the absence of children, the rejection of religions and the absence of tradition makes gay men open to radically new ideas about how to live their lives.
According to Angelo, gay men are uniquely prepared for a new social structure that removes the limitations imposed by current understanding of a family, marriage and sexuality.
"Gay men are the only group in the world today that is still waiting for a philosophy. Virtually all religions and philosophies that came from heterosexuals have no application for gay men. Gay men need a new model for life. The Gay Monarchy, which includes a Relationship Matrix for social interaction is a step forward into the future for gay men," says Angelo.
Angelo believes that gay men can benefit from a social structure specifically designed to address the differences in gay sexuality, gay relationships and gay family. The idea of a Gay Monarchy came out of research for the book "The Gay Genius" and is part of the philosophy of "Gay Idealism" in which gay men exist without straight people.
"How would gay men come together if straight people disappeared from the face of the earth? What social structure needs to be in place to unite all gay men together?" asks Angelo.
Mark, who recently hired Paul for coaching said "Paul offers radically new ideas that show thorough understanding of philosophy, sociology and psychology. Paul is taking the gay community towards a radically new and better future."
Angelo often talks about how gay men are the next evolutionary step for humanity. "The heterosexual architecture for life, specifically the separation of gender and the emphasis on reproduction instead of growth has reached the ceiling of complexity that can only be breached by a new design for life – and gay men offer that," says Angelo.
Angelo often talks about how much more efficient gay society will be, where the differences between men and women are no longer the obstacle to problem solving, innovation and communication.
To demonstrate the unique advantages of the sameness of gay men, Angelo asks the audience to imagine two groups - one group consisting of twenty straight couples and another group of twenty gay couples. Angelo then asks "which group would build a house faster?" as a simple way to demonstrate the unique advantages that gay men offer to the world.
Paul Angelo is a gay relationship coach and matchmaker working with gay men over 40, teaching strategies and ideas about gay relationships and sexuality that make long term, committed gay relationships possible. Angelo's coaching practice started in 2010 and continues today with courses on gay psychology, gay sexuality and gay philosophy.
The Big Con on America worked. A perfect storm of many failings (pick your favorite whipping boy) allowed the candidate who won almost two million more votes to lose to a bigoted, offensive, failed businessman.
Because consistency isn’t characteristic of this president-elect, we can’t know what’s in store. Whatever it is, it’ll fatten his pocketbook and ego - his pathological narcissism means the next four years look insecure.
Because right-wing Republicans control Congress, their radical agenda with that of their Koch-brother-class owners will likely move forward. Without robust Democratic opposition, given the history of mainstream elite Democratic attempts to make nice, we could witness a major reactionary rightward shift.
If those who object shun the 2018 election, as is their habit, these four years look like hell for America’s most vulnerable. Oh, the privileged, especially well-off white males, will do just fine.
So, it’s time to do everything it takes to correct a repetition of failures this reexposes to engineer a better future. However, many of the establishment institutions involved don’t appear ready to make the necessary changes that will move America out of this mess.
Many are stuck listening to old advisors who told them what they wanted to hear, counseling that demographics would never allow this to happen. This series of columns won’t do that.
So, here’s step one: admit there’s an insular nature about recommendations reiterated in organizations run by people who aren’t in touch with working-class Americans. It’s a result of listening to isolated advisors who believe they know better just because they’re praised by the insulated.
Don’t get me wrong, working class Americans have been conned for decades. But when throughout the country they don’t resonate with the advice of the insulated but feel that they’re liberal elites looking down on them as stupid rubes doomed to their prejudices, there‘s little those elites can say or do that will counter the sense that “liberals” see their burden to be correcting poor, unfortunate “middle” Americans.
People in this country are, in fact, hurting unless they’re a part of the elites on the left and right. Michael Moore and Bernie Sanders, neither coming across as an elite insider, get it, even if the “Democrat” label they’ve taken on causes their marginalization too.
But this sense that working-class people everywhere, but especially west of the Appalachians and east of the Sierra Nevadas, are a problem to be solved by coastal strategists without even listening to progressive activists who live and work among working people in that middle - because liberal elites know better - enforces the image that “liberals” are out of touch.
If anything, this election has taught us that if we don’t pay attention to that “middle” that is mocked and spoken of in derogatory terms, its anger and ideas will rule America along with those of the similarly maligned middle south.
Don’t get me wrong - many coastal activist allies know this. But it’s time to ask, for example, why all the national progressive organizations that dominate the agenda aren’t located in Middle America? That’s a Democratic Party problemshared by many progressive organizations that visit the Middle, it seems, only with advice and hands out.
Maybe in the past they needed to locate near national seats of power, but the Internet and air travel have made that unnecessary. And when new leaders do arrive on a coast from the Midwest and middle south, it’s interesting how quickly many are caught up in a culture of elites with expectations that are no longer in touch with back home. They’ve often actually fled it.
Do we need these organizations today to make Connecticut, Boston or New York City bluer? Or is it time to be among people who are moveable but left out?
I’ve been a progressive activist working with working people in “middle” America for over thirty years, and, with others out here, I’ve seen progressive organizations and activists preference coastal strategists. What do we know, being in the middle of nowhere? We’re supposed to learn from them, not vice versa, just because they’re in blue territory.
Decades ago I led workshops for a local organization that was successfully working with religious leaders on LGBT issues here in middle America. It’s vitality and progress were measured by the facts that it was self-funded and that beginning workshops on “How Homophobia Hurts Us All” were soon enhanced with advanced follow-up.
The local organization became merged into a major national LGBT organization that praised the local group’s successful program and said that it intended to use what the local organization was doing as a national model. It made sense out here.
It was hardly more than a year before the coastal elites of the national organization, who believed they knew better than people in Middle America, announced that they weren’t going to follow up on those promises. They decided to focus on making coastal connections with other elites there and dissolved the local chapter.
The answer is not to start some “outreach” to Middle America. That approach implies that it’s being looked down on with pity, and thought of the way Christian missionaries treated natives.
Giving up stereotypes and ending putdowns about working people or flyover country is a beginning. The key is working as equals with the many activists throughout the working-class middle who’ve been advocating for every progressive cause there is - from preventing climate change, to LGBT issues, to ending racism, to workers’ rights, to Democratic policies.
I’m not sure if established elites are ready to do this. It means that many would need to surrender some of their power and prestige. They might have to affirm that there are good ideas out here in flyover country that work better.
But if we first don’t move out of the insularity of elites, working people - especially in the middle and the South - will continue to react negatively to what they perceive to be those liberals on the coasts whom, they think, couldn’t care less about them except when they need to use those unfortunates.
Next in “What Now?” Part Two: It’s Not Either/Or – Let’s Talk Race”
Robert N. Minor, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies at the University of Kansas, is author of When Religion Is an Addiction; Scared Straight: Why It’s So Hard to Accept Gay People and Why It’s So Hard to BeHuman; and Gay & Healthy in a Sick Society. Contact him at www.FairnessProject.org.
The launch of Hermes Holiday, a boutique travel operator, is making luxurious and unique holidays across Europe simpler to plan and experience for the LGBT community and their friends. Supported by two decades of experience, Director Kyle Olsen has created a firm that focuses on travelling the way it should be done, in style and combining culture, must see sights, hedonistic parties and plenty of time to relax. From bike rides through beautiful villages to vibrant parties that last well into the night, Hermes Holidays has been created with its customers in mind. The boutique firm aims to bring likeminded people together for unforgettable holidays and truly unique experiences.
Olsen said, “After 19 years working in Europe as a Travel Director I’ve developed a passion for European history and culture and it’s my goal to bring each destination to life for every group. As an industry insider and seasoned gay traveller, I’ve worked to create packages that travellers will want to experience and look forward to every aspect and excursion. You can forget long coach journeys, early morning starts and uninviting hotels when you choose Hermes Holidays. Instead you can expect the perfect combination or relaxation, parties and culture complemented by beautiful 4 star hotels and travelling by plane or high speed train between destinations.”
The agency’s first offering lives up to Hermes Holiday’s ethos, with guests staying in beautiful, centrally located hotels, travelling in style between destinations and experiencing once in a lifetime excursions. The Yellow Brick Road Tour will take travellers on an indulgent trip from Amsterdam to Barcelona, via Paris and Nice. The packed itinerary includes stopping by the annual and renowned Canal Pride Parade, visiting the Circuit Festival on its 10th anniversary, exploring the Moet et Chandon and Veuve Clicquot champagne houses and an exclusive money can’t buy Dom Perignon tasting experience in their private gardens. Even with so many excursions planned, the tour has been carefully crafted to allow guests to fully experience the destinations and explore at their own pace as they take in the beautiful European cities included in the tour.
The Yellow Brick Road Tour includes all the excursions detailed in its itinerary at no extra cost and can be booked via the Hermes Holiday website.
To find out more visit http://www.hermes-holidays.com.au/.
GreatNonprofits has named the 2016 Top-Rated Charities for LGBTQ Issues. These two charities have been selected for earning the highest ratings for helping those in need.
GreatNonprofits Top-Rated Awards name the best charities in 47 different categories. They are the only top ratings determined by people who deal directly with the charities - as donors, volunteers and recipients of aid. GreatNonprofits is the leading website for people to find, review and share information about nonprofits, including personal stories about the charity's work.
This year's Top-Rated LGBTQ Charities are:
The list of Top-Rated Charities for LGBTQ issues can be found here:
NBCUniversal Talent Infusion Programs has named comedy writers Mnelik Belilgne, Melanie Boysaw and Jeremy Hsu as well as drama writers Lorelei Ignas, Allyssa Lee, Rayna McClendon, Mellori Velasquez and Jeane Wong as its 2016-17 Writers on the Verge. Now in its 11th year, Writers on the Verge is an annual program for talented, aspiring writers of diverse backgrounds who are “on the verge” of breaking out, but need a final polish of their writing and pitch presentation skills to equip them for a career in television. During the 12-week intensive program, they receive coaching and mentoring from industry professionals with the ultimate goal of preparing them to be staff writers on television series. “Writers on the Verge” is one of the tentpole initiatives within the NBCUniversal Talent Infusion Programs (NBCUNI TIPS) that promote and encourage people of diverse backgrounds to become the next generation of storytellers.
“These eight exceptional writers were chosen from among more than 2,000 applicants for their unique voices and points of view,” said Karen Horne, SVP, Programming Talent Development & Inclusion, NBC Entertainment and Universal Television Studios. “Our Writers on the Verge program has jumpstarted many successful writing careers. I fully expect our new class of Writers on the Verge to be the future writers, showrunners and executive producers who will bring fresh, authentic storytelling to television.”
The 2016-17 Writers of the Verge represent a variety of backgrounds:
Mnelik Belilgne: The hip hop artist turned comedy writer has worked on The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Allegiance and The Michael J. Fox Show. As a musician, he released five albums and won rap battle competitions for BET, Redbull and Grindtime.
Melanie Boysaw: The Los Angeles native and University of California, Berkeley alumna is currently a writers’ coordinator at Conan, and also worked on the Conan O’Brien-produced series the Pete Holmes Show.
Jeremy Hsu: The Hawaii native got his start as a stand-up comedian performing at comedy clubs in New York. He then ventured into video editing working on reality shows and live events including the Super Bowl, before moving to Los Angeles to pursue writing.
Lorelei Ignas: Ignas is a produced off-off-Broadway director and playwright, and alumna of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Previously based in Brooklyn, she moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in Television and completed the UCLA Professional Program for Television Writing in 2013. Lorelei is repped by UTA and Rain Management Group.
Allyssa Lee: Southern California native Lee began her writing career as a journalist, reporting and editing for the likes of Entertainment Weekly, the Los Angeles Times and Women’s Health before turning her sights to television itself. She is currently a digital content producer and editor at FOXSports.com.
Rayna McClendon: McClendon got her start at the Creative Writing Program at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Currently, she is the showrunner’s assistant to Veena Sud on her upcoming Netflix drama, Seven Seconds. McClendon has written two freelance episodes for television: one for The Disney Channel’s new series Andi Mack from Terri Minksy, and her first for MTV’s family drama Finding Carter. Additionally, she co-wrote webisodes for MTV’s Awkward, and was a writers’ room assistant for Awkward and Finding Carter. McClendon is represented by Kaplan Stahler Agency and Good Fear Film + Management.
Mellori Velasquez: A law school graduate once on track to becoming an in-house attorney, Velasquez walked away from law to enroll in USC’s MFA Writing for Screen and Television Program. Her legal background has inspired her to write female-centric gritty crime dramas.
Jeane Wong: San Gabriel, Calif. native Wong left her initial dream of working in politics behind to pursue her passion for writing. She is developing her original pilot The Thin Line at Universal Cable Productions while she works as a script coordinator on The CW’s Arrow. She is also a published author and comic book writer. Her short story “Crystal Brook” was published in Empower: Fight Like a Girl, and she co-authored The Vampire Diaries digital comics for D.C. Comics. She is also part of the inaugural Women In Film Black List TV Lab.
Over the course of 12 weeks, the new class of Writers on the Verge will learn how to develop spec and pilot scripts guided by Horne and independent story and script consultant Jen Grisanti, a former CBS/Paramount and Spelling Television executive. They will also learn how to effectively pitch their ideas in front of television executives, and receive valuable feedback on their scripts and pitch styles from industry professionals including network executives, showrunners and agents. At the end of the program, the writers will be considered for available writing assignments on NBC series.
Writers on the Verge has a proven track record of producing successful television writers. Recent program alumni are staffed on critically acclaimed and top-rated series including The Blacklist, Superstore, American Crime, Suits, Shades of Blue and NBC midseason series The Blacklist Redemption and Midnight, Texas. They also include Brandon Margolis and Brandon Sonnier who are co-producers on The Blacklist and Rashad Raisani who is a co-executive producer on Shades of Blue.