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The Devil’s Star by Jo Nesbo — only $1.99

The Devil’s Star by Jo Nesbo — only $1.99 ★ http://amzn.to/2ysxuPU #crimefiction

Publisher Description Oslo is sweltering in the summer heat when a young woman is murdered in her flat. One finger has been cut off and a tiny red diamond in the shape of a pentagram — a five-pointed star — is found under her eyelid. Detective Harry Hole is assigned the case with Tom Waaler, a colleague he neither likes nor trusts. He believes Tom is behind a gang of arms smugglers — and the…

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Calling Queer Artists Queertech.io 2018

Queertech.io 2018: Artist Call Out

Queertech.io and Midsumma Festival are calling for digital and new media works from queer identifying artists. Be part of the ongoing conversation about #QueerTech.

Curated by the Queertech.io artist collective and Midsumma Festival works selected will be premiered online and offline across multiple sites at Midsumma Festival 2018, including RMIT SPARE ROOM & LIGHTSCAPES.

Calling Queer Artists Queertech.io 2018

Now more than ever, queer voices are vital to a continued socio-political discourse surrounding representation in a digital landscape. Queertech.io showcases a broad cross-section of the innovative, poignant and queer-as-hell works emerging from diverse queer communities.

Queertech.io 2017 included works from artists in ten countries and spanned video works, games, gifs, 3D models, animations and interactive works. After premiering at Midsumma Festival 2017, the Queertech.io collection toured nationally and internationally.

Artists at all stages of their careers are encouraged to apply. Submissions close on Sunday 12 November.

Questions? Email Curator, Alison Bennett at alison@alisonbennett.net.

QueerTechIO 2018 call for works from Virtual Drag on Vimeo.


QueerTech.io 2018 presented in partnership with MIDSUMMA and supported by RMIT: ART: INTERSECT

A collection of digital artworks by queer artists from around the globe exhibited online at http://QueerTech.io/ and embedded in three Australian queer arts festivals and screened on the Federation Square big screen:

QueerTech.io has been organised by Alison Bennett, Travis Cox, Xanthe Dobbie & Mark Payne.

“There is a growing conversation about #queertech art practices internationally” explains Alison Bennett, one of the artists organising QueerTech.io. “We wanted to be a part of that conversation and find out more about how artists are thinking about #queertech as a creative space and an artistic strategy.”

Feel welcome to let us know about more queertech artists and projects

Calling Queer Artists Queertech.io 2018

The post Calling Queer Artists Queertech.io 2018 appeared first on Seasons of Pride.

Anti-LGBT Schools Should See Financial Consequences

It’s 2017. The fact that equality is still debated and the fact that it’s still an issue is unfortunate, to say the least. The secretary of education seemed to imply in May that she would leave the issue of discrimination up to the decision of the states. She didn’t improve much on her response when the issue was brought up again in June.

Current federal laws protect students from discrimination of various types, though they’re slightly murky when it comes to LGBT protections. However, based on the other protections it provides, it’s a no-brainer that LGBT students should be included. The courts haven’t made it official, but the fact that LGBT marriage is legal across the country and, well, the fact that your sexual orientation/gender identity isn’t something you choose, should be enough.

In the May hearing, a school in Indiana was brought up because they receive state voucher money yet deny admission for students “practicing alternate gender identity” or for any students that come from a family where there’s “homosexual or bisexual activity.” Not only could the child be punished for who they are, they could be punished because of their parents as well.

The Harm Of Discrimination

LGBT youth are already at high-risk for compromised mental health without having to deal with discrimination from their school. They have to face bullying, dealing with the pressure of coming out and the fact that they could be facing a family that doesn’t approve. It’s not an easy process and it isn’t an easy life to lead. Transgender students struggle even more, with the notion that they aren’t in the body they’re supposed to be in.

Banning a student from a school because of who they are attracted to is repulsive. As is banning students because of their gender identity not lining up with the parts they had. These are not things that people choose and they aren’t things that people can control. They’re people just like everyone else. And these children have just as much right to learn as anyone else.

Consequences Should Be Enforced

In 1970, the IRS proclaimed they wouldn’t offer tax-exempt status to any educational institution that participated in racial discrimination. When Bob Jones University tried to challenge this, the US Supreme Court rejected and said: “racial discrimination in education is contrary to public policy.” The same thing should be said now for LGBT discrimination.

Both federal and state governments offer all sorts of vouchers, grants and other funding to institutions of education. This funding should not extend to schools that participate in discrimination. If these institutions want federal money, they shouldn’t be allowed to discriminate against any group of people.

America is supposed to be a land of freedoms, though it doesn’t have a great track record when it comes to discrimination. However, we should be learning from our past and growing instead of backtracking to times when you were allowed to refuse a student because of their skin color. Students can’t change their sexuality, who they truly are, any more than they can change the color of their skin.

And just because discrimination is based on religion, doesn’t mean it’s okay. Freedom of religion means you have the right to practice whatever religion you choose. It doesn’t mean that you can use that religion as an excuse to discriminate against people and impose those beliefs on others.

Opposition to discrimination isn’t based on violating religious liberties or rights. It’s about making sure that American citizens are free from discrimination and able to live their lives without being persecuted because of who they are.

This is about being decent human beings and respecting that others may not be the same as you are. Schools shouldn’t be financially rewarded for refusing perfectly qualified applicants due to baseless ignorance.

Anti-LGBT Schools Should See Financial Consequences

The post Anti-LGBT Schools Should See Financial Consequences appeared first on Seasons of Pride.

From Canada With Love: An Interview on Gay Marriage & Life

On April 4th, 2009, Mary Heid tied the knot with her now-wife Karen Mapstone at a Victorian bed and breakfast in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Canada – right across the border from New York, where they resided at the time. Five years before gay marriage was made legal across the U.S. (and before most states too for that matter), they made the leap into blissful matrimony. It took a literal leap across the border to make it happen.

 

Mary and Karen currently live in Reno, Nevada, where they enjoy the comforts of a dry climate and a strong network of family and friends. Life hasn’t always been smooth sailing though. I recently had the chance to sit down with Mary, who is a close family friend and personal confidant of mine, and talk with her about her travails and experiences throughout life.

We began by discussing her wedding day – everything from the various styles of wedding dresses they considered, to the love and energy poured into their wedding vows. Over time, our conversation gradually drifted toward the current social climate in the U.S., and how things have changed for gay couples during her lifetime (and unfortunately in some cases, haven’t changed).

Sophie: Describe your wedding day – what was it like?

Mary: “I remember that the weather was cold – it was a chilly, windy spring day. The atmosphere was intimate, with 30 guests squeezed into the bed & breakfast, which we had rented for the weekend. Our parents, the minister, our best men & their families all stayed at the venue with us. We got married in the grand foyer next to a big fireplace, and there was a pianist playing as we stood around in the living room. Karen’s dad read a poem by Khalil Gibran, and overall it was pretty quiet and intimate. All of our siblings and their kids were there too, which was really nice.

We also had a professional photographer following us around, plus a close friend who also took pictures for us. She ended up making us a lovely wedding scrapbook, and it’s my favorite piece of memorabilia from that day.”

S: Did the atmosphere feel any different than at other weddings you’ve attended? Or was it pretty traditional?

Pictured: Jay Mapstone (Mary’s father-in-law), Karen Mapstone on the left, Mary Heid on the right

M: “It was different, but it was intentionally different. I was married twice before – a big Italian Catholic wedding and a country-themed pig roast, and we wanted this ceremony to reflect our personalities (which are both pretty laid back). We were paying for it ourselves, so we specifically had vegetarian food because we are vegetarian, and we had a limited amount of alcohol (although it was at a winery so we did have some wine).

A lot of thought went into the event, it was a very ‘thoughtful’ ceremony. We didn’t want to make anybody uncomfortable, but we still wanted to share our love for each other publicly. A lot of this revolved around our maturity, when you’re younger you’re like ‘we’re gay, we want to party,’ but we just wanted to take it easy.”

S: You mentioned earlier that most of your family attended, including your parents. How did your parents or in-laws feel when you first told them you were getting married to a woman?

Pictured: Family members, including Iris Mapstone – Karen’s mother

M: “The story leading up to the wedding is kind of cute. When I told Karen’s dad we were getting married, we were all at her parent’s house. We were really nervous – we’re gay, her parents are religious, and her father was an evangelical Protestant minister for a long time. We were scared.

Karen had never really overtly came out, she had never even said ‘hey I’m gay’ or anything, although it was understood and unspoken. We were really psyched when [her] father was happy for us, and glad do a reading; just in general, glad we asked him to be a part of our wedding. However, we didn’t ask him to marry us, because our best friend in Rochester is a minister in a Unitarian church, and she and her wife are our best friends.”

S: What’s something that jumps out at you when you think about that day?

M: “Reading the vows. Figuring out how to write great wedding vows was really hard, but it was worth the effort in the end. Since I knew we were going to do this interview earlier I prepared them in case you were curious – I’ll read them to you, they’re brief:

‘I promise to give you my unending love, trust, and devotion. To be true to you and to cherish you through hardships and happiness. To share my thoughts, hopes, fears, and dreams with you, to listen to you with compassion and speak to you with encouragement, to believe we will continue to grow as individuals and together. To live a life that will honor the vows we’ve spoken, and make you glad you have married me this day.’

We spent a lot of time with each other’s weaknesses, and we tried to overcome them.”

S: Those vows are very sweet, and it sounds like your wedding day turned out to be a really positive experience. Do you think that the US has progressed a lot in terms of gay marriage acceptance since your wedding? What about acceptance of gay couples in general?  

M: “I think it has improved in both areas. We’ve been together twenty years, since 1997. it took us 11 years to get married because we didn’t want to merely have a commitment ceremony. We felt like that was not the equivalent of marriage. We were not going to acquiesce to what we thought was going to make other people comfortable. We didn’t want ‘different.’ That’s part of why it took so long.

Plus, there’s the fear and closeting of gay people that I sure hope is different now. I think that it is, I think that the younger generation is a little more comfortable and we as the older generation are more comfortable, with both gay and interracial couples. We’re not in Kansas anymore.”

S: Great point. However, there’s still a long way to go it seems. Has your marriage had any lasting effect on your relationships with friends or family members?

Pictured: Mary Heid’s sister, daughter & niece

M: “Yeah, it has actually had a big positive effect on everybody. The marriage, not the wedding itself. It has forced people to acknowledge that homosexuality is in their present life and that it’s not just some abstract concept anymore. They actually had to confront their feelings about it, and even though it’s all been internal (it’s not like we have family discussions about it), you can’t do that anymore – saying things like ‘marriage is only between a man and a woman.’ Hopefully, people have grown by that.

We’re super fortunate. So many friends have lost family – parents won’t speak to them, siblings won’t talk to them, one friend has a family member who mails them Christian ‘repent your sin’ cards at Christmas every year, many friends have friends as their chosen family now. A ton of gay people my age… there’s an awful lot of them in recovery. We drank a lot early on because we thought we were bad because society told us we didn’t fit. Drugs and alcohol were coping mechanisms.

There’s a lot of self-abusive behavior in our community due to family, and we were scared to death to come out to our family even though our families have been great and accepted us. We were still scared something bad was going to happen when we got married. Originally it was about hoping for acceptance rather than looking for joy, that was all we felt we could hope for.”

S: Did you think you’d ever get legally married when you first were together?

M: “Hmmm, no. In the beginning, marriage wasn’t on the radar – it was a bit of a pipe dream. Even as our relationship grew, when people started getting married, we thought ‘wow, we could do that. Would you want to do that? I think we should’ then we started having discussions.

First, there were civil unions, right away we said ‘no, we don’t want to do that, it’s half-assed,’ but then when it started to change to marriage, we thought ‘yes, we can have that.’ So no, originally it wasn’t even on the radar. When I was a young kid it wasn’t even on the radar that I could be a lesbian. I couldn’t entertain it, it wasn’t even in my vocabulary, which is probably why I got married twice to men.”

S: Do you have any advice for other gay couples looking to get married?

M: “Be brave, be true to yourself, be confident, be true to who you are. Go for what you want, don’t shortchange yourself, don’t be afraid to ask. Don’t think that you can’t have something. If a bakery doesn’t want to make you a cake, find one that will so you can celebrate your joy. Some bakeries still do this, when they find out it’s for a gay wedding. Surround yourself with people that love you, and let the haters hate somewhere else. Your wedding isn’t the time to change the world.”

S: Is there anything else you’d like to share?

M: “I’m 53 years old now, so hopefully now is a different time. I’ll be interested if this article even feels relevant now. It’ll be interesting to see what a 20-year-old couple says in response to questions like this.”

Conclusion

Mary has experienced a lot during her life. To be fair we all have, but not many of us have had to leave our country of birth just to legally marry the person we love. While things have improved drastically for gay couples even during our own lifetimes, the fight for total equality is still not over. More education, as well as open conversations with the people in our lives, will help though, and hopefully, stories like Mary’s will continue to encourage other families to accept and love their relatives regardless of their sexual orientation.


Bio

Sophie Darling is a wedding expert and community manager at WeddingDresses.com. Sophie is known in the industry as a professional who knows how to create the perfect wedding day without breaking the bank. When she’s not blogging about weddings & pinning wedding inspirations, she enjoys meeting her girlfriends over margaritas to discuss nonsense and unfulfilled romances.

From Canada With Love: An Interview on Gay Marriage & Life

The post From Canada With Love: An Interview on Gay Marriage & Life appeared first on Seasons of Pride.

Coming Out Pink Season Hong Kong

Hosted by Pink Season 粉紅天

Pink Season is collaborating with The Boys’ & Girls’ Clubs Association of Hong Kong and Queer Straight Alliance with support from Goldman Sachs to discuss what it means to come out as LGBT+ in Hong Kong. Spoken in Cantonese we have got a panel full of experience from coming out at home, in education, and at work.

粉紅天與香港小童群益會及同直聯盟合作,並獲得高盛支持,與參加者一起探討同志在香港出櫃的意義。本活動以粵語進行,多位講者分享其在家庭、校園和工作場所出櫃的經驗

Coming Out Pink Season Hong Kong

Asia’s premier LGBTI festival, celebrating self-­acceptance, inclusion, and awareness through an exciting programme of arts, education, entertainment, sports, and adventure.

We are non-profit making and the organizing team consists of all volunteers.

Pink Season is brought to you by Hong Kong-registered charity Pink Alliance (pinkalliance.hk).

亞洲首屈一指的同志節,提倡對不同性傾向及性別身份人士的接受、容納及認知,活動性質包括藝術、教育、娛樂,以及體育和挑戰。
我們這個活動是非牟利性質,所有製作隊員都是義工。

「粉紅天」由香港政府認可慈善團體「粉紅同盟」(pinkalliance.hk) 舉辦。

Coming Out Pink Season Hong Kong

The post Coming Out Pink Season Hong Kong appeared first on Seasons of Pride.

NGLCC Certifies 1,000+ LGBTBEs

After 15 years of NGLCC advocating for LGBT business owners and guiding the largest companies in the world towards more inclusive supplier diversity, they’ve hit one of their biggest milestones yet: 1000 certified LGBT Business Enterprises® (LGBTBEs).
NGLCC Certifies 1,000+ LGBTBEs
When we started on this journey, we hoped to make a difference in the LGBT business community and to stand up for the often overlooked LGBT business owner. With over 1000 LGBT businesses certified as LGBTBEs, we have incontrovertible proof that we are not the only ones committed to this vision. Our businesses are essential to the economic health of this country – adding over $1.7 trillion dollars to the U.S. economy and creating tens of thousands of new jobs. We are thriving in every sector and in every corner of the nation because of your commitment, innovation, and pride in our business community.

NGLCC’s success could not have been achieved without the incredible support from our corporate partners, affiliate chambers, friends, allies, and our 1000+ certified LGBTBE owners. For your unyielding support, we thank you.

Even with this incredible milestone under our belts, our work is far from over. With our recent inclusion in the Billon Dollar Roundtable and the standalone requirement in the HRC Corporate Equality Index to utilize LGBT businesses in the corporate supply chain, we know there is exponential growth still ahead for our LGBTBE certification numbers and for the number of contracting opportunities for our businesses to thrive. We encourage each one of you to talk with a friend or colleague about getting certified and helping us move a little closer to our goal of getting 2000 certified LGBTBEs by 2020. 

We look forward to celebrating this, and all the milestones we’ve achieved in our last fifteen years, with you at the 2017 NGLCC National Dinner in Washington, D.C. on November 17, 2017.


The NGLCC is the exclusive, third-party certification body that verifies that eligible businesses are majority-owned by LGBT individuals, and subsequently, grants LGBT Business Enterprise® (LGBTBE®) designation to such businesses as part of its LGBT Supplier Diversity Initiative.

By becoming a certified LGBTBE, businesses are able to build relationships with America’s leading corporations, generate prospective business and clients, and collectively team with each other for contracting opportunities. As corporate America becomes more inclusive and further diversifies its supply chain, certification offers the opportunity for LGBT-owned businesses to differentiate themselves from their competitors.

Certified LGBTBEs are routinely sought after by NGLCC Corporate Partners who are looking to increase their spend with the LGBT business community through our internal, proprietary database. LGBTBEs, in turn, have access to over 160 contacts with corporate representatives and supplier diversity professionals to begin building strategic relationships and making preparations to meet face-to-face with them at NGLCC matchmaking and networking events, which are held across the country throughout the year. Certified LGBTBEs are also eligible for scholarship programs, mentorship and leadership training, and other business development tools following one year.

Does your business meet the following criteria?
  • Majority (at least 51%) owned, operated, managed, and controlled by an LGBT person or persons who are either U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents
  • Exercises independence from any non-LGBT business enterprise
  • Has its principal place of business (headquarters) in the United States
  • Has been formed as a legal entity in the United States
In order for applicant businesses to be certified, all applicable documentation must be supplied in full accordance with NGLCC SDI Standards and Procedures or an applicant business may be denied approval for certification. Please consult the document, which describes the criteria for certification and the application process.
If you have questions, check out our Frequently Asked Questions page or contact the NGLCC SDI Team directly at 202-234-9181.
Please note: Businesses that are certified by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) or the United States Business Leadership Network: Disability at Work (USBLN) are eligible for expedited certification. If you are certified by WBENC or USBLN, please contact the NGLCC SDI Team.
Maximize your business opportunities by becoming a member of an NGLCC affiliate chamber. As a member, you can network with local LGBT and allied business owners, have access to local programming and events, and can take advantage of local business opportunities.
Become a member of your local affiliate chamber to not only leverage local membership benefits but also take advantage of complimentary national certification. NGLCC waives the $400 certification fee for businesses that choose to join their local affiliate chamber.
Applicants who wish not to join their local affiliate chamber will be prompted to pay a non-refundable certification/ recertification fee when completing the application for certification.

NGLCC Certifies 1,000+ LGBTBEs

The post NGLCC Certifies 1,000+ LGBTBEs appeared first on Seasons of Pride.

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Gay & Lesbian Victory Institute LGBT Leadership Conference

  • LGBT Leadership Conference – The Gay & Lesbian Victory Institute is the national voice on issues pertaining to openly LGBT leadership, including elected and appointed officials.  Senior members of the Victory team are available for on-the-record comment about LGBT leadership and related LGBT news, trends, and developments. Washington, DC; Dec 6-9, 2017

Gay & Lesbian Victory Institute LGBT Leadership Conference

The International LGBTQ Leaders Conference brings together hundreds of openly LGBTQ leaders in government, politics, advocacy, business and community organizations. Attendees experience three days of training, skills building, and networking, and discuss key issues facing openly LGBTQ leaders and their communities.

The 2017 International LGBTQ Leaders Conference will be held in Washington, DC from Wednesday, December 6 – Saturday, December 9, 2017.


The post Gay & Lesbian Victory Institute LGBT Leadership Conference appeared first on Seasons of Pride.

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