Month: September 2013

EMMY AWARD-WINNING MEREDITH BAXTER TO JOIN OLIVIA TRAVEL’S EQUALITY AND LEADERSHIP SUMMIT

Olivia Travel, the world’s largest travel company that offers chartered cruise, resort, adventure and luxury vacations especially for the lesbian community, announced today that Emmy award-winning actress Meredith Baxter will take part in the Equality and Leadership Summit cruise being hosted by the travel company. Baxter will join other achieved participants including keynote speaker Dr. Maya Angelou, civil rights pioneer Edie Windsor, Florida Congresswoman and Chair of the Democratic National Committee Debbie Wasserman Schultz, award-winning Indigo Girls and Executive Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Kate Kendell  The summit will take place on an eight-day (Feb. 1-8, 2014) chartered Caribbean cruise that will also offer an extensive list of entertainers and activities.

I am just thrilled to have my first experience with Olivia Travel, particularly since it will be on the Equality and Leadership Summit,” said Baxter. “I expect to come away energized by the wisdom and vision that will be shared by the exceptional women taking part in the event. This is the opportunity of a lifetime and I’m proud to be involved.”

Guests on the cruise will be invited to listen to inspirational speakers that include Dr. Maya Angelou and other community leaders, while also taking part in entertainment provided by musicians, such as the Indigo Girls and Emmy award-winning comedian Judy Gold. The breathtaking eight-day Caribbean cruise will make stops to ports of call that include Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Thomas/St. John and Half Moon Cay, a private island in the Bahamas. Early bird specials offering as much as a $900 savings per-person are available for a limited time only.

The response we have received since announcing the summit has been nothing short of extraordinary. From celebrities and equality leaders to our returning and new guests, we really plan for this event to be an incredible experience for all involved,” said Judy Dlugacz, founder and president of Olivia Travel.

Like Meredith Baxter, the summit will be the first experience some guests will have with Olivia Travel, but for others, like the Indigo Girls, they have taken part in so many getaways that they are simply considered part of the Olivia family. Emily Saliers of the Indigo Girls shared: “We’ve always loved playing Olivia Travel cruises, so we’re even more thrilled to learn that this was a Leadership and Equality summit. What a perfect way to enjoy the beauty of the sea, culture and an exchange of ideas. We are totally on board!”

For a complete list of participants and entertainment or for more information on the Equality and Leadership Summit, call (800) 631-6277 or visit Olivia.com.

THEATRE REVIEW: The Lyons, Menier Chocolate Factory

Ben Lyons is dying and he has no intention of going quietly. Accompanied by his wife Rita, who is already planning a post-mortem house makeover, he curses and insults his way towards the grave.

by Chris Bridges | 30th September 2013

The Lyons | Menier Chocolate Factory

His wife and his damaged adult children attend a scene that’s as far removed from the traditional deathbed tableau as is possible, they bicker, parry and voice their disappointments in an emotionally claustrophobic New York hospital room. Alcoholism, homophobia, loneliness and death may not immediately strike you as the most suitable subjects for comedy but handled well, the more bleak the subject matter, the funnier the comedy.

Nicky Silver’s darkest of dark comedy delivers in that it has plenty of wryly-amusing moments and occasional laugh out loud killer lines. The casting and staging is exceptional with particularly strong performances from Isla Blair as the tactless matriarch and handsome Tom Ellis (Miranda, The Secret of Crickley Hall) as the gay son whose life is less than it first appears. As always, the Menier dazzles with it’s versatile space and cunning scene changes too.

The Lyons | Menier Chocolate Factory

The main issue I had with The Lyons was that I failed to feel much empathy or find any redeeming features in any of the characters. Although the amusing moments were well written, unfortunately they didn’t sustain the play weith any consistency and the whole effect was a patchy drama which didn’t quite deliver all it initially seemed to promise.

In spite of this, I’d still recommend the play. The Menier is a great space to visit, Tom Ellis is well worth a look at (and not just for his manly beauty) and the whole cast deliver a convincing slice of American meanness. You might find it hard to like or understand this family but you may be able to laugh at their misfortunes.

The Lyons is showing at The Menier Chocolate Factory until the 16th of November

Buy tickets here: https://www.menierchocolatefactory.com

Photo Credit: Nobby Clarke

Belgrade Pride banned for third year sends wrong signal for accession, MEPs say

On Friday 27 September the government declined to authorise the Belgrade Pride Parade due to take place the following day. The pride march was banned by authorities quoting “serious threats to the peace and public order.”

However, only three days before Serbian Prime Minister  Ivica Dačić expressed the view that homosexuality was “not normal and natural” when asked about the possibility of holding this year’s Pride Parade.

Furthermore, parade organisers had previously announced that everything was ready, and they expected the authorities to allow it. The police was also ready to secure the event, as it planned to deploy 6,500 officers.

This is the third year in a row Serbian authorities banned the event due to safety concerns. The pride took place in 2010 under heavy police protection, resulting in physical degradations and several arrests.

Shortly after the announcement of the official ban, LGBT organisations spontaneously organised a midnight pride. About 250 participants walked from the government building to the parliament building in Belgrade. The walk was well protected by police officers who rushed to the scene, and took place without incident.

Several Members of the European Parliament, including Marije Cornelissen and Jelko Kacin, were in Belgrade to attend the pride activities.

Reacting to the ban, Jelko Kacin MEP, European Parliament Rapporteur for Serbia’s accession and Member of the LGBT Intergroup stated: “Serbian institutions are not doing their job. Last year President Nikolić said there would be no excuse for a future pride ban. It’s also strikingly out of touch with Serbia’s EU accession negotiations, which started only recently.”

“Belgrade hasn’t been this close to holding a pride march in years. This is a lost opportunity to send a strong positive message about Serbian leaders’ commitment to reforms and the rule of law.”

Marije Cornelissen MEP, Member of the LGBT Intergroup, added: “It’s a sad day for Serbia, as the government again proved unwilling to guarantee citizens’ right to freedom of expression and assembly.”

“The absence of these fundamental freedoms should play a large role in the accession negotiations, and I hope the Commission will take this up in its accession report.”

The European Commission will publish the next accession report for Serbia on 16 October.

The post appeared first on MySoCalledGayLife.co.uk.

Republican Pollster: Supermajority of Voters Support Employment Non-Discrimination Act

State-of-the-art modeling also shows majority support in all 50 states

New polling by a prominent Republican pollster shows a supermajority of voters– 68 percent, including 56 percent of Republicans – support a federal law protecting gay and transgender employees from discrimination in the workplace. The U.S. Senate is expected to vote on such a law – the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) – in the coming weeks. Currently, there are no state laws prohibiting an employer from firing or refusing to hire someone simply because he or she is gay or transgender in a majority of states.

ENDA is common-sense legislation that rings true with the overwhelming majority of voters, including Republicans,” said Target Point Consulting’s Alex Lundry, one of the country’s leading experts on voter analytics who has worked for several Republican presidential candidates and Fortune 10 companies. “The American people believe in the values of hard work and the Golden Rule – these are the reasons why support for ENDA is off the charts.”
In addition to the national poll, Lundry utilized new modeling techniques to estimate support for ENDA in all 50 states, finding majorities in each state back a federal law to protect LGBT employees. The model projects, for instance, support well over 60 percent in New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Arizona and Arkansas.

Americans for Workplace Opportunity, which is the campaign to pass ENDA, and Project Right Side commissioned the national poll of 2,000 registered voters conducted by Lundry on September 3-8, 2013.

The poll also found eight in 10 Americans believe it’s already illegal to discriminate against people simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

The idea that employers would judge their employees on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity instead of performance and hard work is so offensive to the basic sensibilities of Americans that an overwhelming majority already think it is illegal,” said Jeff Cook-McCormac, American Unity Fund Senior Advisor. “Voters strongly feel that merit matters most and they are shocked to learn that discrimination is still legal and that is why we see broad bipartisan support to pass ENDA this year.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said he wants to bring the bill to the floor. ENDA passed out of a key Senate committee this past summer by a 15-7 bipartisan vote – with support from Republican Senators Mark Kirk (Ill.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Orrin Hatch (Utah).

More than 100 of the nation’s major businesses have spoken out in favor of ENDA, including Citigroup, Coca-Cola, GlaxoSmithKline, Groupon, General Mills and US Airways. A full list is available here. Faith leaders back the bill as well. This summer, 50 religious leaders from varying faith traditions sent a letter to Congress expressing their support for ENDA.

The polling memo is available online at www.workplaceopportunity.org/ENDApoll.

Americans for Workplace Opportunity is the campaign to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act through Congress.  It is led by diverse, bipartisan organizations representing millions of Americans who support ENDA, including the American Civil Liberties Union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the American Federation of Teachers, the American Unity Fund, Communications Workers of America, Gill Action, the Human Rights Campaign, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the National Center for Transgender Equality, the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force, and the Service Employees International Union.

Project Right Side is a conservative organization that provides research and analysis to improve the political climate for gay and lesbian issues across the political spectrum.

Right or Rite

Here is the thing about marriage. Marriage is a civil institution that has roots in religious ceremony. It is a right, that used to be a rite. So many people who write about rights miss the wrong they do due with their focus on rites.

People who worry so much about the rights of corporations (corporations are not people, my friend, no matter what they say) are more focused on denying me my rites. A lot of their discussion revolves around what they call the traditional rite. They don’t really mean the traditional rite, because they actually oppose that too. They never actually define which traditional rite is the right one, they just tell me that the rite that I want is the wrong rite. What they mean is my rights can’t be equal because their religion says I can’t have their rite.

I am fine with eschewing their rite in my pursuit of the right to have a rite. I am perfectly comfortable with separating the rite of their faith from my civil right to have a rite. I do not need my rite bathed in the loving glow of their faith for my rite to be equal and valid. I am not seeking to disrupt the way they perform their rite. I respect their right to rites. I just wish they would respect mine.

Read the original post by Drew Gardner here.
Written by: Drew Gardner

You can find Drew on Tumblr or Twitter

The post Right or Rite appeared first on The Gayly Post.

Right or Rite

Here is the thing about marriage. Marriage is a civil institution that has roots in religious ceremony. It is a right, that used to be a rite. So many people who write about rights miss the wrong they do due with their focus on rites.

People who worry so much about the rights of corporations (corporations are not people, my friend, no matter what they say) are more focused on denying me my rites. A lot of their discussion revolves around what they call the traditional rite. They don’t really mean the traditional rite, because they actually oppose that too. They never actually define which traditional rite is the right one, they just tell me that the rite that I want is the wrong rite. What they mean is my rights can’t be equal because their religion says I can’t have their rite.

I am fine with eschewing their rite in my pursuit of the right to have a rite. I am perfectly comfortable with separating the rite of their faith from my civil right to have a rite. I do not need my rite bathed in the loving glow of their faith for my rite to be equal and valid. I am not seeking to disrupt the way they perform their rite. I respect their right to rites. I just wish they would respect mine.

Read the original post by Drew Gardner here.
Written by: Drew Gardner

You can find Drew on Tumblr or Twitter

The post Right or Rite appeared first on The Gayly Post.

Right or Rite

Here is the thing about marriage. Marriage is a civil institution that has roots in religious ceremony. It is a right, that used to be a rite. So many people who write about rights miss the wrong they do due with their focus on rites.

People who worry so much about the rights of corporations (corporations are not people, my friend, no matter what they say) are more focused on denying me my rites. A lot of their discussion revolves around what they call the traditional rite. They don’t really mean the traditional rite, because they actually oppose that too. They never actually define which traditional rite is the right one, they just tell me that the rite that I want is the wrong rite. What they mean is my rights can’t be equal because their religion says I can’t have their rite.

I am fine with eschewing their rite in my pursuit of the right to have a rite. I am perfectly comfortable with separating the rite of their faith from my civil right to have a rite. I do not need my rite bathed in the loving glow of their faith for my rite to be equal and valid. I am not seeking to disrupt the way they perform their rite. I respect their right to rites. I just wish they would respect mine.

Read the original post by Drew Gardner here.
Written by: Drew Gardner

You can find Drew on Tumblr or Twitter

The post Right or Rite appeared first on The Gayly Post.

To Speak: To Fear: To Be!

- Hey so I’ve Heard.

so I heard you’re Queer.

you’re Queer, You ain’t go nothing to fear.

- Nothing to Fear.

- Nothing to Fear, I’m here.

-I’m here with my bullhorn.

- Bullhorn to smash the Fear.

- Smash the Fear, So I’ve heard.

I heard you fear the fear.

Don’t fear the fear my queer.

Take it my Queer and Channel it.

Channel it into something.

Something I say ; Positive.

Agititate to educate

educate to organize

organzie to liberate.

Libertate to realize.

and to realize is to feel.

feelings are good to endure.

My fellow queers.

Face the fear.

face it with : No Justice No Peace.

Make it, Take it, Give it, Be it,

To Speak.

To Be.

To Fear.

To Give.

TO BE SOMEBODY.!!!!!!

The post To Speak: To Fear: To Be! appeared first on The Gayly Post.

FEATURE: X Factor’s Sam Callahan Naked

Well, well well... it seems all our Christmases have come early. Whilst doing some, erm research on young X Factor hopeful Mr Callahan, we came across this little video of him skinny dipping for charity.

by Newsdesk | 29th September 2013

Tease? | YouTube

Before the bright lights of X Factor a playful Sam Callahan promised to get naked for his debut single Crazy, which was in aid on the Teenage Cancer Trust, the YouTube video starts with Sam in the tub...

It's a 4:30AM start, but Sam and his team move to the park, where he disrobes and gets butt naked for the cameras.

Fine abs | YouTube

It seems as though Sam is no stranger to getting naked infront of the camera, as he strips and enters the near freezing waters.

You can leave your hat on | YouTube

With just a hat to hide Sam's modesty, he climbs into the water.

Feeling the cold | YouTube

Sam remarked that the water was indeed 'cold'

Party trick?  No Hat | YouTube

Sam emerges from the water | YouTube

Sam shows of his perfectly formed abs.

Very chilly willy | YouTube

Triumphant, Sam Callaham emerges from the waters. Wet and cold - but with a smile on his face.

All smiles | YouTube

Watch the entire video: http://www.videos.thegayuk.com/SamCallahanNaked

Sam Callahan goes head to head with the other boys in this evenings episode of The X Factor to win a place in the all important Judges' Houses stage.

INTERVIEW: Laverne Cox

‘Hello, New York calling!’ We’ve just been put through to one of our favourite women on television right now and I’m just bursting with questions. The dazzling Laverne Cox who plays in-prisoned hairdresser Sophia Burset in the hit Netflix series Orange Is The New Black is on the phone.

By Jake Simpson & Graham Davies | 29th September 2013

Laverne Cox

Asking how she felt to be the object of everyones desires, through much laughter I’m informed in her delicate Southern Belle accent ‘Well, i’m still single’.

Yet behind the laughter is a deeper message where the reality of her situation was quickly offered.

‘I just did the Thomas Roberts Show this morning and I said, I’m not supposed to be here. Black trans women from a working class background in America aren’t supposed to be promoting hit TV shows on national television.’

In an industry which has become strongly focused on ticking boxes it would seem that Laverne ticks a lot and yet Laverne is far from a ticked box.

‘I didn’t have any expectations. I hoped that people would like the show [Orange Is The New Black]. I was like, ok, Netflix have a lot of folks. A lot of people will see this show and it may lead to some more acting work.

‘I loved the part and was thinking this is great, people can get to see what I can do as an actress.’

Laverne at the OITNB Launch

Laverne Cox hails from Mobile Alabama, deep in the Bible belt of the United States, lodged between Georgia and Mississippi. Her first television appearance was on Law & Order in 2008, but it wasn’t until 2010 that Laverne’s true television credentials would be proved, when she became the first African American transgender woman to produce and star in her own TV show TRANSform Me on VH1

Laverne’s current project Orange Is The Next Black is fast becoming a landmark show for Netflix, I asked why Laverne thought the show had been so popular?

‘There are stories we don’t get to hear a lot in our culture. We don’t hear from women who are incarcerated, especially diverse women of colour.

‘In America we have 5% of the world’s population and a large proportion of it are in prison. It represents what’s wrong with our culture.

‘Most of the time it’s because the system has failed them as people, they are not humanised.

‘We’re not programmed to think of them as human beings and our show makes these women profoundly human.’

Laverne is one of the most regarded if not the most visible activist for the transgender community, which being a famous face must bring about a lot of extra pressures.

‘I would love to just have one day without having to talk about transgender but the reality is that so many trans people are impaled in their lives. Such as that story in Jamaica about the trans kid Dwayne Jones who was brutally murdered’ [Read Story here: http://www.thegayuk.com/magazine/4574334751/Protest-For-Murdered-Jamaican-Teen/6424706]

‘I would love to not talk about it, but the problem is people aren’t talking about trans issues, about transphobia so somebody’s got to talk about it and that talk has to lead to action.’

Laverne

An action group here at home Trans Media Watch were also keen to put a question to Laverne asking what her perception was on how trans people are represented on TV and if she thinks it is starting to change.

‘The reality is we don’t get enough trans people on television, enough transgender stories told and so I think we have a long way to go before we have more of those representatives like Sophia, but I would like to think we are moving in the right direction.’

I wondered how the transgender community has reacted to Laverne since she’s become so much more visible now,

‘There has been a lot of love and support, the biggest was when trans kids write to say that I’ve inspired them to go for their dreams.’

I asked if there were any role models in her life,

‘My idol was Leontyne Price the African-American opera singer who was the first international black opera sensation and she’s a huge inspiration for me.’

As September is our Coming Out month we wondered if coming out was little by little for Laverne or a big blaze of glory?

‘It’s weird the words coming out. The only person I ever came out to was my mother. I thought I was gay and joined an LGBT organisation on campus in university.

‘I then realised I was trans. The interesting thing for trans people that’s different for gays or lesbians, who often have to come out to different people in many parts of their lives, I don’t have to as people generally know or suspect and if not they google me.

‘As a trans women it was a really slow process and was really about accepting myself, starting my medical transition and then changing my name.

‘It was all very gradual and all very much about accepting myself.’

Not everyone in this world is switched on to the many differences in life so I wondered how Laverne coped when people realised she was trans. Did she see the change in their eyes or the thoughts of what should or shouldn’t I ask?

‘For most part if people are gonna have a problem with me that’s pretty obvious because they’re going to steer clear of me. Which is the best thing about being out and proud.

‘I don’t draw bad energy to me. When I’m myself then people are cool with me.’

I asked whether it was easy to come or to accept the realisation that you’re transgender, Laverne has a very simple formula;

‘It depends where you live, how much money you have, on race, your support networks’.

Laverne with co-star Taylor Schilling

Although we had focused on a lot of serious questions I had just one more to ask. In Orange is the new Black, Sophia had amazing hair in prison. Does she think she’d keep up the look if she was locked up?

‘Oh God, I don’t think I’d personally care that much’ she laughed.

So what would be the worse fear about going to prison?

‘All of it’ was the quick answer. ‘Often trans people don’t end up in women’s prisons so that leads us to become targets of sexual violence, so I would be terrified of that’.

It seems even the light hearted questions have this harsh reality of real life behind them and the work style to be done for trans recognition.

I couldn’t leave it there. If you could smuggle one thing into prison and be allowed to keep it, what would you take. ‘Moisturiser’

OITNB out now on Netflix

We both started laughing.

If you want to read more about Trans issues or are looking for support then do check out: http://www.transmediawatch.org

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