Best gay blog. Towleroad Wins Award

Los Angeles Hub



04/19/2007


Thousands Of LA Unified School District Employees To 'Come Out' As LGBT Allies

BadgefrIn advance of National Coming Out Day tomorrow, the LA Gay and Lesbian Center and the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) have announced a new initiative, "Out For Safe Schools" that will see thousands of LAUSD employees show their support as allies for LGBT students and staff. More than 30,000 LAUSD workers, approximately 1/3 of the district's entire staff, have already pledged to wear rainbow badges (pictured top right) and "come out" as LGBT allies. The badges, which have the word "ally" written in seven languages, provide information on resources for LGBT students (below right) but are also aimed to make students feel more accepted:

“We want all our youth and staff to know that is it safe to be you in LAUSD,” said Superintendent Dr. John Deasy.
Basdgeback
LAUSD has more than 655,000 students enrolled in grades K-12, and its research indicates nearly 11 percent may identify as LGBT.  Additionally, 16 percent have LGBT family members.
 
“Every day, LGBT kids are vulnerable to taunts and abuse—physical and verbal—simply because they’re different,” said Alan Acosta, the Center’s Director of Strategic Initiatives.  “Beginning tomorrow, every one of L.A.’s 655,000 public school students will know and see there are adults at their school who support and care about LGBT kids.  I applaud the district for stepping up its efforts to support school communities by encouraging its staff to become visible allies. In the eyes of an LGBT student or family member, seeing all of these adults on campus wearing ‘ally’ badges will be a welcomed sight. More than that, it sends an important message of acceptance.”

Getting in on the action is a broad swath of school district employees. "We're talking about every type of staff member wearing these badges: principals, cafeteria workers, bus drivers, teachers—you name it!" said Gil Diaz of the LA Gay and Lesbian Center. The initiative was developed and funded by SPIN, the Center's Suicide Prevention Intervention Now project. 

Tomorrow looks to be an inspiring day in Los Angeles public schools.


Jason Collins Throws Out First Pitch for LGBT Night at Dodger Stadium: VIDEO

Jason Collins

NBA player Jason Collins threw out the first pitch at Friday's Dodgers - Denver Rockies matchup, which the Dodgers won 11-0. The Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles performed the national anthem along with Glee's Amber Riley, while Collins and gay former MLB player Billy Bean threw out the first pitches.

Before the game, Collins also spent time with singer Lance Bass.

Check out some photos and videos from the game, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Jason Collins Throws Out First Pitch for LGBT Night at Dodger Stadium: VIDEO" »


E. Lynn Harris Film Projects Move Forward After Legal Drama

643949_10151825295094974_612526958_nProducer Proteus Spann had big plans for the 14 books whose rights he had purchase from E. Lynn Harris--his friend and the bestselling author of the book Invisible Life--when the two sat down for a celebration dinner in Los Angeles.  

He didn't know that that very night, his friend would suffer a heart attack at his Beverly Hills hotel and pass away, and that Harris's mother Etta would soon sue him, claiming he did not have the rights to her son's novels.  The Hollywood Reporter tells the story of what followed after the fateful dinner:

Despite the loss of his friend, Spann continued on with the production of Invisible Life, the first of the books he planned to bring to the big screen. He finally secured an investor through a personal relationship he had.

Then Harris’s mother, Etta Harris, sued Spann claiming that he did not have the legal rights to the books. "Spann implemented his plan to take control of the E. Lynn Harris Works,” reads the complaint filed in Oct. 201, “by forging the signature of E. Lynn Harris on each of the Assignments.”

The lawsuit took an enormous toll on Spann. “It put a stop to everything. I went through a very deep depression. I was fighting for survival.” The suit also brought tremendous financial strain as Spann had to pay over $200,000 in legal fees.

Furthermore, Spann’s backers pulled out during the legal battle. “He didn’t want any of the publicity,” Spann explains why the investor, whom he describes as a conservative multi-millionaire, backed out.

In late July, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled that Spann did indeed own exclusive film, TV and theater rights to Harris's works.  "I feel like a new man," Spann told the Hollywood Reporter, "like I have something to live for again.

The producer is pushing to begin filming for his Invisible Life script, and hopes to continue work on a musical based on the novel.  He's also in the early stages of production on Harris's second bestseller, Not A Day Goes By.

Spann credits Harris's work on closeted, African-American gay men--and Invisible Life in particular--for helping him come into his own sexuality.  "It answered a lot of questions that I couldn’t answer,” he told the Hollywood Reporter. “Being a bisexual or gay man, it was difficult to figure out who to go to."


L.A. Councilmembers Protest Russian 'Sister City' with Rainbow Flag

LA RAINBOW flag

Karen Ocamb at Frontiers reports that the Los Angeles "Sister Cities" sign near Los Angeles City Hall has a new appendage added by several City Councilmembers:

Los Angeles City Councilmembers Mike Bonin, Mitch O’Farrell and Tom LaBonge eloquently described their anger over the anti-gay “propaganda” law now being enforced in Russia before unveiling a small Rainbow flag attached to the St. Petersburg Sister City sign prominently displayed near City Hall. They declared their opposition to severing Sister City ties, hoping to leverage the relationship to benefit harassed and oppressed LGBT Russians.

Bonin, O'Farrell and LaBonge also introduced a resolution asking the State Department to expedite the asylum program to help LGBT Russians escaping oppression in their country.


Russian Anti-Gay Policies 'Could Kill Its Cities'

St-petersburg
Russia has undergone no shortage of bad press in recent months. Its newly adopted anti-gay propaganda hve prompted outrage the world over, and have already put a damper on events such as the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi and the 2018 FIFA World Cup, months or even years in advance. 

Now, The Atlantic is reporting that Lansing, Michigan, is joining the growing list of global municipalities that are loooking to sever ties with their Russian "sister cities", which already includes the likes of Milan, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Reykjavik. Thus, as Russia inists on moving contrary to the global march toward human rights, the consequences could prove to have political and economic impact:

"St. Petersburg was, for hundreds of years, a city that took pride in its relative openness to global culture. When Peter the Great founded the city in 1703, he envisioned it as a "window on the West," a place where the values of the Enlightenment could be explored and celebrated. It was designed and built by the finest talents from around the world.

"Now, St. Petersburg is leading the way backward. Russia and its cities, by pursuing draconian anti-gay policies, are shutting themselves out of a global community where the benefits of an open society are ever more apparent."

Stolichnaya-1280x960It's no secret that international events such as the Olympics and the World Cup have the potential to generate a host of financial benefits for its host city and host nation. This is, of course, why so many cities vie for a chance to host such events. That said, should hosting a global event prove to be the potential source of controversy for the event's governing body, it would almost certainly deter them from coming back to that same city of country in the future. That's also not counting international boycotts of Russian products, which already have large companies such as SPI Group looking for ways to completely sever ties with the anti-gay nation. Let's also not forget the tourism dollars that Russia stands to lose in the future, from both gay tourists as well as those whom support human rights in general.

Finally, as The Atlantic illustrated by presenting the story of journalist and activist Masha Gessen, Russia's anti-gay laws have prompted an exodus of gay citizens, as well as their advocates. This only exacerbates the country's appartent desire "to shut down intellectually," and cost the country potentially vital intellectual capital. Thus, while the short term costs of losing "sister city" partnerships may be small, in the words of The Atlantic, "They are losing their future."


L.A. Councilmembers Want Feds to Expand America's Asylum Program for Persecuted LGBT Russians

Mike Bonin Mitch OFarrelGay L.A. Councilmembers are calling on the federal government to expand asylum for LGBT Russians, Frontiers reports:

Against the backdrop of increasing pressure from angry LGBT and human rights activists around the world to move or boycott the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, over that country’s harsh “gay propaganda” law, the two newly elected gay members of the Los Angeles City Council introduced a resolution Friday calling on the federal government to aggressively expand America’s asylum programs to help persecuted LGBT people in Russia. 

This resolution supplants the previous resolution offered last February by then-Councilmember Bill Rosendahl to sever or suspend L.A.’s 'sister city' ties with homophobic St. Petersburg, where the anti-gay law originated.


Trending



Towleroad - Blogged