Month: May 2012

Ruling Protecting Transgender Workers Goes Into Effect

(San Francisco, CA) – Today the landmark ruling by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) that Title VII, the federal sex discrimination law, protects employees who are discriminated against because they are transgender goes into effect.

 

In its unprecedented decision last month, the EEOC concluded that “intentional discrimination against a transgender individual because that person is transgender is, by definition, discrimination ‘based on … sex’ and such discrimination … violates Title VII.” The EEOC is the federal agency that interprets and enforces federal employment discrimination law, and the decision marked the first time it has offered clear guidance on this issue.

 

Masen Davis, Executive Director, celebrated today saying, “This is a historic day for human rights in the United States.  From the Deep South to my home state of Missouri, starting today transgender and gender non-conforming people now have legal recourse if they face discrimination on the job. We no longer have to be silent when we are fired or not hired simply for being who we are. If you think you are being targeted with harassment or discrimination at work, I urge you to contact your local EEOC office and file a complaint.” 

 

The EEOC ruling came as a result of a discrimination complaint filed by Transgender Law Center on behalf of Mia Macy, a transgender woman who was denied a job as a ballistics technician at the Walnut Creek, California laboratory of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).  Ms. Macy, a veteran and former police detective, initially applied for the position as male and was told that she virtually was guaranteed the job. Ms. Macy was exceptionally qualified for the position, having a military and law enforcement background and being one of the few people in the country who had already been trained on ATF’s ballistics computer system. After disclosing her gender transition mid-way through the hiring process, Ms. Macy was told that funding for that position had been suddenly cut. She later learned that someone else had been hired for the job.

 

In response to the EEOC’s decision, Ms. Macy stated, “As a veteran and a police officer, I’ve worked my whole career to uphold the values of fairness and equality. Although the discrimination I experienced was painful both personally and financially, and led to the loss of my family’s home to foreclosure, I’m proud to be a part of this groundbreaking decision confirming that our nation’s employment discrimination laws protect all Americans, including transgender people. I’m grateful for the help of Transgender Law Center, which believed in me from the start and helped guide me through this process. No one should be denied a job just for being who they are.”

 

The decision follows a clear trend by federal courts in recent years holding that transgender people are protected by Title VII’s prohibition against sex discrimination. But it has even broader implications than a court decision, because the EEOC is the agency charged with interpreting and enforcing federal discrimination laws throughout the nation. The EEOC’s decision will impact every employer, public and private, throughout the nation. The decision is entitled to significant deference by the courts, and will be binding on all federal agencies.

 

Transgender Law Center’s Legal Director Ilona Turner explained, “It’s incredibly significant that the Commission has finally put its stamp of approval on the common-sense understanding that discrimination against transgender people is a form of sex discrimination. That’s true whether it’s understood as discrimination because of the person’s gender identity, or because they have changed their sex, or because they don’t conform to other people’s stereotypes of how men and women ought to be.”

 

For more information or interview requests please contact Mark Snyder, Communications Manager, at 415.865.017  x310, cell: 617.416.0552 or mark@transgenderlawcenter.org.

 

Transgender Law Center works to change law, policy, and attitudes so that all people can live safely, authentically, and free from discrimination regardless of their gender identity or expression.

Contact:  Mark D. Snyder
Communications Manager
415.865.0176 x310  cell: 617.416.0552
mark@transgenderlawcenter.org

Media Provided by the GayWebSource.com – Gay Media and Press Network.

14th ANNUAL MIAMI GAY AND LESBIAN FILM FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES “BEST OF FESTIVAL” AWARD WINNING FILMS

MIAMI – May 9, 2012 – The Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival (MGLFF) came to an end this Sunday, May 6, after featuring more than 65 films from 15 countries around the world. Films included shorts, documentaries and feature-length movies that supported the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender (LGBT) communities. Filmmakers and cast members from many of the films flew in for the Festival, participated in Q&A sessions and made appearances at several parties held throughout the 10-day festival.  At the elegant “Reflections” Awards Brunch at Trio on the Bay, Festival Director Franc Castro and Programming Committee Co-Chair Victor M. Gimenez announced the winners of this year’s Festival Awards.

Awards were given in six award categories: Jury Selection Best Short Film, Jury Selection Best Documentary, Jury Selection Best Feature Film, as well as Audience Award Best Short Film, Audience Award Best Documentary and Audience Award Best Feature Film.  Three additional films received “Special Mention” recognition for Audience Short Film, Documentary and Feature Film.

Award Winners:

Jury Selection Best Short Film ($500):  “Fallen Comrade,” a film about two Soldiers in the U.S. Army and the impact after one is lost in combat.  Filmmaker James Valdez was present to accept the award.

Jury Selection Best Documentary ($1,000): “UNFIT: Ward vs. Ward,” a documentary based on the true story of a Florida legal battle that argued the case of who was a better fit parent, a convicted murderer or lesbian. Filmmakers Katie Carmichael and Edwin Scharlau were present to accept the award.

Jury Selection Best Feature Film ($1,000): “North Sea Texas,” a feature film from Belgium about a teenage boy who is searching for love and finds himself fixated on the boy next door.

Audience Award Best Short Film ($500): “Fallen Comrade.” Filmmaker James Valdez was present to accept the award.

Audience Award Best Documentary ($1,000): “Wish Me Away,” a documentary based on country music star Chely Wright’s struggle with coming out in public about her sexuality, and how she discovered the transformational power of living an authentic life.

Audience Award Best Feature Film ($1,000): “Elliott Loves,” a story of Dominican-American Elliot Ayende at two stages of his life; as a nine-year-old who is the side-kick and confidant to his barely-keeping-it-together mom; and as a twenty one-year-old looking for love in New York City. Filmmaker Terracino and actors Quentin Davis Araujo and Erin Fogel were present to accept the award.

Special Mention for Audience Short Film: “Shabbat Dinner,” a short film where two teenagers discover they have more in common than their displeasure of being home on a Friday night.

Special Mention Audience Documentary: “UNIFT: Ward vs. Ward.” Filmmakers Katie Carmichael and Edwin Scharlau were present to accept the award.

Special Mention Audience Feature Film: “Men to Kiss,” a comedy about a young Berlin banker in a relationship with an artistic and flamboyant boyfriend and the triangle that ensues when an old family friend comes to town.

The 2012 Jury Awards are decided by a panel of judges that consisted of the MGLFF’s Programming Committee. 

“We are sad to see this year’s Festival end, but we are excited and already gearing up for next year’s Festival. We set our bar high this time around, but we are excited to exceed our attendees’ expectations again next year,” says MGLFF Executive Director Franc Castro.

This year’s Festival consisted of sold out films for the men’s short programs “What Men Want,” feature length films like “Men to Kiss,” “Elliot Loves,” “Naked As We Came,” “Habana Muda/Austin Unbound,” “Ausente,” opening and closing night films “Kawa” and “North Sea Texas” and the documentary “UNFIT: Ward vs. Ward.”

Also a highlight at this year’s Festival was the opening night ceremony where country singer Chely Wright received the inaugural Lavender Heart Award, which was created by the MGLFF to recognize an LGBT individual in the arts/entertainment industry who has demonstrated extreme acts of courage while promoting the LGBT community in a positive manner. Wright stayed the weekend to make an appearance at her special screening of “Wish Me Away”, where she spoke about the struggles she faced the past two years while “coming out” to the public about her sexuality. The MGLFF also honored former board member Mark ‘MarkyG’ Gilbert with the Angel Award for the positive impact he has had on several arts programs in the community and in particular on the MGLFF.

Next year’s Festival is schedule to run April 25 through May 5, 2013. To become a member of the MGLFF and receive advance ticket purchasing rights, as well as discounted and complimentary tickets to screenings, visit www.mglff.com. Members receive priority entry, seating benefits, invitations to special events and much more.

# # #

About the Miami Gay & Lesbian Film Festival

The MGLFF is a critically acclaimed event running from April 26-May 5, 2013.  Now in its 15th year, the MGLFF is held annually throughout South Florida in the world-renowned historic South Beach district and throughout Miami-Dade County. The MGLFF is celebrated for its program of feature films, documentaries and short films by, about and of interest to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities. In 2011-2012, screenings and special events drew more than 13,500 attendees from greater Miami–Dade, as well as national and international visitors. The MGLFF remains active outside of the film festival to produce the 4th Annual Ft. Lauderdale Gay and Lesbian Film Festival running from October 4-7, 2012 and provide monthly movie screenings throughout the year through its GLOW Miami and 954 GLOW programs. These programs bring year-round advance, archival and educational screenings to movie goers in Miami-Dade and Broward County.

Bridget N. Pietsch 
The Murry Agency
Public Relations | Marketing
1130 Washington Avenue | First Floor North
Miami Beach, FL | 33139
305 | 531 | 5720

14th ANNUAL MIAMI GAY AND LESBIAN FILM FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES “BEST OF FESTIVAL” AWARD WINNING FILMS

MIAMI – May 9, 2012 – The Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival (MGLFF) came to an end this Sunday, May 6, after featuring more than 65 films from 15 countries around the world. Films included shorts, documentaries and feature-length movies that supported the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender (LGBT) communities. Filmmakers and cast members from many of the films flew in for the Festival, participated in Q&A sessions and made appearances at several parties held throughout the 10-day festival.  At the elegant “Reflections” Awards Brunch at Trio on the Bay, Festival Director Franc Castro and Programming Committee Co-Chair Victor M. Gimenez announced the winners of this year’s Festival Awards.

Awards were given in six award categories: Jury Selection Best Short Film, Jury Selection Best Documentary, Jury Selection Best Feature Film, as well as Audience Award Best Short Film, Audience Award Best Documentary and Audience Award Best Feature Film.  Three additional films received “Special Mention” recognition for Audience Short Film, Documentary and Feature Film.

 

Award Winners:

 

Jury Selection Best Short Film ($500):  “Fallen Comrade,” a film about two Soldiers in the U.S. Army and the impact after one is lost in combat.  Filmmaker James Valdez was present to accept the award.

 

Jury Selection Best Documentary ($1,000): “UNFIT: Ward vs. Ward,” a documentary based on the true story of a Florida legal battle that argued the case of who was a better fit parent, a convicted murderer or lesbian. Filmmakers Katie Carmichael and Edwin Scharlau were present to accept the award.

 

Jury Selection Best Feature Film ($1,000): “North Sea Texas,” a feature film from Belgium about a teenage boy who is searching for love and finds himself fixated on the boy next door.

Audience Award Best Short Film ($500): “Fallen Comrade.” Filmmaker James Valdez was present to accept the award.

 

Audience Award Best Documentary ($1,000): “Wish Me Away,” a documentary based on country music star Chely Wright’s struggle with coming out in public about her sexuality, and how she discovered the transformational power of living an authentic life.

 

Audience Award Best Feature Film ($1,000): “Elliott Loves,” a story of Dominican-American Elliot Ayende at two stages of his life; as a nine-year-old who is the side-kick and confidant to his barely-keeping-it-together mom; and as a twenty one-year-old looking for love in New York City. Filmmaker Terracino and actors Quentin Davis Araujo and Erin Fogel were present to accept the award.

 

Special Mention for Audience Short Film: “Shabbat Dinner,” a short film where two teenagers discover they have more in common than their displeasure of being home on a Friday night.

 

Special Mention Audience Documentary: “UNIFT: Ward vs. Ward.” Filmmakers Katie Carmichael and Edwin Scharlau were present to accept the award.

 

Special Mention Audience Feature Film: “Men to Kiss,” a comedy about a young Berlin banker in a relationship with an artistic and flamboyant boyfriend and the triangle that ensues when an old family friend comes to town.

 

The 2012 Jury Awards are decided by a panel of judges that consisted of the MGLFF’s Programming Committee. 

 

“We are sad to see this year’s Festival end, but we are excited and already gearing up for next year’s Festival. We set our bar high this time around, but we are excited to exceed our attendees’ expectations again next year,” says MGLFF Executive Director Franc Castro.

 

This year’s Festival consisted of sold out films for the men’s short programs “What Men Want,” feature length films like “Men to Kiss,” “Elliot Loves,” “Naked As We Came,” “Habana Muda/Austin Unbound,” “Ausente,” opening and closing night films “Kawa” and “North Sea Texas” and the documentary “UNFIT: Ward vs. Ward.”

 

Also a highlight at this year’s Festival was the opening night ceremony where country singer Chely Wright received the inaugural Lavender Heart Award, which was created by the MGLFF to recognize an LGBT individual in the arts/entertainment industry who has demonstrated extreme acts of courage while promoting the LGBT community in a positive manner. Wright stayed the weekend to make an appearance at her special screening of “Wish Me Away”, where she spoke about the struggles she faced the past two years while “coming out” to the public about her sexuality. The MGLFF also honored former board member Mark ‘MarkyG’ Gilbert with the Angel Award for the positive impact he has had on several arts programs in the community and in particular on the MGLFF.

 

Next year’s Festival is schedule to run April 25 through May 5, 2013. To become a member of the MGLFF and receive advance ticket purchasing rights, as well as discounted and complimentary tickets to screenings, visit www.mglff.com. Members receive priority entry, seating benefits, invitations to special events and much more.

 

# # #

About the Miami Gay & Lesbian Film Festival

The MGLFF is a critically acclaimed event running from April 26-May 5, 2013.  Now in its 15th year, the MGLFF is held annually throughout South Florida in the world-renowned historic South Beach district and throughout Miami-Dade County. The MGLFF is celebrated for its program of feature films, documentaries and short films by, about and of interest to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities. In 2011-2012, screenings and special events drew more than 13,500 attendees from greater Miami–Dade, as well as national and international visitors. The MGLFF remains active outside of the film festival to produce the 4th Annual Ft. Lauderdale Gay and Lesbian Film Festival running from October 4-7, 2012 and provide monthly movie screenings throughout the year through its GLOW Miami and 954 GLOW programs. These programs bring year-round advance, archival and educational screenings to movie goers in Miami-Dade and Broward County.

 

Bridget N. Pietsch 
The Murry Agency
Public Relations | Marketing
1130 Washington Avenue | First Floor North
Miami Beach, FL | 33139
305 | 531 | 5720

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